Auspicious dreams in Jainism

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Aspicious dreams as an ornamentation on cover of 19th-century manuscript
Sixteen Symbolic Dreams

Auspicious dreams are often described in texts of Jainism which forecast the virtue of child. Their number varies according to different traditions and they described frequently as fourteen or sixteen dreams.[1] They are seen by mothers of the prominent figures in Jainism including Tirthankaras, on the conception of their soul in womb. They are interpreted as describing virtues and kingship of future child. They are also found in various artistic media as an ornamentation.


Their number and description differ according to major traditions of Jainism. According to Svetambara tradition, there are 14 dreams while according to Digambara tradition, there are 16 dreams. Most of them are same. They are described in detail as dreams of queen Trishala, mother of Mahavira, in some Jain texts.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Auspicious dreams
Image Dream Interpretation Notes
1 1
white elephant with four tusks / Airavata mother would give birth to a child with good character. The four tusk of elephant depicts the four components of Sangha: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. similar to the elephant of Indra
2 2
bull The dream foretold the birth of a great religious Teacher who would spread the light of knowledge.[8] -
3 3
Lion power, strength and fearlessness He will be strong as the lion, in overcoming all enemies. -
4 4
Shri or Laxmi wealth and prosperity Similar to goddess Laxmi in Hinduism
5 5
pair of garlands popularity and respect -
6 6
Purnima Chandra
full moon peace and help to others -
7 7
sun supreme knowledge -
- 8
flag with lion pictured on it flying on golden stick leadership -
8 -
pair of fishes handsomeness -
9 9
Purna Kalasha
full jug / pair of full vases with lotuses perfect in virtues and would be full of compassion for all living beings. considered auspicious in Dharmic religions -
10 10
Padma Sarovar
lotus pond / celestial lake unattachment to worldly possessions -
11 11
ocean / rough ocean achievement of infinite perception and knowledge, spiritual liberation -
12 -
A very big, resplendent, golden throne set with bright diamonds and rubies. Son will become the World Teacher[8] -
13 12
Dev Vimana
celestial cheriot palace indicated that angels in heaven would respect, honor his spiritual teachings -
14 -
The rising residence of Nāgendra, the lord of the devas of the Nāgakumāra clan.[8] Child will be born with clairvoyance -
15 13
heap of jewels virtues and wisdom -
16 14
Nirdhumra Agni
smokeless fire reform and restore religious order. He would burn his karmas and attain salvation. -

These dreams features animals, objects and a goddess associated with positive virtues and kingship. They are generally considered positive symbols in Indian culture so they frequently appear in other Indian religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.[1]


Queen Trishala, Mahavira's mother has auspicious dreams. Folio 4 from Kalpasutra

In texts

These dreams are connected with the births of Tirthankaras and the other prominent people including chakravarti, Balabhadras and Vāsudevas in Jainism. They are 63 in total and called Shalakapurusha. Their mothers see a certain number of dreams on conception of their soul in womb. They are described in the great detail in Kalpasutra.[1][7] 12th century Jain monk Hemchandracharya described and interpreted them in detail in Trishashthishalakapurush. Avashyak-niryukti, an early verse-commentary in Prakrit, explains relation of names of some Tirthankaras and these dreams.[1]

Foretelling as per Kalpasutra
Number of dreams What it foretells
14 dreams birth of a future Tirthankara or Chakravarti (universal monarch)
7 of the 14 dreams birth of a future Vāsudeva
4 of the 14 dreams birth of a future Baladeva
1 of the 14 dreams birth of a future Mandalika (king)


On the fifth day of festival of Paryusana, Jain monks read or narrate the portion of the Kalpasutra dealing with birth of last Tirthankara Mahavira, to the Jain lay people. They are displayed to the people in the form of silver models and auctioned for temporary possession and display to other people for festive days.[1]


These dreams are symbolised and found in artistic media like paintings in manuscripts and on its covers, books, ornamentation in stone carvings, invitation scrolls and temple furnitures.[1][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Balbir, Nalini. "Article: Dreams". Institute of Jainology. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 19 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Shah, Pravin. "Fourteen Auspicious Dreams of Mother Trishala". Jain Study Center of North Carolina. Retrieved 19 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Shah, Natubhai (1998). Jainism: the world of conquerors. 2. Sussex Academic Press. p. 180. ISBN 9781898723318.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Quinn, Edward (2009). Critical Companion to George Orwell Encyclopedia of World Religions Series. Infobase Publishing. p. 270. ISBN 9781438108735.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jyotindra Jain, Eberhard Fischer (1978). Jaina iconography. BRILL. pp. 4–6. ISBN 9789004052598.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Pruthi, Raj (2004). Jainism And Indian Civilization:Culture and civilization series. Discovery Publishing House. pp. 62–66. ISBN 9788171417964.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "The Dreams of Queen Trishala". 22 September 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jain, Vijay K. (2015). Acarya Samantabhadra’s Svayambhustotra: Adoration of The Twenty-four Tirthankara. Vikalp Printers. p. 178–179. ISBN 9788190363976. Non-Copyright<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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