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
Vimalnath in his previous incarnation was King Padmasen who ruled over Mahapuri town in Dhatikikhand. He was a very pious and religious king. Later he took diksha from Acharya Yarsvargupt. He had reached a very exalted state of enlightenment due to severe penances of many lifetimes due to which he reincarnated as the next Tirthankar. After his soul reincarnated in the Mahardhik dimension of Gods it descended into the womb of Queen Shyama Devi, wife of King Kritavarman of Kampilpur. The Queen had fourteen auspicious dreams which 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 King and Queen were overjoyed that the child in her womb would be a Tirthankar and on the third day of the Shulka Paksh of the Magh month(according to the Hindu calendar) the Queen gave birth to a son. During the pregnancy there was love and peace in the atmosphere. Everyone in the kingdom was very happy. Seeing this purity everywhere, the child was named Vimal(untarnished or pure). The child was obedient, loving and very religious. After he grew up they got him married. Then the King handed over the Kingdom to him and went into the forest to perform spiritual practices.
Vimalnath ruled the Kingdom wisely for many years. Slowly a sense of detachment began to come over him. In his meditations he saw his previous lifetimes and realised the reason for his birth. He gave up the throne and embraced ascetism. A number of members of the royal family and his subjects too followed him. After rigorous spiritual practices he achieved Omniscience.
He began preaching and urging his followers to follow the tenets of Jain philosophy. He asked them to practice Right Conduct, Right thinking and Right Action. Leading a life of compassion and non violence he asked them to give up worldly pleasures and perceive the goal of life ie. Self realisation. On the seventh day of the dark half of the month of Ashad he attained Nirvana at Sammed Shikar. Svayambu Vasudev, Merak Prativasudev and Bhadra Baldev were his contemporaries.
The symbol of Vimalnath was Boar(wild pig). Bhagavan Vimalnath was born to liberate people from worldly bondage and help them to achieve self realisation by following the principles of Right Thinking, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct along with compassion and non violence. He urged them to rise above sensual pleasures and devote their lives to seeking the goal of human life ie liberation. Great souls like him have been born in India due to which this holy land of Bharat has been rendered sacred and sublime.