Jainism

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Introduction


One of the oldest living religion in the world is Jainism.There are 24 Gods or Tirthankars as they are called in Jainism,Lord RishabhDevji as first Tirthankar and Lord Mahavir as the 24th one of the present era. For a very long period of time, Jainism has been the state religion followed by many kings of India. It has been the most influential religion of Indian subcontinent. The religion emphasizes on non-violence and equality among all human beings of the world. It is said that those who win themslves are called Jin and those who follow this path are called Jains. Truly it is most difficult for a person to win himself then to win the whole world.
The preaching by all 24 Tirthankars is contained in 14 parts and each part is called Purv. It was not in written form till 1000 years of Lord Mahavir salvation. Earlier to that it was memorized and passed on to the next. The written work was done by a renowned saint Acharya Devriddhigani Kshamashraman . There are 32 holy scriptures called Aagam which contains the teachings of Lord Mahavir. As of now, Jainism is having two sects, Shwetamber and Digamber. One of the most true and important doctrine of Jainism is Anekantvad. It says that reality and truth are seen in a different manner and no single view is complete in its own sense. All the views may be true and relative in their own way. Jainism have had a big and long lasting impact on Indian culture. As per Jainism, Kaal or time is divided mainly in two parts. One is called Utsarpini and another Avsarpini. Each of this part is further divided in six parts each called as aara. Utsarpini is a period of increasing peace, prosperity and mutual respect among human beings. Avsarpini is just opposite .
Jainism believes in five major aspects.

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1. Ahimsa or non violence.
2. Satya or truth.
3. Asteya which says that not to take anything which is given unwillingly. Exploitation of weak is seen as a theft which should be always avoided.
4. Brahmcharya is a self control act and exercise celebacy.
5. Aparigraha or non possessivness. It means that one should always detach himself from the materialistic world , people etc. One should be content with the things which he needs. Collecting more the what one needs is called parigraha and jainism ask to avoid this.
The fundamental prayer or the mantra that every Jain chant is Navkar mantra. In it there are no names of any body including tirthankaras. It worship those who are true saints in their own right, no matter to which sect or religion they belong. Such a mantra is one of its kind in the world. The manuscripts of Jainism are the oldest one. Also Jains are the most literate community in India. The Jain saints do not have any permanent home . They are always moving from one place to another. They are allowed to stay at one place for only four months of rainy season . That period is called Chaturmas. Saints do not use any vehicle,they travel bare foot, what ever may be the distance. They do not use electricity and other means, do not prepare food for themselves but accept what people offer them under certain conditions.