God in Jainism

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Jainism rejects the idea of any creator, mentor or destroyer God. If godliness is defined as the state of having freed one's soul from karmas and the attainment of enlightenment and a God as one who exists in such a state, then those who have achieved such a state can be termed gods. Thus, Mahavira was God but he was not the only God, there were many other Gods too. However, the quality of godliness is one and the same in all of them. Thus, Jainism can be defined as polytheist, monotheist, nontheist and atheist varyingly, depending on one's definition of God.

Godliness can be defined as the inherent quality of any soul characterizing infinite bliss, infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite peace. However, these qualities of a soul are subdued due to Karmas of the soul. One who achieves this state of soul through right belief, right knowledge and right conduct can be termed as God. This perfection of soul is called Kaivalya or Bodhi. A God thus becomes a liberated soul- liberated of miseries, cycles of rebirth, world, Karmas and finally liberated of body as well. This is called Nirvana or Moksha.

Gods can be thus categorized into embodied gods also known as Tīrthankaras and Arihantas or ordinary Kevalin, and non-embodied formless gods who are called Siddhas. Jainism considers the Devīs and Devas to be demi-goddesses and demi-gods who dwell in heavens owing to meritorious deeds in their past lives. These souls are in heavens for a fixed lifespan and even they have to...
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