Illustrated Tirthankar Charitra
Authentic Illustrated Biographies of the Twenty Four Tirthankars
Up-pravartak Shri Amar Muni
(Disciple of Uttar Bharatiya Pravartak Bhandari Shri Padma Chandra Ji M.)
Srichand Surana ‘Saras’
Shri Surendra Bothara
Publisher : Padam Prakashan
Narela Mandi, Delhi – 011 040
: Diwakar Prakashan
A-7, Awagarh House, M. G. Road
Agra – 282 002 Phone: (0562) 54328
First Edition : 2521 A. N. M.
Jyeshth 2052 V.
June 1995 AD
Price: General Edition : Rupees Two Hundred only; US $20
Library Edition : Rupees Three Hundred only; US $30
Illustrator : Sardar Purushottam Singh and
Sardar Harvinder Singh
Printing : Printed by Rajesh Surana for Diwakar
Prakashan at Nirmal Chitran, Agra and
Graphic Art Press, Mathura
Cover : Front- The symbols of the twenty-four
Tirthankars in Chronological order
Back- Scenes of five auspicious events
(Panch-Kalyanaks) in the life of a Tirthankar,
viz. the auspicious descent (the 14 dreams),
the auspicious birth, the auspicious renunci-
ation, and the auspicious liberation.
Border on Pages : Every page of this book has a multicolored
border. At the top and bottom are twenty-
four Symbols (Lanchhan) of the Tirthankars
and at the sides are the fourteen great dreams.
In the theist world the loftiest entity is The God!
It has thousands of names like Paramatma (the ultimate soul), Bhagavan (the most glorious one), Siddha (the liberated), Buddha (the enlightened), The God, etc.
In the Jain tradition there are two forms of this entity-
(1) The formless God or Siddha (the liberated) and
(2) The God with a form or Tirthankar / Arihant.
The Tirthankar is a detached individual who is the ultimate altruist and benefactor of not only mankind but every living being. He propagates the religious path and preaches about it for their benefit. His benevolent voice promotes happiness, peace, and infinite bliss for every being.
In the Jain tradition there have been twenty-four Tirthankars during the current descending cycle of time, Bhagavan Rishabhdev being the first and Bhagavan Mahavir being the last.
For every Jain these Tirthankars are the entities to be worshipped and revered. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to tread the path shown by them and acquire infinite powers and virtues.
Out of these twenty-four Tirthankars, many authors have written the biographies of Bhagavan Rishabhdev and Bhagavan Mahavir. But very little has been done about authentic and complete biographical sketch of all the twenty-four Tirthankars. And it is even harder to get this material.
When we edited the Illustrated Kalpasutra we compiled brief life-sketches of all Tirthankars. As it is already a large volume we had to be selective in any further additions. It was at that time that we thought to compile life-sketches of all the Tirthankars in an independent book; it would be useful for all. The original plan was to include these brief biographical sketches within a 50 page book, but as the work progressed it became impossible to follow the plan. Although most of the inspiring incidents from earlier incarnations of the Tirthankars had to be left, the book became much larger than we originally thought of. However, whatever has been included will hopefully prove to be adequately useful, educative, interesting, and inspiring for our readers.
Scriptures like Bhagavati Sutra, Acharanga, Jambudvipa Prajnapti, Samvayang and others contain stray incidents from the lives of Tirthankars. Kalpasutra just lists all the Tirthankars and their periods besides giving brief details about Rishabhdev, Parshvanath, Arishtanemi, and Mahavir. It was Acharya Bhadrabahu who first of all attempted to compile biographical sketches of all Tirthankars in brief. Later others worked on providing more detailed biographies in a variety of styles, both interesting as well as informative. Some of these later works are: Pravachansaroddhar, Chauppanna Mahapuris Chariyam (Shilankacharya), Trishashtishalaka Purush Charitra (Hemchandracharya), Adipurana (Acharya Jinasen), Uttarpurana (Gunabhadra), Tiloyapannatti (Yativrishabhacharya), etc. Considerable material is available about the lives of Tirthankars from various works in Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Apabhramsha languages.
Shri Ratan Lal Doshi has compiled and edited the biographies of Tirthankars, based on Trishashtishakaka Purush Charitra, in Hindi in three volumes. Acharya Shri Hastimal ji M., a recognized Jain historian himself, has compiled these biographies with authentic references and his comments, in the first volume of the voluminous Jain Dharma ka Maulik Itihas. It is an unique effort.
In this context other important reference works are Bhagavan Mahavir by Upadhyaya Shri Kewal Muni ji and four research works on four Tirthankars by Acharya Shri Devendra Muni ji.
With the help of all these works we have selected and compiled this book; a brief but attractive presentation.
A useful and informative part of the book is its Appendix. All these dates are rarely available at one place. Vitaraga Vandana has been very useful in compiling the appendices.
I am grateful to all those authors, editors, and publishers whose knowledge, hard work, and experience has been conveniently available through their works listed above.
Although it is based on information available in ancient scriptures, this book has some unique features:
1. The most important features of this book are the 52 multicolored illustrations on incidents from the lives of Tirthankars made in attractive style. Acharya Shri Vijay Yashodev Suri had published a set of illustrations based on Bhagavan Mahavir’s life, it became very popular. There have been some other illustrated publications also, but this is the first attempt to present a neat and organized compilation of text and illustrations.
2. The biographical sketches have been compiled after a study of relevant literature from Digambar to Shvetambar traditions. Care has been taken to select only the incidents that are useful and inspiring and without any sectarian controversy.
3. Common man looks for a variety of specific data about Tirthankars and fails to find it in some commonly available book. This work attempts to fulfill that want with its functionally compiled appendices.
4. The combination of Hindi and English versions makes it useful for non-Hindi speaking readers, thus expanding its scope from Hindi speaking belt to the whole world.
We are sure, with these unique features, this Tirthankar Charitra will prove to be very useful for all and sundry.
The inspiration from U. B. Pravartak Gurudev Shri Bhandari Shri Padma Chandra ji M., and the guidance from Up-pravartak Shri Amar Muni ji and the collection of his articles and books have been vitally useful in compiling this work. I convey my heart felt regards to all these. I hope that the readers will like this work and that this will be frequently used as a reference book.
–Srichand Surana ‘Saras’