Posted: 28.10.2004
Updated on: 12.06.2012


Ganadhar, Ganadharas, Gandhars, Gaṇadhara

Groupleader, a primary disciple of a Tirthankara.

Sanskrit: गणधर (gaṇadhara)

All twenty-four Tirthankaras had ganadharas, in various numbers.

Ganadharas are at the most honourable position amongst 'Sadhu Pad'. Because they are second provider of Diwyadhawani after Teerthankara.

The Ganadharas of Mahavir were:

    1. Gautama Indrabhuti
    2. Agnibhuti
    3. Vayabhuti
    4. Akampita
    5. Arya Vyakta
    6. Arya Sudharma
    7. Manditaputra
    8. Mauryaputra
    9. Achalabhrata
    10. Metarya
    11. Prabhasa

  • The main Ganadhara of Mahavir was Gautama Indrabhuti, who reached universal knowledge in the same night when Mahavir died.
  • The monastic sangha of a Tirthankara is divided into a number of Ganas (orders), each headed by a Ganadhara.
  • Ganadharas are a common motif in Jaina miniature paintings:

Ganadhara Sudharma preaching a sermon. The seat of a Ganadhara looks similiar to the throne of a Tirthankara, the iconographic difference between Tirthankaras and Ganadhara is the white robe of a monk while the Tirthankara is usually depicted naked. The lotus flower beneath the seat is a typical iconographical feature of a Ganadhara (minature painting from a Kalpasutra manuscript, dated V.S. 1468 / 1411 CEfrom Sarabhai Manilal Nawab Collection, Ahmedabad. Ref.: S. M. Nawab, The Life of Lord Shri Mahavira as represented in the Kalpasutra paintings, Ahmedabad 1978, Fig. 161).


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