Tirthankara, aka: Tīrthaṃkara, Tīrthaṅkara; 7 Definition(s)


Tirthankara means something in Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India. 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)

Tirthankara in Jainism glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tīrthaṅkara (ऋषभनाथ).— A tīrthaṅkara is an enlightened being who has conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leaving behind him a path for others to follow.

Jainism recognizes the following twenty-four tīrthaṅkara :

  1. Ṛṣabha,
  2. Ajita,
  3. Saṃbhava,
  4. Abhinandana,
  5. Sumati,
  6. Padmaprabha,
  7. Supārśva,
  8. Candraprabha,
  9. Puṣpadanta,
  10. Śītala,
  11. Śreyāṃsa,
  12. Vāsupūjya,
  13. Vimala,
  14. Ananta,
  15. Dharma,
  16. Śānti,
  17. Kunthu,
  18. Ara,
  19. Malli,
  20. Munisuvrata,
  21. Nami,
  22. Nemi,
  23. Pārśva,
  24. Mahāvīra,
Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara is a human being who helps in achieving liberation and enlightenment as an "Arihant" by destroying their soul-constraining (ghati) karmas, became a role-model and leader for those seeking spiritual guidance. Tirthankara is also said to mean “full moon,” a metaphorical reference to Kevala Jnana, the spiritual state achieved by exalted and rare beings. Jain scriptures define the term tirthankara as follows: the contrivance which help us to cross the great ocean of worldly life is called Tirtha and the person who makes that tirtha is known as tirthankara.

Source: WikiPedia: Jainism

Tirthankara (Prakrit: Tirtha = ford ), also called Jina (victor, winner or conqueror), literally meaning 'ford-maker', who (re-)establishes the religion and the Sangh (the four fold order/community of ascetics and lay followers).

The day when a tirthankara was born, got diksha, atteined omniscience and got liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is given in lunar days, so called tithis.

The last Tirtankara known as Mahavira (~ 599 BC), a contemporary of Buddha, and Parshvanatha (~850 BC) found acceptance as historic persons. The appearance of the other 22 predecessors reach for eons.

 In Jainism a Tirthankara (he or she) is a liberated soul who has attained omniscience and guides the souls to the opposite shores of the ocean of the world to save them from the cycles of repeated earth existences (rebirth). Tirthankara also are called Jina (vanquisher, victor, conqueror), their followers Jains. To them, a Tirthankara is greater than the gods because he transcends the laws of Space and Time.

Source: HereNow4U: Glossary

Tīrthaṅkara (तीर्थङ्कर).—The 24 Tīrthaṅkara (or Tīrthaṃkara) from Vṛṣabhanātha up to Mahāvīra are arihanta omniscient as well as Tīrthaṅkara. The Tīrthaṅkara and omniscient share same qualities of liberation from bondage and knowledge yet are different. Tīrthaṅkara are the reformers of three worlds. They are capable of self-welfare as well as the welfare of others. They are the benefactors of gods, demons, humans, animals and birds.

Source: HereNow4u: Tīrthaṅkara (ford maker) and Kevalīs (omniscient)

Tīrthaṅkara (तीर्थङ्कर, “ford-maker”) refers to one of the various kinds of Nāma, or “physique-making (karmas)”, which represents one of the eight types of Prakṛti-bandha (species bondage): one of the four kinds of bondage (bandha) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra chapter 8. What is meant by fordmaker (tīrthaṅkara) body-making karma? The rise of which causes the status of an arhat and the founder cum preacher of the creed is called fordmaker body-making karma.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 8: Bondage of karmas

Tīrthaṅkara (तीर्थङ्कर) refers to “ford-maker” according to the Tattvārthasūtra chapter 6.—Who is a ford-maker (tīrthaṅkara)? An omniscient that organizes propagates and preaches the creed (tīrtha) is called fordmaker. He takes the followers from the shores of ignorance to the shores of enlightenment. How many auspicious events in life are there of a fordmaker (tīrthaṅkara)? They can have two, three or five auspicious events (kalyāṇakas) in their life.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas
General definition book cover
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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India history and geogprahy

Tirthankara in India history glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tīrthaṅkara.—(CII 3; EI 9); epithet of the 24 great leaders of the Jain faith; propagator of the Jain faith or tīrtha; creator of the four sections, viz. monk, nun, layman and laywoman (sādhu, sādhvī, śrāvaka and śrāvikā); same as Jina; sometimes spelt Tīrthakara; also called Ādikartṛ. Note: tīrthaṅkara is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Relevant definitions

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Tīrthaṅkarādatta (तीर्थङ्करादत्त) refers to “what is not granted by the Tīrthaṅkara”, and repre...
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Jaya (जय).—m. (-yaḥ) 1. Conquest, victory, triumph. 2. A name of YuDhish- T'Hira. 3. A proper n...
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Anantā (अनन्ता) refers to “earth” and is mentioned in a list of 53 synonyms for dharaṇi (“earth...
Sudarśana (सुदर्शन).—mfn. (-naḥ-nā or -nī-naṃ) 1. Handsome, good looking. 2. Easily seen. m. (-...
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Nanda.—(IE 7-1-2), ‘nine’. Note: nanda is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it c...
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