Brief introduction of Jainism - origin and cause
THE PEACEFUL LIBERATORS
A JAINA, or JAIN, is a follower of the Jinas, the spiritual
conquerors from whose lives and teaching the Jain religion in India is derived. They are human teachers who have attained the highest knowledge and insight, and who share with their followers the way to moksha, the release from rebirth in the worlds of ignorance and suffering. The Jinas are also known as the tirthankaras, the builders of the ford that leads souls across the river of rebirth, or samsara, to spiritual freedom. Jains believe that 24 tirthankaras appear in each half-cycle of time to teach this way of release of the soul ( jiva ), from its entanglement in material existence, known as karma. Of the 24 tirthankaras of the present half-cycle, little is known historically of any but the last two, Parsva and Mahavira, and even then legend prevails. But Parsva and Mahavira, together with the first tirthankaras Rsabha and Nemi, are objects of veneration and the equivalent of worship. Parsva lived in the 9th century BC and Mahavira in the 6th century BC.