Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4) ► Upakeśa Gaccha

Posted: 05.09.2016

The history [origin, ācāryas etc.] of Upakeśa gaccha is available from 'Upakeśa gaccha Paṭṭāvalī' and 'Bhagavān Pārśvanātha kī Paramparā kā Itihāsa'[1] (Vol 1 & 2) [History of Lord Pārśvanātha's tradition]. These bulky texts provide the history of this gaccha from the 1st ācārya of this gaccha to Ācārya Devagupta Sūri, i.e. up to the end of the Vikram 20th century, in an elaborate manner.

It was clearly mentioned in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra, that after the establishment of Dharma Tīrtha by Lord Mahāvīra, ascetics like Ācārya Keśī, et al of Pārśvanātha lineage abandoning the Cāturyāma dharma (the four-fold teaching of abstinence from violence, theft, falsehood and avarice), accepted and joined the monkhood with the five major vows, promulgated by Mahāvīra. Even then, author of Paṭṭāvalī mentioned that Upakeśa gaccha is the main branch (Aṃga) of uninterrupted tradition of Lord Pārśvanātha, the 23rd Tīrthaṃkara and tried to prove this to be a separate independent religious congregation. Verily, it is such a super fiction effort that none would believe it even after thorough contemplation and analysis.

Nowhere in the scriptures is it mentioned that religious orders were established by both preceding and succeeding Tīrthaṃkaras and ran in parallel. The mutual hostility developed among different gacchas and the extreme jealousy clubbed with a feeling to prove them and their gaccha as superior to others might have instigated a certain ācāryas of Upakeśa gaccha to prove it to be more ancient and veracious than that of Lord Mahāvīra. It is sheer fiction and a brain child of a delusive ācārya. However with a genuine object not to hurt the feelings of any gaccha, we are herewith presenting complete information about Upakeśa gaccha.

The life history of four successor pontiffs of Lord Pārśvanātha's tradition after his Nirvāṇa was discussed in the form volume. The lives of Gaṇadhara Śubhadatta, Ācārya Haridatta, Ācārya Samudra Sūri and Ācārya Keśī Śramaṇa, the first, second, third and fourth pontiffs respectively were elucidated in the first volume[2] of this series and the life of the sixth Ācārya Ratna Prabha Sūri was elaborated in the second volume[3].

And now the particulars of fifth Ācārya Svayaṃprabha and the Paṭṭāvalī of this gaccha from 6th to 72nd ācāryas, is given below in a chronological order, on the basis of available data:


Ācārya Svayaṃprabha Sūri was born in a Vidyādhara lineage and ordained into monkhood by Ācārya Keśi Kumāra. During his pontificate he wandered through many distant lands and influenced non-Jains to follow Jainism. It is believed that he lived during the time of the first pontiff Sudharmā Swāmī and second pontiff Jambū Swāmī. According to Upakeśa gaccha Paṭṭāvalī, he left for heavenly abode 52 years after V.N.


Ācārya Ratnaprabha Sūri - As mentioned earlier, rescued the son-in-law of Osiyā King, by neutralizing the poisonous effect which otherwise almost killed him. Impressed by this phenomenal resurrection, the inhabitants of Osiyā, 125000 Kṣatriyas joined Jain religion. Probably to commemorate this miraculous incident Pārśvanātha tradition was renamed after the name of city Upakeśa Nagara (Osiyā) and came to be known as Upakeśa gaccha thereafter. He ordained his disciple Kanakaprabha as ācārya in Koraṃṭaka and also the established Koraṃṭaka gaccha.


Ācārya Yakṣadeva Sūri: Yakṣadeva Sūri succeeded Ratnaprabha Sūri the great influential 6th ācārya of Upakeśa gaccha, as the 7th Pontiff, 84 years after V.N.


Ācārya Kakka Sūri


Ācārya Devagupta


Ācārya Siddha Sūri


Ācārya Ratnaprabha (II)


Ācārya Ratnaprabha (III)


Yakṣadeva Sūri (II)


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri (II)


Ācārya Siddha (II)


Ācārya Ratnaprabha (IV)


Ācārya Yakṣadeva (III): While plundering Mahuā, the mlecchas made him captive along with 500 other monks and large number of laity. A certain lay devotee, who converted into mleccha dharma, by some means helped ācārya to escape. With an apprehension that the gaccha may extinct due to the scarcity of monks, the lay devotees gave away their eleven sons to ācārya, to make them ascetics. He initiated them and sent them to Āhaḍa Nagara. This incident dates back to 100 years after V.N. They set up four gacchas called Nāgendra, Candra, Nirvṛtti and Vidyādhara gacchas.


Ācārya Karka Sūri (II)


Ācārya Devagupta (III)


Ācārya Siddha Sūri (III) He did not appoint any of his disciples as ācārya, instead gave them the rank Mahattarā.


Mahattara Ratnaprabha Sūri (V)


Mahattara Yakṣadeva Sūri (IV): He made Nānā Monk of Samantabhadra lineage as the ācārya of Koraṃṭaka gaccha. After Nannācārya, one of his monk Yakṣadeva Sūri ordained Kṛṣṇācārya as 'Sūri' and declared him as the successor of his gaccha, which was a coalition of many traditions and had no rank like 'Sūri' till then.


Ācārya Kakka (III), the same Ācārya Kṛṣṇa mentioned above became famous as Ācārya Kakka III.


Ācārya Devagupta (IV)


Ācārya Jaya Siṃha


Ācārya Vīradeva


Ācārya Kakka Sūri (IV)


Ācārya Kakka Sūri (V)


Devagupta Sūri (V)


Ācārya Siddha Sūri (V)


Ācārya Ratnaprabha Sūri (VII), one of  his disciples, Udayavarddhana merged this gaccha with 'Dvivandanīka gaccha' and Tapā gaccha, and named it as Tapāratna branch (śākhā)


Ācārya Yakṣadeva (VI)


Ācārya Kakka Sūri (VI): He was a very efficient ācārya. He made new arrangements for his gaccha. He contemplated that celebrated ācāryas like Ratnaprabha and Yakṣadeva might not exist in the future. So, no ācārya should be called as Ratnaprabha or Yakṣadeva in future, instead they should be called with any one of the three names - Kakka Sūri, Devagupta Sūri and Siddha Sūri. He also introduced reforms in Nāgendra and Candra gacchas. During his pontificate, saints of Pārśvanātha lineage merged into Candra gaccha. Followers of Ācārya Udayavardhana believed that as both Lord Pārśvanātha and Lord Mahāvīra were of ascetic tradition and it came to be known as 'Dvivandanīka gaccha' and finally merged with Tapā gaccha and altogether were called as Tapāratna gaccha. They set up 22 branches of Upakeśa gaccha namely - Sundara, Prabha, Kanaka, Meru, Sāra, Candra, Sāgara, Haṃsa, Tilaka, etc.


Ācārya Devagupta (VI)


Ācārya Siddha (VI)


Ācārya Kakka (VII)


Ācārya Devagupta (VII)


Siddha Sūri (VII)


Ācārya Kakka (VIII)


Ācārya Devagupta (VIII): He was born in Vikram 995 in Kṣatriya caste. He was fond of playing the musical instrument 'Vīṇā'. He could not give up this habit. So, under the pressure of Congregation, he appointed some other Monk as ācārya and migrated to Lat region. In view of his laxity in the performance of the Congregation activities, the Congregation firmly resolved that only a Monk whose parents belong to Jain religion should be appointed as the leader of Congregation, in future.


Ācārya Siddha (VIII)


Ācārya Kakka (IX)


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri (IX)


Ācārya Siddha Sūri (IX)


Ācārya Kakka Sūri (X)


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri (X)


Ācārya Siddha Sūri (X) His disciple Jambūnāga foretold the King of Lodravā that Yavana Mumuci (Muhammad Gajanavī) would attack his kingdom and inflict defeat upon him. During his pontificate, Ācārya Nanna of Koraṃṭa gaccha contributed towards the assimilation of many lineages into Jainism.


Ācārya Kakka Sūri (XI)


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri (XI)


Ācārya Siddha Sūri (XI)


Ācārya Kakka: He was a very ardent practitioner of penance. He became ācārya in Vikram 1155 and lifelong observed 'ekāntara upavāsa'. For breaking his fast, he used to take Āyambila (tasteless single item food). Ācārya Hemacandra had great veneration for him. To obliterate frivolous, degenerated and slackened austerities, he disqualified many monks and femalemonks, and relaunched reform movement. Then onwards this gaccha was called 'Kakudācārya gaccha'. He breathed his last in Vikram 1212


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri (XII): Subsequent to the reformation movement by Kakka Sūri, the 51st ācārya of Upakeśa gaccha and after it came to be known as Kakadācārya gaccha, Devagupta Sūri took up the rank of ācārya. His pontificate lasted for nearly 67 years, from Vikram 1165 to 1232.


Ācārya Siddha Sūri: During his times, Yaśodeva-Dhanadeva wrote Navapada-Ṭīkā in Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa (Granthāgrantha Pramāṇa).


Ācārya Kakka.


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri. He held the rank in Vikram 1252.


Ācārya Siddha Sūri


Ācārya KakkaSūri


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri


Ācārya Siddha Sūri. During his times, Śāhabuddīna Gaurī invaded Osiyā in Vikram 1252.


Ācārya Kakka


Ācārya Devagupta: He was a great scholar


Ācārya Siddha


Ācārya Kakka


Ācārya Devagupta Sūri


Ācārya Siddha Sūri. His tenure was inferred as Vikram 1330.


Ācārya Kakka Sūri. Sultāna Śahajāgara celebrated his coronation ceremony in Vikram 1371.


Ācārya Devagupta


Ācārya Siddha Sūri


Ācārya Kakka


Ācārya Devagupta


Ācārya Siddha: He was a Siddha. The Minister Līlāgara celebrated the 'Pada Mahotsava' in Vikram 1565. His Upādhyāya called Deva Kallola authored 'Kālikācārya Kathā' in Vikram 1566.


Ācārya Kakka: He was ordained as ācārya in Vikram 1599 in Jodhapur. During his tenure both Koraṃṭa gaccha and Tapāgaccha merged together and 'Koraṃtā?


Tapāgaccha' came into being.


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