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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra


Jainism is one of the oldest religions of its homeland and indeed of the world. It’s origin dates back to before 3000 BC, and before the beginning of the Indo-Aryan culture. The traditions of Jainism were largely carried forward by succession of 24 teachers, most notably Vardhamana Mahavira the last of the teachers, and likely a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Jainism is a religion of self-help. Mahavira is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form. Jainism has no priest. Its professional religious people are monks and nuns, who lead strict and ascetic lives. It was established by Mahavira (599-527 BC). Mahavira was born near Patna in Bihar state. Mahavira, like Buddha, belonged to a warrior caste. He was called Jina meaning the big winner and from this name was derived the name of the religion. In many senses Jainism is similar to Buddhism. Both developed as a dissension to the Brahmanic philosophy that was dominated during that period in North-east India. In both religions there is a belief in reincarnation which eventually leads to liberation. Both these religions emphasis on non-violence, but in Jainism, non-violence is it’s main core.

Main Principles of Jainism

  1. Non-violence.

  2. Multiplicity of views.

  3. Non-possessiveness.

  4. Non-stealing.

  5. Brahmacharya.

The essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself. Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each soul is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion. Jains are strict vegetarians and live in a way that minimizes their use of the world’s resources. They believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation, which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth so that the immortal soul lives forever in a state of bliss. Jains believe that there are no gods or spiritual beings that will help human beings.

Three guiding principles of Jainism are: right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct. Non-violence is the supreme principle.

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