Who was the founder of Digambara


Digambara (Sanskrit: दिगम्बर digambara adj. u. m.literally: "sky-dress" (Dish-Ambara), having the sky (air) for clothing; naked; Name of a group of ascetics in the Jain tradition who do not wear any clothing. A naked mendicant monk. A name of Shiva.

Digambara is someone who has heaven as clothing, i.e. someone who is dressed in heaven. Digambara is someone who is naked. Digambara is an epithet of Shiva. Digambara is also the name of the Jain monks who do without any clothing. Digambara comes from Dish or Dik, which means heaven. Ambara means clothing.

Sukadev via Digambara

Transcription of a lecture video (2014) by Sukadev about Digambara

Digambara means heavenly garment, Digambara also means someone who is clothed in heaven. Digambara means someone who is naked, he has no clothes, but is clothed from heaven. Digambara is also a name of Shiva. Shiva is often depicted wearing a loincloth, but otherwise he has no clothes. In contrast, for example, to Krishna or Vishnu, who are very richly clothed. Shiva is Digambara there. But Digambara is also a mendicant monk who can be completely naked. In India there is a class of monks and certain monastic orders who attract nothing at all, they express their abandonment of all wishes and all attachments, all possessions, also by not wearing anything. Digambara is also a name for a specific class of Jain monks. Jainism, which follow the teachings of Mahavira, is one of the many religions in India and it is particularly characterized by a very strong emphasis on Ahimsa, on not killing, not hurting. And the monks of these traditions, who also walk around naked, then also call themselves Digambaras. So, Digambara - Heavenly Dress. Digambara - one who is clothed only from heaven, one who is naked for spiritual and religious reasons. Digambara - name of Shiva. Digambara - name of a group of nude monks, both in Hinduism and Jainism.

Digambara in Jainism

The Digambara sect is one of the mainstreams of Jainism. Their followers do not wear any clothing as they believe that the environment is the best way to cover yourself. The Digambara sect as a mainstream Jainism is also known as Digvasanas. Its members do not wear dresses in imitation of Mahavira. In Sanskrit "Digambara" means "Heaven clothed". The Digambara monks do not see themselves as naked but see themselves as clothed with the environment.

Digambaras believe that by leaving out clothing, they successfully refuse to give in to the body's need for comfort. They only have two possessions: a peacock feather broom to clear their path of insects so as not to trample them, and a bowl of water to drink water. They beg for their food and only eat once a day. They carry the alms they have received in cupped hands. A Digambara monk eats from the cupped hand while standing. The standing posture is prescribed because a monk who can no longer stand due to old age or illness should cast off his body by fasting to the point of death (Salekhana). He does not use pots or pans for eating or drinking. He eats the prescribed vegetarian food without any preferences.

The native Jain communities of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are all Digambaras. There are also other Digambara communities, such as Saitwal, Lad, Khandelwal, Bagherwal or Aggarwal. The most sacred place of the Digambaras is Sravana Belgola. There is a 75 foot (2.29 m) tall image of Bahubali (also known as Gommateshvara, who was the youngest of the 100 sons of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha and King of Podanpur).

Bahubali stands in meditation in the Kayotsarah posture, arms away from the sides, climbing plants grow around his arms and legs and anthills cover his lower legs as a symbol for the duration of his meditation. The Digambaras believe that he is the first person to achieve liberation. In temples, Digambaras usually do not touch the image. A priest called "Upadhye" performs pujas and worship is simple, with flowers and ornaments rarely used. The Digambaras lead a very pious, disciplined life, turned away from the pleasures of material, worldly life.

The current Digambara Jains are divided into different sects. The two most important are the Visvapanthis or Visapanthis (Bispanthis), as they are mostly called today, and the Terapanthis.

1. The Visapanthis recognize Bhattarakas as spiritual guides, achieved images of Ksetrapalas (gods like Bhairava) in their temples, cover the images of gods with saffron and beautify them with flowers; offer them sweets, worship them with gifts in the night and waving lights in front of them,

2. Terapanthis do not accept Bhattarakas, they do not reach Ksetrapalas, they do not offer sweets or flowers to the idols, do not bring saffron and do not worship them at night with gifts and lights. Instead, they limit themselves to reciting Aratrika Patha.

3. Pay homage to Visapanthis in a seated position and Terapanthis in a standing position. Terapanthis only sit when they count the pearls of their rosary and gently mumble mantras. From all of this it can be seen that the Terapanthis is a sect of reformers. They are against a number of rites which, in their view, have nothing to do with Jainism. They have nothing to do with the Terapanthis of Svetambaras. Visapanthis are abundant in Maharashtra and Gujarat, and Terapanthis are outnumbered in Rajaputana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.

Other Digambara sects of today are the Teranapanthis or Samaiyapanthis. Their community was founded by Taranasvami. They are hostile to the idols and instead worship the 14 books of their founder (Granthas) by keeping them on the altar.

See also


  • Swami Sivananda: Divine Knowledge
  • Swami Sivananda: Inspirational Stories
  • Swami Sivananda, The Power of Thought (2012)
  • Swami Sivananda: Sadhana - A textbook with techniques for spiritual perfection
  • Swami Sivananda: Light, Power and Wisdom
  • Thich Nhat Hanh: The Heart of Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering - The Practice of Happy Living; 2004
  • Adelheid Mette: The Jaina's doctrine of redemption: legends, parables, stories; 2010
  • Kiyoaki Okuda: A Digambara Dogmatics: The 5th Chapter of Vattakeras Mulacara Edited, translated and commented on by Kiyoaki Okuda; 1975
  • Jainism: Digambara, Shvetambaras, Samsara, Om, Ahimsa, Karma, Kailash, Sacred Books of the East, Three Jewels, Mahavira, Ellora

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