Appendix 1

Illustrated Tirthankar Charitra

Shri Amar Muni

Appendix 1

Important facts about the Tirthankars

  • The southern part of the Jambu continent is Bharat area, the northern is the Airavat area and the central part is Mahavideh area. In the Bharat and Airavat areas there are twenty four Tirthankars in each during every ascending and descending cycle of time.
  • In the Mahavideh area the Tirthankars are always present.

  • The being that earns the Tirthankar-nam-karma gets liberated in the third birth, counted from the birth of gaining this potency and purity.

  • The auspicious influence and indications of a future Tirthankar start appearing six months before the conception or descent (Garbh-kalyanak). The Tirthankars in the Bharat and Airavat areas have five auspicious events (Kalyanak) during their life time.

  • During this descending cycle all the beings that became Tirthankars descended from the dimensions of gods in the Bharat area. Six months before the moment of descent, all the other gods get infused with special feeling of reverence for these would be Tirthankars and they express the feelings by bowing.

  • Six months before the end of their life in hell, the beings that become Tirthankars are relieved from the hellish afflictions through the interference of gods.

  • Even during pregnancy, the being destined to be a Tirthankar possesses three fold knowledge-Mati (intellect), Shruti (literal), and Avadhi (extrasensory) Jnan. He even uses this knowledge if and when need arises.

  • The Tirthankars do not feed on the mother’s milk. The king of gods appoints various goddesses as governesses to take care, with due respect, of chores like bathing, dressing, feeding, and nursing.

  • After the birth of a Tirthankar, 56 goddesses of directions arrive and perform the post-birth rituals. 64 Indras and other gods perform their traditional duties of joyous birth celebrations taking the new born Tirthankar Pandukvan on Meru mountain.

  • There are four unique congenital attributes of a Tirthankar-

1. The divine physical structure is free of sweat, glime or slime, and ailment.

2. His breath is fragrant.

3. Due to extreme compassion and tranquillity the reed blood corpuscles of a Tirthankar turn white. As such the color of flesh and blood of a Tirthankar is Milky white.

4. His food intake and excretion is invisible to normal human eye.

  • If the karma responsible for mundane indulgences precipitate, when young, he is married to a good woman from a family of high status. However, he has no fondness for a luxurious family life.
  • During the year preceding his renunciation he gives 10.8 million gold coins in charity every day, making it 388 million gold coins during the year.

  • The moment he takes the vow of abandoning all intentional sinful activities he acquires the Manahparyav Jnan (the capacity to perceive the subtle and gross thoughts, feelings and attitudes of every being).

  • At the time of taking Diksha (the formal initiation to become an ascetic) the Tirthankars utter Namo Siddhanam, offering salutations only to the Siddhas or the liberated souls.

  • At the time of taking Diksha the Tirthankar pulls five fistful of his hair and gives them to Indra. The Indra (king of gods) puts these into a gem studded golden box with due care and immerses in the milky sea.

  • All the Tirthankars remain silent during the period of their spiritual practices, beginning from the moment of initiation till they acquire omniscience. Their discourses start only after they have become omniscient.

  • During their period of practices the Tirthankars move about alone, detached, and unscheduled.

  • As ordinary ascetics they neither give away any discourses nor make any disciples.

  • When they destroy the vitiating Karmas as a result of their higher spiritual practice and acquire virtues like omniscience, ultimate perception, all power, and capacity to propagate religions, then they attain the status of Arihant Tirthankar.

  • They are endowed with thirty four unique attributes and thirty five unique speech attributes.

  • They are free of all the eighteen vices.


The eighteen vices are:

1-5. The five power hindrances (hindrance of charity, progress, pleasure, facility, and potency); 6. mirth; 7. fondness; 8. irritation; 9. fear; 10. hatred; 11. distress; 12. lust; 13. dogma; 14. ignorance; 15. slumber; 16. indulgence; 17. attachment; and 18. aversion.

There is another such list of vice:

1. dogma; 2. ignorance; 3. pride; 4. anger; 5. illusion; 6. greed; 7. fondness; 8. irritation; 9. slumber; 10. distress; 11. falsity; 12. larcency; 13. jealousy; 14. fear; 15. violence; 16. love; 17. enjoy; and 18. mirth.

    • The first Tirthankar, Rishabhdev, in his earlier incarnation, had the knowledge of all fourteen subtle canons. All the other twenty three Tirthankars, In their earlier incarnations had the knowledge of only eleven canons.


  • As soon as the status of Tirthankar is attained Indra creates the divine pavilion (Samavasaran). In the assembly in this pavilion the Tirthankar gives discourses in the Ardha-Magadhi language with the view that the common man may be benefited. The Samavasaran is attended by all, including men, gods, and animals. In this first discourse at least one individual gets inspired to abandon mundane life and become and ascetic. Bhagavan sits in the lotus pose in the Samavasaran.

  • Tirthankar Munisuvrat and Arishtanemi were born in the Harivamsha clan and the remaining twenty two in the Ikshvaku clan.

  • At the moment of their renunciation Bhagavan Rishabhdev was the oldest in age (8.4 million Purva). Bhagavan Parshvanath and Mahavir were the youngest in age (30 years).

  • The tallest among the Tirthankars was Bhagavan Rishabhdev (500 Dhanush) and the smallest was Bhagavan Mahavir (seven Haath/feet)

  • Vasupujya, Malli, Nami, Parshva, and Vardhaman became ascetics as princes during the first third part of their life. Remaining nineteen Tirthankars became ascetics as kings during the last third part of their life. (The three divisions of age are equal parts of average age of human beings of a specific era).

  • From Rishabh to Shreyans all Tirthankars not only did marry but ruled also, Vasupujya altered this tradition by becoming and ascetic when he was a young prince. The nineteenth and twenty second Tirthankar remained unmarried.

  • Bhagavan Rishabh started the process of renunciation at Vinita town and Arishtanemi at Dwarka. All the remaining Tirthankars did theirs at their birth places.

  • Bhagavan Mahavir was initiated alone, Parshvanath and Mallinath with three hundred persons each, Vasupujya with six hundred, Rishabh with four thousand and the remaining Tirthankars with one thousand persons each.

  • Tirthankar Shreyans, Malli, Munisuvrat, Arishtanemi, and Parshva all took Diksha during forenoon, and the remaining nineteen during the afternoon. Sumati took Diksha after having meals, Malli and Parshva after a three day fast, Vasupujya after one day fast, and the remaining Tirthankars after two days fasts (on the last day of the fasting period).

  • Tirthankar Rishabh broke his fast after one year since the day of initiation, all remaining Tirthankars broke the next day.

  • Tirthankar Rishabh got sugar-cane juice as the first alms and the remaining ones got Ksheer (rice cooked in milk);

  • The places where the Tirthankars got their first alms were blessed with a shower of gold equivalent to the dimensions of their respective bodies.

  • All the Tirthankars of Bharat and Airavat areas except the first and last propagate for dimensional religion or the religion with four great vows as its central theme. The four vows are abandonment of or refraining from: 1. all types of violence, 2. all types of falsity, 3. all types of unoffered acquisition, and 4. all types of possessions. The first and the last Tirthankars propagate five dimensional religion by adding the vow of abandonment of all types of lustful activities to the above four.

  • The Ashok tree under which Mahavir got initiated was of 32 Dhanush height. The Chaitya tree of Rishabhdev of a height equivalent to three times that of his body. All the remaining Tirthankars were initiated under trees having the height equivalent to 12 times the height of their respective bodies.

  • Bhagavan Rishabh attained omniscience after a thousand years of his initiation and Mallinath just after four and a half hours.

  • The area of the divine pavilion of Rishabh was 12 Yojans. There was a gradual reduction of 2 Kosa (1/2 Yojan) in this area for succeeding Tirthankars till Naminath (22nd). The area of the divine pavilion of the twenty-third Tirthankar, Parshvananth, was 1.5 Yojans and that of Mahavir was one Yojan. These dimensions are for the descending cycle, that for the ascending cycle are the same but in reverse order. In the Videh area the dimension is 12 Yojans uniformly. Indranilmani (Sapphire) is essentially used in the decoration of these Samavasarans.

  • The maximum number of chief disciples was one hundred for Bhagavan Sumatinath and the minimum for Parshvanath – ten.

  • When the Karmic ties are completely broken the Tirthankar stops the speech completely.

  • Before the Nirvana (liberation) Rishabhdev had observed a last penance (Santhara) of six days, Mahavir that of two days, and the remaining Tirthankars that of one month.

  • Rishabh, Arishtanemi, and Mahavir all three were sitting in the Paryankasan (a specific yogic posture) and the remaining twenty one were standing in the Kayotsarg Mudra (a yogic posture) at the moment of liberation.

  • Rishabhdev was liberated at the Ashtapad mountain, Arishatanemi at Girnar mountain, Vasupujya at Champa town, Mahavir at Pava town and all the rest at Sammetshikhar (Parasnath hills).