Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 117)

Saciyā Mātā

Also called Saciyā Devī or Sācikā-devī. The lineage goddess – kula-devī – of many Ośval Jains, she was originally a Rajput Hindu deity who was absorbed into Jain religious activity and belief.


A common term for Jain male mendicants.


A common term for Jain female mendicants.


Sanskrit term meaning 'with a home’ – that is, a ‘householder’ or lay Jain. A synonym for a lay person, emphasising that he or she is a member of a household, with responsibilities to the family, community and society that a Jain mendicant does not have.


Someone who is declared by a religious organisation or by popular acclaim to be of outstanding goodness and spiritual purity, usually some time after his or her death. The person's holiness is often believed to have been demonstrated in the performance of miracles. Saints are frequently held up as examples for followers of a religious faith.


One of the four main Hindu sects, in which the faithful worship Śiva as the supreme being. There are various strands of Śaivism but many devotees daub sacred ash on their foreheads and other parts of their bodies. Some Śaivites may also use cannabis as a sacred offering or smoke it as part of a spiritual experience.


Widely used in Jain manuscripts and inscriptions, the dating system of the Śaka era or Śaka-saṃvat was once common in western India. Since it started in 78 CE, to get the equivalent year in the Common Era, one has to add 78 to the Śaka era date.


'Great man' – also known as a mahā-puruṣa – whose story is told in Jain Universal History. Born in each progressive and regressive half-cycle of time, there are five types of 'great men':

  • 24 Jinas
  • 12 Cakravartins
  • 9 Baladevas
  • 9 Vāsudevas
  • 9 Prati-vāsudevas.

The progressive eradication of passions and other negative features in order to reach total spiritual purity. In practice, it is the ritual of fasting unto death.


A set of three ‘thorns’ or ‘stings’ that must be destroyed because it increases the soul's impurity:

  • deceit
  • desire for revenge
  • wrong faith.

Perfect, symmetrical in four axes and perfectly proportioned. This is a necessary physical quality for Jinas, who must be able to withstand extreme asceticism.


Death while meditating, which normally occurs when one is fasting unto death.


A special category of nuns in the Śvetāmbara Terāpanthin sect. The nuns are officially free from certain rules restricting their movements and can visit institutions in India or go abroad to pursue academic research or minister to the Jain diaspora.


One of the three levels of hiṃsā or violence. Sāmarambha is the second level, when someone is preparing to harm something or commit violence.


Literally, Sanskrit for 'universal gathering'. A holy assembly led by a Jina where he preaches to all – human beings, animals and deities alike – after he has become omniscient. In this universal gathering, natural enemies are at peace.


Equanimity, calm, a mental state where one is able to consider all beings as equal to oneself. The second of the four śikṣā-vratas or vows that lay Jains take. The ritual entails working towards being even-tempered by meditating or reciting mantras for 48 minutes each day. Performing this ritual three times each day is also one of the six duties – āvaśyakas – of a mendicant.


Third Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the horse. There is no historical evidence of his existence.


Carefulness, which has five aspects. Ascetics can reduce accidental violence by being careful and observing rules in these five areas:

  • motion – īryā
  • speech – bhāṣā
  • cooking, eating and begging for food – eṣaṇā
  • lifting and placing items, moving things – ādānanikśepaṇa
  • disposing of bodily waste – pariṣṭhāpana.

Beings that have a mind and intelligence.

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


Literally ‘born from choice’, describing when a deliberate decision to use violence has been made. This is the most serious type of hiṃsā and is never allowed in Jainism.

Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 117) - All text is © JAINpedia / Institute of Jainology 2019 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence The Jain universe online at

Unless images are explicitly stated as either public domain or licensed under a Creative Commons licence, all images are copyrighted. See individual images for details of copyright.