ORIGIN OF JAINISM
Indian civilisation has produced many philosophies and religions. Among them is
Jainism, one of the oldest religion in the world. Though historians have made various
speculations about its origins, the origin of Jainism remains untraceable. Jains
believe it to be an eternal religion.
JAINISM is a way of thinking and living based on logic and science. The name Jainism
comes from Jina, meaning 'victor' over the self. Jinas have achieved liberation
from karmic bondage and attained the true characteristics of the soul such as infinite
faith, infinite knowledge, perfect conduct, infinite bliss and eternity by their
own efforts. They are called tirthankaras, those who lead us towards the path of
the eternal life of perfection. When Jains say that Jainism is a religion preached
by the Jinas, they mean Jainism expresses the eternal truths of life and spirituality
taught by pure souls, who are victors of themselves, with perfect knowledge and
Jainism believes the universe to be eternal, its constituents such as living and
non-livings things may change form, but they are basically eternal. Time rotates
in a cycle, like a wheel moving clockwise, descending and ascending. In each half
of the time cycle (aeon), descending and ascending, twenty-four tirthankaras revive
Jainism. The first tirthankara in this aeon was Risabhdeva and the twenty-fourth
(and last) was Vardhamana Mahavira who lived from 599 to 527 BC.
Its teachings are right and appropriate for any age or era. Even in modern age where
reasoning and science are the yard sticks, the Jain teachings look relevant to the
thinking of the modern world which believes in individual freedom, socialism, and
equality of all the souls irrespective of caste, colour, race or sex. It wishes
well of all living beings and malice to none, but love and fraternity to all.
It explains fully the philosophy of the soul and matter, the importance of the human
life and shows the perfect code of useful and healthy living.
We have inherited this fine philosophy through the teachings of LORD MAHAVIR and
it is upto us to keep this heritage alive.