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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Sectorial Divergence

Published: 11.09.2016

In course of time, Vijayacandra formed 'Vṛddha Pauṣālika Tapā gaccha' and Devendra Sūri 'Laghu Pauṣālika gaccha' respectively. Gradually Vijayacandra Sūri got inclined towards lax conduct. He openly sanctioned perverted allowance for ascetics, such as, they could keep bundle of clothes, could consume ghee, milk, etc every day. Eleven such blemished exceptions are given below.

  1. Ascetics can keep the bundle of clothes.
  2. Can always consume vigaya (normally abstained food like milk, curd, ghee etc.).
  3. Can wash clothes.
  4. Can take fruits, vegetables etc. in alms (gocārī).
  5. Monks (male and female) who are under the vow of Nīvī pratyākhyāna (resolution of restraint) may use ghee.
  6. Monks can accept food brought from outside by female - monks.
  7. Can violate two types of resolutions from the vow of pratyākhyāna (resolution not to commit any faults), which was observed to stop the inflow of karma.
  8. To appease the householders, they can carry out ritualised confession (pratikramaṇa) along with them.
  9.  Laity can go out on the day of extending hospitality to the monks (Saṃvibhāga).
  10. Can keep /store / apply (massage) ground flour and oil Lep (to apply on to body before bath).
  11. Can take the water immediately after being boiled.

(Paṇḍita Śrī Kalyāṇa Vijayajī's Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī, pp 168)

The Tapā gaccha originated in Vikram 1283 through reformation movement based on reformation principles gradually declined to such a worse situation within 174 years of its inception that around Vikram 1457, the 50th Paṭṭadhara, Somasundara Sūri has to propound 36 rules to eradicate the lax conduct adopted by Tapā gaccha monks. They are:

  1. Six verses should be learnt by heart sequentially along with their meanings from the Guru, so as to acquire knowledge.
  2. Always write 5 verses first, before teaching or imparting knowledge to a student.
  3. 500 verses in monsoon season, 800 in autumn and 300 in summer should be studied (Svādhyāya) and contemplated.
  4. 9 stanzas of Navakāra Mantra should be chanted 100 times a day.
  5. Obeisance should be paid to Lord (Deva Vandana) by reciting Śakrastava 5 times a day or at least 2 times or 3 times, depending upon ones' capacity.
  6. One should go regularly to the temple on every 8th and 14th day of the month, and offer veneration to all sages there, and visit at least one monastery every day for the rest of days.
  7. Always pay homage to senior monks, and offer services to the old or suffering monk to the extent possible.
  8. Avoid conversations and such other things while defecating, urinating or procuring alms so as to abide by vow of carefulness while walking (Īryā Samiti).
  9. Recite the stotra of guru of Kṣamāśramaṇa or Navakāra Mantra five times if one goes out without cleansing and brushing, defecates without proper examination of body and the place and if defecates without a waist cloth.
  10. To observe the rule 'Bhāṣā Samiti' (carefulness in speaking) one should not talk with the mouth wide open. The number of times one commits this mistake, the same number of times, he should perform logassas carefully and steadily without moving the body parts.
  11. Unless the situation demands, one should not talk while eating and drinking, while performing religious confession (pratikramaṇa) and while contemplating the internal and external qualities of the soul.
  12. To abide by Eṣaṇā Samiti, (carefulness in seeking alms). If for his requirements, one is able to get pure water, he should not take water, which though without life is entirely pure.
  13. To observe Ādāna Nikṣepaṇā Samiti, (Carefulness while taking and placing the things) one should carefully dust and brush his things and then only place them on the ground. Similarly the objects are not to be dragged; instead they are to be lifted slowly from the ground. If any mistake occurs while dusting, immediately Navakāra Mantra should be recited.
  14. If implements like staff etc. are kept haphazardly, observe Āyaṃbila or study 100 verses from the scriptures, by remaining steadily in the standing posture only.
  15. To abide by Pāriṭhāvaṇiyā samiti, (i.e. the carefulness in disposal), if any being is hurt while defecating, urinating, or spitting, sneezing or coughing (mucus) then observe Nīvī (abstain ghee, milk etc.) and if blemished food is consumed, observe Āyaṃbila.
  16. Before urinating or defecating, first utter 'Aṇujāṇahaṃ jassuggaho' and after completion 'vosire' at those places.
  17. To observe Mana Gupti (restraint over mind) Vacana Gupti (restraint over speech) if in case the words or deeds are influenced passion; observe Nīvī, and if one commits a physical violation, observe fasting and Āyaṃbila.
  18. If by carelessness any organism is hurt, observe Nīvī depending upon the number of sense organs of the organism (if single organ - abstain any one, two organs - 2 and so on). Observe Āyaṃbila if one deviates from the path of truth, by uttering a lie due to anger, passion, fear, or just for fun and frolic.
  19. While observing Asteya (non-stealing) vow, if one receives ghee etc., in first alms, the monk should not consume it without showing to the preceptor. Without prior permission, the monk should not use implements like wooden pot, staff, etc. of others and if he does, observe Āyaṃbila.
  20. While observing the vow of celibacy, one should not talk to a woman in seclusion, and should not teach them in private. While observing the vow of renunciation of possessions, one should possess implements sufficient for one year only and not more than that. In all, more than 15 vessels, the basic objects 'kācalāṃ' etc. should not be maintained. While observing fasting at night, food, water, snacks (light food) and snacks, etc. should not be kept near the sleeping place, even if one is ill.
  21. Even if a monk falls seriously ill, he should avoid drinking potion, and should not drink water during night. He should never take food or water during the last two ghadis (48 minutes) before sunset.
  22. One has to take food or water only when the sun is clearly visible. Food should be consumed before sunset only and Pratyākhyāna (reverential activity done by monks after taking food) completed. Any type of medicine should not be kept in the monastery after sunset.
  23. To observe austerities to the possible extent, one has to necessarily perform 6 types of penance including yogavahana, before eating the procured alms.
  24. Without continuously performing two Āyaṃbilas or three Nīvīs, a monk should not use Vigaya (milk, curd, ghee, gur (unrefined sugar), oil, fried food.). If at all he has used any Vigaya, he should not use sugar on that particular day.
  25. The day, on which the laity has to take Vigaya after continuously observing three Nīvīs, he should not take any other objects of Nīvī without any strong reason; he should not use any Vigaya for the next two days.
  26. On every 8th and 14th day of the month if possible observe fasting or else observe 2 Āyaṃbilaand 3 Nīvīs.
  27. Daily a monk has to take resolutions or restraints regarding (Dravya) specific material, (kṣetra) specific location, (kāla) specific time and (bhāva) specific state, or else one has to undergo contrition (Prāyaścitta). This is what Jītakalpa says.
  28. Observe ethics of strength (vīryācāra) to the extent possible and always memorise 5 verses with their meaning.
  29. He has to counsel five times a day all those who are lackadaisical on the path of asceticism. In spite of that, if someone is still indolent, then he must be assigned the work of serving all the monks for that day.
  30. To burn karma, read 24 or 20 logassas (verses chanted in veneration of 24 Tīrthaṃkaras) or equal number of verses from the scriptures standing steadily.
  31. Due to sleep etc. if one does not attend the congregation in time, then observe Āyaṃbila, and extend services to all the monks.
  32. Help children or diseased monks even if they are not linked with the congregation and if necessary, help them even with a bed pan.
  33. If you forget to say 'Nissihi" while entering into the monastery and 'Āvassahi' while going out, wherever and whenever you remember your mistake chant Navakāra then and there itself.
  34. While carrying out activities, if you forget to address the old monks "Bhagavāna! Pasāya Kari" and the junior monks, "as per your wish" then wherever you made such a mistake there you have to say "Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ". And if you forget even to say that, then whenever or wherever you remember or if some of your companions remind you, chant Navakāra Mantra then and there itself.
  35. Don't give or take anything without asking the seniors, do all the things with their prior consent only.

Somasundara Sūri took severe steps to obliterate the blasphemy and pseudo rituals from his gaccha. Hence yatis and heretics developed contempt and envy towards him. With the help of one of their loyal devotees, the Yatis bribed a barbarous person by giving Rupees 500 to kill Somasundara Sūri when asleep. The person entered into the monastery and raised his weapon to attack Sūrijī, who was sleeping all alone. Meanwhile while turning from one side to other, the ācārya brushed his body gently with the whisk broom, in his sleep with his eyes still closed. The savage was struck with awe observing this. He started thinking

'This great compassionate monk, even in his sleep is taking care not to harm the subtle beings and trying to protect them from (rajoharaṇa) mouth mask. If I kill such an ocean of compassion and a dictum of God, I will definitely go to netherworld and undergo all sorts of grave punishments and resultant agony for infinite times to come. I curse myself".

The person at once fell onto the feet of ācārya begging forgiveness over and over and confiding the entire incident to him. Consoling him with his nectar-like words ācārya preached him the right faith (Samyaktva).

The new Śramaṇas who were initiated into monkhood through reformation, strictly observed the pure Śramaṇa Conduct. However, a dereliction once entertained, enters with its comrades and never leaves the host. Once again the perverted methods crept in during the tenure of 52nd Pontiff Ratnaśekhara Sūri and started increasing gradually.

Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī elucidates that the degeneration reached greater heights during the time of Hemavimala Sūri, the 55th successor Pontiff of Mahāvīra tradition and Ānanda Vimala Sūri, the 56th Pontiff. Besides lax conduct, perversions and variations crept in the pure spiritual path and in the lives of ascetics.

Necessity is the mother of invention. An esteemed personality like Lokāśāha emerged to fulfil the then inevitable necessity – the necessity to bring the derailed Jina Order pandemic with sluggishness and heresy back on to the track of pure spiritual Path.

Had the religious reformers, who emerged from time to time prior to Lokāśāha, incorporated the most significant rule proclaiming that the followers of Lord Mahāvīra, should follow only the scripture promulgated by Jina as authentic and that Niryuktis, Bhāṣyas, Vṛttis and Cūrṇis should never be given equal status and sanctity to that of scriptures, then the necessity to bend towards heresy taking the support of 'Paṃcāṃgī' would not have never risen for the Śramaṇas and Śramaṇīs. The very entry would have remained closed.

In Vikram 1508 Lokāśāha launched the great religious revolution. Lokāśāha himself and his followers and the Janamatīs - monks and female monks who were inspired by religious revolution treaded on the holy path of spiritual purification (the opponents and others called them as Lūṃkāmatī) and started preaching the scripture-based pure spiritual path. Within a short time, the number of his followers increased remarkably. His fame spread far and wide.

Observing the popularity and the ever increasing number of his followers in different parts of the country, the other gacchas were afraid that the fame and popularity of Lūṃkā and his followers may prove fatal to them, uprooting their very existence. Taken over by this fear, eventually the 53rd Pontiff of Tapā gaccha, Ānanda Vimala Sūri also launched a counter -reformation from his side in Vikram 1582 and later in Vikram 1583 declared 35 rules that should be followed by monks, with severe austerity. They are:

  1. To go on religious tour only with the permission of preceptor.
  2. Only people of Vaṇika (merchant) caste should be given initiation into monkhood and other castes are prohibited from taking initiation.
  3. The oath of asceticism to a lady should be given under the aegis of an erudite saint.
  4. When someone disdained from the worldly wants in to be initiated; at that time if the preceptor is in a faraway place, however an erudite saint is readily available, then he should be accepted after thorough scrutiny. Later he should be given an ascetic garb, but methodical initiation should be given only by Guru. Then make him perform yogic activities (yogodvahana) with Ācāmla for scriptural studies.
  5. A group of erudite saints should stay in Pāṭaṇa. For observing rainy season 6 groups of Śramaṇas should halt in each city and 3 groups in each village.
  6. If the preceptor is in a distant place, permission for rainy season halts should be sought through a letter.
  7. No monk should be allowed to peregrinate alone.
  8. If any single monk arrives wandering alone, he should not be offered an elevated seat.
  9. Care should be taken not to commit any faults in seeking alms and in the process of food intake on 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th and 14th days of lunar month, and on no moon and full moon days and during these twelve days one should observe fasting or take light food (Ācāmla) and Nīvī
  10. During increasing phase of tithis (1st day onwards) one day 'Vigaya' (ghee, milk, curd, gur (unrefined sugar) and fried things) should not be taken.
  11. Vessels should not be decorated.
  12. Let the vessels remain black and dirty. Don't make them attractive and shining.
  13. The scriptures should not be studied without carrying out the (yogodvahana) prescribed yogic activities along with Āyaṃbila.
  14. If a monk of any other tradition (Samācārī) happens to go at any time to other monastery, he has to go to the erudite saint, pay obeisance, ask suitable place for halting (Śayyātara) and then go for seeking alms (Bhikṣācarī).
  15. Offer veneration once in a day to the eight hymned deity.
  16. An amount equivalent to 2500 verses should be studied daily from the Scriptures.  If one cannot read that much, at least an amount equal to 100 verses should definitely be read.
  17. The monk should himself carry his belongings like clothes, vessel, blanket etc. he should not allow any householder to carry them.
  18. Should wash clothes once in a year and not more than that.
  19. No monk should attend any educational institution (Pauśāla).
  20. Repeat of 19.
  21. Do not get any scribe to write more than a quantity equal to one thousand verses.
  22. Do not study under Bhaṭṭa (Brāhmaṇa) paying money.
  23. Acceptance of clothes from anyone from the village where one has halted for rainy season.
  24. During the times of famine, observe Ācāmla (light single meal) after Svādhyāya (study of scriptures).
  25. Observe Ekāsana (one meal a day) throughout the year.
  26. While ending the fasts like Bele Vrata (to give up both food and water or only food continuously for two days) austerities should be performed as per the instructions of the preceptor.
  27. Do not go back to seek alms 'Pariṭṭhāvaṇiyāgāreṇaṃ'?
  28. Fasting should be observed on these five days - on 8th, 14th days of (both phases of) lunar month and on 5th day in bright phase.
  29. Do not wander on 8th and 14th days of lunar month.
  30. More than one item from among Nīvī should not be taken.
  31. One should not associate oneself with any monk of any other gaccha other than those of the 84 gacchas without the permission of the Guru.
  32. Do not proclaim any new doctrines or new code of conduct of a saint.
  33. Do not stay in a newly constructed place.
  34. Do not accept clothes with selvage.
  35. Fresh cloth should be rumpled. The new cloth should be strictly left for erudite monks only. They are not meant for any other monks.

(Paṇḍita Śrī Kalyāṇa Vijayajī's Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī, pp 190-193)

Thus Ānand and Vimala Sūri announced 36 rules and wandering in many places led a campaign against other gacchas like Lokā, Kharatara, Kaḍavāmata, Bījāmata gacchas etc. with a view to stabilize, aggrandise and popularise Tapā gaccha. And later for 14 long years he observed severe penance with 'Bele' vow (fasting of two days with only one meal per day, 2 days strict fasting and fourth day afternoon one meal, so on)

With this strict and severe penitentiary austerities and meditation, extensive religious tours, preaching sermons at every place, he evolved Tapā gaccha into a popular gaccha. According to Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī there were 1800 monks under Ānanda Vimala Sūri wandering in different directions spreading the doctrine of Tapā gaccha.

Paṭṭāvalī of Tapā gaccha further mentions that Hīra Vijaya Sūri, the 58th Pontiff was also a great influential propagator.

Caṃpā, a staunch lay devotee of Hīravijaya Sūri, undertook a severe vow of fasting for six months and successfully performed penance in Fatehpur Sikhri. On the eve of the triumphant accomplishment of her severe austerity, the laity of gaccha took out a grand procession playing musical instruments etc. On seeing from his palace the imposing procession, Emperor Akbar enquired his attendants about it. When he was informed about the six months fasting by a lady, he with utmost reverence invited Caṃpādevī to the palace and enquired how she could accomplish such an arduous task. She humbly said that the credit goes to her reverend preceptor Hīravijaya Sūri, because of whose gracious blessings she was able to do it. Akbar was seized with a strong desire to behold the Guru's Darśana. Immediately he sent a royal order to the administrator of Gujarat, Śitābakhāna and a letter of appeal to Hīravijaya Sūri expressing the desire for his Darśana.

The moment he read the decree of Akbar, Śitābakhāna started shivering out of fright. He misbehaved many a times with Hīravijaya Sūri. So he pleaded Hīravijaya Sūri for forgiveness again and again. Completing his tour in Gujarat, Ācārya Hīravijaya Sūri reached Fatehapura Sīkarī. Akbar received him in his court with profound devotion and veneration. He was pleased with ācārya's preaching. He was so impressed that he freed all the confined birds that were kept for his feast. On the advice of ācārya he abolished Jajiyā tax and Mūṃḍakā tax levied on travellers in pilgrim centres. He even passed decrees of 'Amāri' (free from violence). King Mahārāṇā Pratāpa also sent a letter in the service of Hīravijaya Sūri on bright 5th lunar month of Āświna in Vikram 1635 imploring him to visit Udaypur.

Hīravijaya Sūri was a soft spoken, percipient ācārya of great competency. Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī narrates that even Meghajī Ṛṣi, the ācārya of Lokā gaccha, touched by his sermons, left his gaccha and joined Tapā gaccha with 3 disciples in Vikram 1628. Hīravijaya Sūri gave him the name 'Udyotavijaya'. Enlightened by his sermons Jaitāśāha, a courtier of Akbar and a resident of Nagore took initiation into monkhood from Hīravijaya Sūri. He was named as Jītavijaya. But the people used to call him as 'BādaśāhīYati'.

Information is available that Hīravijaya Sūri's gaccha consisted of 2000 monks and 3000 female monks. This was indeed the golden age of Tapā gaccha. Contents of a verse which narrates the 18 branches of Tapā gaccha are given below:

Bijai-1 Vimala-2, Ruci-3, Sāra-4, Harṣa-5 Sundara-6 Saubhāgī -7, Kīrata-8, Dharama-9, Udāra-10, Kuśala Prabha-11 Haṃsa-12 Surāgī 13Nanda-14 Sāgara-15 Canda-16 Soma-17 Varddhana-18 Adhikāī    |

Tapāgaccha śākha Aṭhāraha, E Ṛṣa saba hi bhāī   ||1||

(Tapā gaccha has eighteen branches, and all these saints are bretheren).


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Acharya Hasti Mala
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. Akbar
  2. Anger
  3. Asteya
  4. Bhāva
  5. Body
  6. Celibacy
  7. Darśana
  8. Deva
  9. Devendra
  10. Dravya
  11. Dāna
  12. Ekāsana
  13. Eṣaṇā Samiti
  14. Fasting
  15. Fatehpur
  16. Fear
  17. Gaccha
  18. Ghee
  19. Gujarat
  20. Gupti
  21. Guru
  22. Jina
  23. Karma
  24. Kuśala
  25. Kāla
  26. Kṣetra
  27. Mahāvīra
  28. Mana
  29. Mantra
  30. Meditation
  31. Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ
  32. Paṇḍita
  33. Pratikramaṇa
  34. Pratyākhyāna
  35. Samiti
  36. Samyaktva
  37. Soul
  38. Svādhyāya
  39. Tapā Gaccha
  40. Vacana
  41. Vacana gupti
  42. Vandana
  43. Vimala
  44. Violence
  45. Vrata
  46. Vīryācāra
  47. Yatis
  48. Ācārya
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