Who Are Shalaka Purush?

In the Jain tradition there are sixty three highly endowed people who are known as Shalaka Purush or great men. They are 24 Tirthankars, 12 Chakravaritis, 9 Baldevs, 9 Vasudevs, and 9 Prativasudevs. A study of these worthy beings enables one to understand, absorb and assimilate Jain teachings in one's life.

a) Tirthankars (Also Called Arhats/Arihants/Jineshwar/Jina):
Tirthankars are those Siddhas who profound the truth during their life time which is a higher thing. The Jains have Arhats, the Siddhas, and the Tirthankars who in the simpler terms and in the corresponding manner are: those who deserve those who accomplish, and those who sanctify. It is possible for every man to attain the highest state.Tirthankars take the place of God in the Jain philosophy. Tirthankara ("Fordmaker") is a human who achieves enlightenment (perfect knowledge), through asceticism. A Tirthankar becomes a Jina (after totally conquering anger, pride, deceit, desire, etc.). A Tirthankar is the founder of a "Tirth", a Jain community which acts as a "ford" across the "river of human misery".

b) Chakravarti:
A Chakravarti is the emperor of the world, lord of the material realm. Though he possesses worldly power, he often finds his ambitions dwarfed by the enormity of the cosmos. One of the greatest Chakravartis mentioned in Jain scriptures is Bharata in whose memory India came to be known as "Bharata-varsha".After conquering the whole world, King Bharata, brimming with pride, sought to inscribe his great feat on the slopes of Mount Meru. To his great dismay, he found names of many other kings carved on Holy Mount Meru.Like him, they too had conquered the world. He was not the first man to do so. He was not the last. There were many before him, there were many after him. Bharata, humbled by the experience, returned to his kingdom to do his duty, aware that his actions were not unique and that his existence was not special.

c) Baladev:
He is elder brother of a Vasudev and has extreme attachment with his younger brother. A Baldev’s mother sees four great dreams. He has the strength of a million octopeds. Four thousand Gods are in his attendance. His weapons, including mace and plough are blessed by a thousand Gods each. Because of their mutual affection Baldev and Vasudev rule jointly. After the death of the Vasudev, Baldev becomes an ascetic and indulges n spiritual practices. Some of them are liberated and others are reincarnated in dimensions of Gods.

d) Vasudev:
A Vasudev in his earlier births sheds some specific karmas and determines to acquire this status. His soul then incarnates either in the heaven or the hell and then is born as Vasudev. At the time of his conception his mother sees seven great dreams. His complexion is dark. He has the strength equivalent to 2 million octopeds and he conquers three continents by killing the Prativasudev. He has 16000 kingdoms and kings under his subjugation and 8000 Gods in his attendance. He has 16000 queens and seven gems. Vasudeva is a hero who appears on earth from time to time to save the world from the villain Prativasudeva. He is always accompanied by a wiser, older and gentler elder brother known as Baladeva.Baladeva upholds the Jain principle of non-violence. Vasudeva however forsakes this principle for the good of humanity as he kills the Prativasudeva.

e) Prativasudev:
They also determine their status in their earlier births and are monarchs of three continents. Their powers are slightly lower than that of the Vasudevs. They are necessarily killed by the Vasudevs and go to hell.
In the Jain Ramayana, king Ravana (prativasudeva) who abducts Sita, wife of Prince Rama of Ayodhya (Earlier known as Vinita City), is killed by Lakshmana. Rama refrains from doing so. By adhering to non-violence, he earns the exalted rank of a Baladeva. In the Jain Mahabharata, Krishna (Vasudev) Kills Jarasandh (Prativasudev) .His elder brother Sankharshana/ Balbhadra is the Baladeva ,he refuses to fight the war, renounces the world and finds release. Since Jainism (Shraman Culture ) is oldest original religion of India all other faiths including vedic were influenced by Jainism & Jain Shakalpurush. There exist Jain Ramayan & Jain Mahabharat versions.