Yaksha in Jainism
In Jainism, there are twenty-four ‘Yakshas’ for twenty-four ‘tirthankaras’:
Worship of Yaksha
Jains mostly worship the idols of ‘Arihants’ and ‘Tirthankaras’, who have dominated the inner passions. ‘Yaksha’ and ‘Yakshini’ are found in pair around the idols of ‘Jins’ as guardian deities. ‘Yaksha’ is usually on the right-hand side of the ‘Jin’ idol and ‘Yakshini’ on the left-hand side. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.
‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are full of passions and experience the cycles of birth and death. ‘Yakshas’ are males and ‘Yakshinis’ are females. The male ones are also called ‘Shasandevtas’ and the females are also called ‘Shasandevis’. They are regarded as the guardian deities and are also known as angels of order. They are heavenly beings of ‘Vyantar’ group who have supernatural powers including ability to change their forms and sizes. It is believed that either these ‘Yakshas’ or ‘Yakshinis’ were appointed by Lord Indra or were positively associated with ‘Tirthankaras’ in their former lives. It is said that these ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ looked after the ‘Tirthankaras’ and came back to protect Jainism when it became necessary.
Some of the prominent ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are Saraswati Devi, Lakshmi Devi, Shri Manibhadra, Bhomiyaji, Nakoda Bhairava, Ghantakarna Veer, Padmavati Devi, Ambika Devi, Chakresware Devi.