Illustrated Tirthankar Charitra

Shri Amar Muni


The Unique Attributes of a Tirthankar

The Thirty Four Unique Attributes of a Tirthankar (A)

The Tirthankars are worshipped as the loftiest beings in this world because they acquire infinite knowledge, perception, purity of conduct , and power by destroying the four vitiating Karmas at spiritual level. This gives rise to unique attributes in them, both at spiritual and physical levels. In canonical terms those are known as Atishaya or out of ordinary. These are-

1. There is no growth of hair on the body.

2. The body remains free of any ailment.

3. The blood and flesh are milky white.

4. The breath is fragrant like lotus.

5. Food intake and excretion are invisible.

6. Above the head there are three canopies (umbrellas) in the sky.

7. A wheel, symbolic of religion, moves ahead and behind him in the sky.

8. At both flanks there are white whisks in the sky.

9. The throne is made of crystal quartz.

10. The flag of Indra moves ahead of him.

11. wherever he stays there is an Ashok tree.

12. There is a divine aura around him.

13. The land around him is pleasant.

14. Thorns get reversed.

15. The seasons are pleasant and favorable.

16. Pleasant wind blows.

17. Dust is settled due to moisture.

18. There are heaps of five types of lifeless flowers around him.

19. There is absence of unpleasant sound, form, smell, color and touch around him and pleasant things appear.

20-21. His voice is heard with same volume and clarity up to a distance of one Yojan.

22. His discourse is in Ardha-Magadhi language.

23. All present in the audience understand his discourse in their respective languages.

24. In his proximity the natural enemies forget their animosity.

25. His opponents become amiable.

26. His dissenters become speechless.

27-28. Twenty five Yojans around him there is no epidemic or death.

29-33. Wherever he goes there are no afflictions self-inflicted or inflicted by others

including flood, drought, diseases, etc.

34. The touch of his feet pacifies all the earlier disturbances of the area.

Thirty Five Unique Attributes of Speech (B)

After gaining omniscience the Tirthankars give discourses aimed at public welfare. They utter only that which they have directly experienced, thus in their speech there is nothing but the truth. Their life is free of all 18 vices. Their speech also has unique qualities. The scriptures mention 35 unique attributes.

The voice of a Tirthankar is deep like the thunder of clouds and it is never devoid of purpose and result. Following are the 35 unique virtues-

1. It has quality

2. It has lofty meaning

3. It is free of coloquial terms

4. Deep as thunder

5. Resonent

6. Simple

7. Musical

8. Profound meaning

9. Free of ambiguity

10. Respectful

11. Free of doubt

12. It does not expose faults of others.

13. Pleasing

14. Relevant to the time and place

15. It suits the subject-matter

16. To the point and precise

17. Lyrical

18. Strictly relevant to the topic.

19. Sweet like nectar

20. Not harsh or biting

21. Supports quest for liberation

22. Profoundly meaningful

23. Free of self-praise and criticism for others

24. To be emulated always

25. Follows the rules of grammar

26. Incites curiosity in the listener

27. Full of eloquence and beauty

28. Free of pauses

29. Free of double meaning

30. Having interpretations

31. Out of ordinary

32. Capable of picturesque description

33. Profound in content and effect

34. Not annoying to self and others

35. Completely logical and vivid