Anantanatha, Anantanātha, Ananta-natha: 2 definitions

Introduction

Anantanatha means something in Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Anantanātha (अनन्तनाथ) is another name for Ananta, the fourteenth Tīrthaṅkara (Janism recognizes 24 such teachers or Siddhas). His colour is gold (kāñcana), according to Aparājitapṛcchā (221.5-7). His height is 50 dhanuṣa (a single dhanuṣa (or, ‘bow’) equals 6 ft), thus, roughly corresponding to 91 meters. His emblem, or symbol, is a Porcupine or Falcon.

Anantanātha’s father is Siṃhasena and his mother is Suyaśā according to Śvetāmbara or Sarvayaśā according to Digambara. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

Source: archive.org: The Jaina Iconography

Anantanātha (अनन्तनाथ) refers to the fourteenth of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas, commonly depicted in Jaina iconography.—The symbolic mark which distinguishes Anantanātha from all other Tīrthaṃkaras is the hawk according to Śvetāmbaras and the bear according to the Digambaras. The Yakṣa and Yakṣiṇī, the goblins, serving him are named Pātāla and Anantamatī (Śvetāmbara Aṃkuśā) respectively. The Chowri-waver, in his case, was king Puruṣottama-Vāsudeva by name. The tree associated with his enlightenment is Aśvattha (Ficus religioso).

The Jaina Purāṇas give his father’s name as Siṃhasena and mother’s name as Jayaśyāmā. He was the Kṣatriya sovereign of Ayodhyā, where the Tīrthaṃkara was born. He obtained his name of Ananta as his mother had seen an endless necklace of pearls. Jaina tradition asserts that an endless (ananta) thread which lay about powerless in Ayodhyā became endowed with power to heal diseases as soon as the Tīrthaṃkara took his birth. The idea of power and combating spirit have given rise to his symbols either of a falcon or a bear, his Yakṣa and the Yakṣiṇī carry, it may be interesting to notice, war-like weapons symbolising the same idea.

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context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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