Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 67)


Sixth Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is red and his emblem the red lotus. There is no historical evidence of his existence.


Said to resemble the petals of a lotus, the lotus position involves sitting cross-legged with each foot on the opposite thigh. The soles face upwards while the knees rest on the ground. This posture is associated with meditation. Jinas and other enlightened figures are often depicted in this pose.


The yakṣī or female attendant of Pārśva. Along with other yakṣiṇī, Padmāvatī has become an independent figure over the centuries and is worshipped in her own right. She is particularly associated with Karnataka in southern India.


The petrified footprint of a dead mendicant or holy figure, which is treated as a commemorative sacred object.


A bed or seat attached to poles, which are carried by bearers on their shoulders. The palanquin is usually a closed box or has curtains sheltering the person within.


The range of colours, which may be characteristic of a particular painting, artist or school. It comes from the name of the thin board used to hold and mix different colours of paint.


The Sanskrit term for 'five handfuls' refers to the traditional gesture of the initiation ritual – dīkṣā – in which the future mendicant pulls out his or her own hair in 'five handfuls'. Nowadays, new monks and nuns symbolically pull out a single hair while the rest of their hair is shaved off. The shaven heads of Jain ascetics indicate their status.


The five Pāṇḍava brothers are the heroes of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahābhārata, and its Jain versions. The Jain Mahābhārata is quite different from the Hindu version, demonstrating Jain virtues and religious beliefs.


'Learned one' in Sanskrit and used originally for a Hindu brahmin scholar and teacher. Nowadays a Jain pandit is a scholar who has been educated traditionally and is expert in the sacred texts of at least one of the Jain sects.

Pandit Dalsukh D. Malvania

(1910–2000) A leading Jain Gujarati scholar of the 20th century from a Sthānaka-vāsin Jain family. He studied at Shantiniketan in Bengal and at Banaras Hindu University, where he assisted Pandit Sukhlalji. Director of the L. D. Institute of Indology from its 1959 foundation until 1976, he was associated with Muni Puṇya-vijaya. He wrote in Gujarati, English and Hindi. His main intellectual contributions were in the fields of Śvetāmbara canonical scriptures, Jain, Buddhist and Hindu philosophy and the history of the Sthānaka-vāsin sect.

Pandit Sukhlalji

(1880–1978) A leading Jain Gujarati scholar of the 20th century from a Śvetāmbara family, who became blind at the age of 17. He studied philosophy and logic at Banaras and became a renowned specialist who taught several Jain monks. Part of the nationalist movement working for the independence of India, Pandit Sukhlalji published numerous editions and translations in Hindi or Gujarati of works on Jain philosophy or doctrine. His translation of and commentary on the Tattvārtha-sūtra is noteworthy.


'Hand-bowl'. A term for Digambara mendicants who do not use any tools or equipment to eat, instead receiving and eating alms directly in their hands.


Wrong or bad action. Similar to a bad merit in Buddhism.


The highest soul, the liberated soul, the Absolute, often used instead of siddhi. Jains believe that a soul or ātman can achieve liberation from the cycle of birth through its own spiritual development. This concept has been called God in Western thought since the start of the Christian era.


The ‘supreme beings’ in Sanskrit, also known as the pañca-parameṣṭhin or 'Five Supreme Beings'. A term for the categories of teachers who are paid homage in the Namaskāra-mantra:

  • enlightened teachers – Arhats
  • liberated souls – siddhas
  • mendicant leaders – ācāryas
  • mendicant tutors – upādhyāyas
  • mendicants – sādhus.

The ritual in which a faster ends his or or her fast.


Possession or attachment to possessions, which involves desire for something, including emotions and states of mind.


Modification, change.


'Affliction’, used especially for mendicants, who have to overcome the 22 traditional afflictions or hardships that could shake their commitment:

  • hunger
  • thirst
  • cold
  • heat
  • biting insects
  • nudity
  • displeasure
  • women
  • wandering
  • erratic life
  • lodging
  • abuses
  • strikes and blows
  • begging
  • not getting alms
  • disease
  • pricks and itching
  • dirt
  • good treatment
  • knowledge
  • ignorance
  • faith

Indirect perception, carried out through the senses, inference and so on.

Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 67) - All text is © JAINpedia / Institute of Jainology 2019 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence The Jain universe online at

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