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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2): Era of the Omniscient Lords (Kevalī era)

Published: 02.05.2016

Indrabhūti Gautama
Nirvāṇa - 12 V.N.

Ārya Sudharmā
Tenure as a ācārya - from 1 to 20 V.N.

Ārya Jambū
Tenure as a ācārya - from 21 to 64 V.N.

Kevalī Era / Era of omniscient

As the time period from Lord Vṛṣabha Deva to the nirvāṇa of Lord Mahāvīra is considered as Tīrthaṃkara era, similarly the time span after the nirvāṇa of Mahāvīra, from 1 to 64 V.N. is considered as Kevalī era in Jain World and Jain history.

Nearly 2536 years ago on a dark moon night (amāvasyā) in the month of Kārtika (October end to November end) after midnight and in the early dawn Lord Mahāvīra obtained liberation. From that time onwards V.N. like A.D. in western calendar has come into existence.

Three most significant historical events had occurred during the first few days of V.N. are namely:

  1. The same night Caṇḍapradyota, the king of Avantī, who was of the same age as that of Buddha, passed away at the age of 58 (he was also born on the same day Buddha was born) and his son, Pālaka, succeeded the throne.
  2. The first gaṇadhara Indrabhūti Gautama attained omniscience
  3. The fifth gaṇadhara Sudharmā Swāmī was nominated as the first Pontiff of Lord Mahāvīra tradition.

Origin of Kevalī Era

In Bharata region, the Tīrthaṃkara era came to an end with the liberation of Lord Mahāvīra, the 24th Tīrthaṃkara and Kevalī era commenced. In this era, the Tīrthaṃkara's 34 auspicious attainments, the 35 auspicious forms of speech and the eight auspicious phenomena did not exist. During the righteous regime of Lord Mahāvīra, Indrabhūti Gautama turned out to be the eldest and worthiest amongst his disciples. However, since he could not work very hard to break the pre-bound attachment towards his Guru, he could not attain omniscience during the life time of Lord Mahāvīra.

The sun of pure knowledge had set as Lord Mahāvīra became free from all activities (Siddha), enlightened (Buddha) and liberated (Mukta). It appeared as if the entire earth was enveloped with darkness. Fortunately, the sun of omniscience rose the same night within gaṇadhara Indrabhūti Gautama, once again transforming the world bright with the light of knowledge. Kevalī era commences with Indrabhūti Gautama. Hence his details have been discussed first.

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bharata
  2. Buddha
  3. Deva
  4. Gautama
  5. Gaṇadhara
  6. Guru
  7. Kevalī
  8. Mahāvīra
  9. Nirvāṇa
  10. Omniscient
  11. Siddha
  12. Tīrthaṃkara
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