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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2): Era of partial knower of prior canons (sāmānya pūrvadhara)

Published: 23.05.2016

(V.N. 584 - 1000)

Ācāryas of the era of partial knowers of prior canons

19. Ācārya Rakṣita
Tenure V.N. 584 TO 597

20. Ācārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra
Tenure V.N. 597 TO 617

21. Ācārya Vajrasena
Tenure V.N. 617 TO 620

22. Ācārya Nāgahasti (Nāgendra)
Tenure V.N. 620 TO 689

23. Ācārya Revatīmitra
Tenure V.N. 689 TO 748

24. Ācārya Siṃha
Tenure V.N. 748 TO 826

25. Ācārya Nāgārjuna
Tenure V.N. 826 TO 904

26. Ācārya Bhūtdinna
Tenure V.N. 904 TO 983

27. Ācārya Kālakācārya (IV)
Tenure V.N. 983 TO 994

28. Ācārya Satyamitra
Tenure V.N. 994 TO 1001

Era of partial knower of prior canons

(V.N. 584 TO V.N. 1000)

We have already introduced the ācāryas of Daśapūrvadhara Era ranging between V.N. 170 to 584. The span between V.N. 584 to 1000 is the ordinary Pūrvadhara Era. In this duration, Ārya Rakṣita was well conversant in the nine and half Pūrvas, with all their clarifications and explanations. No written evidences are available as to which ācārya after Ārya Rakṣita was conversant with how many Pūrvas. Under these circumstances, it can certainly be said that up to V.N. 1000, thorough knowledge of one Pūrva and partial knowledge of the remaining Pūrvas prevailed.

19th Epochal-Ācārya Ārya Rakṣita

After Vajra Swāmī, Ārya Rakṣita was considered the prominent epochalācārya. His introduction is as given below:

Birth V.N. 522 Household life duration 22 years
Initiation V.N. 544 Tenure as an ordinary Monk 40 years
Became ācārya V.N. 584 Tenure as an ācārya 13 years
Heavenly abode V.N. 597 Total longevity 75 years

Ācārya Toṣaliputra and Ācārya Vajra Swāmī were acknowledged to be his initiation and academic Gurus respectively.

From the information available from the old scriptures like Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi, etc., there was a Brahmin priest by name Somadeva in Daśapura city (Mandasora) of Mālawa Pradeśa. His wife Rūdrasomā was a follower of Jain Dharma. Somadeva's eldest son was Rakṣita and the younger one was Phalgu Rakṣita. After providing primary education in Daśapura, Somadeva sent Rakṣita to Pātaliputra to pursue higher studies. There, within a short time, he became an expert in 14 disciplines of Vedas and Vedaṃgas etc. After completing of his education, he returned to Daśapura.  The king and the citizens received him with pomp and festivity. But his mother did not express any signs of happiness and was indifferent. On asking the reason, she told, "Son! You have studied violence-enhancing books, which would only increase the continuous cycle of existence between death and rebirth. In such a situation, how can I be cheerful? Had you studied Dṛṣṭivāda which aims at the elevation of one and that of others, I would have rejoiced"

When the son asked her mother about the twelfth canon / limb 'Dṛṣṭivāda' and who has the knowledge of it, she replied that Ācārya Toṣaliputra, who stays in Iksuvatika, has its knowledge.

Rakṣita assured his mother of learning Dṛṣṭivāda and taking her permission, the next day he set off to Ikṣuvāṭikā.

When Rakṣita came out of the city, an old man, a childhood friend of Somadeva met him on the way and gave him nine full and one half sugarcanes. This symbolized that Rakṣita would be bestowed with the knowledge of nine and half Pūrvas.

On reaching Ikṣuvāṭikā, following a layman there, Rakṣita entered the religious place and bowed with due respect to Ācārya Toṣaliputra.

Thereupon, when ācārya asked the purpose of his visit, Rakṣita humbly requested, "Lord! I came to your service with an intention to study Dṛṣṭivāda"

When ācārya mentioned that the knowledge of Dṛṣṭivāda would be imparted only after taking initiation, he cheerfully showed his preparedness to be initiated immediately in monkhood. After initiation as a monk, Rakṣita stayed there in the service of his Guru Toṣaliputra and by studying with utmost dedication, within a short time mastered the eleven Aṃgas like Ācārāṃga, etc. Ācārya Toṣaliputra imparted Rakṣita with whatever knowledge he had in Dṛṣṭivāda, which the latter imbibed completely

Later, Ācārya Toṣaliputra directed Ārya Rakṣita to the Daśapūrvadhara Ācārya Vajra Swāmī for further studies of the Pūrvas. While going to Ārya Vajra, Rakṣita reached Ujjaini. There Sthavira Bhadragupta, who envisaged that his life reached the end, asked Rakṣita to be his assistant and stay with him till the completion of his fast unto death. Ārya Rakṣita considered himself to be very fortunate to have such a golden opportunity of offering services to a great saint, and the superior and elder monk during his last days. He stayed in Ujjaini with Sthavira Bhadragupta and offered his services with great devotion.

After Sthavira Bhadragupta left for heavenly abode while in meditation, Ārya Rakṣita left Ujjain to be present in the services of Ārya Vajra. On reaching there, Ārya Rakṣita offered his humble salutations to Ārya Vajra. When the latter asked him, Ārya Rakṣita informed that he came from Ārya Toṣaliputra.

After that, Ācārya Vajra started teaching the Pūrvas to Ārya Rakṣita. The extremely brilliant Ārya Rakṣita pursued the studies with great devotion and zeal and within a short period, he completed the instruction on nine Pūrvas and started studying the tenth Pūrva.

The parents of Ārya Rakṣita were worried and not able to take up his absence any more. They sent their younger son Phalgu Rakṣita to bring Ārya Rakṣita back.

Falgu Rakṣita approached Ārya Rakṣita and said, "Our mother remembers you day and night. If you visit Daśapura once, our parents and all our kinsmen would take renunciation."

Ārya Rakṣita was totally intoxicated in spiritual knowledge. He understood, "All the relationships in the world are transient. Body, wealth, kinsmen etc., none of them are mine. I am pure consciousness, separate from this body. Knowledge is my nature and discernment is my only friend."

He replied to Falgu Rakṣita, "O Dear One! If our parents and kinsmen are prepared to take renunciation on my visit, then why don't you take initiation first?"

Phalgu Rakṣita took initiation immediately and strictly followed the ascetic discipline. He always used to remind Ārya Rakṣita that he should visit Daśapur.

One day Ārya Rakṣita asked Ācārya Vajra, "Lord! How much of the tenth Pūrva is yet to be mastered?"

Ācārya Vajra said, "Son! As of now, whatever you have learnt is equivalent to a drop. An ocean remains."

Ārya Rakṣita thought that it is beyond his capability to attain such a vast knowledge and asked the permission of Ārya Vajra to leave for Daśapura. However, renewing his confidence, Ārya Vajra said, "Son! Do not be disheartened. Keep up with your studies."

"Lord! I shall honour your command" replied Ārya Rakṣita, and continued studying the tenth Pūrva. However, as he was no longer confident that he could master the balance ocean like knowledge, he frequently persuaded Ācārya Vajra for his permission to go to Daśapura. With his cognitive consciousness, the ācārya could see, "After going to Daśapura, Ārya Rakṣita will not return again. There is no person qualified enough to assimilate the entire knowledge of the Pūrvas, and I am not left with enough life. Consequently, the tenth Pūrva would, once and for all vanish from India, with the end of my life."

Thus looking at the unavoidable future, Ācārya Vajra finally granted permission to Ārya Rakṣita to go to Daśapura.

Hence, Ārya Rakṣita could acquire complete knowledge of nine Pūrvas and partial knowledge of the tenth Pūrva. As soon as he received the permission from Ācārya Vajra, he along with his younger brother Falgu Rakṣita, set off to Daśapura. After reaching Daśapura, Ārya Rakṣita preached and enlightened his parents and kinsmen. As a result, all of them took initiation in Śramaṇa Dharma. Rakṣita's father, the newly initiated monk Somadeva (who was bodily weak) because of his immense affection towards his son, wandered along with him, but did not put on the prescribed robes meant for the possession-less Mokṣa. Initially he was allowed to carry an umbrella, and wear sandals, the sacred thread etc., but gradually he was brought into the complete path of a monk.

Ārya Rakṣita took all the newly initiated monks to his Guru, Ārya Toṣaliputra. Ācārya Toṣaliputra felt very happy to see his disciple, having attained the knowledge of nine and a half Pūrvas and considering him eligible in all respects, declared him as his successive ācārya. Ārya Rakṣita travelled far and wide, and enlightened laymen & women.

In the 'Āvaśyaka Niryukti', it is stated that Ārya Rakṣita systematized and classified the scriptures. It is also mentioned that Ārya Rakṣita was praised by Sīṃandhara Swāmī as an expounder on Nigodha (lowest form of life) just like Ārya Śyāma (first Kālakācārya). Hearing this Śakrendra came to test his knowledge and listening to his detailed explanation on Nigodha, he too was thoroughly impressed.

Classification of Expositions (anuyogas)

The name of Ārya Rakṣita remains immortal in Jain History as the one who classified the expositions. The event which led to the classification of expositions is as follows:

All types of monks - scholars, mediators, hermits, debaters - were present in Ārya Rakṣita's Holy Order. Of the disciples of Ārya Rakṣita, there were three Puṣyamitra, who were outstanding, qualified and brilliant. They were addressed as Durbalikā Puṣyamitra, Ghṛta Puṣyamitra and Vastra Puṣyamitra respectively. The second and third Ārya Puṣyamitras had achieved some magical powers.

Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was extremely fond of the study of the scriptures. Hence he would always engage himself in reading the scriptures day and night. Due to the incessant study, he became very weak. He acquired knowledge of all the nine Pūrvas.

In the group of Ārya Rakṣita, the following six disciples were considered the most brilliant and accomplished monks: Durbalikā Puṣyamitra, Ghṛta Puṣyamitra, Vastra Puṣyamitra, Vindhya, Phalgu Rakṣita and Goṣṭhāmāhila. Other Monks were also influenced by them. Out of these, Vindhya Monk was extremely intelligent and fully capable of retaining the meaning of the canons. While studying along with his fellow monks, he was not contented with the lessons of the canons imparted by ācāryaśrī. One day, Vindhya monk, while serving ācāryaśrī, requested, "Lord! I am unable to get adequate lessons on the canonical texts; hence, I feel my studies are incomplete. So kindly arrange for a separate scholar-preceptor for me."

Ācārya Rakṣita accepted the request of Vindhya monk and entrusted Durbalikā Puṣyamitra to teach and explain the canons and their meanings to Vindhya Monk. After teaching Vindhya monk for a few days, Durbalikā Puṣyamitra met Ācārya Rakṣita and requested, "Honorable Teacher! As I am engaged in reciting and explaining the canons to Vindhya monk, now I am unable to revise the already learnt Sūtras in to; hence many of the canons are dwindling from my memory. Earlier, I was unable to revise the canons because of the frequent visits of family members. Thus I am losing my knowledge of the ninth Pūrva."

Listening to his intelligent disciple Durbalikā Puṣyamitra's complaint about his weak retention memory, Ācārya Rakṣita contemplated, "When the most intelligent monk finds it difficult to recollect the studied lesson unless it is revised, then what would be the condition of others?"

With his cognition, Ācārya Rakṣita inferred that the ensuing generation of monks (disciples) could have less developed faculties of intelligence, grasping, and retention. Consequently, with a view to facilitate their learning and retention, he made brief explanations for each aphorism.

However, he wanted to make sure that the below-average and above average disciples failing to understand the basic concept of standpoints / viewpoints 'Naya' do not aspire for the one-sided philosophical approach of knowledge or actions, reality or behavior thinking it as solely beneficial and also do not assume false notions about the intrinsic matters. With this intention, he did not divide the standpoints Nayas.

Ārya Ratha group-ācārya

Ārya Vajrasena, Ārya Padama and Ārya Ratha were the three prominent disciples of Ārya Vajra. In course of time, Ārya Vajrasena was appointed as the epochal-ācārya after Ārya Rakṣita and Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra. The Padama branch originated from Ārya Padama, while Jayantī branch originated from Ārya Ratha and Vajra sect from Ārya Vajra of Gautama Gotra.

The seventh heretic Goṣṭhāmāhila

The seventh and last heresy was led by Goṣṭhāmāhila in V.N. 584. Goṣṭhāmāhila formulated and enforced his own principles "Abaddhika Darśana" contrary to the principles of Lord Mahāvīra, hence he was known as a heretic. Goṣṭhāmāhila and the Abaddhika Darśana enunciated by him have been described hereunder.

While wandering several places during the last year of his life, one day Ārya Rakṣita along with his group of disciples went to a place called Ikṣudhara on the outskirts of Daśapura city.

In those days, the philosophical concept of Akriyāvāda (non-action) was gaining popularity in Mathura. They challenged the followers of all religions for a debate. No scholar dared to debate with these Akriyāvādīs. In order to protect the long-standing reputation of Jain Religion, the congregation assembled and discussed the matter seriously. Unable to find a competent scholar, capable enough of debating with Akriyāvādīs, the congregation sent a message to Daśapura (Maṃdasora) requesting Ārya Rakṣita to visit Mathurā and defeat them in a debate. Ārya Rakṣita had become very old and was aware that he was in the last stage of his life. Under these circumstances, he felt that it was not wise for him to go and therefore deputed his able and well-qualified disciple Goṣṭhāmāhila to Mathura.

Obeying his Guru's order, Goṣṭhāmāhila reached Mathura and debated with the Akriyāvādīs. Goṣṭhāmāhila's powerful arguments and irrefutable logic shook the very ground beneath the feet of the Akriyāvādīs.  The arbitrators and the members unanimously declared the Akriyāvādīs as vanquished and Goṣṭhāmāhila as the vanquisher. The honor of Jain Order was glorified and waves of happiness spread all over the congregation. The victorious Goṣṭhāmāhila came back to the services of his Guru at Daśapura. A prestigious delegation of the Mathura congregation also accompanied him. They requested Ārya Rakṣita to permit Goṣṭhāmāhila to perform his Rainy season halt in the city of Mathura. The approach and the persuading humble request by the congregation was accepted by Ārya Rakṣita and Goṣṭhāmāhila once again set off to Mathura.

During the rainy season halt period, when Ārya Rakṣita was in Daśapura and his disciple Goṣṭhāmāhila in Mathura, the physical condition of Ārya Rakṣita deteriorated day by day and knowing that he would not live much longer, he discussed the issue of the successor with the congregation. From the batch of Ārya Rakṣita, Ghṛta Puṣyamitra, Vastra Puṣyamitra, Durbalikā Puṣyamitra, Vindhya, Phalgu Rakṣita and Goṣṭhāmāhila were the six brilliant disciples. Some of the monks in the congregation favored Ārya Phalgu Rakṣita to be appointed as the successor to the post of ācārya, while some were in favors of Goṣṭhāmāhila. But Ārya Rakṣita considered that only Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was qualified to be his successor-ācārya.

Seeing the differences in opinion within the disciple group regarding the appointment of his successor, Ārya Rakṣita acted with great insight. He assembled all of them and said, "Imagine that some monks have placed three pots in front of you. One of the pots is filled with black gram, and the remaining two with oil and ghee respectively. If these three pots were inverted over three other pots one by one in front you and all the members of the congregation, then what would be the amount of black gram, oil and ghee left out in the three empty pots?"

Listening to the question posed by Ārya Rakṣita, his disciples and chief monks replied, "Lord! The one which had black gram would be completely empty; the pot with oil would have traces of oil left whereas the one with ghee would still have substantial amount left in it, as it sticks the insides."

Addressing all the disciples and members of the congregation, Ārya Rakṣita told in a decisive tone, "Just like the pot with black gram, I have emptied my entire knowledge into Durbalikā Puṣyamitra.  Even after completely inverting, small quantity of oil and substantial quantity of ghee still remains in the other two pots; similarly, in spite of my impartation, the rest of the disciples could not grasp the complete knowledge."

This brief but sententious and tactful decision of Ārya Rakṣita instantly solved the problem of succession. The disciple group along with the entire congregation unanimously accepted Durbalikā Puṣyamitra as the successor of Ārya Rakṣita. Ārya Rakṣita gave instructions to the newly elected Ācārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra and the congregation, on how to organize the congregation. Later deeply engrossed in spiritual meditation, Ārya Rakṣita left for heavenly abode.

Hearing the news that Ārya Rakṣita had left this world; Goṣṭhāmāhila came to the Monk congregation after completion of his Rainy season halt and was deeply hurt when he came to know that Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was appointed as the Group-ācārya. Śramaṇa congregation and Votary congregation tried hard to clarify, but Goṣṭhāmāhila not heeding anyone, stayed in a separate monastery aloof from other monks and studied the scriptures alone at the time of Sūtra - Paurūṣī. Even during Artha-Paurūṣī when group-ācārya Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was reciting the Āgamas to the group of monks, Goṣṭhāmāhila would not be present there. He inwardly developed hatred towards the groupācārya. Only after the group-ācārya completed the recital and Vindhya monk started the sermons of the meaning of Sūtras, would Goṣṭhāmāhila be present and listen to the eighth Pūrva.

Because of his hatred [coupled with disgust] towards group-ācārya and the development of grey aura (kāpota-leśyā) of delusion, he was unable to grasp the actual spirit of the eighth Pūrva and used to interpret them in a negative way.

During the recital of the eighth Karmapravāda (Law of Karma) Pūrva, while describing the nature of karmic bondage, Ārya Vindhya said, "there are three types of states of karmika bondage / association in which the soul (ātmā) is bound with karmas, namely, Karma-Baddha (loose), Baddha-Spṛṣṭa (loose and firm) and Nikācita (non-annihilator). The mere association of the karmic particles with the sentient molecules is known as Baddha e.g. the bondage of kārmika influx of a passion-less soul would get separated in course of time without any stability, just like a handful of powder sprinkled on a dry wall. In the second type, Baddha Spṛṣṭa Karma, the kārmika particles bind and stay with sentient molecules for some time and separate later, similar to powder thrown on a wet or oily wall. In the third type, i.e. Nikācita Karma, the same Baddha-Spṛṣṭa Karma stays tightly attached to the soul surpassing incessant mental effort and the soul is relieved from such karmas only after bearing the consequences.

The example of a needle is cited to understand the matters easily relating to the bonds of Baddha, Baddha-Spṛṣṭa and Nikācita states of Karma. The soul bound by Baddha Karma is compared to a needle wrapped by the thread. The needle can be separated from the thread with very little effort. Similarly it is easy to separate the soul clung to Baddha Karma. Baddha- Spṛṣṭa Karma is compared to a needle bound to a sheet of iron. A special effort is required to separate the needle from the metal; similarly special effort is required to separate the Baddha-Spṛṣṭa Karma from the soul molecules. The third Nikācita Karma is compared with the cluster of needles that are heated and hammered together. Once again, to recover the needles, the lump should be melted and casted into the moulds of needles. Similarly, Nikācita Karma can be shed off only by bearing the consequences.

After listening to the explanation of Karmika bondage given by Vindhya monk, Goṣṭhāmāhila said, "O Sage! If you interpret Karma in such a way then it implies that Karma is bound to the soul molecules in an inseparable manner. As such, the soul can never be freed from the clutches of Karma. The relation between the soul and the Karma is so peripheral like that of a man and his garment. The garment just touches the body of a person who wears it but does not bind him. Similarly, Karma and the soul are unlike milk and water, which is inseparable after mixing; the Karma just touches the soul and no more than that."

Listening to Goṣṭhāmāhila's illogical argument, Ācārya Vindhya said, "This is the way our Guru taught us." Goṣṭhāmāhila replied, "What more can one expect from a Guru, who himself was ignorant about it."

This created a doubt in the mind of plain-hearted Vindhya monk. He narrated the entire incident to his ācārya and asked to clarify the matter explaining the meaning of this Sūtra.

Durbalikā Puṣyamitra said, "O Noble Monk! Whatever you said is correct. However the interpretation of Goṣṭhāmāhila is very inappropriate. He argues that if one accepts the relation of the soul with Baddha, Baddha-Spṛṣṭa and Nikācita karmas, it does imply that the living being and the soul are inseparable. This, in itself is a contradictory statement. The end or separation of āyū Karma (the Karma that determines the lifespan of a living being in a destiny) is evident in the form of death. The separation of Karma is done by special effort. Even the inseparable bond of an iron ball with the fire can also be separated by effort. On heating, the heat spreads into every cell of the iron ball, and when quenched, it becomes cool, free of fire or heat. In the same manner, kārmika cells combined with soul space points (Pradeśa) can be separated by 'Right Knowledge' and practice of "Right Conduct" together. Thus the soul freed from karma obtains its elevated state, wherein, it realizes 'the truth, the conscious and the beauty as the essence of divinity'(Satyaṃ, Śivaṃ, Sundaraṃ).

Vindhya monk tried to explain to Goṣṭhāmāhila the meaning that was interpreted by Lord Mahāvīra. However, Goṣṭhāmāhila stuck to his onesided view. The saint Vindhya kept the matter before the group-ācārya. Ācārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra too, citing scriptural evidences and using logic tried to make him understand, but in vain. Then Durbalikā Puṣyamitra with the help of Sthaviras of other gacchas and guardian deities tried his best to make Goṣṭhāmāhila understand the relation between karma and soul; but Goṣṭhāmāhila was not at all convinced and did not let go of his stubbornness. Goṣṭhāmāhila persisted in his argument, going against the principles of the scriptures. Eventually the congregation declared him a heretic and expelled him from the congregation.

What is the period of the seventh heretic?  This question remained unanswered for centuries together and is like a puzzle to the scholars. According to the verse of Viśeṣāvaśyaka Bhāṣya–

Paṃcasayā culasiya, tayiya sidhdhiṃ gayassa vīrassa
Abaddhiyaṇa ditti, Daśapura nayare samutapaṇṇa.

It is clear that Abaddhika view point originated in Daśapura in 584 V.N. But as per other historical texts the time of Durbalikā Puṣyamitra does not match with that of Ārya Rakṣita.  However, this event took place after the Samādhi of Ārya Rakṣita; and all the historians unanimously accept that Ārya Rakṣita attained heaven in 597 V.N.

Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra
20th Epochal-ācārya

In V.N.597 after the departure of Ārya Rakṣita to heaven, Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra succeeded him as epochal-ācārya. He was born in V.N.550 in a wealthy Buddhist family. When he was 17, in V.N.567 he received "Nirgraṃtha" Śramaṇa initiation from Ārya Rakṣita. After initiation, he was continually engaged in two tasks, namely, serving his Guru with all humility and studying, recollecting and reflecting the scriptures. Thus he mastered the 11 Aṃgas and 9½ Pūrvas along with their meanings & interpretations.

"When the pot filled with mustard seeds is turned over, and not even a single seed remains in it, similarly I taught my entire knowledge to Durbalikā Puṣyamitra" these words emotionally uttered by Ārya Rakṣita in the presence of the entire congregation during his last moments, establishes the fact that he learnt the complete knowledge of 9½ Pūrvas from Pūrvadhara Ārya Rakṣita.

Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra, though full of tremendous will power, lacked physical stamina and strength. Day and night he was so engrossed in studying, recollecting and reflecting, that, because of the excessive exertion even the best of foods also failed to provide essential stamina and energy to his body, and he always felt weak. Due to this weakness, he was nicknamed as 'Durbalikā,' in the congregation.

From the point of view of both the Indian history and Jain history, the tenure of Ācārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was very significant. The following important events occurred during his tenure as ācārya:

  1. In V.N. 605 during his tenure commencement of Śaka era / calendar (briefly described below)
  2. In V.N. 609 Jain congregation is divided into two major-sects viz., Śvetāmbaras and Digambaras

It is already mentioned that Ārya Durbalikā Puṣyamitra confessed to Ācārya Rakṣita that in the absence of repetition, he was unable to remember the knowledge, due to lack of retention power. Ārya Rakṣita analyzing the facts thought that the students of the ensuing generation, under the influence of changing times, would lack memory and retention ability. In order to facilitate their studies, he classified the expositions (Anuyogas) into separate small divisions. Durbalikā Puṣyamitra was the cause behind this very significant event in Jain history.

In 597 V.N. Durbalikā Puṣyamitra became epochal-ācārya after leading an ascetic life of an ordinary monk for 30 years. He attained heavenly abode in 617 V.N., after serving the Jain Order and propagating Jainism for 20 years as epochal-ācārya. His age is calculated as 67 years, 7 months and 7 days. Nevertheless, in the table of 'Duṣṣamakāla Śramaṇa samgha Stotra' another point of view is mentioned, according to which, his tenure as epochal-ācārya was 13 years and span of life was 60 years, 7 months and 7 days.

Śālivāhana: start of Śaka calendar

Sātakarṇī, the son of Gautami of Sātavāhana dynasty and the king of Pratiṣṭhāna kingdom killed 'Nahapāna' the powerful ruler of Śaka dynasty. Besides, he totally destroyed the great Satrapies of the Śakas in the Southern region, Saurastra and Gujarat. Hence, he took the title of "Śakāri Vikramāditya". He also brought the Śaka era into existence in 605 V.N., (135V.S, 78AD).

The word 'Śaka' in Śālivāhana calendar creates a misconception whether any foreign ruler named King śāka had commenced the calendar. As a matter of fact, the word 'śāka' here means 'śakti' or power'. The literal meaning of 'Śālivāhana śāka Samvata' is the śakti calendar that is brought out by Śālivāhana'. Further, in all the authentic dictionaries the meaning of 'śāka' is given as power, ability and energy, and 'varṣa' as year, particularly Śālivāhana year.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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