The Unknown Loṅkā Tradition and the Cultural Unconscious (2)

Posted: 03.03.2016
Updated on: 06.03.2016


The Loṅkāgaccha tradition still exists today in small pockets in Gujarāt.[39] Yet, the contemporary followers of the Loṅkāgaccha remember nothing of Loṅkā or his teachings anymore, and have only the vaguest idea of the recent history of their tradition. Not even Loṅkā's name is mentioned in their few idiosyncratic rituals. With two negligible exceptions,[40] most of the modern texts on Loṅkā have been produced by Sthānakavāsī, Terāpanthī and Mūrtipūjaka mendicants and lay intellectuals. It appears that the first Sthānakavāsī text which explicitly sought support in Loṅkā's teachings was Muni Jeṭhmal's celebrated anti-Mūrtipūjaka polemic Samakitasāra, essence of right belief. The original Gujarātī text was prepared by several unnamed Sthānakavāsī lay followers, sometime after the religious debate (śāstrārtha) in which Jeṭhmal reportedly used the published arguments,[41] and printed in 1882 in Rājkoṭ by Śeṭh Nemicand Hīrācand Koṭhārī from Goṇḍal in Saurāṣṭra.[42] Two further Gujarātī editions were published in the following decades, and one revised Hindī edition of two parts in 1930[43] (with the translation of the original text forming part one).[44] The way in which this work was created offers insights into the strategies through which the effective history of a tradition is created and re-created, and suggests that an investigation of parallels in the history of the transmission of knowledge in the Jaina tradition may yield materials for an understanding of processes of identity-formation through the work of canonisation outside the canon, which have not yet been investigated.[45] First of all, Jeṭhmal was not the author of the published work. At the time, it was generally not considered appropriate for Sthānakavāsī munis to publish books under their own name, because of the violence of the printing press and because of the implicit promotion of egotism. Instead, lay-followers published lecture notes of the pravacanas of their gurus. In its prefaces and introductions, the text is described as a synopsis of the arguments used by Jeṭhmal in a public debate with the Tapāgaccha saṃvegī munis Vīrvijay and Yaśovijay on doctrinal differences which divided their religious traditions.[46]

The debate took place in Ahmedabad, either in 1808/9 (Saṃvat 1865)[47] or 1821/2 (Saṃvat 1878).[48] It was triggered by a communal dispute. According to Śāh (1909: 78f.), Sthānakavāsī mendicants were proselytising at the time in the town. In response, the locally dominant Mūrtipūjaka laity threatened to excommunicate all Sthānakavāsīs from their castes (jṭātī). In order to help his beleaguered co-religionists in this situation, Ācārya Prāg from the Sthānakavāsī Dariyāpūrī Sampradāya travelled from his abode in the village of Visalapura outside Ahmedabad to the Tabīā Poë in the Sāraṅgapura district of the city centre. He stayed in Gulābcand Hīracand's house and also imparted religious instruction to the families of Gīrdhar Śaṅkar, Pānācand Jhavercand, Rāycand Jhavercand, Khīmcand Jhavercand, and others, who, in turn, helped him to spread his word. In order to end the ensuing quarrels between Sthānakavāsīs and Mūrtipūjakas, both parties went to court. To educate themselves about the Jaina religion, the judges invited munis from both sides as expert witnesses. For Prāg's side the learned Muni Jeṭhmal, apparently a suśiṣya of Muni Rūpcand of the Bhūdhar Dharmadāsa Sampradāya in Rājasthān,[49] was present, together with twentyseven other munis;[50] and for the Mandirmārgīs Muni Vīrvijay together with Yaśovijay and several monks and scholars (śāstrī) came to the court. According to "someone's" notes (yādī) of the courtproceedings, the judgement of 1878 pauṣ śukla 13 (6.1.1822)[51] apparently favoured the arguments of Jeṭhmal's side described as cetanapūjakas, worshippers of living consciousness, in contrast to the mūrtipūjakas, worshippers of images – although in their respective literatures both sides claimed victory.[52]

Although there is no conclusive evidence, the timing of the belated publication was almost certainly related to the publication of what is probably the first polemic against the Sthānakavāsīs in print[53] in Ātmārām's (1881/1954, II: 539f.) work Jainatattvādarśa which appeared in Bhāvnagar in Saṃvat 1937. After his separation from and excommunication by the Sthānakavāsī Ācārya Amarasiṅha (1805-1881) of the Paṭjāb Lavjīṛṣi Sampradāya and his reinitiation into the Tapāgaccha in Saṃvat 1932 (1875/6) in Ahmedabad, the ex-Sthānakavāsī muni Ātmārām (Vijayānanda Sūri) contributed much to the Mūrtipūjaka revival in Gujarāt and in the Paṭjāb. To revive the "Sanātan Jaina Dharma"[54] by attracting more followers, Ātmārām started a vigorous pro-image-worship campaign, which he had already instigated in his later years as a Sthānakavāsī monk, during which he criticised many of the contemporary practices of the Sthānakavāsīs. One of the points of contention before he left was that Ācārya Amarasiṅha did not answer twenty-one "legitimate" questions which were put to him in Saṃvat 1925 (1868) by certain Sthānakavāsī śrāvakas from Dillī.[55] Amarasiṅha and his successor Ācārya Sohanlāl (1846-1936) of the Lavjīṛṣi tradition were the dominant Sthānakavāsī monks in his native Paṭjāb at the time, and the main targets of his critique. After Ātmārām's excommunication and the publication of his Jainatattvādarśa, Sohanlāl sent on request of Amarasiṅha[56] a praśnottara of one hundred questions[57] to Ātmārām in Saṃvat 1938 caitra śukla 5 (4.4.1881), to which Ātmārām instantly replied in Saṃvat 1938 caitra śukla 7 (6.4.1881), without receiving a response.[58] Shortly thereafter, it seems, in Saṃvat 1938 (1882)[59] the polemical Samakitsār appeared in print with its sustained attack on mūrtipūjā and a long list of questions to the Mandirmārgīs. Immediately after receiving a copy of this book from a Sthānakavāsī layman in Delhi, Ātmārām (1884/1903) composed an equally polemical point-for-point reply under the title Samyaktva Śalyoddhāra, removal of the thorns from right belief,[60] and the work Ajṭāna Timira Bhāskara (1888/1906), radiant darkness of ignorance, in which both the Ārya Samāj and the ôhūṇḍhiyās are systematically criticised.[61] This triggered a long series of tit-for-tat exchanges between leading mendicants (and laity) of the two (three) traditions, which subsided somewhat only after Indian Independence in 1949, though the conflict is still smouldering and can re-erupt at any time.

Of particular interest for us is the role of "Loṅkā" in this debate. Ātmārām's sharp criticism of the "heresy" (nihnava) of the "ôhūṇḍhiyās" was provoked by Jeṭhmal's (1930: 1-9) construction of a contrast between "the path of compassion" (dayā mārga) and non-violence of the tradition of Loṅkā (in its Sthānakavāsī manifestation),[62] and "the path of violence" (hiṃsā mārga) of the Mūrtipūjaka saṃvegī mendicants, which were addressed as "yellow-clad pseudo-ascetics" (pītāmbar bheṣadhārī). As a synonym of dayā mārga, Jeṭhmal used the term mokṣa mārga, and compared the path of salvation of the Sthānakavāsīs, which he derived directly from Loṅkā, with the dual concern of the Mūrtipūjakas (and Digambaras) with salvation and with material well-being (kuśaliyā darśana).[63] The Mūrtipūjakas are spreading lies, he argued, because they convey to their followers the illusion that salvation can be reached through pūjā, while preventing them from reading the truth in the scriptures.[64]

In his long list of rejoinders, of which only the Samyaktva Śalyoddhāra and the Ajṭāna Timira Bhāskara seem to have been published during his lifetime, Ātmārām (1903; 1908)[65] highlighted Jeṭhmal's "misspellings" and "misunderstandings" of the scriptures, and furnished descriptions of the lax conduct of contemporary ôhūṇḍhaka mendicants. In his view, the Sthānakavāsīs generally did not observe the canonical prescriptions, and thus truly formed a religion of violence: ḍhūṇḍhiye hiṃsā dharmī haim.[66] In his critique of Jeṭhmal's account, Ātmārām (1903: 7f.) categorically stated that everything that "Jūṭhmal" wrote about Loṅkā's beliefs as the source of the Sthānakavāsī doctrines was a "selfimagined fabricated lie". In accordance with the conventions of the praśnottara genre,[67] he backed his claim with selected citations from the canon and from the writings of the Sthānakavāsī tradition itself.[68] Information on the true historical origin (kharī utpattī) of the "ôhūṇḍhak Panth",[69] he argued, can be found in two other Sthānakavāsī texts which he summarised in a few pages: Hīrakalaśmuni's Kumati Vidhvaṃsana Caupāī, quatrain on the destruction   of stupidity, and the ôhuṇḍhak Paṭṭāvalī of Amolakcand of the Paṭjāb Amarasiṅha Sampradāya.

Although the furnished information on the lines of succession is rudimentary,[70] Ātmārām's version of the "actual history" contrasts favourably with the account offered by Jeṭhmal[71] in the style of "localised" versions of Jaina "universal history", i.e. the history of great beings or mahāpuruṣas, and doctrinal "cosmological history".[72] In his first verse, Jeṭhmal (1930: 1) wrote, śrī dayā dharma phailā aur bhasma graha utarā jiskā vistār, effectively arguing as Devṛṣi's commentary explains that Loṅkā's revival of "true Jainism" in the year Saṃvat 1531, exactly two thousand years after Mahāvīra's death, was predicted already by the canonical Jinacariya 129-131, which says that after a two thousand year period during which

there will not be paid much respect and honour to the śramaṇas, the Nirgrantha monks and nuns (...) when the great [Bhasma] Graha, &c., leaves that natal asterism [of Mahāvīra], there will be paid much respect and honour to the śramaṇas, the Nirgrantha monks and nuns for an era of two-thousand years (KS 130f.).

This somewhat optimistic version of Jaina cosmological history, which allows for progressive intervals within the generally predicted decline, contrasts however with other passages in the scriptures. In his rejoinder, Ātmārām (1903: 4) cited the famous section Viy 20.8.4 in which Mahāvīra predicted that his teaching will survive for at least 21,000 years after his death. The same argument had previously been used by the 16th-century founders of two Sthānakavāsī orders, Lava and Dharmadāsa, against the followers of the Loṅkāgaccha and the Ekal Pātriyāpanth, who indeed seem to have favoured the Jinacaritra passage, to which Jeṭhmal had reverted without fear of sanction, because the Loṅkāgaccha was already in terminal decline, and no competition for the Sthānakavāsīs anymore.[73] Since there is no independent criterion for judging which of the two versions is more authentic (even historical precedence would not solve the issue) any choice between them is a matter of personal preference and of sectarian interests. However, due to his correspondence with European scholars such as Hoernle[74] and the presence of his representative V. R. Gāndhī at the first Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893, Ātmārām's writings were widely read outside India, and significantly influenced the image of the Jaina community projected by the first generations of modern Indologists. Jeṭhmal's text, by contrast, circulated only within the literary elite of the Sthānakavāsīs and Mūrtipūjakas. Thus, only the Mūrtipūjaka depiction entered European textbooks on Jainism.

The second round of the dispute was fought on behalf of Sohanlāl and Ātmārām between the Sthānakavāsī mahāsatī "Jainācārya"[75] Pārvatī Devī (1854-1939) from the Amarasiṅha Sampradāya and Ātmārām's disciple and future ācārya Muni Vallabhvijay (18701954). Pārvatī Devī was a remarkable Jaina nun[76] who on the 28.12. 1872 (1929 mārgaśīrṣa kṛṣṇa 13) in Delhi changed from the Manoharadāsa Sampradāya of Ācārya Ratnacandra (died 1864)[77] to the Paṭjāb Lavjīṛṣi tradition of Ācārya Amarsiṅha (1805-1881).[78] According to Sarlā (1991: 299), she chose a less restrictive group in order to be able to preach in public, to publish books, and to wander alone.[79] Her official biography by P. L. Jain (1913/1923: 30), however, informs us that she joined the Amarsiṃha Sampradāya because its mendicants followed the scriptures more closely. Pārvatī Devī's pamphlet Jṭāna Dīpikā (Lāhaur 1889), a critique of the Jainatattvādarśa,[80] and Muni Vallabhvijay's (1891: 9-71) reply, Gappa Dīpikā,[81] re-ignited the debate in the Paṭjāb which was again conducted in the form of praśnottaras, in which for instance the difference between the thirty-one Āgamas which were allegedly accepted by Loṅkā and the thirty-two Āgamas of the Sthānakavāsīs was questioned by Vallabhvijay (1891: 130f.), who dismissed Pārvatī's book as a "work of sin" which calls for an atonement (prāyaścitta) since, in accordance with the rules of the scriptures, no sādhvī before her had ever written a book nor spoken in the assembly of men.[82] Vallabhvijay was, in turn, repudiated by an anonymous [?] pamphlet called Gappa Dīpikā Samīr kā Gappa and Paṇḍit Jiyālāl Jain's (1893) Carcā Candroday Bhāg Tisrā. According to Vallabhvijay's (1909: 14-18) chronology of the exchanges between 1881-1909,[83] in response to Vallabhvijay, Ācārya Sohanlāl wrote Draupadīpūjā Khaṇḍan (Amṛtsar),[84] Muni èṣirāj Satyārtha Sāgara (Pune), and an unnamed author Saṃvegīmat Sāguphā (Ambālā); which was countered by an unnamed author's text Jahālat ôhuṇḍhiyā (Ambālā). Three further Sthānakavāsī pamphlets, Kāgahans Nirṇay (Ambālā), Manta kī Bahsa Pūjerāṃ of Kanīyālāl (Paṭayālā), and Samyaktva athavā Dharma no Darvājo by V. M. Śāh (Ahmedabad), were countered by Muni Amarvijay's Dharma nā Darvājā Jovā n ī Diśā, which in turn was criticised by a text published in Ahmadabad, Kamalprabhā. The response to Mahāsatī Pārvatī's Satyārtha-Candrodaya-Jain (Lāhaur: Lālā Meharcand, 1904) on the "stupid" worship of "lifeless objects" (jaṛ pūjā)[85] and on the nikṣepas[86] was Muni Amarvijay's (1908) ôhūṇḍhak-HṛdayNetrāṭjanaṃ athavā Satyārtha-Candrodayāṣṭakaṃ; and in response to the Sthānakavāsī pamphlet Iśatahār-Amarāvatī, an unnamed Mūrtipūjaka author wrote ôhuṇḍhakpol Amarāvatī, which was countered by the texts Khulāsāpol Saṃvegīyāṃ (Amṛtsar), Muni Ratnacand's Saṃvegīmat Mardan (Amṛtsar), and Śāstrārtha Nābhā (Ambālā). The last Mūrtipūjaka text on Vallabhvijay's list is ôhuṇḍhakmat Parājay (Ātmānand Jain Sabhā Paṭjāb 1909) which gives information on the judgement of Mahārāja Hīrāsiṃha Bahādur of Paṭayālā in favour of Vallabhvijay in a debate with Sohanlāl on the scriptural foundations of their respective views in 5.2.1904.[87] It was followed by seven Sthānakavāsī responses, some of which are reprinted and criticised in the collection edited by Muni Amarvijay (1908): Pītāmbarī Parājay (Amṛtsar), Muni Rāmcandra's Amṛtsar Saṃgraha (Mumbaī), the stavan of Muni Mādhav Taraṅgiṇī Dvitīya Taraṅg (Āgrā 1908), Muni Saubhāgmal's Vividh Ratna Prakāś (Pune), Muni Kundanmal's Pragaṭ Jaina Pītāmbarī M ūrtipūjakoṃ k ā Mithyātva (1908),[88] and his Ātmārām Saṃvegī kī Karttūt, Ātmārām kī Ādat kā Namūnā (n.d.), and finally V. M. Śāh's (1909) Sādhumārgī Jaina Dharmānuyāyīoe Jāṇvā Jog Keṭalīk Aitihāsik Noṃdh, a key text for the modern Sthānakavāsī unification movement, which attracted much critical response from the Mūrtipūjakas, not least from Vallabhvijay (1909),[89] Ujamcand (1909), and Jṭānsundar (1936: 247ff.), because it again referred to Loṅkā as the common forefather of all Sthānakavāsīs and thereby started a new round of debates.[90]




V.M. Śāh (1878-1931) was the first layperson to make an important intellectual contribution to the study of Loṅkā's legacy for the Sthānakavāsīs,[91] and the first Sthānakavāsī to collect some of the available though "untrustworthy" paṭṭāvalīs in order to tentatively reconstruct, in the manner of Ātmārām, an accurate history of the entire Sthānakavāsī tradition.[92] He was also a prime mover behind the creation of the All India Sthānakavāsī Jaina Conference (AISJC) of the Sthānakavāsī laity in February 1906 in Morvī,[93] and publicised in his 1909 book for the first time the idea of creating a unified order of all Sthānakavāsī mendicants. Although Loṅkā was a layman, it was he alone who could serve as a common ancestor, because the Sthānakavāsī tradition was founded not by one but by several different ex-Loṅkāgaccha mendicants, who initially shared little more than the rejection of image-worship and the criticism of "lax conduct" of the Loṅkāgaccha yatis. After their creation between c. 1628-1668, the original five Sthānakavāsī mendicant traditions quickly split into numerous sub-groups which developed different customs and began to struggle with one another, until the AISJC finally called for an end of all "internal" antagonism. Conflicts between mendicant orders were divisive for the Sthānakavāsī laity as well and obstructed aim of the AISJC leadership to assert the political influence of Sthānakavāsī representatives on a national platform. From 1906 onwards, the AISJC, like the competing Conferences of the Digambaras and Mūrtipūjakas which were established in 1893 and 1902 respectively, held regular meetings on an all-India basis to prepare the ground for the first mahāsammelan, or great assembly, of representatives of all Sthānakavāsī mendicant traditions, which was finally held in 1933 in Ajmer.

Before the assembly congregated, a fourth edition of the Samakitsār, which was also the first Hindī edition, was published in 1930 under the auspices of the Akhil Bhāratīya Sthānakavāsī Jaina Conference after years of careful preparation of the translation by Muni Devṛṣi (1872-1942), who in 1936 succeeded Ācārya Amolakṛṣi (1877-1936) – one of the most influential Sthānakavāsī monks at the time who was the first to publish a printed edition and Hindī translation of the Sthānakavāsī Āgamas– as the leader of the Mālvā èṣi Sampradāy. The plan was to make the ideas of Loṅkā available to everyone, in the national language of India, and to create a sense of unity amongst the Sthānakavāsī mendicants in opposition to the Mūrtipūjakas in particular. In this context, the author of the Samakit Śalyoddhāra became again a useful target. One of the three anonymous introductions to the Samakitsār[94] accused the "stubborn mischief maker" Ātmārām in an ad hominem attack for not understanding the substance of samakita (samyaktva), right belief, nor practising it, as his violent use of language testified. As proof for Ātmārām's wrongdoing, the following passage of the Dasaveyāliya is cited:

When he notices that [a monk] who has mastered the Āyāra and the [Viyāha-]Pannatti [and] who is studying the Diṭṭhivāya, makes a mistake in speaking, he should not mock him. (DVS 8.49).[95]

In other words, Ātmārām was chided for not seriously criticising the principles of the Sthānakavāsīs, which are beyond reproach, but only the lax conduct of individual ascetics, and in so doing harmed himself due to the aggressive style of his attack. The impressive Loṅkāśāh [sic!] Jaina Gurukul, which was built by the AISJC in 1951 in Sāḍaṛī as a fitting venue for the 1952 mahāsammelan, at which the Śramaṇasaṅgha was formally founded, still stocks dozens of copies of this edition of the Samakitsār,[96] which demonstrates the key role the text played during the constituent phase of the Śramaṇasaṅgha, both as a symbol of the doctrinal unity of the Sthānakavāsīs and as a common reference source for arguments against the Mūrtipūjakas.

The Ajmer sammelan identified the problem of harmonising the different maryādās of the Sthānakavāsī sampradāyas as one of the prime obstacles for the planned formation of a unified Śramaṇasaṅgha. Another obstacle was the lack of a common origin and lineage. One year after this momentous meeting, the first important study of the history of the Sthānakavāsī tradition as a whole appeared in print: the Śrī Jaina Dharm ano Prācīn Saṅkṣipt Itihās ane Prabhu Vīr Paṭṭāvalī by Muni Maṇilāl (1934) of the Līmbḍī Nānī Pakṣa.[97] The text contains a long chapter on the "great reformer" Loṅkā Śāh,[98] in which Maṇilāl – with debatable success – attempted for the first time to resolve the contradictions between the transmitted biographies of Loṅkā in order to clearly establish the historical links between Loṅkā and the various Sthānakavāsī lineages, which are subsequently described in the book. Maṇilāl unearthed much new material,[99] particularly on the Gujarātī traditions, and produced the first comprehensive work on the aniconic traditions, as far as his (not clearly referenced) sources permitted.[100] His work was nevertheless criticised by the General Annual Meeting of the AISJC on the 10.5.1936 for its "incomplete" nature because it does not give a sufficient account of the Ajmer sammelan, and probably also because it does not provide much evidence on the Sthānakavāsī traditions in North India.[101] Jṭānsundar (1936: 16), whose own publication Śrīmad Lauṅkāśāh responded critically to the renewed Sthānakavāsī interest in Loṅkā, did not fail to mention this.

After the Ajmer sammelan, the role of Loṅkā as a "founding father" was made more prominent within the Sthānakavāsī movement, and for the first time entire books were devoted to the depiction of his religious reforms. The most widely read account of Loṅkā at the time was the Dharmaprāṇ-Loṅkāśāh (Krānti no Yugasṛṣṭā), by the social reformer Muni Saubhāgyacandra "Santabāëa" (1939) of the Līmbḍī Moṭī Pakṣa. It was apparently written already in the 1920s and first published in the journal Sthānakavāsī Jain, founded in Ahmedabad Paṭcabhāī nī Poë in 1932,[102] and between 10.11.1935–13.1.1936 re-published in Gujarātī in the form of a series of articles in the journal Jaina Prakāśa, the mouthpiece of the AISJC. The text contains few references, although Deśāī's work is mentioned. In the same year (1935), the Sthānakavāsīs celebrated "Loṅkāśāh's birthday"[103] with a national poetry festival in the Rājasthān town Sojat Road. The festival was organised by "Marudhar Keśarī" Mantrī Muni Miśrīmal (1891-1984) of the Raghunātha Sampradāya, a fervent advocate of reform (kṣetra viśuddhi) and of the unification of all Sthānakavāsī traditions (Editors, in Miśrīmal 1936: 1), whose speech at the regional sammelan of the Sthānakavāsī sādhus [sic!] on the 10.3.1932 in the town of Pālī, on the necessity to strengthen the influence of the Sthānakavāsīs "in the world", is now celebrated as one of the pivotal moments of the unification movement.[104] At the time, no "reliable" biography of Loṅkā was available in Hindī, apart from the 1925 translation of V. M. Śāh's (1909) pioneering work. In 1936, Miśrīmal therefore published in Hindī a book entitled Dharmavīr Loṅkāśāh. This work relies mostly on V. M. Śāh, Maṇilāl, and Saubhāgyacandra, but also uses two newly discovered sources: a "Prācīn Paṭṭāvalī"[105] which he found in the Jaitāraṇ Bhaṇḍār, and a "few leafs" from the Loṅkāgaccha Upāśray in Kuraḍāyā.[106] It was followed in 1941 by a versified biography called Krāntikārī Vīr Loṅkāśāh in 1941, and in 1946 by a short collection of dohās and ḍhāls, biographical poems, called Vīr Loṅkāśāh. Saubhāgyacandra's and Miśrīmal's works spread the new Sthānakavāsī "standard portrait" of Loṅkā throughout the north Indian Jaina world. However, both books contain, if at all, only general references and no critical evaluation of the available sources. Their "scientific" value was therefore dismissed not only by Muni Jṭānsundar (1936) in his evidence-based critique of the contemporary Sthānakavāsī historiography, but even by the Sthānakavāsī muni Suśīlkumār (1959: g), who further disagreed with Saubhāgyacandra's "extreme" (ativāda) interest in social reform.

A doctrinal response to Mūrtipūjaka criticisms was formulated in the book Loṅkāśāh Mat-Samarthan, "Confirmation of Loṅkā's belief", whose revised version was published in 1939.[107] It is one of four works which were published by Ratanlāl ôośī of Sailānā (M.P.) in the 1930s and 1940s to defend key Sthānakavāsī doctrines and practices, such as the rejection of mūrtipūjā and the permanent use of the mukhavastrikā (which Loṅkā reportedly never wore). ôośī was a leading lay intellectual of the orthodox Jṭānagaccha and a personal devotee of its ācārya Samarthamal (18981972), who was opposed to the unification of all Sthānakavāsī traditions. In the work Loṅkāśāh Mat-Samarthan he compiled textual evidence from the Śvetāmbara canon in support of the proposition that image worship is uncanonical, which he associated with the name of Loṅkā in a general way. Kesarīcand Bhaṇḍārī's (1938: 92) widely circulated Sthānakavāsī Jaina Itihās – one of the first books with the 20th-century self-description "Sthānakavāsī" in the title[108] – also refers to "ôośī's (1939) text for authoritative doctrinal arguments. However, this work does not contain any references to Loṅkā's writings, for which no direct evidence existed at the time. The conventional counter-arguments of the Mūrtipūjakas against the "lying sampradāyavādīs" – the aniconic traditions – who undermine the "unity" of the Jaina dharma were repeated several decades later in the works of the Mūrtipūjaka layman Nagīndās Girdharlāl Śeṭh, Mūl Jaina Dharma ane Hāl nā Sampradāyo (1962), Sthānakavāsī Jaino nuṃ Dharma Kartavya (1963), and Loṅkaśāh ane Dharmacarcā (1964). Whereas ôośī worked on the premise that the Sthānakavāsīs continue Loṅkā's doctrinal tradition, Śeṭh (1962: 342) reiterated Jṭānsundar's (1936: 171ff.) verdict that the followers of the Loṅkāgaccha and the Sthānakavāsīs are historical enemies. To this purpose, he cites the depiction of Loṅkā in early Mūrtipūjaka and Loṅkāgaccha sources,[109] published by Jṭānsundar (1936: 234-240) and Deśāī (1926-44, II-III: 1931-1944), which had been entirely ignored by the Sthānakavāsī commentary literature until the 1960s.




Before the publication of two old manuscripts of the Loṅkāgaccha tradition in 1936 by Jṭānsundar (1936: 234-240), "Loṅkā's" beliefs were only indirectly known through the early polemics of his Mūrtipūjaka and Digambara opponents. The earliest known sources for the views of Loṅkā written by his own followers are the Dayādharma Caupāī, composed by the Loṅkāgaccha "yati" (monk or lay-ascetic) Bhānucandra in Saṃvat 1587 (1521/2),[110] and the Loṅkāśāha Siloko, written in Saṃvat 1600 (1543/4) by the Loṅkāgaccha yati Keśavaṛṣi.[111] However, they were not widely circulated and had no notable impact. The oldest dated texts on the Loṅkātradition were written by their Mūrtipūjaka opponents. The Asūtranirākaraṇa Batrīśī of Muni Bīkā was written in Saṃvat 1527 (1470/1),[112] the Luṅkāmata Pratibodha Kulak was written by an anonymous author in Saṃvat 1530 (1473/4),[113] the Siddhānta Caupāī of Muni Lāvaṇyasamay in Saṃvat 1543 (1486/7),[114] and the short Siddhānta Sāroddhāra [Caupāī] of Upādhyāya Kamalsaṃyam of the Kharataragaccha in Saṃvat 1544 (1487/8).[115] A text that has often been cited by Sthānakavāsīs is the Ath Loṅkāśāh nuṃ Jīvan (ALJ), composed in Pāṭaṇ in Saṃvat 1636 (1579/60) by the Tapāgaccha muni Kāntivijay.[116] Apart from a short passage in Ācārya Ratnanandī's Bhadrabāhu Caritra vv. 155-163 of Saṃvat 1625 (1568/9), the only presently known Digambara critiques of Loṅkā are the Loṅkāmata Nirākaraṇa Caupāī of Sumatikīrti-sūri which was written almost a century after Loṅkā's death, in Saṃvat 1627 (1570/1),[117] and the Sata Prābhṛta Mokṣa Prābhṛta òīkā (pp. 305f.) of Bhaṭṭāraka Śrutasāgara.[118] Most of these and similar texts are still difficult to access and have therefore not been properly studied. The only early sources on Loṅkā which were widely accessible in the 19th and early 20th centuries were short passages in Dharmasāgara's Pravacana Parīkṣā of 1572 (Saṃvat 1629) and his Tapāgaccha Paṭṭāvalī Sūtraṃ of 1589/1590 (Saṃvat 1646).[119]

The first published text which was directly attributed to Loṅkā himself was the Loṅkejī kī Huṇḍī (A), or Ath Huṇḍī Lūṅkārī Likhyate, which contains sixty-nine doctrinal assertions (bol). The printed text is based on a manuscript that was reportedly found in the Sarūpacanda Rāmacanda Upāśrāya in Jaitāraṇ, a town in southern Rājasthān which was a centre of the Loṅkāgaccha Nānī Pakṣa until the beginning of the 20th century. It was first published by K.S. Caudharī (1936?: 338-430) in a book called Jin Jṭān Ratnākar, together with the original sūtra texts, which are summarised by "Loṅkā's bols", an interpretation of their meaning (bhāvārtha) in Hindī, and several versified Rājasthānī commentaries in the ḍhāl, dohā and soraṭhā meters which were composed in 1926 in Jaypur by Gulābcand (Luṇiyā?), a devotee of the Terāpanth ācārya Kālūgaṇi (1877-1936), who may have discovered the original manuscript.[120] The bols were published in a slightly different form and without any commentary by Āṭcaliyā (1937: 120-128). Although Kālūgaṇi's oral explanations clearly informed Gulābcand's work,[121] no written commentary on Loṅkā's ideas has ever been created by any Terāpanth ācārya.[122] The present Terāpanth ācārya Mahāprajṭa (2000: 6) always cites the Loṅkejī k ī Huṇḍī as an authoritative source on Loṅkā's teachings.

Like the famous ṭabos (ṭabbā) of the Sthānakavāsī ācārya Dharmasiṅha (1599-1671) and of other, anonymous, authors – vernacular texts which offer rudimentary word-for-word translations of the Prakrit Jaina Āgamas without regard to their syntax – "Loṅkā's bols" were, it seems, deliberately disseminated by the lay disciples of Ācārya Kālūgaṇi and his successor Ācārya Tulsī in order to establish an easy access to the "essential teachings" of the Āgamas in a language which everyone could understand.[123] This was important, since, with few exceptions, Sanskrit and Prakrit scholarship was all but lost in the Jaina mendicant traditions in the early 19th century, and did not exist at all within the aniconic traditions before the Jaina revival in the late 19th century.[124] Even in 1936, few Terāpanthī ascetics knew Sanskrit and Prakrit. Another reason for the publication of the text must have been the desire to legitimate the Terāpanth doctrine, which had been the target of critique from all other Jaina sects, with direct reference to Loṅkā, who was accepted as an authoritative reference point within the Sthānakavāsī movement.

It remains doubtful whether this text can really be attributed to Loṅkā. In contrast to other texts attributed to him (see infra), the cited passages from the primary literature contain not a single quote from the commentary literature, only citations from the Āgamas,[125] together with the explanations (bol) of "Loṅkā" in a quasi-stenographic Rājasthānī-Hindī mix (which indicates that these are not Loṅkā's own words), and of Gulābcand in both Rājasthānī and Hindī. The citations are so skilfully woven together that the resulting text does not assume the form of a casuistic list of unconnected points, but reads like a coherently constructed argument.[126]

Moreover, the content of the text corresponds entirely with the views of the Terāpanthīs at the time.[127] It focuses almost exclusively on the principles of proper monastic conduct,[128] as taught by the kevalins,[129] the condemnation of non-believers, heresies (niṇhava),[130] pseudo-monks,[131] on the strict distinction between the standards for the Jaina householder and the mendicant,[132] and on the prescribed atonements for transgressions.[133] It seems that indirectly the credentials of the Sthānakavāsī dayā-dāna theory are also deliberately undermined through the condemnation of the accumulation of good karma through gift-giving and acts of compassion, etc.[134] Instead, the priority of knowledge over compassion is emphasised, and that giving "pure gifts" to a mendicant does not lead to accumulating good karma but to the destruction of karma.[135] In contrast to the available indirect evidence on Loṅkā's teachings, there is no discussion of image-worship at all. It therefore remains doubtful whether the text, which has apparently not been commented upon by any author, is the product of Loṅkā; despite the fact that it also contains some of the most well known of "Loṅkā's" quotations from the canon.[136] Thus, by publishing a hitherto unknown text confirming their own views, together with a Terāpanth commentary, the Terāpanthīs could implicitly claim Loṅkā as their own predecessor while challenging the assertion of the Sthānakavāsīs to be Loṅkā's only legitimate successors.[137]




The appropriation of Loṅkā by the Sthānakavāsīs was explicit and on quite a different scale. It culminated in the period after the creation of the unified Śramaṇasaṅgha under the rule of only one ācārya, which was accomplished after forty-six years of preparation at the mahāsammelan in 1952 at the Loṅkāśāh Jaina Gurukul in Sāḍaṛī. The Gujarātī Sthānakavāsī sampradāyas refused to join the new organisation, which was dominated by Hindī-speaking mendicants. This may have been one of the reasons why, in the decade after the constituent assembly of the Śramaṇasaṅgha, two official histories of the Sthānakavāsī tradition in Hindī were commissioned by the Śramaṇasaṅgha ācārya Ānandṛṣi and the AISJC respectively to put the significance of the new organisation into a historical perspective.[138] The resulting publications are Muni Suśīlkumār's (1959) Jainadharma kā Itihās (Pramukhataþ Śrī Śvetāmbara Sthānakavāsī Jainadharma kā Itihās) and Sādhvī Candanākumārī's (1964) Hamārā Itihās: Sthānakavāsī Śramaṇ-Sāṃskṛtik Paramparā k ā Paricāyak. Both works built on earlier standard histories of the Sthānakavāsī tradition, but did not make use of the published old sources on Loṅkā.[139] Suśīlkumār (1959: g) mentions that his work was initially based on an unpublished manuscript of Saubhāgyacandra "Santabāëa", which was handed to him by the AISJC. Since he saw no historical value in the manuscript, he wrote an entirely new text on the basis of information from leading mendicant scholars and of unspecified historical sources from Bīkāner, which were made available to him by Agarcand Nāhaṭā in 1957, two years after he started his work.[140] Candanākumārī's book is to a large extent based on Suśīlkumār's text and offers a crisp summary of the historical literature of the Sthānakavāsīs at the time, but without providing any references.[141] Both texts contain extensive sections on Loṅkā, on the Sthānakavāsī-dominated "Loṅkāśāha Yuga" and on the "Saṅgha Yuga" which begins, according to Suśīlkumār (1959: 2), with the foundation of the Śramaṇasaṅgha in 1952.[142] And both emphasise the differences between the Loṅkāgaccha "yatis", whose tradition is characterised as negligible "after the 15th century", and the Sthānakavāsī "sādhus". Candanākumārī (1964: 105) contends that (in the view of the leading mendicants of the Śramaṇasaṅgha) the Sthānakavāsī traditions are the true followers of Loṅkā's doctrine (siddhānta) – if not his direct lineal successors.[143] In support of this view, she points to the common lay practice of dharmadhyāna in the sthānakas, which she interprets as a replication of the ancient institution of the poṣadhaśālā; which, according to early Mūrtipūjaka sources, Loṅkā himself is said to have rejected.[144] Both authors employ various strategies to bypass the conventional Mūrtipūjaka emphasis on the importance of a continuous teacher lineage for the transmission of the "authentic" Jaina tradition.[145] Rather than attempting to construct lists of succession in the form of a single paṭṭāvalī, which is generally not acceptable within the Sthānakavāsī movement due to the continuing existence of competing lineages or sub-groups with independent histories, the texts present chronological lists of important historical personalities in the Sthānakavāsi tradition.[146] They begin their respective narratives with èṣabha, not with Mahāvīra, whose ancestry is generally favoured: In the work of Bhaṇḍārī (1938: 85-87), who ignored the Loṅkāgaccha tradition entirely, though not Loṅkā himself, it is asserted that "only the Sthānakavāsī sādhus are Mahāvīra's true disciples".[147] The opening pages of Bhaṇḍārī's book suggest that the only reason for including the tīrthaṅkaras of the "Ādi Yuga" (Suśīlkumār) in a "historical" account is to prove the ancienneté of the Jaina tradition vis à vis the competing Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Instead of lists of succession, the concept of a common Sthānakavāsī "culture" (saṃskṛti) is invoked – which figures in the title of Canadanākumārī's book – with an emphasis on common scriptures and doctrinal principles. The Śramaṇasaṅgha has also a common code of conduct (sāmācārī);[148] but no common rituals and liturgy, which remain different amongst the constituent sampradāyas.[149] The "Varddhamāna" Śramaṇasaṅgha has not been able to construct a single official paṭṭāvalī, because no consensus could be established amongst the leading monks as to which names should be selected. Instead, it produces abhinandana granthas for eminent mendicants within the tradition. These texts comprise paṭṭāvalīs of the respective sub-tradition of a particular monk or nun, but not of the united Śramaṇasaṅgha as a whole.

Accordingly, Suśīlkumār and Candanākumārī present the history of the Sthānakavāsī tradition as a chronology of great individuals and their disciples, not as the history of a single lineage of succession going back to Mahāvīra, Pārśva or even èṣabha, as preferred by the constituent sub-groups. Although their contents cannot be described as "mythological", the narrative form of the texts – the chronology of the deeds of selected great beings – represents a spectrum of compromises between the chronological history of modern historiography and the paṭṭāvalīs and gurvāvalīs on the one hand, and of the cosmologically informed Sthānakavāsī universal histories à la Jeṭhmal on the other.[150] As such, the peculiar combinations of history (without source references) and legend reflect the particular problems of legitimation of the Śramaṇasaṅgha.

An extreme example of a new Sthānakavāsī universal history is Ācārya Ghāsīlāl's (1983)[151] Sanskrit [sic!] poem Śrī Loṅkāśāha Caritam, which associates Loṅkā and the Sthānakavāsīs, taken together, directly with Mahāvīrā and Gautama,[152] without mentioning any structures of mediation. His mahākāvya, he concedes, is based on hearsay or oral (jabānī) history for which, as the editor Muni Kanhaiyālāl notes in his introduction, no trustworthy evidence exists.[153] Kanhaiyālāl's remarks show that a century of debate on "factual history" has generated a critical awareness within the Jaina tradition that even the questionable attempts of attributing all common doctrinal features of the "Sthānakavāsī" tradition, such as the rejection of image-worship, the "ur-canon" of thirty-two texts, and the permanent wearing of a mukhavastrikā, to the legendary founding father Loṅkā, utilise the toolkits of legend, historiography and canonisation.[154] The age-old method of excluding and including, compiling and re-compiling, of picking-and-choosing – and inventing – authoritative references from the amorphous sediments of the preserved tradition to legitimise contemporary preferences, has, to a certain extent, become self-reflective.[155]




Thus far, our cursory review of the development of the pivotal role of Loṅkā in the new Sthānakavāsī historiography has shown that received models of "chronological" and "cosmological" history both informed the modern portraits of Loṅkā. Features of the two models were creatively mixed during the modern period of revival of the Jaina tradition, which consciously distinguished itself from earlier epochs through an increasing concern with verifiable "facts" as a principal source of legitimation. In the context of renewed sectarian rivalry, the analysis of vernacular Jain sources – which Schubring (1944: vi) saw as the next important step in the history of Jaina research – has started in India earlier than elsewhere. Methodical research was nevertheless largely confined to the postindependence period, probably benefiting from a slight easing of the overt sectarian tensions within the Jaina tradition.[156]

After more than one hundred years of inquiry, historical sources on Loṅkā and the Loṅkāgaccha from within the aniconic tradition are still extremely rare.[157] The same can be said of critical scholarship of the tradition. The first manuscripts composed by early Loṅkāgaccha yatis were discovered and described by Deśāī (1931) in Part II of his ground-breaking study Gūrjar Kavio. Two further texts (see infra) were published by Jṭānsundar (1936: 234-240), who was the first monk to emphatically emphasise that only the study of historical sources itself can provide a more reliable picture of Loṅkā's life and work. Detailed information on Loṅkāgaccha (and Sthānakavāsī) paṭṭāvalīs –in addition to the unreferenced materials provided by Ātmārām (1884/1903) and Vallabhvijay (1891), Śāh (1909) and Maṇilāl (1934), and others – was published in Part III of Deśāī's (1944: 2205-2222) work. Further historical materials on the Loṅkā tradition, such as gurvāvalīs, paṭṭāvalīs, historical poems and lists of bols,[158] were unearthed by the next generation of Jaina scholars in the 1950s and 1960s, in particular by Bhanvarlāl Nāhaṭā (1957), Agarcand Nāhaṭā (1958; 1964; 1966, etc.), Dalsukhbhāī M ālvaṇiyā (1963a; 1963b; 1964; 1965), and Ācārya Hastīmal (1968), who revolutionised the historiography of the aniconic Jaina tradition (see infra). Most of these authors contributed to the Muni Śrī Hajārīmal Smṛti Granth, edited by Śobhācandra Bhārill (1965), which contains further important articles on the literature of the Loṅkāgaccha tradition by Muni Kāntisāgar (1965) and Ālamśāh Khān (1965).[159] Particularly significant for future research was Ācārya Hastīmal's (1968) compilation Paṭṭāvalī Prabandh Saṅgrah, which made the oldest surviving paṭṭāvalīs of the Loṅkāgaccha traditions and the North Indian Sthānakavāsī traditions available for the first time. This fertile period of historical research, during which almost every Sthānakavāsī tradition investigated its own history in order to construct its own paṭṭāvalī, culminated in Hastīmal's (1987/1995) synopsis of most of the available material on Loṅkā in the fourth volume of his monumental work Jaina Dharma kā Maulik Itihās, after which only the book by Duggar (1989) furnished new information on the extinct lineages of the Loṅkāgaccha in the Paṭjāb.

While the outlines of the structure of differentiation of the mendicant lineages of the aniconic tradition became clearly visible by the end of the 1960s, the teachings of Loṅkā, and the doctrinal and organisational differences between Loṅkā and the Loṅkāgaccha traditions, and the Sthānakavāsī traditions remained almost unknown – and to a large extent still are. The answers to these questions hinge on the credibility of the sources on Loṅkā's teachings, in particular Loṅkā's own writings – which probably neither Jṭānsundar (1936: 97) nor his adversaries had known – since no traces of the rules and regulations of the various Loṅkāgaccha traditions, whose practices differed from Loṅkā's own, had ever been discovered.

In a series of path-breaking articles, D. D. Mālvaṇiyā (1963a, 1963b, 1964, 1965) identified for the first time two manuscripts in the Puṇyavijay collection at the L.D. Institute in Ahmedabad which, in his view, can clearly be attributed to Loṅkā himself. The publication of this discovery changed the entire discourse on Loṅkā. The authenticity of the texts is now accepted within the aniconic tradition itself. They are the only documents which were published by the followers of the Loṅkāgaccha itself (Vārīā's 1976 modern Gujarātī translation, in P. T. Śāh 2001), together with summaries of Hastīmal's (1968) collection of Loṅkāgaccha paṭṭāvalīs. But Mālvaṇiyā's claim has not remained unchallenged, especially by Mūrtipūjaka authors.

The manuscripts can be attributed to Loṅkā in terms of their contents,[160] which clearly relate to the beliefs of Loṅkā or the Loṅkā tradition, and because both of the two key texts mention "Luṅkā" or the "Luṅkāmatī" at the end;[161] though Loṅkā's name has been deliberately cut out at two places at the beginning and at the end of the Ms. Luṅkā nā Saddahiyā ane Kariyā Aṭhāvan Bol, as Mālva ṇiyā (1964: 381) has pointed out.[162] Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 366, 1965: 188) believed that Loṅkā was either the author of these texts, or that the texts have been written under his instruction, since his opponents would have used the Sanskrit term Luṃpaka for Luṅkā, although no final proof has been furnished yet. Śeṭh (1964: 54) disputed Mālvaṇiyā's argument and attributed both texts to the Sthānakavāsī ācārya Dharmasiṅha. His views were comprehensively rejected by Hastīmal (1995: 759-789)[163] because of the "lack of proof", and with reference to Pārśvacandra Sūri's[164] text Lūṅkāe Pechela 13 Praśna ane Tenā Uttarī, which cites Loṅkā's questions concerning image-worship: why should vandana be performed to non-living entities, why are sādhus not allowed to perform dravya pūjā, etc.[165] This 16th-century text is now routinely referred to as a significant source for Loṅkā's views, which indirectly confirms the authenticity of the disputed texts.[166]




The first manuscript attributed to "Loṅkā", No. 2989, has been dated by Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 381) to the 17th century CE. It contains three texts which, judging on the evidence of the handwriting and the format of the texts, must have been written by three different individuals. The main text, Luṅkā n ā Saddahiyā ane Luṅkā nā Kariyā Aṭhāvana Bolo (L), "Loṅkā's beliefs and fifty-eight assertions created by Loṅkā",[167] has Loṅkā's name in its title. It is clearly the oldest text of the three. The text is framed by an untitled index of the fifty-eight topics at the beginning of the Ms., and at the end by a list of fifty-four questions to unnamed opponents, which is generally referred to as Keha nī Paramparā Chai (K), "Whose tradition is this?", in the secondary literature. Both of these supplementary texts, the index and the praśnottara text, must have been added sometime after the completion of the core text, which is the only document of "Loṅkā" which contains not just questions to opponents, but also positive doctrinal statements.[168] The main text (L) consists largely of selected quotations (uddharaṇa) from the Śvetāmbara scriptures, on both ethical and abstract doctrinal issues concerning Jaina mendicants as well as laity, and renditions of their meaning in Old Gujarātī. At the beginning of the text the citations form a logical sequence on samyaktva which can be read as an entirely new text on the "essence" of the Jaina scriptures, although many subsequent statements take the form of questions and can be attributed to the praśnottara genre. The method of weaving selected citations together to form a new text is not fundamentally different from the method of compilation of the Āgamas themselves. Loṅkā's work can therefore be interpreted as a case of secondary canonisation, since many of his tenets are still reflected in the Sthānakavāsī literature, although their original handwritten sources are either lost or hidden away. There are, as Bruhn (1987: 106) has indicated, many examples of canonisation outside the canon in the Jain tradition; and generally the post-canonical literatures achieve a higher degree of closure than the canon itself; which Schubring (1910: 63) pointedly described as a "chaos of atoms". Considering its form, content and function, it would be misleading to classify Loṅkā's siddhānta as an instance of a mere literature of use (Gebrauchsliteratur),[169] that is as an ad hoc composition, since, de facto, Loṅkā's teachings established an entirely new doctrinal school within the Jaina tradition.

The text starts with Āyāra 1.4.1, the precursor of the later ahiṃsā vrata, which uses the term dayāiṃ dharma, or law of compassion, to describe the law of non-violence. Āyāra is then cited in the second statement which comprises the rejection of the negation of this proposition: many Brāhmaṇas and Śramaṇas say that there is nothing wrong in injuring living beings, but this is not true because all living beings fear pain. The third bol cites Āyāra which describes the necessity to discriminate between actions which cause the influx (āsrava) of karma and actions which destroy karma (nirjarā). The fourth and fifth bols establish the importance of the law of compassion (non-violence) as the sole path to liberation (Sūyagaḍa 17), by contrasting it to violence, which produces only suffering (Sūyagaḍa 18). Bol 6 and 7 use for the first time more than one citation within a sustained argument, and leave the monastic sphere behind in order to apply the basic principles of bol 1-5 "with discrimination" to the case of imageworship.[170] Point 6 establishes that unavoidable violence committed in the course of the prescribed duties of a monk, such as crossing a river, must be counteracted through atonements (prāyaścitta), and asks why the same rule is not applied to the image worship of the laity. Bol 7 argues that "according to the scriptures (siddhānta)" the path of liberation (mokṣamārga) cannot be entered through image worship, since it only produces worldly gratification (phal). Any other interpretation is "opposed to the scriptures" (sūtra viruddha). Bol 8 states that liberation can only be accomplished by observing the five mahāvratas, the guptis and samitis on the level of the mendicants, and the bārah vrata, and the ṣaḍāvaśyaka rituals, etc., on the level of the laity, but not through image-worship, which most of the remaining bols address.

Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 382) classified the contents of L into three broad categories: samyaktva and mithyātva;[171] the inauthenticity of the commentary literature; and the problems associated with mūrtipūjā,[172] such as image-making and installation, prasāda, the sthāpanā nikṣepa, and the term caitya (Pkt. ceiya).[173] Other categories could be created, for instance concerning the prominent issues of tīrtha yātrā,[174] lay or mendicant practices (generally all points concerning image-worship imply lay conduct), or assertions addressing particular opponents, such as in L 30 (Āgamikagaccha's rejection of pūjā with flowers) or L 26, which questions the scriptural basis for the dispute between the view of the A(ṭ)calagaccha (and Kaḍuāgaccha) that only the laity can perform pratiṣṭþās and other Mūrtipūjaka sects which regard the performance of this ceremony as a prerogative of the mendicants.[175] Only one statement (No. 27) explicitly refers to the Digambaras, asking where in the scriptures the issue of the naked representation of tīrthaṅkaras is discussed, which is controversial between Digambaras and Śvetāmbaras.

The analysis of the contents and exegetical procedures employed by the author of this text requires a separate study. A cursory view shows that all selected texts belong to the canonical literature (of thirty-two scriptures), though no new classification of the Āgamas is offered. Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 378) argued that Loṅkā only rejected those passages in the commentaries which are not in agreement with the scriptures, which made the creation of a new canon unnecessary.[176] He suggested that the various canons of the aniconic traditions were products of the early Loṅkāgaccha and Sthānakavāsī traditions.[177] These are open questions. The commentary literature – which the author of L evidently knew – is explicitly rejected in L 41, with reference to additional insertions concerning image worship which cannot be found in the original text, and in L 57, which argues that the elaboration of exceptions (apavāda) of the prescriptions of the Āgamas in the commentary literature[178] opens the door to laxity. However, the claim that Loṅkā rejected the entire Śvetāmbara commentary literature in the name of a "fundamentalist scriptural literalism",[179] seems too broad, since all aniconic traditions accept the "philological commentary", while rejecting the "canonical commentary", which while explaining the meaning of the scriptures also mediates creatively between the closed canon and the openness of the world.[180]

If L was really composed by Loṅkā, and there are more arguments in favour than against this assumption, then there can be no doubt that he propagated the necessity for the mendicants to observe the five mahāvratas, and for the laity to observe the twelve lay vows (which include the poṣadha vrata), the āvaśyaka rituals (sāmāyika, caturviṃśatistava etc.), and to support the ascetics with offerings of food, upāśrayas, etc., if they wish to reap the fruit of salvation (mokṣa nāṃ phal).[181] He rejected, however, all rituals which are predicated on violence (against flowers and fruits, water, fire, etc.). The claim by his early Mūrtipūjaka opponents,[182] which Jṭānsundar (1936: 98ff.) and Śeṭh (1964) cited in support of their own views, that Loṅkā had rejected the standard Jaina sāmāyika, pratikramaṇa, poṣadha, dāna etc. rituals entirely,[183] is neither confirmed by the two published manuscripts of "Loṅkā", nor by his "thirteen questions".[184] The Dayādharma Caupāī vv. 15-19 of 1521/2 of the Loṅkāgaccha yati Bhānucandra[185] explicitly mentions the practice of two sāmāyikas (in the morning and evening), oneday poṣadha, pratikramaṇa (not without taking a vow), pratyākhyāna, dāna to restrained individuals, bhāva pūjā (but not dravya pūjā), and the belief in thirty-two Āgamas (v. 19) within his own group;[186] Jṭānsundar (1936: 237, n. 1) explains this away as the result of a post-Loṅkā reform, and further argued that no such lay rites could have been practised before probably Bhāṇā introduced them, because the śrāvaka pratikramaṇa is not part of the Āvaśyaka Sūtra (Niryukti) amongst the thirty-two accepted Āgamas, and because it is known that both Loṅkā and Kaḍuā were householders who rejected the sāmāyika (Jṭānsundar 1936: 105-107). Yet, the statement that Kaḍuā was "also" against the sāmāyika is obviously fabricated, since several points of Kaḍuā's Niyamāvalī demand its performance.[187] Without taking note of Jṭānsundar's writings, Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 367f.) merely mentions that the difference of opinion between Loṅkā and the Mūrtipūjakas over these issues developed only when in Saṃvat 1544 Loṅkā met Lakhamsī, who became his first associate. But Hastīmal (1995: 786-788) points out that nowhere in Loṅkā's own writings is sāmāyika, poṣadha, pratikramaṇa, pratyākhyāna or dāna rejected in principle. What is rejected is the manner in which these rituals are performed or not performed, for instance the ostentatious giving of gold and money in the context of pratiṣṭhā, etc., rituals. He also notices that there is no mentioning of any opposition to sāmāyika, pratikramaṇa, poṣadha, etc. in the report on the meeting between Bhāṇā and Kaḍuā in Saṃvat 1539 in the Kaḍuvāmat Paṭṭāvalī (Paṭṭāvalī Parāga Saṃgraha, p. 483), which would have recorded a debate between the two if Bhāṇā had indeed not practiced these rituals which Kaḍuā himself observed.[188]

Another controversial issue is whether Loṅkāgaccha mendicants observed the mahāvratas, or whether they were yatis in the modern sense of half-ascetics from the outset; as apparently the Kaḍuāgaccha ascetics were, though this remains doubtful (Klatt 1888: 58f.; Dundas 1999: 21, cf. 30, n. 11). Modern commentators such as V. M. Śāh (1909: 49f.), Jṭānsundar (1936: 97ff.), and Mālvaṇiyā (1964: 367-369), who stressed the difference between Loṅkāgaccha "yatis" and Sthānakavāsī " sādhus", expressed the opinion (backed by the reports of the Mūrtipūjakas Dharmasāgara and Kamalsaṃyam) that the first leader of the Loṅkāgaccha, Bhāṇā, was known for not observing the mahāvratas and for not wearing the dress of a sādhu.[189] He therefore must have been a yati, i.e. neither a householder nor a monk; which would turn the Sthānakavāsī mendicants into the first truly paṭca-mahāvratī ascetics of the aniconic tradition. If this is indeed true, then already the practices of the earliest Loṅkāgaccha ascetics would not have corresponded with the principles of Loṅkā, as articulated in L.

L ends with the statement that mokṣa can only be reached through the practice of protecting life (jīvadayā),[190] even now [sic!] and in future by everyone, as stated in the Sūyagaḍa:

O ye monks, the virtuous (Jinas) that have been and will be, the followers of the law of Kaśyapa, they all have commended these virtues. Do not kill living beings in the threefold way, being intent on your spiritual welfare and abstaining from sins. In this way numberless men have reached perfection [siddhā], and others, who live now, and who are to come, (will reach it) (Sūy, translated by Jacobi). 

Loṅkā's main ("ekānta")[191] focus was the doctrine of dayā dharma, or the law of compassion.[192] His interpretation of jīvadayā is, however, restricted to practising abstinence from violence in general, and does not explicitly recommend an active intervention into the world for the saving of life, as advocated today by most Sthānakavāsī traditions. Since L presents such practices as an aspect of worldly conduct, but not of the mokṣamārga, this text could be cited in favour of Ācārya Bhikṣu's interpretation of the dividing line between laukika and lokottara dharma, though his controversial equation of puṇya and pāpa, from the niścaya point of view, is not discussed in the text.[193] Notably, the text does not reject religious property per se, but declares the gift of upāśrayas (= sthānakas) to the mendicants (sādhu) as a religious act.

Share this page on: