Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2) ► Sectarian Differences In Jain Order (II)

Posted: 25.05.2016

19th Discourse-preceptor Revatinakṣatra

After Ārya Naghasti, Ārya Revtinakṣatra became the discourse-ācārya. Discourse-ācārya Revatinakṣatra and Epochal-ācārya Revatīmitra are two different people who belonged to different periods of time. Ārya Revatīmitra belongs to a much later period than Ārya Revatīnakṣatra. It is believed that both Ārya Vajrasena and discourse-ācārya Ārya Revatīnakṣatra were of somewhat same period, so it is possible that Ārya Revatīnakṣatra might have attained heaven sometime between V.N.640 and 650, whereas epochal-ācārya Ārya Revatīmitra went to heaven in V.N. 748, approximately 100 years after the demise of Ārya Revatīnakṣatra. Ārya Revatīnakṣatra was a very eminent scholar in teaching scriptures (Āgamas).

20th Discourse- ācārya Brahamdwīpaka Siṃha

After Ārya Revatīnakṣatra, Ārya Brahmadwīpaka Siṃha became the 20th discourse-ācārya. As the names of the 24th epochal-ācārya Ārya Siṃha and Ārya Brahmadwīpaka Siṃha appear very close in sequence in Jain history, most of the authors confuse discourse- Brahmadwīpaka Siṃha with epochal-ācārya Ārya Siṃha, and consider them to be the same. With the prefix Brahmadwīpaka it is estimated that he was different from and earlier than epochal-ācārya Siṃha.

2nd epochal-ācārya Nāgendra

After Ārya Vajrasena, the name of Ārya Nāgendra appears next in the lineage of epochal-ācārya. Ārya Nāgendra was the eldest of the four sons of Jinadatta of Sopārakpura, who were initiated into Jainism. According to Duṣṣamākāla Śramaṇa Saṃgha Stotra (Prayer Verse) he took initiation in V.N. 592 -593. As Ārya Nāgendra was a scholar in approximately the ten Pūrvas (less few topics), he was nominated to the rank of epochal ācārya after Ārya Vajrasena. He served the Jain Order for 69 long years and departed for heavenly abode in V.N. 689.

Birth

V.N. 573

Household life duration

20 years

Initiation

V.N. 593

Tenure as an ordinary Monk

27 years

Became ācārya

V.N. 620

Tenure as ācārya

69 years

Heavenly abode

V.N. 689

Total longevity

116 years

Ācārya Sāmantabhadra- group-ācārya

After Ārya Candra Sūri departed to the heavenly abode in V.N. 643, Ācārya Sāmantabhadra became the 16th group-ācārya. Though he was a scholar in the knowledge of Pūrvas, he was the worshipper of unblemished character. Wandering with detachment to observe the path of self-restraint with utmost purity, he used to camp only in the forests, gardens, abode of Yakṣas, desolate temples etc. He was called as Vanavāsī' (forest dweller) due to his immense detachment towards worldly matters and his love to stay in forests and his disciple monks were known as belonging to 'Vanavāsī Gaccha'. It is stated that 'Vanavāsī Gaccha' was the fourth name of 'Nirgraṃtha Gaccha' of Saudharmakāla. The utterance of the word 'Vanavāsī' brings to mind the word 'Vastivāsī' (or monastery living) because of its similarity.

From Lord Mahāvīra to Ārya Sudharmā, even though the monks camped mostly in forests, yet the then Śramaṇas were called as Nirgraṃtha Śramaṇas and not Vanavāsī Śramaṇas, because at that time there was no other alternative as 'Vastivāsī Śramaṇas'.

As, the order of ascetics went through the names of Nirgraṃtha Gaccha, Kautika Gaccha and Candra Gaccha and their contact with people went on increasing, it is natural that the monks might have started primarily living in localities (as opposed to forests and gardens). Probably after Ārya Rakṣita, laxity in the path of strict conduct of the ascetics became quite rampant. So, Sāmantabhadra, in order to preserve the rules of temperance and the severe austerities in their original form, preferred Vanavāsa (dwelling in forest) as a measure to arrest the laxity in the code of conduct. This Strict preference of Vanavāsa to prevent laxity, might have gained momentum for a short time. But it did not yield the expected permanent results.

Ācārya Vṛaddha Deva group-ācārya

Ācārya Sāmantbhadra was succeeded by Ācārya Vṛaddha Deva, who was declared as the 17th group-ācārya of the congregation. As he obtained the rank at a very late age, everyone called him Vṛaddha Deva Sūri. He was considered as the ardent supporter of strict code of conduct.

Ācārya Pradhyotana group-ācārya

Ācārya Vṛddha Deva was followed by Ācārya Pradhyotana Sūri. He attained heaven in V.N. 698.

Ācārya Māna Deva group-ācārya

Group-ācārya Māna Deva became the successor of the congregation after Ācārya Pradhyotana Sūri. He was very renowned for his practice of detachment and penance. There is seldom a person in the Jain community, who is not acquainted with the glory of Ācārya Māna Deva.

His father Dhaneśwara was a distinguished merchant of Nādaula Nagar and his mother was Dhāriṇī Devī. As he was their only son, the parents named him as Māna Deva. Once, Ācārya Pradhyotana, giving sermons and wandering through the places, reached Nādaula. Fortunately Māna Deva got the opportunity to listen to his preaching of detachment towards worldly life. Māna Deva felt very happy and was attracted towards the ascetic life. He expressed his desire to renounce the world to ācārya. Māna Deva managed to get the permission of his parents, with great difficulty. He took initiation into Śramaṇa Dharma at an auspicious moment and with humility and sincerity started acquiring knowledge, besides practicing severe austerities and penance with utmost concentration. Within a short period of time, he learnt and mastered the eleven Aṃga Sūtras, Mula, Cheda and Upāṃga Sūtras i.e., all Jain scriptures.

The Guru, believing Māna Deva to be worthy, wanted to appoint him as the ācārya of the congregation. All the same, he worried whether Māna Deva would continue to stay true to the principles of Strict code of conduct as he was blessed with the grace of both the goddesses of Lakṣmi and Sarasvatī (i.e., he came from a rich family and now became a scholar).

Perceiving his Guru's apprehension, Māna Deva became very conscious about his conduct and behaviour. To please his reverend teacher, he totally abandoned sinful (vigai) and denatured (vikṛati) food such as milk, curds, sugar, oil, honey, butter etc. and even stopped taking alms from devotees. Because of his extreme vigilance in his practice for self-realisation, he could attain some supernatural powers.

Political situation during the time of Ārya Nāgendra

When Ārya Revatīnakṣatra was the discourse-ācārya, Vem Kadphises, the son of Kujula Kadphises of the Kuṣāṇa Dynasty inherited his father's kingdom from Iran to river Indus, and expanded his territories by conquering the entire Punjab, Duābā and extended up to Varanasi in the East. After his demise, his son Kaniṣka ascended the throne in the early 7th century of V.N. i.e., after the Śaka colander came into existence. He built a new city called Puruṣpura -Peshawar and made it his capital.

King Kaniṣka converted to Buddhism and started his victory campaigns. He totally obliterated the rule of Parthians from India. After conquering Kashmir, he also occupied some territories of China, Turkistan, Kashgar, Yarkhand, Khotan, etc and thus established his supremacy over a vast territory. His kingdom extended from Iran to Varanasi, China-Turkistan to Kashmir and up to the Vindhya mountains in South. He built a city in Kashmir and named it Kaniṣpura (present Kanispur) after himself. He adapted himself into the Indian culture with such finesse that he seemed an Indian native. Though he was of an alien culture, he followed the path paved by Emperor Aśoka and helped in the propagation and expansion of Buddhism. He convoked a Buddhist council (a religious meeting of Buddhist monks, scholars, followers and devotees of Buddhism) at Kuṇḍalavana in Kashmir. After a lot of deliberations, resolutions were taken about how to reform and propagate Buddhism and other related issues. The historians opine that the division into two (Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna) of Buddhism came into existence after this congregation organised by Kaniṣka. 'Hīnayāna' followers are those few devotees who follow the simple and deferential principles of life preached by Buddha without any vanity, show, extravagance or ostentation. Alternatively, a large number of devotees revere Buddha as an incarnation of God and worship his idol. These are the Mahāyāna followers. Kaniṣka patronised Mahāyāna. During his regime, the idols of Buddha were worshipped with great extravagance, and the art of sculpture progressed by leaps and bounds. Though he was an ardent follower of Buddhism, Kaniṣka showed religious tolerance and was benevolent towards other religions.

In his regime, Sanskrita literature received great impetus. His court-poet Aśwaghośa wrote Buddhācāritra, Saundarānandaṃ and Vajraśūcī, which were regarded as the best contributions to the Sanskrita literature.

For the smooth and efficient administration of his far-flung empire, he divided his kingdom into provinces called Satrapies, headed by provincial governors, the Satraps. The Satrapies of Mathura, Varanasi, Gujarat, Kathiawad and Mālwa and their Satraps - Kharapallāna and Vanasphara - were specially mentioned by the historians.

Even during the calamitous period of both national and international campaigns led by Kaniṣka - the powerful king of Kuṣāṇa dynasty, some of the Indian kings maintained their independence with velour and courage. The shining example was the Sātavāhana dynasty in southern India, whose reign stretched unbroken over a long period, right from the time of Vikramāditya to V.N. 993; substantial evidences are available both in Jain literature and other historical texts in support of this point. That some of the kings of the Sātavāhana dynasty were the followers of Jainism, is found mentioned at many places in Jain literature.

During the reign of Kaniṣka, the Buddhists and the King amalgamated to such an extent that, the exaltation of either of them was perceived and rejoiced by the other as if it were his own. Because of this close association there was total all-round help from the Buddhist congregation for the progress of the Kuṣāṇa Empire and Kaniṣka's influence continuously increased in Buddhist congregations. This mutual close cooperation was a boon in the exaltation of Buddhism, albeit, it also proved to be an inexorable bane. The Indians who wanted to free themselves from the yoke of the foreign rule and who bred contempt towards the Kuṣāṇas, obviously felt increasing hatred towards the

Buddhist monks, congregations and the followers of Buddhism as they extended their full support and help to Kaniṣka to stabilise & strengthen his kingdom. The freedom-desirous Indians looked upon the Buddhists as the loving foster sons of the invaders, as those fallen into the abyss of unfaithfulness from the altar of patriotism, and also as totally devoid of spiritual independence. Thus this hostile impression in the minds of the Indians against Buddhists ultimately resulted in not only the decline but also the complete annihilation of Buddhism from India.

The rising of Nāga Bhāraśiva dynasty

The foreign power reinforced its might and authority over India with the full support and cooperation of the Buddhists. Their intolerable oppressions resulted in the advent of the Nāga Bhāraśiva dynasty.

An ascetic called Lakulīśa, through his spiritual campaign, breathed a new life into the souls of Indians, who were impatient to free themselves from the slavery of these intruders, wherein, he portrayed Lord Śiva as the destroyer of evil and encouraged the worship of this form. The Bhāraśiva Nāga considered the ascetic Lakulīśa as the incarnation of Lord Śiva himself, and executed and implemented his each and every command verbatim. Soon after the death of Kaniṣka, they rose to a status of a royal dynasty. Eventually, they totally destroyed the Kuṣāṇa dynasty and established their suzerainty over the vast territories of India.

As per the historical evidences it is estimated that Kaniṣka ascended the throne of Ganadhāra in V.N. 605 (78 AD) and died in V.N. 633 (106 AD). Consequently, it can be assumed that the Bhāraśiva Nāgas rose to power only after V.N.Y 633.

Originally Bhāraśiva Nāgas were the inhabitants of Padmāvatī, Kāntipurī and Vidiśā. There is mention of them as Vṛṣa (the bull Nandi, vehicle of Lord Śiva) in Brahmāṇda Pūrāṇa and Vāyu Pūrāṇa. According to these epics, they annexed and established their authority over a vast expanse which includes Bhadra (East Punjab), Rajputana (present Rajasthan), Madhya Pradeśa, Uttar Pradeśa, Mālwa, Bundelkhand and Bihar, etc. Historical evidences are available that the five Nāga dynasties of Śesa, Bhogina, Ramcandra, Dharmavarmana and Baṃgara ruled over Vidhisa during the reign of Sungas.

Apart from these, the fact that, after the Śuṃga dynasty, the eight Nāga kings-Bhūtanandī, Śiśunandī, Yaśanandī, Puruṣadāta, Usabhadāta, Kāmadāta, Bhavadāta, and Śivanandī ruled over the Vidisa kingdom is substantiated by inscriptions and coins of those times. During the last phase of the first century A.D., the Nāgas had to abandon their original inhabitation like Vidhisa, Padmāvatī and Kāntipurī and collectively migrated to Central India at the time of expansion of Kuṣāṇa Kingdom by Kaniṣka. They started living in the vicinity of Vindhyā Mountains like exiles. The Kuṣāṇa kings established their power over Vidiśā, Padmāvatī and Kāntipurī. Due to the increasing power and dominion of the Kuṣāṇas, the Nāgas were forced to desert their land; however they kept their eyes open for an opportunity to re-establish their authority over their hereditary kingdom. Hence they waited for opportune time & started mobilising resources. During the period of their exile, they made strong alliances with the rulers of Nagapura, Purika, Rivam, etc.

After the death of Kaniṣka, the Nāgas firmly resolved to free their mother land from the clutches of slavery of the Kuṣāṇas. In order to achieve their objective, they were totally engrossed in mobilising the essentials, necessary for a strong military campaign.

Ārya Revatīmitra, the 23rd epochal-ācārya (V.N. 689 - 748)

Ārya Revatīmitra adorned the rank of epochal-ācārya after Ārya Nāgendra. Whatever little data is available about him is provided along with the information on Ārya Revatīnakṣatra, the discourse-ācārya.

Bhāraśiva and the Kuṣāṇa king Huviṣka

After the death of the valiant king Kaniṣka, his son Huviṣka inherited the throne and his vast kingdom in V.N. 633 (106 A.D). During the regime of Huviṣka, Bhāraśiva Nāga again rose to a strong and powerful dynasty. Besides strengthening their power in the neighboring lands of Vindhya, they started attacking the Kingdom of Kuṣāṇa. It was not an easy task for a newly emerged power like Bhāraśiva Nāga to fight the Kuṣāṇas, whose kingdom extended from Uttar Pradeśa to Turkistan. So they evolved a strategy and led a campaign from Madhya Pradeśa to Bundelkhand, subjugating and annexing the border areas of the Kuṣāṇa Kingdom on the way. Bhāraśivas waged wars with great four and formulated skillful military strategies. Thus the death-knell of the Kuṣāṇa Kingdom started in the very regime of Huviṣka.

Vāśiṣka, the Kuṣāṇa king

After the death of Huviṣka in V.N.Y 665, his son Vāśiṣka inherited an empire which was weak and declining. Vāśiṣka built a city in Kashmir in the memory of his late father and named it as Huviṣkapur. His reign extended from V.N. 665 to 679, i.e. A.D. 138 to 152.

An assault by Bhāraśivas on Kuṣāṇas

During the regime of Vāśiṣka, the Bhāraśiva Nāga, under the able leadership of Nava Nāga, attacked the Kuṣāṇa kingdom with a huge army and fought with great velour to regain their lost territories. Putting an end to the reign of the Kuṣāṇa dynasty in many places of Uttar Pradeśa, ultimately in V.N. 674, i.e., 147 A.D., Nava Nāga reclaimed control over Kāntipurī, their lost homeland and re-established his authority over it.

After re-establishing his authority over Kantipuri, Nava Nāga, the first Bhāraśiva king of the Nāga Dynasty in order to annihilate the power of Kuṣāṇas, gave protection to the tribal confederations like Madrakas, Yaudheyas, Mālwas, etc., who aspired for a Republican status. With the military aid of ā, these confederations gained momentum and revolted against the Kuṣāṇas. The Kuṣāṇas could not withstand the lightening attacks of Nava Nāga, Madraka, Mālawa, Yaudheya, et al, and the Kuṣāṇa kingdom started shrinking gradually.

Kuṣāṇa king Vāsudeva

After the demise of Vāśiṣka in V.N. 669, his son Vāsudeva ascended the throne. Navnāga, the king of Kāntipurī spent the rest of his life waging wars against Vāsudeva. After the death of Nava Nāga in V.N. 697, (A.D. 170), his son Virasena ascended the throne and immediately started besieging the Kuṣāṇas, inflicting massive defeats upon them. The Republican states like Yaudheya, Madraka, Arjunāyana, Śivi, Mālawa and others made valuable contribution towards the military expeditions initiated by Bhāraśivas, to overthrow the power of the Kuṣāṇas. Ultimately by the 2nd century A.D., Virasena successfully rooted out the dominance of the Kuṣāṇas and eliminated their reign once and for all from our motherland.

Bhāraśivas to commemorate their victory performed Aśwamedha sacrifices on the banks of River Gaṃga in Kāśi and immortalised the memory of these sacrifices by building a 'Daśaśwamedha Ghāta' in that place.

Though Bhāraśivas rooted out the reign of the Kuṣāṇas, yet, even after the demise of Kuṣāṇa King Vāsudeva, a few names of the kings of Kuṣāṇa dynasty appear in Indian history. But their kingdom was restricted to Kabul Pass and the border areas. When the Gupta dynasty was in the zenith of its glory and grandeur, even the remnants of the Kuṣāṇa dynasty were nipped out from Kabul and the border areas. In the Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta, it was mentioned that the kings of Ganadhāra and Kashmir of the Kuṣāṇa dynasty, paid a large tribute to Samudragupta accepting his suzerainty. Even the coins that were found, issued in the name of Kidara of the Kuṣāṇa dynasty, substantiate the fact that the Kuṣāṇa rule continued in Ganadhāra and Kashmir up to the 5th century AD.

The lineage of Bhāraśiva dynasty

After suppressing the rule of the Kuṣāṇas, Vīrasena the king of Bhāraśiva Nāga dynasty, divided his kingdom among his three sons and gave Kāntipurī to Hayanāga, Padmāvati to Bhimanāga and Mathura to his third son whose name is unknown.

After the death of Hayanāga, the throne of Kāntipurī was ascended by Trayanāga, Brhinanāga, Carajanāga, and Bhavanāga in succession. During his last days, Bhavanāga gave the kingdom of Purikā to Rūdrasena, his daughter's son, the grandson of emperor Parvarsena of Vākāṭaka. Thus a fragment of the Bhāraśiva kingdom became a part of the Vākāṭaka kingdom.

The rulers of Padmāvati, after Bhimanāga were as follows: Skanda Nāga, Bṛhaspati Nāga, Vyāghra Naga, Deva Nāga, and Gaṇapati Nāga. The Bhāraśivas established cordial relations with the Guptas and the Vākāṭakas through matrimonial alliances, because of which India enjoyed independence for a long time, without any threat of foreign invasion, thanks to these three dynasties.

The Bhāraśiva dynasty branched out into 3 units. Main branches of Kāntipurī

1

Navanāga

5

Brhinnāga

2

ViraSena

6

Carajanāga

3

Hayanāga

7

Bhavanaga

4

Trayanāga

8

Rudrasena, the king of Vākāṭaka dynasty (Bhavanāga's daughter's son, whom Bhavanāga made the king of Purikā)

Branches of Padmāvatī

1

Bhīmanāga

4

Vyāghranāga

2

Skaṇdhanāga

5

Devanāga

3

Bṛhaspatināga

6

Ganpatināga (His coins were found in large numbers)

After Gaṇapati Nāga probably Nāgasena succeeded to the branch of Padmāvati. According to the Allahabad inscription, written by poet Hariṣeṇa, Nāgasena was defeated and overthrown by Samudragupta, in his first expedition itself. The great poet laureate Bāṇa, in his 'Harṣacaritra' mentioned that Nāgasena was the king of Padmāvatī, and described his foolishness.

The names of the kings of Mathura branch are not available.

The rise of Vākāṭaka dynasty

Prior to the advent of the Gupta power, the Vākāṭakas ruled over a vast territory in India. The Republican States like Arjunāyana, Mādraka, Youdheya, Mālawa, etc, the kings of Punjab, Rajaputana, Mālawa, Gujarat, etc, were the vassal kings of Vākāṭakas and paid tribute to them. In the epics they were also named as the Viṃdhyakas. Plenty of coins, rock inscriptions and copper plate inscriptions of Vākāṭaka dynasty are available. Even the Ajantā cave paintings and records (transcriptions) throw light on the history of the Vākāṭakas.

Historians believe that Vindhya Śakti, a Nāga king was the founder of the Vākāṭaka dynasty. According to the Pūrāṇas, the dynasty rose into power under the leadership of Vindhya Śakti of Kolikila Vṛṣoṃ (Bhāraśiva) dynasty.

"Tatah kolikilebhyaśca, vindhyaśakti-bhaviṣyati" this quote reveals that Vindhya Śakti was closely associated with Bhāraśiva Nāga. Bhāraśivas were of the Nāga dynasty and Vindhya Śakti also belonged to a branch of the same dynasty. It is possible that one of the divisions of the Nag dynasty might have lived in a village, place or land with the name 'Vākāṭaka'. Hence in order to depict their separate identity from the other rulers of Nag dynasty, Vindhya Śakti and his successors called their branch as 'Vākāṭaka'.

Some historians interpret the aforesaid saying and state that Vindhya Śakti, in reality occupied the highest rank in the army of Bhāraśivas. He gradually established his authority over the areas near the Vindhyas and expanded his kingdom. Since a new Śakti (power) emerged from the Vindhyas, he became famous as Vindhya Śakti. Thus either way, it is proved beyond doubt that Vākāṭaka dynasty came into existence out of the Bharasiv dynasty only.

The reign of the kings of Vākāṭaka dynasty was as follows:

NAME OF THE KING

TENURE OF RULE (Christian Year)

TENURE OF RULE (V.N.)

Vindhya Śakti-I

248 - 284

775 - 781

Pravara Sena-I (Gautamṭputra)

384 - 344

811 - 871

Rudra Sena I (Daughter's son of Bhāraśivarāja Bhavanāga)

344 - 348

871 - 875

Pṛthviṣeṇa-I

348 - 375

875 - 902

Rudra SenaII (Son-in-law of Candragupta-II)

375 - 395

902 - 922

Prabhāvati Gupta, guardian of Diwākara Sena

395 - 405

922 - 932

Prabhāvati Gupta, gaurdian of Damodara Sena

405 - 415

932 - 942

Pravara Sena II

415 - 435

942 - 962

Narendra Sena

435 - 470

962 - 997

Pṛthviṣeṇa II

470 - 485

997 - 1012

Devasena

485 - 490

1012 1017

Hariṣeṇa

490 - 520

1017 1047

Vatsagulma branch of Vākāṭaka dynasty

1

Vindhya Śakti

4

Vindhyasena (Vindhya Śakti II)

7

Devasena

2

Pravarasena I

5

Pravarasena II

8

Hariṣeṇa

3

Sarvasena

6

(Anonymous)

 

 

Ārya Siṃha, 24th epochal-ācārya

After the accession to heaven of Ācārya Revatīnakṣatra, Ārya Brhmadwīpaka Siṃha became the discourse-ācārya of the congregation. He was initiated into the Śramaṇa Dharma in Acalapura. Ācārya Devārdhi in the Sthavirāvalī of NandiSūtra in the verse 'bambhag divagasihe' described him as Siṃha of Brhamdwīpa, proficient in the commentary of Kalika Sūtra and the best reciter of canons.

Probably Brhmadwīpaka Siṃha's tenure as discourse-ācārya fell in the last phase of the 8th century AD. The time span of epochal-ācārya Siṃha is as follows: Birth in V.N. 710, initiation after 18 years, i.e., in V.N. 728, 20 years as an ordinary monk, 78 years as epochal-ācārya, total longevity of 116 years, attained heaven in V.N. 820. Whether Vācaka Ārya Brhmadwīpaka Siṃha and epochal- Ārya Siṃha were one and the same or two different personalities is a matter of research.

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