Article: Candraprabha

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Identification

This 1853 drawing of a sculpture from Pattadakal in Karnataka shows Jvālamālinī. One of the Digambara names for the yakṣī of the eighth Jina, Candraprabha, Jvālamālinī has developed as an independent goddess among the Digambaras, especially in south India

Jvālamālinī, yakṣī of Candraprabha
Image by British Library © British Library Board on www.Europeana.eu

All Jinas have individual emblemslāñchanas – and colours that help to identify them in artwork. They also have attendant deities known as yakṣa and yakṣī, who often appear flanking them in art.

Colour, symbols, yakṣa and yakṣī of Candraprabha

Colour

Emblem

Yakṣa

Yakṣī

'of the moon' – that is, white

crescent moon

Vijaya – Śvetāmbara
Śyāma or Ajita – Digambara

Bhṛkuṭi – Śvetāmbara
Mānavī or Jvālāmālinī – Digambara

Jvālamālinī is one of the yakṣīs who has developed as an independent goddess among the Digambara sect, especially in south India. The legends and cult around her are rooted in Karnataka. The earliest image of her dates back to the 8th century and is found in the temple of Aihole in this region. The Jvālāmalinī-kalpa, a work representing the Jain tantric tradition, was written by Indranandi in the 10th century.

More details

Besides the basic information, the sources provide more details on various topics. These are almost infinite and vary depending on the sources. Such information differs between Śvetāmbaras and Digambaras. Here are only a few instances of extra detail.

All of the princes who become Jinas are carried to the park where they perform the ritual gesture of initiation into monastic lifedīkṣā – on a palanquin. Candraprabha’s palanquin is named Jayantī. On this occasion, he is accompanied by one thousand kings.

He performs a two-day fast. The next day he breaks his fast at the house of King Somadatta in Padmakhaṇḍapura.

Candraprabha reaches omniscience under a tree of the nāga or punnāga variety.

Events, stories and hymns

This painting of a Jina is taken from a collection of hymns to the 24 Jinas written by Yaśovijaya in the 17th century. The Jina's white colour indicates that he is Candraprabhanātha or Lord Candraprabha, the eighth Jina

Image of Candraprabha, the eighth Jina
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

The extensive body of works dealing with Jain Universal History, such as the 12th-century Tri-ṣaṣṭi-śalākāpuruṣa-caritra by Hemacandra, describe the lives of the Jinas. Except for the major Jinas, the standard Śvetāmbara biographies in such works are not fleshed out with further events or stories. This is the case with Candraprabhanātha or Lord Candraprabha.

As with other Jinas, the standard account of Candraprabha is chiefly expanded and varied in the description of his former lives. These are set in the time before his last birth, when he is reborn as a prince who is initiated and then becomes a Jina. The number of these previous births is not fully standardised.

These previous lives act as the starting point for other stories that are recounted in the biographies of this individual Jina – the Candraprabha-caritras. These are written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or in modern Indian languages from western or south India. In prose, verse or in a mixture of prose and verse, these tales are composed by Śvetāmbara as well as Digambara authors.

There is no limit to the number of such works, but a good list is given on pages 19 to 20 in Pagaria 1999. An illustrated folio from Deva-sūri’s 1207 version in Sanskrit and Prakrit is reproduced in U. P. Shah, New Documents of Jaina Painting.

Similarly, Candraprabha is praised alongside other Jinas in hymns dedicated to the 24 Jinas. One instance is the devotional song dedicated to this Jina in the Gujarati set of hymns composed by Yaśo-vijaya in the 17th century. This example can be found among the manuscripts digitised on JAINpedia.

There are also several individual hymns dedicated to Candraprabha in all Indian languages. His moonlight complexion, which appropriately evokes serenity, seems to have made him distinct, as he shares this feature only with the ninth Jina.

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