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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2): Indrabhūti Gautama

Published: 03.05.2016

Date of Birth 605 B.C.
Birth Place Gobbara Village near Rājagṛha, the seat of power of Magadha Kingdom
Gotra (lineage or status) & Caste Gautama Gotra and Brahmin
Birth Star Jyeṣtha
Father's Name Vasubhūti Gautama. According to Digambara tradition, it is Sandilya
Mother's Name Pṛthvī
Name of the middle brother Agnibhūti
Name of the younger brother Vāyubhūti
Education

Studied completely all the 14 types of knowledge viz.

  • 4 Vedas - Ṛga, Yajura, Sāma & Atharva Vedas
  • 6 Vedaṃgas - Śikṣā, Kalpa, Vyākaraṇa, (grammar) Nirūkta, Chandas and Jyotiṣa (astrology)
  • 4 Upāṃgas - Mīmāṃsā, Nyāya, Dharma Śāstra and Pūrāṇa

He became an erudite scholar in all the above mentioned 14 disciplines.

Ācārya of Vedic scriptures and his disciples

In many Jain scriptures and literature it is said that Indrabhūti Gautama was a famous ācārya of great intellect and 500 students used to learn from him. The sequential time he spent on education and educating as a ācārya might be as follows: After the completion of his learning at the age of 25, he might have wandered for five years to various places and then might have defeated the scholars in scriptural discourses

(Śāstrārtha). It is probable that after achieving reputation, he became the ācārya of Veda-Vedāṃga. Hundreds of pupils approached him to learn, and during the twenty long years of teaching, a great number of students might have left the place as graduates and new students might have turned up. In such a situation the strength of students should have been more than 500. The figure of 500 seems to represent only those who were learning from him at a time regularly.

Married Life

Few ācāryas discussed the marriage of Sudharmā, but as far as Indrabhūti Gautama was concerned, all the sects are silent on this issue.

As Yājakācārya

During the time when Lord Mahāvīra attained pure intuition and pure knowledge, Somila, the resident of Apāpā town, and a rich Brahmin organised a very significant Yajṅa. After a lot of entreaties, Indrabhūti, Agnibhūti, Vāyubhūti, Vyakta, Sudharmā, Maṇdita, Mauryaputra, Akampita, Acala Bhrātā, Methāri and Prabhāsa agreed to go with him, for ministering the proceedings of Yajṅa. He, with due respect, took them to Apāpā, as they were universally acclaimed ācāryas in performing the Vedic rituals. He also invited a congregation of Brahmins and scholars to attend the Yajṅa ceremony.

Owing to his unparalleled knowledge, name and fame, Indrabhūti Gautama was appointed as the head ācārya to perform the ritual activities of the Yajṅa. Under his able supervision, the Yajṅa started with a great pomp and show and the Yajṅa hall echoed with Vedic hymns.

Suddenly, the eyes of all people present there, turned towards the blue sky. They were baffled seeing the illumination in the sky. Thousands of celestial planets appeared, radiating lustrous light like thousands of suns in the sky. When the people saw that the celestial planets were approaching towards the Yajṅa hall, their happiness knew no bounds.

Addressing Somila, Indrabhūti Gautama said, "Somila! We made the vision of Satyayuga (era of truth) manifest and materialise here! Indeed, you are very lucky! To accept our sacred oblations (purodāśa) Indra and other celestial angels are coming to your Yajṅa in their celestial planets / vehicles.

With boundless gratitude gushing out from every cell of his body and rapt with ecstasy, Somila replied, "Lord! This miraculous boon is granted to me due to the grace and mercy of a competent ācārya like you."

The hymns recited even more loudly than before and the reverberating sounds of "Swāhā", i.e. to offer, echoed in the sky. It was not just thousands, but millions of eyes were witnessing the descent of celestial planets without even blinking.

Meanwhile the celestial planets crossed the Yajṅa-site and moved ahead. The sound of hymns reduced at once. Happiness was replaced with disappointment. The people with their grief - stricken eyes were looking enquiringly at Indrabhūti Gautama and the moving planes, in turns. An absolute silence prevailed there.

Indrabhūti in a tone mixed with amazement, disappointment and annoyance said, "Alas! Had the Celestial angels forgotten their way? Where are they bound towards leaving this great sacrifice? Despite our invitation through Vedic hymns, where are they headed to like in a trance? Someone please find out and let me know."

After a while a few people approached Indrabhūti and said, "Oh Great ācārya! The omniscient Śramaṇa Lord Mahāvīra is camping in the nearby Ānanda gardens. He has attained omniscience just a few moments ago. Hence the celestial aṃgels are going to attend the religious discourse (Samavaśaraṇa) ceremony of Lord Mahāvīra."

Indrabhūti became upset listening to it. His eyes turned into fire balls out of rage. He said in a loud angry voice, "Oh! What are you talking about? How can anyone else dare to claim himself omniscient in my presence? It looks like he is an imposter. He could even conjure and deceive the celestial angels to believe that he is an omniscient, and pay homage to him. As long as an omniscient like me exists, there cannot be any other omniscient. Behold! Before the very eyes of the angels and the asuras, firing challenging questions at him I will obliterate his fame and unveil his mask of omniscience."

Indrabhūti could not digest his own people praising Lord Mahāvīra. He was agitated and said, "Indeed he is a very big fraud. I am baffled to see that he kept everyone in illusion. I cannot tolerate his claim of omniscience even for a moment, because I am just like the sun that never waits to dispel darkness. I defeated the greatest of the great scholars in philosophical discussions and silenced them forever, after all, what is he?"

Sometimes ego combined with arrogance makes the person so spiteful that it not only destroys him but at times becomes the reason for the destruction of the entire human society.

It was a very normal reaction for Indrabhūti to get momentarily carried away by his pride, as he had never in his life time, encountered a person superior to him. However, there was no trace of either prejudice or tenacity and self-righteousness within his heart and his inner conscience was free from all such qualities. He was keen to know the Truth and was liberal and receptive to accept the truth. This quality helped him in course of time to angels his unilateral personality into a gigantic personality of the times.

With his ego manifested to its fullest extent, Indrabhūti prepared to engage Lord Mahāvīra in a philosophical debate and headed towards the religious congregation / gathering (Samavaśaraṇa). He thought "By my fortune this debators has arrived here. I will certainly silence his tongue for ever". With this thought, together with all his 500 disciples he approached the Samavaśaraṇa. Seeing the eight auspicious things / signs (mahāpratihāryas) and the splendid spiritual wealth of Lord Mahāvīra he stood stunned on the stairs and went on staring at him without even blinking. He started pondering, 'Is he Brahmā, Viṣṇu or Śiva himself? Is he a Moon or Sun? Is he a Meru Mountain? No, he cannot be, for, they all do have some flaw in them. Somehow I am forced to feel that He is the last Tīrthaṃkara with an unblemished all virtuous character."

At the very moment when Indrabhūti stood like a rock immersed in his deep thoughts, Lord Mahāvīra in a sweet voice, excelling the sweetness of ambrosia, addressed him with his Gotra name, "O! Indrabhūti Gautama, welcome. Being benevolent for yourself and others, your coming here is good and useful. Listening to it, Indrabhūti started wondering, "How does he know my name? The very next moment, he assured himself, "Well, of course! Who is not aware of the famous Indrabhūti? Well, can a sun hide itself from the world? If he is able to reveal the most secret doubt lingering deep in my heart I will accept that he is omniscient. Or else he will forever remain insignificant to me."

As these thoughts were crossing his mind, Lord Mahāvīra said. "Gautama, you have a doubt about the existence of the soul. You think that the soul is invisible, unlike the body of a being. You believe that what is not visible does not exist at all in the world. This type of doubt popped up in your mind as you failed to understand the inner meaning of the Vedas properly. Come and listen, I will explain the real meaning of the verses (Riccas) of Vedas to you."

Indrabhūti felt bewildered when Lord Mahāvīra revealed in clear words his reticent doubt that which he never expressed to anyone. He was once again lost in deep thinking. "How is he aware of my closely guarded secret that I never shared with anyone so far"? Except the omniscient who else can probe into the feelings of the heart? By any chance am I standing in front of an omniscient?"

Indrabhūti's mind was still busy in deep thoughts. Just then, the knower of all thoughts and feelings, Lord Mahāvīra's majestic voice echoed in his ears, "O Indrabhūti! As I am an omniscient I am able to see the soul. You too can.  The object that had nurtured this doubt in your heart about its existence is in fact the soul itself.

The soul can also be seen by you. Characteristics like the feeling of Citta (mind, reason and ego), Cetanā (consciousness), Sanjṅā (name), Vijṅāna (Knowledge), Upayoga (usefulness), doubt, inquisitiveness, happiness, sorrow etc., the nature to always try to stay away from grief and sorrow, craving to live a happy long life etc. are found clearly in the soul and are visible. Thus the existence of the soul is self-evident. Where is the need to find other evidences when the presence of the object itself proves its existence? Emotions, desire, doubt, happiness, sorrow are formless and so are not visible to the physical eye. In the same way, the soul is also formless and hence is not visible to the physical eye. Each and every individual feels his present, past and future activities in this manner, "I am listening", 'I listened', 'I will listen'. In these, the echo of 'I' convinces the person about the existence of his soul".

Perceiving the doubt in Indrabhūti's heart regarding the canonical literary evidence, Lord Mahāvīra cleared it immediately, "Gautama! The root cause for your doubt is because you did not understand the underlying meaning of Vedic Ṛcās.

"Ne ha vai śarīrasyasatah ̣ priyāpriyayārepahatirasti aśarīraṃ vā vasaṃ te priyāpriye na spṛśatah ̣" and "Swargakāmo yajeta"

From the above sentences of Veda, the existence of soul is proved.

On the other hand, "Vijṅanadhana yevaitebhyo bhutaibhyah ̣samutthāya tānyevānu vinaśyati, na pretya saṃjṅāsti" explains the echo of soul and body.

Both these statements were considered by you as contradictory to one another. And hence, your doubt about the existence of the soul arose. Gautama, you did not understand the meaning of the last sentence of Veda. Let me explain it to you".

The real meaning of Vijṅānaghana

The soul (ātmā) is the embodiment of knowledge & philosophy and is termed as Vijṅānaghana. Ātmā, the epitome of knowledge when it looks at the objects, say like, pot and cloth, it acquires the knowledge about them. When its attention gets diverted to other objects like trees, fruits, flowers and so on, it loses its previous knowledge and retains the new one. It means the newly acquired information replaces the old one and the process continues. The soul does not get lost. It is the knowledge; rather the information that it first received that gets substituted by the information acquired later. Thus, the chain continues forever; acquisition and loss and once again acquisition of knowledge by soul keeps continuing; hence there is no question of the soul getting lost.

The real meaning of Pretya (past knowledge)

"Na pretya Saṃjṅāsti": Lord Mahāvīra explained the meaning of this Vedic sentence, "seeing the pot the soul comprehended its utility, which means that it acquired the knowledge relating to pot. Afterwards at the sight of the cloth, the attention of soul is diverted to it from the pot. To be precise, as soon as the pot disappeared from the sight, its knowledge also got lost and the soul starts thinking about the utility of cloth and acquires knowledge relating to it. With the newly acquired knowledge of the cloth, the old "Pretya" - the past knowledge of a thing - vanishes.

Knowledge actually is not the Dharma of body because knowledge exists irrespective of the presence or absence of an object. Just like pot is different from cloth similarly knowledge is entirely different from body. Since pot and cloth are two different objects, just as in the absence of pot, the cloth remains and in the absence of cloth the pot remains, in the same way, in the living state even while the objects are absent their knowledge exists while in the dead body there is no knowledge even though the objects may be present. So the body and soul are two different entities. Body is the container of the soul whereas the soul is the contained. The knowledge of utility, emotions, doubts etc, is the characteristics of the soul and is formless. However, the body has a form. The traits of a form cannot be formless. That is why the formless attributes like knowledge, etc do not belong to body, but they do belong to soul. Though the soul spreads to all organs and sub-organs of the body, it is different from the body.

Doubt regarding the doctrine of one – Soul

"There are no different souls in the world; there is only one soul that spreads vast, just like the sky." This doubt arose in the heart of Indrabhūti. Clearing his doubt Lord Mahāvīra said in a pleasant tone, "Indrabhūti, a clear sky appears same to everyone. People are not able to see the sky in many different or unique or singular forms. The sky is one. Similarly, there may seem to be only one soul in all the beings in a single form without its multiple identities, peculiarities and exceptionalities. But no such equal form or single form is found in the bodies of living beings. The most important thing is that the characteristics of one living being are entirely different from that of other. So it is apparent that all the beings do not possess the same soul, instead different souls. When the characteristics differ, it does imply, rather it proves that the souls also differ.

Today, many living beings suffer with pain and many living beings are happy. This difference is seen so clearly, proves that, there is no single soul spread like a sky, but in numeral different souls. The main attribute of soul is consciousness. In all living beings, this activity appears at small or large levels and of different types & in different manifestations. Due to the difference in the level of conscious activity like high-low and best-worst, found in each living being, the number of souls in the world is infinite.

In reality the soul is an immortal and eternal substance. The souls in the living beings of the world, on seeing the pot or cloth acquire the respective knowledge related to their conscious activity. This proves that the soul has the power to acquire knowledge.  Similarly, on acquiring the knowledge of the cloth the previously acquired knowledge of pot is lost. This proves that the soul has   the power to loose / spend. But, in both the situations, whether acquisition or loss, the existence of eternal soul persists. That is why soul is considered as having the property of persistence. Because of the characteristics of acquisition and loss of knowledge, the soul appears as if it is either present or lost. Never the less, the fact is that it is immortal, indestructible and persistent'.

Thus condemning the doctrines of five basic elements (Paṃchabhūtvāda), Tajjīva-taccharīvāda and monism (Ekātmavāda), Lord Mahāvīra with his majestic divine sound (dispelling darkness through his words) giving substantial evidences, explained the existence of soul to Indrabhūti Gautama and obliterated all his doubts.

Listening to his sacred voice not only removed the doubts from Indrabhuthi's mind but filled it with unimaginable, inexpressible, overwhelming spiritual bliss and ecstasy

Change of Heart

Indrabhūti prostrating on Lord's feet and expressing everlasting gratitude through his eyes, uttered in a voice choked with emotion, "Oh, Lord! I totally surrender myself to Thee."

The magnificent words of Omniscient Lord Mahāvīra quenched the thirst of Indrabhūti Gautama - the truth seeker and the seed of spirituality already sown in his sacred, serene, peaceful heart suddenly sprouted, put forth foliage, bore flowers and fruits.

As he was left with no delusion over the past importunities, and strictly adhered to truth which he had cast in his life, the moment he got enlightened, he dedicated everything on to the lotus feet of Lord Mahāvīra, without any second thoughts, and firmly decided to get initiated at his feet.

He prayed with folded hands, "Oh! My Lord! I have full faith in you. I am willing to lead the rest of my life at your pious feet. So please include me in your auspicious Dharma and sanctify me by initiating in Śramaṇa monkhood".

The compassionate Lord Mahāvīra with nectar filled words "Ahāsuhaṃ, Devāṇuppiyā!" directed Indrabhūti to do whatever he felt was right. Indrabhūti, together with his 500 disciples, decided to follow the footsteps of his Guru on the spiritual path.

While Indrabhūti Gautama was aspiring to be initiated as a Monk, Lord Mahāvīra, listening to the former's inner prayer and passion, knew that he will become his first Gaṇadhara. In 557 BC, 500 BC in the month of Vaiśākha on 11th Śukla, Lord himself made Indrabhūti Gautama his chief disciple and gave Sarvavirati Śramaṇa initiation, i.e. total detachment / renunciation and acceptance of five major vows (Paṃca Mahāvrata).

After hearing the news that Indrabhūti along with his 500 disciples, became the disciples of Lord Mahāvīra, in due course Agnibhūti, Vāyubhūti, Ārya Vyakta, Ārya Sudharmā each with 500 disciples, Maṇḍita and Maurya Putra, with their 350 students each, and Akampita, Acala Bhrātā, Metārya and Prabhāsa with their 300 disciples each, came to the Samavaśaraṇa of Lord Mahāvīra. They got totally convincing answers from Lord Mahāvīra to all their deep rooted unexpressed doubts. They and their students pulled their hair from their heads and became 'Nirgraṃthas' as per the procedure.

Listening to just one preaching of Lord Mahāvīra who had the ability to make the eternal truth appealing to them, the eleven ācāryas who were renowned for their knowledge in Veda-Vedāṃgas and their 4400 students grasping the true form of Dharma took initiation from Lord and became Śramaṇas.

After establishing the four-fold Tīrtha namely monks (males, females) and votaries (males and females) Lord Mahāvīra preached the law of origination (Utpāda or Uppanneivā) law of destruction (Vyaya or Vigameivā) and law of permanence (Dhrauvya or Dhuveivā) to Indrabhūti Gautama, Agnibhūti and other nine chief disciples. Thus explaining the tri-part nature of reality 'Tripadī' he imparted them with the knowledge of nature of verities (Tatvas), i.e. how all beings in this universe undergo these three stages simultaneously, their nature and form and its total knowledge.

Explaining the Tripadī in brief, he said:

Utpāda: When a substance gets a new state / mode without losing its original form, then it is called the Utpāda (origination) of that mode (paryāya) of the substance.

Vyaya: The destruction of previous state / mode during origination of new from by the substance is called Vyaya (destruction).

Dhrauvya: Even during the stages of Utpāda and Vyaya, the substance retains its original nature and attributes, it is known as Dhrauvya (permanence).

For example, consider a piece of necklace of gold. A bangle is made out of it by melting it. It means production of a bangle took place and necklace was lost, however the gold continue to exist. In both these cases, (either necklace or bangle), the existence of gold is permanent (Dhrauvya).

Similarly the soul takes the form of a human being or a celestial body or an animal. Taking any of these forms by soul may be considered as origination (Utpāda); it is entering into a new body by foregoing the previous body on death; is known as Vyaya; however, soul is present in both the cases. So soul's existence is eternal. In Utpāda and Vyaya the outcome or mode of the substance is more important whereas in the stage of Dhrauvya the original nature of the substance is important.

Under the influence of the Divine and sacred words of Mahāvīra and due to the highest austerities performed in their previous births, Gautama and other 10 scholars who were initiated together became proficient in the entire ocean of Śruta jṅāna in a flash. At first, they compiled fourteen prior scriptures (Pūrvas). These are:

Utpādapūrva Agrāyaṇīpūrva Vīryapravādap ūrva Astināstipravā dapūrva
Jṅānapravāda pūrva Satyapravādapūr va Ātmāpravādap ūrva Karmapravāda pūrva
Pratyākhyāna pūrva Vidyānupravāda pūrva Kalyāṇavādapū rva Prānāvāyapūr va
Kriyāvādapūr va Lokabindusārap ūrva

These very vast fourteen Pūrvas were compiled prior to of the twelve canons (Dwādaśāṃgī). That is why they are called as Pūrvas. Canonical scriptures (Aṃgaśāstras) were compiled after the compilation of the Pūrvas.

Śvetāmbara literature does not mention whether or not the father of Indrabhūti was present during his initiation. Most of the ācāryas of Digambara sects are also silent in this regard. But according to the Digambara poet 'Rayaghu' who wrote the life of Mahāvīra in Apabhraṃśa language, Indrabhūti's father Śāṃḍilya attended the initiation ceremony of his son.

The Śvetāmbara and Digambara sects have difference of opinion about the initiation of Indrabhūti Gautama. According to Śvetāmbaras, Indrabhūti took initiation on Vaiśākha Śukla 11, the day after Lord Mahāvīra attained omniscience, whereas Digambaras opined that it was on Śrāvaṇa Kṛṣṇā Pratipadā - 66 days after Mahāvīra attained omniscience. However, according to 'Gautama Caritra' written by Maṇḍalācārya Dharmacandra, Lord Mahāvīra attained omniscience on the evening of Vaiśakha Suda 10, and after three hours Indrabhūti was initiated as a Monk (Śramaṇa).

Indrabhūti Gautama was designated as the Gaṇadhara. This was his last birth. To receive the designation of Tīrthaṃkara, it is clearly mentioned in the canonical literature (Āgama) that the practitioner should have practiced vigorously one or more causes / reflections, out of the16or 20, to become a Tīrthaṃkara. But what virtuous activities and practices are to be performed by the practitioner to achieve the rank of a Gaṇadhara were not described in Āgama literature.

However Āgama and other literatures of Jainism consider a Gaṇadhara next to the universally acclaimed Tīrthaṃkara. To obtain this honourable post, a spiritual-practitioner should undergo only a relatively less hard Spiritual-exertion and should come out best, proving his worth.

A group of monks who belong to similar discourses is known as Gaṇa and the monk who administers this group is known as Gaṇadhara.

The eleven chief disciples of Lord Mahāvīra, after listening to Tripadī from Lord, compiled it in three 'niṣadhāyas' (to ask after humble salutations), the fourteen Pūrvas and they were known as Gaṇadharas.

The meaning and interpretation given by Lord Mahāvīra was compiled in the form of Sūtras (scriptures) by Indrabhūti and other Gaṇadharas which came to be known as Dwādaśāṃgī.

Then the obvious question arises that if Lord Mahāvīra had eleven Gaṇadharas under him, how is it that there exist only nine groups of monks (Gaṇas).

The fact is that the scriptural discourse (Śāstra Vācanā) of eleven Gaṇadharas was only of nine types. The first seven Gaṇadharas including Indrabhūti had different sermons (Vācanās), and each was counted as one separate Gaṇa. But the eighth and ninth Gaṇadharas (Akampita and Acalabhrātā) had same Vācanā and hence was considered as one Gaṇa. Similarly tenth and eleventh Gaṇadharas, Methārya and Prabhāsa, had same Vācanā. Thus, based on the similarity of Vācanā, out of the last four gaṇadharas, two each had one same Vācanā. Hence there are eleven gaṇadharas, but only nine Gaṇas.

After the eleven chief disciples compiled the 14 pūrvas, Lord Mahāvīra designated them as Gaṇadharas.

Commentators wrote that Ārya Sudharmā had more longevity compared to other gaṇadharas, and that he would take the Dharma – congregation forward, Lord Mahāvīra gave the responsibility of the gaṇa (gaṇa ki anujṅā) to Sudharmā. And out of substance, attributes and modes, he gave command of the creed 'anujṅā of Tīrtha' to Indrabhūti, i.e., he designated Indrabhūti as the leader of Tīrtha and Sudharmā as the leader of gaṇa.

Jain literature is full of evidences which, re-establishes the fact that except Sudharmā the rest of gaṇadharas lived short and handed over the administrative responsibility of their gaṇas to Sudharmā, and attained liberation.

The supreme personality of Indrabhūti

Wealth, pomp and show and high position do not make a person great. A person becomes great by his personality. Describing the personality of Indrabhūti in Bhagavatī and Upāsaka Daśāṃga it is said:

Monk / Ārya / Aṇagāra Indrabhūti, the senior most monk of Lord Mahāvīra was the bearer of, Ugratapa, Dīptatapa, Taptatapa and Mahātapa. He was merit - meritorious and a celibate since birth. He was detached towards the body, had acquired special powers due to practice of penance which he tried to conceal, a knower of fourteen prior canons (Caturdaśa Pūrvadhārī) and a master of the four types of knowledge. He also acquired attainments like Sarvādhāra and Sannipāta. He was very brilliant also. He used to sit erect, neither at a distance nor close to Lord Mahāvīra and the head bent down in humility. He never diverted his concentration from the lotus feet of Lord. He was a practioner (Sādhaka) of self-restraint and made his soul pure with penance. Though he was a very great scholar he was the great devotee of his Guru and was an 'ideal disciple'.

According to Upāsaka Daśā Sūtra he was always engaged in periodical fasting of two days each. His humility was so praiseworthy that whenever he wanted to clarify his doubts, he would get up from his place, would approach Lord Mahāvīra, perform three circumambulations and salute him, then sitting at a short distance, with folded hands, would humbly ask the question. To put it in a nutshell, he was the treasure house of all the virtues like hailing from a respectable family and a noble caste; he was able bodied, humble, wise, virtuous, full of brilliance, etc.

Previous births of Indrabhūti Gautama

In Śvetāmbara literature the authors of canons clearly mentioned that there had been a loving relationship between Lord Mahāvīra and Gautama even in their previous births. It is described in Bhagavatī Sūtra that Śramaṇa Lord Mahāvīra told Indrabhūti Gautama, "Gautama! There has been relationship between you and me in our many previous births. From a long time you are connected to me with an amiable knot, and remained my praise-worthy and familiar follower; sometimes born as celestial angels and at times in a human form. It does not end even after this birth and both of us after death we will ever remain together with identical forms, without any difference, never to separate and always to stay together".

As per the above description given in Bhagavatī Sūtra, it is evident that Lord Mahāvīra had been associated with Indrabhūti from many births. In one of his (Lord Mahāvīra) previous births as Tripṛṣṭha Vāsudevā, Indrabhūti was born as his charioteer. Except this there is no description in Śvetāmbara literature about any other birth.

View of the two sects regarding the first pontiff of the creed

According to Śvetāmbara sect Ācārya Sudharmā was the first successor of Lord Mahāvīra's creed while in all the well-known literature of Digambara sect it is expressed that Indrabhūti Gautama became the first pontiff after the nirvāṇa of Lord Mahāvīra. But in their earliest classical scripture 'Loka Vibhāga', the same view as that of Śvetāmbaras is expressed that Ārya Sudharmā became the first pontiff after the nirvāṇa of Lord Mahāvīra and not Indrabhūti Gautama.

Indrabhūti's practice for nirvāṇa (liberation / salvation)

Indrabhūti Gautama took the initiation of Śramaṇa monkhood from Lord Mahāvīra at the age of 50. He became scholar in Caturadaśa Pūrva on the very first day of his initiation. Serving Lord continuously for 30 years with humility and devotion, he travelled to the villages propagating the virtue and glory of Jainism. 30 years after his initiation, on the day of nirvāṇa of Lord Mahāvīra on Kārtika Kṛṣṇā Amāvasyā, in Pāvāpurī; while contemplating on the true nature of the soul and obliterating obscuring Karma, he attained omniscience. After this he travelled far and wide for 12 years as an omniscient and spread Jainism. In 12 V.N. he realized that the time had come for him to leave his body. So at Guṇaśīla Caitya in Rājagṛha, he took the vow of fast unto death. Fasting for one month he went into Samādhi at the age of 92. Even today his auspicious name is taken with lots of respect by one and all and it creates joy and happiness in their hearts.

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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  1. Akampita
  2. Apabhraṃśa
  3. Bhagavatī Sūtra
  4. Body
  5. Brahmin
  6. Brahmins
  7. Cetanā
  8. Citta
  9. Concentration
  10. Consciousness
  11. Dharma
  12. Dhrauvya
  13. Digambara
  14. Digambaras
  15. Fasting
  16. Gautama
  17. Gaṇa
  18. Gaṇadhara
  19. Glory of Jainism
  20. Gotra
  21. Guru
  22. Indra
  23. Jainism
  24. Kalpa
  25. Karma
  26. Karmapravāda Pūrva
  27. Magadha
  28. Mahāvrata
  29. Mahāvīra
  30. Mauryaputra
  31. Meru
  32. Monism
  33. Mīmāṃsā
  34. Nirvāṇa
  35. Nyāya
  36. Omniscient
  37. Paryāya
  38. Pratyākhyāna
  39. Pratyākhyāna Pūrva
  40. Pride
  41. Pūrva
  42. Rājagṛha
  43. Soul
  44. Sādhaka
  45. Sūtra
  46. Tripadī
  47. Tīrtha
  48. Tīrthaṃkara
  49. Ugratapa
  50. Upayoga
  51. Upāsaka
  52. Utpāda
  53. Veda
  54. Vedas
  55. Vedic
  56. Vyaya
  57. Vācanā
  58. samādhi
  59. Ācārya
  60. Āgama
  61. Ātmā
  62. ācāryas
  63. Śruta
  64. Śvetāmbara
  65. Śvetāmbaras
  66. Śāstra
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