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22nd Jain Tirthankara
Tirumalai Neminatha Statue.jpg
16 meter high Neminatha Idol at Tirumalai, Tamil Nadu
Alternate name(s) Arishtanemi
Predecessor Naminatha
Successor Parshvanatha
Dynasty/Clan Harivamsa
Parents Samudravijaya (father)
Shivadevi (mother)
Kalyanaka / Important Events
Chyavana date Asho Vad 12
Chyavana place Sauripura (Dvaraka)
Born Shravan Sud 5
Sauripura (Dvaraka)
Diksha date Shravan Sud 6
Diksha place Sauripura (Dvaraka)
Kevalgyan date Bhadarva Vad Amaas
Kevalgyan place Girnar
Moksha date Ashadh Sud 8
Moksha place Girnar
Complexion Black
Symbol Shankha
Height 10 bows (30 metres)[1]
Age 1000 years
Yaksha Gomedh
Yakshini Ambika

Neminatha (Devanagari: नेमिनाथ) was the twenty-second tirthankara (ford-maker) of the present descending cycle (avsarpani).[2][3] According to Jain beliefs, he lived 84,000 years before the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanatha.[4] His full name was Aristanemi which is an epithet of the sun-chariot.[5] He was the youngest son of King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi,[6] and the cousin brother of Krishna.[7][8] He was born at Sauripura (Dvaraka) in the Harivamsa clan. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Indian calendar.[3] He became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.


Depiction of wedding procession of Lord Neminatha. The enclosure shows the animals are kept in captivity to make sure that they don't disturb the wedding celebration by coming on the way. Later the animals were fed with grass and let go. However Lord Neminath was influenced by Tirthankar Naam Karma and as such Lord Neminatha refused to marry and renounced his kingdom to become a Shramana.
Brooklyn Museum - Page 65 from a manuscript of the Kalpasutra recto Neminatha's initiation verso text

Secular scholars accept the existence of Jainism as far back before BCE,[9] but for Jains the story goes back much further than Parshvanatha. Jain texts mention the names of twenty-one Tirthankaras before him. Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara, was the son of Samudravijaya and grandson of Andhakavrishni. Jains and some Hindus consider Neminatha to be the cousin of Krishna - the son of Samudravijaya, brother of Krishna's father Vasudeva.[10][8]

The Andhakavrishnis of Dwaraka in the Kathiawar region of present Gujarat state of India, as a republic is referred to in the Mahabharata, Arthashastra and Ashtadhyayi of Pāṇini.[citation needed]

In the Chandogya Upanishads, the sage Ghora Angirasa relates the life of a man to the Soma sacrifice, and the daksina (alms) to austerity, liberality, simplicity, non-violence and truthfulness. In the process, he contributes the first recorded mention of ahimsa in the sense of non-violent behaviour.[11] These values are common to Jainism and some claim Ghora Angirasa as a Jain sadhu instructing Krishna. The word Ghora Angirasa seems to be an epithet given to him because of the extreme austerities he undertook. It may be possible to suggest that Neminatha was his early name and when he had obtained Moksha after hard austerities, he might have been given the name of Ghora Angirasa[citation needed][original research?].

Arittha Nemi Cariu and other works may be corroborated to some extent by the Brahaminical traditions. He is mentioned in some of the hymns of the Vedas but their meaning is doubtful.[citation needed]

There is an inscription about King Nebuchadnezzar (940 BC) on a copper plate discovered in Kathiawar peninsula which describes the king as a follower of and built a temple for the Lord Neminatha.[12]


Neminatha was a very handsome but a shy young man.[6] On being taunted by Satyabhama, the wife of Krishna, Neminatha blew Panchajanya, the mighty counch of Krishna. It was believed that no one could lift this "jewel" except Krishna, let alone blow it. After this event, Krishna decided to test Neminatha's strength and challenged him for a (friendly) duel. Neminatha, being a Tirthankara, defeated Krishna (Vasudeva) without any effort.[13]

In the war between Krishna and Jarasandha, Neminatha participated alongside Krishna.[14]

According to both religions, Krishna negotiated his marriage with Rajamati (Rajul), the daughter of Ugrasena, but Neminatha, empathizing with the animals which were to be slaughtered for the marriage feast, left the procession suddenly and renounced the world. Some writers of the Jain scriptures say that Tirthankara Neminatha was the master of Krishna.[citation needed]


The Jain traditions about Neminatha or Arishtanemi is incorporated in the Harivamsa Purana of Acharya Jinasena.[citation needed]




See also


  1. Sarasvati 1970, p. 444.
  2. Zimmer 1953, p. 224.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tukol 1980, p. 31
  4. Zimmer 1952, p. 226.
  5. Zimmer 1953, p. 225.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Doniger 1993, p. 225.
  7. Helen, Johnson (2009) [1931]. Muni Samvegayashvijay Maharaj (ed.). Trisastiśalākāpurusacaritra of Hemacandra: The Jain Saga (in English. Trans. From Prakrit). Part III. Baroda: Oriental Institute. ISBN 978-81-908157-0-3.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> pp. 1–266
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kumar 2001, pp. 4–5.
  9. The Encyclopædia Britannica s.v. "Jainism" has: "Jainism originated as the oldest religion on earth in the Ganges basin of eastern India"
  10. Helen, Johnson (2009) [1931]. Muni Samvegayashvijay Maharaj (ed.). Trisastiśalākāpurusacaritra of Hemacandra: The Jain Saga (in English. Trans. From Prakrit). Part III. Baroda: Oriental Institute. ISBN 978-81-908157-0-3.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> pp. 1–266
  11. Schmidt, Hanns-Peter (1968). The Origin of Ahimsa (in "Melanges d'Indianism a la memoire de Louis Renou). Paris: Editions E de Boccard. p. 653.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Jain 2009, p. 88.
  13. Doniger 1993, p. 226.
  14. Beck 2012, p. 156.
  15. Protected monuments in Karnataka, Archaeological Survey of India<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. TNN (24 November 2008), Singular pre-Portuguese monument crumbling from neglect Paul Fernandes finds that the Jain basti at Bandora requires conservation, Goa: The Times of India<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Shenoy, Balaji (11 February 2015), Ruins of Neminath Jain Basti at Bandora, The Navhind Times<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Kerkar, Rajendra; TNN (31 October 2014), Jain heritage dwindles as govt sits pretty, The Times of India<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Further reading

  • Facets of Jainology by Vilas Adinath Sangave Published 2001 by Popular Prakashan
  • Article of Dr.Pran Nath The Times of India 19 March 1935 (said to suggest a link between Nebuchadnezzar I and Neminath)
  • Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Published 1947
  • World Parliament of Religions Commemoration Volume: Issued in commemoration of the World Parliament of Religions held at Sivanandanagar, Rishikesh, in April, 1953, Published The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University Press, 1956
  • Living faiths in modern India, Authors Shashi Ahluwalia, Meenakshi Ahluwalia, Published 1992 by Indian Publishers' Distributors
  • Jain Journal, Volumes 2-3, Published by Jain Bhawan 1967