|What is Philosophy?|
Though it is widely believed that Vardhamana Mahavira (? 599 B.C. – 527 B.C.?) founded Jainism, the Jain tradition maintains that he was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Rishabhadeva was the first Tirthankara. Parshvanatha was the 23rd Tirthankara.
The two main sects of Jainism are: (1) Digambara (2) Shwetambara.
The Digambaras believe that a monk must give up all property including clothes and then only they get moksha. They also deny the right of women to moksha.
Jainism is both a philosophy and a religion. It is a heterodox philosophy in the sense that it does not uphold the authority of the Vedas. It is atheist and does not accept the existence of God. Jainism rejects the concept of a Supreme Being or the Brahman as the creator of the world. The Tirthankaras are the liberated souls. The followers offer prayers to the Tirthankaras.
Jainism believes that the universe is eternal and boundless (infinite).
The Jains classify all the things into two groups: ‘jiva’ and ‘ajiva’. Jiva is what is known as the soul or the ‘atman’ or the ‘purusha’ in other systems. Jiva can be considered as ‘the composite unit of body and soul.’ The soul manifests itself in a material body. Its essential character is consciousness. The jivas or the souls are innumerable and are divided into many grades or categories depending on the sense-organs they possess. The jiva is not permanent. Its magnitude keeps on changing from body to body. The soul of an elephant is bigger than that of an insect.
While the Hindu philosophies maintain that the karma is immaterial, Jainism advances the material form of karma. According to Jainism, karma is "paudgolik"; it is constituted of subtle particles of matter.