RISHABHANATHA (also ṚṣABHADEVA, RISHABHADEVA, or ṚṣABHA which
literally means "bull") is the first
Tirthankara (ford maker) in
Jainism . A mythical leader, he is believed in
Jainism to have lived
millions of years ago. He was the first of twenty four teachers in
the present half cycle of time in Jain cosmology, and called a ford
maker because his teachings helped one across the sea of interminable
rebirths and deaths (saṃsāra ). He is also known as ĀDINāTHA of
Jainism which translates into "First (Adi) Lord (nātha)", as well as
ADISHVARA (first ishvara ), YUGADIDEVA (deva of yuga), PRATHAMARAJA
(first king), and NEBHEYA (son of Nabhi). Along with
Rishabhanatha is one of the four
Tirthankaras that attract the most devotional worship among the Jains.
According to Jain traditional accounts, he was born to King
Marudevi in north Indian city of
Ayodhya , also called Vinita.
He had two wives, Sunanda and Sumangala. Sumangala is described as the
mother of his ninety-nine sons (including Bharata ) and one daughter,
Brahmi. Sunanda is depicted as the mother of
Bahubali and Sundari. The
sudden death of Nilanjana, one of the dancers of
Indra , reminded him
of the world's transitory nature and he developed a desire for
renunciation. After renouncing, the Jain legends state he wandered
without food for a whole year. The day on which he got his first ahara
(food), is celebrated as Akshaya Tritiya by Jains. He is said to have
attained Moksha on
Mount Kailash . The text
Adi Purana by
an account of the events of his life. His iconography includes
colossal statues such as
Statue of Ahimsa ,
Bawangaja and those
Gopachal hill . His icons include the eponymous bull as his
Nyagrodha tree, Gomukha (bull-faced)
Yaksha , and
* 1 Introduction
* 2 Historicity
* 2.1 Vedic literature
* 3 Biography per Jain traditions
* 3.1 Birth
* 3.2 Marriage and children
* 3.3 Renunciation
* 3.4 Akshaya Tritiya
* 3.6 Nirvana kalyanaka, death
* 4 In literature
* 5 Iconography
* 5.1 Idols
* 5.2 Colossal statues
* 6 Temples
* 7 See also
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 9.1 Citations
* 9.2 Sources
Jain cosmology , the universe does not have a temporal
beginning or end. Its "Universal History" divides the cycle of time
into two halves (avasarpiṇī and utsarpiṇī) with six aras
(spokes) in each half, and the cycles keep repeating perpetually.
Twenty-four Tirthankaras appear in every ara, the first Tirthankara
Jainism each time. In the present time cycle, Rishabhanatha
is credited as being the first tīrthaṅkara, born at the end of the
third ara (known as suṣama-duṣamā).
According to Jain texts,
Rishabhanatha was born in a king's family in
the age when there was happiness all around with no one needing to do
any work because of
Kalpavriksha (miraculous wish-fulfilling trees).
Gradually as the cycle progressed, the efficacy of these trees
decreased, people rushed to their king for help.
then said to have taught the men six main professions. These were: (1)
Asi (swordsmanship for protection), (2) Masi (writing skills), (3)
Krishi (agriculture), (4) Vidya (knowledge), (5) Vanijya (trade and
commerce) and (6) Shilp (crafts). In other words, he is credited
with introducing karma-bhumi (the age of action) by founding arts and
professions to enable householders to sustain themselves. He is, in
the Jain belief, the one who organized a social system that created
the varna based on professions.
Rishabhanatha is credited in
Jainism to have invented and taught
fire, cooking, and all skills needed for human beings to live. In
Rishabhanatha is said to have taught seventy-two sciences to
men, and sixty-four to women. According to Paul Dundas, Rishabhanatha
in Jain mythology is thus not merely a spiritual teacher but one who
founded knowledge in its various forms and a form of culture hero for
the current cosmological cycle.
The institution of marriage is stated to have come into existence
after he married to set an example for other humans to follow. His
life is also credited by Jains with starting the institution of
charity (daana ) from layperson to mendicants, when he received
surgarcane juice in his hand from king Sreyamsa, to break his fast.
This is accepted in the Jain tradition as what started the tradition
of alms giving in its various forms, and one that has continued since
ancient times in
Rishabhanatha is said to be the founder of
Jainism by the different
Jain sub-traditions. Jain chronology places
ahistorical terms, as someone who lived millions of years ago. He is
stated to have lived for 8,400,000 purva years. His height is
described in the Jain texts to be 500 arc lengths (800 ells ), or
about 1,200 feet. Such descriptions of non-human heights and age are
also found for the next 21 Tirthankaras in Jain texts, and according
to Kristi Wiley – a scholar at University of California Berkeley
known for her publications in Jainism, most Indologists and scholars
consider all the first 22 of 24 Tirthankaras to be prehistorical, or
ahistorical and a part of Jain mythology. However, among Jain
writers and some Indian scholars, some of the first 22 Tirthankaras
are considered to reflect historical figures, with a few conceding
that the inflated biographical statistics as mythical.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan , a professor of comparative
religions and philosophy at Oxford who later became the second
President of India, there is evidence to show that Ṛṣabhadeva, the
first tīrthaṅkara, was being worshipped by the first century BC.
Yajurveda mentions the name of three Tīrthaṅkaras –
Arishtanemi , states Radhakrishnan, and
Bhāgavata Purāṇa endorses the view that Ṛṣabha was the
founder of Jainism".
The Vedas mention the name Rishabha. However, the context in the
Atharvaveda and the Upanishads suggests that it means the
bull , sometimes "any male animal" or "most excellent of any kind", or
"a kind of medicinal plant". Elsewhere it is an epithet for the
Shiva (Rudra). Later Hindu mythical texts such as the
Bhagavata Purana include Rishabha Jina as an avatar of
BIOGRAPHY PER JAIN TRADITIONS
Rishabhanatha is known by many names among Jains including Adinatha,
Adisvara, Yugadeva and Nabheya.
Ādi purāṇa , a major Jain text
records the life accounts of
Rishabhanatha as well as ten previous
Marudevi § Birth of
Rishabhanatha See also: Panch
Kalyanaka Janma kalyāṇaka from the
Kalpa Sutra , c.
14th–15th Century CE
Rishabhanatha was born to King
Nabhi and Queen
on the ninth day of the dark half of the month of
krişna navamĩ. This is the second auspicious event and is known
as Janma Kalyanaka. The association of
it a sacred town for Jains, as it is in Hinduism for the birth of
In Jain tradition, the birth of a
Tirthankara is marked by auspicious
signs such as certain dreams. Garbha kalyanaka is the first auspicious
event out of five auspicious events (
Panch Kalyanaka ). It means
enlivening of the embryo through the descent of the life (soul) in the
mortal body. On the second day of
Ashadha (a month of the Hindu
calendar ) Krishna (dark fortnight), Queen
Marudevi is said to have
seen sixteen auspicious dreams . King
Nabhi explained these dreams to
her as a sign of Tirthankara's birth. Rishabhanatha, according to Jain
mythology, was born after these dreams.
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Rishabhanatha had two wives, Sunanda and Sumangala. Sumangala was
the mother of ninety-nine sons (including Bharata ) and one daughter,
Brahmi. Sunanda was the mother of
Bahubali and Sundari.
Rishabhanatha is stated in Jain texts to have taught his daughters
Brahmi and Sundari, the Brahmi lipi (ancient
Brahmi script ) and the
science of numbers (Ank-Vidya) respectively. The Pannavana Sutra (2nd
century BCE) and the Samavayanga Sutra (3rd century BCE) list many
other writing scripts known to the ancient Jaina tradition, of which
Brahmi script named after Rishabha's daughter tops the list.
His eldest son
Bharata Chakravartin is stated as one who ruled
India from an ancient capital of Ayodhya. Bharata is
described in Jain texts as a just and kind ruler, who was not attached
to wealth or vices.
Statuary representing meditation by
Rishabhanatha in Kayotsarga
Ajmer Jain temple )
One day god
Indra of the first heaven arranged a dance by celestial
dancers in the assembly hall of Rishabhanatha. One of the dancers was
Nilanjana. While in the midst of a series of vigorous dance
movements, she died. The sudden death of Nilanjana reminded
Rishabhanatha of the world's transitory nature, triggering him to
renounce his kingdom along with his family and material wealth. He
gave his kingdom to his hundred sons, of whom Bharata got the city of
Vinita (Ayodhya) and
Bahubali got the city of Podanapur (
Taxila ). He
became an ascetic on the ninth day of the month of
(Hindu calendar). According to Jain mythologies, he practiced severe
austerities for 1,000 years, then gained enlightenment, became a Jina.
Main article: Akshaya Tritiya § In
Akshaya Tritya is considered holy and supremely auspicious by Jains.
It is believed that
Rishabhanatha took his first ahara (alms) after
becoming an ascetic on this day. Rishabhanatha, Jains believe, was the
first monk of the present half cycle of time (avasarpini). Therefore,
people did not know how to offer food (ahara) to monks. King Shreyansa
Hastinapur offered sugarcane juice (ikshu-rasa) to Rishabhanatha.
Jains attach great importance to this day as it was only after one
Rishabhanatha was offered food. The day is celebrated in
the Jain tradition on the third day of the bright fortnight of the
month Vaishaka (usually April).
Rishabhanatha's moving over lotus after attaining omniscience
Rishabhanatha spent a thousand years performing austerities and then
Kevala Jnana (omniscience) on the 11th day of
(Hindu calendar) under a banyan tree. The Devas (heavenly beings)
created a divine preaching hall known as samavasarana . This is the
Panch Kalyanaka and is known as Kevala Jnāna Kalyanaka.
Rishabhanatha attracted a large community of followers that included
Sramanas , male and female mendicants, sages and disciples.
NIRVANA KALYANAKA, DEATH
Rishabhanatha is said to have preached
Jainism far and wide. At his
death, he attained Nirvana kalyanaka (also called Moksha ), all four
of his ghati karma where destroyed, his soul was liberated from the
endless cycle of rebirths, to stay eternally at siddhaloka. His death
is believed in
Jainism to have occurred on Ashtapada (also known as
Mount Kailash ) on the fourteenth day of Magha Krishna (Hindu
Calendar) at the age of 84 lakh purva years, with three years and
eight and a half months remaining of the third ara.
According to medieval era Jain text, Rishabha (Adinatha) performed
asceticism for millions of years, then returned to Ashtapada where he
fasted to his death (moksha) and then god
Indra came, with his fellow
gods from the heavens, to cremate his body with sandalwood, camphor,
butter, honey and other fire offerings.
Rishabhanatha iconography is identified by the bull stamped
or carved below his feet. On the center of his chest is a shrivatsa
mark identifier of Jain statues.
Ādi purāṇa , a 9th-century
Sanskrit poem, and a
10th-century Kannada commentary on it by the poet
Adikavi Pampa (fl.
941 CE), written in
Champu style, a mix of prose and verse and spread
over sixteen cantos, deals with the ten lives of
Rishabhanatha and his
two sons. The life of
Rishabhanatha is also detailed in Mahapurana
Jinasena , Trisasti-salaka-purusa-caritra by the scholar
Kalpa Sutra a
Jain text containing the biographies of
the Jain Tirthankaras, and Jambudvipa-prajnapti.
Bhaktamara Stotra by
Manatunga is one of the most
prominent prayers mentioning Rishabhanatha.
* There is mention of Rishabha in
Hindu texts , such as in the
Vishnu Purana and
Bhagavata Purana (in 5th canto). In the
ancient Hindu texts, the term means "bull" and not the Rishabhanatha.
In later texts, such as the Bhagavatapurana, he is described as an
Vishnu , a great sage, known for his learning and
Rishabhanatha is also mentioned in
Buddhist literature . It speaks
of several tirthankara and includes
Rishabhanatha along with:
Vimalanatha , Dharmanatha
Neminatha . A
Buddhist scripture named Dharmottarapradipa
Rishabhanatha as an Apta (Tirthankara).
Rishabhanatha is usually depicted in the lotus position or kayotsarga
, a standing posture of meditation. The distinguishing features of
Rishabhanatha are his long locks of hair which fall on his shoulders,
and an image of a bull in sculptures of him. Paintings of him usually
depict legendary events of his life. Some of these include his
Indra performing a ritual known as abhisheka
(consecration). He is sometimes shown presenting a bowl to his
followers and teaching them the art of pottery, painting a house, or
weaving textiles. The visit of his mother
Marudevi is also shown
extensively in painting. He is also associated with his
Nyagrodha tree, Gomukha (bull-faced)
Yaksha , and Chakreshvari
Shrine with Four Jinas Rishabhanatha, Parshvanatha, Neminatha, and
LACMA , 6th century
Mathura Museum ,
Uttar Pradesh (Circa 6th
Image depicting Rishabhanatha,
Victoria and Albert Museum , London,
Ethnological Museum of Berlin
Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum ) dated
Guimet Museum , 10th-11th
Rishabhanatha idol from Gurupura at Shivappa Nayaka palace ,
Shivamogga , 12th century
Rishabhanatha with 23 additional Jinas, Ethnological Museum of Berlin
, 12th century
Statue of Ahimsa , carved out of a single rock, is a 108 feet (33 m)
tall (121 feet (37 m) including pedestal) statue of
is 1,840 sq feet in size. It is said to be the world's tallest Jain
idol. It is located 4,343 feet (1,324 m) above from sea level, near
Mangi-Tungi hills near
Nashik (Maharashtra). Officials from the
Guinness Book of World Records visited Mangi Tungi and awarded the
engineer of the 108 ft tall Rishabhdeva statue, C R Patil, the
official certificate for the world's tallest Jain idol.
Madhya Pradesh , there is the
Bawangaja (meaning 52 yards (156
ft)) hill, near
Barwani with a Gommateshvara figure covered on the top
of it. This site is important to Jain pilgrims particularly on the
full moon day in January. The site has a Rishabanatha statue carved
from a volcanic rock.
The 58.4 feet (17.8 m)
Rishabhanatha Statue at
Gopachal Hill ,
Gwalior Fort ,
Madhya Pradesh . Thousands of Jain idols including 58.4
foot idol of
Rishabhanatha were carved in the
Gopachal Hill idol from
1398 A.D. to 1536 A.D. by rulers of Tomar dynasty rulers — Viramdev,
Dungar Singh and Kirti Singh.
Statue of Ahimsa ,
Maharashtra , 108 feet (33 m)
Madhya Pradesh , 84 feet (26 m)
Siddhachal Jain Temple,
Gopachal Hill , Madhya Pradesh, 58.4 feet
Rishabhanatha is one of the four most devotionally revered
Tirthankaras, along with Mahavira,
Parshvanatha and Neminatha.
Jain temple complexes across
India feature him, and these are
important pilgrimage sites in Jainism. Mount
Shatrunjaya , for
example, is a hilly part of southern
Gujarat , which is believed to
have been a place where 23 out of 24 Tirthankaras preached, along with
Rishabha. Numerous monks are believed to have attained their
liberation from cycles of rebirth there, and a large temple within the
complex is dedicated to Rishabha commemorating his enlightenment in
Ayodhya . The central Rishabha icon of this complex is called Adinatha
or simply Dada (grandfather). This icon is the most revered of all the
murtipujaka icons, believed by some in the Jain tradition to have
miracle making powers, according to John Cort. In Jain texts, Kunti
and the five Pandava brothers of the Hindu Epic
Mahabharata came to
the hill top to pay respects, and consecrated an icon of Rishabha at
Important Rishabha temple complexes include:
Ranakpur Jain temple ,
Adinatha temple, Khajuraho
Dilwara Temples ,
Mount Abu ,
Sanghiji Jain temple,
Nasiyan Ji Jain temple,
Nareli Jain Temple ,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to RISHABHANATHA .
* List of Jain Tirthankaras
* God in
* History of
* ^ a non-Jain, Hindu text
* ^ For example: ऋषभं मा समानानां
सपत्नानां विषासहिम् ।
हन्तारं शत्रूणां कृधि
विराजं गोपतिं गवाम् ॥१॥ –
Rigveda 10.166.1 Other examples of Rishabha appearing in the Vedic
literature include verses 6.16.47 of Rigveda, 9.4.14-15 of
Atharvaveda, 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 of Taittiriya Brahmana, etc.
* ^ A B C D E von Glasenapp 1925 , p. 16.
* ^ A B C Jacobi 1968 , pp. 284–285.
* ^ Saraswati 1908 , p. 444.
* ^ A B C D E F Dalal 2010 , p. 311.
* ^ Zimmer 1953 , p. 208-09.
* ^ A B Sangave 2001 , p. 131.
* ^ A B C Britannica 2000 .
* ^ A B C Umakant P. Shah 1987 , p. 112.
* ^ Varadpande 1983 , pp. 26–27.
* ^ A B Dundas 2002 , p. 40.
* ^ A B C D E F G Dundas 2002 , p. 21.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Jaini 2000 , p. 327.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. xiv.
* ^ Dalal 2010 , p. 27.
* ^ Vijay K. Jain 2015 , p. 78.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. 88.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. x.
* ^ Sangave 2001 , p. 103.
* ^ A B Kailash Chand Jain 1991 , p. 5.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. 89.
* ^ Jaini 2000 , pp. 340–341.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. xv.
* ^ Wiley 2004 , p. xxix.
* ^ Jestice 2004 , p. 419.
* ^ Sangave 2001 , pp. 103-104.
* ^ Radhakrishnan 1923 , p. 287.
* ^ Prioreschi 1996 , p. 205.
* ^ Rishabha, Monier Monier-Williams,
Sanskrit English Dictionary
and Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 226, 3rd column
* ^ ऋग्वेद: सूक्तं १०.१६६,
* ^ Bloomfield 1906 , p. 293.
* ^ Dalal 2010 , p. 88.
* ^ Hudson 2008 , pp. 19–22.
* ^ A B
Upinder Singh 2016 , p. 26.
* ^ A B Vijay K. Jain 2015 , p. 181.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. 83.
* ^ Jaini 1998 , p. 7.
* ^ Zimmer 1953 , p. 195.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. 76-79.
Champat Rai Jain 1929 , p. 64–66.
* ^ A B Sangave 2001 , p. 105.
* ^ Salomon 1998 , p. 9 with footnotes.
* ^ Dalal 2010 , p. 42.
* ^ Wiley 2004 , p. 54.
* ^ A B Cort 2010 , p. 25.
* ^ A B Titze 1998 , p. 8.
* ^ A B C Vijay K. Jain 2015 , p. 182.
* ^ B.K. Jain 2013 , p. 31.
* ^ Jestice 2004 , p. 738.
* ^ Titze 1998 , p. 138.
* ^ Krishna & Amirthalingam 2014 , p. 46.
* ^ Cort 2010 , p. 115.
* ^ Dalal 2010 , pp. 183, 368.
* ^ Cort 2010 , pp. 115, 135.
* ^ Cort 2010 , pp. 121-122.
Popular Prakashan 2000 , p. 78.
* ^ "Kamat\'s Potpourri: History of the Kannada Literature -II".
* ^ A B Jaini 2000 , p. 326.
* ^ Gupta 1999 , p. 133.
* ^ "Shri Bhaktamara Mantra (भक्तामर
* ^ Rao 1989 , p. 13.
* ^ Doniger 1999 , p. 549.
* ^ Umakant P. Shah 1987 , p. 113.
* ^ Jain & Fischer 1978 , p. 16.
* ^ Tandon 2002 , p. 44.
* ^ "Amit Shah felicitated by Jain community",
The Statesman ,
Nashik , PTI , 14 February 2016
* ^ "Guinness Book to certify Mangi Tungi idol", The Times of India
, 6 March 2016
* ^ "108-feet Jain Teerthankar idol enters "Guinness book of
The Hindu , 7 March 2016
* ^ Bhattacharyya 1977 , p. 269.
* ^ Sengupta 1996 , pp. 596–600.
* ^ "On a spiritual quest",
Deccan Herald , 29 March 2015
* ^ A B Cort 2010 , pp. 143-144.
* ^ Cort 2010 , pp. 144-145.
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Simandhar Swami (other world)
* Kevala Jñāna
* Jaina logic
* Heavenly beings
* Auspicious dreams
John E. Cort
Champat Rai Jain
Jeffery D. Long
Robert J. Zydenbos
Digambar Jain Mahasabha
Vishwa Jain Sangathan
* United States
* Hong Kong
* Southeast Asia
DYNASTIES AND EMPIRES
* Jain calendar
Statue of Ahimsa
Jain terms and concepts
* Sexual differences
List of Jains
List of Jain temples
List of Jain ascetics
List of Digambar Jain ascetics