Jainism After Mahavira

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Jainism After Mahavira

-Presented By - Jinesh Sanjay Jain Papdiwal

Lord Mahavira attained nirvana on Kartik Krishna Amavasya. After Lord Mahavira's nirvana, Indrabhuti Gautama, the Ganadhara, headed the Jaina church for the next 12 years.

Spread Of Jainism After Lord Mahavira Within India

Indrabhuti Gautama

Gautama Swami was the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankar. He was the prime Ganadhara of Mahavira. His real name was Indrabhuti Gautama, but he is often referred to as Gautama because that was his gotra. He was a kevalgyani and headed the Jain lineage after Lord Mahavira. After Gautama Swami attained nirvana, Sudharma Swami headed the Jain church.

Sudharma Swami

Sudharmacharya, also know as Lohacharya, became a Kevalgyani(having complete and full spiritual knowledge) on the same day when Gautama Swami his guru attained nirvana. He then after heading the Jain lineage for 12 years attained Nirvana in 507 BC at the ripe age of 100. After he gained omniscience, the religious order was entrusted to his principal pupil, Jambuswami. During the period of his stewardship, Sudharmaswami composed the Lord's teachings in 12 parts, which are known as 12 Angagamas Many of the Agamas are composed in the form of questions asked by the disciple Jambuswami and the replies given by Sudharmaswami.

Jambu Swami

He followed Sudharma Swami for 38 years. He, like the earlier heads, was also a Arihant Kevalins. He is said to be the last Kevalin.

The Jain Monalistic Lineage

The Arhant Kevlins were followed by Shrutakevalins who had full Spiritual Knowledge but could not attain the spiritual status of an Arihant Kevalin. The Shrutakevlins are munis.

The First Shrutakevalins were:

  1. Vishnudeva
  2. Aparajita
  3. Govardhana
  4. Bhadrabahu

Bhadrabahu was the last leader of the undivided Sangha. After him there were two branches in the lineage. In both branches, some of the oral tradition was gradually lost. The two branches eventually became the two traditions Digambaras and the Shwetambaras, although formal recognition of the separation is encountered in the 5th century CE.

As time passed much of the tradition and knowledge owned by the earlier Sutakevalin was lost. There came a time when there were no Jain munis. In the recent years the Knowledge and charya of Jain munis was re-established and preached by Charitra Chakravarti Aacharya ShantiSagarji Maharaj. He was the first Digambar Jain Acharya of the 20th century, and the first Digambar Jain monk to wander in North India after several centuries. He read the old Jain manuscripts and extensively preached as well practiced the Jain culture.