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Title: Neminatha  
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Subject: Panch Kalyanaka, Jain Center of Greater Phoenix, Nandavarta, Jainism in Nepal, Kayotsarga
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22nd Jain Tirthankara
Idol of Neminath Swami
Alternate name: Arishtanemi
Historical date: 3rd Millennium BCE
Father: Samudravijaya
Mother: Shivadevi
Dynasty: Harivamsha
Birth: Sauripura (Dvaraka)
Nirvana: Girnar
Colour: Black
Symbol: Conch
Height: 10 dhanusha
Attendant Gods
Yaksha: Gomedh
Yaksini: Ambika

Neminatha (Devanagari: नेमिनाथ) was the twenty-second Jain tirthankara.[1] According to Jain beliefs, he became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma. Neminatha was born to King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi at Souripur in the Harivamsha clan. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Indian calendar.[1]


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.
An image of Neminath as installed at the National Museum, New Delhi

Secular scholars accept the existence of Jainism as far back as the 7th century BCE,[2] but for Jains the story goes back much further than Parsvanatha. Jain texts mention the names of twenty-one Tirthankaras before him. Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara, was the son of Samudra Vijaya and grandson of Andhakavrishni. Jains and some Hindus consider Neminath to be the cousin of Krishna - the son of Samudra Vijaya, brother of Krishna's father Vasudeva.[3][4][5]

According to both religions, Krishna negotiated his marriage with Rajamati, 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.

The Andhakavrishnisof 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.

The name of the Vrishni corporation is also found on a coin which on paleographic grounds dates to the 1st or 2nd century BCE. It seems that the republic was named after Andhakavrishni, the grandfather of Neminatha. If Andhakavrishni is a real person, there seems to be little doubt that his grandson Neminatha was real.

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.[6] 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 nirvana after hard austerities, he might have been given the name of Ghora Angirasa.

The Jaina traditions about Neminatha or Arishtanemi as incorporated in the Harivamsha, 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.


  1. ^ a b Tukol 1980, p. 31
  2. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica s.v. "Jainism" has: "Jainism originated in the 7th–5th century BCE in the Ganges basin of eastern India"
  3. ^ Helen, Johnson (2009) [1931]. Muni Samvegayashvijay Maharaj, ed. Trisastiśalākāpurusacaritra of Hemacandra: The Jain Saga (in English. Trans. From Prakrit). Part III. Baroda: Oriental Institute.   pp. 1–266
  4. ^ Note: The story of Neminatha is told alongisde the stories of Krishna and Balarama in the Jain version of the Mahabharata.
  5. ^ Kumar 2001, pp. 4–5
  6. ^ 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. 


  • Tukol, T. K. (1980). Compendium of Jainism. Dharwad: University of Karnataka. 
  • Permanent World Parliament of Religions, Fraternities, and Philosophies,, Sivanand (Swami.) (1956). World Parliament of Religions Commemoration Volume. Sivanandanagar, Rishikesh, India: The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University Press. p. 659. 
  • History Congress, Indian (1947). Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. 
  • Ahluwalia, Shashi, Meenakshi (1992). Living faiths in modern India. Indian Publishers' Distributors. p. 404. 
  • Jain, Bhawan (1967). Jain Journal Volumes 2-3. Jain Bhawan. 

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
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