What is Jainism? Jain Beliefs and Teachings (Religion vs Spirituality)

Acharya Shree, what is Jainism and are you Jain? What a beautiful question. Jainism is very ancient system. And it is
not what people think that started from Mahavira. Mahavira happened like 2600 years ago. Even the historians, whoever mentioned that Jainism started from the…that he was
the founder of Jainism. Those historians are very much wrong. Yes the Jain word was not the there. The word
itself “Jain”, it came, it existed after Mahavira. Because before we used to call Jainism different way. It was Samnopasak. Name was changing according to the
time. Like before Mahavira, 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanath… we never called the Shravak and Shravika. Either we
used to call them Samnopasak or Parshvapatiyak. Parshvapatiyak – it was a Sanskrit word. Parshvapatiyak
means the children of Parshvanath. But it changes according to time. So if you go to
the deep into history, this system begins thousands of years. And I still strongly tell people that read the
history. Go to the Sindhu Civilization. Mohenjo-daro Harappa. There are many evidence. Many many evidence that it was the very peaceful civilization. Sindhu Civilization. And they were following Shramana Parampara. Shramana Parampara means they were following the monks and nuns. Shramana Parampara. And that’s what…they were Shramanika when they followed the Shramana
Parampara. In Sanskrit we call them Shramanika. And in Prakrit language we call them Samanika.
Who followed the Samanas called Samanika. So the Jain System used to be Samanika Tradition. And you will be surprised in America the native people here, the
native people in America they follow the same system till today. They call them Samanika too. There are traditions here in this country. So somehow we are all connected. So the, even the
Jain word is new, but the system is the same. Adinath, the first Tirthankara, there are many evidence that
his teachings were very popular in Sindhu civilization. Because people were very peaceful, nonviolent. I can tell you one thing about Jainism: even though it is
very…one of the oldest religion in the world – one of the oldest – that is sure. Historians they think at least that it is 5000
years old. But I don’t buy it. I think it is even older than that. Because the teachings of the Adinath
– the first Tirthankara – what is in Jainism it is popular Rishabhadeva. Rishabha means bull. He became popular by his symbol, bull – rishabha. And his teachings were so popular, so it seems like it was already
first Tirthankara was existing thousands of years before than Sindhu civilization. Because his teachings were so popular. So the Jain, there is no doubt about it, it is one of
the oldest religion and it’s the best religion in that way – that’s what I’m going to tell you. What is the most significant about Jainism is Jainism is the only
religion which never never compromised with the violence since it existed. Since beginning. They will compromise with other
thing but they never compromise with violence. So it is fully nonviolent religion. It used to be a system but unfortunately it became a religion. So the second question you ask about mean that are you a Jain? If you say by karma then yes I am a Jain. Even though
I was not born in Jain family, I was born in warrior class. But I can tell you that my family is more than Jain. Because I remember my grandmother, she didn’t allow even to the family even tomato. Till she was alive in our family there was never
came tomato. Tomato never was used. Because they used to ask her “Why?” She said “when
you cut it seems like a piece of meat.” I’m coming from that family. And by karma
Jain religion…Jain is considered by karma. If your karmas, your actions, are that way you are Jain.
Anyone can be Jain actually if their karmas, if they’re fully nonviolent. They don’t believe in killing, hurting, harming anyone.
So he or she is Jain already. By karma you can say “Yes, I am Jain”. My teachings are universal and Jains’ teachings are considered universal
if you just don’t get involved into religion. When you get involved into religion you are putting
yourself in the small box. But it is unfortunate people are putting themselves into the small box. They need to…Mahavira was not Jain. He never put after
his name he was Jain. His teachings were universal. Like Rishabhadeva’s teachings were universal. It is…it brings peace in the world. It brings nonviolence in the world. And when it is nonviolence, people
follow it, we help eachother. We help the whole world. That is the system we’re building. That is the system of Jain system. If
we can still follow it is more valuable, it can change the whole world. Because, another thing, Jainism they don’t believe in war at all. When they don’t believe but it doesn’t mean they don’t believe in defense.
They will defend the country. They will defend their society. They will defend their people. They will defend the society people even. Defending is different thing. Attacking to someone is totally different thing. Attacking is a war. Defending is not a war. You
have to defend yourself, to your family, to your nation. They believe in that. People are confused. If they don’t believe in war they will not fight.
No. Jain kings used to fight because they have to defend their own nation. Their own people. And it doesn’t go against of religion. So even though it
is incredible religion but I still want to say that Jainism is a system. If you follow that system you will be surprised your soul get enlightened.
Your soul will be awaken. And that is the Jain system teaches. Jai Siddhatma.

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