Nov 25, 2007

SHRI ARISHTNEMI (Neminath) 22ND TIRTHANKARA

By Mr. T. N. Jain

The lineage of the 22nd tirthankara Shri Aristanemi is traced in history to the clan of Maharaja Vasu, the founder of Yodu Vansha, from Hindu scriptures and other religious literature. There are references to Aristanemi in Rigveda at many places. Yajurveda and samveda also mentions Aristanemi. Mahabharat give description of the teaching of Moksa Marg by Aristanemi to Sagar, the king. Scholars are also of the opinion that Ghora Angirasa Risi in Chandogya-Upanishada was Aristanemi who preached the path to the realization of self to Lord Krishana consisting of asceticism, charity, non-violence, and truth speaking. And these were the founding principles of Jainism. Historical research of Dr. Radha Krishna, Dr. P.N. Vidhyalankar, Col. Todd, Dr. Harrison, Prof. Warnett etc., have accepted Aristanemi as a man of history.

As said earlier, Aristanemi belonged to Yadav clan. Harivanshpurana gives the lineage of Yadavas, which shows that Hindu deity Lord Krishna and tirthanakara Aristanemi were cousins. King Samudra Vijaya, father of Shri Aristanemi was the ruler of Sauripura (near Mathura), and was the eldest son of his father Andhaka Vrisni. Bhagwan Krishna’s father Vasudeva was the youngest of the ten sons of Andhaka Vrishi, and was youngest brother of Samudravijaya. AndhakaVrishi became a Jain Sramana after renunciation.

Shri Aristanemi was born to king Samudravijaya and queen Shivadevi. They had four sons. Aristanemi, the eldest, was born on Shravana Sheila Panchami. By this time Bhagwan Krishna had born to Devaki and Vasudeva, the youngest brother of Samudravijaya. The royal family enjoyed a trouble free life since the child came into the womb of his mother. Hence he was named Aristanemi. He was handsome and cheerful but dark in complexion like his cousin Shri Krishna, according to Jaina belief.

Shri Aristanemi renounced the world just before his marriage. Uttarapurana and Harivanshpurana give a description of his marriage programme and renunciation just before the marriage. After renunciation Shri Aristanemi practiced penance and remained for 54 days in meditation to attain enlightenment. Tirthankara Aristanemi now moved from place to place and preached the religionof Ahimsa and Aparigraha. Jaina cononical literature also preached his cousin Shri Krishna and his queens. He established the four orders, the Tirtha, consisting of Sramana, Sramani, Sravaka, and Sravika.

During the last phase of life in this world tirthankara Aristanemi decided to go Mount Girnar in Saurashtra. He attained Nirvana there on Asadh Shukla Asthami.


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