Abhavya One who is incapable of attaining moksha.

Abhigrah Resolution.

Abhishek Anointing ceremony.

Achaksurdarshan Perception by means of the senses other than visual.

Ächarya/ji A Sädhu who learned, mastered and taught religious scriptures, follows them, and is now the head of a Sangh. Head of a mendicant group, spiritual leader and monk-scholar.

Adhi Two and a half.

Adho-lok The lower world. The home of infernal beings.

Ägama Scripture. Canonical literature.

Aghati The four types of Karmas whose powers are much milder than those of the four ghati Karmas. These Karmas end at the end of a life.

Agni Fire.

Ahimsa Non-violence, non-harming. The supreme mahavrat or anuvrat that all Jains must adhere to. Jain religion s remarkable in that it upholds non-violence as the supreme religion (Ahimsa Paramo Dharm) and has insisted upon its observance in thought, word, and deed at the individual as well as social levels.

Ahimsa Paramo Dharma “Non-violence is the supreme religion.”

Ailak The highest state of a Digambar layman, wherein he retains only one piece of clothing.

Akäsh Space.

Alok-äkäsh Totally empty space.

Amari Prohibition of animal sacrifice.

Anekäntväd “Non-singular conclusively” or multiplicity of viewpoints. The concept that humans, with obstructed knowledge, will only be able to see limited parts of any whole (situation or truth).

Antaräy A Ghati Karma that obstructs the strength of a Soul.

Anuvrat A vow that is not as strict as a mahavrat. Anuvrats are for people living family lives. The

five Vrats are

Ahimsa (non-violence), truth, non-stealing, non-possessiveness and chastity or self-control.

Aparigraha Non-possessiveness. One of the mahavrats and anuvrats.

Ärä One of the six divisions of time in one half of the time cycle. Runs from thousands to billions of years. We are currently in the fifth ara of the descending half of the time cycle, which started some 2,500 years ago.

Arambhi-himsä Violence occurring either accidentally or through the performance of an acceptable occupation.

Arati The lamp-waving ceremony.

Arihant Conqueror of internal enemies, such as anger, pride, deceit, greed, jealousy, hatred, intrigue and various other passions.

Äsrav Karmic influx. One of the nine tattvas.

Asteya Non-stealing. One of the mahavrats and anuvrats.

Atishay Thirty-four special attributes of Tirthankars.

Atithi One who may come any time, unexpectedly, without invitation, and is still welcomed with love and respect.

Ätma Soul.

Avamaudarya Eating only a very small portion of food.

Avarsarpini Regressive half of the time cycle.

Äyu Karma Karma that determines the span of a given lifetime.

Ayushya An aghati Karma that determines how long you will live.

Bandh Karmic bondage. One of the nine tattvas.

Beindriy Souls that live with two senses, namely touch and taste.

Bhante Respected (Lord).

Bharat Name of a kshetra. We live in Bharat Kshetra. It is located in the southern part of Jambu Dweep (look at geography section for more details).

Bhäv Internal. States of a dravya. Thoughts, contemplations.

Bhoga-antäray Karma that restricts enjoyment.

Brahmacharya Physical control, abstinence, chastity. One of the mahavrats and anuvrats. Jainism emphasizes abstinence from over-indulgence, voluntary curtailment of one’s needs, and the consequent subsiding of the aggressive urge. For shrävaks and shrävikas, this also means remaining sexually monogamous to one’s own spouse. For sädhus and sädhvis this entails strict abstinence.

Brahmacharya-ashrama The life of a student. The first of four stages that a Jain shrävak and shrävika are recommended to pass through in his or her lifetime.

Charitra Conduct.

Chattari Four.

Chauvisattho A prayer to the 24 Tirthankars of this kaal in Bharat Kshetra. We bow and praise them for their great virtues.

Chaurindriy Soul that lives with four senses, namely touch, taste, smell and sight.

Chauvisi A group of 24.

Dän Charity. Alms-giving.

Däna-antaräy A type of Karma that hinders the practice of charity.

Darshan Vision. Intuition. Insight. Perception. A system of philosophy. A pure Soul has infinite vision.

Darshanävaraniya A ghati Karma that obstructs the capacity of a Soul to see things clearly.

Dev A Soul in heaven, or at a high spiritual level.

Dev-dushya “Divine” cloth. A finely woven piece of cloth.

Devlok Heaven. The place where devs reside.

Dhairya Patience. A pure Soul has infinite patience.

Dharma Holy law. Righteousness (ten forms).

Dharma dravya The principle of motion.

Dharma tirtha Holy path.

Dhivyadhvani Miraculous sound. When a Tirthankar attains enlightenment, this sound emerges from them, silent, yet understood by every living being in his or her own language.

Digambar Sky-clad. Name of the Jaina sect whose mendicants (munis) practice ascetic nudity.

Dravya Substance.

Dukkadam Forgive me (or dissolve my mistakes).

Dweep Island. A large isolated area. There are two and a half dweeps, each with three kshetras

in them.

Ek One; unitary.

Ekäntaväd Extremism. Absolutist doctrine.

Eka satak A mendicant who wears a single piece of cloth.

Ekendriy A being with only one sense faculty, that of touch. A synonym for sthavara beings.

Ganadhara/ji The first mendicant disciples of Tirthankars. Supporters of the order. Mahävir had 11, the most famous of which was Gautamswami.

Ghäti The four types of Karmas, whose powers are much stronger than those of the aghati Karmas.

Karmas that have a vitiating effect upon the qualities of the Soul. These powers may last for many lives.

Gäan (jnän) Knowledge. A pure Soul has infinite knowledge.

Gnanavaraniy A ghati Karma that obstructs the capacity of the Soul to know things in their

purest forms.

Gotra Karma Karmas that determine environmental circumstances.

Gruhasth-ashrama Family life. The second of four stages that a Jain shrävak and shrävika are recommended to pass through in his or her lifetime.

Gunasthana The 14 stages of purification.

Gunavrats Retraints that reinforce the practice of anuvratas.

Himsa Injury, harming, violence.

Hundavasarpini A period of avasarpini in which extraordinary events may take place.

Indriya Sense organ.

Jaina Followers of a Jina, a synonym for Nigantha.

Jain-brahman Laypeople in charge of priestly functions within certain Jaina communities.

Jambu dweep “The continent of the rose-apple tree.” The realm in the universe that is inhabited by humans. This region is transversed by six mountains which divide the region into seven regions. The most important regions are India in the south, Airavat in the north, and Mahavideha in the middle. It is believed that in these three regions, humans may find rewards for religious pursuits and that deliverance may be possible.

Janma-kalyän Birth. One of the five auspicious events in the career of a Tirthankar.

Jin “Conqueror.” He who has conquered love and hate, pleasure and pain, attachment and aversion, and has thereby freed his Soul from the Karmas obscuring knowledge, perception, truth, and ability, is a Jina. The Jains refer to the Jin as God.

Jin-ägam Jaina scripture.

Jina-bhavan Jaina temple.

Jiv Soul.

Jiva Dayä Compassion toward living beings.

Jyotish Chakra Area of space in which zodiac planets, stars, etc. are located.

Käl Time. Time stages within the progressive and regressive half-cycles. Runs into more than billions of years, per cycle.

Kalyanaka Auspicious moments.

Karemi “I do.”

Karma Action. A deed, good or bad. A form of matter. Upon maturing, it delivers its fruit. There are four Ghati and four Aghati types of Karmas. Powers of Ghati Karmas are much stronger, and they last for

many lives.

Kashäy Passion.

Kausagga A motionless state of body, as if the Soul has departed from it.

Käyotsarg Abandonment of the body, a standing or sitting posture of meditation.

Kevaldarshan Infinite vision and perception. After acquiring it, the cycle of births and deaths is broken forever. Any Soul can attain it, by getting rid of Karmas, attachments and hatreds. With it comes kevalgnan, infinite Dhariya, Tapa and Veerya.

Kevaldarshi One who has kevalgnan.

Kevalgnan Infinite knowledge. Knowledge isolated from karmic obstruction. Omniscience. Knowledge involving awareness of every existent in all its qualities and modes.

Kevalin/gnani One who has kevalgnan. Synonym for arhat or omniscient.

Khamana Homages, or salutations.

Khamasamano Forgiving Gurudev.

Krodh Anger.

Kshamä Forgiveness.

Kshetra An area, site or location where humans exist. Each kshetra has four more similar counterparts.

Kshullak Minor. A junior monk. A Jain layman on the eleventh pratima. One who wears three pieces of clothing.

Logassa (Masters) of the entire universe.

Loguttama Supreme.

Mahäräj Saheb “King, sir.” A title used for sädhus, to indicate respect.

Mahävideh Name of a kshetra. Twenty Tirthankars currently exist there, deeming it the most sacred kshetra.

Mahävir Twenth-fourth Tirthankar in this ara of the time cycle. His name means “The most courageous one.” Mahävir lived some time between 599-527 BCE. He was a contemporary of another great

spiritual teacher, Gautama Sakyamuni, who would come to be known in history as Buddha. According to most accounts, Mahävir was also a high-born member of a warrior caste who renounced the world when he was 30 to pursue a life as an ascetic. His moment of enlightenment came after 12 years of  spiritual pursuit. He then gathered 12 disciples around him, and it is through these disciples that his teachings were eventually documented and disseminated.

Mahävrat A vow that is much stricter than an Anuvrat. Only those who take diksha will take on these vows (i.e. sädhus and sädhvis). There are five mahavrats, namely, ahimsa, anekantvad, aparigraha, steya and brahmacharya.

Mangal/Mangalam Destroyer of sins. Auspicious.

Mantra A prayer with strong psychological powers.

Maun Silence.

Michchhami “I wish.”

Mohaniy A ghati Karma that obstructs the capacity of Soul to think properly.

Moksha The state of freedom for a Soul from the cycle of birth and death.

Muktishila (Siddha-shila) The topmost area of the universe, the area of freedom. After death, a liberated Soul rises to it, and never comes back into the cycle of birth and death. For every Soul that exists there is Kevalgnani, Kevaldarshi and has infinite dhariya, tapa and veerya.

Muni Monk. Sadhu. One who keeps maun. He only observes, without praising or complaining.

Näm An aghati Karma that determines the body.

Namotthunam Expression of respect to the virtuous gurus.

Namaskär mantra (Namokar mantra) Reverent salutation to the five holy beings: arihants, siddhas, acharyas, upadhayas and sädhus/sädhvis. A prayer consisting of nine lines, which is the most meaningful of all Jain prayers in that it allows the follower to pay homage to all teachers.

Näraki Hell beings.

Nigod The lowest form of life.

Nirjarä Dissociation of Karma. One of the nine tattvas.

Nitya Eternal.

Niyati Fate.

Niyativada Fatalism.

Om Sacred sound formed by combining the first syllables of five supreme beings (AAAUM) in the

namaskär mantra.

Pachchakhan Formality for taking a vow.

Pad Poem.

Panch Five.

Panch kalyan The five auspicious events in the life of a Tirthankar.

Panchendriy Souls with five senses, namely touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.

Pani patra Hand-bowl. Folding palms to form a bowl for accepting food.

Pannato Spoken, or taught.

Päp Unwholesome Karmas.

Paramänu Atom.

Paramätman The highest liberated Soul.

Parasparopagraho Jivänam “Souls render service to one another.” From Tattvärtha Sutra 1: 4: 1.

Parva Jaina holy days.

Parigrahatyäga-pratimä The ninth stage in which a layman abandons the cares of worldly possessions.

Paryushan-parva Eight or ten days of holy period for spiritual upliftment, undersanding the qualities of the Soul, prayers, and fasting. Takes place during the rainy season (usually August or September).

Pavajjhami “I seek.”

Phal Fruit.

Paushadh A day chosen by a householder to live like a muni.

Pratikraman Going back to the original virtues (of Soul), which are: compassion, peace, even-

temperament, forgiveness, etc.

Pratimä Stages of renunciation for a layman.

Pudgal Matter.

Pujä Worship.

Pundarik The best lotus.

Punya Karma Wholesome, good, virtuous, Karma.

Purän Name of a class of sacred texts dealing with the lives of Tirthankars.

Purva A group of fourteen Jaina canonical texts, now extinct.

Pushkarvar Name of a dweep. Only half of it is used for living.

Räg Desire. Passion. Attachment.

Rajlok / Lok Geographical term. The universe is divided into 14 rajloks, consisting of hells, dweeps, heavens, etc.

Sädhu/sahoo A male who has given up the family life, wealth and worldly comforts to seek liberation. He learns scriptures religiously.

Sädhvi/ji A female who has given up the family life, wealth and worldly comforts to seek liberation.

Samlekhanä Voluntary and controlled fasting to death. This is a misunderstood and controversial concept in Jainism. It is believed that in 420 BCE, Mahävir engaged in samlekhanä.

Sämäyik State of calmness and sinlessness of mind and speech. Usually 48 minutes for

householders and a lifetime for sädhus and sädhvis.

Samiti Five areas of caution: walking, speaking, eating food, handling materials and discarding excretion.

Samkit Awakening of the Soul to the right path. Once a Soul has samkit, he gets liberated within a few incarnations.

Samurchchhin A small human-like life, of bacterial size, residing inside our human bodies. It can be born spontaneously, by itself.

Samavasaran Holy assembly of the Jina.

Samay Moment.

Samkalpaja-himsa Intentional, premeditated violence.

Samsär Cycle of transmigration for all non-liberated souls.

Samvar Stoppage of the influx of Karmas. One of the nine tattvas.

Sangh Fourfold society, consisting of male and female sädhus and householders who follow the

principles of Jainism. Establishing a sangh is what distinguishes a regular kevali from a Tirthankar (a kevali who establishes a sangh).

Santhära Peaceful, voluntary and planned religious death.

Sanvibhäg Sharing equally, with love and respect.

Sanyäs-äshram Life as a monk, a period of renunciation. This is the fourth of four stages that a Jain shrävak and shrävika are recommended to pass through in his or her lifetime.

Sharanam Shelter.

Shikshävrat Four vows, which prepare and train a householder for the eventual muni life.

Shrävak/ji Male householder, following the principles of Jainism.

Shrävika Female householder, following the principles of Jainism.

Shri A prefix used to indicate respect.

Siddha One who has achieved complete liberation from cycles of births and deaths, and now in siddha shila (muktishila).

Stavara Immobile beings, such as plants.

Sthäpanä Ritual act of asking a monk to stop for alms.

Sutra A scripture written in the ancient Ardhamaghdhi language.

Shvetämbar Name of a Jain sect whose medicants wear white garments.

Tap Penance which contributes to the destruction of Karmas. A pure Soul has infinite tapa.

Tass For (my blemished Soul).

Tattva The nine “reals,” regarded as objects of faith for a Jains.

Teindriya Lives with three senses, namely touch, taste and smell.

Tikhkhuto Three times.

Tirthankar “Builders of the ford.” One who reestablishes the religion and fourfold society system

of Sädhus, Sädhvis, Shrävaks and Shrävikas.

Upädhyäy/ji A sädhu who learned, mastered and now teaches religious scriptures.

Uttari Upliftment or elevation.

Vanaprasth-äshrama Family and service to society. This is the third of four stages that a Jain shrävak and shrävika are recommended to pass through in his or her lifetime.

Vanasi Forest dweller.

Vandan Act of bowing, or offering salutations.

Vandanä Reverent salutation.

Varna Caste, hierarchy, class. Color. A quality of matter.

Vedaniya An aghati Karma that determines the mundane experience of pain and pleasure.

Veerya Strength. A pure Soul has infinite strength.

Vir-nirväna Beginning of the Jain era. Death anniversary of Mahävir.

Viträg One who has no attachment.

Vrat Vow.

Yathapravratta-karana The Soul’s ineradicable tendency toward spiritual growth.

Yati A spiritually advanced layman of the Svetambara sect.

Yatra Pilgrimage.

Yog Vibration, activities.

Yoga Meditation.

Yojana A measure of distance equal to about eight or nine miles.

These terms have been compiled from the following sources:



• Jaini, Padmanabh S. The Jaina Path of Purification. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi: 1979.
• Jain Center of Southern California, Winter Camp 1991 Information Packet.
Glossary of Non-English Terms Resources