Jainism pre-dates most known religeons although many have argued it has simply re-invented itself on a number of occisions. Many, incorrectly, think it is an offshoot of ancient Hinduism due to historical and modern day interaction between Jains and Hindus. Jainism exists today.
The Jainist Worldview: Imagine a world where you have the potential to be stronger than an army, smarter than all the brilliant men of history, and more powerful than all the forces of nature combined. The only reason you cannot fulfill this potential, the only thing stopping you from being a God, is the sum of the bad deeds you have done, which stick your body and soul together like glue. When you eventually balance those bad deeds out with good ones, you can achieve. This is the worldview of the Jain. He sees himself as a divinity, and all that holds him back is "Ghati karma" (bad karma). In essence, Jainist belief holds that all life is divine.
Jains celebrate the birthday of their last Tirthkanthi (teacher) who was called Mahavir. This festival is called Mahavir Jayanthi.
Another festival, Diwali, has a very special significance in Jainism, just like Buddha Purnima, the date of Buddha's Nirvana, is for Buddhists. Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana or Moksha on Diwali day in 527 BCE.
It is very well known that Mahatma Gandhi was impacted deeply by the Jains of his native Gujarat. Gandhi states in his autobiography that Jesus's Sermon on the Mount is the greatest literature of all time.
In Jainism, the most important doctrine is ahimsa, the practice of non-violence.
Paryushan Parva is an annual religious festival of the Jains. Considered auspicious and sacred, it is observed to deepen the awareness as a physical being in conjunction with spiritual observations. Generally, Paryushan Parva falls in the month of September.
In Jainisim, fasting is considered as a spiritual activity, that purify our souls, improve morality, spiritual power, increase knowledge and strengthen relationships. The purpose is to purify our souls by staying closer to our own souls, looking at our faults and asking for forgiveness for the mistakes and taking vows to minimize our faults. Also a time when Jains will review their action towards their animals, environment and every kind of soul..
- 600 year old Jain Statue at Karkala, India. This is a statue of Bahubala, one sons of the first Jain Tirthkanthar, Rishabha.