Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Śrī Jina Maheśvara Sūri

Published: 03.09.2016

Jinamaheśvara Sūri was born in Vikram 1867, initiated into monkhood in Vikram 1885 and ordained as ācārya in Vikram 1892 during the regime of King Māna Siṃha. Playing a musical instrument, he went to the Jina temple passing by Tapāgacchīya Monastery, in Pādaliptapura. (Probably it was prohibited for ācāryas of Kharatara gaccha to play instruments while passing by Monastery of Tapāgaccha except on special occasions).

The leader of Śrī Congregation invited the Guru along with his disciples to his house and performed Navāṃgapūjā with gold coins. He then gifted 10 thousand rupees, a palanquin to the congregation and gold coins and implements of knowledge like Mahāvastra etc. [clothes used by ascetics] to Vācaka, Pāṭhaka and ascetics.

Śrī Guru also gave Mahāvastra etc to all the ācāryas of the 84 gacchas and two coins each to thousand ascetics.

With this description given in Paṭṭāvalī Number 2329, the fact is proved beyond doubt that in the last phase of Vikram 19th Century, practice of perverted rituals reached to such an extent even by the ācāryas of renowned Kharatara gaccha that virtually there was no significant difference between Temple dwellers tradition and the so called Suvihita tradition with regard to code of conduct of monks, rituals, and the like. If we compare the code of conduct of ācāryas like Jinamaheśvara Sūri with that of scripture-based code of conduct of Śramaṇas, it appears that the Jina commandment propounded in the scripture, had no place in their lives. Rather there was no connection at all between the austerities and rituals practised by Jain monks and those propounded in scriptures.

Tradition of VarddhamānaSūri: Unified opposition against Kharatara gaccha

As long as ācāryas of Varddhamāna Sūri tradition tried to re-establish scripture based path of spiritual purification and code of conduct of Śramaṇas in its fundamental form, the Temple dwellers and their followers opposed them vehemently at every step.

After the establishment of Vasativāsa tradition in Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa, ācāryas of Varddhamāna Sūri tradition and of Temple dweller tradition were at logger heads. Varddhamāna Sūri launched a new religious revolution with an object to completely eradicate the beliefs contrary to that of scriptures, the unconventional austerities and rituals and performance of religious rituals with pomposity and their congregations etc. So it was but natural for Temple dwellers to breed hostility towards Varddhamāna Sūri's tradition. But in the name of glorification of Jina Order, the other gacchas of Suvihita tradition that assimilated those popular, attractive and entertaining beliefs of Temple dwellers tradition into their sect, also turned hostile against revolutionary tradition of Varddhamāna Sūri. Illustrations of hostility of this type, (rivalry between main branch and sub-branches) are found in Jain literature in the lives of Jinavallabha Sūriand Jinadatta Sūri.

Besides Temple dwellers, even the other gacchas of Suvihita traditions also became rivals of Jinavallabha Sūri. Owing to this reason Jinavallabha Sūri might have probably left Paṭaṇa for Cittauḍa. He never in his life returned to Paṭaṇa. He wandered only in other regions. Thus the life history of Jinadatta Sūri, pontiff successor of Jinavallabha Sūri reiterates the fact that apart from the Temple dwellers, the ācāryas of other 13 gacchas were also inimical to Jinadatta Sūri.

Śrī Devabhadrācārya, while ordaining Jinadatta as the successor of Jinavallabha Sūri counselled him to avoid going to Aṇahillapura for some time and to wander in other places. Jinadatta Sūri consented to it.

One day Jinaśekhara committed a mistake in the observance of vows. So Devabhadrācārya expelled him from the congregation. Jinaśekhara fell at the feet of Jinadatta Sūri requesting him to permit him to stay in the gaccha. Out of compassion Jinadatta Sūri granted him permission. 13 ācāryas expelled Śrī Jinadatta Sūri from gacchas for this offence. So Jinadatta Sūri wandered in some other places.

The opposition from both Temple dwellers and some other gacchas against Kharatara gaccha finally might have turned into crisis. This can be inferred from Upadeśa Rasāyana Rāsa written by Jinadatta Sūri in Apabhraṃśa language.

The opponents formed coalition and occupied the reformed temples constructed by the lay devotees following Jinavallabha Sūri's preaching and established their authority over them. When the followers of Kharatara gaccha tried to re-establish their authority, the opponent followers of other gacchas succeeded to gain authority over those reformed temples through a royal decree during the regime of King Siddharāja Jaya Siṃha. Thus when 8 to 10 reformed temples were usurped by the opponents, Jinavallabha Sūri started his protest against this injustice and against lax-conduct of Temple dwellers. The Temple dweller tradition, till then following a policy of conciliation, as and when the situation demanded, maintained its influence on the Paṭṭaṇa congregation. But enraged with this type of oppugnant activities of Jinavallabha Sūri, the Paṭṭaṇa congregation expelled him from the congregation.

Jinavallabha Sūri left Paṭṭaṇa thinking that to stay in such a pernicious milieu would hinder his main object i.e. propagation and glorification of Jain Order. So all through his life, he remained outside, in places like Cittauḍa etc and by constructing reformed temples, he engaged in propagation of his tenets and doctrines.

After Jinavallabha Sūri left Paṭṭaṇa, Jinadatta Sūri encouraged his followers to re-establish control on reformed temples. The opponents expelled him from Paṭṭaṇa through royal order blaming the act as provocative and trouble-creating.  Hence Jinadatta Sūri too, like Jinavallabha, never again stepped into Paṭṭaṇa during his life time. Evidences are available in Jain literature confirming the fact that entry of ācāryas, monks etc of Paurṇamika Kharatara gaccha etc. was banned into Paṭṭaṇa until the regime of Cālukya king, Bhīmadeva II, (Vikram 1235 to 1298).

During their growth, flourishing and declining period, the Temple dweller monks permanently lived in their temples. Eating, drinking, sleeping, bathing, collectively (both males and females together) singing the kīrtanas, sitting throughout the  night  in religious gatherings (Jāgaraṇa) and dance and music by dancers and eating betel etc, all these activities were carried out by them in the temples itself.

Jinavallabha Sūri installed and inaugurated Jina temples. He made such arrangements in them that no beliefs or no activities against the scriptures were to be preached or performed there. No one should take a bath at night, no ascetic owns these temples, and no feeling of possessiveness should be entertained. Women cannot enter these temples at night, no discrimination should be shown on the basis of caste and creed etc, and the laity should never eat betel in the premises.

As a result of these rules and regulations, Jinavallabha Sūri called all those temples as reformed temples which were either already built or will be built by his followers.

Jinacandra Sūri, the disciple of Jinadatta Sūri and his disciple Jinapati Sūri never went to Paṭṭaṇa in their life time as they were aware of the incidents and their repercussions connected with Jinavallabha Sūri and Jinadatta Sūri.

This type of differences and conflicts grew further amongst different traditions / congregations with the passage of time. It reached its zenith during the second phase of Vikram 16th Century and the first three decades of 17th century.

Upādhyāya Dharma Sāgara of Tapā gaccha vehemently criticised Kharatara gaccha. He also claimed that Ācārya Jinavallabha Sūri was the monk of Temple dweller tradition till his death. Dharma Sāgara using contemptible language for Jinadatta Sūri called him Auṣṭrika and his gaccha as Auṣṭrika gaccha, 'Cāmuṃḍā gaccha' and even Kharatara Mahāna Gardabha (great donkey) gaccha.

As a result of this rivalry amongst various traditions, the opponents using foul language criticised Jinavallabha Sūri and Jinadatta Sūri, and did not lag behind in chastising even Varddhamāna Sūri, the celebrated monk who brought the pure form of Jina doctrine before each and every member of the society.

Upādhyāya Dharma Sāgara was not satisfied with his harsh unruly criticism of Varddhamāna Sūri. He further tried hard to prove the Śramaṇa tradition propounded by Varddhamāna as entirely different to and separate from Suvihita tradition. He even said that believing the propriety of conduct of Kharatara gaccha as authentic tantamount to refuting the entire Jina Order and Jina doctrine, because the decorum of Kharatara gaccha ascetics and the preaching of Lord Jina were like opposite poles and would lead the devotees in opposite directions.

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
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. Apabhraṃśa
  2. Dharma
  3. Gaccha
  4. Guru
  5. Jaya
  6. Jina
  7. Jinadatta Sūri
  8. Kharatara Gaccha
  9. Māna
  10. Tapā Gaccha
  11. Upādhyāya
  12. Ācārya
  13. ācāryas
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