The Sthaviravali of the Kalpa Sutra
The Kalpa Sutra of the
Svetambaras gives a list of patriarchs of their Church. This is the
generally accepted list of the Shvetambara Church. Hemachandra has
followed this list, except in some cases where he has omitted details of
some of the patriarchs named in the list. (Another list of patriarchs or
pontiffs of the Svetambaras is given in the NandiSutra. See Appendix V.)
Mahavira had eleven Ganadharas. They knew the twelve Angas, the fourteen
Purvas, and the whole of the Siddhanta. Except for Indrabhuti and Arya
Sudharman all the others had died before the Nirvana of Mahavira. "The
Nirgrantha Shramnas of the present day are all spiritual descendants of
the monk Arya Sudharman; the rest of the Ganadharas left no descendants."
"The disciples of Mahavira were:
4. Shayyambha, father of Manaka.
The Kalpa Sutra now continues the list in two forms: one in a short
redaction, and the other giving the Gana-Kula, and Shakha founded by the
various teachers. Gana designates the school which is derived from one
teacher. It appears to be equivalent with the modern Gaccha. Kula
designates the succession of teachers in one line, and Shakha the lines
which branch off from each teacher.1
In the short redaction the list of
sthaviras after Arya Yasho-Bhadra is the following:
6. (a) Bhadrabahu and (b) SambhutaviaJya.
8. (a) Mahagiri and (b) Suhastin.
9. (a) Susthita and (b) Supratibuddha, surnamed
(a) Kotika and (b) Kakandaka.
The Kalpa Sutra then continues with the detailed list of the names of the
disciples, or the ganas, kulas and shakhas, founded by these nine
generations of sthaviras. Some of them are mentioned below:
6(a) Bhadrabahu had four disciples among which Godasa was the founder of
the Godasa gana which was divided into four Shakhas. These were: (i)
Tamraliptika, (ii) Kotivarshiya, (iii) Pundravardhaniya and (iv)
It will be noticed that of the four shakhas founded by Godasa, three were
named after places in west and north Bengal. Names of none of these
shakhas founded by Godasa, or by any other disciple of Bhadrabahu appear
again in the history of Jainism.
6(b) Sambhutavijaya had twelve male disciples, among whom was Sthulabhadra
who was No. 7 in the short list. Sambhulavijaya had seven female disciples
8(a) Mahagiri who presumably was the senior of the two disciples of
Sthulabhadra had eight disciples. Of these eight disciples, we need name
only two: Kodinna and Rohagutta, Kodinna's disciple Assamitta is said to
have started the fourth schism of the Church in 220 AV., while Rohagutta
is said to have started the sixth schism in 544 AV. Since it is not
possible, that two persons separated by one generation only will live more
than 300 years apart, the Rohagutta of the sixth schism must have been a
different person. Among the eight disciples of Mahagiri we do not find the
name of Bahula. Now Bahula according to the Nandi-Sutra2 was the pontiff
of the Jain Church after Mahagiri. The absence of his name from the Kalpa-Sutra
list is therefore intriguing.
8(b) Suhastin had twelve disciples, some of them founded a number of ganas,
shakhas and kulas. Some of these ganas, kulas, etc. are found in the
inscriptions on the Jain ruins at Kankalitila at Mathura. These prove that
the long lists of names of the ganas, kulas, shakhas, etc., are not
fictitious and some at least of these names, occurring in the Kalpa Sutra
actually existed. Unfortunately, the Mathura inscriptions do not name any
contemporary pontiffs. We are thus unable to establish the chronology of
these leaders of the Jain Church from these independent sources.
Among the twelve disciples of Suhastin, only 9(a) Susthita and 9(b)
Supratibuddha who became joint Pontiffs after Suhastin, matter for this
purpose because only the ganas, kulas, etc., founded by them can be traced
in the Mathura inscriptions. These two pontiffs founded the Kautika gana.
This gana finds the largest number of mention in the Mathura inscriptions.
The gana itself was divided into four kulas.
The names of the kulas are as below:
As mentioned in the As found in the Mathura Kalpa Sutra inscriptions
Thaniya or Sthaniya
Similarly for the shakhas, we have:
Vajri or Veri
It will be noticed that the the shkahas is not found in the Mathura
Next to the Kautika gana, the largest number of thc Jain inscription of
Mathura mention the Varana gana. Now no such gana is mentioned in the
Kalpa-Sutra. Kalpa-Sutra however mentions the Charana gana. It has been
conjectured3 that since the Brahmi letters Cha and Va look similar, the
name of the gana should be read Varana, and there is copyist's error in
the Kalpa-Sutra. If we accept this then we find the similarity in the
names of the kulas of this gana as follows:
Kulas of the Charana gana Kulas of the Varana gana
the Kalpa-Sutra mentioned in the Mathura
i (Vacchali) yato
g. Kanhasahav. Kaniyasika vi. Arya-Hattakiya.
The Charana gana of the Kalpa-Sutra was founded by Shrigupta, one of the
disciples of Suhastin. This gana also had four shakhas. Their
correspondence with the Mathura inscriptions is as follows:
shakhas of the Charana shakhas of the Varana gana gana of Kalpa Sutra of
ii. Sam (kasiya)
The similarity in the names is striking. It seems, therefore, that the
conjecture is correct, and the Charana gana of the Kalpa-Sutra should be
read as Varana gana as found in the Mathura inscriptions.
The next two pontiffs of the Church
10. Indradatta who was one of the five disciples of the joint teachers
Susthita and Supratibuddha, and-
Hemachandra in this Sthaviravali has completely ignored these two
pontiffs. The Kalpa-Sutra also does not add anything more about them
except to mention their gotras. In fact we are not even told whose
disciple Datta was. The next two pontiffs were-
12. Sinhagiri who was a disciple of Datta, and -
13. Vajra who was a disciple of Sinhagiri.
We do not know whose disciple 14. Vajrasena was.
Vajrasena is the last pontiff named in the short list of the Kalpa-Sutra.
The longer list gives 19 more names of successive pontiffs in a string,
starting with Pushyagiri and ending with Shandilya. After this the Kalpa-Sutra
has six gathas giving the names of six more pontiffs. The last of these
six is Kshamashra-Mana-Devarddhi the president of the Vallabhi Council.
The canonical books of the Svetambaras were reduced in writing in this
Council. The names of these 25 pontiffs are:
26. SamPalita and Bhadra
36. KshamashRam Deshiganin .
37. KsamashRamna Sthira-gupta.
39. KshamashRamna Devarddhi.
1.Note by Jacobi, in Sacred Books of the East. Vol. xxii, p. 288n
2. See Appendix V.
3 J. P. Singh, Aspects of Early Jainism, p. 43.