A Tirthankar is a human being who has attained a highly exalted state due to intense spiritual practices in various lifetimes and signifies the ultimate pure developed state of the soul. Having attained the highest spiritual goal of human life, they help others cross the ocean of Samsara and win freedom against the infinite cycles of birth and death that man has to undergo. According to Jain philosophy Time cycle or the kaalchakra is infinite, it is beginningless and endless. Time is divided into two cycles, Utsarpini and Avsarpini. Utsarpini is progressive which means that during this cycle humanity progresses from its worst to its best in health, ethics, religion and all fields while in Avsarpini humanity moves from its best to worst stage. Aras are the six unequal periods that every Utsarpini and Avsarpini is divided into. At present according to Jainism the fifth Ara of the Avsarpini phase is going on with 19000 yrs approximately until the next Ara. The sixth phase will then begin after this Ara which is supposed to last for approximately 21000 years. This will be followed by the Utsarpini phase which will continue the repetition. Thus it is presumed that there have been infinite sets of 24 Tirthankaras, one for each half of the time cycle which will continue in the future. For the purpose of study, only the 24 Tirthankars of the present half cycle are considered.
Birth and childhood
Chandraprabh in his previous incarnation was King Padma of Manglavati town of Dhatkikhand. His rigorous penances and austerities of a number of lifetimes had brought him to such a state of spiritual exaltation that he was reborn as the next Tirthankar. His soul descended into the womb of Queen Sulakshana who was the wife of King Mahasen of Chandrapuri town. When the child was in her womb she had sixteen auspicious dreams which confirmed that the soul in her womb was a Tirthankar. They were
1. A large and beautiful white bull entering her mouth.
2. A lion
3. A garland of flowers
4. A giant elephant having four tusks
5. Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus
6. The glorious Sun
7. The full moon shining in the sky
8. A sea of milk
9. A golden urn
10. A Flag which was fluttering
11. A vehicle of the Gods which moves in space
12. A pond filled with lotus flowers
13. A heap of gems
14. A fire without smoke
The whole kingdom was overjoyed there was good will and brotherhood everywhere. The atmosphere in the kingdom was very pleasant and friendly. It is said that during her pregnancy looking at the beautiful full moon, the queen had a strange desire to drink the glowing streak of moonlight. The king cleverly managed to satisfy this desire. On Paush Krishna 13 of the Hindu calendar, the queen gave birth to a handsome boy whose face was fair and glowed like the moon. So they decided to name him Chandraprabh. He was a kind, patient and courageous boy. The people loved him and later on they got him married. The King then handed over the Kingdom to him and went into the forest to perform spiritual penances.
Chandraprabh ruled wisely for a number of years. One day as he was in prayers, he felt as if the entire humanity was calling out to him to save them. Suddenly he remembered the purpose of his birth and a deep sense of detachment came over him. He decided to embrace ascetism. After severe penances he attained omniscience.
He continued to teach the people the tenets of Jain philosophy, of compassion, non violence, Right thinking, Right conduct and Right action. After a long period, he attained nirvana at Sammed Shikhar.
The Symbol for Chandraprabh is the moon. The idol of Chandraprabh is found at Tijara Jain temple in Rajasthan and it is a very famous pilgrim centre for the Jains. Bhagavan Chandraprabh exhorted mankind to realise their Divine nature and to transcend the cycles of birth and death and seek eternal liberation. His compassion and love endeared him to everyone. A number of people embraced ascetism along with him. Such Supreme souls are born to help humanity to attain greater heights and India is blessed to have such pure souls born in this sacred motherland.