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A Treatise On Jainism
by Shri Jayatilal S. Sanghvi

The religion which enjoins adoration and worship of Jinas or the religion which is propounded by Jinas is knows as the Jain religion.

Jina means one who has conquered the internal enemies and impurities of the soul like attachment (raga) and hatred (dwesha).  He is known as Parmatma (the great soul), Sarvajna (omniscient), and Savadarshee (omnipotent).  Such Jinas have been in existence from times immemorial.  No beginning can be traced for them, and the Jain Religion has also no beginning.  It is a very ancient religion.  It teaches us to become Jina and those who follow it are called Jains.

According to Jain conception the period of time consists of two cycles, ascending (utsarpinee) and descending (avasarpini).  In each of these two cycles, twenty-four Tirthankaras (Jinas) came into existence.  They are called Tirthankaras because they are to become the propounders of the sacred order of religion.  The last Tirthankar was Lord Mahavir.

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