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JAINISM:- Jainism traditionally known as Jaina dharma,[1] is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and emphasises spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life. Practitioners believe that non-violence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation. Currently, Jainism is divided into two major sects —Digambara and Śvētāmbara.
The word Jainism is derived from a Sanskrit verb Jin which means to conquer. It refers to a battle with the passions and bodily pleasures that the jaina ascetics undertake. Those who win this battle are termed as Jina (conqueror). The term Jaina is therefore used to refer to laymen and ascetics of this tradition alike.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world.[2] Jains traditionally trace their history through a succession of twenty-four propagators of their faith known as tirthankara with Ādinātha as the first tirthankara and Mahāvīra as the last of the current era. For long periods of time Jainism was the state religion of Indian kingdoms and widely adopted in the Indian subcontinent. The religion has been in decline since the 8th century CE due to the growth, and oppression by the followers, of Hinduism and Islam.[3][4]
LITERATURE:- The tradition talks about a body of scriptures preached by all the tirthankara of Jainism. These scriptures were contained in fourteen parts and were known as Purva. It was memorized and passed on through the ages, but became fairly vulnerable and were lost because of famine that caused the death of several jain saints, within a thousand years of Mahāvīra's death.[14]
Agamas are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahāvīra's teachings. These comprise forty-six works: twelve angās, twelve upanga āgamas, six chedasūtras, four mūlasūtras, ten prakīrnaka sūtras and two cūlikasūtras.[15]
The Digambara sect of Jainism maintains that these agamas were also lost during the same famine. In the absence of authentic scriptures, Digambars use about twenty-five scriptures written for their religious practice by great Acharyas. These include two main texts, four Pratham-Anuyog, three charn-anuyoga, four karan-anuyoga and twelve dravya-anuyoga.[16]
Worship:- Ṇamōkāra mantra is the fundamental prayer of Jainism. In this prayer there is no mention of names, including that of the tirthankara. Jains do not ask for favours or material benefits from the tirthankara or from monks. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings they believe are more spiritually advanced and to remind followers of Jainism of their ultimate goal, nirvana.[51]
In Jainism, the purpose of worship or prayer is to break the barriers of worldly attachments and desires, so as to assist in the liberation of the soul. Jains follow six obligatory duties known as avashyakas: samyika (practising serenity), chaturvimshati (praising the tirthankara), vandan (respecting teachers and monks), pratikramana (introspection), kayotsarga (stillness), and pratyakhyana (renunciation).[102] Related to the five auspicious life events of tirthankara called Panch Kalyanaka are such rituals as the panch kalyanaka pratishtha mahotsava, panch kalyanaka puja, and snatra puja.

Festivals:- Paryushana is one of the most important festivals for Jains. Śvētāmbara Jains normally refer to it as Paryushana, with the literal meaning of "abiding" or "coming together", while Digambara Jains call it Das Lakshana. It is a time when the laity take on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism. Paryushana lasts eight days for Śvētāmbara Jains and ten days for Digambara Jains.[105]
Mahāvīra Jayanti, the birthday of Mahāvīra, the last tirthankara, is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the fortnight of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra, which date falls in late March or early April of the Gregorian calendar.[106]
Diwali is a festival that takes place during the month of Kartik in the Indian lunisolar calendar, around the new-moon day (amavasya). This usually falls in October or November. Mahāvīra attained his nirvana at the dawn of the amavasya (new moon).[107] According to the Kalpa Sūtra by Acharya Bhadrabahu, 3rd century BCE, numerous deva were present there, illuminating the darkness.[108] On 21 October 1974 the 2500th Nirvana Mahotsava was celebrated by Jains throughout India.
Fasting:- Most Jains fast at special times, particularly during festivals. A Jain, however, may fast whenever it seems appropriate. A unique ritual in this religion involves a holy fast to death, called sallekhana. Through this one achieves a death with dignity and dispassion as well as a great reduction of negative karma.[110] When a person is aware of approaching death, and feels that all his or her duties have been fulfilled, he or she may decide to gradually cease eating and drinking. This form of dying is also called santhara. It can take as long as twelve years of gradual reduction in food intake. Considered extremely spiritual and creditable, with awareness of the transitory nature of human experience, santhara has recently been the centre of a controversy in which a lawyer petitioned the High Court of Rajasthan to declare it illegal. Jains see santhara as spiritual detachment requiring a great deal of spiritual accomplishment and maturity, a declaration that a person has finished with this world and chooses to leave.
Meditation:- Jaina scriptures offer extensive guidance on meditation techniques. Jains have developed a type of meditation called Samayika, which term derives from the word samaya. The goal of Samayika is to achieve a feeling of perfect calmness and to understand the unchanging truth of the self. Such meditation is based on contemplation of the universe and the reincarnation of self.[112] Samayika is particularly important during the religious festival Paryushana. It is believed that meditation assists in managing and balancing one's passions. Great emphasis is placed on the internal control of thoughts, as they influence behaviour, actions and goals.

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