What’s in a name?

Parents always choose an ideal, virtuous name for their new born child. Supposedly even Elon Musk child’s name X Æ A-12 has a meaning behind it. The etymology of names is often rooted in ancient languages, such as Sanskrit, Urdu, Latin, etc.

Within each time cycle, 24 Jain Tirthankaras (who achieve liberation and show the path to others) are born. Let’s understand the essence behind the meaning of their names:

1ŔsabhdevaMarudeviNābhiBull mark on thigh of the Lord; Bull is the 1st dream mother had; Therefore named Rishabhdeva.
He is also called Adinath as he was the first Tirthankar and was the first person to establish civilisation. (Adi means first, nath means Master/leader)
2AjitnāthVijayaJitshatruWhen Lord was in the womb, his mother was not defeated by the King whilst playing a game. Ajit means invincible.
3SambhavnāthSenādeviJitariWhile in embryo, bountiful rice was grown (sambhuta) & second ploughing took place (samba).
What a striking similarity that in Swahili, farm is called shambha and in Gujarati rice is called bhat.
4AbhinandanSiddhārthaSamvaraEntire city, family, kingdom rejoiced while he was in womb of his mother;
Abhinandan in Sanskrit means rejoice, delight, pleasure.
5SumtināthMangalāMeghāMerchant having two wives went overseas. He had one son. When merchant returned, he died. The two wives were quarreling as to who the son belongs to since he would inherit all the wealth and the mothers importance would increase. Went to King to resolve. Both women looked alike as though from the same stalk. Boy couldn’t talk because of infancy. Queen said, women problems need to be solved by women; men shouldn’t interfere. Queen said that the child in her embryo is a tirthankar and after birth he will give judgement, so wait. Real mother said she really cannot wait until then, please give judgement now. Since Queen’s mind was brilliant while Lord in womb, given name Sumati. (Su means good/right, mati means mind)
6PadmaprabhuSusimā DhārāDuring pregnancy, mother had whim of couch of lotuses & due to his lotus coloured skin was called Padma (in Sanskrit it means Lotus).
7SupārśvanāthPŕthviPratisthāMother was “beautiful sided” while in embryo thus named Supārśvanāth.
Su means good & Pārśva (पार्श्व) is Sanskrit refers to the “sides”. It is one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance.
8CandraprabhuLaksmanāMahasenaDuring pregnancy mother had whim of drinking moon & child was of moon colour.
Candra means moon in Sanskrit.
9SuvidhināthRāmaSugrivaMother became an expert in all religious rites while child was in womb & also during pregnancy tooth appeared and she had whim for flowers.
Su = right; Vidhi means process / procedure.
Another name for this Tirthankar is Pushpadant (Pushpa means flows; Dant means tooth)
10ShitalnāthNandāDŕdharathaWhen Queen was pregnant, King’s body which was hot (perhaps due to illness) became cool at her touch.
Shital means cool.
11SreyānsnāthVisnuVisnurājāMarked with rhino, gold colour. Sreyāns means more splendid, more beautiful, super excellent, more distinguished, great.
12VāsupujyaJayaVāsupujyaIndra came to inform mother that child in embryo is Tirthankar. Indra is also known as Vāsu, therefore called Vāsupujya (revered by Vāsu)
13Vimalnāth SyāmaKŕtavarmanHis mother was brilliant (vimala) while child was in the womb.
14AnantnāthSuyāsasSiṇhāsenaInfinite armies of father’s enemies had been conquered while he was in womb.
Anant means infinite (without end)
15DharmanāthSuvratBhānuMother had whim for religious duties while she was pregnant.
Dharma means religion.
16ShantināthAcirāVisvasenaUnfavorable conditions subsided while child was in mother womb.
Shānti means peace.
17KunthunāthSriSuraQueen saw heap of jewels called Kunthu while Tirthankar was in womb.
18AranāthDeviSudarsanaQueen saw spoke of wheel (ara) in her dream while child was in her womb.
19MallināthPrabhāvatiKumbhaMother had pregnancy whim to sleep on garlands.
Malli means “Jasmine” which is not garlands, but used for garlands
20MunisuvratswāmiPadmāvatiSumitraWhile child was in embryo, mother observed vows like muni.
Muni means ascetic; Su means right/good; Vrata means vows
21NamināthVapra VijayāWhile in womb, city of Mithila besieged by enemies. Queen Vapra immediately ascended to the top of the palace. After seeing her, enemy submitted to King Vijayā
Naṃ in Sanskrit means to bow down.
22NemināthSiva SamudravijayRim of wheel made of Arista (black jewel) was seen by his mother during pregnancy;
Another name of Nemināth is Aristanemi.
23ParśvanāthVāmāAsvasenaWhile in womb, mother saw serpent creeping at her side on a dark night.
In Sanskrit, Pārśva (पार्श्व) means near or proximate and since she saw a snake near to her, child was named Parśvanāth.
24MāhāveerswāmiTrishalā SiddhārthaHis actual name was Vardhamāna. While Tirthankar was in mother’s womb, wealth in city, house, country increased
In Sanskrit, vardhamān means to increase.

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