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Sculpting the Tirthankar's - Q&A on Jain iconography

Very recently, a discussion on the true representation of a Tirthankar through an idol raised many questions which I thought needed answers. Therefore, with an intent to create more awareness on the history and evolution of idolatry in Jainism, I am writing this article to share some of the common/ uncommon questions, which had been asked to me in the past with respect to Jain iconography in an easy to understand Q&A format. Readers can also share their observations in the comments section and can also ask more questions which I will try to answer to best of my knowledge using references from ancient texts/ modern research.

Q. What is the need of an idol to worship the Tirthankar’s?

A. Worship is an act of reverence of giving or acknowledging worth to something/someone beyond yourself. An idol is a physical object placed in veneration to the highest soul – The Tirthankar. An idol helps a person to focus thoughts and channelize them in the direction of the Tirthankar and his attribu…

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