Article: Padmaprabha

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

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 on a palanquin to the park where they perform the ritual gesture of initiation into monastic lifedīkṣā. The palanquin of Padmaprabha-svāmin or Lord Padmaprabha is named Nirvṛttikarā. On this occasion, he is accompanied by numerous kings.

He performs a two-day fast. The next day he breaks his fast at the house of King Somadeva in the town of Brahmasthal.

Padmaprabha wanders for six months as an ordinary ascetic and reaches omniscience under a banyan tree.

Events, stories and hymns

The four types of existences for beings trapped in the world of rebirths, with the white crescent representing final liberation. From the 2004 'Illustrated Sthanang Sutra', in the Illustrated Agam series, overseen by Pravartak Shri Amar Muni.

Four types of existence
Image by Diwakar Prakashan / Padma Prakashan © Diwakar Prakashan / Padma Prakashan

The life of Padmaprabha-svāmin or Lord Padmaprabha is almost eventless. In the 9th-century Lives of the 54 JainGreat MenCauppaṇṇa-mahāpurisa-cariya – written in Prakrit by the Śvetāmbara monk Śīlānka, the chapter about the sixth Jinais amplified by a long description. The Jina’s general assembly – samavasaraṇa – after he has reached omniscience is described in great detail.

In the 12th-century Sanskrit text Tri-ṣaṣṭi-śalākā-puruṣa-caritra, written by Hemacandra, has become the standard Śvetāmbara version of the Jinas' lives. Here Padmaprabha's life story is enlarged through a long sermon he delivers after reaching omniscience, which deals with the four modes of existencegati:

Among individual story works dealing with the sixth Jina, the most important is the Pauma-ppaha-sāmi-cariya – Life of Lord Padmaprabha – written in Prakrit in 1197 CE (1254 of the Vikrama era) by the Śvetāmbara monk Deva-sūri (Pagaria 1995). He belonged to a relatively minor monastic order, the Jālihara-gaccha. The life stages of the Jina are the same as in other Śvetāmbara works, but the narrative is inflated with embedded stories that feature independent characters showing the doctrine in practice or illustrating the Jina’s teachings.

Padmaprabha is mainly 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.

Temples and images

Marble image of Padmaprabha, showing his emblem of the red lotus. In a Tamil Nadu temple, this Digambara statue is simply carved, showing the sixth Jina nude with downcast eyes.

Padmaprabha image
Image by Ramesh Kumar © Jain Sites in Tamilnadu

Padmaprabha-svāmin or Lord Padmaprabha is not one of the most popular Jinas. Yet he is known through a number of stone sculptures (Shah 1987: 138), such as:

  • 11th-to 12th-century images in temples in north India
  • a standing image from Narwar in the Shivpuri Museum, Madhya Pradesh
  • rock-cut images in caves 8 and 9 of Khandagiri, Orissa
  • a wall sculpture in a rock-cut cave at Kuppalanatham in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu
  • a figure flanked by yakṣa and yakṣī in the Bhaṇḍāra Basti at Shravana Belagola
  • sculptures in the western Indian temples of Vimala Vasahi at Mount Abu and at Kumbharia in Gujarat.

Metal images showing Padmaprabha alone or with other Jinas are also available in temples and museums.

In these examples the Jina is identified either through an inscription or his emblem, or both.

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