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  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V Y


Non-potential soul, unfit self for salvation. Such a souls never perform spiritual effort (puruṣārth)


Ācārya (Acharya)

Ācāryas form the third category of ascetics of the Ṇamokar mantra and the Oṁkar sound according to the Indus texts. They are the leaders of the saṅgha of all ascetics and householders. They are the learned ascetics who can teach, and also can write scriptures from spiritual insight. Such scriptures are considered indisputable and can not be contradicted by anyone’s mental speculation.


Ācārya bhakti

Devotional narration in reverence of any ācārya by the disciples.


Acetana (Achetan(a))

Not living, not containing a soul, so without consciousness and mind. Pudgala (=matter) is achetan according to Jainism. Acetana is the opposite of cetana (chetan).


Adamya puruṣārtha (purusharth)

Spiritual effort (puruṣārtha) up to the maximum limit.



The ‘first and original’ Lord. The first tīrthaṅkara, also know under his name Ṛsabha who lived several millions of years ago, of the 24 tīrthaṅkaras which have appeared in the present, downward half or utsarpiṇī (i.e. they all appeared in the latter part of it) of the great cycle (kalacakra) of joy and suffering. Adinātha has the bull as his symbol. He was the great initiator of all mental culture of humanity and propagator of the one original religion of which all other (later) religions derived. Through his ‘children’ 100 sons and 2 daughters he laid the basis of the dispersal of all culture among thinking humanity.


Adisila (Adishila)

Name of the big boulder on the mountain Vindhyagiri in Sravana Belagola on which Indus script is found.



Canonical texts of Jainism were based on the Tīthaṅkaras’ teachings. The Indus script, dating from before Mahāvīra, also depicts the four anuyogas or groups of canonical texts alike a Jina throne. Much after Mahāvīra the new Āgamas were rewritten through five assemblies of ācāryas because the earlier ones had been destroyed by religious rivals at about the middle of the 1st millennium BCE. The texts were kept only in people’s memories and maintained through oral tradition. The Indus heritage from before Mahāvīra seems to reflect the existence of these texts even then. Mahāvīra’s preaching were orally compiled by his disciples into various sūtras (texts) which were collectively called Jain canonical or Āgamic literature. Traditionally these sutras were orally passed on from teachers (ācāryas or gurus) to the disciples for several centuries. The scholars date the composition of Jain āgamas at around the 6th to 3rd century BCE to 8th century CE. Noted Indologist Hermann Jacobi holds that the composition of the Jain canon would fall somewhere about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BCE. The general consensus among scholars is that the earliest portions of Jain canons were composed around 4th or 3rd century BCE. This is in agreement with Jain tradition according to which the earliest portions of Jain canons were composed around 4th or 3rd century BCE. This is in agreement with Jain tradition according to which the Āgamic literature and the Pūrvas (ancient texts) were passed from one heads of the order to his disciples for around 170 years after the nirwāṇa of Mahāvīra. However with time, it became difficult to keep the entire Jain literature committed to memory. According to tradition, there occurred a twelve years of famine around 350 BCE in Ujjain, where it was extremely difficult for the Jain ascetics to survive during this time. Under such circumstances they could not preserve the entire canonical literature. However, in other parts of the country where no famine occurred religious rivalry destroyed the original literature. According to the Śvetambara (white-dressed) tradition, the Āgamas were collected on the basis of collective memory of the ascetics in the first council of Patalipūtra under the stewardship of Ācārya Sthūlabhadra (297-198 BCE) The Śwetambar tradition of Jainism trace their lineage through Sthūlabhadra even earlier, around to 463–367 BCE. However, the Digambara (wind-clad, nude) Jains don’t recognize him and this sect maintains that after the damage of the original canonical literature only one part or limb (Aṅga), the twelfth, named Ṣatkhandāgama), was hidden and saved in the Mūlbidri Math (near Mysore), from which the whole literature was rebuilt and rewritten

The Āgamas were composed forty-five texts, among which the twelve Aṅgas


Aghāti karmas

Karma that can not be destroyed but have to be faced patiently are of four types:

1 Feeling producing, and also frustrations/ obstructions causing karma of useful efforts of righteously minded people. (vedanīya karma)

2 Longevity determining karma (ayu karma)

3 Identity (including every possible birth-form) determining karma

(nāma karma) of 93 types

4 Status of the family in which one can be born. (gotra karma)

See also Ghāti karma.



Non-life. Of all the six substances only jīva is conscious. Other substances are time, space, matter, motion and retardation of motion or non-motion (rest), and these are ajīva, non-living, not in possession of consciousness (feeling, pleasure, pain etc.).


Aloka see Loka


Alokākāśa (Alokakasha)

The space outside (not within) our Universe, where no soul can go. See also Lokākāśa.


Anantanubandhi karmas

Such karmas which tie or burden the soul for unending time.



The twelve Aṅgas or ‘limbs’ (book, chapter) of the Jain Āgamas. These are existing nowadays only in the form as modified by the Śvetambaras between the 3rd century BCE and the 8th century CE, but are not recognized by the Digambaras. The twelfth Aṅga is claimed by the Digambaras to have been found back near Mysore, South West India, as the Ṣatkhandāgama (see under Āgama) and on basis of this Digambaras have reconstructed the other eleven. The twelve Aṅgas are/ were:


Ācārāṅga sūtra




Vyākhyāprajñapti or Bhagavati sūtra








[from: Wikipedia].



Reflection, contemplation; meditating on the nature of the body etc.; contemplating the knowledge one has acquired.


Anupūrvi (Anupoorvi)

The karma that comes into action before death and guides the soul to the next birth.

It is the last thought when one is dying regarding the whole past life. Before leaving the body the souls touches the new place and knows where is going to be borne for its next embodiment on earth.


Anuṣṭup (Anushthubh, Anushthup)

The name of a meter and a metrical unit, found in both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit poetry, but with significant differences. By origin, an anuṣṭṵp stanza is a quatrain of four lines. [from Wikipedia].



The five lesser vows (for lay persons): 1) non-killing; 2) truthfulness; 3) non-stealing; 4) no sexual misconduct (i.e. outside marriage); 5) non-grasping or hoarding beyond what is absolutely necessary for life.



A person who practices the five aṇṵvratas.



The four departments of the Fain scriptures: 1) Prathamānuyoga – dealing with the lives of the Tīrthaṅkaras and other great personalities; 2) Karaṇānuyoga – dealing with the structure and constitution of loka, the Cosmos; 3) Caraṇānuyoga – dealing with principles of conduct prescribed for householders as well as for ascetics; 4) Dravyānuyoga – dealing with metaphysical aspects of reality (Susā).



Non-grasping. Not taking or collecting more than is needed within certain set limits.



Samyak darśanāchar (indicates four ways of right observation together at the same time: right view, right knowledge, right conduct and right austerity). Prayer to uplift the self with equanimity. In other words it is ratnatraya + behavior with austerity.



All efforts made for livelihood, including such activities as cultivation, farming, growing and collecting the crops, cooking, eating, etc. within the confines of non- grasping and non-hoarding (Aparigraha) – i.e. not taking or collecting more than is needed.


Ardhacakri (Ardhchakri)

Half-ruler. A ruler who is a good warrior but has not conquered the whole world. When he a is ruler of the whole world he is called a cakri.



Jain ascetic who has risen spiritually to the highest or 12th level of spiritual elevation of the 14 staged ladder of spirituality, thus having achieved omniscience. Arhats have therefore destroyed the four classes of ghati (destructive) karmas, but has yet to improve two steps on the ladder by fighting the four classes of aghati (non-destructive) karmas, i.e. those karmas which can not be counteracted and thus have to be accepted faced till their very exhaustion).


Arihant = Arhata.

Literally: killer of the enemy, i.e. destroyer of the karmas that are the enemy of the soul or self – spiritually, i.e. not killing any living creature,, but killing (destroying) one’s own accumulated karmas.



The noble people, those who are interested in religion and are virtuous and who live in Āryakhanda. They are distinguished from all other peoples who are called mlecchas or anāryans.



The race of Āryas.



The lands where the Āryas live (in distinction form Mlecchakhanda, where the mlecchas live).



Jain nun living in separate saṅgha apart from the male monks. Āryikā is the highest status for female ascetics. The head is called Gaṇini. All Āryikās are on the 5th stage of the 14 step spirituality ladder.



See Śramana, Muni



Influx of karmas. It refers to the influence of body and mind causing the soul to generate karma. The karmic process in Jainism is based on seven truths or fundamental principles of Jainism which explain the human predicament. Out that the seven, the four—influx (āsrava), bondage (bandha), stoppage (saṁvara) and release (nirjarā)—pertain to the karmic process. According to the Nava Tatva Sūtra, there are forty-two āsravas or ways through which the soul is exposed to the inflow of karmas. Of the forty-two, five are senses, four are passions (kaṣayas, viz. anger, pride, love and covetousness), five are sins (avratas, viz. killing, stealing, lying, adultery and worldliness), three are activities (called ‘yogas’ in Jainism), viz. mental, verbal and physical activity, and twenty-five are “minor āsravas”, individual acts such as “walking carelessly”, “lending a weapon”, “wishing ill to any being”, “the reception of a gift”, “the exercise of cunning” or “accusing any of the Jain books of falsehood”, etc.

The āsrava, that is, the influx of karmic occurs when the karmic particles are attracted to the soul on account of vibrations created by activities of mind, speech and body. “The activities of body, speech and mind is called yoga. This three-fold action results in āsrava or influx of karma.” The karmic inflow on account of yoga driven by passions and emotions cause a long term inflow of karma prolonging the cycle of reincarnations. On the other hand, the karmic inflows on account of actions that are not driven by passions and emotions have only a transient, short-lived karmic effect (Wikipedia).


Aṣṭa dravya  (Ashta dravya)

The eight materials of worship: 1) water for cleaning from dirt and sin; 2) sandal paste for smoothening any hurt done in past 24 hours; 3) whole rice (signifying that one remains unbroken even when beaten; 4) flowers for fragrance which is soothing, comforting; 5) food (any good food: sweets); 6) light (in form of saffron-yellow rice) to give enlightenment; 7) incense or cloves to burn off karmas; 8) (dry) fruits to reach salvation. Then given we offer them all together. All accompanied by prayers.


Aṣṭa karma (Ashta karma, Eight karmas)

The eight karmas or eight categories of karma. There are infinite types karmas, and these have been divided according to their nature of results in 148 types. The eight karmas summarize the 148 types of karma The karma of Jains is very different from that of other religions. Divided into two classes of four: Ghati (can be destroyed) and aghati (can not be countered and has to be faced). Ghati can be carried into next life). The mohanīya (the fourth of the ghatikarmas bring) ‘a kind of spiritual stupor interfering with cognition’ (Susā).


Aṣṭāpada (Ashtapada)

The place near Mount Kailash in Tibet where the first Tīrthaṅkara, Rishabh(deo) (Ṛṣabha) attained salvation millions of years ago. So it is the first nirwāṇabhūmi (nirwāṇa ground) where a Tīrthaṅkara reached nirwāṇa in our present downward half of the time circle. The site is represented by a nearby Jain temple which is now occupied by Hindus who regarded and covered the original idol of Ṛṣabha so that it looks like a Hindu idol. Jains can nowadays visit the place only against high payment only during the daily abhisheka (ritual washing) event when the idol is washed and therefore naked and unadorned before being redressed by the Hindus.


Aṣṭāpadi (Ashtapadi)

An animal with eight legs which could never be made to touch the ground because it always stood on its four legs; this animal is referred in the Jain scriptures as well as in the Indus texts.



The self.



A person who is always directed towards the soul – who not just believes in the soul, but has actually felt it and abides continually in it. Such a soul has reached the 12th guṇasthāna or higher.



Pronunciation of Om. The pañca parameṣṭhi (five objects of worship for Jains together make the Om-sound. A-A-Ā-U-M (for explanation see Pañca parameṣṭḥi).



That which rises in upapāda.





Aupaśamika (Aupashamik)

Karmas that are subsided but not destroyed by the efforts of the practitioner. karmas can be partly kṣāyik (combated) and partly aupaśamik (subsided) – and this is called Kṣayopaśamika. Arihantas (Arhats) do kṣyayik, austerity which completely destroys the possibility of attracting new karmas. Worldly people have audayik effects only. Monks do aupaśamik – sedimented type, this goes on till the 12th guṅasthāna. Beyond the 12th only the kṣyayik phenomenon prevails. Ghati karmas can be handled in the above three ways, aghati by kṣyayik only.


Autpattikī Buddhi

Instantaneous comprehension (Susā).


Clairvoyance (which is of many kinds).



Down-going curve of the time cycle or circle (kalachakra) or downward moving snake: ava = down(wards), sṛp = to slide, glide, sarpinī is female snake. In which unhappiness increases. The opposite halve of the curve is Utsarpiṇī


Awaśakas (Awashakas)

There are six awaśakas. (essentials), which means the six essential duties of any awakened Jain: 1) seeing the idols of the jinas, 2) worshiping the guru, 3) to study and learn for oneself 4) charity, 5) service to the sadhus (ascetcs) and 6) samayik.



An awatāra in Hinduism (or a tulku in Northern Buddhism) is defined as a temporary composed being consisting of a pure human being in which a godlike creature descends and makes use of that human vehicle – which remains in full consciousness – in order to convey his message or to do work in the Middle World. After fulfilling his task the god withdraws (temporary or permanently) to his own plane, but the man may continue to live normally. If required he can over-enlighten the human being repeatedly or life long. Examples were Rāma, Kṛṣṇa and Jesus the Christ.



Life-span or longevity. The predetermined lifespan from conception until death in one body form. In case of premature death such as by an accident ayu is completed quickly by fast respirations so that their count is completed.



Life-span determining karma.