Watch Live Lectures on Basic knowledge of Jainism on Paras Channel at 6 a.m.
Introduction of Jainism
Introduction Of Jainism
Jainism is an ancient religion, which is based on the principle of non-violence and equality in all life forms. the essence of Jainism is its concern for the welfare of every living being in the universe. Jainism is founded and propagated by its 24 Tirthankara with Rishabhdev (Aadinath) Swami as the first Thirthankara and Mahaveer Swami as the last. The tirthankaras have developed the religion along a way of living to protect the environment and save society, nation and all creatures from natural disaster through the path of non-violence and non-possession and mutual co-operation.
Jainism is called so called because they fellow the path practiced and preached by the Jinas, lit., conqueror of self. The term is an English rendering of the original Jaina-Dharma. The followers believe that by conquering oneself a person can attain liberation. It signifies the fight between bodily pleasure and the inner passion or attainment of nirvana. The heart of right conduct in Jainism is established around five vows- AHIMSA i.e. Non-violence, SATYA i.e. Truthfulness, ACHAURYA i.e. Non-stealing, BRAHMACHARYA i.e. Celibacy, APARIGRAH i.e. Non-possession.
One of the most important and fundamental doctrines of Jainism is anēkāntavāda. It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, and to the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, no single one of which is complete.
Jains contrast all attempts to proclaim absolute truth with this theory, which can be illustrated through the parable of the blind men and an elephant. In this story, each blind man feels a different part of an elephant: its trunk, leg, ear, and so on. All of them claim to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant but, due to their limited perspectives, can only partly succeed. This principle is more formally stated by observing that objects are infinite in their qualities and modes of existence, so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception. Only Kevalins—omniscient beings—can comprehend objects in all aspects and manifestations; others are only capable of partial knowledge. Accordingly, no single, specific, human view can claim to represent absolute truth.
Anekāntavāda encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties. Proponents of anekāntavāda apply this principle to religions and philosophies, reminding themselves that any of these—even Jainism—that clings too dogmatically to its own tenets is committing an error based on its limited point of view. The principle of anekāntavāda also influenced Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to adopt principles of religious tolerance, ahiṃsā and satyagraha.
The Prakarita language which was the common language in those times is the language of the canonical works of the Jainas. Jainism had been for one and all without any distinction of caste or creed. Jainism laid stress on the doctrine of Ahimsa. Jains have significantly influenced the religious, ethical, political and economical spheres in India for over two millennia, Jainism stresses spiritual independence and equality of all life with particular emphasis on non-violence. Self control is vital for gaining omniscience and eventually Salvation, or realization of the soul's true nature. One of the main characteristics of the Jain religion is the emphasis on the consequences of one's behavior. According to Jainism, strict asceticism is the only way to attain salvation.
Jainism is a minority religion witha following of around 5 million in India. Jainism is rapidly expanding in the West. Jains live throughout India; Outside India, the United Sates, United Kingdom, Canada and East Africa have large Jain communities today. Jainism is presently a strong faith in the United States and several Jain temples have been built there. The Jain community is the most literate religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.
"I say with conviction that the doctrine for which the name of Lord Mahavira is glorified nowadays is the doctrine of Ahimsa. If anyone has practiced to the fullest extent and has propogated most the doctrine of Ahimsa, it was Lord Mahavira"
-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
"I adore so greatly the principles of the Jain religion. that I would like to be reborn in a Jain community"
-George Bernard Shaw
"Mahavira proclaimed in India that religion is a reality and not a mere social covention."
"I am not Rama. I have no desire for material things. Like Jina I want to establish peace within myself."
-Yoga Vasistha, Chapter 15, Sloka 8 the saying of Rama</font color>
"The Jains have written great masterpieces only for the benefit of the world"