Bhaṭṭārakas And Digambara Monastic Lineages Of Fifteenth Century Gwalior: Glimpses From Raīdhū's Writings

Published: 02.02.2017
Updated: 03.02.2017

In medieval times Jaina Digambara monasticism became identified pri­marily with the Bhaṭṭāraka institution. The Bhaṭṭāraka was the prime reli­gious authority, but as a domesticated, clothed monk involved in worldly affairs, he shared more characteristics with the laity than with the traditional naked wandering monks. In the last decades, invaluable studies have provided some insight into the more recent history and fictions of the institution. These are, however, often limited to the time after the rise of the Terā Panth, a lay movement started in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, which vehemently opposed the authority of the Bhattārakas and eventually lead to their demise in North India.[1] Secondary information on the Bhaṭṭāraka institution from before this time is scanty and often limited to the identification of names and lineages of individual Bhattārakas.[2] A unique source on this institution in North India about a century prior to the rise of the Terā Panth are the writings of Raïdhū. a lay Paṇḍita from the Jaina community of Gopācala, now known as Gwalior, which was at that time ruled by the Tomaras. Its kings, particularly Ḍūṃgarasiṃha and Kīrtisiṃha. were fervent lovers of the arts and created an environment where artists could thrive.[3] Raïdhū is thought to have composed around thirty works, mostly narrative or purāṇic stories in the sandhibatidha genre, as well as a limited number of compositions on Jaina doctrine in Prakrit and the vernacular. Apart from being a poet. Raïdhū was also the Pratihārya of many of the Jaina sculp­tures in the walls of Gwalior fort, and oversaw their manufacture and installation[4] In the eulogies (praśaslis) of his literary work Raïdhū provides information about his patrons, the Bhattārakas and the rulers of his time. Some of these patrons were the same as those of some of the sculptures for which Raīdhū was the Pratiṣṭhācārya. Pioneering research of Raïdhū's work was conducted by Rājārām Jain, who collected manuscripts of twenty-five indi­vidual compositions, edited and translated five of them into Hindi and stud­ied many of the others in a separate volume, including a rough edition of some praśasti passages of sixteen of Raïdhū's texts.[5] Most of these praśasti passages had previously been edited by Shastri in an anthology of Apabhraṃśa praśastis.[6] The aim of the present paper is to disclose the informa­tion on the Bhattārakas in Raīdhū´s compositions, and to interpret these data within their socio-historical setting.

Before focusing on Raïdhū's materials, an introduction is necessary on the Digambara monastic organization, in which the Bhattārakas eventually came to be and to which the subdivisions of the Jaina lay community appear to have become linked, albeit with some fluidity. The history of Jaina monachism is one of a great profusion of divisions, subdivisions and lineages, both Śvetāmbara and Digambara. They arose at different times and in different regions to meet specific religious, social, political and cultural requirements, seemingly without differing greatly with regard to doctrinal viewpoints.[7] Some disappeared in the course of time and gave way to others, some persisted. Although these monastic units generally claim to have originated in ancient times, they appear to have emerged only after the Gupta age and in early medieval times as their influence increased.[8] For the purpose of the current paper. I limit myself to a brief overview of the most important Digambara schools of medieval North India[9] In that period there were three major divisions, Senagaṇa, Balātkāragaṇa and Kāṣṭhāsaṃgha. The Senagaṇa goes back to Virasena, who mentions two predecessors, in the early ninth century.[10] Among his successors were Jinasena and Guṇabhadra who composed the Ādiand Uttarapurāṇa[11]  The earliest mention of the name Sena appears to be a praśasti of the Uttarapurāṇa by Guṇabhadra's successor Lokasena (897-898).[12] From a relatively early stage, but more regularly from the fifteenth century onwards, this monas­tic unit also came to be referred to as Mūlasaṃgha and Puṣkaragaccha.[13] The line, with several gaps, continued into the twentieth century.[14] The Balātkāragaṇa is first mentioned in the tenth century.[15] From a very early time, this monastic designation was often supplemented or replaced with the term Mūlasaṃgha[16].From about the fourteenth century onwards, the terms Sarasvatīgaccha, Kundakundānvaya. and sometimes Nandisaṃgha regularly came to be added as well.[17] By the thirteenth century, the Balātkāragaṇa was divided into two branches and various sub-branches. The southern branch consisted of the Kārarpjāśākhā. with its sub-branch Lātūraśākhā, which was again subdivided into two. The Northern Branch (Uttaraśākhā), commencing in 1207, was split up in the fourteenth century into the Dillī-Jayapuraśākhā. the īḍaraśākhā and the Sūrataśākhā. From the Dillī-Jayapuraśākhā. the Nāgauraśākhā and Ateraśākhā became offshoots. In the īḍaraśākhā the Bhānapuraśākha arose, and from the Sūrataśākha. the Jerahaṭaśākhā.[18] Some of these lineages con­tinued to exist into the twentieth century. It should be noted here that in the inscriptions and praśastis of the Balātkāragaṇa. no actual mention is made of a particular śākhā. This śākhā division appears to be a practical measure to arange the great number of lineages of the unified Balātkāragaṇa, rather than indicating internal differences. This is in contrast to the Kāṣṭhāsaṃgha, where it is common practice that the particular faction of the samgha is indicated in the monastic designation. By the fourteenth century four Kāṣṭhāsaṃgha units are recognized, namely Māthura gaccha. Lāḍabāgaḍagaccha, Bāgaḍagaccha and Nandītaṭagaccha. The explicit differentiation between gacchas stems from the origin and early history of this samgha. Until the twelfth century, sources refer to Māthura, Bāgada and Lādabāgada not as gacchas of the Kāsthāsamgha, but as individual samghas, without any link to the Kāsthāsamgha. It is only after the fourteenth century that these, apparently independent, samghas came to be recognized as gacchas within the Kāsthāsamgha. Of the Nandītata no such early sources are available and therefore it cannot be established if there ever was an independent Nandītatasamgha prior to its absorption into the Kāsthāsamgha.[19] Devasena's (tenth century) identification of the village Nandītata (modem Nārndetf near Bombay) as the birthplace of the Kāsthāsamgha in the late seventh century does suggest a closer identification between the Kāsthāsamgha and the Nandītaṭagaccha. than with any of the other gacchas.[20] According to this Devasena, the Māthurasamgha was founded at the end of the ninth century. A first historical reference dates from about a century later.[21] The first record in which the Māthuragaccha is mentioned under the Kāsthāsamgha is dated 1386[22] The last attested leader of the Māthuragaccha died in 1895,[23] The Lādabāgadasamgha was originally known as the Punnātasamgha. whose most prominent early leader was Jinasena, the author of the Harivamśapurāna (783).[24] The first reference to the Lādabāgadasamgha dates from the end of the tenth century[25] The Lāḍabāgaḍagaccha is first referred to as connected to the Kāsthāsamgha in an inscription dated 1374.[26] The last datable leader of this lineage lived in the fifteenth century, after whom there were three successors.[27] The Bāgadasamgha is mentioned only twice, once at the end of the tenth century, once around the fifteenth century. Johrapurkar holds that this samgha was thereafter probably absorbed by the Lādabāgada branch[28] Neither of these attestations refers to the Kāsthāsamgha, though a sixteenth century Bhattāraka Surendrakīrti describes the Bāgadagaccha as one of four traditions within the Kāsthāsamgha.[29] The Nandītaṭagaccha always appears in connection with the Kāsthāsarngha. The first datable reference to this monastic unit is from 1475.[30] It existed until the middle of the nineteenth century. [31] These monastic groups were originally lead by a Muni, who over time came to be replaced by a Bhattāraka, distinguished from the naked wandering Munis primarily in that they were clothed and domesticated.[32] When, how and why this happened is most likely the result of a gradual process. Some late medieval sources narrate how Digambara Munis take up the custom of covering their bodies due to harassment of Muslims in North India in the thirteenth and fourteenth century.[33] Leaving aside the question if these events actually ever took place, the fact that such accounts exist, suggests an uneasiness among Digam­baras that their monastic community, which holds digambaratva, nakedness of its monks, as central to its identity, was led by a clothed religious authority, and it needed an explanation.[34] The domestication of the Bhattārakas appears to stem from the long-term evolution of Jaina asceticism. The ideal of a Jaina Muni, as described in the oldest scriptures, was that of an ascetic living in the forest in isolation. However, as early as the second century, inscriptions suggest that monks and nuns had given up their isolation and were organized in monastic groups, establishing connections with the merchant community who would remain their primary lay following until the present day. [35] Moreover, already from this period the worship of Jina images in a temple had become pan of the ascetics' daily routine.[36] From early on mendicants lived in congregations in the vicinity of a temple near their lay followers. By about the fifth century the lay practice of dāna had evolved from simply donating food, into including the building of monasteries (mathas) near these temples, sometimes under royal patronage, to provide shelter for mendicants. This led to some mendicants giving up their wandering ways altogether in favor of a domesticated life.[37] The mathas gradually grew into centres of various social activities. Under the pressure of growing devotionalism and an elaborate Tannic cult, some of the Munis acted as administrative clerks, performing rituals for themselves and the laity in exchange for donations.[38] From about the ninth century, the number of naked wandering ascetics, for whatever reason, dwindled and the domesticated monk, the Bhattāraka, became the centre of Digambara monastic identity, focusing on the protection and propagation of Digambara culture and society.[39] Supported by donations from their affluent lay community, the Bhattārakas arranged for the installation of images, the preservation of libraries and the organization of pilgrimages. They instructed disciples in the Jaina teachings and gathered learned lay ascetics (Kṣullakas. Ailakas, Brahmacārins) and Panditas around themselves.[40] Originally a Bhattāraka served different sections of the Jaina community, but gradually he would come to associate himself with a specific caste, acting as a caste leader, sometimes with judicial power, especially in South India.[41] Some Bhattārakas gained considerable wealth and donned royal paraphernalia, establishing the image of a worldly, rather than spiritual leader and acting as the primary spokesperson for the Digambara community in their mediation with the courts in the absence of royal patronage and affiliation.[42]

The Bhattārakas in Raïdhū's compositions

Table 1: Raīdhū's compositions, their patrons and Bhattārakas mentioned[43]

Composition Patron Bhaṭṭārakas Location
1 Pāsanāhacariu (PNC)' Kheu Sāhu Agravāla, Aūpdila-gotra < Yoginīpura lineage 2 Gopācala Dūmgarasimha (Tomara)
2 Punnasavakahākosu (PKK)* Nemidāsu Padmāvalī-Purjvāda < Yoginīpura lineage 3 Caipdavādu Prayāvarudda (Cāhunavāqi)
3 Jasaharacariu (JC) Hemarāyu Agravāla < Yoginīpura lineage 3 Lāhanapura Sulitāna Sāha
4 Dhannakumāracartu (DhC)' Bhullanu Jaisavāla (jasavāla) lineage 2 Punipāla near Gopācala Arailna Dūnigarasimha
5 Sammaijiriacariu (SJCf' Tosaiju Agravāla, Goyala-gotra < Hisāra-Peroju & Kumkśetra lineage 2 Gopācala Pflipgarasiniha
6 Mehesaracariu (MC) KJieu Sāhu Agravāla, Airpdila-gotra < Yoginīpura lineage 2 Gopācala Dūmgarasintha
7 Senunāhacanu (NC) Lopā Sāhu Agravāla Goyala-gotra < Jhunujhunupuni, N of YoginTpura lineage 3
8 Paumacariu I Balahaddacariu (PC) HarasI Sāhu Agravāla lineage 2 Gopācala Pūingarasiniha
9 Sukkosalacariu (SKC)* Ranamala Agravāla lineage 4 Gopācala Dūmgarasimha
10 Sammattagunanihānakama (SGTK) Kamalasitpha Agravāla lineage 2 Gopācala Dúqigaiasnnha
11 Scirjitināhacariu (STC) (incomplete) Jugarāja Paravāda lineage 1 -
12 Sāvayacariu (SāC) Kusarāyu Golārādaya lineage 1 Gopācala KIrtisūpha.

In most cases Raīdhū begins his composition with a benediction to the Jinas, SarasvatI and the Ganadharas. In direct descendence to the Ganadharas (anukrama), sometimes going back to Rsabha's Ganadhara Vrśabhasena, he briefly sums up the Bhattāraka lineage (paffa). Raīdhū then describes the context of the composition, introducing the patron and his caste, and giving a long list of the patron's ancestors and family. A second praiasti portion is found at the end of the composition, where the poet typically blesses the king, the Bhattāraka, and the patron, including again a shorter version of the patron's family history. It deserves notice that not all of Raīdhū's works refer to a Bhattāraka or Bhattāraka lineage. This is the case in genres other than the sandhibandha, such as the Prakrit Siddhamtatthasāra and Vittasāra or the brief Anathamiukaha.[44] Apart from these, only two scmdhibandhas, the Jīmarndharacariu and the Sirivālacariu, do not list any information about a Bhattāraka either. In his study on Raīdhū. Rājārām Jain discusses some of these Bhattārakas and seems to want to fit them into a single lineage, one following the other.[45] Closer inspection of the texts reveals, however, that Raīdhū does not describe one, but four lineages. With two exceptions, Raīdhū always mentions only one lineage per composition. Table 1 gives an overview of these compositions and the patrons. Bhattāraka lineage, location and ruler under whom they were written.

Lineage 1

Out of all the monastic lineages described, Raīdhū gives the designations of only one, mentioned in Sāvayacariu (SāC) and Scmtināhacariu (SNC).[46] Both compositions list Nandisamgha (SNC 1.2.6. SāC 1.2.10) and Mūlasaingha (SāC 1.2.8, SNC 1.4). SāC adds the further designation Sarasayagaccha (Sarasvatīgaccha, SāC 1.2.12). The names of the Bhattārakas are listed in table 2.

Table 2: Lineage 1: Jinacandra

[Ganadhara Vasahasenu (SāC)]

[Ganadhara Goyamu (SāC; SNC)]

Pomaijaipdi (SāC; SNC)
Suhacamdu (SāC; SNC)
Deverpdakitti (SNC)
Jinacamdu (SāC; SNC)

Raīdhū depicts Bhattāraka Jinacarndu (Jinacandra) as his contemporary. SāC 1.2.13-17 narrates how the poet is one day honoring Jinacandra in the temple, when someone approaches him for a poem. In SNC 1.2.14-1.6.16 Jinacandra himself requests the composition of a biography of Śāntinātha. Apart from a standard portrayal as a great Muni, profound in asceticism. Raīdhū further mentions that Jinacandra was a bāla-brahmacārin, meaning that he had remained celibate his entire life (SāC 1.2.12) and that he was honored by many rulers (SNC 1.2.11). Jinacandra's predecessors were Suhacamdu (Subhacandra) and Pomanamdi (Padmanandin). This short lineage corresponds with the first three Bhattārakas of the DillīJayapura branch of the Balātkāragana.[47] Padmanandin, consecrated in 1328, was the last Bhattāraka of the unified Uttaraśākhā. After his leadership, this branch split into three, one of which was the Dillī-Jayapuraśākhā headed by Subhacandra, who was consecrated in 1393. In 1450 he was succeeded by Jinacandra, who led the congregation for sixty-four years. Jinacandra seems to have had a good number of disciples and his name appears on many statues. He attained considerable fame with the consecra­tion of over one thousand Jina images in 1492, which were later sent to Digambara temples all over India, to replace those that had been damaged by Muslim conquerors.[48] According to the dynastic lists (pattāvalis), the seats of these Bhattārakas were in Delhi.[49] In SNC 1.3-4, as Jinacandra lists the ancestry of the patron Jogā (variant Jugarāja), he mentions that Devemdakitti (Devendrakīrti), a successor of Padmanandin in the Mūlasamgha, had performed a consecration for the patron's grandfather. This is corroborated by an inscription from 1436 in honor of the installation of an image for a SinighaT Lakśmana, his wife Akhayasiri and son Aijuna.[50] SNC 1.3-4 gives the names of Jogā's grandfather and father as Lakhamanu and Arajuna. Bhattāraka Devendrakīrti was indeed a successor of Padmanandin, as the first leader of the Sūrataśākha, the second of the three post-Uttaraśākhā branches.[51] Like several later inscriptions and praśastis of this monastic unit, Raīdhū leaves out the term Balātkāragana in favor of Mūlasamgha, Nandisaipgha and Sarasayagaccha (for Sarasvatīgaccha). The frequent use of the term Mūlasamgha appears to differentiate the Balātkāragana and Senagana from the Kāsthāsamgha schools, who used this term only rarely to refer to themselves. The patrons of the SNC and the SāC belonged to different castes, one to the Golārātfaya and one to the Paravāda. Notably, after the rise of the Digambara Terā Panth, claims have been made over the historically close association of the Parvār (Paravāda) caste with the "original" Mūlasamgha, as against the Agravālas' association with the "heterodox" Kāsthāsamgha. [52] All the patrons belonging to the Paravācja caste mentioned in the inscriptions and praśastis quoted by Johrapurkar appear indeed to have exclusively adhered to the Mūlasamgha, that is, the Balātkāragana.

Lineage 2

The most frequently mentioned lineage in Raīdhū's compositions is that of Bhattārakas Gunakīrti and Yaśahkīrti. Their names occur in six compositions: Pāsanāhacariu (PNC), Dhannakumāracariu (DhC). Sammaijinacariu (SJC), Sammattagunanihānakawa (SGNK), Mehesaracariu (MC) and Paumacariu (PC). Their lineage is listed in table 3.

Table 3: Lineage 2. Gunakīrti-Yaśahkīrti

[Ganadhara Goyama (PNC: DhC; SJC; SGNK)/Inidabhūi (MC; PC)]

[Ganadhara Sudhamma (DhC)/Sodhammu (PC)]

[Jarpbūsāmi (PC)]


Devasenu (SJC; PC)

Vimalasenu (SJC; PC)

Dhammasenu (SJC; PC)

Bhāvasena (SJC; PC)

Sahassakini (PNC; DhC; SJC)/Sahasakitti (PC)

Gunakitti (PNC; DhC; SJC; SGNK; NC/ Gunamunimdu (PC)

Jasaickhukitti (PNC)/Jasakitti/Jasamutti (SJC. MC; SGNK; PC)

Malayakitti (SJC)

Gunabhadda (SJC. passage left out in edition)

Raīdhū does not mention the monastic designation, but it can be safely identified as Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha from the scribe's praśasti of an early manuscript of the PNC, dated 1441. The lineage is also attested by Johrapurkar in the Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha.[53] A later manuscript. dated 1726, adds the designation Puṣkaraṇā, which appears to have become a common connection for the Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha from the fourteenth century onwards.[54] The fact that Raīdhū does not explicitly mention the monastic designation by name suggests that he, and most probably his family and caste, identified with this group and considered it the "standard" which did not need to be named.[55] Johrapurkar's findings indicate that the medieval lineage of the Māthuragaccha was divided into two sublineages after Mādhavasena. one under Uddharascna and one under Vijayasena. A praśasti from 1519 links the Bhattārakas from lineage 2 to Mādhavasena and Uddharasena. Mādhavasena ap­peared to have been stationed in Delhi.[56] Interestingly, most of the pa­trons of Raīdhū's compositions mentioning these Bhattārakas, are de­scribed as having ancestors in Yoginlpura. i.e. Delhi. In the line of the Ganadharas and principle disciple Jambūsāmi (Jambūsvāmin), Raīdhū lists Devasenu (Devasena), Vimalasenu (Vimalasena). Dhammasenu (Dharmasena), Bhāvasenu (Bhāvasena) and Sahassakitti (Sahasrakīrti), without giving much information about them, except their excellence in the Jaina teachings and mendicancy. Sahasrakīrti's successor Gunakitti (Gunakīrti) was Raïdhū's contemporary. DhC 1.2-4 narrates how Gunakīrti suggests to Raīdhū to write a poem and recommends a patron for this task. On some occasions Raīdhū states that he composes poetry "through the favor" (pasāe prasāda) of Gunakīrti (DhC 1.1.10, 4.19.11; SGNK 1.1 ghattā). In PC 1.1.11 he calls him the leader of the gaccha and in PNC 7.6.9 Raidhú describes himself as a devotee (bhatta, bhakta) of Gunakīrti. Gunakīrti's name figures in a manuscript from 1411, written in Gwalior under Dūmgarasimha's grandfather, Vīramadeva, and on a statue consecrated eight years later.[57] Raïdhū also had personal contact with Gunakīrti's successor, Yaśahkīrti. MC 1.3.8-10 describes how Jasakitti (Yaśahkīrti) claims that Raïdhū will become famous as a poet through his grace, a claim acknowledged in SJC 1.3.6 and SGNK 1.2.8. PNC 1.2.9-10 calls Yaśahkīrti the leader of the gaccha and says he is the brother (bhāyaro, bhrātr) of Gunakīrti. We can probably take this claim literally, since Yaśahkīrti in one of his own compositions describes himself as a "kinsman" (bandhava, bāndhava) of Gunakīrti.[58] Raïdhū mentions several of Yaśahkīrti's disciples, the foremost being Khemacamdu (Khemacandra) (PNC 1.2.12-13, SJC 10.28.11, PC 1.1.12), a second Harisenu (Harisena) (SJC 10.28.11), and a third Pālha Bambhu (SJC 10.28.11, PNC 1.7.3). In PC 1.4.7-8, the patron of the PC calls Raïdhū a disciple of this "teacher" (āyariya, ācārya) Pāla Barnha. The suffix banibha (brahma) suggests that he was a Brahmacārin, a celibate layman. Yaśahkīrti is well-known as an author himself of a Pāntfavapurāna and a Harivainśapurāna in Apabhramśa. The latter was completed in 1443, under the rule of Jalāl Khān in Indrapur (Delhi). He is perhaps best known for completing the Ritthanemināhacariu of Svayambhūdeva and his son Tribhūvana. which had been left unfinished at the death of the latter. His name further appears on a manuscript and inscription, both from Gwalior.[59] Yaśahkīrti's successor Malayakīrti is mentioned only in the SJC 10.29.14-20. Raïdhū does not seem to have had a personal connection with him. His name is found in two inscriptions.[60] The earlier edited praśasti passages of the SJC list Gunabhadra as Malayakīrti's successor, but in the later edition Jain leaves out these verses.[61] In four cases the patrons are Agravālas, suggesting that this lineage was associated mainly, though not exclusively, with this caste.

Lineage 3

A third lineage, listed in table 4, is found in the Punnāsavakahākosu (PKK), Jasaharacariu (JC), and Nemināhacariu (NC).

Table 4: Lineage 3. KamalakTrti-Śubhacandra

[Ganadhara Visahasena (NC)]


[Ganadhara Goama (NC)]


[Devanaipdi (NC)]

[Jinasena (NC)]

[Ravisena (NC)]


Kamalakini (PKJC: JC; NC) / Kamjakitti (NC)

Suhacarpda (NC)

It mentions just two Bhattārakas, Kamalakitti (Kamalakīrti) and Suhacamda (Subhacandra), the latter only being referred to in the NC. Raïdhū had personal contact with Kamalakīrti. who on two occasions requests the author to compose a poem (JC 1.1, PKK 1.2). The poet himself claims to be a devo­tee of these teachers, Kamalakīrti in particular. Though again no monastic denomination is explicited, the names, time and place correspond with the second branch of the medieval sublineage of the Kājthāsaipgha Māthura gaccha, commencing under Vijayasena.[62] Peculiarly, Raïdhū does not list any of Kamalakīrti's predecessors as found in Johrapurkars sources, but instead names three legendary Digambara authors: (Pūjyapāda) Devanandi, the author of the Jinendravyākarana (sixth century), Jinasena, who composed the Ādipurāna (ninth century) and Ravisena, the author of the Padmapurāna (seventh century). The patrons of the compositions in two cases again are from the Agravāla caste, and in one case from the Padmāvatī-Puravā, la caste, to which Raïdhū himself belonged. The main difference between the works composed under these Bhattārakas as compared to die previous Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha lineage, appears to be that, at least in two cases, the patrons are mentioned to have lived not under the Tomaras of Gwalior, but under other rulers and in odier places, in Camdavādu (Candravāda) under Payāvarudda Cāhuvāni (Pratāparudra Chauhan) (PKK 1.3-4) and in Lāhanapura under īsappha, son of Sulitāna Sālia (JC 4.16-17). In the NC no location or ruler is mentioned. An inscription from 1449 also seems to connect Kamalakīrti with the area ruled at that time by Pratāparudra or Pratāpadeva Chauhan.[63] This could lead us to interpret that this second Māthuragaccha lineage was more of a traveling lineage, looking after the spiritual welfare of those members of certain Jaina merchant castes who lived in places which had no fixed Bhattāraka seat. Nevertheless, other praśaslis and inscriptions link Kamalakīrti and Śubhacandra explicitly to Gwalior and the Tomaras.[64]

Lineage 4

A fourth longer lineage, listed in table 5, is mentioned in only one composition, the Sukkosalacariu (SKC 1.2-3).

Table 5: Lineage 4. Kumārasena

[Ganadharas (in general)]






The SKC was composed in Gopācala at the request of an Agravala patron. In the monastic line successively Vijayasena (Vijayasena), Khemakitti (Ksemakīrti) and Hemakitti (Hemakīrti) are mentioned and portrayed in general terms as great ascetics, knowledgable in the teachings of the Jina. Hemakīrti's successor. Kumārasenu (Kumārasena), called the supreme lord of the gaccha (SKC 1.3.1), was Raïdhū's contemporary. In SKC 1.3.3-8 he approaches the poet with the suggestion to write the SKC. The monastic affiliation of this lineage, again not explicited by Raïdhū, once more cor­responds to the Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha lineage. Compared to Johrapurkar's list, however, there seem to be some overlaps with lineage 3.

For the sake of clarity in the following discussion, and to illustrate the close relationship between the three seemingly independent Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha lineages, the significant part of Johrapurkars list is reproduced in table 6.

Table 6: Medieval Kāṣṭhāsaṃgha Māthuragaccha lineage[65]

(Uddharasena) Vijayasena
Devasena (Nayasena)
Vimalasena (Śreyārpsasena)
Dharmasena (Anantakīrti)
Bhāvasena (Kamalakīrti)
Sahasraklrti Kṣemakīrti
Gunakīrti Hemakīrti
Yaśahkīrti Kamalakīrti
Malayakīrti Kumārasena Śubhacandra
(Hemacandra) (Yaśahsena)
lineage 2 lineage 3 and 4

Johrapurkar suggests that Kamalakīrti had two successors, Kumārasena and Śubhacandra. However, in Raïdhū's lineage 3 no Bhattārakas before Kamalakīrti are mentioned and in lineage 4 Kamalakīrti does not figure among Kumārasena's predecessors, suggesting no connection between them. In fact, none of Johrapurkar's sources describe Kumārasena as a successor of Kamalakīrti. But at least three sources, overlapping in time, depict both Kumārasena and Kamalakīrti individually as successors of Hemakīrti. Kamalakīrti is connected to Hemakīrti in a manuscript and an inscription from 1449, and in an inscription from 1473.[66] He is further mentioned without predecessors in inscriptions from 1449, 1453, 1488 and 1582.[67] Johrapurkar quotes just one praśasti that gives Kumārasena as the successor of Hemakīrti, as well as two instances where he is mentioned without predecessors.[68] It is more probable that the lineage broke up. not after Kamalakīrti, but after Hemakīrti, with two successors, Kumārasena and Kamalakīrti. The information from lineages 3 and 4 sheds some additional light on this split. Instead of listing Kamalakīrti's genuine predecessors, Raīdhū fabricates a list of legendary Digambara poets as his precursors, to give his lineage authenticity and authority, suggesting

Kamalakīrti distanced himself from the Bhattārakas who came before him in his line. This list dates from before 1439, the date of composition of the SKC, which mentions the NC as one of Raïdhū's previous poems. The inscriptions connecting Kamalakīrti with Hemakīrti all postdate the composition of the SKC, and indicate that Kamalakīrti later in his life chose to again strengthen the ties with his lineage. In the meantime, Kumārasena had been installed in succession of Hemakīrti to secure the future of the lineage. Kamalakīrti and his successor Śubhacandra seem to have been very successful, given that their names figure in several inscriptions. Nevertheless, the line seems to have been discontinued after Yaśahsena.[69] Kumārasena apparently had less success personally, since his name is not mentioned in any inscription or praśasti as the main Bhattāraka. However, his successors prospered and from the sixteenth century onwards his side of the lineage became the only surviving Kāsthāsamgha Māthuragaccha lineage, until it finally died out at the end of the nineteenth century.

The image given in Raïdhū's works is that of Bhattārakas of at least three Māthuragaccha and one Mūlasamgha lineage present in Gwalior around the same time. An inscription from 1453 mentioning the Kharataragaccha indicates also the presence of Śvetāmbaras in Gwalior during this time. [70] Raïdhū's description gives the impression of four independent lineages, though the close relationship between three of them has been clearly established. He seems to deliberately avoid indicating the common predecessor, at least between the third and the fourth lineage, which could suggest some animosity or rivalry between the personalities of these lineages. The absence in the Māthuragaccha lineages of their common predecessor Mādhavasena could be simply due to him being too distant in time, though lineage 4 commences with Vijayasena, one of his immediate successors. Even if there was any enmity between the different lineages, it is very unlikely that Raïdhū would overtly discuss this. Moreover. Raïdhū calls himself a devotee of Gunakīrti, Yaśahkīrti (lineage 1) and Kamalakīrti (lineage 2), which seems to indicate that these two lineages were not on bad terms. In only two instances do we find reference to a Bhattāraka from a lineage other than a composition's main lineage. NC 1.2-5 narrates how Raīdhū one day is residing in the temple with Kamalakīrti. when a lay ascetic. Khelhā. approaches him with the request of a patron to compose a poem. Of this Khelhā, Raïdhū mentions explicitly that he is a devotee (bhatta, bhakta) of Gunakīrti (NC 1.3.3). This scene seems to confirm the open relationship between lineages 2 and 3. The second crossreference is found in SāC 6.27.8. The opening praśasti of SāC depicts Jinacandra of lineage 1 as the Bhattāraka of the patron, but in the final praśasti Raïdhū describes himself as a devotee of Kamalakīrti from lineage 3. This statement seems deliberately intended to underline that Raïdhū had not "changed sides" to the Mūlasamgha, but was still faithful to the Kāsthā­samgha Māthuragaccha, keeping in mind also that the poet found it necessary to indicate the monastic designation of this lineage, because he considered it not the "standard".

From Raïdhū's lineages we further learn that within the same Māthuragaccha lineage. Bhattārakas appeared to have been ordained while a predecessor was still alive and active. In DhC 1.2, for instance, Gunakīrti himself refers to the PNC as one of Raïdhū's previous works, which was composed with Yaśahkīrti as principle Bhattāraka. Kamalakīrti's successor Śubhacandra is already mentioned in the NC as a Bhattāraka, dating from before 1439, while the inscriptions from 1449 and 1453 mention Kamalakīrti as the only and principal Bhattāraka. suggesting he was still active at this time. Though Hoemle takes it as a given that a Bhattāraka ascended the throne only at the death of his predecessor. and the paffāvalis he examined appear to corroborate this, several instances from Johrapurkar's sources of Kāsthāsamgha and Balātkāragana Bhattārakas suggest that after the installation of a new Bhattāraka, his predecessor was sometimes still alive and active. [71] A contemporary description of the "coronation" of a Bhattāraka in Śravanabelagoja indicates that the new Bhattāraka's predecessor was present and active during the ceremony.[72]

The considerable number of Bhattārakas in Gwalior indicates the presence of a sizable lay community to support them. The later identification as caste leader could suggest that the presence of different Jaina merchant castes required multiple Bhattārakas. The evidence suggests a more complex situation.

Most of the patrons of compositions of the Māthuragaccha lineages indeed appear to be Agravālas, though not exclusively. Caste or clan does not seem to have been a factor in the choice of a specific Māthuragaccha lineage. The Mūlasamgha patrons in any case were not Agravālas, but belonged to two other castes, the Paravādas and the Golārādayas. The connection between the Mūlasamgha and the Paravādas. who later claim themselves as leaders in the innovations of the Terā Panth, appears to go back at least to Raïdhū's time. The Agravālas later severed their connection with the Kāsthāsamgha. when they also joined the Terā Panth movement.[73] The presence of multiple Bhattārakas and lineages can be explained by the wider socio-historical context. Referring back to table 1, many families of the patrons are described as having ancestors, only one or two generations earlier, who were living in Delhi. Hisāra or surroundings under the reign of Feroz Shah. In SJC 1.6 Bhattāraka Yaśahkīrti vividly describes his fond memories of Hisāra-Peroju. Following the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate after Feroz' death (1388) and the destruction of Delhi by Timur (1398), these merchant families migrated to the Gwalior of the Tomara dynasty to make their fortune.[74] The Bhattārakas appear to have migrated along with them. Some of these families moved to places other than Gwalior, such as Lāhanapura and Candravātfa. Kamalakitti, though probably based in Gwalior, provided services for these families, while the first Bhattāraka lineage focused on Gwalior more specifically. However, Yaśahkīrti seems not to have lost touch with members of the merchant communities who had chosen to stay in Delhi, since in 1443 he composed one of his Apabhramśa poems there. The constituency of these Bhattārakas became very widespread which explains why one Bhattāraka would not have sufficed to service all the merchant families.

It is clear that not the Bhattārakas and their clerical following, but the laity stood at the centre of the Digambara community. The merchants migrated for practical business purposes and the Bhattārakas followed. The centrality of the laity is also clear from Raïdhū's praśaslis, where the focus is on the patron and his family histoiy, not the Bhattārakas. The patronage itself seems to have been first and foremost an act of social prestige, immortalizing the names and feats of the patrons' family members and caste, rather than purely intended for karmic gain. The Bhattārakas looked after the wellbeing of the patrons' souls and their social prestige by facilitating their sponsorship of a poem or the installation of a Jina image. But even the role of a person like Raïdhū may have been more important to these patrons than the one of the Bhattārakas. Raīdhū, himself a layman, a professional writer and Pratisthācārya, was a Pandita. In Cort's portrayal of the Digambara community in Agra two centuries later, he describes Panditas (or Pāndes) as laymen, appointed as administrators to a temple by a specific Bhattāraka. Many of these Pāndes were great literateurs.[75] Raīdhū seems to have been such a figure some centuries earlier, though he was associated closely with more than one contemporary Bhattāraka, though all from the Māthuragaccha. As a widely renowned Pratisthācārya and poet, one could argue he was perhaps less restricted to a specific Bhattāraka. Yet, he does not appear to have been alone in this respect. A later Apabhramśa poet, Mānikkarāja, also a Pandita, wrote two of his poems under different Māthuragaccha lineages as well, Amarasenacariu (1519) under the Bhattārakas of Raīdhū's lineage 4, and Nāgasenacariu (1522) under lineage 2[76] This suggests that Panditas may have enjoyed relative independence from the Bhattārakas. as compared to the lay ascetics, for instance, the Brahmacārins, such as Khelhā. who was explicitly mentioned as a disciple of Gunakīrti, and not of the other Māthuragaccha Bhattāraka Kamalakīrti. Because of their literary and intellectual endeavors, at times probably superior to that of a Bhattāraka, Panditas were held in high esteem by the other laymen, who in time began to turn to the Pantfitas for spiritual guidance, rather than to the Bhattārakas. This is an indication as to why Panditas became central in the lay reform movement of the Terā Panth a century later.[77]


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Journal Of Asian History 45 (2011)

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