Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal

by Shubha Majumder | 2017 | 147,217 words

This page relates ‘Images of Tirthankara Dharmanatha’ 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 Dharmanātha

The fifteen Tīrthaṅkara Dharmanātha was born as the prince of king Bhānu and queen Suvratā of the city of Ratanpur (Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita, vol. IV: 5; Uttarapurāṇa Parva 61). According to the Jain mythology during the pregnancy the Jina’s mother was engrossed in religious deeds earning him the name Dharmanātha (Bhattacharya 1974: 51; Shah 1987: 151; Nagar 1999: 113). The symbol of this Tīrthaṅkara is vajra (thunderbolt). The Yakṣa and Yakṣī of this Tīrthaṅkara are Kinnara and Kandarpā. The Jina obtained kevalajñāna under the Dadhiparṇa tree and nirvāṇa on Mt. Sammeta (ibid.).

Very few stone as well as metal images of this Tīrthaṅkara were reported from the different parts of Indian subcontinent. We are very fortunate that from our study area we have able to documented two damaged images of this Tīrthaṅkara. Among these two images one is documented from Baramoshya, Purulia and another one from Hirapari, West Midnapur. The Baramoshya image is a pañca-tirthika type of image (Pl.XXVII.B) and the remaining portion (below the abdomen of the image exists) of this image is measures 43 x 34 x 12 cm. In this image the mūla-nāyaka stands in kāyotsarga posture on a double-petalled lotus placed on a pañca-ratha pedestal. He is attended by two stiff and robust looking caurī-bearers. Their left hands are in kaṭyāvalambita posture and the right hands holding cāmaras. The central projection of the pedestal has the lāñchana vajra. The projections adjoining the central one have stylized representations of crouching lions.

The Dharmanātha image of Hirapari is much damaged (Pl.XXVII.C), the portion above the thighs of the Jina being broken away. The extant fragment measures 33 x 27 x 15 cm. The vajra lāñchana of the Jina is depict at the centre of the pañcaratha pedestal, however, the remaining ratha of the pedestal are remaing blank.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: