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24 TIRTHANKARAS

Time rolls along in eternal cycles of rise and decline. Utsarpini is a "rising" era in which human morale and natural conditions improve over time. At the end of Utsarpini, begins Avasarpini, a "declining" era of the same length, in which human morale and virtues deteriorate. During the middle of every rising and declining era twenty-four souls become Tirthankaras. They are the humans like us who rise to that level. While accumulating different karmas, they also accumulate get a special karma called Tirthankar Nam Karma in the last 3rd of their life by performing one or more of the 20 special austerities. Tirthankar Nam Karma matures in the final life and leads the person to become a Tirthankara. After attaining omniscience, Tirthankara reorganize Jain religion to suit the changing times. Tirthankaras 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 anymore 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. They are Kevaljnani meaning that they know everything everywhere that happened in the past, that is happening now, and that will happen in the future at the same time. They are also Kevaldarshani, meaning that they can see all that happened in the past, that is happening now, and that will happen in the future all at the same time. They reinstate the fourfold order of sadhus (monks), sadhvis (nuns), shravaks (male householders), and shravikas (female householders).

Jains celebrate five major events in the life of a Tirthankar. 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 motherís 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 becames a monk/nun. (Digambar sect does not believe that women can become Tirthankar or be liberated.)

  4. Kevaljnana Kalyanak - This is event when Tirthankarís 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 Tirthankarís soul is liberated from this worldly physical existence forever and becomes a Siddha. On this day, the Tirthankarís soul destroys the four aghati karmas completely, and attains salvation, the state of eternal bliss.

There are other significant events also in the final life of a Tirthankars. When a Tirthankarís soul is conceived, his/her mother has fourteen dreams (some texts mention sixteen dreams). A Tirthankarís soul, while even in motherís womb, has three types of knowledge, namely Matijnan, Shrutjnan, and Avadhijnan. One year before the time of renunciation, a group of celestial angels come to pay homage to the future Tirthankar. They remind him/her that the time to renounce the world is arriving. When a Tirthankar renounces the worldly life, he attains Manahparyavjnan, the fourth type of the knowledge, which enables him/her to know peopleís thoughts.

LIST OF 24 TIRTHANKARS

NAME FATHER MOTHER BIRTH PLACE
       
1) Rishabha (Adinath) Nabhi-raja Maru-Devi Ayodhya
2) Ajitnath Jita Satru Vijaya-Devi Ayodhya
3) Sambhavanath Jitari Sena Sravasti
4) Abhinandannath Samvara Siddhartha Ayodhya
5) Sumatinath Megh-Prabha Sumangala Ayodhya
6) Padmabrabha Dharana (Sidhara) Susima Kausambhi
7) Suparshvanath Supratishtha Prithvi Kasi (Banaras)
8) Chandraprabha Mahasena Lakshmana Chandrapuri
9) Pushpadanta Sugriva Rama (Supriya) Kakandi
(Suvidhinatha)      
10) Shiatnath Dridharatha Sunanda Bhadrikapuri
11) Shreyansanath Vishnu Vishnudri (Vishna) Simhapuri
12) Vasupujya Vasupujya Vijaya (jaya) Champapuri
13) Vimalnath Kritvarman Suramya(Syama Kampilya
14) Anantnath Simhasena Sarvavasa Ayodhya
15) Dharmanath Bhanu Suvrata Ratnapuri
16) Shantinath Visvasena Acira Hastinapura
17) Kunthunath Surya(Sura) Sri-Devi Hastinapura
18) Aranath Sudarsana Mitra(Devi Hastinapura
19) Malinath Kumbha Rakshita Mithilapuri
20) Munisuvrata Sumitra Padmavati Kusagranagara
      (Raj-grih)
21) Nami Natha Vijaya Vapra (Vipra) Mithilapuri (Mathura)
22) Neminatha Samudravijaya Sivadevi Sauripura (Dvaraka)
23) Parsva Natha Asvasena Vama Kasi (Banaras)
24) Mahavira (Vardhamana) Siddharatha Priyakarni (Trishala) Kundapura
       

 

LIST OF 24 TIRTHANKARS

NAME NUMBER OF PLACE OF EMBLEM
    GANADHARAS DEATH
       
1) Rishabha (Adinath)

84

Mount Kailasa Bull
2) Ajitnath

90

Mount Parasnath Elephant
3) Sambhav Nath

105

Samet Sikhar Horse
4) Abhinandan-Nath

103

Samet Sikhar Monkey
5) Sumatinath

116

Samet Sikhar Curlew
6) Padmaprabha

111

Samet Sikhar Red Lotus
7) Suparshvanath

95

Samet Sikhar Svastika
8) Chandra-Prabha

93

Samet Sikhar Crescent
9) Pushpadanta

88

Samet Sikhar Dolphin
(Suvidhinath)      
10) Shitalnath

81

Samet Sikhar Wishing Tree
11) Shreyamsanath

77

Samet Sikhar Garuda
12) Vasupujya

66

Champapuri Buffalo
13) Vimalnath

55

Mount Parasnath Boar
14) Anantanath

50

Mount Parasnath Bear
15) Dharmanath

43

Mount Parasnath Vajardanda
16) Shantinath

36

Mount Parasnath Deer
17) Kunthunath

35

Mount Parasnath He Ggoat
18) Aranath

30

Mount Parasnath Fish
19) Malinath

28

Mount Parasnath Waterpot
20) Munisuvrata

18

Mount Parasnath Tortoise
21) Naminath

17

Mount Parasnath Blue Lotus
22) Neminath

11

Mount Girnar Conch
23) Parshvanath

10

Mount Parasnath Serpent
24) Mahavira (Vardhamana)

11

Pava Puri Lion