Neminatha is the twenty-second Tirthankara (ford-maker) in Jainism. He is also known simply as Nemi, or as Aristanemi which is an epithet of the sun-chariot. Along with Mahavira, Parshvanatha and Rishabhanatha, Neminatha is one of the twenty four Tirthankaras who attract the most devotional worship among the Jains.
22nd Jain Tirthankara
Image of Neminatha at a Jain temple in Bateshwar, Uttar Pradesh
|Height||10 bows (98 feet)|
|Age||1000 years (mythological); 118 years (historical assumption)|
According to Jain beliefs, Neminatha lived 84,000 years before the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanatha. However according to historians, he might have lived in around roughly 3200 BC. He is one of the 24 Tirthankaras in Jain theology, in the avasarpini cycle of Jain cosmology. He was the youngest son of King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi. He is believed in Jainism to be the cousin of the Hindu god Krishna. He was born at Sauripura (Dvaraka) in the Yadu lineage, like Krishna. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Hindu calendar. He herded cattle and became fond of animals. According to Jain belief, on his wedding day Neminatha heard the cries of animals being killed for the marriage feast, and moved by the sorrow he renounced the world – a scene found in many Jain artwork. He attained moksha on Girnar Hills near Junagadh, a pilgrimage center for Jains.
The name Neminatha consists of two Sanskrit words, Nemi which means "rim, felly of a wheel" or alternatively "thunderbolt", and Natha which means "lord, patron, protector". According to the Jain text Uttarapurana, as well as the explanation of Hemachandra, it was the ancient Indian deity Indra who named the 22nd Tirthankara as Neminatha, because he viewed the Jina as the "rim of the wheel of dharma". In Svetambara Jain texts, his name Aristanemi came from a dream his mother had when he was in the womb, where she saw a "wheel of Arista jewels". His full name was Aristanemi which is an epithet of the sun-chariot. Neminatha is the 22nd Tirthankara in Jain tradition, and his name is spelled close to the 21st Tirthankara Naminatha.
Biography In Jain TraditionEdit
Neminatha was the twenty-second tirthankara (ford-maker) of the avasarpiṇī (present descending cycle of Jain cosmology). According to Jain beliefs, he lived 84,000 years before the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanatha. He was the youngest son of King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi. He was born at Sauripura (Dvaraka) in the Yadu lineage, grew up in cattle herding family and grew fond of animals. Jain legends place him in the Girnar-Kathiawad (in Saurashtra region of modern-day Gujarat). His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Hindu calendar.
Neminatha was born with a dark-blue skin complexion, very handsome but a shy young man. Jains consider Neminatha to be the son of Samudravijaya, brother of Hindu god Krishna's father Vasudeva, therefore the cousin of Krishna. He is mentioned as the cousin of Krishna in the Jain Puranas, and Trishashti-salaka-purusha-charitra. On being taunted by Satyabhama, wife of Krishna, Neminatha blew Panchajanya, the mighty conch of Krishna. According to Jain texts, no one could lift Vishnu's conch except Krishna, let alone blow it. After this event, Jain Puranas state that Krishna decided to test Neminatha's strength and challenged him for a friendly duel. Neminatha, being a Tirthankara, defeated Krishna without any effort. In the war between Krishna and Jarasandha, Neminatha participated alongside Krishna.
According to Long, the Jain legends state that Neminatha taught Krishna the knowledge that he shared with Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, a historic reason that has led Jains to accept, read and cite the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritually important text, celebrate Krishna related festivals and intermingle with Hindus as spiritual cousins.
It is further mentioned that Neminatha's marriage was arranged with Rajulakumari or Rajimati, the daughter of King Ugrasena of Dwaraka (Ugrasena was maternal grandfather of Krishna). According to Jain legends, Neminatha heard animal cries as they were being slaughtered for the marriage feast. Taken over by sorrow and distress at the sight, he gave up the desire of getting married, renounced his worldly life, became a monk and went to Mount Girnar to lead a mendicant's life. His bride-to-be followed him, became a nun and joined the ascetic order. (It is told that Rajul was Aristhanemi's wife for last 8 births too) According to Kalpasutras, he led an ascetic life there by eating only once every three days, meditated for 55 days and then obtained omniscience on Mount Raivataka, under a Mahavenu tree. After a life of about 1,000 years, he is said to have attained moksha (nirvana) on Mount Girnar. Of these 1,000 years, he spent 300 years as a bachelor, 54 days as an ascetic monk and 700 years as an omniscient being.
Along with Mahavira, Parshvanatha and Rishabhanatha, Neminatha is one of the twenty four Tirthankaras who attract the most devotional worship among the Jains. Unlike the last two Tirthankaras, historians consider Neminatha and all other Tirthankaras to be legendary characters. According to Jain history, there was a gap of 500,000 years between the Neminatha and his predecessor, Naminatha.
- The Jain traditions about Neminatha or Arishtanemi is incorporated in the Harivamsa Purana of Jinasena.
- A palm leaf manuscript on the life of Neminatha, named Neminatha-Charitra, was written in 1198-1142 AD. It is now preserved in Shantinatha Bhandara, Khambhat.
- Rajul's love for Neminatha is described in the Rajal-Barahmasa (an early 14th-century poem of Vijayachandrasuri).
- The conch incident is given in Kalpa Sūtra.
- The separation of Rajula and Neminatha was a popular theme among Jain poets who composed Gujarati fagus, a poetry genre. Some examples are Neminatha Fagu (1344) by Rajshekhar, Neminatha Fagu (1375) by Jayashekhar and Rangasagara Neminatha Fagu (1400) by Somsundar. A poem Neminatha Chatushpadika (1269) by Vinaychandra depicted the same story.
Neminatha is believed in the Jain tradition to be Krishna's cousin and has the same dark-bluish colored skin. Painting depicting his life stories generally identify him as dark colored. His iconographic identifier is a conch carved or stamped below his statues. Sometimes, as with Vishnu's iconography, a chakra is also shown near him, as in the 6th-century sculpture found at the archaeological site near Padhavali (Madhya Pradesh). Artworks showing Neminatha sometimes include Ambika yakshi, but her color varies from golden to greenish to dark-blue, by region.
- Girnar Jain temples
- Tirumalai (Jain complex)
- Arahanthgiri Jain Math
- Atishaya Kshetra Lunwa Jain Temple
- Dilwara Temples
- Bhand Dewal, Arang
Chavundaraya Basadi in Shravanabelagola
- Tandon 2002, p. 45.
- Sarasvati 1970, p. 444.
- Monier Monier-Williams, Nemi, Sanskrit English Dictionary with Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 569
- Monier Monier-Williams, Natha, Sanskrit English Dictionary with Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 534
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, pp. 164-165.
- Jain & Fischer 1978, p. 17.
- Zimmer 1953, p. 225.
- von Glasenapp 1925, pp. 317-318.
- "Arishtanemi: Jaina saint". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- Zimmer 1953, p. 224.
- Tukol 1980, p. 31.
- Zimmer 1953, p. 226.
- Doniger 1993, p. 225.
- Dhere 2011, pp. 193–196.
- Upinder Singh 2008, p. 313.
- Cort 2001, p. 23.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 164.
- Johnson 1931, pp. 1–266.
- Jain & Fischer 1978, pp. 16–17.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, pp. 165-166.
- Sangave 2001, p. 104.
- Doniger 1993, p. 226.
- Beck 2012, p. 156.
- Long 2009, p. 42.
- Sehdev Kumar 2001, pp. 143–145.
- Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 7.
- Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 311.
- Melton & Baumann 2010, p. 1551.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 165.
- Dundas 2002, p. 40.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 239.
- Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 253.
- Kelting 2009, p. 117.
- Amaresh Datta (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 1258. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
- Shastree, K. K. (2002). Gujarat Darsana: The Literary History. Darshan Trust, Ahmedabad. pp. 56–57.
- Nagendra (1988). Indian Literature. Prabhat Prakashan. pp. 282–283.
- Jhaveri, Mansukhlal; Sahitya Akademi (1978). History of Gujarati Literature. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 14, 242–243. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016.
- Shah, Parul (31 August 1983). "5". The rasa dance of Gujarata (Ph.D.). 1. Department of Dance, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. pp. 134–156. hdl:10603/59446.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, pp. 164-168.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, pp. 164-170.
- Umakant P. Shah 1987, pp. 264-265.
- Beck, Guy L. (1 February 2012), Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity, SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-6415-6
- Cort, John E. (2001), Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-803037-9
- Dhere, Ramchandra C (2011), Rise of a Folk God: Vitthal of Pandharpur, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-977759-4
- Dundas, Paul (2002) , The Jains (Second ed.), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-26605-X
- Doniger, Wendy (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts, SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-1381-0
- Jain, Jyotindra; Fischer, Eberhard (1978), Jaina Iconography, 12, Brill Publishers, ISBN 978-90-04-05259-8
- Jain, Kailash Chand (1991), Lord Mahāvīra and His Times, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0805-8
- Johnson, Helen M. (1931), Neminathacaritra (Book 8 of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra), Baroda Oriental Institute
- Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2006), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5
- Kelting, M. Whitney (2009), Heroic Wives Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-538964-7
- Kumar, Sehdev (2001), A Thousand Petalled Lotus: Jain Temples of Rajasthan : Architecture & Iconography, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 978-81-7017-348-9
- Long, Jeffery D. (2009), Jainism: An Introduction, I. B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-84511-625-5
- Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, One: A-B (Second ed.), ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3
- Sangave, Vilas Adinath (2001), Facets of Jainology: Selected Research Papers on Jain Society, Religion, and Culture, Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7154-839-2
- Sarasvati, Swami Dayananda (1970), An English translation of the Satyarth Prakash, Swami Dayananda Sarasvati
- Shah, Umakant Premanand (1987), Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana: Jaina iconography, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 81-7017-208-X
- Singh, Upinder (2008), A history of ancient and early medieval India : from the Stone Age to the 12th century, New Delhi: Pearson Education, ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0
- Tandon, Om Prakash (2002) , Jaina Shrines in India (1 ed.), New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, ISBN 81-230-1013-3
- Tukol, T. K. (1980), Compendium of Jainism, Dharwad: University of Karnataka
- Shah, Umakant P. (1987), Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana: Jaina iconography, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 81-7017-208-X
- Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education, ISBN 978-93-325-6996-6
- von Glasenapp, Helmuth (1925), Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation [Der Jainismus: Eine Indische Erlosungsreligion], Shridhar B. Shrotri (trans.), Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint: 1999), ISBN 81-208-1376-6
- Zimmer, Heinrich (1953) [April 1952], Campbell, Joseph (ed.), Philosophies Of India, London, E.C. 4: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, ISBN 978-81-208-0739-6,
This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Schmidt, Hanns-Peter (1968), The Origin of Ahimsa (in "Melanges d'Indianism a la memoire de Louis Renou), Paris: Editions E de Boccard
- World Parliament of Religions Commemoration Volume: Issued in commemoration of the World Parliament of Religions held at Sivanandanagar, Rishikesh, in April, 1953, Published The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University Press, 1956
- Jain Journal, Volumes 2-3, Published by Jain Bhawan 1967