PARSAVA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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The 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parsava was born in 872 B.C. at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He belonged to the royal family of Kasi. At the age of 30, he left his house and wandered at various places as an ascetic. Some scholars opine that he was the true founder of Jainism.


At Varanasi he founded the Nirgrantha ascetic order of monks and an ; order of nuns to propagate his teachings. He ordained 4 vows of Jainism-Ahimsa’ (non-injury), ‘Sunrita’ (truth), ‘Astaya’ (non-stealing) and ‘Brahmacharya’. He did not preach about complete nudity. Therefore, his followers were called ‘Svetambara’ (white-clad) Jains. His symbol was the serpent.


He slowly starved himself to death following an essential part of Jain I principle which permits Jain monks to die after completing 12 years of ascetic discipline. The hill where he died is now known as Parasnath. This j is an important pilgrimage centre of Jains. His tentative date of death is 772 B.C.