^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ SYMBOLS OF TWELVE MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^



The Jain emblem[see above picture] which was adopted in 1975 during the 2500th death anniversary of Lord Mahavir, consists of a digit of the moon, three dots, the Svastika, the palm of a hand with a cakra inset and a mantra at the bottom.

The outline of the symbol is defined as the universe and consists of three realms (Loks/worlds).

i)                   The upper portion indicates URDHAVA LOK (heaven). It contains the heavenly abodes (Devloka) of all the celestial beings and abode of the Siddhas (Siddhashila).

ii)                 The middle portion indicates MADHYALOK (material world). It contains the Earth and other planets (Manushyalok).

iii)               The lower portion indicates ADHOLOK (hell). It contains the seven hells (Naraka).

The overall symbol depicts the belief that living beings of all the three worlds (heaven, hell, and earth) suffer from the miseries of transmigratory existence. They can follow the path of true religion, which is Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct as expounded by the Tirthankars. This will bring auspiciousness to themselves, minimize suffering to others, and help them to obtain perfection, after which they will live forever as perfected beings. In short, the Jain emblem represents many important concepts to show the path to enlightenment by following the basic principles of AHIMSA (non-violence), TRIRATNA (right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct) and helping others.


Swastik is a symbol of the seventh Jina (Saint), the Tirthankara Suparsva. It consists of two parts. One part includes the Red and Blue part of the image. All other religions believe in this part only. But swastik in jainism includes 3 dots and a crescent moon with a dot also.

Four arms of SWASTIKA symbolizes the four GATI (destiny) of worldly souls (non-liberated): NARAKVASI (hellish beings), TRIYANCH (animals, birds, plants), MANUSHYA (humans) and DEV (heavenly beings). It represents the perpetual nature of the universe in the MADHYALOK (material world), where a creature is destined to one of those states based on their Karmas (deeds). It reminds us that worldly souls undergo a continuous cycle of birth, suffering, and death in these four forms. Hence one should follow the true religion and be liberated from suffering. It also represents the four columns of the Jain Sangh (community): Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks and Shravikas - monks, nuns, female and male laymen. It also represents the four characteristics of the soul: infinite knowledge (Anant Gyan), infinite perception (Anant Darshan), infinite happiness (Anant Sukh), and infinite energy (Anant Virya).

green dots:

The green dots represent the Triratna (Jain Trinity: three jewels of jainism): Samyak Darshan (Right Faith), Samyak Gyan (Right Knowledge) and Samyak Charitra (Right Conduct) which together lead to liberation. This gives the message that it is necessary to have TRIRATNA in order to attain MOKSHA. The Crescent moon and the dot i.e. the yellow part of the image represents the abode of the liberated souls (Siddha - Loka or Siddhashila or Moksha) which is a zone beyond the three realms (loks). All of the Siddhas (liberated bodyless souls) reside on this forever, liberated from the cycle of life and death.

In the Svetambar Jain tradition, it is also one of the symbols of the ashta-mangalas. It is considered to be one of the 24 auspicious marks and the emblem of the seventh arhat of the present age

Jain Hand:

The palm of the hand signifies the assurance; 'do not be afraid', indicating that human beings suffering due to karmic bondage do not need to be disheartened. Another meaning is “stop and think before you act to assure that all possible violence is avoided.” This gives us a chance to scrutinize our activities to be sure that they will not hurt anyone by our words, thoughts, or actions. We are also not supposed to ask or encourage others to take part in any harmful activity.

The wheel in the hand symbolizes SAMASARA (reincarnation cycle). It shows that if we are not careful and ignore these warnings and carry on violent activities, then just as the wheel goes round and round, we will go round and round through the cycles of birth and death. The 24 spokes represents the preaching from the 24 Tirthankars (enlightened souls), which can be used to liberate a soul from the cycle or reincarnation.

The word in the center of the wheel is "Ahimsa" (non-violence). Ahimsa means avoidance of Himsa (violence). It has been treated as the first of the five Mahavratas (great vows), prescribed by Jain religion and this Ahimsa Mahavrata has been defined in `Ratnakaranda-sravakachara' as "abstaining from the commission of five sins, himsa and the rest in their three forms, krita, karita and anumodana, with the mind, speech and the body constitutes the Maha-vrata of great ascetics".

The meaning of the mantra at the bottom (PARSPAROGRAHO JIVANAM) is "Live and Let Live". All creatures should help one another.

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