Sources of Jain Tradition
Jain Tradition is borne out by literary and archaeological evidences. Several evidences suggest the prevalence of the practice of worship of Rishabhadeva. They are as follows:
The Hindus, acknowledged Rishabhadeva as a divine person. In the Rig Veda there are clear references to Rishabha, the 1st Tirthankara. The Yajur Veda also mentions the names of three Tirthankaras, viz., Rishabha, Ajitnath and Aristanemi.
Antiquity of Jain Tradition
Lord Mahavira was the last Tirthankara of Jainism and he preached the religion. Eminent historians have proved that Parashvanath was a historical personage and a great preacher of Jain religion. According to the Jain tradition, the predecessor of Parashvanath was Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara. He was the cousin of the Lord Krishna of the Mahabharata. Samudravijaya, father of Neminath and Vasudeva, father of Krishna were brothers.
Features of Jain Tradition
Jain tradition holds that all Jivas are equal. It believes that the final goal of human life is obtained only by self-effort, and not by the grace of either God. According to Jain tradition, renunciation is the only way of attaining the state of liberation. Jainism believes that universe with all its components is real.
The concept of God as ‘The Creator’ of the world is not acknowledged in Jainism. Ahimsa is the central principle of Jain religion. According to Jainism there are infinite souls and all are independent. It believes that though life is full of sufferings, liberation is possible from cycle of birth and death. Every soul desirous of Emancipation can attain that through his personal efforts.