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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): 57th and 58th Pontiffs of Lord Mahāvīra Tradition

Published: 14.09.2016

57th Pontiff
Ācārya Mantrasena
58th Pontiff
Ācārya Vijayasiṃha
Birth V.N.1754 V.N.1812
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1776 V.N.1832
Became ācārya V.N.1806 V.N.1842
Heavenly Abode V.N.11842 V.N.1913
Household life duration 22 years 20 years
Ordinary monk tenure 30 years 10 years
Period of ācārya status 36 years 71 years
Complete monkhood 66 years 81 years
Total longevity 88 years 101 years

42nd epochal - ācārya Sumiṇa Mitra

Birth V.N.1810
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1822
Ordinary monk tenure V.N.1822 – 1840
Tenure of epochal - ācārya V.N.1840 – 1918
Household life duration 12 years
Ordinary monk tenure 18 years
Period of epochal - ācārya 78 years
Heavenly Abode V.N.1918
Total life span 108 years

In one of the verse of Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya it is mentioned that Sūtrakṛtāṃga will be lost with the death of monk 'Mahā Sumiṇa" in V.N. 1900.

Ācārya Śivarājajī, the 59th Pontiff of Lord Mahāvīra tradition

Birth V.N.1882
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1900
Attained ācārya status V.N.1913
Heavenly Abode V.N.1957
Household life duration 18 years
Ordinary monk tenure 13 years
Period of ācārya status 44 years
Complete monkhood 57 years
Total longevity 75 years

43rd epochal - ācārya Śrī Harimitra

Birth V.N.1882
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1902
Period of ordinary monk V.N.1902 - 1918
Tenure as epochal - ācārya V.N.1918 - 1963
Period of household life 20 years
Period of ordinary monk 16 years
Period of epochal - ācārya 45 years
Heavenly Abode V.N.1963
Total life span 81 years

44th epochal - ācārya Śrī Viśākha gaṇi

The name of 44th epochal - ācārya is mentioned in Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya. Certain Aṃga Śāstras were lost after his demise in V.N. 2000 (Vikram 1530). It is inferred that when 43rd epochal - ācārya left his body in V.N. 1963; his successor Pontiff Viśākhamuni was ordained into the rank of 44th epochal - ācārya. He held office from V.N. 1963 to 2000, i.e. for 37 years. Evidences are available that a great ācārya named Viśākha existed in yore.

A few copies of 'Niśītha' were made under the sanctified aegis of Viśākha gaṇi, [the one described in Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya] the 44th epochal ācārya, who was adorned with the post of 'Mahattarā'. He was an ocean of knowledge, epitome of pure code of conduct of Śramaṇas and an exemplary scholar in religious doctrines.

We can conclude that up to V.N. 2000 (Vikram 1530) the tradition of epochal - ācāryas, who strictly adhered to the tenets of Jain doctrine, though in a declining phase, was in existence.

In the minds of intellectual readers, obviously the doubt arises that - 'the era of a religious reformer Lokāśāha' started in Vikram 1508. Enlightened by his preaching, in 1531 Bhāṇajī and 44 other spiritual aspirants took initiation into the tradition originated by Lokāśāha which was based on non-violence, compassion and pure Jina tenets. In such a situation, if Viśākha gaṇi existed in Vikram 1493 to 1530, somewhere a mention should be there about him and his tradition, and Lokāśāha would have met him.

All we can say about this is that substantial evidences about the life of Lokāśāha, his birth, birth place, parents and their names, the books authored by him, his achievements and death, etc. are not available till date. With every detail so obscure, we cannot even infer whether he had met Viśākha gaṇi or not. However, from Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya and eulogy of Niśītha it is apparent that Viśākha gaṇi lived in V.N. 2000 (Vikram 1530).

The names either Viśākha gaṇi or Viśākha Muni were not at all mentioned anywhere in the Paṭṭāvalīs of Śvetāmbara tradition. But in the Paṭṭāvalīs of Digambara Tradition and the so called 'Nandī Āmnāya Paṭṭāvalī' mention about an ācārya called Viśākha, however, was the successor Pontiff of Ācārya Bhadrabāhu - knower of 14 prior canons and the last omniscient ācārya. It was mentioned that he was the first knower of 10 prior canons. Apart from this Viśākhācārya, no other Viśākhācārya was mentioned anywhere in the Paṭṭāvalīs of Digambara tradition. And this Viśākha muni held the office of ācārya for 10 years from V.N. 163 to 173.

Now the question is whether this Viśākhācārya, knower of 10 prior canons who held the office from V.N. 163 to 173 is the same mentioned in eulogy of Niśītha?

With a careful analysis, a conclusion can be derived that the Viśākhācārya mentioned by Digambara tradition who held the rank from V.N.163 to V.N.173 and the one mentioned in eulogy of Niśītha were in no way one and the same. They were different.

The original copy of Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya written on palymra leaves in Vikram 1452 is available in Pāṭaṇa Library. The author of this text clearly mentioned that certain aṃgas were lost or would be lost after the Nirvāṇa of Mahāvīra within a given period of time with the death of a particular ācārya and the name of the last knower of these aṃgas. It is as follows:

  1. Sthūlabhadra was the first ācārya, who was the knower of 10 prior canons.
  2. Satyamitra was the last ācārya who knew 10 prior canons.
  3. The knowledge of prior canons will be lost in V.N. 1000, with the demise of Devarddhi kṣamāśramaṇa.
  4. Vyākhyā Prajṅapti comprising of 84,000 verses along with six other limbs will be lost in V.N. 1250, with the death of Dinna gaṇi Puṣyamitra.
  5. Samavāyāṃga will be lost with the death of Ācārya Sambhūti of Māḍhara lineage in V.N. 1300.
  6. Sthānāṃga disappears with the demise of Ācārya Ārjava Yati (Sambhūti) in V.N. 1350(1360).
  7. Kalpavyavahāra Sūtra will be lost with the demise of Jyeṣṭhabhūti (Jyeṣṭhāṃga gaṇi) of Kāśyapa lineage in V.N. 1400.
  8. Daśāśrutaskandha will be lost with the demise of the veracious Ācārya Falgumitra of Gautama lineage in V.N. 1500 (1520).
  9. Sūtrakṛtāṃga will be lost with the death of Ācārya Mahāsumiṇa (Sumiṇa Mitra / Swapna Mitra) of Bhāradwāja Gotra in V.N. 1900.
  10. Knowledge of a few aṃgas (limbs) will be lost between the periods V.N. 2000 to V.N. 3000, with the demise of Viśākha Muni in V.N. 2000.
  11. Ācārāṃga will be lost with the demise of Viṣṇumuni of Hārita Gotra in V.N. 2000.
  12. Ācārāṃga will be fully lost just a few seconds before V.N. 2100, with the demise of ācārya Duḥprasaha, the last knower of Ācārāṃga.

Thus the author of Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya described briefly the disappearance of 10 great spiritual powers like omniscience etc. with the salvation of Ārya Jambū in V.N. 64 and the gradual loss of ten limbs / aṃgas from V.N. 170 to V.N. 2100.

The ancient Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya, a gigantic work with 1, 00,000 verses was written by Gaṇadharas on the basis of sermons propounded by Lord Mahāvīra himself. And the present small Titthogālī Paiṇṇaya was written in V.N. 1452 on palmyra leaves on the basis of the ancient text. It is available in the repository / library of Pāṭaṇa.


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. Body
  2. Daśāśrutaskandha
  3. Digambara
  4. Gautama
  5. Gotra
  6. Jina
  7. Mahāvīra
  8. Muni
  9. Nirvāṇa
  10. Niśītha
  11. Non-violence
  12. Omniscient
  13. Sūtra
  14. Yati
  15. Ācārya
  16. Ārjava
  17. ācāryas
  18. Śvetāmbara
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