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  • FOUNDED: Jainism is the oldest religion and has always been existed and will continue to exist. It was re-established about 2500 years ago in India by Lord Mahavir.

  • FOUNDER: Nataputra Vardhamana, known as Mahavira, "Great Hero."

  • MAJOR SCRIPTURES: The Jain Agamas and Siddhantas.

  • ADHERENTS: About six million, almost exclusively in Central and South India, especially in Mumbai.

  • SECTS: There are two sects. The Digambara ("Sky-clad") sect holds that a saint should own nothing, not even clothes. They believe that salvation in this birth is not possible for women. The Svetambara ("White-robed") sect disagrees with these points and believes that the 17th Tirthankar (one of the 24 great heros of this era) was herself a female. And they believe that even God wore clothes, initially but later donated them to a young boy who was trembling in bitter cold.


Painting of Mahavira (small painting, Rajasthan Dated 1900)from personal collection of Photos of Jules Jain