Article: Nami

Contributed by Jasmine Kelly

Naminātha or Lord Nami is the 21st of the 24 Jinas of the present cycle of time.

The word Jina means 'victor' in Sanskrit. A Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma through practising extreme asceticism and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A Jina is also called a Tīrthaṃkara or 'ford-maker' in Sanskrit – that is, one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience.

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Story and images

The blue lotus is the emblem – lāñchana – of Naminātha or Lord Nami, the 21st Jina.

Blue lotus
Image by C. Frank Starmer © CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

There is no historical evidence of Nami’s existence but traditional writings recount his life as following the usual career of a Jina. Tradition holds that he was born in Mithilāpurī and achieved liberation on Mount Sammeta, also known as Pārasnātha Hill.

Nami’s symbolic colour is black, yellow or emerald and his emblem is a blue lotus.

Like all Jinas, Nami has a pair of spiritual attendants, often shown in art. His yakṣa is Bhṛkuṭi. The Digambaras call his yakṣī Cāmuṇḍī while the sect of the Śvetāmbaras names her Gāndhārī.

Images

  • Blue lotus The blue lotus is the emblem – lāñchana – of Naminātha or Lord Nami, the 21st Jina.. Image by C. Frank Starmer © CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Further Reading

Historical Dictionary of Jainism
Kristi L. Wiley
Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements series; series editor Jon Woronoff; volume 53
Scarecrow Press; Maryland, USA; 2004

Full details

Glossary

Jina

A 'victor' in Sanskrit, a Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A synonym for Tīrthaṃkara, which means 'ford-maker' or one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience through asceticism. The most famous 24 – Ṛṣabha to Mahāvīra – were born in the Bharata-kṣetra of the middle world, but more are found in other continents. There have been Jinas in the past and there will be some in the future.

Lotus

A plant noted for its beautiful flowers, which has symbolic significance in many cultures. In Indian culture, the lotus is a water lily signifying spiritual purity and detachment from the material world. Lotuses frequently feature in artwork of Jinas, deities, Buddha and other holy figures.

Mokṣa

The 'liberation' of the soul from its body and thus from the cycle of rebirth because it has no karma and becomes omniscient. The ultimate aim of Jainism is to achieve mokṣa and become a liberated soul in siddha-śilā.

Yakṣa

The male attendant of a Jina, one of the pair of guardian or protector gods for each Jina. The śāsana-devatā protect his teachings – śāsana – and can appease evil powers. The yakṣa and yakṣī's closeness to the Jina and their divine powers mean they are popular subjects of worship.

Yakṣī

The female attendant of a Jina, also called yakṣinī. One of the pair of guardian or protector gods for each Jina. The śāsana-devatā protect his teachings – śāsana – and can appease evil powers. The yakṣa and yakṣī's closeness to the Jina and their divine powers mean they are popular subjects of worship.

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Related Manuscripts

Related Manuscript Images

  • Twenty Jinas

    Twenty Jinas

    Wellcome Trust Library. Gamma 3. Unknown author. 1503

  • Indra tests Nami

    Indra tests Nami

    British Library. Or. 13362. Unknown author. Perhaps 15th century

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