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In the words of Prof. Arnold Toynbee 'Religion -has been the greatest single influence on the history and destiny of mankind.' It is originally aimed to bring out the divine in man, and it certainly uplifts mankind morally and spiritually. As observed by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, 'Religion correctly interpreted, gives value and dignity to the individual In its essence, religion is reintegration of human personality and redemption of human society.'

Jainism, the creed of the Nirgrantha Tirthankaras of the Shramana current of ancient Indian culture, is a very comprehensive system, acclaimed as one of the oldest living religions of India. Its last exponent was Vardhaman Mahavira (599-527 B.C.), the twenty-fourth Tirthankara or Jina. Jainism has been described as an ethical system par excellence, since it lays the greatest emphasis on self-discipline and self-control in order to lead a life of peaceful co-existence, co-operation, co-ordination and co-realisation.

In this book the essence of this religious system has been dealt with in brief by way of introduction for the benefit of those who wish to acquaint themselves of Jainism at a glance. A brief life-sketch of Bhagwan Mahavira and a few excerpts from his teachings have also been appended. For further and fuller information, the reader is advised to refer to works like

1. Outlines of Jainism by J. L. Jaini,

2. The Religion of Ahimsa by Prof. A. Chakravarti,

3. Jainism by Herbert Warren,

4. An Introduction to Jainism by A. B. Lathe,

5. Religion of Tirthankaras by K. P. Jain,

6. Religion and Culture of the Jains by Dr. Jyoti PrasadJain (3rd ea., 1981, Bhartiya Jnanapith, New Delhi).

The credit of inspiring the production of this book goes to my friend Shri Jamnalal Jain, a reputed Sarvodaya thinker and writer who has been good to undertake its publication also. I am really very grateful to him.

I hope, the book will arouse the curiosity of its readers to know more about Jainism and take sincere and active interest in its wholesome teachings.

Jyoti Nikunj, Charbagh, Lucknow-1

Dated 27th. October, 1981

Mahavira Nirvana Samvat 2508.

-Jyoti Prasad Jain