Indian Dharma and culture are widespread and ancient. According to Indian philosophy, the purpose of life is two-fold, where one tradition considers worldly life as of primary importance while the other Dharma is to lead the life of asceticism. According to the Adi Puranas, Hindu culture and life progressed in various stages ? from stone age and nomadic life to practice of agriculture and a settled life, working towards making life more comfortable and easy.
Adi Rishabha Dev is the first Jain Tirthankara who was given the name Adi which means ?the beginning?. He was responsible for beginning the Jain Dharma in the contemporary era, not only of earthly Dharma but heavenly too. According to the Maha Puranas, Rishabhnath was born in Ayodhya to Shree Nabhiraj. Ayodhya town was established by Lord Indra himself personally and in it all the necessities for happiness and progress were available. Rishabh'smother was called Marudevi and six months before she became pregnant, Lord Kuber showered all kinds of jewels on her. When Rishabh Dev was born, celebrations and rejoicing continued for days.
Rishabh spent a very happy childhood. The Maha Purana describe in detail his activities and qualities. On reaching manhood, he was married to Yashasvati and Sunanda. Queen Yashasvati gave birth to a hundred sons and daughter Brahmi while Sunanda gave birth to Bahubali and a daughter named Sundari. As Rishabh was an enlightened man, he gave all kinds of education to his daughters. Rishabh talked of the six duties of mankind and these included varna ashram as well as the setting up of proper facilities in villages and towns. As was to be expected, Rishabh Dev lost all interest in earthly life while watching Nilanjana'sdance. He decided to leave the world and undertook penance. For six months he meditated and wandered from place to place till he reached Hastinapur, where he took his first meal. According to mythology, he meditated for a thousand years till he received enlightenment on life. His son Bharat became the king of India and taught the other kings the style of administering their kingdoms. Rishabh Dev laid down certain principles which became his teachings for mankind. During the last days of his life, he went to Mount Kailash and achieved nirvana.
As he started the Jain Dharma, he came to be known as Adinath and followers of Jain Dharma claim that Jain Dharma is the first Dharma to be established.
In the following chapters, the author describes the idols of Rishabhnath that came to be established in different parts of India and states that he is generally shown in the posture of meditation.
This is a book which is subject-specific and will interest the followers of Jainism.
(Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Jagadhri-135003, Haryana.)