, traditionally known as Jain Dharma
, is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina
(victor) referring to the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths by destroying karma through an ethical and spiritual life. Jainism is a transtheistic religion, and Jains trace their spiritual ideas and history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras
, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, the twenty-third Tirthankara Parshvanatha in 900 BCE, and the twenty-fourth Tirthankara the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma
with the tirthankaras
guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology. Their religious texts are called Agamas.