Thirunarankondai is one of the ancient centers of Jainism. A Jain assembly called the ‘Veera Sangam’ flourished here under the leadership of Gunadhara Muni. Over the hillock, is a cave temple of great antiquity with bas-relief sculptures of Lord Parshwanatha (Appandainathar). The temple which is well known through the periods of Chola King Raja Raja I and Kulothunga I11 has a rich collection of bronze images. Chkaravarthi Nainar of Kadripakkam become the hereditary trustee of this temple from 1913 C.E This temple is currently managed by the Mel-Sitthamur math.
திருக்கோயிலூருக்குத் தென்கிழக்கில் 9 மைலில் பண்ருட்டி சாலையில் உள்ளது. இவ்வூரில், பண்டைக்காலத்தில் சமணரும் சமணக் கோயிலும் இருந்திருக்கவேண்டும். இவ்வூரில் இருந்த ரிஷபதேவரின் திருவுருவம் திருநறுங்கொண்டை சமணக் கோயிலில் இருக்கிறது.
திருநறுங்கொண்டை: (திருநறுங்குன்றம் – திருநறுங்குணம்.) திருக்கோயிலூர் தாலுகா. திருக்கோயிலூருக்கு, 12 மைலில் உள்ளது. இவ்வூருக்கு வடக்கே சுமார் 60 அடி உயரம் உள்ள பாறைக்குன்றில் கோயில் இருக்கிறது. மலைக்குச் செல்லப் படிகள் உண்டு. இக்கோயிலில் பார்சுவநாதர் திருவுருவம் இருக்கிறது. பார்சுவநாதர் கோயிலை அப்பாண்டைநாதர் கோயில் என்றும் கூறுவர். நின்ற திருமேனி. இங்குச் சந்திரநாதர் கோயிலும் உள்ளது. இங்குப் பல சாசனங்கள் காணப்படுகின்றன.89 குலோத்துங்கச் சோழரது 9 ஆவது ஆண்டில், வீரசேகர் காடவராயர் என்பவர் இங்கிருந்த நாற்பத்தெண்ணாயிரம் பெரும்பள்ளிக்கு வரிப்பணம் தானம் செய்திருக்கிறார். இராசராச தேவரது 13 ஆவது ஆண்டில் இங்கிருந்த மேலைப்பள்ளிக்குப் பணம் தானம் செய்யப்பட்ட செய்தியை இன்னொரு சாசனம் கூறுகிறது. இந்தத் தானத்தை ஆதிபட்டாரகர் புஷ்பசேனர் என்பவரிடம் ஒப்புவிக்கப்பட்டது. அப்பாண்டார்க்கு வைகாசித்திருநாள் சிறப்பு நடைபெற்றதையும், தைமாதத்தில் ஒரு திருவிழா நடைபெறும்படி நிலம் தானம் செய்யப்பட்டதையும், திரிபுவன சக்கரவர்த்தி கோனேரின்மை கொண்டான் காலத்துச் சாசனம் ஒன்று கூறுகின்றது. ‘திருநறுங்கொண்டை பெரியபாழி ஆழ்வார்க்கு நிலம் தானம் செய்யப்பட்ட செய்தி இன்னொரு சாசனம் கூறுகின்றது. இங்கிருந்த கீழைப்பள்ளிக்கு ஸ்ரீதரன் என்பவர் பொன் தானம் செய்ததை இன்னொரு சாசனம் கூறுகின்றது. இக்கோயில் ஸ்தலபுராணம் இவ்வூர்ச் சமணரிடம் உண்டு.90
7 days brahmotsav
Narkatchi festival one day festival on 31 st jan every year.
Acharyas played a pivotal role in the spread and growth of Jainism and hence the
tribute to them in Jains’ daily prayers – the Navkar mantra(பஞ்ச மந்திரம்)
as in the title of the post.
Originally all the teachings and the knowledge gleaned from
the Thirthankars (including the latest and the 24th – Baghavan Mahavir) were passed
down orally from one genration to another through the acharyas (the disciples of
the Thirthankars) over a period of more than thousand years.
Around 500 BC, after Lord Mahavir’s nirvana, Jain acharyas
realized that it was very inefficient, to rely on the entire Jain literature to
be memorized. In several years, significant knowledge was already lost and the
rest was polluted with modifications and errors.
Thus, they decided to document the Jain literature as known
to them. In this time period two major sects, namely Digambar and Swetambar,
were already in existence. These set of documented religious works form the
basis for our understanding of Jainism today. In this post
we list the first 25 Acharyas and their religious works.
Shikharji or Sri Sammeta Sikharji also known as the Parasnath Hills, located near Giridih, in Jharkhand state, India, is a major Jain pilgrimage destination and one of the most sacred places for Jains in the world. According to Jain belief, twenty of the twenty-four Tirthankaras (teachers of the Jains) attained Moksha (Nirvana) from this place.
Sithamoor or Mel Sithamoor is a village near Thindivanam where Jain monks lived. It is an important and historic place for tamil Jains. Sithamoor boasts of two Jain temples and a Jain Mutt which has traditionally hosted the religious heads of the community and has served as the center of Jain religious activites.
The History of Tamil Jainism in Sithamoor by Dr. A. Ekambranathan (Professor, Archeological department, Madras University) is a must read for anyone who is interested in understanding Sithamoor and its rich Tamil Jain cultural heritage and history.
A large number of stone inscriptions which are 1000s of years old paint a picture of the prevalence of Jainism (Samanam) in Tamilnadu. These are scattered throughout Tamilnadu. This post will talk about such stone inscriptions, sites they are found and related content.
Jain caves and Brahmi inscriptions in Madurai and surrounding areas
Tamil Virtual University an autonomous institution established by the government of Tamilnadu has a wealth of information about Jain cave temples in Tamilnadu. Here is a list of these pages each of which has a short video about each of these sites:
Thirumalai (in Thiruvanamalai District of Tamil Nadu, India) is an ancient Jain heritage site that has cave temples, cave paintings , sculptures and ancient Tamil inscriptions all related to Jainism. Jain monks had inhabited the caves thousands of years ago.
The honorable chief minister of Tamilnadu Dr. M. Karunanidhi is known for his mastery over the Tamil language and his deep knowledge of Tamil literature. In his foreward to the book “தமிழகத்தில் ஜைனம்” (Jainism in Tamilnadu) he talks about the contribution of Jainism to the Tamil language:
English Translation of the Foreward:
The Samanam religion is synonymous with love and compassion. Samanam is also known as Jainism.
Jainism an ancient religion came into existence in India hundreds of years even before the birth of Christ. It was flourishing in Tamilnadu well before Tholkappiyar’s period.
The virtuous Jains have adorned our ‘Tamil mother’ with innumerable jewels of literary works. If you remove these works of Samanars, the world of Tamil literature would wear a deserted look; such is the contribution of Jain poets to the Tamil language*. The ancient kings have also encouraged and supported these noble efforts.
A number of poets who embraced Jainism have lived in Tamilnadu. Jainism was very prevalent in Tamilnadu at some point in time in the past. A number of people voluntarily embraced the Jain religion which had the great principle that “the world was not created by anyone”.
After well researching the history of Jainism’s origin in Tamilnadu, the story of its growth and the state of its existence in the Tamil literature, Jeevabanthu T.S. Sripal has given us the book “Jainism in Tamilnadu”. His research was done in the very best way. One should not think that the author has praised Jainism because he is a Jain himself. That, Jainism is worthy of extol has been clearly communicated by a number of scholars both in India and abroad.
It is commendable that the author throughout the book quotes the views on Jainism of well-known scholars like Nobel prize winner and Indian scientist Dr. Jagadeesh Chandra Bose , German Professor Georg Bühler, Czech scholar Kamil Zvelebil , our own Tamilnadu’s Sir. R. K. Shanmugam, Tamil Thendral Thiru. V.Ka and Thiru. H.A. Krishna pillai. Yet there is one unfulfilled desire in my heart – the book is missing the great ‘Arignyar Anna’s’ favorable comments on Jainism. I hope the author Jeevabanthu Sripal will fulfill this desire in the next edition of this book.
Finally, this book “Jainism in Tamilnadu” is not only an excellent research material, but a rare book worthy of being part of the syllabi of any of Tamilnadu’s fine universities. The authors abilities are worthy of praise and applause.
Jains believe that every living being has a soul and every soul is potentially divine. They also believe in reincarnation after death. A soul can be reincarnated in any form of life. (A human being can become a worm in the next life for example). Karma is that every being determines its own fate through its thoughts, actions and deeds. Karma also plays a part in which place and form the soul takes after death. Jains also believe in the principle of ‘Live and let live’ – not just for human beings, they believe in equality of all life. I.e. however small / insignificant a being is, it has the same yearning to live as humans do and part of being a Jain is respecting its right to live peacefully.
The ‘potentially’ divine soul becomes divine when it is freed from this cycle of death and rebirth. Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct are the pathway of salvation. To free the soul from the bondage of life and death, the Jain monk follows asceticism and non-possession to the extent that a sect of Jains monks (Digambars) don’t even wear clothes. Obviously the highest form of life namely humans can practice the above and attain salvation.
There are 24 exemplary souls called as Thirthankars that have guided and revived Jainism through the ages. The most recent (24th) of them, Mahavira is historically dated to be around the 6th century BC. If you are interested in knowing who the 24 thirthankars are, Wikipedia has a nice table of the 24 Thirthankar.
Click here to know about the Digambar Jain Acharyas.
Click here to know about the Digambar Jain Literature.