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THE PATH OF ARHAT

Justice T.U.Mehta

First Ganadharas

The first religious conference called ‘Samavasarana' at which the master gave his first sermon was held on the bank of river Ujjuvaliya (Rjubalika). This discourse remained unfruitful in the sense that nobody came forth to take Samnyasa. However, the second discourse at Pava was most successful. As we shall notice hereafter Indrabhuti Gautam had a debate with the master on the existence of ‘self'. As he was satisfied he became the first disciple of note. His hundred of pupils also became Mahavira's disciples. Story of Indrabhuti's conversion went round with the result that ten other Brahmins learned in Vedas came to the master and had discourses with him on various subjects, now forming core of Jainism. They all became his disciples. These eleven are called Ganadharas as they were appointed as the first heads of different groups of monks. Mahavira survived all of then except the first Ganadhara Indrabhuti Gautam and the fifth one Sudharma. It is significant that all these first principal disciples were Brahmins of great repute and learning which shows that the silent ideological revolution had already started in the intelligentsia of the time.