the word ‘tirth’ means a pilgrimage and tirthankar is a person– the establisher of a tirth. tirth is a place which can be a medium of a person to attain peace and mukti.
tirthankars has five auspicious occasions in his life time, namely:
- entering the womb of the mother
- deeksha (complete detachment with worldly things)
- keval gyan (ultimate knowledge)
- nirvan (freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth)
- out of these five, even if a single one occurs at any one place, then that place becomes a pilgrimage or a tirth in other words.
- for example – sammedshikharji, where 20 tirthankars got nirvan. apart from the tirthankaras, if anybody else gets ‘keval gyan’ and when he departs his body in any area, than that area or city becomes a tirth place.
- if at any place, a temple has been made and that temple has become as old as 100 years, then this place or city will also be called a tirth place.
tirth can be divided into two categories:
- jangam tirth
- thavar tirth
jangam tirth – a moving sadhu or sadhvi are believed to be tirth in themselves. in jainism they have been also given the place of tirth. but because they keep moving from one place to another, they are called jangam tirth.
a sadhu or a sadhvi should be respected and worshiped in a similar way as that done in a tirth. it is the ‘bana’ which they wear which is worshiped – just like an idol in a tirth.
as a tirth has an idol which people worship and which is the symbol of god, similarly the sadhu or sadhvi has that ‘bana’ which is worshiped and which represents great religion. so, sadhu and sadhvi’s are also tirth in themselves.
thavar tirth : a place of worship which remains still and does not move anywhere is thavar tirth. thavar tirth is supposed to be established by any tirthankar. so, a place where any of the above mentioned five things happen is a thavar tirth. for example, palitana, sammetshikhar, girnar ji, pavapuri, etc.
some of the tirths of jains are:
- ashtapad (kailash) – which is missing somewhere in kailash hills.
- palitana – situated in gujrat, on the hill top and has approximately 3500 swetamber mandirs
- sammedshikhar – where 20 tirthankaras got nirvana.
- girnar ji – in gujrat, about 4-5 km from junagarh, 22nd tirthankar (neminath ji) took deeksha, kevalgyan and nirvan from this palce.
- pavapuri – in patna, here the last tirthankar (mahavir swami ji) got nirvana.
- hastinapur – situated in meerut in uttar pradesh, this place has great importance as three of our tirthankaras (shanti nath, kuntunath, arahnath ji) took birth, took diksha, got keval gyan and nirvana from here. 19th tirthankar also had his samosaran here, also rishabh dev completed his yearlong fast at this place.
jainism is an ancient religious and philosophical tradition of india. jains are the sixth largest religious community of india. there are more than three million indian jains. as a wealthy religious community, jains have had a powerful influence on the life and the history of the indian subcontinent. the jain religion takes its name from the jina (meaning victor or conqueror), a title given to 24 great teachers called tirthankaras (ford-makers). these teachers demonstrated and taught jains the path of purity and peace which leads to the highest spiritual liberation. wealthy jains have made major contribution to education and to art in india. jain temples are among some of the most beautiful in india. these temples are often the focus of pilgrimages, particularly in the states or rajasthan, gujarat, maharashtra, madya pradesh, and karnataka in western india.
jain mandir are of two types :
shikhar badh mandir : a temple that has been constructed from the roots and not converted. such temples should always be constructed by the contribution of the entire society and not individually. there is a dosh attached with these kinds of mandir – during 11:00 am to 2:30 pm if the shadow of this temple(due to sun rays) falls on any house then that house and its members might have some problems. but if the shadow falls on any other time then there is no problem.
there are two categories in these types of temples:
sidha pramatma mandir (temple of those lords who have become siddha – attained complete freedom): flag on siddha parmatmas mandir is a tri color with red in the center and white on top and bottom. the statue inside this mandir is alone and not surrounded by any other statues.
arihant pramatma mandir (temple of arihant) : flag on arihant parmatma’s mandir is a tri color with white in the center and red on top and bottom. the statue of the lord inside is not alone but surrounded by other statues.
ghar mandir : temples made at home or home converted to temple is ghar mandir. there is no fault or dosh of this mandir.
jain temples have some features in common:
there is moolgubara (the area where the lord sits in the temple) and on top of the moolgubara is the flag just above the right shoulder of the lord to symbolize that all the responsibility and weight of religion is on his shoulders.
there is ample space before this moolgubara where all the prayers are offered to the lord – dravya pooja, bhav pooja, etc. are done from here only. chaitya vandana is also done from here. all music, dance, bhajan, kirtans are done here only and is known as rang mandap.
inside the moolgubara – ang pooja is done.there is a crown on the top of every temple.
general rules followed by the jains whenever they happen to visit temple :
- one should try to visit mandir daily.
- while entering the mandir one should say – ‘om jai nissahi nissahi nissahi’ and while leaving ‘om jai aasahi aasahi aasahi’. it is basically a request to the devs and devis in the mandir to move and give us space to go in and worship. while leaving we tell them to take their place back.
- after that put a mark of purity – chandan tika and ‘gindodak’ should be put on the forehead.
- to chaitya vandan – if not possible – bow towards the lord and offer him ones prayers.
- mandir should be kept clean.
- while entering into the temple one should forget about the other three directions and concentrate only in the direction of god.