Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Jineśvara Sūri

Published: 14.08.2016

Jineśvara Sūri succeeded Varddhamāna Sūri and became ācārya of Saṃvigna tradition. Varddhamāna Sūri during his lifetime itself appointed Jineśvara Sūri as ācārya and made him his group-ācārya. Varddhamāna Sūri even made Jineśvara Sūri's brother Buddhisāgara as ācārya. The details regarding the lives of these two brothers, as given in 'Prabhāvaka caritra' are as follows:

A wealthy merchant called Lakṣmipati, with qualities befitting his name, lived in Dhārānagarī. He was a staunch practitioner of Jainism and a very generous person.

Śrīpati and Śrīdhara, the two sons of a Brahmin called Kṛṣṇa, residents of a certain village in Madhya Pradesh, successfully completed their study of Veda-Vedāṃgas and acquired scholarship in many subjects (Vidyās). Soon after, they set out on a tour from their village and wandering through many places, reached Dhārānagarī.

Getting to know about the generosity and helping nature of the virtuous merchant Lakṣmipati, both the brothers went to his place to seek alms. The merchant with great love and affection offered them food and necessary things like vessels, clothes, etc. Both the brothers decided to stay in Dhārānagarī for some time. Every day they would go to Lakṣmipati's house seeking alms which he used to offer with affection.

There was a huge ancient rock inscription near the drawing room of Lakṣmipati's house. The religious doctrines, ancestry and their significant achievements with all particulars like date, day, year, etc. were mentioned in detail on the inscription. Śrīpati and Śrīdhara noticed the inscription and read it completely. They found it very significant, interesting and delightful. Whenever they went to the merchant's house seeking alms, they would read it devotedly with utmost concentration. Thus they read it many times thoroughly understanding every syllable.

One day Lakṣmipati's house caught fire. The blazing fire not only engulfed his immense wealth but also destroyed the huge rock inscription burning it into two pieces. Lakṣmipati grieved more for the loss of the inscription.

The next day, when Śrīpati and Śrīdhara came to his house, they saw the merchant plunged in deep sorrow. They also felt distressed about the damage caused by the inferno. When Śrīpati expressed his heart-felt condolences, the merchant replied, "I am not grieving much over the loss of grains, clothes, utensils and riches; my greatest grief is about the loss of that ancient inscription which was completely destroyed. I can earn the riches once again, but I can in no way re-engrave the significant ancient inscription."

The moment they heard the words of the merchant, the faces of both the brothers lit up with hope and enthusiasm mixed with exaltation. Solacing the merchant, both of them uttered these words in unison, "O Best of Merchants! Is this the cause of your worry? Then there is no need to be anxious anymore. When we read the inscription, we found it significant in terms of religion, society and family lineage. Hence we enthusiastically read it time and again. We now remember each and every syllable verbatim. We will reproduce the inscription in its original form as it is and hand it over to you.

The merchant was extremely astonished. He said, "You are indeed blessed! If whatever you say is true, then I have lost nothing, everything is safe and sound."

Śrīpati and Śrīdhara wrote the entire inscription with all the details, date, day, year, stars, etc. on a paper and handed them over to the merchant. When the merchant read it, tears of joy rolled down his eyes.

Lakṣmipati asked the young brothers to stay in his house and made necessary arrangements for their food, water, clothing etc. Śrīpati and Śrīdhara started living happily in their house. A few days later, Ācārya Varddhamāna Sūri, the religious reformer came to Dhārānagarī. Lakṣmipati along with the two Brahmin brothers went to behold, venerate and listen to the sermons of the ācārya. He offered obeisance to ācāryaśrī with great devotion and sat near him. Śrīpati and Śrīdhara also paid veneration and sat near him with folded hands.

Looking at the faces of the two Brahmin youth, the spark in their eyes and their divine personality surrounded by aura, Varddhamāna Sūri was convinced that they not only conquered their souls but were also capable of elevating others.

After listening to the sermons of Vardhāmana Sūri, Śrīpati and Śrīdhara felt averse towards worldly activities, bondage, kinship and relations.

Conceding to the humble appeal of Lakṣmipati, Varddhamāna Sūri gave initiation to both of them. Later, their sister Kalyāṇamati also took initiation into monkhood under the guidance of VarddhamānaSūri.

After initiation, they were given the ascetic names of Jineśvara and Buddhisāgara respectively.

After being initiated into monkhood, serving their preceptor Varddhamāna Sūri, they studied the scriptures and within a short period of time they acquired profound knowledge in Jain doctrines.

Jineśvara Sūri vanquished the Temple dwellers of 84 gacchas in a scriptural debate in Paṭṭaṇa in the court of Durlabharāja of Cālukya dynasty and reinstated Suvihita traditions to its former glory.

Considering both the brothers to be worthy, Varddhamāna Sūri adorned Jineśvara Sūri with the rank of ācārya and appointed him as his groupācārya. He also appointed Buddhisāgara as second ācārya. Varddhamāna Sūri conferred a significant position upon female-monk Kalyāṇamati, the sister of these two.

Buddhisāgara wrote a text on grammar 'Buddhisāgara Vyākaraṇa', which consists of 7000 verses.

Jineśvara Sūri ordained Jinacandra Sūri and Abhayadeva Sūri as ācāryas. According to Prabhāvaka Caritra, Jineśvara Sūri appointed Abhayadeva Sūri as ācārya following the instructions of his preceptor Varddhamāna Sūri.

Jineśvara Sūri was gifted with wonderful creative ability and tremendous command over Sanskrit language. During his rainy season halt in Ḍiyāṇā, he started writing his bulky text 'Kathānaka Kośa' and was able to complete it within four months.

After defeating the Temple dwellers, Śrī Jineśvara Sūri and Śrī Buddhisāgara Sūri along with the entourage of ascetics went to Jābālipura (Jālora). There, in Vikram 1080, Jineśvara Sūri wrote some texts.

A different version contrary to that mentioned above regarding the family life of Śrī Jineśvara Sūri is found in 'Vṛddhācārya Prabandhāvali' and in Gurvāvalī written by Śrī Kṣamā Kalyāna, an Assistant Librarian of 'ŚrīPūjya Dāna Sāgara Jain Jṅāna Bhaṇḍāra' of Bikaner, in 1830 AD.

Even the name of Buddhisāgara, the younger brother of Jineśvara Sūri is not mentioned in 'Vṛddhācārya Prabandhāvali' under the article 'Jineśvara Sūri'. It is a point to be pondered upon.

According to the author of 'Prabhāvaka Caritra' Jineśvara Sūri and Buddhisāgara Sūri were Śrīpati and Śrīdhara (family names) respectively, the sons of a Brahmin named Kṛṣṇa, who lived in Madhya Pradesh and they were initiated into the path of renunciation in Dhārānagarī because of Lakṣmipati, a merchant there. Exactly a contrary mention is found in Vṛddhācārya Prabandhāvali. It says that Jineśvara Sūri was a Puṣkaraṇā Brahmin whose name was Jaggā. The place of initiation was mentioned as Siddhapura and the cause mentioned as he lost a debate on śuddhi-aśuddhi (pure-impure).

Another different version appears in Kharatara gaccha Gurvāvalī found in Dānasāgara Jain Jṅāna Bhaṇḍāra in Bikaner. According to it, Jineśvara Sūri and Buddhasāgara Sūri were the sons of a Brahmin named Soma, who lived in Varanasi. They met Varddhamāna Sūri in Sarasānagara under the instructions of Somanātha Mahādeva and were initiated by VarddhamānaSūri in Sarasānagara itself.

Thus with various contradictory versions, it is difficult to determine which is authentic and which is not. Due to lack of indisputable evidence it is not easy to derive a definite conclusion. Only a wild deduction can be drawn that probably the life portrayed about Jineśvara Sūri in Prabhāvaka Caritra is appropriate, as it appears quite closer to the facts.

The three different versions pointed out reveal and confirm the same fact that Śrī Jineśvara Sūri was a Jawāhara of Brahmin caste. He did a commendable service to Jain Order by restoring the pure nature and spirituality of Jain doctrines which were totally eclipsed by material based pseudo beliefs and dogma propagated by the tradition of Temple dwellers.

Had Jineśvara Sūri not uprooted the tradition of Temple dwellers, we might have probably found it difficult to behold the true path of spiritual purification, practice, mental contemplation, worship, awareness about the existence of Suvihita Śramaṇa tradition and scripture-based pure code of conduct of śramaṇas.

His laudable services to Jain order will always be written in golden letters in the history of Jainism.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
Share this page on:
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aura
  2. Bikaner
  3. Brahmin
  4. Caritra
  5. Concentration
  6. Contemplation
  7. Dāna
  8. Gaccha
  9. Jainism
  10. Kharatara Gaccha
  11. Kṛṣṇa
  12. Kṣamā
  13. Madhya Pradesh
  14. Pradesh
  15. Sanskrit
  16. Varanasi
  17. Ācārya
  18. ācāryas
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 475 times.
© 1997-2023 HereNow4U, Version 4.52
Contact us
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: