Tirthahkaras Before Mahavira


by Sinclair Stevenson

have been a historical person. Very probably he did something to draw together and improve the discipline of the homeless monks who were outside the pale of Brahmanism, much as St. Benedict did in Europe. If so, he was the real founder of Jainism, Mahavira being only a reformer who carried still further the work that Parsvanatha had begun.

Parsvanatha, the Tirthankara who immediately preceded Mahavira, may also The Jaina say that Parsvanatha was born in what is now the city of Benares about 817 b. c. His father, Asvasena, was the king of that town, and to his mother. Queen Vama, were granted the wonderful dreams which always foretell the birth of a Tirthankara. Before he was born, his mother, lying in the dark, saw a black serpent crawling about by her side, and so gave her little son the name of Parsva. All his life Parsvanatha was connected with snakes, for when he was grown up he was once able to rescue a serpent from grave danger. A Brahman ascetic was kindhng a fire, without noticing whether in so doing he was destroying life or not, when Parsvanatha happened to pass and drew from the log the Brahman was lighting a poor terrified snake that had taken up its abode in the wood.

Whilst in the world, Parsvanatha bore himself with great credit ; he was a brave warrior and defeated the Yavana king of Kalihga, and he eventually married Prabhavat!, daughter of Prasannajita, king of Ayodhya.


At the age of thirty he renounced the world and became an ascetic with the same ceremonies that have been described in the case of Mahavira. In order to gain Omniscience he practised austerities for eighty-three days, and during this time an enemy, Kamatha, caused a heavy downpour of rain to fall on him, so that these austerities might be made as trying to flesh and blood as possible. Now this enemy was no one else than the Brahman ascetic whose carelessness in a previous incarnation had so nearly caused the death of the poor snake. But if Parsvanatha's enemies were active, his grateful friends were no less mindful of him, and the snake, who by now had become the god Dharanendra, held a serpent's hood over the ascetic, and sheltered him as with an umbrella ; and to this day the saint's symbol is a hooded serpent's head. On the eighty-fourth day Parsvanatha obtained Kevala jfiana seated under a Dhataki tree near Benares.

He now became the head of an enormous community, his mother and wife being his first disciples. Followed by these, he preached his doctrines for seventy years, until at last his karma was exhausted, and, an old man of a hundred years, he reached deliverance at last on Mount Sameta Sikhara in Bengal, which was thenceforth known as the Mount of Parsvanatha.

Parsvanatha made four vows binding on the members The four of his community : not to take life, not to lie, not to steal and not to own property. He doubtless felt that the vow of natha. chastity and celibacy was included under the last two heads, but in the two hundred and fifty years that elapsed between his death and the coming of Mahavira, abuses became so rife that the latter was forced to add another vow—that of chastity—to those already enumerated. This he did by dividing the vow of property specifically into two, one part relating to women and the other to material possessions. Some Jaina, however, believe that Parsvanatha's four vows were those of non-killing, non-lying, non-stealing and chastity, that it was the promise to keep nothing as one's own possession that Mahavira added to these, and that it was in order to keep this vow that Mahavira himself went about naked.

Another reform which they say Mahavira introduced was the making confession compulsory instead of optional for monks. All these traditions bear out the idea that Mahavira was a reformer rather than a founder of his faith and order, and that the rule of Parsvanatha had not been found in practice sufficiently stringent.

The Twenty-two Earlier Tirthahkaras

We have begun our survey of Jaina legend with the birth of Mahavira, but no Jaina historian would do that. The Jaina firmly believe that theirs is the oldest religion in India, and delight to quote many passages1 from the Veda which prove to them that Jainism existed before the Veda were written and cannot therefore be an offshoot of Brahmanism, as most scholars believe. They reject the old theory 2 that Gautama Indrabhuti revolted from Jainism and became the founder of Buddhism, and claim Buddhism as a late offshoot of Jainism, telling the following legend to prove it. During the interval between the days of Parsvanatha and those of Mahavira there lived a certain Jaina monk called Buddha Kirti, who was well learned in the scriptures. One day he was performing austerities by the side of the river Sarayu in Palasa Nagara, and as he sat there he saw a dead fish floating by him. As he watched it, he reflected that there could be no harm in eating the flesh of dead fish, for there was no soul within it. This thought inspired him, the Jaina say, to found a new religion ; he left his austerities, assumed red garments, and preached Buddhism.

According to the Jaina, the best way to begin the study of their history is through the stories of the Tirthankara. We have studied the lives of the two latest Tirthankara, Parsvanatha, the twenty-third, and Mahavira, the twentyfourth; but the Jaina have legends regarding each one of their predecessors.

The first Tirthankara was born when the world had passed out of its happiest stage and was in the era of Susama Dusama.3 A Rajput king had a little son born to him, whom his mother called Risabhadeva, because in her dream she had seen a bull (risabha) coming towards her. Risabhadeva (also called Adinatha) taught men seventy-two arts and women sixty-four, for these have only to be skilled in domestic and not in literary and industrial crafts ; but his great glory lies in the fact that he first taught men the Jaina faith. He lived for eighty-four lakhs of purva of time, of which he spent only one lakh of purva as an ascetic. Risabhadeva had one hundred sons (amongst whom was the famous king Bharata) ; their height was five hundred bow-shots. This first Tirthankara attained moksa from Astapada (or Kailasa) in the modern Himalayas.

The world grew steadily worse, and in fifty lakhs of crores of sagara of time the next Tirthankara, Ajitanatha, was born in Ayodhya. After his birth all his father's enemies were conquered (jita), hence his name, the invincible one '. He was born in the period called Dusama Susama, and all the remaining Tirthankara were born in the same period. His sign, which one sees on all his images in the temples, is an elephant. During his life he himself earned the title of Victorious, for he was so devout an ascetic that he was beaten by none in performing austerities. He attained moksa together with a thousand other Sadhus.

After thirty more lakhs of crores of sagara Sambhavanatha, the third Tirthankara, was born in SravastI of Rajput parents. The king his father had been distressed to see the way his dominions were ravaged by plague and famine, but when he heard the good news of the boy's birth, he felt there was a chance (sambhava) of better times coming, hence the boy's name. He too was able to persuade a thousand ascetics to join his community or sartgha, who eventually all attained moksa with him. His emblem is the horse.

The fourth Tirthankara owes his name to the fact that god Indra used to come down and worship (ahhinanda] him in Vanita, where his parents, Samvara and Siddartha Ram, ruled. He attained moksa accompanied by a thousand monks, as indeed did all the first eleven Tirthankara except Suparsvanatha. Abhinandana has the ape for his sign ; he was born ten lakhs of crores of sagara of time after his predecessor. His height was three hundred and fifty bow-shots.

The legend about the fifth Tirthankara, Sumatinatha, is more interesting; he was born in Kahkanapura, where his father, a Rajput named Megharatha, was king ; his mother's name was Sumahgala. The child was called Sumatinatha, because even before his birth his mother's intellect (sumati) was so sharpened. To prove the queen's ability, a story is told resembling that of the judgement of Solomon. An old Brahman died, leaving two wives ; both women claimed the only son as theirs, and the dispute was taken to the queen to settle, who decreed, as Solomon did (and with similar results), that the living child should be cut in two. This Tirthahkara's sign is sometimes given as a red goose, but others say it is a red partridge. He was born nine lakhS of crores of sagara after Abhinandana, and his height was three hundred bow-shots.

Susima, the mother of the sixth Tirthankara, longed before his birth to sleep on a bed of red lotuses (padma), with the result that her son was always the colour of a red lotus, which flower he took for his emblem. His father, Dhara, was the Rajput king of Kausambi. Padmaprabhu was born ninety thousandcrores of sagara of time after his predecessor ; his height was two hundred and fifty bow-shots.

The father of the next Tirthankara was the Rajput king of Benares; but his wife suffered from leprosy in both her sides. This dreadful disease was cured before the child's birth, so he was given the name of Su (good) parsva (side). His emblem is the Svastika symbol. Unlike the other earlier Tirthahkara he attained moksa with only five hundred companions. Nine thousand crores of sagara of time had elapsed since the death of his predecessor, and his height was two hundred bow-shots.

After a further interval of nine hundred crores of sagara of time the eighth Tirthankara was born ; his height was one hundred and fifty bow-shots. Before his birth his mother (the wife of the Rajput king of Candrapuri) longed to drink the moon (candra). To assuage her craving, a plate of water was one night handed to her in such a way that the moon was reflected in it; when the child was born, he was found to be as bright and white as the moon, which accordingly became his emblem, and he was called Candraprabhu.

Two names are given to the next Tirthahkara. Owing the peace he brought to a distracted family, all of whose kingly relatives were warring against one another, he is called Suvidhinatha, for on his birth they gave up fighting and took instead to performing their religious duties (suvidhi) ; but as his teeth were so beautiful that they resembled the buds of an exquisite flower (puspa), he was also called Puspadanta. There is a dispute over his emblem : the Svetambara say it is the crocodile, while certain Digambara declare it is the crab. Ninety crores of sagara elapsed before his birth, and his height was one hundred bow-shots.

The tenth Tirthahkara had a marvellous power of imparting coolness (sltalata) to fevefed patients. Before his birth his mother laid her hand on her husband, the Rajput king of Bhaddilapura, and immediately the fever which had defied all the efforts of his physicians left him, and all his life long the saint had a similar power, hence his name, Sitalanatha, , Lord of Coolness. His sign is the Srivatsa svastika, or according to the Digambara, the Ficus religiosa. 'His height was ninety bow-shots. and the interval of time between him and his predecessor was nine crores of sagara.

King Visnudeva, who ruled in Simhapuri, possessed most beautiful throne, but unfortunately an evil spirit took up his abode in it, so that no one dare sit there. His wife, however, so longed to sit on it that she determined to do so at any risk ; to every one's astonishment she was quite uninjured, so, when her son was born, he was named Sreyamsanatha, the Lord of Good, for already he had enabled his mother to cast out an evil spirit and so do a world of good (sreyamisa). His sign is the rhinoceros; one crore of sagara of time had intervened before his birth ; and his height was eighty bow-shots.

Before the birth of the twelfth Tirthankara the gods Indra and Vasu used to go and worship the father of the future saint, and as the father's name was Vasupuja and the god Indra used to give him jewels called vasu, the child was naturally enough called Vasupujya. His sign is the male buffalo, and he passed to moksa from his birthplace, Campapuri, accompanied by six hundred Sadhus. Fifty-four sagara of time had intervened, and his height was seventy arrow-shots.

The sign of the thirteenth Tirthankara is the boar. He got his name Vimalanatha, Lord of Clearness, through the clearness (vimalata) of intellect with which he endowed his mother before his birth, and which she displayed in the following manner. A certain man and his wife unwisely stayed in a temple inhabited by a female demon, who, falling in love with the husband, assumed his real wife's form. The miserable man was quite unable to tell which was his true wife, and asked the king of Kampilapura to distinguish between them. It was the queen, however, who solved the difficulty. She knew the long reach that witches and only witches have, and telling the husband to stand a long distance off, challenged the two wives to prove their chastity by touching him. Both tried their utmost, but, of course, the human wife could not reach so far, whereas the demon wife did and thus showed her real character. Vimalanatha had six hundred companions to moksa. Thirty sagara of time had passed before his birth, and his height was sixty bow-shots.

There was an endless (ananta] thread which lay about quite powerless in Ayodhya ; but after the king's wife had given birth to the fourteenth Tirthahkara, it became endued with power to heal diseases ; this event, combined with the fact that his mother had seen an endless necklace of pearls, decided the child's name. Anantanatha's birth was divided from his predecessor's death by nine sagara of time, and his height was fifty bow-shots. His sign is the hawk, or, according to the Digambara, the bear.

The fifteenth Tirthahkara was born four sagara of time after Anantanatha's Nirvana, and his height was only forty-five bow-shots. His parents were the Rajput king and queen of Ratnapuri, and before his birth they exhibited such new zeal in the performance of their rehgious duties (dharma), that the child was given the name of Lord of Religion, Dharmanatha. He attained moksa with eight hundred monks. His sign is a thunderbolt.

After the nirvana of the ninth Tirthahkara, Suvidhinatha, the Jaina faith disappeared until the birth of the tenth Tirthahkara, who revived it; on his nirvana it disappeared again, but was revived on the birth of the eleventh ; and this continued to be the case until the birth of Santinatha, the sixteenth Tirthahkara, after which it never disappeared again. The parents of this Tirthahkara ruled in Hastinapura three sagara of time after Dharmanatha's nirvana. It happened that plague was raging. Before Santinatha's birth, however, his mother was able to stay the course of the pestilence by sprinkling the sufferers with water ; so when the child was born he was called Santinatha, or Lord of Peace (santi). The special interest of this saint lies in the fact that he was the first Tlrthafikara to become a cakravarti 4 or emperor of the whole of Bharata (i.e. India). Santinatha's height was forty bow-shots, and his emblem is the deer. He attained moksa from Mt. Parsvanatha in Bengal in company with nine hundred Sadhus. With the exception of four 5 all the Tirthahkara passed to nirvana from this hill.

After half a palya of time the seventeenth Tirthankara was born in Gajapurl, where his parents, King Sivaraja and Queen Sridevi, reigned. Before his birth his mother saw a heap (kuntha) of jewels ; during his life people began to show greater kindness to insects (kunthu), and the power of his father's enemies was stunted (kuntha). Kunthunatha's sign was the goat, and he was thirty-five bow-shots in height. He, like his predecessor, became an emperor, and obtained moksa from Parsvanatha, but accompanied by a thousand companions.

Queen Devi, wife of King Sudarsana of Hastinapura, saw a vision of a bank of jewels before the birth of her son, the eighteenth Tirthankara, who was born a quarter palya of time after Kunthunatha. Aranatha was thirty bow-shots in height, his emblem is the third kind of svastika (the Nandavartta), he was also an emperor, and he passed to moksa from Sameta Sikhara (Mt. Parsvanatha) with a thousand monks.

The nineteenth Tirthankara is the most interesting of all, for owing to deceitfulness in a previous life this saint was born as a woman; 6 having, however, done all the twenty things that make an ascetic a Tirthahkara, nothing could prevent his becoming one, but his previous deceitfulness resulted in his becoming a female Tirthahkara. She was born in Mithila, where her parents. King Kumbera and

Queen Prabhavati, ruled. Before her birth her mother longed to wear a garland (malli) woven of the flowers of all seasons, and the gods and goddesses themselves brought the flowers to gratify her desire. Malhnatha's symbol is a water-jar, and she also passed to moksa from Sameta Sikhara. Her height was twenty-five bow-shots. The Digambara, who deny that any woman can pass to moksa without rebirth as a man, deny of course that Mallinatha could have been a woman. Another point of interest is that the time between the Tirthankara can now be measured by years, and this nineteenth Tirthankara was born a thousand crores of years after the eighteenth.

Before the birth of Munisuvrata, his mother, the wife of King Sumitra of Rajagriha, kept all the beautiful vows of Jainism (su vrata, good vows) as devoutly as if she had been an ordinary woman and not a queen ; hence the child's name. Hisheight was twenty bow-shots; he was born fiftyfour lakhs of years after the last Tirthankara. His parents, while Ksatriya or Rajputs, belonged to the Hari dynasty, whereas all the other Tirthankara, save the twenty-second, belonged to the Iksvaku family. His symbol is the tortoise.

The twenty-first Tirthankara was born in Mathura after an interval of only six lakhs of years. His father. King Vijya, was engaged in an apparently hopeless warfare with his enemies, but the astrologers declared that if his wife, Queen Vipra, showed her face on the city wall (this was before the time of the zenana system) the enemy would bow down (nama) with fear and flee away. This all happened, and the child was named accordingly. Naminatha was fifteen bow-shots in height, his emblem is the blue lotus, and he attained mok?a from Sameta Sikhara together with a thousand ascetics.

The twenty-second Tirthankara (like the twentieth) is minatha, always represented as black ; before his birth his mother, the wife of Samudravijaya, king of Sauripura, saw a wheel (nenii) of black jewels (arista). Kri§na and his brother Baladeva lived at this time, and were cousins of Neminatha's. This Tirthahkara was ten bow-shots in height, and his sign was the conch shell. Unlike most of the other Tirthahkara, he attained mok$a from Girnar in Kathiawad.

The twenty-third and twenty-fourth Tirthahkara are respectively Parsvanatha and Mahavira.

The Followers of Mahavira

The peculiar temptations with which an ascetic's life are beset are illustrated for us in the life of Gosala, an disciple early antinomian. He seems to have been the head of' a body of unclothed anchorites, a section of the Ajivika monks, and joined forces with Mahavira whilst the latter was still practising austerities before the period of his enlightenment. Gosala, Dr. Hoernle suggests in his exhaustive article on the Ajivikas,7 may either have been moved by a desire to learn the tricks of Mahavlra's trade, or else the strong stern personality of the great ascetic may have had an irresistible attraction for the weaker sensual nature. At any rate, for six years they lived together, but a permanent association was impossible between a man like Mahavira and one of Gosala's tricky, unreliable disposition.

There seems no doubt that they separated owing to some act of unchastity on Gosala's part, and this had the natural effect of opening Mahavlra's eyes to the special temptation besetting wandering mendicants. An added element of bitterness would be caused by the disciple venturing to preach before the master felt himself qualified to do so, for whilst Mahavira waited twelve years before teaching his Way, Gosala preached after only six.

It was probably owing to Gosala's conduct that Mahavira added the vow of chastity to the four vows of Parsvanatha's order, and all through the Jaina scriptures one seems to find references to this unworthy disciple. ' A wise man should consider that these (heretics) do not live a life of chastity.' 8 In the assembly he pronounces holy (words), yet secretly he commits sins ; but the wise know him to be a deceiver and great rogue.'9. A dialogue is given between a disciple of Mahavira's, called Ardraka, and Gosala, in which Gosala, hke many another impenitent, tries to defend himself by finding fault with his old leader, and takes up an antinomian position : 'according to our Law an ascetic, who lives alone and single, commits no sin if he uses cold water, eats seeds, accepts things prepared for him, and has intercourse with women.' 10

The references to Gosala in the Buddhist books, though slighter, bear out the same idea of his character. Dr. Hoernle mentions Buddha's well-known abhorrence of Gosala, and tells how Buddha classified the ascetic systems differing from his own into those whose members lived in incontinency and those which could only be condemned as unsatisfying—placing Gosala amongst the former.

Gosala obtained this his best-known name through having been born in a cowshed, but he is also known by another name, that of Mahkhali Putra, which the Jaina say was given to him because he was the illegitimate son of a monk. If there were this piteous taint in his blood it would account for his strange dual nature, his strivings, and his failure. After he left Mahavira, he and his followers seem to have lived in open defiance of all the laws of ascetic life, expressed or implied, and to have made their head-quarters in the premises of a potter woman in the town of Sravastl. There after sixteen years Mahavira found him and exposed his real character. Gosala had previously tried to justify himself by adopting not only an antinomian position, but also one of absolute fatalism, in which he declared that all things were absolutely fixed and so man was relieved of all moral responsibihty. Now he brought forward another doctrine, that of re-animation, by which he explained to Mahavira that the old Gosala who had been a disciple of his was dead, and that he who now animated the body of Gosala was quite another person ; this theory, however, deceived nobody, and Gosala, discredited in the eyes of the townspeople, fell lower and lower, and at last died as a fool dieth. Just before the end, however, the strange duality of his nature again asserted itself, and, acknowledging that all that Mahavira had said against him was true, and that he had left the true faith and preached a false one, he directed his own disciples to drag his body through the town by a rope for people to spit at, and to bury him with every mark of shame.11 This command they naturally did not carry out, nor would it have been necessary for us so long after his death to have discussed this unhappy man, but for the profound effect his life had on the formulation of Mahavira's doctrine.

Gosala is of importance to those of us who are trying to understand Jainism for two reasons : the sin and shame of his life emphasized the need for stringent rules for the order ; and the doctrine of absolute fatalism was shown to result in non-moral conduct. Jainism avoids this determinism, as we shall see later, by teaching that, though karma decides all, we ourselves can affect our past karma by our present life.

Other Disciples

The Svetambara tell the following story of the conversion of Mahavira's earliest and greatest disciple, Gautama Indrabhuti. It happened that once when Mahavira went to the city of Apapa to preach, a rich Brahman was preparing to offer a great animal sacrifice, and had invited Gautama Indrabhuti and his ten brothers to be present. They heard of the new teacher, and that he was denouncing the animal sacrifice at which they had assisted, and they were very much enraged at his audacity. They therefore determined to oppose him and expose the falseness of his teaching, but felt that they must first learn more of this new doctrine. They listened to Mahavira's discourses, and heard . the gentle, thoughtful answers he gave to all questioners, till at length, being convinced of the truth of his Way, they cast in their lot with his, and became his chief disciples or Ganadhara. 12

The Digambara give a different account of Gautama's conversion. Indrabhuti was, they say, born of Brahman parents in a village called Govara, his father's name being Vasumati, and his mother's Prithvi ;13 he became a very learned pandit and grew extremely vain of his learning. One day, however, an old man appeared and asked him to explain a certain verse to him. Mahavira had, the old man said, repeated the sloka to him, but had immediately afterwards become so lost in meditation that he could get no explanation of it from the saint and yet he felt that he could not live unless he knew the meaning. The verse contained references to Kala 14 and Dravya, Pailca Astikaya, Tattva and Lesya 15 not one of which could Gautama understand, but being too true a scholar to pretend to a knowledge which he did not possess, he sought out Mahavira to ask for an explanation. The moment he was in the presence of the great ascetic all his pride in his fancied learning fell from him, and he besought Mahavira to teach him. He not only became a convert himself, but took over with him his five hundred pupils and his three 16 brothers.

The Sthanakavasi tell yet a third story of Gautama's conversion. Indrabhuti was going to assist at a great sacrifice, but, to his surprise, he saw that all the gods, instead of going to the sacrifice, were going to hear an ascetic preach ! Gautama asked who the ascetic was, and, going to meet him, was astonished at being called by his own name. He was still more astonished when Mahavira proceeded to answer all the unspoken questions and solve all the doubts that had been in his mind about karma, jiva, moksa, etc.

All sects beheve that, however converted, Gautama by his intense attachment to his master, was for long prevented from attaining Kevala jnana or Omniscience.

The Uttaradhyayana records a sermon entitled The Leaf of the tree which the Jaina say Mahavira preached to Gautama to try and help him to reach Kevala jnana. It is worth while studying it closely, 17 for it tells us much of Mahavira's doctrine. Mahavira warns Gautama that life will end sometime, even as the withered leaf of a tree must fall to the ground when its days are done ; and that its duration is as brief as that of a dew-drop clinging to a blade of grass. Only when the chances of rebirth have resulted in one's being born as a human being can one get rid of the result (karma) of past action. How rare is the opportunity; for one's soul might have been imprisoned for aeons in an earth, or a fire, or a wind body ; or it might have been clothed with a plant, an insect, or an animal form ; one might have been born in heaven or hell as a god

or a demon, but only to a human being is the chance of escape open. Even if one happens to be born as a man, one might not be born an Arya but only an aboriginal or a foreigner (to whom apparently Mahavira did not regard the way of escape as open) ; or if born as an Arya, one might not be capable or have the opportunity of intelligently hearing and believing the Law ; or again, one might not have the strength of will to choose the hard path of asceticism. As Gautama grows old and frail, this priceless opportunity which comes so seldom will gradually pass away from him, so Mahavira beseeches him to cast away every sort of attachment that might chain him to rebirth, and, since he has chosen the path of asceticism which leads to deliverance, to press on to the very end. * You have crossed the great ocean, why do you halt so near the shore ? Make haste to get on the other side and reach that world of perfection (nirvana] where there is safety and perfect happiness.'

In the Uttaradhyayana it is recorded that the effect of this sermon was such as to enable Gautama to cut off love and reach perfection,18 but the Kalpa Sutra supports the current belief that it was not till the night that Mahavira died that this the oldest of his disciples' cut asunder the tie of friendship which he had for his master, and obtained the highest knowledge and intuition called Kevala '.19

Gautama survived Mahavira for twelve years, and finally obtained nirvana at Rajagriha at the age of ninety-two, having lived fifty years as a monk.

It will be remembered that ten 20 of Indrabhuti's brothers attached themselves to the great ascetic at the same time that he did. They, too, must have been men of strong character, for three 20 of them became heads of communities. There was another great disciple of Mahavira called Sudharma, who also survived him, and to whom we are indebted for the Jaina scriptures. The Jaina say that Gautama Indrabhuti had become a Kevall and imparted knowledge which was the result of his own thinking, but Sudharma, not having attained omniscience, could only pass on the teaching of others. 21 He therefore wrote out what he had heard his master say and compiled twelve Anga, eleven Upaiiga, and various other works. All that tradition states about Sudharma could be tersely expressed on a tombstone. He was born in a httle village called Kollaga, his father was a Brahman called Dhamila, and his mother's name was Bhaddila. He lived for fifty years as a householder before receiving ordination from Mahavira, and then followed him for thirty years. After Mahavira's death he became head of the community, and held that position for twelve years, till he too obtained Kevala jnana, whereupon the headship of the order passed to a disciple of his named Jambu Svami. It is said that Sudharma attained moksa when a hundred years old.

Suggestions for Further Reading


1. See, for instance, Jain Itihds series, No. i, a lecture by Lala Benarsi Dass, M.A., Agra, 1902.

2. They declare that this mistake was never made by Jaina, only by European scholars.

3. Otherwise': Susama Duhsama.

4. There have been twelve of these great rulers, and these with the twenty-four Tirthankara, nine Bajadeva, nine Vasudeva, and nine Prati-vasudeva make up the sixty-three Great Heroes of the Jaina.

5. Risabhadeva, Vasupujya, Neminatha and Mahavlra.

6. See p. 121.

7. E. R. £"., vol. i.

8. Sutra Kritdhga, S. B.E, xlv, p. 245.

9.. Ibid., xlv, p. 273,

10.Ibid., xiv, p. 411.

11. Some Jaina believe that, because he so sincerely repented before his death, he went not to hell, but to one of the Devaloka, i.e. heavens, and is now, at the time of writing, in the Twelfth Devaloka, from which he will pass in another age to be a Tirthahkara.

12. At this time Candana, daughter of Dadhivahana, king of Campa, also entered the order and became the head of the nuns.

13. Sanskrit Prithivl.

14. Sanskrit Kala.

15.Often written Lesd.

16. According to other accounts there were only two brothers.

17. This sermon the Jaina regard as containing the essence of their rehgion.

18. S.B.E., xlv, p. 46.

19. Ibid., xxii, p. 265,

20. The numbers vary in different versions of the story.

21. This must surely be one of the earliest




Attribution: The images of the Tirthankaras used in this article are used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Source: Reproduced from The Religious Quest Of India The Heart Of Jainism By Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson M.A.; Sc.D. (Dublin) Of The Irish Mission In Gujarat, With An Introduction By The Rev. G. P. Taylor, M.A., D.D. Principal Of Stevenson College, Ahmadabad, Published by Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, Bombay, 1915. This text has been suitably modified and reformatted for Hinduwebsite.com by Jayaram V and may not confrim to the original. While we have taken every care to reproduce the original text, we cannot guarantee its accuracy. Also, this text may not be in Public domain in some countries. Please check your the copy right of the country in which you reside before using this information.

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