Buddhism and Jainism

2017 Edition
| Editors: K. T. S. Sarao, Jeffery D. Long

Pārśvanātha (Jainism)

  • Gregory M. ClinesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-0852-2_702



In Jainism, Pārśvanātha was the 23rd and penultimate Tīrthaṅkara (ford maker) of the current world age.

Introduction to Pārśvanātha

Along with the 24th Tīrthaṅkara, Vardhamāna Mahāvīra, Pārśvanātha is one of only two Tīrthaṅkaras believed to have been a historical individual. Scholarly consensus dates Pārśvanātha to sometime between the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. Scholars also believe the parents of Mahāvīra to have been lay followers of Pārśvanātha, and while the direct relationship between Pārśvanātha and Mahāvīra is difficult to trace (as will be shown below), it is widely believed that Mahāvīra originally took initiation within Pārśvanātha’s ascetic lineage. In iconography, Pārśvanātha’s emblem is the cobra or snake, his complexion is blue-black or blue-green, and his attendant deities are Dharaṇendra and Padmāvatī. Unlike icons of other Tīrthaṅkaras, which are for the most part identifiable only by either the emblems carved into the icon’s base...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Committee on the Study of ReligionHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA