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{{redirect|Jinas|Buddhism|Five Jinas|the singular|Jina (disambiguation)}}{{short description|In Jainism, a saviour and spiritual teacher of the dharma}}{{Italic title}}{{Use Indian English|date=December 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=December 2015}}{{more footnotes|date=September 2016}}File:Jain 24-Tirthankaras.jpg|thumb| Jain miniature painting of 24 Jain Tirthankaras, 1850}}|300pxFile:The 24 Tirthankaras forming the tantric meditative syllable Hrim.jpg|thumb|The 24 Tirthankaras forming the tantric meditative syllable Hrim, painting on cloth, 300px{{Jainism}}In Jainism, a tirthankara (Sanskrit: {{IAST|tīrthaṅkara}}; English: literally a 'ford-maker') is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the dharma (righteous path). The word tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha,{{Sfn|Babb|1996|p=5}} which is a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths, the saṃsāra. According to Jains, a tirthankara is an individual who has conquered the saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on their own, and made a path for others to follow. After understanding the true nature of the self or soul, the Tīrthaṅkara attains Kevala Jnana (omniscience). The first Tirthankara founded Jainism. Tirthankara provides a bridge for others to follow the new teacher from saṃsāra to moksha (liberation).{{sfn|Sangave|2006|p=16}}{{citation | url= | title=Britannica Tirthankar Definition | publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica }}{{sfn|Taliaferro|Marty|2010|p=286}}Tirthankara shri Māllīnātha is believed to be a woman named Malli bai by Svetambara Jains while the Digambara sect believes all 24 tirthankara to be men including Māllīnātha. Digambara tradition believes a woman can reach to the 16th heaven and can attain liberation only by being reborn as a man.In Jain cosmology, the wheel of time is divided in two halves, Utsarpiṇī or ascending time cycle and avasarpiṇī, the descending time cycle (said to be current now). In each half of the cosmic time cycle, exactly twenty-four tirthankaras grace this part of the universe. There have been an infinite number of tirthankaras in the past time periods.{{sfn|Dundas|2002|p=20}} The first tirthankara in this present time cycle was Rishabhanatha, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously. The 24th and last tirthankara of present half-cycle was Mahavira (599–527 BC).{{sfn|Dundas|2002|p=19}}{{sfn|Taliaferro|Marty|2010|p=286}}{{citation |last=Sanghvi |first=Vir |authorlink=Vir Sanghvi |title=Rude Travel: Down The Sages |url= |publisher=Hindustan Times |date=14 September 2013 }} History records the existence of Mahavira and his predecessor, Parshvanath, the twenty-third tirthankara.{{sfn|Zimmer|1953|p=182-183}}A tirthankara organises the sangha, a fourfold order of male and female monastics, srāvakas (male followers) and śrāvikās (female followers).{{sfn|Balcerowicz|2009|p =17}}The tirthankara's teachings form the basis for the Jain canons. The inner knowledge of tirthankara is believed to be perfect and identical in every respect and their teachings do not contradict one another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of the society during their period of leadership. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind of the society, the lower the elaboration required.While tirthankaras are documented and revered by Jains, their grace is said to be available to all living beings, regardless of religious orientation.Flügel, P. (2010). The Jaina Cult of Relic Stūpas. Numen: International Review For The History Of Religions, 57(3/4), 389–504. doi:10.1163/156852710X501351Tīrthaṅkaras are arihants who after attaining kevalajñāna (pure infinite knowledge){{sfn|Sangave|2006|p=164}} preach the true dharma. An Arihant is also called Jina (victor), that is one who has conquered inner enemies such as anger, attachment, pride and greed.{{sfn|Sangave|2006|p=16}} They dwell exclusively within the realm of their Soul, and are entirely free of kashayas, inner passions, and personal desires. As a result of this, unlimited siddhis, or spiritual powers, are readily available to them – which they use exclusively for the spiritual elevation of living beings. Through darśana, divine vision, and deshna, divine speech, they help others in attaining kevalajñana, and moksha (final liberation) to anyone seeking it sincerely.


(File:India, Rajasthan, Medieval period - Jina (Tirthankara) - 2001.88 - Cleveland Museum of Art.tif|thumb|Jain iconography)File:Jain statues, Gwalior.jpg|thumb|Tirthankara images at Siddhachal Caves inside Gwalior FortGwalior FortFile:Photo of lord adinath bhagwan at kundalpur.JPG|thumb|RishabhanathaRishabhanathaThe word tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha which means a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths (called saṃsāra).{{sfn|Upinder Singh|2016|p=313}}{{sfn|Balcerowicz|2009|p=16}}{{sfn|Sangave|2006|p=169-170}}{{sfn|Champat Rai Jain|1930|p=3}}Tirthankaras are variously called "Teaching Gods", "Ford-Makers", "Crossing Makers" and "Makers of the River-Crossing.{{sfn|Zimmer|1953|p=212}}{{sfn|Champat Rai Jain|1930|p=3}}


Jain texts propound that a special type of karma, the tīrthaṅkara nama-karma, raises a soul to the supreme status of a Tīrthaṅkara. Tattvartha Sutra, a major Jain text, list down sixteen observances which lead to the bandha (bondage) of this karma:{{sfn|Vijay K. Jain|2011|p=91}}
  • Purity of right faith
  • Reverence
  • Observance of vows and supplementary vows without transgressions
  • Ceaseless pursuit of knowledge
  • Perpetual fear of the cycle of existence
  • Giving gifts (charity)
  • Practising austerities according to one's capacity
  • Removal of obstacles that threaten the equanimity of ascetics
  • Serving the meritorious by warding off evil or suffering
  • Devotion to omniscient lords, chief preceptors, preceptors, and the scriptures
  • Practice of the six essential daily duties
  • Propagation of the teachings of the omniscient
  • Fervent affection for one's brethren following the same path.

Panch Kalyanaka

File:Sixteen Symbolic Dreams.jpg|thumb|Auspicious dreams seen by a tirthankara's mother during pregnancy]]Five auspicious events called, Pañca kalyāṇaka marks the life of every tirthankara:{{sfn|Cort|2001|p=110}}
  1. Gārbha kalyāṇaka (conception): When ātman (soul) of a tirthankara comes into his mother's womb.{{citation |url=| :: Glossary/Index – Terms – Eastern Terms – Chyavana Kalyanak|work=HereNow4u: Portal on Jainism and next level consciousness}}
  2. Janma kalyāṇaka (birth): Birth of a tirthankara. Indra performs a ceremonial bath on tirthankara on Mount Meru.{{sfn|Wiley|2009|p=200}}{{sfn|Wiley|2009|p=246}}
  3. Tapa kalyāṇaka (renunciation): When a tirthankara renounces all worldly possessions and become an ascetic.
  4. Jñāna kalyāṇaka: The event when a tirthankara attains kevalajñāna (infinite knowledge). A samavasarana (divine preaching hall) is erected from where he delivers sermons and restores sangha after that.
  5. Nirvāṇa kalyāṇaka (liberation): When a tirthankara leaves his mortal body, it is known as nirvana. It is followed by the final liberation, moksha. Their souls dwells in Siddhashila after that.


File:Lord Risbabhdev in Samosharan on Mount Kailash.jpg|thumb|right|Samavasarana of Tirthankara Rishabha (Ajmer Jain templeAjmer Jain templeAfter attaining kevalajñāna, a tirthankara preaches the path to liberation in the samavasarana. According to Jain texts, the heavenly pavilion is erected by devas (heavenly beings) where devas, humans and animals assemble to hear the tirthankara.{{sfn|Vijay K. Jain|2015|p=200}} A tirthankara's speech is heard by all humans and animals in their own language. It is believed that during this speech, there is no unhappiness for miles around the site.{{sfn|Pramansagar|2008|p = 39-43}}

TÄ«rthaá¹…karas of present cosmic age

(File:Altarpiece with multiple Jinas, c. 1500, Norton Simon Museum.JPG|thumb|Tirthankars of present, previous and next cosmic ages (72 in total))Jainism postulates that time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. The wheel of time is divided in two halves, Utsarpiṇī (ascending half cycle) and Avasarpiṇī (descending half cycle). 24 tirthankaras are born in each half of this cycle. In Jain tradition the tirthankaras were royal in their final lives, and Jain texts record details of their previous lives. Their clan and families are also among those recorded in very early, or legendary, Hindu history. Jain canons state that Rishabhanatha, the first tirthankara,{{sfn|Upinder Singh|2016|p=313}} founded the Ikshvaku dynasty,{{sfn|Natubhai Shah|2004|p=15}} from which 21 other tirthankaras also rose over time. Two tirthankaras – Munisuvrata, the 20th, and Neminatha, the 22nd – belonged to the Harivamsa dynasty.{{sfn|Vijay K. Jain|2015|p=151}}In Jain tradition, the 20 tirthankaras attained moksha on mount Shikharji, in the present Indian state of Jharkhand.{{sfn|Osho|2016|p=4}} Rishabhanatha attained nirvana on Mount Kailash, presently located in Tibet,{{Sfn|Jain|2009|p=273}} close to Indian border, Vasupujya at Champapuri in North Bengal,{{Sfn|Burgess|1874|p=136}} Neminatha on mount Girnar, Gujarat, and Mahavira, the last tirthankara, at Pawapuri, near modern Patna. Twenty-one of the tirthankaras are said to have attained moksha in the kayotsarga (standing meditation posture), while Rishabhanatha, Neminatha and Mahavira are said to have attained moksha in the Padmasana (lotus position).{{sfn|Zimmer|1953|p=212}}

List of the 24 tirthankaras

Present cosmic age

File:Shrine with Four Jinas (Rishabhanatha (Adinatha)), Parshvanatha, Neminatha, and Mahavira) LACMA M.85.55 (1 of 4).jpg|thumb|Jain chaumukha sculpture at LACMALACMAFile:Mahavir.jpg|thumb|Famous idol of Mahavir Swami at Shri MahavirjiShri MahavirjiIn chronological order, the names, emblems and colours of the 24 tirthankaras of this age are mentioned below:{{sfn|Doniger|1999|p=550}}{{sfn|Vijay K. Jain|2015|p=181-208}}WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, Tirthankara (EMBLEMS OR SYMBOLS) pdf, 13 July 2015, Dhanuṣa means "bow", hatha means "hands" {{Citation needed|date=June 2016}} and 1 Purva equals 8,400,000 x 8,400,000 or 70,560,000,000,000 years.WEB,weblink Jain Reality/Existence – JAINA-JainLink,, {| class="wikitable sortable"! No. !! Name !! Symbol !! Colour !! Height!Age
Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) >Bull >| 500 dhanuá¹£a|8,400,000 Purva
Ajitanatha >Elephant >| 450 dhanuá¹£a|7,200,000 Purva
Sambhavanatha >Horse >| 400 dhanuá¹£a|6,000,000 Purva
Abhinandananatha >Monkey >| 350 dhanuá¹£a|5,000,000 Purva
Sumatinatha >Heron >| 300 dhanuá¹£a|4,000,000 Purva
Padmaprabha >Padma (attribute)>Padma Red 250 dhanuá¹£a|3,000,000 Purva
Suparshvanatha >Swastika >| 200 dhanuá¹£a|2,000,000 Purva
Chandraprabha >Crescent Moon >| 150 dhanuá¹£a|1,000,000 Purva
Pushpadanta (Suvidhinath) >Crocodile or Makara (Hindu mythology)>Makara White 100 dhanuá¹£a|2,00,000 Purva
Shitalanatha >Shrivatsa >| 90 dhanuá¹£a|1,00,000 Purva
Shreyanasanatha >Rhinoceros >| 80 dhanuá¹£a|84,00,000 Years
Vasupujya >African buffalo>Buffalo Red 70 dhanusa|72,00,000 Years
Vimalanatha >Boar >| 60 dhanusa|60,00,000 Years
Anantanatha >Porcupine according to the DigambaraFalcon according to the Śvētāmbara >| 50 dhanuṣa|30,00,000 Years
Dharmanatha >Vajra >| 45 dhanuá¹£a|10,00,000 Years
Shantinatha >Antelope or deer >| 40 dhanuá¹£a|1,00,000 Years
Kunthunatha >Goat >| 35 dhanuá¹£a|95,000 Years
Aranatha >fish >| 30 dhanuá¹£a|84,000 Years
Māllīnātha >Kalasha >| 25 dhanuṣa|55,000 Years
Munisuvrata >Tortoise >| 20 dhanuá¹£a|30,000 Years
Naminatha >Nymphaea caerulea>Blue lotus Golden 15 dhanuá¹£a|10,000 Years
Neminatha >Shankha >| 10 dhanuá¹£a|1000 Years
Parshvanatha >Snake >| 9 hath|100 Years
Mahavira >Lion >| 7 hath|72 Years

Next cosmic age

{{More citations needed section|date=May 2015}}The 24 tirthankaras of the present age (avasarpinī) are the ones listed above. The names of the next 24, which will be born in utsarpinī age are as follows.{{Citation needed|date=June 2016}}[Mentioned in the parentheses is one of the (previous human birth) of that soul.]
  1. Padmanabha (King Shrenika){{sfn|Dundas|2002|p=276}}
  2. Surdev (Mahavira's uncle Suparshva)
  3. Suparshva (King Kaunik's son king Udayin)
  4. Svamprabh (The ascetic Pottil)
  5. Sarvanubhuti (Śrāvaka Dridhayadha)
  6. Devshruti (Kartik's Shreshti)
  7. Udaynath (Shravak Shamkha)
  8. Pedhalputra (Shravak Ananda)
  9. Pottil (Shravak Sunand)
  10. Shatak (Sharavak Shatak)
  11. Munivrat (Krishna's mother Devaki)
  12. Amam (Krishna)
  13. Shrinishkashay (Satyaki Rudhra also Satyaki of Mahabharata)
  14. Nishpulak (Krishna's brother Balbhadra also known as Balrama)
  15. Nirmam (Shravika Sulsa)
  16. Chitragupta (Krishna's brother's mother Rohini Devi)
  17. Samadhinath (Revati Gathapatni)
  18. Samvarnath (Sharavak Shattilak)
  19. Yashodhar (Rishi Dwipayan)
  20. Vijay (Karna of Mahabharata)
  21. Malyadev (Nirgranthaputra or Mallanarada)
  22. Devachandra (Shravak Ambadh)
  23. Anantvirya (Shravak Amar)
  24. Shribhadrakar (Shanak)


A tīrthaṅkara is represented either seated in lotus position (Padmasana) or standing in the meditation Khadgasana (Kayotsarga) posture.{{sfn|Zimmer|1953|p=209-210}}{{sfn|Umakant P. Shah|1987|p=79}} Usually they are depicted seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap. Tirthanakar idols look similar and are differentiated on the basis of the symbol or emblem (Lanchhana) belonging to each tirthanakar except Parshvanatha. Statues of Parshvanath have a snake crown on the head. The first Tirthankara Rishabha can be identified by the locks of hair falling on his shoulders. Sometimes Suparshvanath is shown with a small snake-hood. The symbols are marked in the centre or in the corner of the pedestal of the statue. The sects of Jainism Digambara and Svetambara have different depictions of idols. Digambara images are naked without any ornamentation, whereas Svetambara ones are clothed and decorated with temporary ornaments.{{sfn|Cort|2010}} The images are often marked with Srivatsa on the chest and Tilaka on the forehead.WEB,weblink Red sandstone figure of a tirthankara, Srivatsa is one of the ashtamangala (auspicious symbols). It can look somewhat like a fleur-de-lis, an endless knot, a flower or diamond-shaped symbol.{{sfn|Jain|Fischer|1978|p=15, 31}}

In other religions

The first Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha is mentioned in Hindu texts like the Rigveda,{{sfn|George|2008|p=318}} Vishnupurana and Bhagwata Purana.{{sfn|Rao|2007|p=13}} The Yajurveda mentions the name of three Tīrthaṅkaras – Ṛiṣhabha, Ajitnātha and Ariṣṭanemi.{{sfn|Dr. K. R. Shah|2011|p=9}} The Bhāgavata Purāṇa includes legends about the Tirthankaras of Jainism particularly Rishabha.Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, {{ISBN|978-0231149990}}, pages 151–155 Yoga Vasishta, Chapter 15, Sloka 8 gives the saying of Rama:
Champat Rai Jain, a 20th-century Jain writer, claimed that the "Four and Twenty Elders" mentioned in the Book of Revelation (the final book of the Christian Bible) are "Twenty-four Tirthankaras".{{sfn|Champat Rai Jain|1930|p=78}}


Jain Tirthankar Aangi.jpg|Aangi decoration of Tirthankara.India, uttar pradesh, jina rishabhanatha, 800-900.JPG|Image of Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara, 7th centuryTirthankara.JPG|Tirthankara statue, late medieval period, The Prince of Wales MuseumTirthankaras.jpg|Rishabhanatha (left) and Mahavira (right), 11th Century, British MuseumFile:Tirumalai Neminatha Statue.jpg|52.5 foot Image of Neminatha at TirumalaiFile:India,_madhya_pradesh,_jina_parshvanatha_dalla_tempèesta,_600-700.JPG|Image of Parshvanatha, Victoria and Albert Museum, 6th-7th CenturyFile:%27Jina_Suparsvanatha%27_from_Karnataka,_c._900,_schist,_Norton_Simon_Museum.JPG|Jina Suparshvanatha from Karnataka, India, c. 900 CE, Norton Simon MuseumMahavir-Jain-Fame-1000-Pillar-Temple-_Moodbidri.JPG|Idol of Chandraprabha at Saavira Kambada BasadiTirtankara.jpg|Parshvanatha, at the Adinatha Temple in Ranakpur, Rajasthan

See also

{{Commons category}}





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