Jain Glossary-2



By Muni Shri Mahendra Kumarji

Translation : K. C. Lalwani



The first and foremost among the Jaina vows, meaning abstention from slaughter, injury or harm.

Arta dhyana

The lowest form of meditation as identified by the Jains. Its object is two-fold: a desire to get rid of an undesired thing, and a desire to get back a dear and coveted thing. This characterizes the thinking of all human beings.


A form of address to the acharya.


The Creator-god of the Hindu pantheon.


Fourteenth day in each fortnight which is particularly important for the practice of austerities like fasting, giving up food at night and fortnightly confession.


A celestial being. There are four broad categories of celestial beings as follows: Bhavanapatis (residential);
Vyantaras (Peripatetic);
Jyotiskas (stellar bodies); and
Vaimanikas (heavenly bodies).
Bhavanapatis (residential);
The following are the Bhavanapati devas: Asurakumaras, Nagakumaras, Vidyutkumaras, Suparnakumaras, Agnikumaras, Vatakumaras, Stnitkumaras, Udadhikumaras, Dwipkumaras, and Dikkumaras.
Vyantaras (Peripatetic);The following are the Vyantara devas: Kinnaras, Kimpurisas, Moharagas, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Bhutas, and Pisachas.
Jyotiska devas include the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, etc. Bhavanapatis and Vyantaras live just below the earth.
Vaimanikas (heavenly bodies).Vaimanikas are of two types: Kalpotpannas and Kalpatitas. The former live in heavens just above the Jyotiska devas, and the latter live farther beyond.

Deva Dharanendra

Protecting deity of Tirthankar Parsva, himself the lord of the nagas (snakes).

Ganadhara Kesi

Fourth Acharya in the line of Parsva, a contemporary of Mahavira. He had a long discussion with Ganadhara Gautama of the order of Mahavira, which resolved the differences between the two sects of the nirgranthas, who were united thereafter.


The Jainas have conceived five kinds of knowledge as follows:Mati or ordinary cognition by the sense organs and the mind;Sruta or knowledge derived with the help of signs, symbols, or words (expressions);
Avadhi or direct knowledge of corporeal things without the help of the sense organs and the mind, but within some limit of space and time;
Manahparyaya or direct knowledge of the thought of others without the help of the sense organs and the mind, but within some limit of space and time;
Kevala or knowledge which completely reveals, without any limitation of space and time, the truth about all things in the universe, corporeal as well as non-corporeal, with all their attributes and modifications, past, present, and future.


Heavens. According to the Jainas, there are 12 or 16kalpas as follows:
Saudharma & Aisana (paired)
Sanatkumara & Mahendra (paired)
Above them, in the center, one above another,are:
And then, above them, in pairs again:
Anata & Pranata
Arana & Achyuta
The Digambaras add Brahmottara before Lantaka, Kapistha and Sukra before Mahasukra, and Satara before Sahasrara, making a total of 16.


Substantive force, matter in subtle form.


A standing posture of meditation, giving up attachment to the body.

Mahadeva, Siva

The Destroyer-god of the Hindu pantheon.


Twenty-fourth tirthankara of the Jainas, a senior contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Muni Subrata

Twentieth tirthankara of the Jainas.


A forest well known for its beauty, said to be located between Mount Meru and Devakuru.


Hells. As per the Jaina view of cosmos, there are seven hells as follows:(1) Ratnaprabha (2) Sarkaraprabha (3) Valukaprabha (4) Pankaprabha (5) Dhumaprabha (6) Tamahprabha (7) Mahatamahprabha


Nine fundamental principles of Jainism. A precise knowledge about these is essential for the liberation of the soul which is in bondage. These are:
1. Jiva (souls)
2. Ajiva (non-living substances). In this group are dharma (motion), adharma (rest), akasa (space), kala (time), and pudgala (matter- particles).
3. Asrava (influx of karma in the form of matter-particles which stick to the soul spaces and act as fetters)
4. Bandha (bondage)
5. Punya (virtue)
6. Papa (vice)
7. Samvara (arresting karma influx)
8. Nirjara (exhausting accumulated karma)
9. Moksa (liberation, which takes place when the soul is liberated, perfected and enlightened because of the total release from the clutches of matter-particles)

These nine can be reduced to two, jiva and ajiva, which are the very basic of basic principles. Others simply help to understand the process of karma bondage until liberation.


Twenty-third tirthankara of the Jainas.


Consort of Siva of the Hindu pantheon, Mother-Goddess.


A branch of Hinduism which worships Siva as the principal deity.


A religious practice in which the lay follower spends a night like a monk. He keeps away from his wife and normal family life.


Concentration on religious themes for a duration of 48 minutes.

Sasan Devi

Protecting deity of the tirthankaras.


As distinguished from the Brahmana, the Sramana cult in India sheltered innumerable creeds, including Jainism and Buddhism, often called heretical, which did not believe in the authority of the Vedas.


Lay followers, male and female, in the Jaina order.


A great sravika at the time of Lord Mahavira.


Founder of the Jaina order from time to time.


Up-phase of the Jaina time-cycle.


A species of human beings who are in possession of some special arts, like flying.


The Protector-god of the Hindu pantheon.


A species of celestial beings residing in the uppermost strata of the Ratnaprabha hell, just bordering the earth.

Yogi, Yogini

Yoga is the Hindu system of philosophic meditation and asceticism designed to bring about the reunion of the devotee's soul with the Superior Reality. A devotee, male or female, of yoga. (In original Jaina terminology, yoga implied activities of the body, mind and speech which create fetters, and was therefore to be discarded. In later periods, however, many Jaina monks have practiced yoga in the Hindu sense.)
64 Yoginis Attendants of the Mother-Goddess in the Hindu pantheon.


Head of the holy order of the Jainas.


Risabha The first tirthankara of the Jaina order, who was not only the first monarch on earth, but was first in all respects, because of which he is called Adinatha, or Lord of Genesis. He taught men arts and crafts and gave them the first Canons and the Brahmi script.


See Vratas.


Non-injury, non-slaughter, by words, mind and deeds. This is the first principal vow of the Jaina religion. In its broad connotation, it covers the remaining four vows of non-lie, non- sex, non-theft, and non-possession.


Jina; literally, conqueror of inner enemies, like passion, hatred, greed, attachment, etc.


Four food items as follows: · Bread, rice that constitute the main meal· all drinks· fruits· betel, chewing spices taken after meal, jaggery, honey, etc


See Navatattva.


A species of peripatetic celestial beings. See Devas.


See Jnana


A form of address inviting the attention of the Acharya; Sanskrit bhadanta, bhavanta, bhayanta, i.e., one who helps end transmigration.

Bharanda bird

A giant-sized bird with two mouths and one belly. Traders used to go to the Valley of Diamonds with their help. These birds have been praised in the Jaina literature for their extreme steadfastness.


A god of Hindu mythology linked with creation.


Name of a month in the Indian calendar, extending roughly from the middle of March to the middle of April.


Fourteenth day of the fortnight in the month. It is a very special day in the Jaina life for fasting and other penances.


Law, religion. Technically, the Jainas have used the term to signify motion, as adharma signifies rest.


Meditating on spiritual objects, like the words of the tirthankaras, images of the tirthankaras, etc. The Jainas have conceived four types of meditation, of which two are common to all worldly beings and two are followed by those who are on the spiritual path. They are:
(1) Arta-dhyana, which is meditating on earthly objects for one's own happiness;
(2) Raudra-dhyana, which is meditating on doing harm to another or others for one's own happiness;
(3) Dharma-dhyana as above; and
(4) Sukla-dhyana, which is meditating on one s own self


See Dikparimana under Vratas.


marriage One of the eight forms of marriage in vogue in ancient India, in which, without the consent of their parents and the elders, a boy and a girl got married by a simple exchange of garlands.

kalpa tree

It was a variety of flora, now wholly extinct, which supplied everyday requirements of human beings, subsistence in particular, before they devised various arts and crafts.


A sect of heretical monks in the Sakti cult prevalent all over India at one time. the kapalika mode of propitiation is not very dominant now, though there are many Saktas in India to this day. They usually believe in animal slaughter.


It is a substantive force, matter in very subtle form. These matter-particles, called pudgalas, fill all cosmic space. The soul, by its communication with the outer world, becomes literally penetrated by these matter-particles. These in turn become karma and build up a special body called karman sarira, which does not leave the soul until its final liberation. Karma works in such a way that every action leaves a mark of its own, which is retained and built into the organism to serve as the basis of future action.


A standing posture of meditation peculiar to the Jaina monks. Literally, it means giving up (attachment to) the body.

Kesariya modaka

A sweet prepared from wheat flour, sugar and ghee (clarified butter) with sufficient addition of saffron to impart color and flavor.

Kevala jnana

See Jnana.


See Deva


A Jaina monk; literally, one who keeps control of the tongue, taking a vow of non-speaking.

Muni Subrata

Twentieth tirthankara of the Jainas.


A forest, well known for its beauty, said to be located somewhere between Mount Meru and Devakuru.

Namokara (also navakara or namaskara)

This is the core mantra of the Jainas, if it can be called by that name. Translated into English, it's only an obeisance to the five agents of well-being, called pancha- paramesthi.


See Vratas.


A confession for lapses, omissions and commissions to oneself. This is to be done daily, fortnightly, and yearly.


See Vratas.


Attending deity of the tirthankaras. These have male counterparts, too, called Sasan deva. They are also called yaksa and yaksini. Since the tirthankaras are free from attachment (vitaraga), they do not help their devotees. It is from the attending deity that the devotee receives help.

Saudharma loka

See Kalpas.


Liberated souls who reside in the topmost region of the spheres called Siddhasila.

Sravaka, Sravika

Lay follower of the Jaina order, male and female. They are required to observe 12 vows (see Vratas) in order to be so called. Mere birth in a Jaina household does not entitle one to be called a sravaka or sravika unless s/he fulfills the 12 vows.


A merchant; literally, the best (among men). Merchants were so designated in India because of the valuable service they could render to the society by dint of their wealth holding.


A famous sravika of the time of Mahavira. She was the wife of a chariot driver named Naga, who was related to King Prasenajit. At first, she had no son. Later 32 sons were born to her, all with the same life span. They were in the service of King Srenika of Rajagriha. Lord Mahavira praised this lady for her devotion and steadfastness.


To ruminate on the lessons received from the spiritual preceptor (upadhyaya).


A species of snake which is extremely venomous.


Founder of the Jaina order. Tirtha means order, which is four-fold, consisting of the monks, nuns, and male and female lay-followers. In the present time-cycle as conceived by the Jainas, there have in all been 24 tirthankaras, headed by Adinatha Risabha. The last three (Aristanemi, a contemporary of Krishna in the line of Yadu; Parsva, a prince from Kasi; and Mahavira, the senior contemporary of Gautama Buddha) are historical persons.


Spiritual preceptor who teaches holy texts.

Vaikriya (sarira)

Fluid (body). Other four body forms are (1) audarika (gross); (2) aharaka (assimilative); (3) taijasa (caloric); and (4) karman (made of karma particles).


A species of human beings. They were so called because they were in possession of certain vidyas, e.g., flying through the sky, which were bestowed on them by the first tirthankara, Risabha.


Vows. Five Great Vows (mahavratas) are:
(1) Ahimsa (not to kill)
(2) Amrisa (not to tell a lie)
(3) Achaurya (not to steal)
(4) Amaithuna (not to indulge in sexual behavior)
(5) Aparigraha (not to have attachments/possessions)
These are to be followed in their most rigorous form, and without lapse, by the monks and nuns. The same five, when prescribed for members of the lay order, become somewhat lenient. These are called Lesser Vows (anuvratas), and then they take the following names:
(1) Pranatipata viramana (to desist from killing)
(2) Mirsavada viramana (to desist from telling lies)
(3) Adattadana viramana (not to accept when not rightly bestowed)
(4) Maithuna viramana (to desist from sexual behavior)
(5) Parigraha parimana (to fix the size of acquisition)
To illustrate, a householder is permitted to cook food even though this may mean some slaughter of minute animals. A householder is permitted to indulge in sexual behavior with his wife, but not with any other woman. And so on. This is a restricted form of the vow for the lay followers, consistent with the fulfillment of their responsibility as householders. but to atone for these relaxations, seven more vows have been added for the followers as follows:
(1) Bhogopabhoga parimana or limiting objects to be used.
(2) Dik parimana or limiting the sphere/direction of movement.
(3) Anartha-danda viramana or not to indulge in sinful acts not necessary for the maintenance of oneself or one's family.
(4) Samayika or concentrating for a duration of 48 minutes on spiritual themes, which may be repeated several times a day.
(5) Desavahasika or setting new limits every day within the limits already imposed, thereby restricting further and further one's free life.
(6) Pausadha or living for a day like a monk, or even for a day and night, raising the restricted vow to the level of total vows.
(7) Atithi-sambibhaga or serving monks, nuns, and other dese rving guests.
Of these seven, the first three are called guna- vratas because they intensify the five anuvratas, and the last four are siksavratas, because they are preliminary disciplines for entering into the life of a monk. Apart from observing the five Great Vows, the monks are required to practice ten virtues, specifically mentioned, and practice elaborate meditation.


A species of peripatetic celestial being residing on the uppermost strata of the Ratnaprabha hell, just bordering the earth.


About 8 English miles. 2 miles make one kosa, and 4 kosas make one yojana.



Article Courtesy : Mr. Pravin K. Shah
Chairperson Jaina Education Committee
 Federation of Jain Associations in North America 
509, Carriage Woods Circle Raleigh, NC 27607-3969, USA 
E-Mail : pkshah1@attglobal.net


Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation