31 March 2010

Acharya Kundakunda

Great organizer of highly complex ideas

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, atop a hill known as Ponnur Malai, on a large stone under a certain champa tree pilgrims may come across an engraved pair of stylized footprints (charan). These footprints are symbolic of a thinker who, nearly two millennia ago composed some of the most influential philosophical books in world history. Some scholars from generations since then remember the exact day of their first encounter with his spiritual masterpiece, the Samaya Sara.

Among the most famous of all Jain acharyas, Kundakunda, the celebrated author of the four renowned books Samaya Sara (Treatise of the True Self), Pravachana Sara (Treatise of Lectures), Niyama Sara (Treatise on Pure Rules), Panchastikaya Sara (Treatise on Five Universal Components) and Ashta Pahuda (Eight Steps), which is a collection eight texts. All his works are written in a Jain dialect known as Shourseni Prakrit. The organization of Jain ideas into certain relationships and structures taken for granted in more recent centuries was ultimately a product of his genius. Such has been his fame since early items, that many other books actually written by his pupils and others are popularly ascribed to him. In the Digambar tradition he is named immediately after Lord Mahavira and the preceptor Indrabhuti Goutam in the Mangalacharana (auspicious 
blessing) prayer, and Jains of the Digambar tradition dub their tradition Kundakund-anvaya  (the order  of Kundakunda). However, scholars of all sects study his books with deep veneration.

He was born around the beginning of the first century AD in South India in a place becoming a Jain monk was Padmanandi, but he is better known by the place of his origin. Kundakunda mentions that he was an intellectual descendant of Bhadrabahu I, the last Shrut Kevalin. Kundakunda belonged to an ancient order called the Nandi Sangha, wherein most monks assumed names ending in ‘nandi’. The Punyashrava Katha Kosh mentions that in his previous life, Kundakunda was a cow-herder who had found and preserved ancient texts and was blessed by a wandering monk. Acharya Kundakunda’s intense learning and moral character attracted royal disciples such as King Shivakumar. The story of Kundakunda is also surrounded buy legend- it is even said he could walk in air.

Kundakunda’s influence extends far beyond Jainism. India has always been a land where philosophical debate is a standard feature of intellectual life. The concise and systematized aphorismic forms he brought to Jain literature  and the literary structures in which he explained Jainism’s most advanced scientific principles relating to such area as atomic structure, cosmic dimensions, the cosmic ethers, and psychology, rivaled anything produced up to that time anywhere in the world. Hindu and Buddhist thinkers were put to the task of finding ways to respond to his explications of Jain philosophy and conduct, and he thus set unprecedented levels of erudition and rationalism in India’s overall philosophical discourse which would last through modern times.

Out of enthusiastic respect, Acharya Kundakunda has been called “Light of this Dark Age”. Several commentaries on his Samaya Sara have been written in Sanskrit and modern languages. In more recent centrues, the Samaya Sara had greatly moved leaders and scholars like Banarasi Das, Taran Svami, Shrimad Rajachandra and Kanaji Swami.

Source: Internet

30 March 2010

Acharya Bhadrabahu-I

Leader of the undivided Sangha

Today, most Jains adhere to either of two great traditions: Digambar or Shvetambar. But in antiquity there was only one Jain tradition, and a man named Bhadrabahu holds the distinction of having been the leader of the undivided Sangha.

Teacher - student lineages recorded separately by both the Shvetambar and Digambar traditions join each other when they are traced back to Bhadrabahu, the very last individual to have attained the state of Shrut Kevalin, an authority on the 14 original Purva texts handed down from Mahavira’s own times.

The teachings of omniscient Lord Mahavira were compiled 12 Anga text and 14 Purvas. The Purvas were regarded as part of the  twelfth Anga, entitled Drishtivada. These texts were passed down from teacher to student by a well-regulated system of oral tradition and mnemonics. Teacher recited them and students memorized them. All Jain principles are based on these texts. After Lord Jambu (fifth century BC) who, in all time since, would be the last human being to achieve omniscience, Jain monks and scholars were guided only by these texts. Those who knew all of these texts are called Shrut Kevalins, indicating that although they did not have full and total Keval Jnan through those texts.As already mentioned, Acharya Bhadrabahu was simply the last Shrut Kevalin. Since there have been other Jain acharyas with the name Bhadrabahu , he is sometimes referred to as Bhadrabahu I.

Bhadrabahu was born at Pundravardhan, now in Bangladesh. During his time, the secondary capital of the Mauryans was the city of Ujjain. While there Bhadrabahu was able to perceive through is nimitta jnan (subtle cognition of causes and effects) that there would occur a 12-year famine across North India. He decided the famine would make it harder for monks to survive as it would naturally make them a burden on a society already in need. He thus migrated with a group of monks to South India bringing with him Chandragupta, the aging founder of the Mauryan Empire turned Jain monk.  While Bhadrabahu was away the remaining monks in the North realized that the sacred scriptures were being forgotten. A monk named Sthulabhadra convened a ouncil to recompile the Purva scriptures. However, because Sthulabhadra’s own knowledge of these texts was imperfect, he wanted Bhadrabahu to study the sections missing from his memory. Bhadrabahu taught Sthulabhadra, but forbade him to teach the Purvaa to others upon witnessing a demonstration by Sthulabhadra of certain extra corporal powers, which indicated that with time these sacred scriptures would become corrupted. Thus, the 14 Purvas in their original form  died with these two men.

Bhadrabahu remains an exemplar of dedication to first principles at any cost. After him, the Sangha split into two separate teacher-student lineages of monks. Digambar monks belong to the lineage of Acharya Vishakha and Shvetambar monks follow the tradition of Sthulabhadra. Bhadrabahu composed some new texts as well. In the Shvetambar tradition, Brihatkalpa, Vyavahara, and Nisitha are considered his works.

18 March 2010

Sadhvi Chandanbala (A brief & Known History)

To see a group of Jain nuns pass by is awe-inspiring. Barefoot, clad simply in a pure white garment, white garment, with a gentle demeanor but firm in following a noble but arduous code of conduct, the order of nuns(sadhivs) has been a major source of inspiration for  Jain shravakas throughout the centuries. They are following in the footsteps of the first nun, Aryika(Sadhvi) Chandanbala.

Over 25 centuries ago, Lord Mahavira, having established the final Tirtha of this declining era, attained Moksha in 599 BC. The Kalpa Sutra mentions that at that time Mahavira’s Sangha consisted of 14,000 monks,36,000 nuns,159,000 shravakas and 318,000 shavikas. Able Aryika(Sadhvi) Chandanbala, who was also known as Chandana, led the congregation of  nuns.

Chandanbala was born into a royal family. Tragically, as the result of a war, she was taken into slavery and sold. She was purchased by Seth Dhanadatta for use as a domestic servant. When the seth’s wife saw Dhanadatta treat  his slave kindly, she became jealous of the beautiful Chandanbala. While Dhanadatta was away, she had Chandanbala’s head shaved and her legs chained to the door of her slave quarters where she cried in anguish for days. When hungry, she was given half-cooked lentils (urad) in a flimsy bamboo container used for winnowing(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnowing) grain called a supa. Chance awaited her in this miserable condition.

Lord Mahavira was a Jain monk, and Jain monks may often take a vow to accept food only when it is possible to observe a set of pre-determined special conditions. The practice originates with Mahavira himself. A few months before he attained Keval Jnan, continuously fast until offered food by only that individual who met 10 untold and seemingly impossible conditions. He would accept (1)only urad lentils,(2) offered in a winnowing basket, (3) given by a person standing sideways with one foot on the threshold of  a dwelling place and the other foot outside, (4) who was a princess turned in to a slave, (5) who had a shaven head, and (6) whose legs were bound by chains. She had to be (7) a chaste woman, (8) at the time performing the penances of attham (3 days’s fast), and would serve him (9) only after all other mendicants had rejected her food offering, (10) with tears in her eyes.

Many would have cherished  the honor of giving food to Mahavira. Five months and 28 days lapsed, and no donor fulfilled his secret conditions. But Chandanbala, a princess sold as a slave, shackled and humiliated by the jealous wife of a depraved merchant, fulfilled his secret conditions. But Chandanbala fulfilled all the other conditions except weeping. As Mahavira passed by, he turned his face away at the last moment without accepting her humble alms. Already tormented and abused, Chandanbala began to cry.

And thus the final condition was met. To the amazement of onlookers including her captors, in his bare palms Mahavira accepted the food Chandanbala offered from her simple winnowing basket, breaking his six-month fast with a small handful of the rough slave fodder that Chandanbala had been living on for weeks. Chandanbala was released and she joined Lord Mahavira’s monastic order. She thus became the first nun of the Mahavirian Jain tradition and eventually the leader of thousands of Aryika(Sadhvi)s.

The significance of  Chandanbala’s leadership may be judged by comparing the order of Jain nuns with the Buddhist nun. Buddha agreed to ordain nuns only after considerable hesitation and persistent pressure from his aunt. Within a few centuries of Buddhist nuns was completely done away with in the Theravada sect. Some scholars believe this lack of female leadership contributed significantly to Buddhism’s eventual extinction in India.

Thousands of jain nuns today walk all over India and now travel  the world, presenting the message of Lord Mahavira and following the path of Aryika(Sadhvi) Chandanbala. 

Source : Internet

16 March 2010

Purpose of Life as per Jainism

For Jains, the purpose of life is to attain moksa, or release, from the cycle of rebirth. There are five levels on the path of human development:

  1. Sadhus (monks) and sadhvis (nuns)
  2. Upadhyayas (teachers of the Jain scriptures)
  3. Acharyas (spiritual leaders)
  4. Siddhas (liberated souls)
  5. Arihantas (liberated souls who have attained salvation; both Ordinary and Tirthankar)
Ordinary laypersons(Shravak & Shravika) are householders. When householders decide to undertake the renounced life, they first must live with monks or nuns for a time being. If, after learning more about religion and observing the renounced life, they still wish to undertake it, they take the five vows and become a sadhu or a sadhvi. In addition to keeping these vows carefully, Jain monks and nuns observe other special practices that set them apart.

Sadhus who have acquired special knowledge of Jain scriptures and philosophy, and teach the scriptures to others, are known as Upadhyayas.

Acharyas are special spiritual leaders. They have mastered the Jain scriptures, as well as several languages and a knowledge of various religions. Their lives exemplify spiritual excellence and they are able to lead a monastic community.

An Arihanta ("destroyer of enemies") is a person who has conquered all of his or her inner passions. They have shed all destructive karma and have become omniscient, omnipotent and completely without desires. Arihantas become Siddhas at death. Until then, they teach and help others. There are two categories of Arihantas, Ordinary and Tirthankara. Tirthankaras

Siddhas are liberated souls. They have escaped the cycle of rebirth, rid themselves of all karma, and are experiencing ultimate bliss in the highest level of heaven. Each Siddha is unique, but they are all equal and formless. Because they are completely detached from the world, they are unable to help others.

Source: Internet

15 March 2010

Jivas as described in Jainism.

Jainism have categorized all the living beings (jivas) that can be found in the earthly realm. This is important because the fundamental Jain principle of ahimsa (nonviolence) extends to all jivas.

In Jain thinking, a jiva is a soul attached to a body. Since a soul is of flexible size, the same soul can fit inside an ant's body as a human's. According to the Jain scriptures, there are 8.4 million species of jivas. They fall into two main categories: immobile single-sensed (Ek-Indriya) and mobile and multi-sensed. And within these categories are subcategories, as follows:

A. Immobile and single-sensed (Ek-Indriya)
1. Earth-bodied (clay, sand, metal) 

2. Water-bodied (dew, fog, ice, rain, ocean)

3. Fire-bodied (flames, hot ash, lightening) 

4. Air-bodied (wind and cyclones) 

5. Plant-bodied (trees, seeds, roots) 
    a. One-souled (trees, branches, seeds) 
    b. Multi-souled (root vegetables)
B. Mobile and multi-sensed
1. Two-sensed: touch and taste (shells, worms, microbes) (Bay-Indriya)

2. Three-sensed: touch, taste and smell (lice, ants, moths) (Tay-Indriya)

3. Four-sensed: touch, taste, smell, sight (scorpions, crickets, spiders, flies) (Chou-Indriya)

4. Five-sensed: touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing (humans and animals) (Panch-Indriya)

    a. Infernal (in one of the hells) 
    b. Non-human 
    c. Celestial (in one of the heavens) 
    d. Human

Source: Internet 

10 March 2010

The Special Divine Plan Of Samavasaran (4/4)

In the Samavasaran, the Tirthankar gives discourse for the first quarter of the day (three hours). After this he comes out of the first quarter of the day (three hours). After this he comes out of the first enclosure, Devachhandak, situated in the second enclosure towards the east and rests comfortably.

In the village or town near which the Samavasaran is created, a number of messengers are appointed for giving news about the movement of the Tirthankar. Some of them are honorary and others salaried. For this recurring expenditure the Chakravarties contribute 1.2 million gold coins. The regional kings contribute the same number in silver coins. Gods like Kuber, various landlords, merchants and other people contribute according to their capacity and devotion.

How the Gods Work for Spread of Religion?
The devoted gods too follow this practice. They distribute money to various people appointed for various jobs like security, maintenance and serving the masses. They also provide assistance to people in need as well as support to the newly initiated ones. they consider this to be the worship of the Tirthankar. As a result they acquire the Satavedaniya Karma (the pleasure causing Karma). They automatically become virtuous and promote the spread of religion.

After the Tirthankar’s discourse the Ganadhars start their discourse. This is done during the second quarter of the day.

The Position of the Ganadhars
Ganadhars, the heads of groups of ascetics, give their discourse either sitting on the thrones resented by kings or the foot rest of the Tirthankar. The Ganadhars in their discourse narrate the stories about past and future. They also answer to the questions of the curious among the masses. As the Ganadhars answer to all and sundry questions it is not possible to call them ignorant or lacking in the unique virtues like Avadhi Jnan and others.

Thus in the Samavasaran of a Tirthankar there are ample opportunities of hearing to the discourse of great souls, pondering, accepting vows, enhancing of right attitude, religious activities, worshipping and serving greatmen as well as masses.

(For further reading see Abhidhan Rajendra Kosh, Vol. 7)


08 March 2010

The Special Divine Plan Of Samavasaran (3/4)

The Importance of Beholding the Samavasaran

To behold the Samavasaran of a Tirthankar is such an important act that an ascetic who has not done so earlier is inspired to walk and come even if he is stationed twelve Yojan (approx. 144 km) away. As it is a rule that any ascetic stationed within a distance of 144 km from the Samavasaran should come and join. One who ignores this for any reason should observe a four days fast as a penitence. This is because his right perception is fret with faults of instability, shallowness and dilution.

The appearances of the Tirthankar sitting in the Samavasaran is so breathtakingly beautiful that if all the gods join together and try to create that beauty in the dimension of a toe, it cannot surpass the beauty of the toe of the Tirthankar.

In terms of the beauty of the form the list of people in order of descendence is as follows (The beauty of the earlier being infinitely more than the latter: Tirthankar, Ganadhar, Ascetics with normal human body, Anuttar Vaimanik gods, Navagraiveyak, Achyut, Aaran, Pranat, Anat, Sahasrar, Mahashukra, Lantak, Brahmlok, Mahendra, Sanat Kumar, Ishan, Saudharma, Bhavanvasi, Jyotishka, Vanavyantar (all dimensions of gods), Chakravarti, Vasudev, Baldev and regional kings. The common kings and other people are further down on the scale with much larger gap. (The traditional reduction being-infinitely less in six attributes.)

The Acharyas have explained the purpose of this breathtaking beauty of the Tirthankar that appears due to the precipitation of the Tirthankar-nam-karma. They say that this divine beauty of the Tirthankar inspires those attending the Samavasaran to indulge in religious or righteous activities activities. they feel that when such a divinely beautiful person indulges in righteous activity, all those who are earthly, beautiful ought to do so. The utterances of a divinely beautiful person are listened to with attention. The pride of the narcissists also shatter sin presence of such an embodiment of pure beauty. Those are the reasons that make the divine beauty of a Tirthankar praiseworthy.

The Ideal of Humility
The first words the Tirthankar utters when he starts his discourse are "Salutations to the ford of religion." After this he begins his discourse in easily understandable words of the common man’s language, Ardha-Magadhi, with the specific purpose that everyone present may understand and absorb the words and their meaning. As the status of Tirthankar is gained because of the establishment of Tirth (ford of religion), salutations, are first of all offered to the Tirth. The cause of becoming revered is reverential even for the reverend one. The religious ford or Tirth is revered in the whole cosmos whereas the Tirthankar is revered only in the revered only in the inhabited region; the Tirthankar recognizes this fact with due reverence. Another reason is that when such a lofty and endowed person as a Tirthankar displays such humility he sets an example for others to follow.

The Volume of the Speech
With the advancement of technology the capacity and scope of transmission of sound with the help of amplifiers, telephones, radios and satellites has increased manifold. However, the Tirthankar’s speech is naturally endowed with unique attributes. As such in the Samavasaran the voice of the Tirthankar reaches the eardrums or hearing organs of all five sensed beings. Everyone in the audience thus removes his doubts and ambiguities.

The Tirthankar gives his discourse only in one language, but he assembly has the congregation of gods, humans and animals. How do they all understand this monolingual discourse? It is something like the single color water turning into a variety of colors depending on the soil it falls on; black, white, red or gray etc. One of the unique attributes of the Tirthankar’s speech is this capacity to automatically get translated into the language of the listener. In this age of advanced technology it is nothing to be astonished about. In the United Nations Organization there are representatives from almost all nations of the world. There is a multiplicity of languages, but the technology has made it possible that any speech in any language is immediately translated into the language of the listener.

There are twelve types of congregations in the Samavasaran. If the preaching of the Tirthankar does not inspire any of the listeners to take a vow of any one of the four Samayiks (a specific spiritual practice), Sarvavirati (total renunciation), Deshvirati (partial renunciaton), Samyaktva (right conduct), and Shruti-Samayik (listening to the scriptures), all this effort of construction of the Samavasaran and collecting such a large crowd would go waste. 

But it is not so. Once the Samavasaran is created, the Tirthankar does give his discourse. For once at least, his preaching makes lasting impression on the psyche of the listener even if he does not accept any of the prescribed vows. The pure particles of the Tirthankars speech are fast acting. As such, more often than not his speech does not go in vain. Men take at least one of the four types of vows mentioned above. The animals accept one out of three leaving aside the Sarvavirati. The gods as a rule accept the Samyaktva Samayik.


07 March 2010

The Special Divine Plan Of Samavasaran (2/4)

Entry and the Sitting Arrangement

After the construction of the Samavasaran is complete the Tirthankar enters it by the eastern gate during the first hour after the dawn or when the second hour is approaching. He moves stepping on divine lotuses. While walking, seven divine lotuses appear both at the front and back of him. He first circumambulates the Chaitya tree and then approaches the throne and sits on it facing east.

Three replicas of the Tirthankar sitting on the throne are created by gods and installed facing remaining three directions. Thus the Tirthankar is visible to every one sitting anywhere in the assembly.

At the feet of the Tirthankar the senior most principle disciple sits after bowing to the tirthankar. The senior Ganadhar sits near the feet of the Tirthankar in south-east direction. All the other Ganadhars sit at his side or ahead of him.

Then the omniscient ascetics enter from the eastern gate, circumambulate the Tirthankar, utter-Namastirthaya (salutation tot he Tirth), and take their seats at the back of the Ganadhars . After this the remaining highly endowed ascetics (Manahparyav Jnanis, Avadhi Jnansis, Fourteen Purvadhars, other Purvadhars etc.) also enter from the eastern gate, go around the Tirthankars thrice, pay homage to the Tirthankar and other seniors, and take seats behind the Kewal Jnanis.

Now enter the female ascetics and after formally paying homage to all the seniors go and stand behind the Vaimanik gods, they do not sit. Goddesses from the Vaimanik dimension enter from the eastern gate and formally saluting to the Tirthankar and all the ascetics go and stand behind the common ascetics. One after another come the goddesses from Bhavanpati, Vyantar and Jyotishka dimensions, from the southern gate and paying homage to the Tirthankar and all the ascetics go and stand in the south-western direction one behind the other in the said order.

After all these arrive gods from Bhavanpati, Jyotishka and Vyantar dimensions from the eastern gate and after due formalities take their allotted seats, one group behind the other in the said order in the north-western direction. Then from the northern gate enter the Vaimanik gods followed by men and women and after due formalities take their allotted seats. In front sit Vaimanik gods, behind them are men and then women. The families sit near the gods with whom they are associated and nowhere else.

In every direction and the corners sit these clusters of people in groups of three classes (gods, men and women). As a rule the juniors pay respects to the seniors at the time of their arrival in the assembly, irrespective of the order of arrival. At the four gates-east, west, north and south stand Soma, Varun and respectively as guards of the directions.

Sitting in this fashion there is no if superiority or inferiority, envy, competition, differences or animosity. Due to the miraculous influence of the Tirthankar, even the natural enemies from the animal kingdom loose anger or fear from each other.

This is the arrangement of the first enclosure.

Arrangement of the Second and Third Enclosures

The second enclosure is allotted to all types of animals (the five sensed ones). The third enclosure is allotted for parking of vehicles.

Outside these enclosures there are crowds of animals, humans, as well as gods. Sometimes they come separately and sometimes all together. However, in spite of the crowd the movement is orderly and peaceful. There is hardly any rush or stampede or altercation.

Source: Jain World

04 March 2010

The Special Divine Plan Of Samavasaran (1/4)

The Construction of the Divine Pavilion of Tirthankars
[Like many other branches of science the branch of constructing assembly halls has also amply developed. They construct a large auditorium where thousands of people may arrive, be accommodated, may listen to the lectures and peacefully leave, requires a trained mind with engineering skill. For such an arrangement renowned experts display their skill. Still there are incidents of chaos and stampede in such large congregations. Even the police forces get nervous in trying to control such crowds of thousands of people.

Thousands of years ago the divine pavilions were created for the assembly of a Tirthankar where not only millions of human beings but also innumerable gods and animals used to assemble.

In a large pavilion or assembly hall covering an area of one Yojan (4 sq. kosa or 12 sq. km) used to accommodate innumerable gods, humans and animals. They would arrive and sit in the allotted sections, listen to the discourses of the Tirthankar and go back peacefully. There were adequate traffic and parking arrangements for vehicles. The detailed and scientific description of such arrangements available in the ancient scriptures is truely astonishing. It also reveals the highly developed science and intellect during that period. We give brief description of the structure of these divine pavilions of the Tirthankars.]

The beholding of a Tirthankar in his divine pavilion, pondering over his discourses, and following his teachings purifies and strengthens the attitude, faith and realization of spiritual pursuits. Sitting in proximity of the Tirthankar, seeing him, listening to his discourse and coming under the influence of his aura and various unique attributes is spiritually inspiring not only for the gods and humans but also for the animals. Men and animals of contrasting attitudes loose their cruelty and mutual animosity, disease, sorrow, afflictions, fear etc. The Tirthankar’s discourse also provides benefits in shape of enhancement of knowledge and science and progress on the path of liberation through stoppage of inflow and acceleration of shedding of Karmas.

The Great Benefits
Knowing about the arrival of Bhagavan Mahavir in the Samavasaran the sages said, "O beloved of gods! This is the source of great benefits for us. When even the hearing of the names of Arihant Bhagavants is a boon, there is no doubt that approaching, greeting, bowing admiring and worshipping him in person is highly beneficial." It is a great occasion to listen to even one word of the august preaching of the great man. Bowing to him and offering him and offering him reverence is sure to result in attainment of the pure blissful state of liberation besides being source of benefits, happiness and peace during this life and the later incarnations.

What is a Samavasaran? How is it created? Who creates it? When and for how long the Tirthankar gives his discourse in the Samavasaran? All these questions have been dealt in various canons (Agams), and their different commentaries (Niryukti, Vritti and Bhashya) in eloquent style.

The Samavasaran is the religious assembly of Tirthankars. The literal meaning of the term is proper congregation at a specific place or a place where beings with different attitudes assemble in an orderly manner. As such, the assembling of a variety of worthy beings-specially humans, animals and gods-for the purpose of beholding the Tirthankar and listening to his preachings is called Samavasaran. It is something much larger in dimension, much wider in scope, much numerous in species, and much lofty in purpose as compared to the modern parliament where representatives from various areas of the country meet.

03 March 2010

The Physical Power of a Tirthankar: A Mythical Compilation

Jai Jinendra

A Tirthankar is the exposition of all dormant powers in a being. He is infinitely powerful. In the mythological literature of Jains, this power has been calculated as follows-

  • A bull is as powerful as 12 warriors.
  • A horse is as powerful as 10 bulls.
  • A bufallow is as powerful as 12 horses.
  • An elephant is as powerful as 15 bufallows.
  • A lion is as powerful as 500 elephants.
  • An octoped is as powerful as 2000 lions.
  • A Baldev is as powerful as 1 million octopeds.
  • A Vasudev is as powerful as 2 Baldevs.
  • A Chakravarti is as powerful as 2 Vasudevs.
  • A king of serpent gods is as powerful as 100000 Chakravartis.
  • An Indra is as powerful as 10 million kings of serpent gods.
  • The power of innumerable Indras is significant as compared to that of the small finger of a Tirthankar.

01 March 2010

Difference Between Tirthankar and Kewali (Omniscient)

Depending on mental alertness or dynamism of the practicer there are numerous levels of practicers, viz. Jinakalpi (solitary), Abhigrahdhari (who gives emphasis on specific resolution), Pramatta (partially alert), Apramatta (absolutely alert), Saragi (partially detached), Vitragi (absolutely detached), etc.

The first step in this progression is Sadhu (ascetic) and the last is Vitrag, Tirthankar and Kewal Jnani (omniscient). Although there is no difference in the level of knowledge of a Tirthankar and an omniscient, the status of Tirthankar has its own importance. It has its own attributes and recognition. The difference between these two states of highest purity are as follows -
1. In a Tirthankar there is precipitation of the Tirthankar-nam-karma. This is absent in case of common omniscient.
2. For two earlier births a Tirthankar necessarily acquires right-perception. It is not a rule for a common omniscient.
3. A Tirthankar while in the womb has Avadhi Jnan (all knowledge of the physical world). It is not a rule for a common omniscient.
4. The mother of a Tirthankar has fourteen great dreams at the time of conception. It is not so in the case of a common omniscient.
5. A Tirthankar is always a male, the case of Mallinath being an unique exception. For a common omniscient this rule does not apply.
6. A Tirthankar is not breast-fed; whereas a common omniscient (Kewali) is.
7. A Tirthankar gives charity for one year immediately before Diksha, as a rule. A Kewali does not necessarily.
8. A Tirthankar does not give discourse before attaining omniscience, he may, however, answer a question. A Kewali does give discourses even as a common ascetic.
9. In a Tirthankar’s life there are five auspicious events. It is not so in case of a Kewali.
10. A Tirthankar acquires Manahparyav Jnan immediately after his Diksha. A Kewali does not.
11. A Tirthankar is self-enlightened. A Kewali is not necessarily.
12. Before his Diksha a Tirthankar is formally asked for that by the gods. For Kewali no god arrives.
13. A Tirthankar establishes the four pronged religious organization or ford; not a Kewali.
14. A Tirthankar has a religious order; not a Kewali.
15. The principal disciples of a Tirthankar are Ganadhars. A Kewali’s disciples are not.
16. A Tirthankar has eight auspicious attributes; not a Kewali.
17. A Tirthankar has thirty four unique attributes; not a Kewali.
18. A Tirthankar’s speech has thirty five unique attributes; not a Kewali’s.
19. A Tirthankar in his progression to purity does not touch the I, II, III, V and XI Gunasthans (the specific stages on the path of purity); whereas a Kewali may touch all gunasthans except the XI.
20. A Tirthankar does not have Kewali-Samudghat (a special process of spsiritophysical transformation); a Kewali has.
21. A Tirthankar is born in the Kshatriya caste. A Kewali may be from any and all castes.
22. A Tirthankar has Sam-chaturasra Samsthn (one of the six types of anatomical structures). A Kewali may have nay of the six.
23. The minimum and maximum age of a Tirthankar is 72 years and 8.4 million Purvas respectively. In case of a Kewali it is 9 years and 10 million Purvas.
24. The height of a Tirthanakar may be between 7 Haath (about 7 feet) and 500 Dhanush (about 2000 feet). A Kewali is between 2 Haath and 20 feet.
25. A Tirthankar may exist only in fifteen specific Karma-bhumi’s (the worlds of action). A Kewali exists generally in the fourth part, however, one born in the fourth part may attain the status during the fifth part also.
26. A Tirthankar is always self initiated. A Kewali may also be initiated by others.
27. A Tirthankar exists only in the third and fourth part, however, one born in the fourth part may attain the status during the fifth part also.
28. Two Tirthankars never happen to meet each other; whereas Kewalis do.
29. The minimum number of Tirthankars existing at one time is twenty and maximum is 170. For Kewali’s these numbers are 20 million and 90 million.
30. The Ganadhars create the twelve canons based on Tirthankar’s preaching. This is not so in case of a Kewali.
31. A Tirthankar does not face any afflictions after he becomes an omniscient. A Kewali may have to face.
32. A Samavasaran (divine pavilion) is created for a Tirthankar; not for a Kewali.
33. The first discourse of a Tirthankar is never a failure; it is not necessarily so in case of a Kewali.
34. The soul of a Tirthankar always descends from the dimension of gods or ascends from hell. The soul of a Kewali may come from any of the four dimensions.
35. In case of a Tirthankar the Vedaniya Karma (the Karma of sufference) is of good-bad quality and the remaining non-vitiating Karmas are of exclusively good quality. In case of a Kewali only the Ayushya Karma (age determining) is of exclusively good quality, the remaining three being good-bad.
36. Only worthy souls arrive in the assembly of a Tirthankar; whereas in a Kewali’s assembly even unworthies may come.
37. There is only one Tirthankar in one specific area. Kewali’s may be many.