This Jain Symbol is a compound, made up of a number of other symbols significant to the Jain religion. The Jain religion, an offshoot of Vedic religion (today’s Hinduism), shares many concepts and beliefs with its cousins Hinduism and Buddhism, and the symbol encompasses the core Jain teachings. The outline of the emblem represents the Jain conception of the universe:
- The upper, the realm of heaven
- The lower, the realms of hell
- The center, the material world where the two intersect.
The three dots in the upper portion represent the triratna, or “three jewels,” the means of attaining spiritual liberation: right action, right faith, right conduct. The swastika in the center represents the motion of the universe, the intersection of the world of spirit and the world of matter, and the four states of earthly existence: human, animal, demon, and saint, as well as the four classes of Jain believer (Monks, nuns, male and female lay believers) The hand below is making the sign of ahimsa, which means “stop.” In Jainism, ahimsa refers to non-violence and non-action. The wheel represents Samsara, the cycle of birth and death. The symbolism of the hand is fully explained here.