Monday, December 21, 2009


Every living being accumulate bad karmas by their body, speech and mind. According to the Jain Tradition a person can accumulate more karmas by his/her mind than body and speech. According to the last and 24th Tirthankar Lord Mahavir, if someone thinks or desires to kill any living being and he has not applied yet then he has accumulated the karmas of killing a living being. It is not important that he hasn’t killed physically but he has killed the living being mentally. His thoughts create vibrations that cause the microscopic particles to disturb and the particles makes creates such situations that the person who first thought to kill will somehow kill the opposite person in future. The time depends on the vibrations of his thoughts. It can come in action in his present life or in his next births. Here is a good example how violent thoughts can be harmful to the soul.

In ancient Jain scriptures there is a story of a monk who is walking in a jungle in darkness. He cannot see on the ground because of darkness. He is walking on a dry leafs and grass. He felt it and imagined as if he was walking on insects. Instead of stopping himself he continued walking with thinking and imagines that he is walking on insects. In fact he was walking on the grass and leafs. As a result he accumulated deep karmas of killing thousands of insects just by his thought and because he didn’t stopped him to walk there. He also never confessed about that and after completing his life he went to the hell and after that he went to the infinite cycle of birth and death. He washed out his chance of liberation!

From the above fact we can see that how destructive are thoughts. Jainism has given more importance to control of mind. Even Lord Buddha has said the same and has given more importance to control thoughts first. Recently I have read the book “The Secret”. The book deals on the importance of thoughts but saying that to accomplish your wish you should imagine mentally about your dream so the nature will create it for you! But there is not mentioned that how much time would it take? It can fulfill your dream before you die or in your next birth! The same thing has been mentioned in both Jainism and Buddhism. Both founded by the omniscient lords and is hundred percent correct. Instead of saying “to desire” these religions has the concept of “stop desires”, and control your emotions if you want liberation. Because your dreams and desires will extend your soul’s existence in mundane world. The main aim is purify your thoughts to destroy and accumulating new karmas.
Also read this example.
-Rahul Zota (Bhuj-Gujarat)

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Lord Neminath was the 22nd Tirthankar or Ford-Maker of Jainism the present age. Neminath, who is accepted as a historical figure was connected with Sri Krishna and was Krishna’s younger cousin. The historical date of Lord Neminath was around 3100 B.C. He is also known as Arishtanemi. He along with Lord Rishabha is mentioned in the Rig Veda Samhita. Neminath was born to King Samudravijay and Queen Shiva Devi at Souripur in the Harivansh clan. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Indian calendar.

In his past life Arishtanemi was King Shankh, the eldest son of King Shrisen of Hastinapur. One day armies from all sides, smugglers, bandits, robbers, etc had covered the surroundings of Hastinapur. No body was safe from the attack of these bandits. Prince Shankh was an accomplished diplomat and strategist. King sent him to punish the bandits. He made such a plan that he won over the head of the bandit’s without any blood shed. On his way back he found a princess captured by a God of low category. He made efforts and relieved the princess. On looking at each other they felt in love and married. He was in deep love with his wife. This intensity made him feel upset sometimes and he use to think about the reason for such deep love for Yashomati. The answer he got was from a scholarly ascetic. He told him that this was their seventh birth as husband and wife and that is the reason of his and her intense love and this bond will be broken in their ninth birth where Shankh will be born as twenty second Tirthankar and Yashomati as Rajimati. And they both will choose the path of liberation.Shankh was now a king, but the feeling of detachment was there in him. He gave his throne to his son and went on the path of spiritualism. In the process of his vigorous devotion for the Arhat, Shankh earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra. He reincarnated as God in the Aparajit dimension. It was from here that this soul traveled all the way to the Earth to the womb of Shiva Devi wife of King Samudra Vijay of Shauripur to become twenty second Tirthankar.

King Samudra Vijay was enjoying the day with his wife and nine brothers and nine sisters. Suddenly queen felt little upset as she wanted to discuss some important matter with the King. So, she asked the king to move back to the palace as she was not feeling well. On returning back when king asked why she was not feeling well, the queen explained her desire to ask some question to the King in privacy. She said that early that morning she had seen all the fourteen dreams that are seen by a Tirthankar’s mother. She got up early and started praying and performing religious activities. And also was dying to tell the news to him.

On the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Shravan queen gave birth to a son whom they named Arishtanemi. They named him because the queen had seen a dream in which she saw a disc with Arishta gems. Also, the special mention here comes of Vasudev, younger brother of King Samudravijay. He was a charming prince. His senior queen was Rohini whose son was Balram and junior queen was Devki whose son was Vasudev ‘Shri Krishna’. Balram and Shri Krishna were the ninth Baldev and Vasudev.

Time passed by and Arishtanemi became young handsome prince. After few years the time of marriage of Arishtanemi approached. But he was completely detached person and didn't want to get married. His father went to Shri Krishna to convince Arishtanemi for marriage. Shri Krishna searched for a suitable match for Arishtanemi when one of his wife’s, Satyabhama, told him about her younger sister. Everything was finalized and marriage possession was organized. Arishtanemi was riding on a decorated elephant. Thousands of kings, prince etc were attending the marriage. While very near to the destination, Arishtanemi saw large fenced areas on the sides of the roads. Large number of wailing animals was bondage within those fences. On asking the reason of this bondage, the driver of the elephant said that these animals were to be used by the butcher, to prepare food for thousands of people who were to come in the marriage. Arishtanemi moved to his boots. He could not stand the idea of being the sole cause for the killing of thousands of innocent animals. He was filled with detachment.He asked the driver to immediately get the doors of the fences opened and release the animals and move back towards Dwarka. Rajimati was dressed in bridal dress, on hearing the news she went unconscious. When Arishtanemi was questioned about what he had done then he replied, “These animals were prisoners in the cages, we all are prisoners in the cage of Karma. Happiness lies in freedom and not in bondage. So I want to follow the path eternal bliss. So, please do not stop me.On hearing this news Rajimati also decided to become a saint and lead the rest of life as an ascetic.


After a year long charity, Arishtanemi came outside the town of Dwarka in Raivatak garden. Under an Ashoka tree he removed all his worldly possessions, with five fists full removed his hair, with thousands other people, on the sixth day of the bright half of the month of Shravan, took renunciation and became a sraman ascetic.


Shraman Neminath spent fifty four days in deep spiritual practices and then went to Girnar Hill. On the fifteenth day of the dark half of the month of Ashvin, in the afternoon, under the bamboo tree Neminath attained omniscience and became twenty second Tirthankar.
After that, he delivered his first divine sermon. Rajimati also came to attend the Samosaran of Lord Neminath and along with her friends she attained renunciation and got liberated in the end.Lord Neminath preached Jain doctrine for very long time and wandered in many parts of India along with thousands of ascetics as an Omniscient saint. On the eighth day of the bright half of the month of Ashadh, Tirthankar Neminath destroyed all the Karmas attached with his soul and got liberated at the top of Mount Girnar in th present state of Gujarat, India.

A number of historians accept that Arishtanemi or Neminath, the cousin of Shri Krishna, was a historical figure who greatly contributed towards vegetarianism, compassion and Ahimsa (non-violence). This is the point where Jain prehistory fuses with history.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


In the Jainism, there is a great deal of importance given to the leshya. A leshya refers to the state of mind. Our activities reflect the state of our mind. The following illustration shows how our activities vary with the state of our mind.
Once there were six friends, who were going on a trip. Along the way, they got lost in a forest. After a while they were hungry and thirsty. They searched for the food for sometime, and finally found a fruit tree.
As they ran to the tree, the first man said,
"Let’s cut the tree down and get the fruit."
The second one said,
"Don’t cut the whole tree down, cut off a big branch instead." The third friend said, "Why do we need a big branch? A small branch has enough fruit." The fourth one said, "We do not need to cut the branches, let us just climb up and get the bunches of the fruit." The fifth man said, "Why pick those many fruit and waste them, instead just pick the fruit that we need to eat." The sixth friend said quietly, "There are plenty of good fruit on the ground, so let’s just eat them first."
You can see that the states of minds of these six friends caused a range of thoughts that begin with the destruction of the entire tree and ended with the picking up of the fruits on the ground. The six friends’ minds represent six types of leshyas.

The first friend’s state of mind represents krishna (black) leshya.
The second friend’s state of mind represents neel (blue) leshya.
The third friend’s state of mind represents kapot (brown) leshya.
The fourth friend’s state of mind represents tejo (red) leshya.
The fifth friend’s state of mind represents padma (yellow) leshya.
The sixth friend’s state of mind represents shukla (white) leshya.

The first leshya is the worst and the sixth leshya is the best. The first three leshyas lead the soul to ruin, and the last three lead the soul to the spiritual prosperity. We know that our minds run into different states all the times for the better or for the worst.. Therefore, we should strive for the white leshya, and not the red leshya. The story of King Prasenjit, who lived during Lord Mahavira’s time, illustrates how fast the surrounding can effect our mind and in turn our leshyas as well as our spiritual progress.
One day, King Shrenik was on his way to pay homage to Lord Mahavira, and he saw a sage who was meditating and had a bright glow around him. He bowed down to the sage and continued on his way. After reaching Lord Mahavira, King Shrenik asked the Lord,
"Oh Lord, I saw a brilliant sage who was engaged in the meditation. If he died at that moment, what would be his destiny?"
The Lord replied, "He would have been hurled down to the seventh hell-region."
The king was much astonished to hear this reply from the Lord. He thought,
"Why would such a sage go to hell? Perhaps the Lord might have misunderstood me." He asked the Lord again, "Oh Lord, if his soul leaves this body just now, where will it go?"
The Lord replied, "He will be an angel in the Sarvarthasiddhi, a heavenly region."

The king was much surprised at this reply, too. He thought, "The Lord first said he would attain the seventh hell, and now he says that the sage would be an angel." The king was perplexed. At that very moment, drums began sounding in the sky and voices of ‘victory’ were proclaimed. The king asked the Lord, "What is the cause of these sounds?"
The Lord said, "Oh, king, the sage about whom you were inquiring has acquired omniscience and so the angels are beating the drums and proclaiming the ‘Victory’."
The king was extremely confused by these answers and requested for the explanations.
So Lord Mahavira explained,
"Oh king, right before you approached the sage, two soldiers leading your procession diverted his mind by their conversation that his son was betrayed by his entrusted ministers and they were planning to overthrow his son and even kill him. His meditation was disturbed due to rising of the affection for his son. He was inflamed with rage, and he lost his mental equanimity. Therefore, he started mentally to fight against his ministers. He very violently discharged his weapons one after the other against his ministers. Soon his weapons were exhausted and his foes were not destroyed. So, he thought of throwing his steel helmet against them in order to destroy them. If he would have died at that moment, he would have gone to the 7th hell. Now as he reached for the steel helmet, he realized that he was not the King Prasenjit, but that he was a sage. His anger calmed down immediately. He remembered that he has been initiated into the vow of equanimity and of non-violence to all living beings mentally, verbally, and physically. He deeply regretted and repented for the breach of his vow and indulgence in the acute anger. He further thought that he ought to have maintained love for all the creatures of the world, ought to have no malice for the ministers, and no attachment for his son. He severely condemned his mental act. He despised it and withdrew himself from such a feat of anger and malice. Oh king, when he thought this way, you asked me the next question and I replied that he would be born in the Sarvarthasiddhi (heaven) as an angel. Even thereafter, he continued the purification of his mental reflections and gradually he reached the stage of ‘Kshapaka’, where he annihilated all of his ghati karmas, and attained omniscience."

King Shrenik’s doubts were resolved and he learned how mental reflections can fluctuate. He, also learned that not only can physical acts or verbal abuses have such devastating effects, but so can mental acts. We, too, must learn from this episode. Let us understand how a person with the different leshyas behaves and what are the outcome of such leshyas.

Krishna (Black) Leshya: The people in this state of mind do not show any compassion or mercy. Everyone is afraid of them as their anger turns into the violence. They always burn with jealousy and have ill-will for everyone. They are filled with animosity and malice, and do not believe in the religion. This state of mind is the worst and most dangerous. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he will to hell.
Neel (Blue) Leshya: The people in this state of mind are proud, haughty, and lazy. They are unreliable and other people avoid their company. They are cheaters, cowards, and hypocrites. Such people also avoid the religious discourses. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a plant.
Kapot (Brown) Leshya: The people in this state of mind always remain sad and gloomy. They find faults in others and are vindictive. They boast about themselves, become excited over small matters, and lack mental balance. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a bird or an animal.
Tejo (Red) Leshya: People in this state of mind are very careful about their actions and discriminate between good and evil. They know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. They are kind, benevolent, religious, and lead a harmonious life. If anyone dies in this state of mind, may get reborn as a human being.
Padma (Yellow) Leshya: People in this state of mind are kind and benevolent and forgive everyone, even their enemies. They observe some austerities and are vigilant in keeping their vows till their last breath. They remain unaffected by joys and sorrows. If anyone dies in this leshya, he gets reborn in heaven as a celestial being.
Shukla (White) Leshya: There are two levels of this leshyas. The People in this state of mind strictly observe the principles of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-attachment. They are trustworthy, treat every soul as if it was their own soul, and do not have any ill feelings even for their enemies. They remain calm even if someone abuses them. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a human being or an angel. The people who have perfected this state of mind where there is no more attachment or hatred and treat everyone alike. They do not become happy or sad. Their state of mind is the purest. If anyone dies in this perfected state of mind, he or she will be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

-Rahul Zota (Bhuj-Gujarat. INDIA)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Monk KURGADU: A Real Inspiring Jain Story

In ancient times there was a businessman named Dhandatta. He was highly religious. He had a son who was also full of religious perspective. Once, Dharmaghosh-suri, the highly enlightened Acharya of that time, came to town, where Dhandatta lived. Afterward Dhandatta went to listen to his sermon along with his young son. The boy was much impressed by the talk of the Acharya and decided to become his pupil. As a result he renounced the worldly life and became a monk at the very young age. The Acharya could foresee that the boy was destined to be a great entity. He therefore named him as Kulguru. In the native language of that area, he came to be known as Kurgadu.

Kurgadu seriously studied the holy books and correctly grasped their essence. He realized the role of Karma in the life of every being and thereby he learned to maintain a high level of self-control. He also strictly observed the code of conduct for monks. However, he had a problem. He could not stay hungry and as such could not fast. He had to eat at least once a day. Even during Paryushan Parva, he could not fast for a single day. When he had to eat on such days of Parva, he felt bad and regretted that he had acquired incapability to fast because of his previous Karma. When other monks observed long or short fasts, he praised them and rendered every type of service to them. He wished, in heart of hearts, that he too could observe fasts.

Jain monks do not move from place to place during monsoon that normally sets in June and ends in October. The Paryushan Parva occurs roughly in the middle of that period. While the Acharya was once camping in the monsoon season, Paryushan Parva came. On that occasion, many of the monks undertook long fasts extending to more than a month. The senior monk, under whom Kurgadu was working, had undertaken one month’s fast. Kurgadu felt sad that he could not undertake such austerities. Seven days passed that way and the day of Samvatsari dawned. He wished that he could observe fast at least on that day. Before noon, however he felt very hungry and could not stay without food. He wondered what sort of body he had acquired that he could not fast even for one day! As it was impossible for him to stay without food, he went to the senior monk and begged his permission to go for alms. The latter scornfully asked him why he could not survive without food at least for one day. He should be inspired to observe fast at least for that day, especially when all his colleagues were on long fasts. Kurgadu humbly replied that he did wish to observe fast but very much regretted his inability to fast. The senior monk pitied his miserable fate and resentfully allowed him to go for alms.

Kurgadu went for alms and most regretfully accepted the food that was offered to him. Coming back, he presented the same to the senior monk, as a part of the code of monks’ conduct and begged his permission to eat. He had done that in all modesty. That monk however became very annoyed by that request. He could not believe that it was beyond the capacity of Kurgadu to fast for one day. He therefore took the humble gesture of Kurgadu as an audacity and disparagingly said that the miserable wretch did not deserve to be a monk. So saying he spitefully pushed the food bowl towards him. Kurgadu accepted that scornful gesture as the graceful permission and going to his place he most reluctantly started to eat.

All the other monks were watching with disgust the taking of food by Kurgadu on that auspicious day and pitied that he was acquiring unwholesome Karma by eating on the day of Samvatsari. While eating Kurgadu himself dwelt deep into the inability of his body to remain without food even for a day. Well read as he was, he could see that it must have been the outcome of his previous Karma. He knew that all Karma drip off after extending the appropriate consequence and this Karma too was going to drop off. He therefore made up his mind to dispassionately bear what had been ordained by his Karma. Because of his study of the scriptures, he had gained enough insight about the true nature of soul. His despising himself for not observing fast was functioning as a handicap for the full realization of that true nature. Now, his willingness to accept what was destined endowed him the insight of distinguishing the nature of soul from the varying states of the body and mind. That gave rise to the manifestation of the true nature of the soul. His realization was strong enough to destroy all the defiling Karmas on the spot and he gained omniscience, while eating the food.

When one attains omniscience, even the heavenly beings come to the place for offering their obeisance. When other monks saw the heavenly beings approaching the place for the purpose, every one thought that they must have been pleased by the acute austerities of some of them and were coming to bow to those monks. Instead, the heavenly beings turned to Kurgadu and offered their obeisance to him. No one could understand why those observing acute austerity were left out, while the one who could not observe it at all, had gained full enlightenment.

In all amazement they went to Dharmaghosh-suri and asked the reason for what had happened. The Acharya said that all of them were feeling too much proud of their austerities and were unnecessarily disparaging Kurgadu for not observing fast. Thereby they were smeared by perception obscuring Karma that obscured right perception. He urged them to bear in mind that the primary purpose of undertaking austerities or any other religious practice was to gain modesty which leads to right perception and in turn helps in attaining equanimity. They had misjudged Kurgadu who had realized the essence of religion. Earlier, he had acquired austerity obstructing Karma that did not allow him to observe the austerity. He did feel sad and sincerely repented for that Karma which had become operative in his current life. By properly comprehending the role of Karma, he had been imbibed with right perception. He did regret for that but was bearing the consequence of the Karma with equanimity. This could help in wiping out the previously acquired Karmas without incurring new bondage.

All the monks realized that they were indulging in unnecessary vanity that obstructed the dawn of right perception. The Acharya also explained that the soul had really nothing to do with the state and activities of the body. The body is obtained as a consequence of the operative Karma and should be used simply as an instrument for realizing the true nature of soul. It can be an effective instrument only if it were used purposefully. Understanding the true nature of soul was the essence of religion and that is the main thing worth pursuing in this life.

- Rahul Zota (Bhuj-Gujarat)

Thursday, October 1, 2009



Lord Parshvanath was the 23rd Tirthankar (ford-maker) of Jainism who lived during 877-777 BCE and has been accepted as a historical figure.

Like other Tirthankars, important events of earlier incarnations of the being that became Lord Parshvanath are available in Jain scriptures. Study of these incidents reveals that amnesty and compassion played a major part in his life and progress toward purity of soul. In every incarnation his rival, Kamath, continued to torture him and he continued to forgive and forget.

Kamath and Marubhuti

The soul that was to be Lord Parshvanath was inspired to take the direction of purity in its birth as Marubhuti. He was born to the wife of Purohit Vishabhuti living in Potanpur city. His elder brother was Kamath. As Kamath was cruel, conceited, and a debauch, in spite of being the elder son it was Marubhuti who succeeded his father on the post of Rajpurohit (the director of ritual ceremonies of the king and state). Attracted toward the beautiful wife of Marubhuti, Vasundhara, Kamath seduced her. When Kamath’s wife came to know about the affair, she tried to dissuade him in vain and told Marubhuti about it. Marubhuti made a secret inquiry and conveyed everything in detail to the king. Kamath was exiled by the king. He became a mendicant and started doing rigorous penance.

After sometime Marubhuti felt that it was because of his report that Kamath was insulted and thrown out of the state; as such he should go and beg forgiveness from his elder brother. Marubhuti went into the jungle near Kamath and bowed before him seeking his pardon. Instead of getting pacified, Kamath was over powered by the desire of vengeance. He picked up a large stone and hit Marubhuti on the head. Marubhuti died on the spot and reincarnated as an elephant.

Birth as an Elephant

The soul of Marubhuti was reborn as an elephant in the forests of Vindhyachal. It became the leader of the herd. One day when an ascetic was standing in meditation in the Vindhyachal area, the king elephant came near him. The memory of its past life precipitated and it became a follower of the ascetic and turned mellow and detached. One day the elephant rushed into and stationed itself in the middle of a pond in order to save himself from a forest fire. The being that was Kamath had taken birth as a serpent of the Kurkut species. When it saw the elephant, the serpent recognized it as its enemy from the earlier birth. The serpent landed on the head of the elephant and stung it. The elephant equally tolerated the pain and died peacefully.

Suvarnbahu Chakravarti

In his third birth the being that was Marubhuti reincarnated as a god in the Sahasrar dimension. From there it descended and was born as prince Kiranveg in Mahavideh area. He furthered his progress towards purity by becoming an ascetic and was killed once again by the Kamath, now born as a snake. His next birth was as a god in the Achyut Kalpa dimension. From there he came to Mahavidh area as king Vajranabh. Kamath was born as a Bhil aborigine who shot Vajranabh, who had become an ascetic now, with an arrow. Reincarnating in the Madhyam Graiveyak dimension of gods, the being that was to be Parshvanath enjoyed the fruits of his pious Karma.

In his eighth birth this being was born in the royal family of Puranpur in the Mahavideh area. After ascending the throne Suvarnbahu conquered six continents and became a Chakravarti. In later part of his life he became an ascetic and did purest of meditations to earn Tirthakar-nam-and-gotra-karma. During this birth also, this being was killed by its old enemy Kamath who was born as a fierce lion. From here this being went to the Pranat dimension of gods.

Birth of Lord Parshvanath

Descending from the Pranat dimension of gods, the being that was Marubhuti came into the womb of Vama Devi, wife of King Ashvasen of Varanasi. On the tenth day of the dark half of the month of Paush Vama Devi gave birth to a son. At the time of his naming ceremony king Ashvasen announced that during her pregnancy Vama Devi one night saw a snake slithering on the bed near his flank. She woke him up and saved him from the impending danger. As such, he was naming the new born as Parshva (flank).

Prince Parshva was very handsome and intelligent. His fame reached Kushasthalpur and princess Prabhavatti, daughter of king Prasenjit, determined to become his wife. Before a proposal for marriage could be sent the king of Kalinga lay a seize of Kushasthalpur and sought the hand of Prabhavati in marriage. King Prasenjit, aware of the might of Yavanraj sent a messenger to Varanasi for help. King Ashvasen got irritated at the misconduct of Yavanraj and commands the army in this battle, Ashvasen was well aware of the ability and prowess of prince Parshva; he accepted proposal without any hesitation.

Before the prince started for the battle field the king of gods sent a divine and air worthy chariot for Parshva. After reaching the battle field the and prior to giving the orders to attack, Parshva sent a message to Yavanraj that now Prasenjit was under the protection of king Ashvasen, and as such he should break his seize of Kushasthalpur or face the great army of Varanasi and divine powers of Parshva. Although the youthful Yavanraj and some of his younger ministers were provoked, a senior minister informed him that the king of gods himself sided Parshva. He not only had divine powers but also the flying chariot of Indra. To fight Parshva was to embrace certain defeat. Yavanraj accepted the advice of the senior minister and surrendered before prince Parshva without a fight. He offered rich gifts to Parshva and became a friend of Prasenjit.

Victorious Parshva Kumar returned to Varanasi. King Prasenjit also came to Varanasi with his daughter Prabhavati and requested king Ashvasen to marry Parshva Kumar with Prabhavati. Parshva was averse to the bond of marriage. However, his parents persuaded him and he could not hurt their feelings. He was married to Prabhavati but led a simple and detached life.

One day prince Parshva was enjoying a view of the town from the balcony of his palace. When he saw groups of men and women, carrying items for worship, passing by, he asked out of curiosity if it was some day of religious ceremonies. His attendants informed him that some mendicant named Kamath is doing a harsh penance named Panch-agni Tap (five fire penance). The citizens are going to pay homage to him with all these presents. Prince Parshva also proceeded to witness this strange scene. As he was endowed with three levels of knowledge since birth, Parshva perceived everything worth knowing about this person at once. This was the same being that had been nurturing an intense feeling of vengeance for him for many births. After completing his age in the hell he was born in a poor family. Driven by hunger and poverty he had become a mendicant and was influencing the ignorant masses with his harsh but ill conceived penance.

When prince Parshva came near the mendicant he saw that some logs of wood were burning all around the mendicant. Inside one of the logs was a pair of serpents, writhing in pain due to the intense heat of the burning flames. Moved by a feeling of compassion the prince said to the mendicant, "Burning a five sensed being in fire, what sort of self improvement do you strive for?" The mendicant replied angrily, "Prince! You are a child; go and enjoy your princely games. It is mendicants like me who know about religion not you. How can you claim that some being is burning in the fire around me?"

All the efforts to persuade him that a pair of serpents was burning in the fire went in vain. Parshva then ordered his attendants to draw the specific log aside and split it. As soon as the attendants did that, a pair of serpents, partially scorched, fell on the ground writhing in pain. Realizing that they were about to die, prince Parshva said to them that they should not be annoyed with the ignorant mendicant and should remain silent during the last moments of their lives. He also recited the Namokar Mantra. As a result of silent thoughts and hearing the Namokar Mantra, after death the pair was born as the king and queen of the gods of the Nag Kumar clan (Dharanendra and Padmavati).

The mendicant became angry and kept on adding more fuel to the fire of vengeance

Path of Renunciation

This incident inspired Parshva Kumar to step on the right path and show the path to the masses misled by such ignorant hypocrites. While he was contemplating this, he one day went to garden and chanced to see some frescoes about the incidents of life of the 22nd Tirthankar Lord Arishtanemi. These vivid paintings pushed him to the decision of becoming an ascetic. He sought permission of his father and started the year long charity. On the eleventh day of the dark half of the month of Paush he became an ascetic under an Ashok tree.

One day Parshva-muni was standing in meditation in Kaushamv jungle. God Dharanendra arrived there to pay homage. When he saw scorching sun rays falling on the meditating ascetic, he covered Parshva-muni with canopy of snake hoods. It is said that this area later became famous as Ahichhatra.

Final Affliction By Kamath
One day Parshva-muni was standing in meditation under a banyan tree in an Ashram outside a village. The being of Kamath who was incarnated as a celestial being saw Lord Lord Parshva and identified him as his enemy by his Clairvoyance. Driven by the animosity of earlier births, Meghamali arrived at the spot where Parshva-muni his extremely loud and fearsome laughter. When Lord Parshva remained unmoved, Meghmali inflicted pain on him by attacking in the form of various animals. Lord Parshva tolerated all these afflictions with equanimity. Meghamli’s anger reached its peak.

Now he created dark and dense clouds in the skies. The sky was completely covered by dark rain-bearing clouds. With fearsome rumbling and thunder and lightening it started raining heavily. Meghamali caused so much rain that it flooded the whole area. Lord Parshva tolerated the torment of this torrential rain like the Meru mountain. The water level rose and it reached the tip of Lord Parshva's nose. He was still unmoved in his meditation. At this peak of the affliction, the throne of god Dharanendra trembled. He came to know about the incident through his divine powers and reached the spot with Padmavati. One of these snake-gods created a platform under the feet of Lord Parshva and the other a canopy of its multiple hoods over hid head. And thus they worshipped Lord Parshva. 

This incident has a mythological touch but we have to observe and find out the essence out of this. The moral of this incident is equanimity. Lord Parshva performed great equanimity as he didn't show hatred towards Meghmali who was afflicting him and didn't show love to Dharnendra and Padmavati who were worshipping him. The soul is complete in itself. It never loses its own essential qualities and never gains anything from outside. The soul is a substance with infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite power and infinite bliss. These essential qualities never leaves an individual, independent soul in any circumstances. When this fact is accepted we can practice equanimity with high stability. That is what Lord Parshva did and got rid of high amount of karmic atoms attached with his soul since infinite births.


After eighty three days of penance and spiritual practices Parshva-muni came to Ashrampad garden in Varanasi and stood in meditation under a Dharanendra tree. With fast increasing purity he attained enlightenment or omniscience on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of Chaitra. Now he was visualizing everything in the entire universe.


 Lord Parshvanath gave his first discourse on the form of religion. He propagated the four dimensional religion for upliftment of the soul. Lord Parshvanath preached four vows.  The four vows preached by Lord Parshvanath are: not to kill, not to lie, not to steal, and not to own property. The vow of chastity was without a doubt, implicitly included in the last vow, but in the two hundred and fifty years that elapsed between the Nirvana of Parshvanath and the preaching of Lord Mahavira, considering the situation of that time, included the fifth vow of chastity explicitly to the existing four vows.   

Inspired by the discourse of Lord Parshvanath, many members of his family including his father Ashvasen, mother Vama Devi and wife Prabhavati renounced the mundane life. Many other princes and scholars including the famous Vedic scholar Shubhdatta also took renunciation after hearing to his magic discourse. Lord Parshvanath established the four pronged religious organization. He had eight chief disciples with Shubgdatta being the first and most senior.

Although no detailed mention is available about the areas visited by Lord Parshvanath, it can be surmised from various incidents and related stories that he covered a considerably wide area of the subcontinent. It appears that he visited Kashi-kaushal (Uttar Pradesh), Nepal, Bang (Bengal), Kalinga (Orissa), Anga (Magadh), Vidarbh, Konkan, Saurashtra (in Gujarat) etc. Among his followers were Shakya Kings, rulers of Magadh (grandfather and father of king Shrenik) and many others.

Even during the period of Lord Mahavir (the 24th Tirthankar) the faith and devotion for Lord Parshvanath was wide spread. The masses strongly believed that remembering the name of Lord Parshvanath was the panacea for all troubles as well as the means of success. This was the reason that in Lord Mahavir’s time Lord Parshvanath was popularly known as "Purushadaniya".

Many scholars are of the opinion that the Chaturyam Dharm (the four dimensional religion) was the leading and prominent religion in whole of India during that period. Lord Buddha also got initiated into this school in the early part of his spiritual life. Later he evolved and propagated his eight pronged religion out of this only.

Lord Parshvanath was a householder for thirty years and then an ascetic for seventy years. When he was 100 years old he got liberated on the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Shravan at Sammet Shikhar Mountain.

It is believed that the time span between the Nirvana of Lord Parshvanath and Lord Mahavir’s launching of his own school was about 250 years. There is a mention of four prominent leaders of Lord Parshvanath’s school:

1. Disciple Shubhdatta (Shumbh)

2. Arya Haridatta

3. Acharya Samudra Suri

4. Arya Keshi Shraman

The last one is believed to have existed between 166 to 250 years after the Nirvana of Lord Parshvanath. Arya Keshi Shraman was a forceful Acharya. The staunch non-believer king Pradeshi became a highly devoted Jain house-holder under his influence only. There were nine groups of five hundred ascetics each, in the large religious organization headed by Keshi-muni. These groups worked in far fling areas like Tailang (Andhra), Konkan and Maharashtra. He himself wandered in the Magadh area with one thousand ascetics.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

MAHAVIRA: Omniscience (Keval Gyan)

Bhagavan Mahavira practiced strict austerities and deep meditation for a period of twelve years and a half. During this period he used to reside in parks, forests and deserted places and bore all the obstacles and tortures patiently and bravely. He used to observe fasts commencing from a two-days, fast and gradually going up to a fast lasting for six months. He had now reached the highest state of meditation. He then reached the village Jarmbhika and stayed on the banks of the river Rijuvaluka. At that time he was observing a fast of two days. In order to annihilate the lingering remnants of the destructive Karmas, Bhagavan Mahavira sat down in the "cow-milking" posture, as shown in the illustration. His mind was absorbed in the highest type of meditation and with all the karmas completely destroyed; he attained the absolute knowledge on the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakha. He became omniscient, comprehending and visualizing everything in the whole universe, as well as everything in the past, present, and the future. Being free from all impurities, he now became an Arihanta. After that he delivered his first sermon and his messages is recorded in the Jain texts called Agamas.


“I am all-knowing and all-seeing, and possessed of an infinite knowledge. Whether I am walking or standing still, whether I sleep or remain awake, the supreme knowledge and intuition are present with me---constantly and continuously. There are, O Nirgranthas, some sinful acts you have done in the past, which you must now wear out by this acute form of austerity. Now that here you will be living restrained in regard to your acts, speech and thought, it will work as the nondoing of karma for future. Thus, by the exhaustion of the force of past deeds through penance and the non-accumulation of new acts, (you are assured) of the stoppage of the future course, of rebirth from such stoppage, of the destruction of the effect of karma, from that, of the destruction of pain, from that, of the destruction of mental feelings, and from that, of the complete wearing out of all kinds of pain”.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Lord Rishabhdev also known as Lord Adinath was the first Jain Tirthankar of present time cycle. He lived before civilization developed. Because of this, he had the name of Ādināth - the original lord. He became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.

Rishabha was born to King Nabhi Raja and Queen Marudevi at Ayodhya in the Ikshvaku clan. According to Jain beliefs, Rishabh existed before civilization developed. He taught people agriculture, tending of animals, cooking, and more. He had one hundred and one sons.
His eldest son - Bharat - was a chakravarti king - the conqueror of the known world. In the later part of his life he retired to become a monk and attained moksha. Because he became a siddha, he is occasionally worshipped. According to Jain beliefs, India was named Bhārata-varsha or Bhārata after him. His second son was Bahubali, whose statue stands at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka as well as at Karkala. Marudevi mother of Adinath was the first person to achieve liberation - even before Rishabh himself. Rishabh's grandson Marichi's soul later became Mahavira. Lord Rishabha attained omniscience or infinite knowledge at Palitana (Gujarat) and attained liberation (Moksha) at Ashtapad mountain in Himalayas.

References in Hinduism
Rishabha is mentioned in the Hindu text of the Bhagavata Purana as an avatar of Vishnu. He is mentioned in all the Vaishnava/Shaiva Puraņas, as well as in some other texts.
According to the Bhāgavata, he was born to show the people of this world the path of salvation. It was he who advised the people to follow the path of eternal bliss, instead of indulging in a life of worldly pleasures and enjoyment. He is the founder and promoter of sramanic culture. In the depth study of the vedas and puranas, which contain numerous references to Rishabha.

The Bhagavata Purana says: In the womb of Merudevi, wife of Nabhi, Rishaba had his eighth avatara. He showed himself in a form that is to be worshipped by those in any stage of life.
Bhāgavata calls him "शरीर मात्र परिग्रह " (body his only possession), "गगन परिधानः " (wearing the sky), वातरशना (wearing the wind).


In his previous incarnation, Lord Rishabha Dev was in the mahavideh shetra as Dhannaseth. He was a big business man. He offered alms and services to many ascetics and others. Later he completed 7 births as Dev and humans. He was then born as Vaidya Jivanand in his 9th incarnation. As Vaidya Jivanand he discovered a medicine for pandu rog (a dreaded skin disease).

In his 11th incarnation he was born as Chakravarti King Vajranabh. As King Vajranabh he had supported poor and desolate masses. After many years of public service Vajranabh renounced the world and became an ascetic. As a result of unprecedented spiritual practices, including religious studies, penance, tolerance, and meditation, he earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. These pious deeds of earlier births resulted in his taking birth as Rishabha Dev.

During the first three Aras of the current descending cycle man was completely dependent on nature for all his needs. The wish-fulfilling trees provided all that he needed. Man was simple, peaceful and contented in attitude. The environment was absolutely unpolluted. Water was tasteful, cold, and sweet. Even the sand was sweet as sugar. The air was healthy and exhilarating. The grains and fruits were nutritious and filing. A simple meal of little quantity of fruit and water lasted for days. Filled stomach and satisfied desires acted as antidote to irritation and reduced disputes and other sinful activities. The whole animal kingdom lived in harmony with the nature.

With the passage of time gradual changes occurred and around the end of the third Ara the yield from the Kalpa-vrikshas reduced. The alround deterioration in conditions spelled the beginning of quarrels and disputes. To guard against these disputes and to live in peace and harmony, man formed groups and the Kulkar system was evolved. A number of people collected to form a ‘Kula’ (family) and the head of the group was called ‘Kulkar’. It was the duty of the ‘Kulkar’ to remove discord and establish order. Nabhiraja was the seventh and the last in the line of Kulkars. His wife was Marudevi. This epoch of Kulkar system was known as the epoch of twins (Yugalia). A human couple used to give birth to twins - one male and one female. This twin would become husband and wife on reaching adulthood. The twins used to lead a happy and contented life and died a natural death together.

To consume what was available was the way of life. As such this period was also known as Bhog-Bhumi-Kaal or the era of free consumption. Up to the time of Kulkar Nabhiraja man lived in this land of abundance.

It was during the last part of the third Ara of the current descending cycle of time that the great and pious soul that was to become Rishabhdev descended into the womb of Marudevi on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of Ashadh (according to the Hindu calendar) during the night. When this pious soul was conceived, mother Marudeva dreamt of fourteen (sixteen according to Digambara Jain Sects) auspicious things. Nabhiraja was an experienced and scholarly person. When he heard about these dreams from Maudevi, he said, "Oh queen! You will give birth to a highly endowed soul who will show the path of peace and happiness to this world".

On the eighth day of the dark half of the month of Chaitra, around midnight, healthy Marudevi gave birth to twins. This pious birth influenced the surroundings. The sky became filled with a soothing glow, the wind became fragrant and the whole atmosphere became impregnated with unprecedented joy that was hard to describe.

From all around came the fifty six goddesses of directions. They circumambulated the Tirthankar’s mother and bowed before her. They also sang in praise of the child that was to become Tirthankar and then proceeded to perform post-birth cleaning rituals.

At that instant the king of gods of the Saudharm dimension, Saudharmendra Shakra, also came to know that the first Tirthankar has taken birth. He arrived with his large retinue of gods and, bowed before the mother.

After the salutations the mother was put to sleep. Saudharmendra created five look alike bodies of himself. With one body he carefully lifted the baby in his hands. With the second body he took an umbrella in his hands and stationed the body behind the baby. With the third and fourth bodies he took whisks and stationed these bodies on both sides of the baby. With the fifth body he lifted his divine weapon, Vajra, and stationed himself ahead of the baby as a body guard. In this formation the king of gods airlifted the baby to Meru mountain. There, all gods, including their 64 kings with their consorts, ceremoniously performed the post-birth anointing rituals. This ceremony, popularly known as Janma-kalyanaka, of a Tirthankar, is unparalleled in this world.

Next morning Nabhiraja organized the birth celebrations. He invited his friends and relatives to a feast and announced, "As there is a sign of a bull on the thigh of the new born, and Marudevi first of all saw a bull in her great dreams, we name this child as ‘Rishabha Kumar’." His twin will be known as "Sumangala".

Rishabha Kumar was married to a girl named Sunanda whose twin died in an accident. This was the beginning of the marriage system. He was also married to his twin Sumangala in a ceremony that was arranged by the gods. Prince Rishabha led a happy married life. In due course Sumangala gave birth to Bharat, Brahmi and ninety eight other sons. Sunanda gave birth to Bahubali and Sundari.

Prince Rishabha was a highly endowed, farsighted and industrious individual. He had a profound insight into the human psychology. Looking at the needs the times and society he evolved numerous arts, crafts and trades and taught them to people with right aptitude and physical and mental capacities. To some he taught farming and to others the trade of agricultural produce. He invented the alphabets, language, and the numbers along with the tools for writing. Brahmi lipi, named after her daughter is still not a forgotten thing. For self defense he evolved martial arts and taught these to individuals with strong physique. He also established systems of social security and penal codes. Pottery, architecture, music, dance, and many other arts and crafts that enriched the human society in the fields of knowledge, arts, entertainment, administration, etc. are said to be his contributions.

Slowly and steadily king Nabhi started putting major responsibilities of his Kingdom on Rishabha dev. Such was the effect of Rishabha dev's words, that by just saying, "Oh! Man! You should have not done this, the culprit felt ashamed and stopped his bad works immediately. When Nabhi Raja saw that Rishabha dev has taken all the responsibilities of kingdom and performing them very well. Infact he seemed to have become idol of people. He then one day, on the request of the people’s representatives, nominated Rishabha to become the first king of this age. He arranged for an elaborate coronation ceremony and handed over the reigns of the state to Rishabha Kumar. The ceremony was attended by all members of the family, large number of twins, and gods. The gods created a golden throne and anointed Rishabha with the water collected from various pilgrimage centres. They attired him in divine dress and ornaments and formally put the crown on his head. The twins humbly poured water on his feet from the cups made of lotus leaves. Rishabha became the first king of this era. The king of gods ordered Kuber, the god of wealth, to construct a suitable city. This beautiful city was named Vinita; later on it became popularly known as Ayodhya.

For many years Rishabha dev continued to rule his people and open new frontiers of knowledge. During the reign of his father the population was organized into random groups only. Rishabhdev reorganized them according to their virtues, activities and professions, and broadly divided the society into three groups. Trading community was known as Vaishya, martial community was known as Kshtriya and all other people indulging in a variety of services were known as Shudra. Till his times the Brahman group was not formed.

After a long span of time (6.3 million Purva) he started losing interest in mundane things and activities, and started drifting towards detachment. Once, while he was watching a dance, the dancer suddenly died. . Rushabhdev became very disturbed by this incident. He started pondering over the incident and realized that every phenomenon and every situation in the universe undergoes changes and that no situation stays forever. He developed complete detachment for everything that is impermanent and ephemeral and he decided to devote his life to the search of lasting happiness. He felt that he should transfer all his responsibilities to his sons and proceed towards liberation through spiritual practices. He also desired to reach the state of omniscience and consequently show the path of disciplined life and spiritual practices. His concept was that indulgence in mundane things does not give happiness. It gives only an illusion of happiness. True happiness is derived out of freedom from mundane indulgences.

Following the stream of his thoughts Rishabhdev divided the area of his rule between his one hundred sons. Bharat was given the state of Ayodhya and Bahubali that of Takshashila. Getting free of the responsibilities of the state, Rishabhdev decided to take Diksha (the formal initiation into the ascetic way). At that time the gods from the edge of the universe (the Lokantikdev) arrived and requested, "O savior of the human race! Your desire to show the path of renunciation to the mankind is admirable, kindly proceed soon to the task of propagating Dharma."

After one year of meritorious charity, Rishabhdev sat in the palanquin named Sudarshana and arrived in the Siddharth-vana garden. It was the eighth day of the dark half of the month of chaitra when, under an Ashok tree, Rishabhdev abandoned all his apparels and ornaments. He started pulling out his long strands of hair. After four fistfuls, when he was pulling out the fifth fistful of hair Indra said, "Sir! This strand of hair on the crown of your head and hanging down over you shoulders looks attractive. Kindly leave it as it is." Rishabhdev agreed. Due to this bunch of hair he got he popular name-Keshariya ji (one with hair). The king of gods collected the hair pulled out by Rishabha dev in a divine cloth and immersed them in the divine ocean of milk.

Following the example of Rishabha dev many of his subordinate rulers as well as common people got inspired to embrace the ascetic way of life. It is mentioned in scriptures that with Rishabhdev four thousand others also took Diksha.

After becoming an ascetic, Rishabhdev took the vow of total silence and started wandering accompanied by other ascetics. When, after his penance, he went out to beg for food, he did not get anything to eat. The common people of that age were ignorant about the practice of giving food as alms. They did not even appreciate the need to do so. Whenever Rishabhdev approached them, they offered him respect and valuable gifts as they would to a king. Rishabha dev would then proceed ahead without accepting anything. As time passed the accompanying ascetics conferred among themselves and decided to eat fruits and vegetables naturally available. They slowly drifted away from Rishabha dev and the true ascetic way of life. After one entire year of wandering from place to place and doing harsh spiritual practices without touching any food or water Rishabha dev decided to beg food once again. He came to Hastinapur town.

Bahubali’s son, Somprabh, was the king of Hastinapur. His son Shreyans Kumar saw a dream during night that Suvarnagiri, the golden mountain had turned black and he had brought it back its golden color by washing it with pitchers full of milk. He narrated his dream to his father and friends, but no one could interpret its significance.

Shreyans Kumar was sitting in the balcony of his palace and brooding over the dream he saw last night. All of a sudden he heard the noise caused by happy masses who had seen Rishabha dev entering the town. Thousands of citizens of Hastinapur rushed toward Rishabhdev with gifts. Rishabhdev did not even look at these things and continued his graceful walk in the direction of the palace. When Shreyans saw approaching Rishabha dev, he rushed to welcome his great grandfather. After bowing down at the great ascetics feet when Shreyans looked at Rishabha dev’s face he could not shift his gaze. He went into a state of meditative thoughts and suddenly he acquired Jati-smarana Gyana, the knowledge that opens up memories of the past births. In his past birth Shreyans was the charioteer of king Vajranabha (the past incarnation of Rishabha dev). This knowledge also made him aware of the duties of laity toward Shramans. He realized that Bhagavan Rishabha dev had been wandering around without food or water due to the prevailing ignorance of the people regarding ascetic norms.

With due reverence he requested Rishabha dev, "Prabhu! I am honored by your presence. I have just received 108 pitchers full of fresh sugar-cane juice that are pure and suitable for you in all respects. Kindly accept the juice and break your fast." Rishabha dev extended his cupped palms and Shreyans poured the sugar-cane juice from a pitcher. Rishabha dev broke his fast and the skies reverberated with the sound of divine drums and divine applaud, "Hail the alms giving!" The gods also showered gems, flowers and perfumes.

This was the beginning of the tradition of religious charity and alms giving. In memory of this incident, the third day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakh is celebrated as Akshay Tritiya festival. The Jains specifically celebrate it as the breakfast day after the penance of Varsha Tap (one meal and fast on alternate days for one year).

For one thousand years Bhagavan Rishabha dev continued his harsh spiritual practices completely ignoring his body and other mundane activities. On the eleventh day of the dark half of the month of Falgun he was meditating under a banyan tree in the Shakatmukh garden outside Purimtal town, close to Ayodhya. Around forenoon he transcended to the purest higher state of meditation. The intensity of his practice caused the shedding of the knowledge and perception obscuring Karmas as well as the illusory Karmas. As a result, he attained omniscience, the purest and enlightened state of soul. Rishabha dev became a Jina.

When Rishabha dev attained omniscience the whole world was filled with a soothing glow for a moment. Numerous gods descended from heavens to pay their respects to the Tirthankar. They also created the Samavasharan, the divine pavilion. King Bharat also proceeded toward the divine assembly riding an elephant and taking along his grandmother Marudevi. Apprehensive about the hardships of the ascetic life of her son, Marudevi was relieved when she beheld the scintillating face of Rishabha dev sitting in the divine assembly surrounded by happy and dazzling gods. The vision of her son perched on the spiritual pinnacle triggered the flow of spontaneous joy in the heart of Marudevi. This mundane joy slowly turned into the ultimate bliss and she acquired omniscience. Coincidentally, at the same moment she completed her age and became liberated soul (Siddha). Bhagawan Rishabha dev made the announcement Marudevi had become a Siddha.
In his first discourse Rishabha dev detailed the trilogy of right conduct. Knowing about the significance of life as a human being and importance of a dutiful life, thousands of people including Rishabhasen, the eldest son of Emperor Bharat, and five thousand other members of royal family embraced the acetic way of life. Thousand of other persons accepted the Shravak Dharma (the religious way for laity). As he founded the four pronged religious ford at the beginning of the present era, Bhagavan Rishabha dev became popularly known as Adinath, the first Tirthankar.

The first disciple of Bhagavan Rishabha dev was Rishabhasen. He became the first chief disciple. He was also known as Pundarik.

For a long time Bhagavan Rishabha dev continued to propagate his religion having the five great vows as its central theme. When he realized that all his remaining Karmas are approaching their end he proceeded to the Ashtapada mountain. On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of Magh, a little before noon time, Rishabha dev, along with ten thousand other ascetics, was observing a six day fast without water. He was sitting in the meditation in the Paryanka pose. When the moon entered the Abhijit lunar mansion he got nirvana and got liberated from all sorrows.

The king of gods, Saudharmendra, Emperor Bharat, numerous gods and men gathered and celebrated the auspicious event of Bhagavan Rishabha dev’s Nirvana.

-Rahul Zota

Sunday, August 2, 2009


According to Jainism, this loka or universe is an uncreated entity, existing since infinity having no beginning or an end. Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist. Thus Universe according to Jainism is narrow at top and broad at middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom.
This Universe is made up of what Jains call as six dravya or reals or substances classified as follows –

Jīva i.e. Living Substances :Jīva i.e. Souls - Soul (Jīva) exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. It is characterised by chetana i.e. consciousness and upayoga i.e. knowledge and perception. Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of one state of soul and appearing of another state, these being merely the modes of the soul

Ajīva i.e. or Non-Living Substances :
Pudgala i.e. Matter : Matter is classified as solid, liquid, gaseous, energy, fine Karmic materials and extra-fine matter i.e. ultimate particles. Paramānu or ultimate particle (atoms) is the basic building block of all matter. One of the qualities of the Paramānu and Pudgala is that of permanence and indestructibility. It combines and changes its modes but its basic qualities remain the same. According to Jainism, it cannot be created nor destroyed.
Dharma-tattva i.e Principle of Motion and Adharma-tattva i.e. Principle of Rest :
Dharmastikāya and Adharmastikāya are distinctly peculiar to Jaina system of thought depicting the principle of Motion and Rest. They are said to pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by itself not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharmastikāya motion is not possible and without Adharmastikāya rest is not possible in universe.
Ākāśa i.e Space : Space is a substance that accommodates the living souls, the matter, the principle of motion, the principle of rest and time. It is all-pervading, infinite and made of infinite space-points.
Kāla i.e. Time :
Kāla is a real entity according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications can be achieved only through the progress of time.

TIME CYCLE: According to Jainism, the time is beginingless and eternal. The Kālacakra, the cosmic wheel of time rotates ceaseless. The wheel of time, is divided into two half-rotations - Utsarpinī or ascending time cycle and Avasarpinī, the descending time cycle, occurring continuously after each other. Utsarpinī is a period of progressive prosperity and happiness where the time spans and ages are at an increasing scale, while Avsarpinī is a period of increasing sorrow and immorality with decline in timespans of the epochs. Each of this half time cycle consisting of innumerable period of time is further sub-divided into six Aras or epochs of unequal periods. The currently, the time cycle is in avasarpinī or descending phase with the following epochs
Name of Aras:
1. Susama Susama- Utmost Happiness and No Sorrow. Duration: 4 kotikotis of Sagaropamas
2. Susama- Moderate happiness and no sorrow. Duration: 3 kotakotis of Sagaropamas
3. Susama Dushama- Happiness with little sorrow. Duration: 2 Kotakotis of Sagaropamas
4. Dushama Susama- Sorrow with little happiness. Duration: 1 Kotakotis of Sagaropamas (less 42,000 years)
5. Dushama- Sorrow. Duration: 21,000 years
6. Dushama Dushama- Extreme sorrow and misery. Duration: 21,000 years


Susama-susamā - During the first ara of Susama-susamā of the avasarpinī , the age of the people was three palyopama years. They took their food on every fourth day; they were very tall and devoid of anger, pride, deceit, greed and other sinful acts. Various kinds of the kalpa trees fulfilled their wishes and needs like food, clothing, homes, entertainment, jewels etc.
Susamā-During the second ara, Susamā, the people lived for two palyopama years. They took their food at an interval of three days, but the kalpa trees supplied their wants, less than before. The land and water became less sweet and fruitful than they were during the first ara.
Susama-dushamā - During the third ara of Susama-dushamā, the age limit of the people became one palyopama year. They took their food on every second day. The earth and water as well as height and strength of the body went on decreasing and they became less than they were during the second ara. The first three ara the children were born as twins, one male and one female, who married each other and once again gave birth to twins. On account of happiness and pleasures, the religion, renunciation and austerities was not possible. At the end of the third ara, the wish-fulfilling trees stopped giving the desired fruits and the people started living in the societies. The first Tirthankara, Rishabhdeva was born at the fag end of this ara. He taught the people the skills of farming, commerce, defence, politics and arts and organised the people in societies. That is why he is known as the father of human civilisation.
Dushama--The fourth ara was the age of religion, where the renunciation, austerities and liberation was possible. The 63 Śalākāpurusa’s or the illustrious persons who promote the Jain religion regularly appear in this ara. The balance 23 Tīrthankars, including lord Māhavīra appeared in this ara. This ara came to an end 3 years and 8 months after the nirvāna of Māhavīra.
Dushama-susamā - As per Jain cosmology, currently we are in the 5th ara, wherein around 2,500 years have elapsed and 18,500 years are still left. It is an age of sorrow and misery. No liberation is possible, although people practice religion in lax and diluted form. However, at the end of this ara, even the Jain religion will disappear, only to appear back with the advent of 1st Tirthankara in the next cycle.
Dushama- dusham- The sixth Ara, Dushama- dusham will be the age if intense misery and sorrow, making it impossible to practice religion in any form. The age, height and strength of the human beings will decrease to a great extent. This trend will start reversing at the onset of utsarpinī kāl.
In utsarpinī, the order of the aras is reversed; starting from Dushama- dushamā, it ends with Susama-susamā and thus this never ending cycle continues. Each of these aras progress into the next phase seamlessly without any apocalyptic consequences. The increase or decrease in the happiness, life spans and length of people and general moral conduct of the society changes in a phased and graded manner as the time passes. No divine or supernatural beings are credited or responsible with these spontaneous temporal changes, either in a creative or overseeing role, rather the human beings and creatures are born under the impulse of their own karmas.

- Rahul Zota (Bhuj-Gujarat)