Jain World
Sub Categories of Jain Books
Books on Line

History Of Jainism






Legendary History

  Life of Parshva

Life of Vardhamana Mahavira

  The Jain Church After Mahavira
  Extension of Jainism -Early Period
  The Schisms
  History of the Digambaras
  Canonical Literature of the Shwetambaras
  Sacred Books of the Digambaras
  The Tirthankaras

The Sthaviravali of the Kalpa Sutra

  Sthaviravali of the NandiSutra
  The Pattavali (List of Pontiffs) of the (Shvetambara)

The Pattavali (List of Pontiffs) of the (Digambara)

  Jain Books
  Catalog of Books in English
  Catalog of Books in Hindi
  Catalog of Books in Gujarati
  List of Books, Topics & Sub-topics and Authors


4. Lexicons

Hemachandra compiled four lexicons: 1 Abhidhanachintamani a lexicon in the same style as the Amarakosa: 2. Anekarthasangraha, a dictionary of homonyms: 3. Nighantu, a dictionary of medicinal plants: 4. and Deshinamamala, and dictionary of (native) words not derivable by the rules of Sanskrit of Prakrit grammars.

Besides these, Hemachandra also wrote on Poetics Kavyanushasana, Prosody (Chandonushasana) Naya, (Pramnamimansa). Yogashastra, etc. He also composed some devotional songs.

Jayasinha, the ruler of Gujarata, did not have a son; and therefore, there was no direct heir to the throne of Gujarat. Until his last days, however, he hankered for a son. For this purpose he had once gone to the temple of Somanath on pilgrimage. Hemachandra had accompanied him to this temple. Hemachandra and the Jain ministers of Jayasinha wanted that in the absence of a son, Kumarapala who was a descendant of Jayasinha's father's step brother, should succeed him. All the Jain ministers and rich merchants were therefore secretly helping Kumarapala whom Jayasinha himself disliked. When on the death of Jayasinha (AD 1143) Kumarapala actually succeeded him, he was deeply grateful to the Jains.

Hemachandra became a life long friend and adviser of Kumarapala. All the Jain historians of the period say that under his advice Kumarapala prohibited the killing of animals in his Kingdom, and became a Jain himself. It is quite apparent that he loved Jainism: but as K. M. Munshi says, "Kumarpala never foreswore his ancestral faith" and "all the epigraphical evidence describe him as a devotee of Shiv".14

However, the fact remains that in northern India there have been few kings as friendly to the Jains as Kumarapala.

Kumarapala died in 1173. Hemachandra had died six months before Kumarapala's death.

The Jain influence has, however remained strong in Gujarat all these centuries. The Jains have produced not only many learned men, but they have also continued to build magnificent temples all over the state at such sites where the hand of the idol breakers would not easily reach.

In Abu, Vimala Shaha, the minister of the Chaulukya ruler Bhima had built the famous temple of Rishavanatha in 1032. Exactly 200 years later, two brothers Vastupala and Tejapala, built the famous temple of Neminatha here in 1232 . The old temple of Neminatha at Girnar (3,000 ft) was restored in 1278. The Shatrunjaya hill (about 2000 ft.) at Palitana was covered by innumerable Jain temples throughout the ages. One of them, the Chaumukah temple of Adinatha was built in 1618.

The Svetambaras of the neighboring area of Rajasthan also were great builders. The large and beautiful temple in Ranakpur near Sadri in the Pali district was built in 1439. It covers an area of over 4000 square meters. Dharanaka ordered to build it and is dedicated to Adinatha. In Osia (Jodhpur district) also they continued to build temples for many centuries. Osia is said to be the original home of the Osavala Shvetambara Jains.

5. Painting

A school of miniature paintings flourished among the Jains of Gujarat from the 11th to the 16th century. It consisted mainly in the illumination of manuscripts. In the earlier centuries these manuscripts were on palm leaf, and later on paper. The most popular work for illumination was the Kalpa-Sutra. (Later the art was taken up by the non- Jains also and Krishnalila scenes became their favorite subjects. Near about the 16th century secular subjects, mainly love scenes, were also painted.)

In the earlier period the backgrounds of the paintings were brick-red, but from the 15th century there was lavish use of blue and gold. The characteristics of the Jain paintings are: angular faces in 3/4th profile, pointed nose, eyes protruding beyond the facial line and abundance of ornamentation.

(The Gujarat painters in still later centuries became the fore-runners of the Rajput school of Paintings.)

Hira Vijay Suri

Among the Jain learned persons of the 17th century the greatest was Hira Vijay Suri of Gujarat. In Ain 30 of his Ain-i-Akbari, Abul Fazl gives a list of 140 learned persons of his time. Of these 140, he places 21 persons in the first class: "Such as understand the mysteries of both worlds." Nine of these 21 were non-muslims. They were15 1. Madhu Sarsuti 2. Madhusudan 3. Narayan Asram 4. Hariji Sur 5. Damudar Bhat 6. Ramtirth 7. Nar Sing 8. Parmindar 9. Adit. Thus Hira Vijaya Suri (name wrongly transliterated by Blochman as Hariji Sur) was recognized as one of the 21 most learned people in the Mughal empire.

Akbar heard of him from some local Jains of Fathepur Sikri and was anxious to meet him. He sent orders to Sihabuddin Ahmad Khan, Governor of Gujarat that Hira Vijaya Suri should be sent to Fatehpur Sikri when it was possible, and all possible help such as escorts, and elephants and horses as conveyances should be provided to him.

Hira Vijaya Suri16 was born in an Osavala family in Palanpur in Gujarat in 1527. His parents had died when he was still an infant, and he was brought up by his two elder sisters. He became the disciple of Vijayadana Suri in 1540 at the age of 13, and a new name Hira Harsh was given to him. He was taken to Devagiri- a center of Sanskrit learning in those days, for further education. He successively won the title of Pandit in 1550, Upadhyaya in 1552 and Suri in 1553. This last title he won at Sirohi. Hence-forth he was known as Hira Vijaya Suri. In 1556 when his guru died, the Shvetambara community of Gujarat selected him as their bhattaraka.

There was a great rejoicing among the Jains of Ahmedabad, when the Emperor's order was received. Many other learned Jain sadhus decided to accompany the Suri to the capital. The Jain rules for the ascetics provide that they should live only on that much cooked food that a householder would give him out of the good cooked ordinarily for his household. But there would not be that many Jain households all along the way from Ahmedabad to Fatehpur Sikri to give alms to this large Group of sadhus (said to have been 67) accompanying Hira Vijaya Suri. Some householders therefore also traveled with this group. They would leave earlier than the sadhus in the morning, travel some distance and cook the daily food under a tree on the roadside, and wait for the party of sadhus to arrive there.

Naturally, Hira Vijaya as a strict Jain ascetic did not avail of the elephants provided by the Governor of Gujarat but traveled on foot all the way.

Hira Vijaya Suri entered Fatehpur Sikri on Jyestha Krishna 12, in AD 1582. "The weary traveler was received with all the pomp of imperial pageantry, and was made over to the care of Abul Fazl until the sovereign found leisure to converse with him. After much talk upon the problem of religion and philosophy, first with Abul Fazl and then with Akbar, the Suri paid a visit to Agra. At the close of the rainy season he returned to Fatepur Sikri, and persuaded the emperor to release prisoners and caged birds, and to prohibit killing of animals on certain days. In the following year (1583) those orders were extended, and disobedience to them was made a capital offense. Akbar renounced his much loved hunting and restricted the practice of fishing. The Suri, who was granted title of Jagad-Guru or world teacher returned in 1584 to Gujarat by way of Agra and Allahabad.".17

One of the learned persons who had accompanied Hira Vijaya Suri to Fatehpur Sikri remained at court. His name was Bhanu Chandra. It may be mentioned, that Bhanu Chandra (as Bhan Chand) and an other Jain Vijayasena Suri (as Bijai Sen Sur) are included in Abul Fazl's list of "The learned Men of the Time". He placed them in the fifth class. "The fifth class are bigoted, and cannot pass beyond the narrow sphere of revealed testimony." In other words, Bhanu Chandra and Vijya Sena were learned in the Jain Shvetambara texts, but did not have the width of vision which the learned men of the first class like Hira Vijaya Suri had.

Abul Fasl has quite a long18 and detailed chapter about the Jain religion in his Ain-i-Akbari. He might have received much of this knowledge from Bhanu Chandra. He wrote "The writer has met with no one who had personal knowledge of both orders and his account of the Digambaras has been written as it were in the dark, but having some acquaintance with the learned of the Shvetambara order, who are also known as the Sewra he has been able to supply a tolerably full notice."19

It is noteworthy that until the beginning of the 17th century we do not hear of any learned Digambaras in northern India. Learned Jains had been working in the court of Delhi even before the Mughals also. One Thakkar Pheru was the assayer of the treasury of Alauddin Khalji (1316) and later became mint-master during the reign of Qutubuddin Mubarak (1320). He wrote a treatise on astrolabes, the Yantra Raja. Writing his commentary on this book Mahendra Suri's disciple Malayendu Suri said, "The book was written by Mahendra Suri who was Chief Astronomer (Astrologer) of Firuz" (Shah Tughluq, 1351-88).

Both Thakkara Pheru and Mahendra Suri appear to have been Svetambaras.