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Jainism

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Introduction of Jainism

Jainism is an Indian religion that emphasizes complete non-violence and asceticism. Followers of Jainism are called Jains, and there are about 4 million worldwide.

The word Jainism relates to Sanskrit word JI meaning to triumph over or to win over. One has to fight with the bodily desires and pleasures which is the principle and guidance followed by Jainies. Persons winning this war are termed as the winners or acquirers and Jaina means to refer to these practices of this religion. Jainism has its roots too many days before and Adinatha was the first Thirthankara and Mahavira was the last. The religion which was in great practice in Indian continent during 8th Century CE has been oppressed with the other religions becoming more popular.

 

Symbol of Jainism

The religious Ahisma hand symbol with a wheel on the palm symbolizes the Jain Vow of Ahimsa, meaning non-violence. The word in the middle is "Ahimsa." The wheel represents the dharmacakra, to halt the cycle of reincarnation through the pursuit of truth.

 

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History

History speaks that there existed twenty four personnel who spread the faith of Jainism who were known as Thirthankaras. The religion had its traces to 7th Century CE and over 4.2 million people follow this religion in the Indian sub continent and this religion possesses the highest literacy rate and few numbers but worth mentioning are living in Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and United States. Their manuscripts are considered to be the oldest that contains details relating to their origin, their literature, nature of truth, concepts relating to Soul and karma and Tattva, Ethics relating to non violence and self control. The History also contains the details on the Royal patronage for the religion, later the decline of Jainism in the world, various branches and schools of Jainism. Jainism is considered to be a religion belonging to the pre Aryan period in the ancient India.

 

Worship of Jainism

There are some beautiful Jain temples in India, although the majority of Jain temples are much plainer structures.

Jain temples contain images of tirthankaras; either in seated meditation, or standing. A seated image or images is usually the focus of a temple interior. Jains make offerings to the images as part of their worship.

Jain temples range from the immense and elaborate to the very plainest of worship rooms.

The two largest Jain sects decorate their temples in different ways.

Digambara Jain temples have tirthankara statues that are undecorated and unpainted.

In Svetambara Jain temples the images are always decorated - with painted or glass eyes and sometimes ornaments of gold, silver, and jewels on the forehead. Further decoration is common.

Svetambara Jains decorate images richly for festivals using flowers, paints, and jewels, and make decorative offerings of flowers, leaves, sandalwood, saffron, camphor, gold or silver leaf, pearls, precious stones or costume jewellery.

These offerings are renewed daily as a gesture of devotion.

 

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Festivals

There are four main festivals of the Jains. The first is Mahavir Jayanti, birthday of the 24th Tirthankara, Mahavira. The second is Paryushan Parva, an 8 day fast to follow the 8 important principles; occurring in the month of August. The third is Diwali, which is celebrated as the day of attaining spiritual enlightenment (nirvana) by Mahavira and the fourth one is Kshamavaani, the day to ask forgiveness from all. Jainism is considered as the first religion that believes in a life of non-violence, as the main principle. According to this religion, the universe is eternal and to meet God, one has to walk the path of honesty, good conduct and non-violence.

 

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