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A Tirthankara ("Fordmaker") (also Tirthankara or Jina) is a human who achieves enlightenment (perfect knowledge), through asceticism. A Tirthankar becomes a Jina (after totally conquering anger, pride, deceit, desire, etc.). A Tirthankar is the founder of a "Tirth", a Jain community which acts as a "ford" across the "river of human misery".

After achieving enlightenment, a Tirthankar shows others the path to enlightenment. The Tirthankar's religious teachings form the Jain canons. The inner knowledge of all Tirthankars is perfect and identical in every respect, for the teachings of one Tirthankar do not contradict those of another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of humans during that period. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind, the lower the elaboration required.

At the end of his human life-span, a Tirthankar achieves liberation ('moksh' or 'nirvan'), ending the cycle of infinite births and deaths.

Jainism states time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. There have been an infinite number of time cycles before our present era and there will be an infinite number of time cycles after this age. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we are approximately 2,530 years into the fifth era of the present half cycle.

Twenty four Tirthankars are born in each half cycle of time (that is forty eight in each full cycle), in this part of the universe. In our current (descending) half cycle of time, the first Tirthankar Rishabh Dev[citation needed], lived billions of years ago and attained liberation ('moksh' or 'nirvan') towards the end of the third era. The 24th and last Tirthankar was Mahavir Swami (599-527 BC), whose existence is a historically accepted fact. Digambaras believe that all twenty four Tirthankars were men but Svetambaras believe that the 19th Tirthankar, Malli Nath, was a woman.

The next Tirthankar in our part of the universe will be born at the beginning of the third era of the next (ascending) half cycle of time, in approximately 81,500 years.

As Tirthankars direct us to enlightenment, their statues are worshipped in Jain temples by Jains aspiring to achieve enlightenment. Tirthankars are not God or gods. Jainism does not believe in the existence of God in the sense of a creator, and gods are beings superior to humans but, nevertheless, not fully enlightened.

Tirthankar Birthplace;
Consecration
Parents Complex Symbol Height Age Male disciple;
Female disciple
I. Lord Rishabha (Adinath) Vinittanagari;
Purimatala
Nabhiraja
by Marudeva
golden bull or ox 500 dhanusha
(poles)
8,400,000 purva
(great years)
Pundarika;
Brahmi
II. Ajitnath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Jita['s]atru
by Vijayamata
golden elephant 450 dhanusha 7,200,000 purva ['S]i[.m]hasena;
Phalgu
III. Sambhavanath Savathi;
Sravasti
Jitari
by Senamata
golden horse 400 dhanusha 6,000,000 purva Charu;
Syama
IV. Abhinandannath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Sambararaja
by Siddhartha
golden monkey 350 dhanusha 5,000,000 purva Vajranabha;
Ajita
V. Sumatinath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Megharaja
by Mangala
golden curlew or
red goose
300 dhanusha 4,000,000 purva Charama;
Kasyapi
VI. Padmaprabha Kausambi;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Sridhara
by Susima
red lotus 250 dhanusha 3,000,000 purva Pradyotana;
Rati
VII. Suparshvanath Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Pratish[t.]haraja
by P[r.]ithvi
golden
or emerald
swastika 200 dhanusha 2,000,000 purva Vidirbha;
Soma
VIII. Chandraprabha Chandrapura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Mahasenaraja
by Lakshmana
white moon 150 dhanusha 1,000,000 purva Dinna;
Sumana
IX. Pushpadanta Kanandinagari;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Sugrivaraja
by Ramarani
white Crocodile 100 dhanusha 200,000 purva Varahaka;
Varuni
X. Sheetalnath Bhadrapura or Bhadilapura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Dridharatha-raja
by Nanda
golden Kalpavriksha or
ficus religiosa 

 

90 dhanusha 100,000 purva Nanda;
Sujasa
XI. Shreyansanath Simhapuri;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Vishnuraja
by Vishna
golden rhinoceros 80 dhanusha 8,400,000 common years Kasyapa;
Dharani
XII. Vasupujya Champapuri;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Vasupujya
by Jaya
ruddy female buffalo 70 dhanusha 7,200,000 years Subhuma;
Dharani
XIII. Vimalnath Kampilyapura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Kritavarmaraja
by Syama
golden pig 60 dhanusha 6,000,000 years Mandara;
Dhara
XIV. Anantnath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Simhasena
by Suyasah
or Sujasa
golden porcupine 50 dhanusha 3,000,000 years Jasa ;
Padma
XV. Dharmanath Ratnapuri;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Bhanuraja
by Suvrita
golden vajra 45 dhanusha 1,000,000 years Arishta;
Arthasiva
XVI. Shantinath Gajapura or Hastinapuri;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Visvasena
by Achira
golden deer 40 dhanusha 100,000 years Chakrayuddha;
Suchi
XVII. Kunthunath Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Suraraja
by Srirani
golden goat 35 dhanusha 95,000 years Samba;
Damini
XVIII. Aranath Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Sudarsana
by Devirani
golden fish or
Pisces 

 

30 dhanusha 84,000 years Kumbha;
Rakshita
XIX. Mallinath Mathura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Kumbharaja
by Prabhavati
blue jar or Kalasa 25 dhanusha 55,000 years Abhikshaka;
Bandhumati
XX. Munisuvrata Rajagriha;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Sumitraraja
by Padmavati
black tortoise 20 dhanusha 30,000 years Malli;
Pushpavati
XXI. Nami Natha Mathura;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Vijayaraja
by Viprarani
yellow;
or emerald
blue water-lily or blue lotus 15 dhanusha 10,000 years Subha;
Anila
XXII. Neminatha Sauripura and Ujjinta (Ujjain);
Mount Girnar (Girnarji) 

 

3
by Senamata
black conch 10 dhanusha 1,000 years Varadatta;
Yakshadinna
XXIII. Parshva Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji 

 

Asvasenaraja
by Vamadevi
blue snake 9 handscubits  or

 

100 years Aryadinna;
Pushpachu[d.]a
XXIV. Mahavira Kundagrama or Chitrakuta;
Rijupaluka
Siddhartharaja,
Sreyansa or
Yasasvin
by Trisala
Vidchadinna
or Priyakarini
yellow lion 7 handscubits  or

 

72 years Indrabhuti;
Chandrabala

 

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