Parshvanath or Parshvanatha (pārśvá-nātha, occasionally spelled Parshvanath or Parswanath) was the twenty-third Tirthankara (fordmaker) in Jainism. fl. ca. in the 9th Century BCE, traditionally (877 – 777 BCE) . He is the earliest Jain leader generally accepted as a historical figure.
According to the Jain tradition he attained nirvana 250 years before the nirvana of Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar. The chronology accepted by most Jains (Svetambaras) places Mahavira's death in 527 BCE. Parshva was the son of king Ashvasena and queen Vama of Varanasi. He renounced the world and became an ascetic when he was 30 years old. He achieved Nirvana atop Sammet Sikhar. He was called ("beloved of men"), a name which shows that he must have been a genial personality. Still in our times he is most popular among the Jains.
There is a mention of four prominent leaders of the order of Lord Parshvanath:
In addition, Parshvanath had ten Ganadhars, or disciples. He also has 108 names.
Arya Keshi Shraman is believed to have been born about 166 to 250 years after the death of Bhagawan Parshvanath. He met Ganadhara Gautam Swami, the main disciple of Lord Mahavira. Their discussion about the apparent differences between the teachings of the two Tirthankaras is recorded in Jain texts.
Lord Parshvanath is always represented with the hood of a snake shading his head. The Yaksha Dharanendra and the Yakshi Padmavati are often shown flanking him. This is because of a famous legend which can be roughly translated to this:
Parshvanath was walking one day when he saw an old man next to a fire. With a special type of knowledge called Avdhignan he could tell that a pair of snakes was in one of the logs in the fire. He quickly warned the man that he was burning the snakes, but instead of acting rapidly to save them, the man became angry at Parshvanath and denied the presence of the snakes. Parshavanath pulled out the right log and put it out, then gently split it, revealing two badly burned snakes. He recited the Navkar Mantra, a prayer, for them before they died. It was said that the snakes were reincarnated into the two previously mentioned Yakshas, Dharanendra and Padmavati.
In Jain canonical literature, Parshvanatha is represented in 'padmasana' (lotus) posture – both palms and feet, with auspicious lotus marks on them, placed upward. He has blue-black complexion – the color of the cosmos. The seven-hooded serpent Shesh – umbrella-like unfurling its hoods over the deity, represented elements of the earth and the ocean and has hence a similar body colour. Parshvanatha has been represented as wearing a gem-studded crown and other ornaments. He has a golden throne as a seat and a rich canopy above.
Shri Panchasara Parshvanath in Patan, Gujarat Shri Godiji Parshvanath, Mumbai 400 003.
Vyavahara Bhasya Pithika: Acarya Gunabhadra's Parsvacaritram.(Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series, vol. 4, and Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series, vol. 26)(Book review)
Jul 01, 2008; Vyavahara Bhasya Pithika. By WILLEM BOLLEE. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series, vol. 4. Mumbai: HINDI GRANTH KARYALAY, 2006....