Ancala Gaccha

Published: 06.07.2011
Updated: 17.12.2012
Añcala Gaccha, Añcala-Gaccha, Vidhi-pakṣa

Ancala Gaccha

The Ancala Gaccha has a traditional story that its name originated through permission being given by a suri, a teacher and head of a gaccha, to a laywoman who had forgotten to bring her muhpatti (mouth-shield) for temple ritual, to use the ancala (edge) of her sari instead. Another more likely derivation is that Ancal comes from acala (firm).

The Ancala Gaccha is still in existence today, but is almost completely unstudied from the historical point of view. Helmuth von Glasenapp in his work Der Jainismus. Eine Indische Erlösungsreligion (transl.: Jainism. An Indian Religion of Salvation) wrote in 1925 CE:

"Añcala Gaccha (also called Vidhi-pakṣa) traces back its teachers to Uddyottana; its founder was Upādhyāya Narasiṁha, called later as Ārya-rakṣita Sūri (1157 CE). According to the tradition he had been a Paurṇamīyaka before. It is said that the blind Śrāvika Nāṭī played a significant role in the Origin of the Gaccha.

The name of the sect is derived from the practice that in it the seam (Añcala) of the garment can be used in place of mouth-cloth. Today 10-15 Sādhus and 30-40 Sādhvīs belong tu the sect. The Sādhus do not have an Ācārya at the moment, but the Yatis have a Śrīpūjya. Śrīpūjyas are highly respected in the Añcala-Gaccha."


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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Gaccha
  2. Jainism
  3. Muhpatti
  4. Sādhus
  5. Sādhvīs
  6. Upādhyāya
  7. Yatis
  8. Ācārya
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