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Just like the titles Paramahamsa and Siddha, Arihant also denotes spiritual progress. But why is someone called Arihant and at what stage of spritiual progress?

The earliest reference to Arihant is found in Rig Veda X.12.166 :

0 Rudra-like Divinity ! do thou produce amongst us, of high descent, a Great God, like Rishabha Deva, by becoming Arhan, which is the epithet of the first World Teacher; let Him become the destroyer of the enemies !

Arihant is very common in Jainism, in fact all their tirthankaras were arihant(Rishabha was 1st tirthankara). Similarly Buddhism defines Arihant as one who is a perfected being. But anyone who gets realization can be called a perfected being, in Advaitic terms, such a soul is called Jivanmukta and Paramahamsa.

So who exactly can be called Arihant? I think a Jivanmukta who decides to teach the world is called Arihant and once he leaves his body, he becomes Siddha.

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    First of all, Wikipedia made a mistake; there's no such thing as Rig Veda verse 10.12.166. What Wikipedia means is Rig Veda Hymn 10.166, which says this: ṛṣabhaṃ mā samānānāṃ sapatnānāṃ viṣāsahim | hantāraṃśatrūṇāṃ kṛdhi virājaṃ ghopatiṃ ghavām || "1. MAKE me a bull among my peers, make me my rivals, conqueror: Make me the slayer of my foes, a sovran ruler, lord of kine" As you can see, there's absolutely no mention of Arihant. And it's not talking about the Tirthankara Rishabha, it's just talking about someone who wants to be become a metaphorical bull to defeat his enemies. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 29 '16 at 4:18
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I'm finding another reference to Ṛṣabhanātha in the Ṛg Veda by a Jain mendicant who cites (sū.a.3), but its written in Hindi: "He Ṛṣabhnāth! Saṃsār meṃ jagatrakṣak..." etc. But I've been unable to find this in the actual Ṛg Veda.

  • In addition, I'm doubtful that Ṛṣabhanātha actually occurs in the RV. Padmanabha S. Jaini writes, "The word ṛṣabha is no doubt of common occurrence in teh Vedic hymns; but contrary to the belief of many modern Jain apologists, there is no conclusive evidence to show that it was ever used as a substantive or as a name of a person." ("Jina Ṛṣabha as an Avatāra of Viṣṇu," in Collected Papers, pg. 335). – Cogen Bohanec Jan 8 '17 at 19:40
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