Jain seers say Ayodhya ceremony ‘golden’ moment for community

Ayodhya (UP): Ayodhya is the “original land” of Jainism and the community is looking forward to the development of the holy city with the consecration of the Ram temple, Jain seers said here.

“There are 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism, out of which the first Tirthankara Lord Rishabhdev was born in Ayodhya. After him, four Tirthankaras were also born in Ayodhya,” Ravindra Kirti Swami, Peethadheesh Digambar Jain Teerth, noted while speaking to PTI.

The entire Jain society is happy over the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, he added.

“This is a pleasant development that according to the Vedic culture, ‘ahinsa’ (non-violence) is resonating,” said Gyanmati Mata, 89, who is one the seniormost Jani swamis and sadhvis and is among those invited to the ceremony on Monday.

“The entire nation is looking towards Ayodhya, and it is undergoing rapid development, ” she said.

Born in Tikaitnagar in neighbouring Barabanki district, Gyanmati Mata is currently residing in Ayodhya. However, she may not attend the consecration ceremony due to health reasons.

Asked if she was upset about missing the ceremony, she said, “There is no question of feeling sad. I am happy for everyone.”

“Some days ago I had gone to the Ram temple and I found it to be very beautiful,” she said, adding right from her childhood days, she found Ayodhya very beautiful.

To a query on whether she had ever thought that the Ayodhya issue would be resolved, she replied, “Yes. Why not?”

Throwing more light on Ayodhya’s connection with Jainism, Ravindra Kirti Swami said, “The first Tirthankar was Bhagavan Rishabhdev… Both Rishabhdev ji and Lord Shri Ram belong to the Ikshvaku dynasty.

“According to Jain Puranas, Lord Ram was born nine lakh years ago … It is mentioned in Rigveda, Yajurveda and Jain Puranas that Rishabhdev was the son of Nabhi Rai. Ayodhya has been considered an eternal pilgrimage (‘shaswat teerth’) place for Jainism since ancient times. It will never be destroyed.”

“Whenever Treta Yuga comes, then – our Tirthankaras will be born in Ayodhya only. Ayodhya is the original land of Jainism,” the seer said.

He said Jain seers are happy as these are “historic and golden moments in our lives”.

“We are experiencing happiness because Lord Ram’s description is also mentioned in Jain purans … and it was from Ayodhya that our Tirthankars started giving the message of ‘ahimsa paramo dharma’ in the entire country.”

He added that the philosophy of Jainism is the philosophy of non-violence and is similar to Hinduism.

Ravindra Kirti Swami said once the Ram temple is built, Ayodhya’s pace of development will gain momentum, and the Jain pilgrim places around Ayodhya will also witness speedy development.

He also said that with the international airport at Ayodhya becoming operational, the visits of followers of Jainism will also increase.

“I, along with 10 persons (from the Jain community), went to Delhi and boarded the first flight from there to Ayodhya. The flight tickets were costly, yet we went for it. Upon arrival, we were given a grand welcome,” he said.