Article: Abhinandana

Abhinandananātha or Lord Abhinandana is the fourth of the 24 Jinas of the present cycle of time.

The word Jina means ‘victor’ in Sanskrit. A Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma through practising extreme asceticism and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A Jina is also called a Tīrthaṃkara or ‘ford-maker’ in Sanskrit – that is, one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience.

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This manuscript painting depicts 20 Jinas, probably those between Ṛṣabha, the first one, and Nemi, the 22nd. Omniscient and in the lotus meditation pose, they wear jewellery and have bumps on the crowns of their heads, which signifies great wisdom.

Twenty Jinas
Image by Wellcome Trust Library © Wellcome Library, London

There is no historical evidence of Abhinandana’s existence but traditional writings recount his life as following the usual career of a Jina. Tradition holds that he was born in Ayodhyā and achieved liberation on Mount Sammeta, also known as Pārasnātha Hill.

Abhinandana’s symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the monkey.

Like all Jinas, Abhinandana has a pair of spiritual attendants, often shown in art. His yakṣa is Yakṣanāyaka to Digambaras and Yakṣeśvara to Śvetāmbaras. Digambaras call his yakṣī Vajraśrnkhalā while Śvetāmbaras name her Kālikā.


Historical Dictionary of Jainism
Kristi L. Wiley
Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements series; series editor Jon Woronoff; volume 53
Scarecrow Press; Maryland, USA; 2004

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