Jainism is founded on the five mahavratas (great vows), the greatest of which is non-violence (ahimsa). The other principles are truthfulness, not stealing, non-attachment to possessions and sexual restrint/chastity. Jains believe that the universe is without a beginning or an end, being everlasting and eternal. Everything that happens in the universe is according to the fixed pattern of eternal laws. There is no higher or lower class of people but every soul has immense power which can be released as energy.
The Jain religion recognises the fundamental natural phenomenon of mutual dependence which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology. Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accommodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents.
Jains wish that they, and all beings, will live in friendship with one another, that there will be no alienation or emnity in their hearts for anyone or anything and that they will be filled with forgiveness for all living beings. The mission of Jainism is to work for the welfare of one and all, to rise from the pitfall of ignorance and inaction and reach infinite bliss and perfect knowledge. Jains show love and respect to all living creatures. Charity is extremely important, as is respecting and caring for the elderly.
Places of Worship
Jains worship in temples and many Jains also have a worship place in the home. Particular days are set aside during the week and month for prayers.
Many festivals are celebrated including Rakshabandhan, Paryushan, Daslakshani, Dashera, Deppawali and Mahavir jayanti.
Food and Diet
As believers in ahimsa (non violence), Jains are vegetarian. They also abstain from onions and garlic and do not eat after sunset.