The Jain Symbol is a congregation of
various symbols, each having a deeper meaning. This symbol was adopted by
all sects of Jainism while commemorating the 2500th anniversary of the
nirvana of Lord Mahavira.
The outline of the symbol is defined as the universe (Lok). The
lower part of the symbol represents the seven hells (Naraki). The middle
part of the universe contains the Earth and the planets (Manushyalok). The
upper part contains the heavenly abodes (Devlok) of all the celestial
beings and abode of the Siddhas (Siddhashila). Jains believe that this
universe was neither created by anyone, nor can it be destroyed by anyone.
It may change its form, but otherwise, it has always been and will always
The raised hand means stop. The
word in the center of the wheel is "Ahimsa". Ahimsa means
non-violence. Between these two, they remind us to stop for a minute and
think twice before doing anything. This gives us a chance to scrutinize
our activities to be sure that they will not hurt anyone by our words,
thoughts, or actions. We are also not supposed to ask or encourage others
to take part in any harmful activity. The wheel in the hand shows that if
we are not careful and ignore these warnings and carry on violent
activities, then just as the wheel goes round and round, we will go round
and round through the cycles of birth and death.
The four arms of the swastika
remind us that during the cycles of birth and death we may be born into
any one of the four destinies: heavenly beings, human beings, animal
beings, (including birds, bugs, and plants) and hellish beings. Our aim
should be the liberation and not the rebirth. To show how we can do this,
the swastika reminds us that we should become the pillars of the four fold
Jain Sangh, then only can we achieve liberation. The four pillars of the
Jain Sangh are sädhus, sädhvis, shrävaks, and shrävikäs. This means that
first, we should strive to be a true shrävaks or shrävikäs, and when we
can overcome our social attachments, we should renounce the worldly life
and follow the path of a sädhu or sädhvi to be liberated.
The three dots above the swastika
represent the three jewels of Jainism: Samyak Darshan (Right Faith),
Samyak Jnan (Right Knowledge), and Samyak Charitra (Right Conduct). We
should have all three: right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct
together, then only can we achieve the liberation. The right knowledge
means having the knowledge that soul and body are separate and that the
soul, not the body attains the salvation. The right faith means one must
have faith in what is told by Jinas, who were omniscient. The right
conduct means that our actions should be void of attachment and hatred.
At the very top part of the Jain
Universe symbol is a small curved arc. This arc represents the
abode of the Siddhas. It is known as the Siddhashila. It is the final
resting place of the liberated souls. The dot represents a siddha.
In order to achieve this stage, a soul must destroy all attached karmas.
Every living being should strive for this state of the Salvation or