Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal

by Shubha Majumder | 2017 | 147,217 words

This page relates ‘Images of Tirthankara Sambhavanatha’ of the study on the Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal based on the fields of Geography, Archaeology, Art and Iconography. Jainism represents a way of life incorporating non-violence and approaches religion from humanitarian viewpoint. Ancient Bengal comprises modern West Bengal and the Republic of Bangladesh, Eastern India. Here, Jainism was allowed to flourish from the pre-Christian times up until the 10th century CE, along with Buddhism.

Images of Tīrthaṅkara Saṃbhavanātha

According to the Jain iconography he is the third Tīrthaṅkara and his lāñchana is horse. He was born as the prince of king Jitāri (according to Śve. tradition) or Dṛḍharāja (according to Dig. tradition) and queen Senā or Suṣeṇā of the city of Śrāvasti (Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita, vol. II: 225; Uttarapurāṇa Parva 49). Saṃbhava obtain the kevalajñāna under the Śāla tree and he obtains his nirvāṇa on Mt. Sammeta Śikhara (Bhattacharya 1974: 38; Shah 1987: 132). Trimukha and Duritāri (Śve.) or Trimukha and Prajñapti (Dig.) are his śāsana yakṣa and yakṣiṇī respectively (Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita, op.cit; Tiloyapaṇṇatti, 588-937: 217).

In the Jain sculptural art tradition not many sculptures of Saṃbhavanātha have been so far available. The earliest known image of this Tīrthaṅkara hails from Mathura of the Kuṣāṇa period and it is now preserved in the Lucknow Museum (Shah 1987: 133).

In our present study area this particular Tīrthaṅkara image is completely absent. However, in our recent field investigation at Palma we are very lucky to document a completely damaged image of this Tīrthaṅkara (Pl.XXIV.D). In the present specimen only the pedestal of the Tīrthaṅkara is survived and it measure 20 x 30 x 8 cm. In the centre of this tri-ratha pedestal lāñchana of the Tīrthaṅkara i.e., horse is minutely carved. Two crouching lions are also depicted at both ends of this pedestal. The upper portion of the pedestal bears the feet of the Jina which is placed on the double-petalled lotus.

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