Indian religion
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Jainism /ˈdʒeɪnɪz(ə)m/, traditionally known as Jaina dharma, is an Indian religion which prescribes paths of Ahiṃsā, or nonviolence towards all living beings, and which emphasizes a spiritual interdependence of all forms of life. Practitioners believe that nonviolence and self-control are the means by which all obtain liberation. Another central and fundamental doctrine is anēkāntavāda, a non-exclusivity which reveres principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, emphasizing the truth that reality is perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth.

All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. ~ Mahavira.
Kevalajnana attained by Mahavira
Digambar (unclothed) Jain Muni.
Śvētāmbara (White clothed) Jain Munis.
To search for truth should be the main goal in one's life. ~ Mahāprajña, in Thoughts at Sunrise (2007)

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Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. ~ Mahavira
Souls render service to one another.
  • Some slay (animals) for sacrificial purposes, some kill (animals) for the sake of their skin, some kill (them) for the sake of their flesh, some kill them for the sake of their blood; thus for the sake of their heart, their bile, the feathers of their tail, their tail, their big or small horns, their teeth, their tusks, their nails, their sinews, their bones; with a purpose or without a purpose. Some kill animals because they have been wounded by them, or are wounded, or will be wounded.
    He who injures these (animals) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards animals, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to animals, is called a reward-knowing sage.
  • (He thinks) I have to provide for a mother, for a father, for a sister, for a wife, for sons, for daughters, for a daughter-in-law, for my friends, for near and remote relations, for my acquaintances, for different kinds of property, profit, meals, and clothes. Longing for these objects, people are careless, suffer day and night, work in the right and the wrong time, desire wealth and treasures, commit injuries and violent acts, direct the mind, again and again, upon these injurious doings.
  • All beings are fond of life, like pleasure, hate pain, shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life is dear.
  • Having acquired it (i.e. wealth), employing bipeds and quadrupeds, gathering riches in the three ways, whatever his portion will be, small or great, he will desire to enjoy it. Then at one time, his manifold savings are a large treasure. Then at another time, his heirs divide it, or those who are without a living steal it, or the king takes it away, or it is ruined in some way or other, or it is consumed by the conflagration of the house. Thus a fool doing cruel deeds which benefit another, will ignorantly come thereby to grief.
  • The Arhats and Bhagavats of the past, present, and future, all say thus, speak thus, declare thus, explain thus:
    All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.
    This is the pure, unchangeable, eternal law, which the clever ones, who understand the world, have declared: among the zealous and the not zealous, among the faithful and the not faithful, among the not cruel and the cruel, among those who have worldly weakness and those who have not, among those who like social bonds and those who do not: "that is the truth, that is so, that is proclaimed in this (creed)".
    • Acaranga Sutra (1:4:1) quoted in "Sourcebook of the World's Religions: An Interfaith Guide to Religion and Spirituality", p. 80
  • The essential metaphysical ideas of Jainism are nine cardinal principles. The universe is divided into that which is alive and conscious (jiva) and matter which is not (ajiva). Jivas (souls) are either caught by karma (action) in the world of reincarnation (samsara) or liberated (mukta) and perfected (siddha). Though their number is infinite, jivas are individuals and each potentially infinite in awareness, power, and bliss. Matter (ajiva) is made up of eternal atoms in time and space which can be moved and stopped.
    • Sandorson Beck, quoting Mahavira in "Ethics of Civilization Volume 2: INDIA & SOUTHEAST ASIA to 1800."
  • There is nothing mightier in the world than karma; karma tramples down all powers, as an elephant a clump of lotuses.
    • Bhagavatī Ārādhanā 1616
  • Discipline is the root of religious practice.
    • Daśavaikālika Sūtra 9.2.2
24 Jain Tirthankaras.
Jain Sthanakvasi monk in Meditation.
  • ...the true nature of this great religion can be understood only if we emphasize not so much the broad divisions into Digambar and Shvetambar denominations but direct our probe into the importance and rationale of small sub-divisions. There are two major factors behind the unity of Jainism despite these divisions; one, attempts by all to unravel the original philosophy and practice of the devotees of Jin, and, two, the overarching philosophy credo of the many – pointed nature of truth (anekanta and syadavad) in Jainism.
  • Gandhi’s adherence to the philosophy of non-violence, non-possession, community welfare throughout his life can directly be attributed to the basic teachings of Jainism.
    • B. N. Ghosh, in "Gandhian Political Economy: Principles, Practice and Policy", p. 34
  • A rise of Jain fundamentalism would endanger no one. In fact, the uncontrollable spread of Jainism throughout the world would improve our situation immensely. We would lose more of our crops to pests, perhaps (observant Jains generally will not kill anything, including insects), but we would not find ourselves surrounded by suicidal terrorists or by a civilization that widely condones their actions.
    • Sam Harris, in The End of Faith : Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2005)
  • If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: "Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being." Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible. It is impossible to behave this way by adhering to the principles of Jainism.
    • Sam Harris, in Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), p. 23
  • Take the religion of Jainism as one example. The Jains preach a doctrine of utter non-violence. While the Jains believe many improbable things about the universe, they do not believe the sorts of things that lit the fires of the Inquisition. ... Of course, many Christians believe that a harmless person like Martin Luther King, Jr., is the best exemplar of their religion. But this presents a serious problem, because the doctrine of Jainism is an objectively better guide for becoming like Martin Luther King, Jr., than the doctrine of Christianity is. While King undoubtedly considered himself a devout Christian, he acquired his commitment to nonviolence primarily from the writings of Mohandas K. Gandhi. In 1959, he even traveled to India to learn the principles of nonviolent social protest directly from Gandhi's disciples. Where did Gandhi, a Hindu, get his doctrine of nonviolence? He got it from the Jains.
    • Sam Harris, in Letter to a Christian Nation (2006)
  • Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian.
    • Sam Harris, Lecture at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (10 November 2010)
  • The principal tenet of Jainism is non-harming. Observant Jains will literally not harm a fly. Fundamentalist Jainism and fundamentalist Islam do not have the same consequences, neither logically nor behaviorally.
  • When I was a schoolboy in England, the old bound volumes of Kipling in the library had gilt swastikas embossed on their covers. The symbol's 'hooks' were left-handed, as opposed to the right-handed ones of the Nazi hakenkreuz, but for a boy growing up after 1945 the shock of encountering the emblem at all was a memorable one. I later learned that in the mid-1930s Kipling had caused this 'signature' to be removed from all his future editions. Having initially sympathized with some of the early European fascist movements, he wanted to express his repudiation of Hitlerism (or 'the Hun,' as he would perhaps have preferred to say), and wanted no part in tainting the ancient Indian rune by association. In its origin it is a Hindu and Jainas symbol for light, and well worth rescuing.
  • He (Jahangir) persecuted the Jains in Gujarat, and ordered that Jain monks should not be seen in his kingdom on pain of death.
    • Goel, S. R. (2001). The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
  • Jainism is basically a religious faith of the Thirthankaras. Jainism has come from the word Jin, which means the conquest of one’s own self in bondage,
  • Jainism has a distinct concept of underlying Thirthankara worship. The physical form is not worshipped, but their Gunas; virtues, qualities are praised. Thirthankaras remain role-models, and sects such as the Sthanakavasi stringently reject statue worship.
  • Flesh can not be procured without causing destruction of life; one who uses flesh, therefore, commits himsa (injury) unavoidable.
    • Jainism, in Humanimal, p. 161
Jainism: An interconnected motif and knots symbolizing karma and the link between all lives in a Jain temple.
Our world is one of incompleteness. Where there is incompleteness, there is relativity. Both karma and akarma are relative. No work is completed without akarma. ~ Mahāprajña
  • Truth is beyond space and time. One who does not yearn for truth, will be trapped within space and time and become dogged. That man alone can remain free from mulish tendencies, who has the capacity to think across time: in the past, present and the future.
  • To search for truth should be the main goal in one's life. This is a very difficult task. Let us begin by asking what is truth? What is untruth? To make this decision itself is difficult. Once the decision has been made, it is even more difficult to understand the limitations possible even in truth: elements of doubt and illusion. The Ultimate Truth is still far away, even if we are anywhere near relative truth, it should be deemed a great achievement.
  • The balance between karma and akarma gives holistic vision. Lots of discussions regarding Karmayoga. No work can be completed without karma. That is the truth. Everybody accepts this truth. Our world is one of incompleteness. Where there is incompleteness, there is relativity. Both karma and akarma are relative. No work is completed without akarma.
  • 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.
    • Mahavira quoted in "Ethics of Civilization Volume 2: India & Southeast Asia to 1800."
  • All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.
    • Mahavira, in Ācharanga Sutra, Book 1, lecture 4, lesson 1, as translated by H. Jacobi, quoted in The Boundless Circle : Caring for Creatures and Creation (1996) by Michael W. Fox, p. 262
  • Desistance from sin makes one entirely happy.
    • Mahavira, as quoted in Religion and culture of the Jains (1975) by Jyotiprasāda Jaina, p. 187
  • Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. For thereby one's own self is saved from various kinds of sins and resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.
    • Mahavira, as quoted in Religion and culture of the Jains (1975) by Jyotiprasāda Jaina, p. 187
  • Jainism: In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.
    • Mahavira in "Sourcebook of the World's Religions: An Interfaith Guide to Religion and ...", p. 173
  • If one does not wish to destroy one’s soul, then one should not destroy living creatures.
    • Mūlācāra 923
Namokar Mantra at Jain Religion.in

Devanagari Roman alphabet Translation

णमो अरिहंताणं
णमो सिद्धाणं
णमो आयरियाणं
णमो उवज्झायाणं
णमो लोए सव्व साहूणं
एसोपंचणमोक्कारो, सव्वपावप्पणासणो
मंगला णं च सव्वेसिं, पडमम हवई मंगलं

Namo Arihantanam:
Namo Siddhanam
Namo Ayariyanam:
Namo Uvajjayanam:
Namo Loe Savva Sahunam:
Eso Panch Namukkaro:Savva Pava Panasano:

I bow to the enlightened beings
I bow to the liberated souls
I bow to religious leaders
I bow to religious teachers
I bow to all ascetics of the world

Color Science of Namokar Mantra

Acharya Shri Shushil Muni at Jainism Literature Center, Harvard University
  • Namo Arihantanam - White Color: Arihant is a perfect human being. White color represents Arihant. The white color is the mother of all colors; it is a blending of all colors. It represents pure knowledge.
  • Siddhanam - Red Color: Siddha is a pure consciousness or a soul without any Karma attached to it. Both Arihant and Siddha are known as Gods in Jainism. Red color represents Siddha.
  • Namo Airiyanam - Yellow and Orange Color: Acharya is a head of the Jain congregation. It symbolizes the organizational power,Yellow or orange color represents Acharya. Both Yellow and Orange show wisdom, power to accomplish the goal, and discipline or strong will power in the life.
  • Namo Uvajjhayanam - Green and Blue Color: Upadhyay is a teacher, which shows how to awaken powers and maintain balance of body, mind, and soul. Green or Blue color represents Upadhyay.
  • Namo Loe Savva Sahunam - Black Color: Sadhu (monk) is a spiritual practitioner. The practitioner must be protected from worldly attachments and must destroy negativity. Black color represents monk. Black is the absence of all color. It is receptive, consumes negativity, and gives the strength to fight negativity.
Five Great Vows (Maha Vrata) by a Sadhu
Jain Cosmic Time Cycle..

Reality by Prof. S. A. Jain


Perfect release from all karmas is liberation. The path to liberation is the method by which it can be attained. The singular ‘path’ is used in order to indicate that all the three together constitute the path to liberation. This controverts the views that each of these singly constitutes a path. Hence it must be understood that these three— right faith, right knowledge and right conduct — together constitute the direct path to liberation.[1]

Roshen Dalal Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide

  • In historical times Vardhamana Mahavira who according to tradition was born in 599BCE, explained this religion but he was not the first to reveal its principles which are said to have always existed. Though a distinct religion, it has some similarities with Hinduism.
    • p. 173
  • Jainism has a complex classification of Jnana or knowledge, and the means of understanding reality.
    • p. 174
  • Like Hinduism, Jain cosmology believes in a series of Kalpas or cycles of existence which are divided into twelve eras, a term similar to manvantaras of Hinduism. According to Jain tradition, Jainism is revealed anew in every kalpa through twenty-four Thirthankaras...
    • p. 174
  • "Some foolish men declare that the creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If god created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could god have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression."
  • Māhavīra proclaimed a profound truth for all times to come when he said: "One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation disregards his own existence which is entwined with them." Jain cosmology recognizes the fundamental natural phenomenon of symbiosis or mutual dependence, which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology. It is relevant to recall that the term "ecology" was coined in the latter half of the nineteenth century from the Greek word oikos, meaning "home", a place to which one returns. Ecology is the branch of biology which deals with the relations of organisms to their surroundings and to other organisms. The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence) is refreshingly contemporary in its premise and perspective. It defines the scope of modern ecology while extending it further to a more spacious "home". It means that all aspects of nature belong together and are bound in a physical as well as a metaphysical relationship. Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accommodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents.
    • Laxmi Mall Singhvi, in "Jain Declaration of Nature" in Jainism and Ecology : Nonviolence in the Web of Life (2006) by Christopher Key Chapple, p. 217
  • All breathing, existing, living, snteint creatures should not be slain nr treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This the pure unchangeable law.
    • Sutrakritanga, in Jainism religious text quoted in "Humanimal", p. 144
  • All beings hate pains; therefore one should not kill them. This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything.
    • Sutrakritanga, in Jainism religious text,quoted in "Humanimal", p. 159

Immortal Song

  • May the sacred stream of amity flow forever in my heart.
    May the universe prosper - such is my cherished desire.
    May my heart sing with ecstasy at the sight of the virtuous.
    And may my life be an offering at their feet.
    May my heart bleed at the sight of the wretched, the irreligious, and my tears of compassion flow from my eyes.
    May I always be there to show the path to the pathless wanderers of life.
    Yet if they should not hearken to me, may I bide in patience.
    May the spirit of goodwill enter into all our hearts,
    May we all sing in chorus the immortal song of human concord
    • Immortal Song, quoted in “Sourcebook of the World's Religions: An Interfaith Guide to Religion and ...”, p. 79

Tattvārtha Sūtra

  • Right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct (together) constitute the path to liberation.

The Practical Path


(Champat Rai Jain (1917), The Practical Path, The Central Jaina Publishing House )

  • Saṃsāra bhavanā: "Endless is the cycle of transmigration; painful is every form of life; there is no happiness in any of the four conditions of existence; devas, human beings, animals and residents of hells are all involved in pain and misery of some kind or other; moksha alone is blissful and free from pain; the wise should, therefore, only aspire for moksha ; all other conditions are temporary and painful." (Page. 52)
  • Substance is the sub-strate of qualities which cannot exist apart from it, for instance, the quality of fluidity, moisture, and the like only exist in water and cannot be conceived separately from it. It is neither possible to create nor to destroy a substance, which means that there never was a time when the existing substances were not, nor shall they ever cease to be.(Page. 15-16)

Teachings of Jainism in "Ethics of Civilization Volume 2: India & Southeast Asia to 1800"

A Manuscript of Upadesha mala or teachings of Jainism
  • Having mastered the teachings and got rid of carelessness,
    one should live on allowed food,
    and treat all beings as one oneself would be treated;
    one should not expose oneself to guilt
    by one's desire for life;
    a monk who performs austerities should not keep any store
  • Subdue yourself, for the self is difficult to subdue;
    if your self is subdued,
    you will be happy in this world and the next.
    Better it is that I should subdue myself
    by self-control and penance,
    than be subdued by others
    with fetters and corporal punishment
  • The binding of animals, all the Vedas, and sacrifices,
    being causes of sin, cannot save the sinner;
    for one's works are very powerful.
    One does not become a Shramana by the tonsure,
    nor a Brahmin by the sacred syllable aum,
    nor a Muni by living in the woods,
    nor a Tapasa by wearing kusha-grass and bark.
    One becomes a Shramana by equanimity,
    a Brahmin by chastity, a Muni by knowledge,
    and a Tapasa by penance.
    By one's actions one becomes a Brahmin
    or a Kshatriya or a Vaisya or a Sudra.
  • The foundation of Jainism has been attributed by Occidental historians to Mahavira. - Heinrich Zimmer
  • There is truth in the Jaina idea that their religion goes back to a remote antiquity, the antiquity in question being that of the pre-Aryan so called Dravidian period, which has recently been dramatically illuminated by the discovery of a series of great Late stone Age cities in the Indus Valley, dating from the third and perhaps even fourth millennium B.C.[3] - Heinrich Zimmer
  • परस्परोपग्रहो जीवानाम्
  • Understanding and faith and conduct and asceticism:
    this is the path taught by the Jinas who have perfect knowledge.
    Understanding and faith and conduct and asceticism:
    those souls who follow this path go to liberation.
    • Uttaradhyayana Sutra (28.2-3), as quoted in: Cort, John E. (2001). Jains in the World, p. 118. New York: Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-513234-3.
  • Swami Vivekananda appreciated the role of Jainism in the development of Indian religious philosophy. In his words, he asks: "What could have saved Indian society from the ponderous burden of omnifarious ritualistic ceremonialism, with its animal and other sacrifices, which all but crushed the very life of it, except the Jain revolution which took its strong stand exclusively on chaste morals and philosophical truths?
    • Jain, Dulichand (1998), Thus Spake Lord Mahavir, Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math, ISBN 81-7120-825-8



See also



  1. Jain, S.A. (1992). Reality (Second ed.). Jwalamalini Trust. "Non-Copyright" 
  2. Jain, Vijay K. (20 June 2011), Tattvārthasūtra (1st ed.), (Uttarakhand) India: Vikalp Printers, ISBN 81-903639-2-1, "Non-Copyright" 
  3. Zimmer, Heinrich (1953), Joseph Campbell, ed., Philosophies Of India, London, E.C. 4: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, ISBN 978-81-208-0739-6 
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