Sep 28, 2020

Jainism view on Gender-Based Inequalities in Religious Context..

Q21. What is Jain view on gender-based inequality? Is there inequality between men and women in religious context? If yes, why and should it continue?

This is a very practical question from today’s youth and non-traditional Jains. Gender discrimination is something that human race has endured over time and across all cultures. Gender-based inequality is a term that implies differential treatment based on gender regardless of race, religion, caste, or creed. There has been progress towards gender equality over the past decade in various areas with awareness, education, and actions. However, many challenges with gender inequality are still pervasive. 


First let us talk about what is meant by gender-based inequality from a religious perspective.

Gender-based inequality in a religious realm implies that women and men are treated differently. And there is inequality or discrimination in the religious responsibilities, experiences, practices, rules, norms or what you’re allowed to do based on the gender.


Some of the gender-based inequalities that we have observed between men and women in practicing Jain religion are:

·        Women cannot recite certain sutras and cannot perform certain rituals

·        If rituals are performed by men and women together, all sutras should be recited by men

·        Women cannot enter in temple during their monthly period

·        In some sects, women cannot attain liberation. They need to be born as a man for liberation

·        In some Jain stories it is said that bad karma results in being born as a girl


So, the questions we must ask ourselves are:

·        Why do we have inequalities and restrictions only for women?

·        Why do practices exist that treat women inferior to men?

·        Do Jain principles or Bhagwan Mahavir state that women are inferior to men?

·        How much of these practices, including what is written in scriptures, are influenced by the culture at the time of writing the scriptures and how much is truly based on Tirthankar’s preachings?


To understand Jain view, we will first look at various key aspects like what we can learn from Mahavir Swami’s life, Jain fundamental beliefs, and most importantly the purpose of Jainism.



What we can learn from Mahavir Swami’s Life

The day after Mahavir Swami attained Keval Gyan (Omniscience), he established the fourfold order of Jain Sangh, known as the Chaturvidh Sangh - Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak and Shravika. 

Mahavir Swami initiated:

·        Gautam Swami and Chandanbala, 1st Sadhu and Sadhvi, by providing them 5 Maha-vrats.

·        Anand Shravak and Sulsa Shravika, 1st Shravak and Shravika, by providing them 5 Anu-vrat, 3 Guna-vrat and 4 Shiksha-vrat known as 12 vrats (vows) for laypeople.

He did not indicate any place in Acharang sutra (Agam 01) and Upashak Dashang Ang Agam (Agam 07) that men are superior to women. It was right away described as fourfold, including women as two of its components, laywomen (shravika) and nuns (sadhvi), alongside laymen (shravak) and monks (sadhu). This has been recognized and accepted by all Jain sects without any disagreement or embarrassment.


This action demonstrates to us that Bhagwan Mahavir, our spiritual teacher, treated women and men equally, he did not create any gender bias and he is the first guru of Jain monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. He realized that men and women are different because of gender and hence he created different gender based aachar but treated both as equals.


Before Mahavir Swami’s time there were 4 vows, in which brahmacharya and aparigraha were merged, because women were treated as property. In his time, he created a fifth vow to distinguish women’s status, not equal to property.


Mahavir Swami was open-minded and very progressive for his time. Culturally during that time, many inequalities existed in the Indian community. It was a male dominated society and women were considered property of men. Despite of all that, we can see from Mahavir Swami’s actions that he neither agreed nor promoted gender biased inequalities or any other kind of inequalities.


Next, we want to shed light on the Jain fundamentals and principle as they relate to this question.



Jain Fundamentals and Principles

According to Jain fundamentals, every living being is a soul and has the potential to achieve liberation. All the Jain fundamentals and principles are gender independent. Jainism even goes to the next extent and treats not only humans, animals, but even 1-sensed earth, water, air bodied also as equal souls who in their pure form possess Infinite Jnan, Infinite Darshan, Infinite Charitra or Infinite Happiness, and Infinite Energy or Power.


However, all souls in their impure form, is covered by Karma and hence possesses only Limited Jnan, Limited Darshan, Limited Charitra, Limited Power and Energy. To achieve liberation, one must first eliminate Mithyatva (Darshan Mohaniya Karma) and then reduce and ultimately eliminate Kashayas (Charitra Mohaniya Karma).


All humans (both males and females) with a fully developed mind, have the capability to eliminate Mithyatva and reduce and ultimately eliminate Charitra Mohaniya Karma through practice of meditation.  Both men and women are equally capable of becoming knower and observer, by practicing meditation and have the potential to achieve liberation.


Physical differences in humans have no bearing on achieving the true nature of the soul. Then, why should women be any exception? Human life is capable of achieving liberation with gyan and dhyaan, regardless of the physical differences in the human body.


Our Tirthankars are Vitraagi, they don’t have any kind of attachments. They would not create any discriminating restrictions for men or women.


As we can see, there is nothing in Jain fundamental beliefs and principles that are gender driven or endorses inequality. And furthermore, Jainism is an introspective (bhaav pradhan) religion which promotes compassion, equanimity, friendship, and love towards all living beings. There is no place for inequalities or discrimination towards women.



Social and Cultural Influences that created Inequalities

Mahavir Swami’s actions, virtues, teachings, and characteristic traits teaches us equality, however, things changed slowly after his nirvana.


The social and cultural influences of that era impacted the religion sphere and the inequalities towards women proliferated into Jainism. Women were treated as property of men and they were sold in the open market.  Even Chandanbala was sold by her owner in an open market.  Mahavir Swami freed enslaved Chandanbala, and dogma/stereotypes were broken by making her the first Sadhvi of Sangh. However, the scriptures that were written hundreds of years after Mahavir’s nirvana have society’s biases embedded in them.


The inequalities continued to carry forward as traditions or blind beliefs. They hold no spiritual or principle driven reasons.


When such inequalities are questioned then reasons are provided to retroactively justify the conditions that are already in place. If we think about it, most of the time one blind tradition is justified with another blind assumption.



Why change?

The question that often comes up is why change and why disturb something that is going on for generations? The reason is because people lose respect and drive away from religion when they see such inequalities.  Several other religions have changed and eliminated inequalities to certain extent. 


Religion has the potential to be the pioneer and set an example of the changes we wish to see in all realms of society like social, professional, economic, decision-making. Equality is the fundamental right of all living beings and all the Jain principles uphold that value.


There are also psychological, social, and spiritual pitfalls for both genders because of inequality.


Women or girls might consciously or subconsciously see themselves as less and that prevents them from achieving their potential. They often form an unintended and an invisible barrier within them to equal opportunity, and may doubt themselves from taking courageous steps even in the realm of spiritual practice


Men or boys knowingly or unknowingly might create a sense of entitlement or ego within them, which would come in their way of healthy relationships, lifestyle and spiritual liberation. There is also the irony that even if he himself may not initially recognize the harm in treating women as inferior, he may object when other men treat his own mother, sister or wife that way.


From a religious perspective, change is needed so that the true essence of religion of equality and Ahimsa that Jainism preaches is maintained and in the name of religion we don’t knowingly or inadvertently cause any harm to any soul or cause any barriers for a soul’s progress.


From a cultural perspective, we see a highly conflicted behavior. On one side the religion elevates many Goddesses and holds them in high regard, but then ironically, it also puts numerous restrictions and constraints towards women of the society and their potential involvement and their contributions towards growth of the religion. This suggests that the culture itself is in conflict and should be treated as a changeable force and not as an immutable authority.

Bottom line, if something is wrong and against the principles then we must change.



How do we elicit change?

At an individual level, first educate yourself, understand, verify the information with your logic and internalize it. Reflect on your own previously internalized bias and attempt to uproot your unconscious negative attitudes, whether toward your own or the opposite gender.


Knowledge is power. Once the knowledge becomes our own then we can educate others around us.

“Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” - Aristotle

This quote from Aristotle points out the distinction between knowing and understanding. When we understand and internalize the knowledge then we can educate others with respect while maintaining the harmony. This kind of approach creates a potential to make the change a natural transition.


There are going to be situations when we can’t change the deeply rooted belief systems and that’s beyond our control. But at a minimum what we don’t want to pass on something that is against our Jain principles and Jainism teachings to the next generation.


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” - Gandhiji

First and foremost, women should see themselves as equal. Women should understand the cultural programming and subconscious barriers that are preventing them from seeing themselves as equal.


At a community level, we should not create any rules that create or promote inequalities like women can’t read certain sutras or make statements like women can’t attain liberation or one is born as a woman because of bad karmas.  Jain religious principles are not and should not be male dominated. Both men and women should be treated equally. Jain principles are universal and apply equally to all souls and doesn’t distinguish by gender.


In 1980s, Shri Amar Muniji took a revolutionary and historic step in the right direction by giving the title of “Acharya” to Sadhvi Chandanaji of Veerayatan. Acharya Chandanaji is the first and only Jain nun who has been given the title of “Acharya” thus far. But it is still an exception and not the norm.  



In Summary

Our spiritual teacher Tirthankar Mahavir treated everyone equally, yet the inequality was created after his time, mostly because of the era and culture they were in. There is nothing in our Jain values and principles that states or promotes any kind of inequalities between Monks and Nuns, Laymen and Laywomen. In Jainism, equality is a fundamental principle and every soul has the same potential and same inherent soul qualities.


Women and men are physically different, but they should be treated equal. If a systematic or radical change is required, then we all have to do our part. Whether it is writing about it, creating awareness, or calling out discrimination when we see it.


If we fail to do the right thing by sitting on the sidelines, remaining ignorant or not questioning inequalities under the pretense of faith in religion, then we are doing a disservice to the current and future generations.


  1. Excellent article and rightly described.

  2. Important topic. Beautiful post!

  3. Jai Jinendra,
    Thanks for addressing this important topic. Unfortunately, the article provided does little to lend confidence in the idea that Jainism is gender-neutral.

    1) The article claims, “As we can see, there is nothing in Jain fundamental beliefs and principles that are gender driven or endorses inequality…There is no place for inequalities or discrimination towards women.” One need not look any further than the list of the last 24 Tirthankaras – consisting of either 24 men or 23 men, depending on which Jain you ask – to see that while this may be what Jainism claims, it’s not supported by the outcomes.

    If achieving liberation were truly based only on one’s ability to meditate away one’s karmic attachments, shouldn’t there be at least 12 female Tirthankaras in the last round (mirroring the roughly 50/50 male/female population split)? I’ve heard various Jains proclaim that the ~1 female Tirthankar (disputed by many Jains, I might add) is proof positive that Jainism is a gender-inclusive philosophy. Quite the opposite, unfortunately. The numbers don’t lie – clearly women don’t have the same chance as men at achieving nirvana.

    2) The article gives Mahavir Swami quite the free pass, arguing that even though he believed in gender-neutrality, “things changed slowly after his nirvana.” There could be 2 reasons why. Either (A) anti-woman bias was so embedded in Jainism that Mahavir’s best efforts proved fruitless, or (B) -- and this will undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of many a Jain -- perhaps Mahavir said the right things about gender neutrality, but he didn’t completely follow through because in the grand scheme of things it just wasn’t that important.

    The 24th Tirthankar was undoubtedly an effective teacher, as he fundamentally changed Jainism during his time. Yet we still live in a Jain culture where it’s standard practice to exclude menstruating women from entering the temple, on grounds ranging from “they are impure” to “they are engaging in violence” to “I don’t know – we just should because that’s the way it’s always been.”

    If (A) is the right explanation, then we are faced with the uncomfortable truth that the teachings of arguably the single most important Jain of all time still pale in comparison to the fervor of anti-woman bias that runs through the Jain community. In other words, as influential as Mahavir was, anti-woman bias is more influential.

    If (B) is the right explanation, then this shakes our confidence in Mahavir himself. So, did he really believe all beings could attain nirvana, if he really didn’t push for gender equality? Why would he say something but not really follow through fully on it? We have a different discomfort here – that someone we are taught is omniscient and infallible and the paragon of moral virtue and fairness actually may not be what we thought. All religions – Jainism included – go to great lengths to weave a superhero narrative for their central figures. Yet underneath the myth most superheroes have some Achilles heel. Is this Mahavir’s?

    I’m not sure if A) or B) is the right explanation, but it almost doesn’t matter. The fact that gender neutrality is non-existent in post-Mahavir Jainism is evidence that gender bias in Jainism is alive and well. Yes, we should do our parts to stamp it out. But, much like present-day racism, sexism, homophobia and more, individual action is a necessary but not sufficient step to correcting imbalances. Systems and institutions must take a much harder look than the one being posed in this article as to why things are the way they are. Simply saying “we’re not against women” and then walking away, assuming everything will work itself out, is a recipe for ongoing, institutionalized discrimination.

    1. Mahavira, like all the Tirthankaras, taught the path of the liberation of the soul, and he taught it more to women than to men. He taught it to all living beings without discrimination. A Tirthankar is not a dictator who punishes people or who imposed his will on people. A Tirthankar is a put soul who lights the way for all souls to follow. Mahāvīra was not the militant activist you wish he was. He was and is a beacon of light In a very dark world.

      It’s true, this article falls short on a number of levels. There is no historical context given for the introduction of rules regarding such things as menstruation. Also, it makes no mention of the state of women in Jainism today wherein many women are highly educated and successful. There are at the same time many areas where Jains can better live Mahavira's principles and raise the status of women further.

    2. Hi,
      Good points. But I do have a different opinion on a few things that you mentioned above.

      "If (B) is the right explanation, then this shakes our confidence in Mahavir himself. So, did he really believe all beings could attain nirvana, if he really didn’t push for gender equality?"

      I have never believed in pushing for gender equality myself (I believe all humans should get equal opportunity and going the extra mile just to maintain gender diversity is not required) and I think that might be the case here as well. For someone who hasn't even thought about 2 genders being different, why would he concern himself with trying to bring in gender equality?

    3. you are right, the article must not simply say "we're not against women" but it should explain why the things are as the way they are ? like why women are bonded by karma due to which they couldn't become Tirthankar

    4. Excellent argument! Waiting for a reply on this

    5. "A or B" is a false choice. The correct answer is that Mahavira treated all genders as equal and raised the status of women tremendously.

      Women did attain Nirvana in large numbers according to the Kalpa Sutra. The 24 Tirthankaras are only the teachers of the path to liberation. They are harldly the only souls who have attained Nirvana.

      European/American notions of Feminism program people to only cast gender relations in a negative way and a materialistic way and refuse to acknowledge facts that tend to undermine their Feminist Marxist beliefs.

  4. Sharad Gandhi9/29/2020 11:15 PM

    This articLe is a just a blah-blah on the topic. This can not stop the increased number of people stop following Jainism as practiced many Jain sects with their different beliefs.

    Gender bias is not there, it is some sects which made it more prominent and that is the real issue.

    Today Science is the best form of religious knowledge, one should use religious practices only in accordance with the science. Those who do not, they will never benefit from the religion.

  5. Very rightly said. Bhagwan Mahavir taught us to treat all the living creatures as equal let alone genders. He has even preached to treat non-living things in a gentle manner and no throw them around.

  6. Hi.
    Thanks for this post, addressing one of the major issue i have with the classification and discrimination.

    This topic needs more light and more discussion. Though the post is a step forward in the right direction, it needs more concrete leadership to change things for the better.
    One way could be to point out the discriminations and attempt to make it gender neutral, which will provide solutions to existing problems in a well defined way.

    Partially agree to "Anonymous9/29/2020 7:02 PM" , However, Its best to consider this in the light of "how do we go fwd from here" than trying to prove what we cannot prove (i.e. what was said or not said in past, that we have no knowledge of and can only hypothesize"


  7. This a very important subject and the fact that in the list current list of 24 tirthankaras, only 2-3 are expected to be female, the bias towards male is quite obvious. Nevertheless, Jainism need not remain shackled in the old wrongs and should progressively provide equal opportunities and treatment to female sadhus

    1. The genders of the Tirthankaras are a matter of history, not bias. And, their gender does not matter. The soul has no gender and is eternal and all-blissful. That is the message of Jainism.

      European/American Feminism is a materialistic concept that can only see gender relations in a negative way and ignore anything that undercuts its anti-religious and anti-traditional agenda.

      Having said that, there are indeed areas where Jains can better live the principles of Bhagavan Mahavira and raise the status of women even further.

  8. There is no harm in accepting the truth.
    It is very well explained in aagam that nirvana could be attained only from male birth.
    Female can not go over 5th gunsthan.
    naam karma plays an important role and female birth is due to that.
    Even then, jainism never discriminate between the two.
    We talk about jeev .
    All the jeev in this world (from nigodiya, ekendriya se panchendriya , saini , asaini, stree, purush, napunsak) can proceed on the path of liberation and can attain it in some bhav according to their bhaav

    1. Yes, I agree. I have accepted the truth.

    2. Nirvana can be attained by both male and female. Not sure what you all are reading.
      The author of this article is not a Jain is what I feel. One cannot comment on any religion just by reading some books and taking courses. (To author & to Anonymous person above -) Instead of writing blogs, try to first understand what Jainism is from an Acharya (like P. P. Ratnasundarsuri Maharaj - you will find His videos on YouTube) and then do the needful.
      Spreading incomplete information/ wrong information knowingly or unknowingly can bring much harm to any religion/ society - which has been happening since ages.
      Frankly sharing my views here.
      Guidance under a Guru (Jain monk) who is actually practicing the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir is must before commenting or sharing any information.

  9. VIMAL CHAND KOTHARI9/30/2020 6:27 AM

    All jiv yoni are equal. Physical properties may differ but that should not distinguish them into superior or inferior.Sarve jiva sukhina bhavantu and michhchhami dukkaddam applies to all.

  10. Vastra sahit na muni na hoi.
    And as woman can't wander around naked, (society will not allow it), THAT is why woman can't achieve liberation, not because of being a woman per se.

    1. One way to interpret the statement is that we are all committing major sin by preventing women to achieve Moksha by wearing clothes. I am just saying.

      Statement should be supported by tatva-vichar and not based on pudgal-dravya or no-karam(नोकर्म).

  11. A good discussion. We can not change the past and not gnani enough to criticize Shree Mahavirswami.
    But we can change or be part of the change. That requires courage. Shree Amarmuni had, he gave Aacharyapad to Aacharyashreeji Chandanaji.No other Acharyaji have done since. It’s up to Shree Sangh ( 25th Tirthankar) to treat men and women, girls and boys equal. Which can bring today’s youth in Sangh and take it forward.
    Excellent topic of discussion but needs to put in action. Thanks 🙏 and Michchhami Dukkadam.

  12. A great article to raise awareness that it’s so important to understand the essence of Jainism, instead of being clouded by cultural bias and interpretation. Ultimately all souls are equal and all should have an equal ability to liberate for nirvana.

  13. What scriptural support do the following beliefs have?
    1. Shravaks are not allowed to bow down to Sadhvais and Sadhvis (any number of years of Diksha Paryaya) are supposed to be bowing down to Sadhus (even one day of disksha Paryaya)
    2. Ladies are supposed to sit aside during mensuration cycle

  14. Thank you for your thoughts, but only educated people would be able to make the connections and viewpoints this article does. The average person does not see it this way. This is one of the biggest reasons why gender inequality continues to occur.

  15. Gender discrimination is deep deep rooted. It takes time to uproot but needs to be addressed on priority. I believe in practice. With full support of my learned wife, my two daughters are trained to feel equal but not to entertain either inferiority or superiority complex. Hampana

  16. Karmic theory is the basic in jainisam or other religions as well. u have to accept that gender for any jeev is decided based on karma n that is explained in details in agam.gender descrimation is not applicable.

  17. Some of the gender-based inequalities that we have observed between men and women in practicing Jain religion are:

    · Women cannot recite certain sutras and cannot perform certain rituals

    · If rituals are performed by men and women together, all sutras should be recited by men

    · Women cannot enter in temple during their monthly period

    · In some sects, women cannot attain liberation. They need to be born as a man for liberation

    · In some Jain stories it is said that bad karma results in being born as a girl

    As a well read and sincere Jain the above issues need to be taught to the new students and practiced as a community rather debating the texts and preachings and Sadhvis need to be recognised who understand the above and especially a team working under the stewardship of Acharya Chandanaji,

  18. There is no scope for gender discrimination as far as Jain Philosophy or Principles are concerned. Unfortunately, universally, there is always a wide gap in "principles" and the "practice" because of the social conditions. Except on attaining salvation, all souls go through cycles of birth/rebirth in the forms ("Yonis") dictated purely by their accumulated 'karmas'. The
    karmas also determine your worldly journey/experiences. There is scope for all to do 'purushaarth' and move towards 'salvation' Unfortunately, different living beings have different physical/constitutional limitations. This explains the dominance of male Teerthankaras in Jain literature. It has nothing to do with discrimination. What we need to do is to analyse the discriminatory practices, socially or otherwise and take steps to remove them

  19. In Sthankwasi sect, there is a equality for both men and women. There is no restrictions on reciting sutras. Woman saadhvi can attain Aacharya pad.

  20. Please stop calling this Jainism view. These are authors own views based on their limited understating of Jainism.

    1. Absolutely right. I second that.
      These are author's views based on his/ her understandings of Jainism.
      Request you all (I guess this blog is maintained by NRI Jains) who are writing and reading these articles to gain adequate knowledge on Jainism under a Guru/ Jain monk who is practising the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavira instead of just reading some books/ taking courses and commenting on any religion. Incomplete/ wrong information might bring more harm.
      You may refer to Youtube videos of P. P. Ratnasundarsuriji Maharaj to understand more on Jainism.
      I will sincerely request the Blog Committee Members to reconsider the objective of this blog and whether it is being achieved or not.

  21. Bhagavan Mahavir says " ALL SOULS ARE EQALL"

    Looking at Jain history, first Tirthankar Aadinaath, taught 64 kala to his daughters Brahmi & Sundari and accepted them as a Sadhviji.

    In 15 types of Siddha, Marudevi mata is accepted asan "ATIRTH SIDDHA" Even Napusak ved is also accepted for becoming Siddha.

    Out of 16 SAtis, 8 became in time of Mahavirswamy. All tirthankar respected their mother. Maximum followers of Jainism asa Chaturvidh sangh are Sadhviji and Shravikaji.

    If all souls are eqall, Wearing cloths or not is more imp. or having a Vairagya?
    Skin is also a type of cloth.

    Today, if you look at how many Jains have done PH.D in Jainism?
    No.are far more in Female sadhviji and shravika. Specially , in Terapanthi and Sthanakvasi.
    sthanakvasi and terapanthi allows all aagams to be read and taught to others.

    Digambara Bispantha allows woman to do Puja.

    When, Bhagawan Buddha was hesitant to make, female a Bhikshuni, Mahavir was accepted EQALITY.
    Later on, all these, weakness in our religion came. People started accepting as man was a bread winner.

    In reality, Women are stronger, soft hearted and capable of performing a multi tasks. Physical structral differences does not make them lesser in Quality to attain Nirvana.
    Achrya Chandanaji is a Living example.
    We should respect all soul eually. As soon as, we start Superiority complex, "Ahamkar- EGO " sets in.
    CHrISTIANITY, MOTHER MARY is wellknown.

    It is a time, to look carefully, find out the root cause of why some people feel that way and use
    that philosophy ,on the name of the AAgam .
    Try to get rid of UN EQALITY in Jobs, Society and SaLVATION philosophy as far as Gender disparity concerns.which is a bad virus.
    Michchhami Dukkadam
    k Deepika Dalal

  22. Informational:
    Maya(माया)in Prakrit also means Mother. Shree Kundakunda Acharyaji in Pravacanasara Gatha 44 compares Arahant Bhagawan (i.e. souls in Gunsthan 13) to the instinctive nurturing nature of a Mother (मायाचारो).
    As language evolved, Maya in this context became Mayee (माई).

    1. Adding specifics to my previous post:

      Watch two minutes of the video(already keyed to 5:50).

      Prakrit Library:
      Page: 248 (pdf page: 261)

      Mahaveer Bhagwan said: One can measure the truth by the yard stick of their own wisdom.


  23. These are author's views based on his/ her understandings of Jainism.
    Request you all (I guess this blog is maintained by NRI Jains) who are writing and reading these articles to gain adequate knowledge on Jainism under a Guru/ Jain monk who is practising the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavira instead of just reading some books/ taking courses and commenting on any religion. Incomplete/ wrong information might bring more harm.
    You may refer to Youtube videos of P. P. Ratnasundarsuriji Maharaj to understand more on Jainism.
    I will sincerely request the Blog Committee Members to reconsider the objective of this blog and whether it is being achieved or not.

  24. For everyone commenting that "this is not Jainism, these are the author's views" could you expand on your comment? It seems like you might have a different perspective on what was written - and this forum would a great opportunity for you to share your perspective. For the sources that you recommend others check out, can you also share what about those sources you find compelling - or at the minimum what your recommend sources talk about?

  25. This is a matter of one's belief in the scriptures which represent the divine teachings of the teerthankars. If all the 24 teerthankars have been male (as per one sect) and in the previous era 24 teerthankars were also supposed to be male, there must be some reason in it. It is to be noted that it is the soul which attains liberation. Such soul sheds the body and the gender associated with the body when being liberated. Even during its last life journey, the soul while meditating in its inherent nature is completely detached from the nokarma (body), dravya karma and bhaav karma. To think in terms of gender for liberation is to negate the principle of complete detachment for liberation. While reflecting on the inherent nature of the soul, one must ignore all the nokarmas. So this debate on gender equality for liberation is just a figment of imagination, indicative of raag.

  26. I m glad this been answered cause i was not able to get answer to this part in jainism. Thank you for stating the truth. Jai jinendra

  27. I really appreciate this article. I haven't seen any agam that has said Mahavir or anyone before Mahavir has said that women can't be acharyas. Certainly, the agams are very clear that women can be liberated as can even non-human animals. Request if someone has a citation for agam scripture that says women can't be acharyas to please share here.