Jainism is an ancient religion originated in India with no confirmed start date as it is considered eternal with no start point & will have no end point. However, it was Lord Mahavir, who reformed the traditions & brought a formal structure to the religion. He was born in the year 600 BC & is considered the most influential amongst the 24 Thirthankars (Jain Gods). The first amongst 24 Thirthankars was Rushabdev (also known as Adinath), thought to have existed 85,000 years back. Lord Mahavir was the 24th & last Thirthankars & was preceded by the 23rd Thirthankar i.e. Lord Parshwanath.
All 24 Thirthankars are conquerors of Karma & Passions. They destroyed their inner enemies like anger, pride, deception & greed. They are free from attachment & aversion. Hence, they are also known as Jin. Followers of Jin are called Jains.
The basic pillars of Jainism are Non-Violence, Truth, Non-Stealing, Celibacy, Non-attachment/Non-possession.
Jainism is the only religion in the world which prescribes non-violence to each and every living thing be it Animals, Humans, Plants, Insects or even Microorganisms.
As per Jainism, a soul can get into any of the 4 forms i.e. Human, Heavenly bodies (Dev/Devis), Hell being or Tiryanche (includes Animal/Insects/Birds/Plants). Human form is only form through which a soul can liberate itself from the cycles of birth & death & Jainism philosophy strives to help its devotees to reduce their Karmic burden to free up the soul.
The major festivals of Jainism include the 8-day Paryushan (Penance to purify soul), Diwali (the night on which Lord Mahavir attained Salvation (Moksha) & Mahavir Jayanthi (Birth of Lord Mahavir). The 5th day of Paryushan is also known as Mahavir Jayanthi, the day Lord Mahavir was conceived in the womb of his mother Trishala. The previous night, mother Trishala saw 14 dreams, an indication of a great man to be born. These 14 dreams are displayed during the 5th day of Paryushan. The dreams consisted of Lion, Goddess Laxmi, Sun, Moon etc. At the end of Paryushan, people wish each other ‘Michami Dukadam’, which means seeking forgiveness from the person for any wrongdoings.
The Jain religion is very scientific in nature and does not believe in magics or fulfilment of wishes through prayers. It’s a way of life with guidelines to achieve the ultimate fruit i.e. Moksha. The least people should do is eat before sunset & drink boiling water. Food grown underground such as Onion, potatoes are to be avoided as they contain lot of insects, microbes & is known to be trigger of passion and are never included in the Jain diet. Green vegetables need to be avoided from the month of July to November as it harbours insects during this season. In short, Jainism believes in Live & Let Live.
The below is the idol of Lord Parshwanath
The below is the idol of Lord Mahavir