In and Around the Split of Digambar and Swethambar
One more analogy:
Prior to 3 months, I had posted an article on this. But this article is little different from the previous. It puts more light on the events that occurred around the split in Jainism. I was initially in an assumption that “Digambar” sect was the original sect and much much much later Shwethambar sect arose. After some of the below works, I came to know that Shwethambar sect was present even before the period of Bhagwan Mahaveer. It seems to be an interesting argument.
Period of Bhagwan Parshwanath (23rd Thirthankar):
His timeline is believed to be around 720BC. We don’t have much evidence or resources which provide information about the earlier thirthanakaras. We indeed have rough estimate saying that Bhagwan Adinath lived around 3000BC.
The evidences found supporting the Parshwa timeline indicates the existence of Monks, who wore clothes (clads). It is also believed that clad Monks (Monks covered by two pieces of white clothes) were more than unclad Monks (naked monks). Thus the period of Parshwa had a Jain sect which supports the ideology of existing Shwethambar sect.
Period of Bhagwan Mahaveer (24th Thirthankar):
His period of existence is around 599BC to 527BC. There comes an interesting argument saying that both unclad and clad monks lived together under the leadership of Bhagwan Mahaveer. It is also believed that they had internal misunderstanding as their way of life had significant differences.
There also lies an argument stating that Bhagwan Mahaveer during the initiation of his renounced life, wore two pieces of clothes (clad) to cover his body. Later the cloth he used to cover, got toiled and he was not bother to get the new replacement for that. Thus he remained naked for the rest of his life. He also took food only once in a day in standing posture. This almost resembles to the current Digambar doctrines.
Role of “Agam” in the split:
I personally feel the key reason for this major separation was “Agams”. Agams are the sacred book of Jainism. ”Agam” means “What comes out” (from the mouth of Lord).
The teachings of Bhagwan Mahaveer were compiled into 12 parts by Gandharas (11 ganadharas – Gautham swami is the first among those).. Those 12 sets are collectively known as Dwadshangi (Angaas). They also compiled 12 auxiliary parts called “Upangas”. Thus 12 Angaas and 12 Upangaas constitute Agam.
A significant loop hole was the failure of any of the Ganadharas to write down the Agam. They never documented Agam and it was orally passed from generation to generation. Even Shrutha kevalis failed to document Agams. Thus it remained unwritten for more than 500 years even after the Nirvana of Bhagwan Mahaveer.
The unclad monks were led by Badhrabahu and clad monks were led by Sthulibadhra. They lived together even after having lot of differences in their approach to Nirvana. But a serious famine seems to have hit the corridors of central India . It is believed that famine continued for 12 long years. So Badhrabahu thought it was difficult for Digamabar monks to live in famine and thus he migrated to south along with 1500 unclad monks. Where as Sthulibadhra with clad monks remained unmoved from central India . This physical separation made the wound more deeper and the Agams got different interpretation by both.
An effort to reunite the Sects and resolve the issues of Agam:
We should appreciate the efforts of Sthulibadhra and Badhrabahu to reunite both the sects. They conducted several conventions to resolve these differences.
1. 1st convention: @ Patliputra (leadership of Sthulibadhra)
2. 2nd convention: @ Mathura (leadership of Skandilacharya)
3. 3rd convention: @ Valabhipur (leadership of Nagarjunacharya)
4. 4th convention: @ Valabhipur (leadership of Devardhiganghi Kshamanashraman)
All those conventions were not fruitful enough to overcome the disparities b/n the Digamabar and Shwethambar sect.
Finally the unclad group led by Badhrabahu gave birth to Digamabar sect and the clad group led by Sthulibadhra led to the formation of Shwethambar sect.