Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 37)


Sacred enclosure, temple.


'Temple dweller’, used deprecatingly in the 11th to 13th centuries for groups of monks who permanently lived in temples instead of wandering about and were thus connected with money.


Sanskrit for 'universal monarch'. There are 12 in the continent of Bharata in each progressive and regressive half-cyle of time. They have 9 treasures and 14 jewels they can use to conquer their enemies and become 'universal monarchs'. The cakravartin form one of the five groups of '63 illustrious men' in Jain mythology.


The yakṣī or female attendant of Ṛṣabha, the first Jina. Along with some of the other yakṣīs, Cakreśvarī has become an independent figure over the centuries and is worshipped in her own right.


Sanskrit for a fan originally made of a yak's tail, used for fanning a deity during a ritual. Royalty and priests are often fanned with cāmaras as a sign of their high status, which is often depicted in art.


The head nun of Mahāvīra’s community, who first came to his notice by offering him an appropriate gift of food after he had been fasting for five months.


Founder and first ruler of the Mauryan Empire, Candragupta (circa 340–298 BCE; ruled from circa 320 BCE) is an important figure in Jain history. According to Digambara tradition he abdicated his throne to become a monk and followed the sage Bhadrabāhu. The pair fasted to death at Shravana Belgola and are commemorated there.


The eighth Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is white and his emblem the crescent moon. There is no historical evidence of his existence.


Set of sacred texts that believers accept as authoritative within a religion. Another word for 'scripture'.




A type of karman which prevents good conduct by producing passions and other obstacles to spiritual development.


Usually written as 'chowrie' in English, the Hindi carũrī is a fly-whisk or fan. It is probably descended from the Sanskrit term cāmara, which means a 'yak-tail fan'. Like the cāmara, the chowrie is used to fan royalty or priests and thus signifies high status in Indian art.


Hindu society is traditionally divided into numerous jātis or classes, which are usually grouped into the four varṇas – often called 'castes' – of:

  • Brāhmaṇa – priest
  • Kṣatriya – warrior
  • Vaśya – merchant or farmer
  • Śūdra – labourer.

Relating to ritual purity, castes are hereditary and probably based on occupation. Members of different castes performed particular socio-economic roles and did not mix or eat the same food. People outside the caste system were usually looked down upon.


The ‘fourfold society’ of Jain tradition, which is made up of ascetics and the laity, and of males and females.


Praise of the 24 Jinas, the title of a hymn.


The four vows the 23rd Jina Pārśva decreed his followers should take:

  • never commit violence and avoid harming another creature
  • always tell the truth
  • never steal
  • practise detachment, from ownership and emotions / states of mind.

Most scholars think the last vow includes practising celibacy or sexual restraint.


Avoiding or stopping sexual relations, often after taking a religious vow. A celibate practises celibacy.


Transcription of a letter symbol found at the end of chapters or at the end of works in Indian languages. It indicates that the chapter or the work is finished.


One who is in a state of bondage and partial ignorance. The opposite of a Kevalin.


Either avoiding sexual activity outside marriage or being totally celibate. Chaste can also mean a pure state of mind or innocent, modest action. 

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