Jaina Ācāryas From South India & Their Contributions

Published: 29.06.2008
Updated: 30.07.2015

Jaina Ācāryas From South India & Their Contributions

1.0 Introduction

The survival of Jainas, though as a minority community, for the last so many centuries in India- and especially in south India can be safely attributed, among other things, to the glorious and continuous tradition of Jainas saints for more than a thousand years. They never attempted to lead a solitary life in isolation from others. On the contrary, the Jainas always tried to preserve contacts with the general masses so as to encourage them to lead a religious life.

The contribution of South India to development of Jainism is remarkable one in all the spheres like religion, philosophy, literature, art and architecture. Here we confine ourselves to introduce mainly the pontiffs like Bhadrabāhu, Guņadhara, Dharasena, Puşpadanta, Bhutavali, Kundakunda, Yativŗşabha, Sivārya, Samantabhadra and Akalanka etc. who composed a vast Prākŗta and Sanskrit Jaina literature.

2.0 Jaina ācāryas and their tradition

Śruta (Scripture or Canon) is the soul of the religious traditions. It is an anthology of the sermons of Tīrthańkaras, may be called God in non- Jain traditions, or their direct or indirect disciples who have attained the certain spiritual purification. It is therefore established as an authority and priority as the form of religion. The scriptural texts are engraved in the hearts of believers who draw inspiration and revival from them in every age.

Ācārya is the spiritual guide and the head of the monastic order. He should also be a proficient in his own philosophical principles as well as other’s philosophies.

Jaina thinkers enriched practically all the faculties of literature. Mahāvīra is the Arthakartāof the present Śrutajňāna of Jaina tradition and Gautama Gaņadhara is its Granthakartā. Gautama expressed his views without adding anything from his own side. The Śruta is of two types Ańgabāhya and Ańgapravişta. Ańgapravişta is of twelve types, viz.:

  1. Āyārańga
  2. Suyagadāńga
  3. Thāņāńga
  4. Samavāyāńga
  5. Viyāhapaņņatti
  6. Nyāyāyaddhmmakahāo
  7. Uvasagadasāo
  8. Antagadadasāo
  9. Anuttarovavāiya
  10. Panhavagaanaim
  11. Vivāgasuyam
  12. Dŗştivāda, the twelfth Ańga.

According to the Digambaras the Canonical literature has been lost.

1. Ācārya Bhadrabāhu

Bhadrabāhu, was the disciple and successor of the fourth Śrutakevali Govardhana. He went to South India with a large Jaina Sangha during the famous famine of twelve years which was due to happen in Magadha. He was the knower of the 14 Pūrvas. Candragupta Maurya the famous Mauryan emperor was his main disciple who went Page 136 of 555 STUDY NOTES version II with him to south and accepted Sallekhana at the hill of Sravanabelagola. The Brhatkathākośa of Harisena (p.317-19) supports this fact.

2. Ācārya Guņadhara

Guņadhara was the first and foremost monk who achieved the partial knowledge of Ańgas and Pūrvaśruta after Lohārya. He was the knower of 5th Pūrva Pejjadosapāhuda and Mahākammapayādipāhuda, while Dharasena was knower of only Pūrvagatakammapayādipāhuda. Therefore Guņadhara is the first Pūrvavid Śrutadharācārya in Digambara Jaina Tradition. He composed Kaşāyapāhuda in Prākŗta verses as pointed out by Virasena in his Jayadhavala commentary:

Jeniha kaşāyapāhusamaneyanayamujvalam anam tattha.
Gāhāhi vivariyam tam Guņahara bhadarayam vande. Gatha 6

This reference indicates Guņadhara as elder to Dharasena in age and the knowledge as well. The linguistic characteristics also support the view that the Kaşāyapāhuda is prior to Şaţakhańdāgama. Vīrasena in his Jayadhavalatika on Kaşāyapāhuda says in this regard:

“Puno tao ceva suttagahao airiyaparamparae agamacchamanio ajjamankhunagahattinam pattao. Puno tesim donham pi padamule asidisadagahanam gunaharamuhakamalaviniggayanamattham sammam souna jayivasahabhadaraena pavayanavacchalena cunnisuttam kayam”

3. Ācārya Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti

Nandisūtra Pattāvalīrefers to Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti as proficient in scriptures and Karmaśāstras and disciple of Āryasamudra (Gathas 28-30). The Śvetāmbara tradition questions about the conduct of Āryamamksu and perhaps on the same basis, Yativŗşabha and Vīrasena mentioned his teachings as Apavaijjamaņa and Nāgahasti’s teachings as Pavaijjamaņa (based on ācārya tradition). Therefore these ācāryas may be contemporaries possessing different opinions.

The Dhavalatīka refers to both these ācāryas as Mahāśramaņa, Kśamāśramaņa, and Mahāvācaka. All these attributes are sufficient to prove that they were well-versed in scriptures and Karma philosophy. They had also the knowledge of Ārātiya tradition (Kaşāyapāhuda 5, p.388). Virasena clearly says that Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti studied the Kaşāyapāhuda from Guņadhara. Indranandi in his Śrutāvatāra supports this view through the following verse:

Evam gāthasutrāņi paňcadasamahāshikarani.
Praviracya vyacakhyau sa nāgahastyaryamamksubhyam. Gatha 154

Kaşāyapāhuda is the concise form of the Pejjadośapāhuda. It was, therefore, more convenient to have the oral study of the Agamas. Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti procured them through oral tradition and Yativŗşabha obtained them through Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti as revealed by Vīrasena (Jayadhavala part 1, p.88). Here in this reference the words “Āyariyaoaramparae agacchamanio” and “Souna” are very important. It appears that these Gathas were prevalent in oral tradition during the period of Āryamamksu and Nāgahasti. Many generations of Ācāryas passed away. Yativŗşabha was their disciple who studied Kaşāyapāhuda from them and composed the commentary called Cūrņi Sutra on the work consisting of six thousand ślokas. Uccaranācārya composed the Uccaranasutras on the Cūrņisutras. Then Vīrasena and Jinasena composed the Jayadhavalatika on the Kaşāyapāhuda in mixed Prākŗta and Sanskrit languages.

4. Ācārya Dharasena, Puşpadanta and Bhutavali and their works

They are great spiritual philosophers of Digambara Jain tradition. They were profound scholars of Karma Siddhānta, Dharasena was the teacher of Puşpadanta and Bhutavali. Dharasena made a request to the Congregation that two monks well-versed in Jain Karmasiddhānta are sent to him immediately to save the knowledge which he had gained from the pūrvas. Accordingly, Puşpadanta and Bhutavali went to Dharasena, the knower of the Purvagata Kammapāyadi Pāhuda who was engaged with his penance and counting his last days. They gained the required knowledge from Dharasena and returned back to their natives. Puşpadanta composed the Visadisutta, the Satparuvaņā of Şaţkhandāgama for Jinapalita and then sent it with Jinapalita to Bhutavali in Dravid country for going through the Visadisutta, the other name of Satprarupaņā. Puşpadanta was elder to Bhutavali. Bhutavali understood that the duration of life of Puşpadanta is remained not much. Puşpadanta prepared the synopsis of the Şaţkhandāgama and disturbed the Jivatthāna into eight Anuyogadvāras. Satprarupaņā was its first Anuyogadvāra which was written by Puşpadanta. The other Anuyogadvāra as the he parts of the Şaţkhandāgama were composed by Bhutavali..

5. Ācārya Yativŗşabha and His Works

Nothing much is known about him. His two works are mainly available, Kaşāyapāhuda Cunnisutta and Tiloyapannatti. The first does not indicate any thing about him. But the other one Tiloyapannatti informs of course as follows:

Panamaha jinavara-vasaham, ganaharavasaham taheva gunaharavasaham. Dusaha-parisaha-vasaham, jadivasaham dhammasutta padhae vasaham. Cunnasaruvam attham, kara padama-pamana-kimjantam. Atthasahassa-pamanam, Tiloyapannatti-namae. Gatha 77 Tiloya. Part 2, p. 882

Kaşāyapāhuda Cunnisutta

The Kaşāyapāhuda Cunnisutta of Yativŗşabha is known as Vrtti, which provides the different meanings of Bijapadas in a condensed way. In other words, the Cunnisutras are the exposition of Bijapadas as pointed out by using the word “Anucintiun nedavvam” or “Genhiyabbam”. The total number of Sutras of the work is 7009.

The Kaşāyapāhuda Cunnisuta is divided into fifteen Adhikāras, which are somewhat different from the division made by Ācārya Guņadhara. Uccaraņa commented upon the Cunnisutta.

6. Tiloyapaņņatti

The second work Tiloyapaņņatti is the earliest text relating to Loka or Universe. The Text Tiloyapannatti is divided into nine chapters, i.e. Jagat Svarupa, Narakaloka, Bhavanavasi Loka, Manuşyaloka, TiryakLoka, Vyantara Loka, JyotisiLoka, Kalpavāsi Loka, and Siddha Loka. It is a treasure of culture standpoints. The fourth chapter of the Text deals with Jain mythological views relating to Kalpavŗksas, Śalākāpuruşas, Samavasaraņa and so forth. It appears that some of the Gathas are added there in the text afterwards. For instance, a prose portion in the seventh chapter (P. 766) is borrowed or added afterwards from Dhavala (Pu. 4, p.157) as Dhavala itself refers to Tiloyapaņņatti. Likewise, 7th to 87th Gathas of the first chapter are also borrowed from Santaprarupaņā of Dhavala. This does not mean that the Tiloyapaņņatti is composed in 8th or 9th c. A.D. In fact such portions are defiantly added interpolated.

7-8. Dhavala-tika and Jayadhavala –tika of Vīrasena and Jinasena on the Kaşāyapāhuda and Şaţkhandāgama

Vīrasena composed Dhavala Tika on the Şaţkhandāgama in Prākŗta - Sanskrit mixed language called Maņipravāla style. It was written in memory of Rāştrakuta king Amoghavarśa who was called Dhavala. Considering the importance of Dhavalatika, Jinasena says “It is the Tika of Vīrasena and the other Tikas are simply Panjikas. The Tika exposes the Siddhānta, the philosophical trends and in this context the Dhavalatika is Tika in true sense. Both Dhavala and Jayadhavala Tikas discuss the Jain philosophical trends profoundly they deal with the subjects of Mahākarmaprakritiprābhrita and Kaşāyapāhuda.

Vīrasena was the disciple of Āryanandi and Elācārya. Jinasena praises him by saying śrutakevalī and Prajňāśramaņa. Vīrasena completed the Dhavalatika in Saka Sam. 738 (816 A.D.) He composes only Purvārdha part of the Dhavala and Jayadhala tika. The Uttarārdha part of both the Tikas was written by his disciple Jinasena.

Jayadhavala Tika on theKaşāyapāhuda

Jayadhala Tika on the Kaşāyapāhuda was written by, Vīrasena and Jinasena. Vīrasena composed it up to the fifth Vargaņā Khanda and the remaining part by Jinasena. Vīrasena distributed the chapters of Kaşāyapāhuda according to his own arrangement. Since the original text is related to Jňānapravāda, the author discussed in detail the nature of knowledge and Nayas. All the Anuyogadvāras are described here in brief in the first chapter. According to Indranandi, Jayadhavala Tika is composed in sixty thousand verses (Śrutāvatāra, 182-184).

Other Karma literature composed in South India

In later period the Ācāryas continued to compose the Karma literature in both the traditions, Digambara and Śvetāmbara. The Karmaprakriti (475 Gathas) appears to be a common earliest and oldest Text which would have been a main source for composing such literature Śvetāmbaras composed many Cūrņis and Tikas on this text. It is the work of an unknown author but traditionally it is composed by Śivasamasuri, in about 5th c. A.D. It’s Prākŗta cunni by unknown author, and Sanskrit Tikas by Malayagiri and Yaśovijayaji are also available. The Paňcasangraha of Candrasimahattara and some other Karma literature, Cunni of Śvetāmbara and Tikas are also available but they are not composed in South India.

Ācārya Nemicandra Siddhāntacakravarti

He hails from Karnataka. He was the disciple of Abhayanandi, Vīranandi, and Indranandi. Cāmuņdarāya who constructed the huge monumental statue of Bāhubali at Sramanabelagola was his disciple. To teach the Jain Siddhanta to Cāmuņdarāya he composed the Gommatasāra Jivajnanda and karmakanda on the basis of Dhavala and Jayadhavala in tenth c. A.D.

Some other Ācāryas from South

Some more names of Acaryas from South may be mentioned here. For instance Svāmi Kumāra Kārtikeya, Umāsvami, Samantabhadra, Pujyapāda, Pātrakesari, Joindu, Jatasinhanadi, Akalamka, Vīrasena-Jinasena, Vidyānanda, Prabhācandra, Puşpadant and so forth, we cannot discuss all of them in this short period. Let us know something about Vidyānanda.
Ācāryas Vidyananda

Ācārya Vidyānanda hails from Karnataka. He was Brāhmaņa by caste and belonged to Nandisangha. He may be placed in about ninth c. A.D. He composed Āptaparikśā with Svopajňavrtti, PramāņaParikśā, Pātraparikśā, Satyaśāsanaparikśā, Śrīpurapārśvanātha Stotra, Vidyānanda mahodaya, Aştasahasri tika on Āptamimāmsā of Samantabhadra, Tattvārthaslokavārtika, the commentary on Tattvārthasutra of Umāsvami and Yuktānuśāsanalankāra, the commentary on the Yuktānuśāsanalankāra stotra of Samantabhadra.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acaryas
  2. Agamas
  3. Akalanka
  4. Anuyogadvāra
  5. Bāhubali
  6. Digambara
  7. Digambaras
  8. Gautama
  9. International School for Jain Studies
  10. JAINA
  11. Jaina
  12. Jainism
  13. Jinasena
  14. Karma
  15. Karnataka
  16. Kundakunda
  17. Loka
  18. Magadha
  19. Mahāvīra
  20. Nayas
  21. Pūrva
  22. Pūrvavid
  23. Sallekhana
  24. Sangha
  25. Sanskrit
  26. Siddha
  27. Soul
  28. Sravanabelagola
  29. Sutra
  30. Tika
  31. Vidyananda
  32. Vidyānanda
  33. Virasena
  34. Vrtti
  35. Ācārya
  36. Ācāryas
  37. ācāryas
  38. Śruta
  39. Śvetāmbara
  40. Śvetāmbaras
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