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Jainism - frequently asked questions

Questions people often ask…

Do Jains believe in a heaven and hell?
Jains believes that the universe (lokakas) comprises an upper world (heaven), a middle world (where humans live), and a lower world (hell).

The upper world has up to 16 devloks (levels) of heaven. It is also home to souls that have liberated themselves from the cycle of birth and death.

The middle world is where humans, animals and plants live. Significantly, it stretches far beyond all known galaxies. Indeed, its sheer size is beyond the scope of modern science.

The lower world consists of what Christians traditionally consider hell. There are seven levels of hell, which progressively become more unpleasant.

Is it true that Jains influenced Mahatma Gandhi?
Jainsim has often been a positive influence of Indian society and Gandhi claimed to have been deeply influenced by its philosophy. He was particularly influenced by the revered Jain layman Raychandbhai Mehta and his teachings on the theory of ahimsa – or non-violence.

What is Jainism’s holy book?
Jainism’s holy book – or Bible – is a collection of literature known as agam. Lord Mahavir’s teachings were compiled into many texts (sutras) by his disciples. Collectively, these texts are called the Jain canon, or agam literature.

Were Mahavir and Buddha really contemporaries?
Mahavir and Buddha did in fact live during the same period, and were both born in the same geographical area of India – the modern-day state of Bihar.


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