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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2): Ācārya Yaśobhadra Swāmī

Published: 10.05.2016

Ācārya Yaśobhadra Swāmī succeeded Ācārya Sayyaṃbhava as the fifth Pontiff after Lord Mahāvīra. Detailed information is not available about his life. Whatever little information is available from Nandi Sthavirāvalī and chronology of Pontiffs is briefly discussed below:

He was born in an orthodox Brahmin family of Tuṃgiyāyana Gotra, who performed Yajṅas. As soon as he had completed his studies and stepped into adolescence, he was fortunate enough to be associated with a pious soul like Ācārya Sayyaṃbhava.The sermon of Sayyaṃbhava filled with self-restraint and detachment awakened his sleeping soul and freed him from delusions. He, at the young age of 22, severing all the delusive family ties, took initiation from Sayyaṃbhava & became a monk. Serving his Guru, practicing knowledge and meditation for 14 years, he mastered the 14 Pūrvas. In addition, he took the permission of his Guru and carried out many types of penance and strictly observed the conduct of self-restraint.

In 98 V.N. after Ācārya Sayyaṃbhava attained heavenly abode, he headed the congregation as Pontiff. He held the office for 50 years and propagated the preaching of Mahāvīra far and wide. In 148 V.N. he announced Saṃbhūtavijaya and Bhadrabāhu as his successors, observed Samādhi and attained heavenly abode.

Ācārya Yaśobhadra Swāmī during his regime, with his powerful preaching converted many great yogic scholars into Jainism. This is an example of his analytical intelligence that two disciples like Saṃbhūtavijaya and Bhadrabāhu became 14 – Pūrvadhara Śrutakevalīs under his able teaching and guidance.

Ācārya Yaśobhadra Swāmī remained as a householder up to 22 years then took initiation and remained as an ordinary monk for 14 years. He served the Jain order for 50 years as Pontiff. At the age of 86, in the year 148 V.N., he passed away.

After the nirvāṇa of Lord Mahāvīra, from Sudharmā Swāmī to Ācārya Yaśobhadra there was the tradition of a single ācārya in the Jain Order. Ācāryas like Discourse-ācārya and others, who lived in the congregation, were also under the control of a Pontiff. Ācārya Yaśobhadra maintained this tradition perfectly, as long as he was the head of the congregation. This is his distinct trait.

Opinion of Digambaras

In the Digamabara scriptures and Paṭṭāvalīs, Aparājita is described as the third Śrutakevalī ācārya instead of the third Śrutakevalī Ācārya Yaśobhadra. However no note-worthy information is available about him also.

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. Aparājita
  2. Brahmin
  3. Digambaras
  4. Gotra
  5. Guru
  6. Jainism
  7. Mahāvīra
  8. Meditation
  9. Nirvāṇa
  10. Pūrvadhara
  11. Soul
  12. samādhi
  13. Ācārya
  14. Ācāryas
  15. Śrutakevalī
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