Jain World

Sub-Categories of Passions - The Sacred Sravana - Belagola





Fortunately, the successiong lists of such Jaina �gurus� have been mentioned in about a dozen inscriptions at Sravana-Belagola. These inscriptions give, in addition to the names of �gurus� some interesting items of information about the learning, authorship and polemecal skill of the �gurus� the kings or chiefs by whom they were honoured, the manner in which they ended their life, and so forth. The earliest inscription (i.e. No.62) containing a list of �gurus� is dated about 900 A.D. It means that, for a period of five centuries, the practice of giving succession lists of Jaina �gurus� was maintained. Obviously such lists are not only very informative but also immensely useful from the historical point of view, as they contain authentic records of the time. For example, in the Inscription No. 64, dated 1163 A.D., the spiritual descent of �Guru� is given as follows :

Gautam and others

(In their line)



(In this line)

Kondakunda alias Padmanandi

(In his line)

Umasvati alias Gridhrapichchha


(In his line)



Pujyapada alias Devanadi alias Jinendrabuddhi



(In his line)



Kumaradeva alias Aviddhakarna-Padmanandi

Kulabhushana  Prabhachandra




Devakirti(died in 1163 A.D.)


Further, such inscriptions giving succession lists of jaina gurus� also provide greatly valuable information in brief about their scholastic and other achievements. The specific information of this type about some of important gurus as mentioned in these inscriptions is as follows :

1.    Kundakunda : He was the leader of the �Mula-sangha� congregation of the ascetics. Inscription No. 127, dated 1115 A.D., states that he had the power of walking in the sky. This is mentioned in several other records also. Again, Inscription No. 351, dated 1119 A D., states that he walked in the sky four inches above the earth and Inscrlption No. 254, dated 1398 A.D., gives a poetical explanation of this by saying that he did so in order to show that he was not touched in the least both within and without by dust (or passion), the earth being the  abode of dust.

2.    Umasvati : He is the authour of Tattvarthasutra and is also known as �Griddhapichacharya�.

3.    Samantabhadra : He is termed as �Vadi-simha�(i.e. a lion in disputation) and as �Samasta-vidyanidhi�(i.e., a repository of all learning). It is stated that he destroyed disease Known as �bhasmaka�, and his eagerness for, and skill in, disputaions are thus described in his own word : �At first the drum was beaten by me (as a challenge to disputants) in the city of Pataliputra, and afterwards in the country of Malava, Sindhu and Thakka (i.e. the Punjab), at kanchi and at Vidisha (i.e. Bhilsa). I have now arrived at Karahataka (i.e. karalada=karada) Desirous of  dispoutation, O King, I exhibit the sporting of a tiger. When the disputant Samantabhadra stands in thy court, O King, even the tongue of Dhurjati (i.e. Siva) who talks clearly and skilfully, turns back quickly towards the nape of the neck. What hope can there be  for other ?�

4.    Sivakoti : He was a disciple of Samantabhadra and the author of a commentary on Tattvarthasutra.

5.    Akalanka : He defeated the Buddhists in disputation and overcame �Tara� who had became secretly manifest in a pot.

6.    Vakragriva : He expounded the meaning of the word �atha� (i.e. then) for six months.

7.    Simhanandi : He was the founder of the Ganga kingdom.

8.    Maghanandi : He was the founder of the �tirtha� at Kolhapur.

9.    Pujyapada : He was so called because his feet were worshipped by the  forest deities. At first named Devanandi by his �guru� he was subsequently known as Jinendra buddhi� since he was endowed with eniversal intelligence like Jina. He was the author of the � Jainendra Grammar�, the �Sarvatha-siddhi�, which is a commentrary on �Tattvarthasutra�, the �Jinabhisheka�, and the �Samadhisatalk�. It is stated of Pujyapada that he was unrivalled in the power of healing and that the water in which his feet were washed could transform iron into gold.

10.   Gopanandi : He is said to have been a great poet and a logician; he caused the Jaina religion, which had for a long time been at a stan-still, to attain the prosperity and fame of the time of the Ganga kings an achievement which was quite impossible for any one else.

11.  Prabhachandra : He was honoured by king Bhoja of Dhara. He was the authour of a celebrated work on logic. It is also stated that Santala Devi, the chief queen of Hoyasala monarch Vishnuvardhana, was the lay disciple of Prabhachandra.

12.  Damanandi : He is described as the vanquisher of the great disputant Vishnubhatta.

13.  Jinachandra : He was as though a Pujyapada in the Jainendra grammar, a Bhattakalanka in logic and a Bharavi in literature.

14. Trimushtideva : He was so called because he was content with three fistfuls of food.

15.  Vasavachandra : It is stated that he attained celebrity as �Bala-Saraswati� in the Chaulkya capital.

16. Yashahkirti : He was honored by the king of Simhala, i.e., Ceylon or Shri Lanka.

17.  Gollacharya : Before becoming an ascetic Gollacharya was the ruler of the Golla  country and belonged to the family of King Mutana-Chandila.

18. Traikalyagogi : He is said to have made a Brahama-rakshasa his pupil and converted the oil of �honge� tree (pongamia glabra) into pure ghee. They very thought of him drove away evil spirits.

19.  Meghachandratraividya : He is described as an equal of Jinasena and Virasena in philosophy, as Akalankadeva himself in the six schools of logic, and Pujyapada himself in grammar.

20.  Sruta-kirti : He is astonished the learned by composing the �Raghava-Pandaviyam� in such a way that it could be read both forwards and backwards.

21. Sruta-muni : He is described as a Pujyapada in Grammar, as an Akalanka in logic and as Kunda-kunda in the knowledge of the self.

22.  Ajita-sena : He bore the title �Vadibha-Simha� and was the presceptor of the great commander-in-chief Chamunda-Raya and of his son, Jinadevana.  It is said that he directed Chamunda-Raya to give the name of Belagola to the village where the image of Bahubali was erected.  He was also known as Ajitasena-Bhattarka.

           These great Jaina saints were associated, in one way or the other,  with the sacred place of Sarvana-Belagola.  Obviously, this kind of continued association raised the importance of this holy place to that of a spiritual center.  In addition, the Jaina saints who resided at Sarvana-Belagola paid considerable attention to scholarship and learning.  In the difficult subjects like Grammar, Poetry, Prosody, Siddhanta, Medicine and Logic, these saints of Sarvana-Belagola strove to achieve distinction, and they devoted their quiet lives in the pursuit of learning.  The best representative of such celebrated saints Siddhanta-Chakravati Nemichandra.  He composed at Sarvana-Belagola his reputed philosophical treatises entitled (1) Dravya-sangraha (2) Gommatasara-Java-kanda (3) Gommatasara-Karma �Kanda, (4) Labdhisara, (5) Kshapanasara and (6) Trilokasara.  He also wrote a work named Pratishthapatha, which consists directions for the establishment and consecration of images.  In his work he always makes obeisance to his preceptors, viz., Abhaya-nandi, Indra-nandi, Vira-nandi, and Kanaka-nandi.  Due to these classic and standard philosophical treatises, Nemichandra was popularly known as �Siddhanta-Chakravarti, i.e. �the Paramount Lord of Philosophy� .  But Nemichandra is still better known as the preceptor of Chmunda-Raya, the chief minister and military General of the Ganga Kingdom. In fact Chamunda-Raya was his most favourite disciple, and we find that Nemichand composed his one philosophical treatise according to the desire of Chmunda-Raya, who wished to learn the exposition of substances as enumerated in the canonical works of the Jainas and that he named it �Gommatasara� as it was composed for the reading of Chmunda-Raya, who was also known as Gommata-Raya.  This intimate relationship between Nemichandra and Chmunda-Raya is best expressed in were in an inscription dated about 1530 A.D., engraved in the enclosure of Padmavati temple in Nagar Taluka of Shimoga District as follows :

״ֻ������ָ� -��ϴ��� . . . . . . . .

���׾� ���״֭֓��: �

׾ֳ��ן� ����ۭ�֍�-��־�Գ����:

��ִ�㝛���֕�٬֟�-��֤��֩: �

i.e. �(The author of ) Trilokasara and other works��.. Nemichandra the Saiddhantika Sarvabhauma ( the Paraount Lord of those versed in the Siddhantas ) shines in this world, his lotus-feet worshipped by Chamunda-Raya�. Though a fragment of this verse if effaced, the meaning is quite clear. The �Saiddhantika Sarvabhauma� is a synonym of the epithet �Siddhanta-Chakravarti�, generally applied to Nemichadra. Further, at the instance of Acharya Nemichadra, Chamunda-Raya installed the colossal image of Bahuabali on the Vindhyagiri hill and performed is consecration ceremony on the 13th of March 981 A.D. under his personal guidance. Again, according to tradition, Chamunda-Raya, after eracting the colossal image, appointed his guru Nemichandra as the head of the Matha i.e., monastery, at Sarvana-Belagola. Moreover, out of the two figures sculptured below the inscription on the pillar, known as Tyagada Brahmadeva Pillar, on the Vindhyagiri hill, the one flanked by Chauri-bearers is said to represent Chmunda-Raya and other his guru Nemichandra . Obviously, this close association of an eminent saint like Nemichadra with Sarvana-Belagola greatly enhanced the prestige of the place as a spiritual and educational center.