by Riddhi J. Shah | 2014 | 98,110 words
This page relates ‘Appendix: Tirthankaras in Jainism—A Study’ of the study on the Yogadrstisamuccaya: a 6th-century work on Jain Yoga authored by Haribhadra Suri consisting of 228 Sanskrit verses. The book draws from numerous sources on traditional Yoga. Three important topics are stipulated throughout this study: 1) nature of liberation, 2) a liberated soul, and 3) omniscience.
Appendix: Tīrthaṅkaras in Jainism—A Study
The concepts such as ‘God’, ‘His divine power’, ‘His holy worship’ and so on have got a very deserving reputation in Indian culture as well as literature. Except Sāṃkhya system all Indian orthodox (āstika) schools of philosophy accept the existence of an all -powerful extramundane God. Since Vedic time we believe in the existence of the almighty God who is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the creation.
Notwithstanding with the belief of such divine intervention of the God, in functions of the world, Jainism (one of the heterodox schools of Indian philosophy) considers the world to be transitory and ever changing from practical stand point (vyavahāra naya) and self existent and permanent from realistic stand point (niścaya naya). The Jains do not believe in that ‘almighty God’ who makes us dependent for our being and beatitude here or hereinafter.
The term Jina is a noun formed from the Sanskrit root ‘ji’ meaning to conquer. Jina is the supreme soul who has conquerd the attachment, aversion etc. Thus, the term Jina is the comman name applicable to every supreme soul who has won victory over defilements of the soul.[_1_] Arhat, vitarāga, parameṣṭhī are synonyms of Jina. Devotees of Jina are called Jains[_2_] and the religion propounded by Jina is called ‘Jain Religion’. The concept of Jina seems to be very well known to the Indian philosophy and literature. In the Yogavāśiṣṭha of Mahāmuni Vālmīkī the hero Rāma aspires to acquire the status of Jina in his late life time.[_3_]
The first class comprise tīrthaṅkara Jina who are from the very birth endowed with many uncommon specialities and extraordinary grandeur. The second class comprises sāmānya Jina who lack uncommon specialities. Jina are not eternally free but have worked out their own freedom. So far as the state of highest purity is concerned both sāmānya Jina and tīrthaṅkara Jina are on the same plane. Both are absolutely equally supreme. But the position of a tīrthaṅkara, who has bound auspicious karman of a special type, is more exalted than that of a sāmānya Jina as the farmer is a greatly powerful propagator of the religion.
The tīrthaṅkaras are so called because they establish 'trtha’ immediately after the attainment of omniscience knowledge (kevalajñāna). Firstly let us understand the meaning of the word tīrtha. In this particular context the term tīrtha conveys two meanings.[_4_] First is the fourfold order of monks (sādhus), nuns (sādhvīs), laymen (śrāvakas) and laywomen (śrāvikās). Since tīrthaṅkara establishes such fourfold order, he is known as maker of tīrtha.[_5_] The preachings of the tīrthaṅkara are composed by his principal direct disciples (gaṇadharas)[_6_] in scriptural form. These scriptures are known as dvādaśāṅgī -a collective name assigned to twelve aṅga words is denoted by the term tīrtha. Since the tīrthaṅkara is the author of the dvādaśāṅgī (i.e. tīrtha) composed by their direct principal disciples, tīrthaṅkaras are so called.
The images of tīrthaṅkaras are venerated in temples. The veneration purifies devotees morally. Tīrthaṅkaras are worshipped merely for the sake of their purity and perfection and not for the expectation of any reward in return. It is said that ‘live of great men remind us that we can make our lives sublime.’
Place and time conducive to the birth of a tīrthaṅkara :
In the middle loka portion (madhya-loka) uncountable (asaṃkhyāta) continents and oceans are situated. Out of them Jambūdvīpa, Dhātakīkhaṇḍa and the inner half of Puṣkara –these two and a half continents on one hand and the ocean Lavaṇa and Kālodadhi on the other, is called region where human beings are found (manuṣyaloka). Within the limits of these two and a half continents 35 regions and 56 intermediate continents are the places where human beings are born. Among these there are only 15 places where tīrthaṅkaras take birth and propagate the path of liberation. These 15 places are known as fields of action (karmabhūmis). They consist of 5 Bharatas, 5 Airāvatas and 5 Videhas (i.e. mahāvidehas). The remaining 20 regions and all 56 intermediate continents are called akarmabhūmis or bhogabhūmis.[_7_]
The primary assumption of Jainism is that the world is without beginning and an end. The wheel of time revolves incessantly. But for the practical purposes the longest unit of time is called kalpa. One time wheel (i.e. kalpa) is divided into two parts, the descending (avasarpiṇī) and the ascending (utsarapiṇī). Each part is with six eras. The descending half circle goes degrading with respect to the length i.e. time span of each era, life span, bodily strength and stature, human innocence and happiness etc. The first era, of descending half circle, suṣamasuṣamā, is the longest and the last, duṣamaduṣamā, is the shortest one. After the 6th era.
This is how each era of the ascending half circle successively retraces its steps. The first, second and third eras of the descending half and fourth, fifth and sixth era of ascending half is the time when people are happy and life is entirely dependent upon kalpavṛkṣa. These eras of both the half circles possess the conditions of bhogobhūmi when human beings lived in the most primitive stage. The rest of the eras of both half circles is described as being the time which is deprived of kalpavṛkṣa. We are now living in the fifth era of the present descending half circle. The fifth era commenced a few years (3 years and 3½months) after Lord Mahāvīra attained siddha-hood. The fourth era of either half is supposed to be the best and it, therefore, produces twenty four tīrthaṅkaras and other great personages (śalākāpuruṣa).[_8_] This fixed phenomenon of time shall be repeated in every kalpa.
In the third era of the present descending half circle fourteen preliminary guides of man, or law givers, known as Kulakaras or Manus, took birth. The last of them, Nābhirāya, had for his spouse Marudevī who bore to him Ṛṣabha or Ādinātha, the first tīrthaṅkara of the present set of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. Ṛṣabha, the first tīrthaṅkara, was followed by 23 others, who came one after the other at intervals varying in duration.
Literature Pertaining to the Lives Four Tīrthaṅkaras:
According to jain tradition many series of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras (caturviṃśati) have passed in the past and the same will continue in future too. However, in Jain scriptures[_9_] we get name and biographical details related to the lives of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the past, present and future age. Jain scriptures contain names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras who are born in Airāvata kṣetra of Jambūdvīpa too.[_10_]
3. Ādipurāṇa is also the valuable record of the lives of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. The text is authored by ācārya Jinasena (887 A.D.) Ācārya Jinasena passed away without completing this work. So, ācārya Guṇabhadra, his disciple completed the remaining part in 897 A.D. under the title Uttarapurāṇa.
4. Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra by the most reverred Jain Ācārya Hemacandrasūri (1088-1172 A.D.) narrates the history of lives of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras along with other great personages (śalākāpuruṣa).
The canons, canonical commentaries as well as post canonical texts record bio-data of sixty three great personages called śalākāpuruṣa. It comprises life histories of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras, twelve cakravartins, nine baladevas, nine vāsudevas and nine prativāsudevas. The detailed biographies of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the present age contain information regarding their names, parents name, name of dynasty, birth place, complexion, symbol, height, life span, a time duration among the former ones and latter ones, tree under which they were ordained and also attained omniscience, name of constellation at their birth time, at the time when they were ordained and also at the time when they attained omniscience. We are provided with the names of their attendant yakṣiṇī and yakṣ a (i.e. adhiṣṭhāyaka deva and adhiṣṭhāyikā devī), number of chief disciples (gaṇadharas), monks, nuns, male householders and female householder disciples, place of nirvāṇa etc. It also gives information of the regions where they travelled during their lives and their sermons in a nut-shell. The description of five auspicious events (pañca kalyāṇaka) viz., conception etc., of a tīrthaṅkara with dates are also recorded in Jain literature. Many other minute but significant details related to lives of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras are provided in Jain literature.
Besides aforesaid śāstras and treatises, several Jain Ācāryas have written stavanas, stotras as well as stories eulogising the lives of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. We get Ānandaghana cauvīsī, Yaśovijaya cauvīsī, Devacandra cauvīsī etc. that contain a collection of twenty four stavanas each dedicated to one tīrthaṅkara. Caturviṃśatināmastava[_11_], Jinapañjara stotra[_12_], Svayambhūstotra by Ācārya Samantabhadra (7th cen. A.D.) etc. are stotras which enumerate names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the present. Namutthuṇaṃ sūtra[_13_] praises a tīrthaṅkara with various adjectives. Śakrastava is also a stotra composed by Ācārya Siddhasena Divākara (5th cent. A.D.) which sings glory of a tīrthaṅkara with different adjectives. However, there exists difference of opinion regarding the author of this stotra.
Like wise the historical records of lives of tīrthaṅkaras, images of tīrthaṅkaras also have their own history. The images of tīrthaṅkaras are often carved out of marble, polished stones or sometimes are also made from precious gems as well as precious metal. Generally tīrthaṅkara idols are found in padmāsana Posture[_14_]. The image of tīrthaṅkara are also found in the standing meditation (kāyotsarga) posture. In Digambara tradition the kāyotsarga mudrā idols are with closed eyes and with a genital, whereas in Śvetāmbara tradition’s images eyes are open and no genital is displayed.
The excavation of images does not go beyond 3rd or 4th cent. B.C. However, the mention of such images in ancient texts prove their existence even beyond the aforesaid time period. Jain Canon, Nāyādhammakahāo records the mentioning about the pāṇḍava-queen Draupadī worshipping jina-idols in the temple of her house[_15_] (gṛhañcaitya). Moreover we get reference of images of Lord Mahāvīra which were excavated during his life span and therefore are called Jīvantasvāmī.[_16_] The famous Khāravelainscription (182 B.C.) in Udayagiri-Khanḍagiri caves of Orissa refer to a Kaliṅgañjina image. King Nandivardhana (king of Magadha region) is said to have attacked Kaliṅga in 424 B.C.. It proves the existence of tīrthaṅkara images in 5th cen. B.C. without doubt.[_17_] The well known treatise Vividha tīrtha kalpa authored by Ācārya Jinaprabha (13th cen. A.D.) referred to a 7th tīrthaṅkara Supârśvanātha’s stūpa in Mathurā[_18_], renovated in or about 800 B.C. being rebuilt a thousand years later by Jain Ācārya Bappabhaṭṭasūri (743 - 838 A.D.).
The Jain religion is propounded by omniscient leaders—Tīrthaṅkaras. They have past like us and from it they gradually rise and develop to the level of omniscience. The soul of all tīrthaṅkaras also wander in the world and take innumerable births. That birth in which a tīrthaṅkaras oul acquires right inclination (samyagdarśana), cutting the knot (granthibheda) for the first time, is counted as the first one[_19_] and his birth as tīrthaṅkara is considered to be the last. A tīrthaṅkara soul acquired the tīrthaṅkara nāma karma[_20_] by performing one or more of the twenty austerities[_21_] (vīsa-sthānakas) The acquisition of the tīrthaṅkara-hood is the result of an intense desire of a tīrthaṅkara soul to redeem each and every living being from the worldly sufferings, miseries and pain.[_22_] The tīrthaṅkara nāma karma gets fixed (nikācita) in the birth after which a tīrthaṅkara soul takes only one birth either in heaven or in hell (most probably in heaven) and then after is born as tīrthaṅkara only.[_23_]
In the final life as a tīrthaṅkara five auspicious events of his life are celebrated. They are–
- Acquisition of omniscience (destroying all four ghāti karmans through austerities),
There are other significant events also in the life of a tīrthaṅkara, viz., his mother sees fourteen auspicious dreams when a tīrthaṅkara soul is conceived in her womb.[_24_] As per Śvetâmbara sect’s belief fourteen dreams are seen by a tīrthaṅkara mother whereas the Digmbara tradition believes in sixteen dreams with slight change and additions.[_25_] The names of twenty-four trīthanṅkaras are attributed to dreams by their mothers before their births or to some other circumstance pertaining their entry into the world.[_26_]
A tīrthaṅkara takes birth with one thousand and eight auspicious signs (lakṣaṇas) on the body.[_27_] A distinct emblem on the right thigh[_28_] of every tīrthaṅkara is something which has become a mark of distinction of all tīrthaṅkaras. It is this emblem which differentiates one tīrthaṅkara’s idol from the other one. With regard to emblems of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the present age, there exists some difference of opinion between two major sects of Jain religion namely Śvetāmbara[_29_] and Digambara[_30_]. The seventh tīrthaṅkara Supārśvanātha’s emblem is svastika according to Śvetâmbara tradition whereas the latter believes nandāyvarta (an elaborated svastika) as his emblem. The Śvetâmbara sect accepts śrīvatsa as an emblem of tenth tīrthaṅkara Śītalanātha but the Digambara believes svastika as the sign of tenth tīrthaṅkara. As per the belief of Śvetâmbara tradition the fourteenth Anantanātha and the eighteenth tīrthaṅkara Aranātha have hawk and nandyāvarta as their emblem respectively. But the Digmbara sect believes ram or boar and fish or flower namely tagar as the emblem of fourteenth and eighteenth tīrthaṅkaras respectively.
The body colour of the current age’s eighth and ninth tīrthaṅkara is milky white. Red is the body colour of the sixth and the twelfth tīrthaṅkaras. The nineteenth and twenty third tīrthaṅkaras have blue coloured (nīla varṇa) body whereas the twentieth and twenty second trthaṅkaras possess body with a very special shade of black colour. The rest sixteen tīrthaṅkaras have golden coloured body.[_31_]
As soon as tīrthaṅkara soul attains omniscience celestial beings construct a preaching assembly (samavasaraṇa) sitting on top of which a tīrthaṅkara delivers the sermon (deśanā) for the first time and then continue to do it till the attainment of siddhahood (nirvāṇa). Tīrthaṅkara organises the jain religion in this first assembly to suit the changing times.[_32_] The four fold order of Jain religion (Jaina saṅgha) is reinstated as monks, nuns, male householders and female householders. It is this stage in the life of a tīrthaṅkara where the title tīrthaṅkara actually comes true. Even though a tīrthaṅkara soul does not possess actually the title tīrthaṅkara from the very birth, keeping in view the fact that a tīrthaṅkara soul is going to gain the title in that very birth, we call him a tīrthaṅkara from very birth only. In the first congregation (samavasaraṇa) yakṣa and yakṣiṇī[_33_] are appointed by Indra to look after the well being of a tīrthaṅkara. They are mainly regarded as celestial devotees of a tīrthaṅkara and so found always around tīrthaṅkara for rigorous service. Yakṣa usually is found on the right side of the idol of a tīrthaṅkara and yakṣiṇī on the left. They are also called śāsanadevatā/devī or adhiṣṭhāyakadeva/devī. A tīrthaṅkara is endowed with thirty four atiśayas and thirty five sublime virtues of speech.[_34_] Eight splendid paraphernalia[_35_] (aṣṭaprātihārya) always accompany a tīrthaṅkara after the acquisition of omniscience knowledge. A tīrthaṅkara soul is endowed with three types of knowledge viz., empirical (matijñāna), articulate (śrutajñāna) and clairvoyant (avadhijñāna) since the very moment of conception in mother’s womb. The fourth type of knowledge namely mind-reading (manaḥparyāya jñâna) is acquired by a tīrthaṅkara at the occasion of attainment of monkhood.[_36_] When a tīrthaṅkara soul destroys four ghāti karmas, omniscience is attained. This is the fourth auspicious event in the life of a tīrthaṅkara soul. The destruction of four aghāti karmas results into the attainment of siddhahood. At this stage a tīrthaṅkara soul leaves body and attains the state of total freedom (ayoga). At this moment a tīrthaṅkara soul gets rid from the cycle of birth and death. A tīrthaṅkara soul takes position in the abode of siddha, (siddhaśīlā) which is located on the top of the loka, where infinite siddha souls has already occupied their position and infinite siddha souls would keep on occupying their place on it. The event of attaining siddha status is called nirvāṇa. It is fifth one among the five auspicious events, which are celebrated by celestial beings, of a tīrthaṅkara. Moreover, the nirvāṇa places of tīrthaṅkaras are worshipped as pilgrimage place since these places are surrounded with the auspicious aura of the most pious, pure and perfect tīrthaṅkara souls.
Since the inner knowledge of every tīrthaṅkara is omniscience and perfect, their teachings do not contradict one another. Even though the twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the present age flourished in different time period of history in India which is located in the Bharatakṣetra of the continent Jambūdvīpa, there exists a continuous link among them. The Lord Mahāvīra and the rest twenty two tīrthaṅkaras delineated the same path of final liberation which was preached by the first and the foremost tīrthaṅkara Lord Ṛṣabha, of the present age in the remote past for the welfare of living beings.
The tradition of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras, which has been firmly established among the jain people, surprisingly finds confirmation from non-Jain sources viz., Buddhism as well as Hinduism.[_37_] It seems very much interesting that during the 6th cen. B.C. the heads of several religious sects claimed to be the twenty fourth jina. Gautama Siddhārtha who was said to be the twenty fifth Buddha claimed that he was a jina.[_38_] Maṣkhalî Goulâka, the head of the Ājīvaka sect called himself the twenty fourth jina.[_39_]
A challenge to the concept of the present age twenty four tīrthaṅkara : A paper titled “The Jina Sattvas: Class and Gender in the Social Origin of Jaina Heroes” written by Prof. Jagdish Prasad Sharma, teaching history at Honalulu’s Hawaji University in U.S.A., is published by centre for South Asian Studies of Toranto University, Canada, in 1999. In the above titled paper the author had, while challenging the class and gender bias histories of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras, also questioned their historicity. Prof. Sharma said that at least nineteen out of twenty four tīrhaṅkaras were “either invented or unreal or manufactured with ulterior motives.” In Jain scriptures there exist mentioning of total one hundred and five earlier births[_40_] of the twenty four trthaṅkaras. But according to Prof. Sharma only five out of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras had more than two births before their lives as tīrthaṅkaras. The first tīrhaṅkara Ṛṣabhadeva, sixteenth Śāntinātha, twenty second Nemināth (another name is Ariṣṭanemi), twenty third Parśvanātha and twenty four Mahāvīrasvāmī took 12, 11, 8, 9 and 27 births respectively. The rest nineteen tīrthaṅkaras had only two births before their life as a tīrthaṅkara. And therefore Prof. Sharma lands up saying these nineteen tīrthaṅkaras as unreal and fake.
In 1999 another paper titled “The 24 Buddha and the 24 Tīrthaṅkaras” authored by Dr. Suzuko Ohira was published in the‘Tulsī Prajñā’, a research journal of Jain Vishva Bharati University, Ladnun, issue no. 107. The learned author has concluded that the rest of the tīrthaṅkaras had been created just to fill up the temporal space between Ṛṣabhadeva and the trinity of Ariṣṭanemi, Pārśvanātha and Mahāvīrasvāmī. Moreover while referring to the images of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras found from Mathurā’s Kaṅkālî ṭilā dated to be of 2nd cent. B.C., the author supposes that their sudden appearance in the era are “interpolations and a part of the schemetised picture of the world and the time cycle i.e. the present avasarpiṇī depicted in the canonical texts.” Regarding the number ‘twentyfour’ of tīrthaṅkaras, the author opines that the jain authorities chose number ‘twentyfour’ from the readymade model of the Buddhas consisting of 7, 24, 27, 32 and 35 and thus imitated the Buddhists.
The book “Historicity of 24 Jain Tirthankaras” published by Priyadrashi Prakashan in 2005-06, is written by Mr. Mangilal Bhutoria. The author has elaborately criticised the above mentioned two articles. He has said that, “The insinuations and allegations put forth by Dr. Jagdish chandra Sharma and Dr. Suzuko Ohira are fallacious. Some of them are not only factually incorrect but appear to have been made with ulterior motives.[_41_] He has also said that, “Doubting their history is a conspiracy to destroy the value and philosophy of life they espoused.[_42_] Mr. Bhutoria has also referred[_43_] to the comment of the famous archaeologist Dr. Vincent A Smith who confirms the existence of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras each with distinctive insignia, at the beginning of the christian era, in his book “The Jain Stūpa and Other Antiquities of Mathurā”, 1901.
Names of twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras–Past, Present and Future:
The names of twentyfour tīrthaṅkaras of past, present and future of Jambūdvīpa’s Bharatakṣetra and Airâvatakṣetra are discussed. The present and future set of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Airâvatakṣetra will be given.
The twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of past in Airâvatakṣetra is not found in any scripture or literature till now, as far as my knowledge goes. There exists difference of opinion regarding names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras between Śvetāmbara and Digambara sects.
Our Discussion includes five set[_44_] of names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. They are–
- The present (vartamāna) twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Bharatakṣetra.
- The past (atīta) twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Bharatakṣetra.
- The future (anāgata) twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Airāvatakṣetra.
- The present (vartamāna) twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Airāvatakṣetra.
- The future (anāgata) twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Āirâvatakṣetra.
The names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the current descending cycle of the present time wheel in Jambūdvīpa’s Bharatakṣetra[_45_] are same in Śvetāmbaratradition as well as Digambara tradition. No difference of opinion is found except regarding the gender of the nineteenth tīrthaṅkara Mallinātha. The Śvetāmbara sect accepts the nineteenth tīrthaṅkara Mallinātha as a female tīrthaṅkara whereas the other sect believes that all twenty four tīrthaṅkaras were men assuming that women are unable to follow fifth great vow (mahāvrata) in its complete sense and women do not attain liberation. In the ancient Jain scriptures the names of tīrthaṅkaras are without the suffix nātha. However, the later treaties have added the suffix nātha to each tīrthaṅkara’s name. Therefore further investigation seems to be needed to find out the connection or the influence either of nātha sampradāya on Jain history or other way.
Now, let us move towards the names of the past twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. The tīrthaṅkaras who took birth in the ascending half circle of the present time wheel in Bharatakṣetra of Jambūdvīpa are given below.
According to Śvetāmbara tradition[_46_] they are as follows:
Abhidhānacintāmaṇi[_47_] of Ācārya Hemacandra (1088–1172 A.D.) records names of past twenty four tīthaṅkaras. It contains some difference, in their names, from the aforesaid names recorded in Pravacansāroddhāra of Nemicandrasūri (12th cen. A.D.). The twelfth tīrthaṅkara is Munisuvrata in Abhidhānacintāmaṇi and not Śivāī. The fifteenth tīrthaṅkara is Astºga and not Abādha according to Abhidhānacintāmaṇi. Jineoevara is the name of twentieth in it whereas Pravacanasāroddhāra enumenrates Dharmīśvara as the name of twentieth tīrthaṅkara.
According to the Digambara tradition the names of past twenty four tīrthaṅkaras, of the ascending half circle of the present time wheel in Bharatakṣetra, are as follows[_48_]:
We can see that there is vast difference in the list of past twenty four tīrthaṅkaras between Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. We may say that the list of both the tradition do not match with each other at all.
The list of future twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the ascending half circle of the coming time wheel in Bharatakṣetra will be given. The Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition records their names in four–four treatises. Therefore, with an intention to make it clear, the list of each treatise will be presented in tabular form.
First of all we shall present the list of future twenty four tīrthaṅkaras according Śvetāmbara tradition.
In Digambara tradition names of future twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Bharatakṣetra are found in four treatises.
Their lists are as follow–
In both the tradition i.e. Śvetmbara and Digmbara either Mahāpadma or Padmanābha is the name of first tīrthaṅkara of the future set of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras. Suradeva (with slight difference of Sūrādeva orŚradeva), Supārśva and Svayamprabha i.e. the second, the third and the fourth tīrthaṅkaras’ names are same in treatises of both the sects. The sixth tīrthaṅkaras names are same in treatises of both the sects. The sixth tīrthaṅkara Devagupta has little difference but the ‘Deva’ word is same in all sources of the tradition. The second word changes as ‘gupta’, ‘putra’, ‘śruta’, ‘suta’ and ‘deva’. There is no match in the name of seventh tīrthaṅkara between two sects. The eighth tīrthaṅkara is Peḍḥālaputra in Śvetāmbara tradition whereas it is Udaṅka in Digambara tradition. The ninth tīrthaṅkara of Śvetāmbara sect is Poṭṭila and the other sect says it is either Proṣṭhila or Praṣnakīrti. However, Poṭṭila and Proṣṭhila seems to be somewhat matching words. Munisuvrata or Suvrata is commonly accepted name of eleventh tīrthaṅkara by both the sects. The twentieth, tīrthaṅkara Anīvṛtti, Anivarti or Vijaya of Śvetāmbara sect becomes Anivartaka in Digambara treatises. Regarding the name of twenty second tīrthaṅkara some treatises of both the sect records Vimala, whereas two treatises of only Śvetāmbara tradition mentions Deva and Devajina as the names of twentieth tīrthaṅkara. The treatises of Digambara tradition uniformly accepts Anantavīrya as the name of twenty fourth tīrthaṅkara. But the Śvetāmbara sect’s treatises had difference of opinion regarding the name of twenty fourth tīrthaṅkara. It is interesting to note that none of Śvetāmbara treatises mentions Anantavīrya as the name of twenty fourth tīrthaṅkara, which is accepted by all the four treatises of the Digambara tradition.
The names of future set of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the coming time wheel’s ascending half circle are presented in four treatises of Śvetāmbara tradition. A tika of Samvāyāṅga sūtras and Prakīrṇaka Samavāya bear resemblance in names, whereas the later two treatises namely Abhidhānacintāmaṇi and Pravacanasāroddhāra have more common names. Therefore, we may conclude that the first two are canonical sources whereas the last two belong to the 11th cent. A.D. and 12th cent. A.D. respectively. So, these treatises, which are divided into two, carry many differences in the name list.
The names of present twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the current descending half circle of this time wheel in Airāvatakṣetra of Jambūdvīpa are as follow–
The names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of the present time are contained in two treatises of Śvetāmbara tradition. The above presented table contains two lists. Almost all the names recorded in two treatises are different except for third, fourth, fifteenth, nineteenth and twenty fourth tīrthaṅkaras. Their names are same in both the treatises. Moreover, we find similarity between names of the third tīrthaṅkara and the twenty second tīrthaṅkara in both treatises. However, the name of twenty second tīrthaṅkara, in Prakīrṇaka Samavāya, is Agniṣeṇa.Whereas according to Pravacanasāroddhāra it is Agnisena. The only difference is found in second word of the name, that is ‘ṣeṇa’ and ‘sena’.
The fifth set of list shall contains names of future twenty four tīrthaṅkara of the coming ascending half circle of the next upcoming time wheel in Airāvatakṣetra of Jambūdvīpa. This list follows the names recorded in the Śvetāmbara tradition.
The list of names presented in Prakīrṇakasamavāya contains twenty five names of future twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Airāvatakṣetra. The name Siddhārtha is used twice. If we enumerate it once then the number would come to twenty four only.[_61_] Moreover twelfth, twenty first and twenty second tīrthaṅkaras’ names are same in these two treatises. The rest of names are different in them.
Digambara tradition states that the details viz. names etc. pertaining to great personages (Śalākā Puruṣas) of Airāvatakṣetra of Jambūdvīpa are perished in the present time. Therefore, we are unable to find any references regarding the names of past, present and future set of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Airāvatakṣetra in Digambara tradition.[_62_]
Till now we have seen names of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of Bharatakṣetra as well as Airāvatakṣetra of past, present and future. Fifteen fields of action consist of (karmabhūmi) five Bharatas, five Airāvatas and five Mahāvidehas. Therefore, now let us throw a glance at the five regions of Mahāvideha. These five regions are always conducive to the presence of tīrthaṅkaras. Each region of Mahāvideha has four tīrthaṅkaras at any point of time. Thus, total twenty tīrthaṅkaras always exist in Mahāvidehakṣetra . At the present time Sīmandharasvāmī is the first among twenty tīrthaṅkaras.[_63_] Since it is the fifth era of current descending half circle, due to physical absence of tīrthaṅkaras in Bharatakṣetra, nobody can attain liberation from Bharatakṣetra. But a soul who takes birth in any of the regions of Mahāvideha, if takes resort to Sīmandharasvāmī etc., can attain liberation from Mahāvideha.
Now one obvious question arises in our mind. How many tīrthaṅkaras take birth at the same time in these fifteen fields of action. Āvaśyakacūrṇi answers this question to some extent[_64_]. It is said that there is a maximum possibility of one hundred and seventy tīrthaṅkaras’ presence at the same time in these fields of action. And the minimum limit is of twenty tīrthaṅkaras. That is these action fields possess minimum twenty tīrthaṅkaras at any point of time. But one point of time comes when total one hundred and seventy tīrthaṅkaras exist in these fifteen fields of action at the same time. However the lines of Āvaśyakacūrṇi does not seem to clarify,as which particular region among these fields of action, possess how many tīrthaṅkaras out of these one hundred and seventy at the same time. To find out its answer we may need to put efforts for further investigation.
Even though many of Jain ācāryas’ life history pertaining details are found in a very scantily recorded manner, the biographical details of sixty three great personages are recorded with minutest possible information in Jainism. Their details are documented systematically and completely in jain literature. This is nothing but a sign of high regards and gratitude bestowed to sixty three great personages in Jain Philosophy. The Jain ācāryas, who write about these great personages, might not have provided enough details about their own life, date and works but have narrated elaborately life stories of sixty three great personages with every possible detail. The difference of opinions are observed, regarding some details pertaining to these personages life stories, in two major sects of Jainism, viz. Śvetāmbara and Digambara. The marked differences are seen in the name-list of twenty four tīrthaṅkaras of past, present and future. Differences in name-lists make us questioning whether these dissimilar names convey different-different souls or it is just dissimilarity of names only. For example, different Śvetāmbara treatises contain Saṃvara and Yaśodhara as two different names of one and same nineteenth tīrthaṅkara of the future set of twenty for tīrthaṅkaras of Bharatakṣetra. Whereas all the four[_65_] Digambara treaties mention Svayambhū as nineteenth tīrthaṅkara. Does it mean that Saṃvara tīrthaṅkara, Yaśodhara tīrthaṅkara and Svayambhū tīrthaṅkara are three different souls? The difference in names of one and same tīrthaṅkara may be a result of various readings of manuscripts available to two sects. This question demands very deep and honest investigation. Probably a complete and final answer can only be given by an omniscient one.
In spite of various types of difference of opinions between two sects, they never differ from each other regarding certain things viz., number of śalākā puruṣas, number of tīrthaṅkaras, number of births of every tīrthaṅkaras of the present set, their parents name etc. Indrabhūti Gautama and the rest are chief disciples of Lord Mahāvīra according to both sects. There are many such facts which are completely accepted by both the sects. This unity among many differences seems to be indicative of the fact that after all both the sets are nothing but like two children of one and only mother.