Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 37)


Time. One of the five insentient non-material substances that make up the universe along with the sentient substance, called jīvastikaya.


The very popular Story of the Ācārya Kālakā recounts the adventures of the Śvetāmbara monk Kālakā. Emphasising the connection between religious practice and magical abilities, the story is frequently found as an appendix to the Kalpa-sūtra because it explains how Kālaka changed the date of Paryuṣaṇ. This annual festival gives a central role to the Kalpa-sūtra scripture.


The great Sanskrit poet and dramatist, Kālidāsa, probably lived in the 4th century CE. A highly influential playwright, he is often called the Shakespeare of India.


The Book of Ritual attributed to Bhadrabāhu. It has three sections:

  1. 'Jina-caritra' – 'Lives of the Jinas'
  2. 'Sthavirāvalī' – 'String of Elders'
  3. 'Sāmācārī' – 'Right Monastic Conduct'.

A significant sacred text for Śvetāmbara Jains, the Kalpa-sūtra has a central role in the annual Paryuṣaṇ festival.


Sanskrit for 'wishing-tree'. The inhabitants of the Lands of Enjoyment have wishing-trees to fulfil their every need. According to Digambaras, the emblem of the tenth Jina, Śītala, is the endless knot – śrīvatsa – or wishing-tree.


An auspicious moment in a Jina's life. There are five pañca-kalyāṇakas:

  • garbha – conception
  • janma – birth
  • vairāgya – renunciation
  • kevala-jñāna – enlightenment
  • mokṣa or nirvāna – liberation.

(1888–1975) Mūrti-pūjak monk who devoted his life to studying manuscripts and inscriptions.


The water pot used by Digambara mendicants.


A Hindu ascetic associated with the life of the 23rd Jina, Pārśva. Sometimes described as a heretic in Jain sources, Kamaṭha practises the penance of the 'five fires'.


Action or act, thought of as physical in Jainism. Created by mental or physical action, karma enters the soul, which then needs religious restraints and practices to make it flow out. Karma can be both:

  • negative – deriving from harmful acts
  • positive – arising from beneficial actions.

Both types of karma trap a soul in continual rebirth. A pan-Indian concept, karma has extremely complex, detailed and technical divisions and subdivisions in Jainism.


'Realm of action', used in Jain cosmology for the lands in the Middle World where people must work to live. However, here they can progress on the path of salvation. These lands are Bharata-kṣetra, Airāvata-kṣetra and Mahā-videha. However, Uttara-kuru and Deva-kuru in Mahā-videha are Lands of Pleasure or bhoga-bhūmi.


Set of specialised treatises in Prākrit dealing with the doctrine, process and categories of karma. Their style is concise and mnemonic and they have given birth to many commentaries.


Karmic categories. Each type of karman has a unique name and qualities. There are eight chief kinds of karmic matter and many subtypes. Each kind has a different effect, some working on attributes of the soul, some on the body and rebirth.

The four 'destructive' karmans are ghātiyā karmans while there are four 'neutral' or n'on-destructive' karmans – aghātiyā.


The doctrine of karma.


A contemporary term for a sub-atomic particle of karmic matter, coined by Kanti Mardia. These 'karmons' interact with the soul and conceal its key qualities, such as bliss – sukha.


State in south-west India.


'Passion' that causes activity, which results in new karma binding to the soul. It must be eliminated by restraints or austerities so the soul can be liberated. Passion may be attraction – rāga – or aversion – dveṣa – and has degrees of intensity. There are traditionally four passions:

  • anger – krodha
  • pride – māna
  • deceit – māyā
  • greed – lobha.

Also one of the 14 'gateways' or categories of investigation of mārgaṇā – 'soul-quest'.


Story, narrative literature.


Literature, in either Sanskrit or an Indian vernacular language.


Types of physical bodies. Also one of the 14 'gateways' or categories of investigation of mārgaṇā or soul-quest.

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