Jainism: Traditionally known as Jaina dharma, is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and emphasises spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life. Practitioners believe that non-violence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation. Currently, Jainism is divided into two major sects– Digambara and Śvētāmbara.
The word Jainism is derived from a Sanskrit verb Jin which means to conquer. It refers to a battle with the passions and bodily pleasures that the jaina ascetics undertake. Those who win this battle are termed as Jina (conqueror). The term Jaina is thus used to refer to laymen and ascetics of this tradition alike.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Jains traditionally trace their history through a succession of twenty-four propagators of their faith known as tirthankara with Ādinātha as the first tirthankara and Mahāvīra as the last of the current era. For long periods of time Jainism was the state religion of Indian kingdoms and widely adopted in the Indian subcontinent. The religion has been in decline since the 8th century CE due to the growth of, and oppression by, the followers of other faiths.
Jainism is a religious minority in India, with 4.2 million followers, and there are small but notable immigrant communities in Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the United States.[ Jains have the highest degree of literacy of any religious community in India (94.1%), and their manuscript libraries are the oldest in the country.
Jainism or Jain Dharma has Mahavir as their idol god for this “yoog” or what is known as a time period of the world begin and end. In Jain Dharma there are 24 gods for this series of yoogs in which Mahavir is the 24th god and the first was Rishabha/ Adinatha.