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History of Jain Sects & Scriptures
                                                      (Essence Of Jainism Chapter 16)

Jain Friends
 Jain scriptures are popularly known as Aagamas. The term means what
comes out (from the mouth of the Lord). It is generally accepted
that whatever Lord Mahavir taught after gaining omniscience, was
compiled by His Ganadharas in 12 parts, Sanskrit word for part is
Anga. These 12 compilations are therefore called as 12 Angas and are
collectively known as Dwadashangi. The foremost of these Angas is
Aacharang Sutra. Other well known Angas are Sutrakritang, Samavayang,
Sthanang and Vyakhya Pragnapti which is more popularly known as
Bhagavati Sutra. Based on these Angas, the seers also compiled 12
auxiliary works that came to be known as Upangas. These 24
compilations should have been completed by the time of Jambuswami who
was the second successor of the reli gious order set up by Lord
Mahavir and also was the last omniscient of the current time cycle.

It should be noted that these Angas and Upangas were not written for
a long time. They were orally passed on by the preceptors to their
pupils. Memory of the omniscient being infallible, they could have
been retained in the original form up to the time of Jambuswami.
Immediate successors of Jamuswami were known as Shrut Kevalis meaning
that they knew all Angas and Upangs thoroughly well. During their
time, however some variations seem to have crept in, since Samavayang
and Nandisutra indicate some varying versions of Sutras. Shrut
Kevalis and other prominent Acharyas also prepared subsidiary works
known as Mul Sutras, Chhed Sutras etc. which were considered
authorized versions of the LordGs teaching. Dashvaikalik,
Uttaradhyayan and Avasyak are the most well known Sutras belonging to
this category. By the time of Bhadrabahuswami who was the last Shrut
Kevali, there came to be quite a few compilations that were admitted
as Aagamas. They were written in Ardhamagadhi which was the language
understood in the area where Lord Mahavir went about during His life.

About 160 years after the Lords departure, when Bhadrabahuswami was
the head of religious order and Nand dynasty was ruling over Magadha,
Pataliputra, the capital city became the center of learning and
knowledge. That time, there occurred a severe famine that seems to
have raged for 12 long years. During that period of shortage and
scarcity, it was hard for Jain monks to observe the code of conduct
laid down by the Lord. Bhadrabahuswami therefore decided to migrate
to south along with many followers. (Ac cording to another version,
he went to Nepal.) For those who stayed behind, it was hard to
remember accurately whatever they had learnt. Hence there came about
varying versions of Aagamas. Condition might have reached a chaotic
stage. A convention was th erefore called at Patliputra under the
leadership of venerable Sthulibhadra, who was the principal disciple
of Bhadrabahuswami. That convention prepared uniform version of all
the Aagamas. In Jain traditions this is known as the first Vachana
of Aagamas.

The version so prepared was however not found acceptable to most of
those who had migrated to south. They considered the version
unauthentic and contended that the original Aagamas had got lost.
This was the first major cleavage among the followers of Lord
Mahavir. In this connection it would be interesting to dwell a
little in the background of this cleavage. When the Lord renounced
the worldly life, he seems to have retained a single cloth to cover
His body. During the first year of His renounced life, that cloth
seems to have been worn, torn or entangled in thicket somewhere.
After that He did not care to get another one. For the rest of life
He therefore stayed without clothes. The immediate followers that He
got after omniscience were also presumably unclad. Later on,
followers of Parshwa traditions acknowledged His leadership. They
were covering their bodies with two pieces of cloth. While admitting
them in His fold, the Lord does not seem to have objected to their
being clad. Thus His Sangha cons tituted clad as well as unclad monks
amicably staying together. The amity between these two however might
not have survived after the age of omniscients. Though there was no
open dispute, there could have been some misunderstanding and
unfriendliness betw een these two groups.

Venerable Sthulibhadra and most of those who stayed in north used to
cover their bodies with plain, white cloth; while those who had
migrated with Bhadrabahuswami were mostly unclad. With the open
cleavage on the authenticity of the Aagamas. the latter took pride
in their being true unclad followers of the Lord and in due course
came to be known as Digamabars which means skyclad. Those on the
other side came to be known as Shwetamabars on account of white cloth
that they wore. The history of the Aagamas from that time onwards
thus takes two different courses.

Even after Patliputra convention, Aagamas remained unwritten and
continued to be passed on orally from preceptor to pupil. Memorizing
must have taken its own toll. Moreover with the fall of Mauryan
dynasty in 150 B.C., Patliputra ceased to be the main center of
Jainism, because Mitra dynasty that took over, was not favorably
inclined to it. There was therefore large scale migration of Jain
monks and laymen towards Udaygiri(Near present Bhuvaneshwar) in the
southeast and towards Mathura in the west. All these factors
contributed once again to variations in the version of Sutras. By
the end of the first century, most probably in 97 A.D., another
convention was called at Mathura under the leadership of HonGble
Skandilacharya. Curiously enough, another conv ention was
simultaneously held at Valabhipur in Saurashtra under the leadership
of HonGble Nagarjunacharya. There were some differences in the
versions arrived at the two conventions. We are not exactly sure
whether any attempt was made to reconcile the varying versions. Any
way, this is called second Vachana of the Aagamas.

That time too, the Aagamas remained unwritten. Variations in the
version were therefore bound to occur. Ultimately one more
convention was held at Valabhipur in 454 A.D. under the leadership
Devardhigani Khshamashraman. Authorized version of all the Aagam as
(Presumably 84) was prepared at that convention and they were for the
first time written down. With the passage of time some of the
Aagamas got lost and some got destroyed during Muslim invasions. At
present following 45 Aagamas are available that are acceptable to
Shwetambar Murtipujak sect: 11 Angas(The 12th one lost long back), 12
Upangas, 4 Mul Sutras, 6 Chhed Sutras, 10 Misc. and 2 Chulikas.

Digambars started writing their text of Aagamas on the basis of
knowledge at their command. Acharyas Dharsen and Gundhar who
happened to be in the line of Bhadrabahuswami, were very
knowledgeable. Their successors prepared the Shatkhandagam,
Gomatasar, Labdhisar etc. that are collectively known as Pratham
Shrut Skandha or the first collection of scriptures.

This could have occurred some time after the Patliputra convention.
During the second century A.D. the most venerable Kundkunacharya
wrote Samayasar, Pravachanasar, Niyamasar, Panchastikaya, Ashtapahud
etc. which are known as Dwitiya Shrut Skandha or seco nd collection
of scriptures. His Samayasar, Pravachanasar and Panchastikaya are
held in high esteem even by Non-Digamabars. Digambar saints accept
these works as the most authentic Jain Aagamas and most of the
subsequent Digamabar literature is based on t hem. In about 200 A.D.
HonGble Umaswati wrote his Tattwarthasutra giving the entire essence
of Jainism in Sanskrit language. Luckily this book happens to be
acceptable to all the sects of Jainism. This shows that despite the
outward differences, there is no disputes among them about any of its
fundamentals. Several learned commentaries have been written on this
book by many Acharyas of both the denominations.

Subsequent well known author is HonGble Siddhasen Diwakar who lived
during the time of Vikramaditya. He seems to have written on many
aspects of Jainism. His Sanmatitark is considered a masterly book
and is enthusiastically studied by scholars even at pre sent.
Sarvartha Siddhi of Pujyapadswami in 5th or 6th century and
Shaddarshan Samucchaya and Yoga Drishti Samucchaya of Acharya
Haribhadrasuri in 8th century are the major works after the
compilations of Aagamas. By that time idol worship was firmly estab
lished and many temples were set up. This necessitated the help of
well versed persons for consecrating the idols and for performance of
various rituals. In Shwetambar sect this led to the rise of renegade
monks known as Yatis. They used to stay in the te mples and therefore
came to be known as Chaityavasis. They lived in affluence and
availed of all the comforts of life. Haribhadrasuri was the first to
castigate their excesses. The evil however seems to have continued
long after that.

Noteworthy works after this period are Mahapuran of Digambar Acharya
Jinsen (770-850) and Trishashti Shalaka Purush of Hemchandracharya
(1088-1173). Both these works are voluminous and deal with the lives
of Tirthankaras and other illustrious personalities . Serious efforts
were made to curtail the excesses of Yatis in 11th century by
Vardhamansuri. This was continued by his successors Jineshwarsuri
and Jindattasuri. The latter is popularly known as Dada. He founded
Kharatar Gacchha meaning purer sect in about 1150. The excesses Yati
however seems to have survived that onslaught.

So far we have talked about contribution of well known Acharyas. Now
we come to the contribution of a householder. He was Lonkashah of
Ahmedabad. He could not believe that the excesses of Yatis could
have religious sanction. Scriptures were however not a ccessible to
householders. Luckily, a monk once happened to see the neat
handwriting of Lonkashah. He therefore entrusted the latter to make
copies of scriptures. While doing that Lonkashah also prepared
copies for himself and studied them carefully. Equipped with that
knowledge he came out with a heavy hand against Chaityavasis in
1451. Based on his study of Aagamas, he also disputed idol worship
as being against original Jain tenets. This was preamble to setting
up Sthanakwasi sect which came into being as nonidol worshippers in
1474. Bhanajimuni was the first known Muni of that sect. Shwetambar
sect was thus divided into two sub-sects. This division was however
helpful in dealing death blow to the evils of Yatis. Sthanakwasis
introduced strict code o f conduct for their monks in contrast to

Hirvijayasuri was the well known Acharya of the next century. He
seems to have impressed even emperor Akabar who issued proclamation
forbidding animal slaughter on certain days. Poet Banarasidas also
lived during that period. He was born in a Shwetambar f amily and
was an easy going youth. He however happened to read Samayasar and
was very much impressed. He has written SamayasarNatak which is a
dramatic version of Samayasar. The next two well known personalities
are Yogi Ananadghanji and Upadhyaya Yashovi jayaji. The real name of
the former was Labhanandji. Since he remained more absorbed in the
nature of soul, he is popularly known as Anandghanji. He has written
many thought provoking Padas. The most well known is his Ananadghan
Chovisi that contains devo tional songs in admiration of all the 24
Tirthankaras. Upadhyaya Yashovijayaji was a prolific writer. He has
written on almost every aspect of Jainism in Sanskrit, Prakrit and
Gujarati languages. Soon after that Acharya Bhikshu split the
Sthanakvasi sect in 1727 on the issue of role of charities etc. in
Jainism. The new sect that was set up is known as Terapanthi sect.

The last one to be mentioned is Shrimad Rajchandraji who was born in
1868. He was a highly gifted person. He could heavily impress even
Mahatma Gandhi, who considered Shrimad as his guide. He has compiled
many devotional songs and has written at length ab out the true
nature of soul in the form of letters. Most of his writings is in
Gujarati language. Mokshamala and Atmasiddhishastra are his
outshining independent publications that have influenced lot of
people. He had plans to propound the true Jainism af resh.
Unfortunately however he did not survive long and left the mortal
body in 1901 at the young age of 33.

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