Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Essence of Jainism

Search for Happiness
Know Thyself
SAMYAKTVA, the basis of Jainism
ASHTAKARMA - Eight types of Karma
  Theory of Karma and Cycle of Rebirth
  Questions and Answers about the Theory of Karma
  Shaddravya, The Six Substances
  NAV TATTVA : Punya and Paap
  NAV TATTVA : Asrava and Bandha
  Samvar and Nirjara
  Other factors conducive to Nirjara
  The Liberation
  Ladder of Elevation
  Syadvad
  History of Jain Sects and Scriptures
  Glossary

HISTORY OF JAIN SECTS AND SCRIPTURES


 

- By Manubhai Doshi

That time too, the Aagamas remained unwritten. Variations in the version were therefore bound to occur. Ultimately one more convention was held at Valabhipur in 454 A.D. under the leadership Devardhigani Khshamashraman. Authorized version of all the Aagam as (Presumably 84) was prepared at that convention and they were for the first time written down. With the passage of time some of the Aagamas got lost and some got destroyed during Muslim invasions. At present following 45 Aagamas are available that are acceptable to Shwetambar Murtipujak sect:- 11 Angas(The 12th one lost long back), 12 Upangas, 4 Mul Sutras, 6 Chhed Sutras, 10 Misc. and 2 Chulikas.

Digambars started writing their text of Aagamas on the basis of knowledge at their command. Acharyas Dharsen and Gundhar who happened to be in the line of Bhadrabahuswami, were very knowledgeable. Their successors prepared the Shatkhandagam, Gomatasar, Labdhisar etc. that are collectively known as Pratham Shrut Skandha or the first collection of scriptures.

This could have occurred some time after the Patliputra convention. During the second century A.D. the most venerable Kundkunacharya wrote Samayasar, Pravachanasar, Niyamasar, Panchastikaya, Ashtapahud etc. which are known as Dwitiya Shrut Skandha or seco nd collection of scriptures. His Samayasar, Pravachanasar and Panchastikaya are held in high esteem even by Non-Digamabars. Digambar saints accept these works as the most authentic Jain Aagamas and most of the subsequent Digamabar literature is based on t hem. In about 200 A.D. Hon�ble Umaswati wrote his Tattwarthasutra giving the entire essence of Jainism in Sanskrit language. Luckily this book happens to be acceptable to all the sects of Jainism. This shows that despite the outward differences, there is no disputes among them about any of its fundamentals. Several learned commentaries have been written on this book by many Acharyas of both the denominations.

Subsequent well known author is Hon�ble Siddhasen Diwakar who lived during the time of Vikramaditya. He seems to have written on many aspects of Jainism. His Sanmatitark is considered a masterly book and is enthusiastically studied by scholars even at pre sent. Sarvartha Siddhi of Pujyapadswami in 5th or 6th century and Shaddarshan Samucchaya and Yoga Drishti Samucchaya of Acharya Haribhadrasuri in 8th century are the major works after the compilations of Aagamas. By that time idol worship was firmly estab lished and many temples were set up. This necessitated the help of well versed persons for consecrating the idols and for performance of various rituals. In Shwetambar sect this led to the rise of renegade monks known as Yatis. They used to stay in the te mples and therefore came to be known as Chaityavasis. They lived in affluence and availed of all the comforts of life. Haribhadrasuri was the first to castigate their excesses. The evil however seems to have continued long after that.

Noteworthy works after this period are Mahapuran of Digambar Acharya Jinsen (770-850) and Trishashti Shalaka Purush of Hemchandracharya (1088-1173). Both these works are voluminous and deal with the lives of Tirthankaras and other illustrious personalities . Serious efforts were made to curtail the excesses of Yatis in 11th century by Vardhamansuri. This was continued by his successors Jineshwarsuri and Jindattasuri. The latter is popularly known as Dada. He founded Kharatar Gacchha meaning purer sect in about 1150. The excesses Yati however seems to have survived that onslaught.

So far we have talked about contribution of well known Acharyas. Now we come to the contribution of a householder. He was Lonkashah of Ahmedabad. He could not believe that the excesses of Yatis could have religious sanction. Scriptures were however not a ccessible to householders. Luckily, a monk once happened to see the neat handwriting of Lonkashah. He therefore entrusted the latter to make copies of scriptures. While doing that Lonkashah also prepared copies for himself and studied them carefully. Equi pped with that knowledge he came out with a heavy hand against Chaityavasis in 1451. Based on his study of Aagamas, he also disputed idol worship as being against original Jain tenets. This was preamble to setting up Sthanakwasi sect which came into being as non-idol worshippers in 1474. Bhanajimuni was the first known Muni of that sect. Shwetambar sect was thus divided into two sub-sects. This division was however helpful in dealing death blow to the evils of Yatis. Sthanakwasis introduced strict code o f conduct for their monks in contrast to Chaitywasis.

Hirvijayasuri was the well known Acharya of the next century. He seems to have impressed even emperor Akabar who issued proclamation forbidding animal slaughter on certain days. Poet Banarasidas also lived during that period. He was born in a Shwetambar f amily and was an easy going youth. He however happened to read Samayasar and was very much impressed. He has written SamayasarNatak which is a dramatic version of Samayasar. The next two well known personalities are Yogi Ananadghanji and Upadhyaya Yashovi jayaji. The real name of the former was Labhanandji. Since he remained more absorbed in the nature of soul, he is popularly known as Anandghanji. He has written many thought provoking Padas. The most well known is his Ananadghan Chovisi that contains devo tional songs in admiration of all the 24 Tirthankaras. Upadhyaya Yashovijayaji was a prolific writer. He has written on almost every aspect of Jainism in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Gujarati languages. Soon after that Acharya Bhikshu split the Sthanakvasi sect in 1727 on the issue of role of charities etc. in Jainism. The new sect that was set up is known as Terapanthi sect.

The last one to be mentioned is Shrimad Rajchandraji who was born in 1868. He was a highly gifted person. He could heavily impress even Mahatma Gandhi, who considered Shrimad as his guide. He has compiled many devotional songs and has written at length ab out the true nature of soul in the form of letters. Most of his writings is in Gujarati language. Mokshamala and Atmasiddhishastra are his outshining independent publications that have influenced lot of people. He had plans to propound the true Jainism af resh. Unfortunately however he did not survive long and left the mortal body in 1901 at the young age of 33.