Article: Malli

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Dates and numbers

The five auspicious events that mark a Jina’s life – kalyāṇakas – are traditionally associated with a specific date. This is given according to the system of the Indian calendar:

  • month
  • fortnight
  • day in the fortnight.

Astrological considerations also play a role here and the texts normally mention the constellations when an auspicious event takes place.

Dates associated with Mallinātha

Last incarnation

Birth

Initiation

Omniscience

Emancipation

4th day of the bright half of Phālguna

11th day of the bright half of Mārgaśīrṣa

  • 11th day of the bright half of Pauṣa – Aṅga Number 6
  • 11th day of the bright half of Mārga – Hemacandra and Digambara sources
  • 11th day of the bright half of Pauṣa – Aṅga Number 6
  • 11th day of the bright half of Mārga – Hemacandra and Digambara sources
  • 4th day of the bright half of Caitra – Aṅga Number 6
  • 10th day of the bright half of Phālguna – Hemacandra
  • 5th day of the bright half of Phālguna – Digambara

The dates associated with these events are potential or actual dates of commemoration. These may be marked in festivals, which determine the Jain religious calendar.

There may be variations in the dates in different sources, Śvetāmbara on one side, Digambara on the other. But there are also cases of differences within the same sectarian tradition.

Mallinātha’s birth, initiation and omniscience all fall on an 11th day and are among the events commemorated in the festival known as Maunaikādaśī.

There are also other numbers connected with the life of this Jina.

Other numbers associated with Mallinātha

Height

Total lifespan

25 bows

55,000 years

Monastic and lay communities

A 12th-century Digambara statue from Madhya Pradesh of the 19th Jina, Mallinātha or Lord Malli. The endless knot – śrīvatsa – on the idol's chest, which Jinas often have in art, is very prominent thanks to the sculpture's very simple style.

Statue of Malli
Image by Hiart; Honolulu Academy of Arts © public domain

A Jina is not an enlightened being who exists alone after reaching omniscience. After perfect knowledge comes general preaching – samavasaraṇa. This sermon, which is attended by all, is reported in the scriptures as resulting in large numbers of listeners being inspired. Many turn to religious life, becoming monks or nuns, while many others make the vows that lay peopleśrāvaka and śrāvikā – can follow in their everyday lives. Further, the Jina’s teachings are preserved and passed on by his chief disciples – the gaṇadharas. This is why a Jina is also called a Tīrthaṃkara, meaning ‘ford-maker’ or ‘founder of a community’.

Each Jina establishes a 'fourfold community', led by the chief disciples. Made up of monks, nuns, lay men and lay women, the fourfold community follows the principles the Jina has set out in his preaching. How members follow the religious teachings vary according to whether they remain householders or take initiation into mendicancy. Individual figures relating to each Jina are thus important.

Mallinātha's fourfold community

Chief disciples

Monks

Nuns

Lay men

Lay women

28, led by Bhiṣaj

40,000

50,000

183,000

370,000

Identification

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, symbol, yakṣa and yakṣī of Mallinātha

Colour

Emblem

Yakṣa

Yakṣī

golden – Digambara
dark blue – Śvetāmbara

water pot

Kubera

Vairoṭyā

EXT:contentbrowse Processing Watermark

Related Manuscripts

Related Manuscript Images

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