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In Jainism, a saviour who has succeeded in crossing over life's stream of rebirths and has made a path for others to follow. Each cosmic age produces 24 Tirthankaras; the first are giants, but, as the age proceeds, they decrease in stature and appear after shorter intervals of time. Of the 24 Tirthankaras of the present age, each of whom is represented by a symbolic colour and emblem, only Parshvanatha and Mahavira are considered actual historical figures. The Tirthankaras are not worshiped as gods but rather honoured as exemplars. See alsoarhat; bodhisattva; samsara.
Variants of TIRTHANKARA
Tirthankara or Jina
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Tirthankara, visit Britannica.com.
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