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List of Jain Tirthankaras

A Tirthankara is defined as a founder of a Tirtha. He achieves the enlightenment and helps others achieve the same. A Tirthankara is believed to achieve Moksha or liberation at the end of his life.
Apr 17, 2019 11:59 IST
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List of Jain Tirthankaras
List of Jain Tirthankaras

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that teaches the spiritual purity and enlightenment through disciplined nonviolence to all living creatures. The aim of Jain life is to achieve liberation of the soul.

Who is a Tirthankara?

Tirthankara’s are the saviour and spiritual teacher of the Jain dharma. The term ‘Tirthankara’ signifies the founder of Tirth. According to Jain scripture, a tirthankara is a rare individual who has conquered the samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth, on their own, and made a path for others to follow.

They are also called Arihantas, Jinas, Kevalis, and Vitragi. Arihant means "destroyer of inner enemies," Jina means "victor of inner enemies," and vitragi means "one who does not have any more attachment or hatred towards anyone." This means that they are totally detached from worldly aspects. They have destroyed the four ghati karmas, namely Jnanavarniya Karma, Darshanavarniya Karma, Mohniya Karma, and Antaraya Karma.

Heterodox Schools of Indian Philosophy

Jains celebrate five major events in the life of a Tirthankara. They are called Kalyanak (auspicious events). They are:

1. Chyavana Kalyanak: This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul departs from its last life, and is conceived in the mother’s womb.

2. Janma Kalyanak: This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul is born.

3. Diksha Kalyanak: This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul gives up all his/her worldly possessions and becomes a monk/nun. (Digambar sect does not believe that women can become Tirthankar or be liberated.)

4. Kevaljnana Kalyanak: This is an event when Tirthankar’s soul destroys the four ghati karmas completely and attains the Kevaljnana (absolute knowledge). Celestial angels set Samavsaran for Tirthankars from where he/she delivers the first sermon. This is the most important event for the entire Jain order as the Tirthankar reinstates Jain Sangh and preaches the Jain path of purification and liberation.

5. Nirvana Kalyanak: This event is when a Tirthankar’s soul is liberated from this worldly physical existence forever and becomes a Siddha. On this day, the Tirthankar’s soul destroys the four Aghati karmas completely, and attains salvation, the state of eternal bliss.

Six Philosophical Systems or Shada Darsana of India

List of Jain Tirthankara

There are 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism. The first Tirthankara was Rishabhdev and the last one was Mahavira.

Name of Tirthankara

Symbol

Place of Nirvan

1. Lord Rishabha

Bull

Ashtapad(Kailasha)

2. Ajitnath

Elephant

Samet Sikhar

3. Sambhavanath

Horse

Samet Sikhar

4. Abhinandannath

Monkey

Samet Sikhar

5. Sumatinath

Red Goose

Samet Sikhar

6. Padmaprabha

Lotus

Samet Sikhar

7. Suparshvanath

Swastika

Samet Sikhar

8. Chandraprabha

Moon

Samet Sikhar

9. Pushpadanta

Crocodile

Samet Sikhar

10. Sheetalnath

Kalpavriksha

Samet Sikhar

11. Shreyansanath

Rhinoceros

Samet Sikhar

12. Vasupujya

Female buffalo

Champapuri

13. Vimalnath

Pig

Samet Sikhar

14. Anantnath

Porcupine

Samet Sikhar

15. Dharmanath

Vajra

Samet Sikhar

16. Shantinath

Deer

Samet Sikhar

17. Kunthunath

Goat

Samet Sikhar

18. Aranath

Fish

Samet Sikhar

19. Mallinath

Kalasa

Samet Sikhar

20. Munisuvrata

Tortoise

Samet Sikhar

21. Nami Natha

Blue-Water Lily

Samet Sikhar

22. Neminatha

Conch

Mount Girnar

23. Parshva

Snake

Samet Sikhar

24. Mahavira

Lion

Pava Puri

According to the Jainism scriptures, the philosophy of Jainism was formalised by the last Tirthankaras, i.e. Vardhaman Mahavir. Later, the philosophy of Jainism was forwarded by their chief disciples known as ‘Ganadharas’. The role of Ganadharas and Aacharyas can be understood from the fact that Jain scriptures are all composed by the Ganadharas and Aacharyas and not by the Tirthankaras.

Jainism: Teaching of Mahavira | Spread of Jainism