Article: Supārśva

Contributed by Nalini Balbir


Supārśva 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

The seventh Jina Supārśvanātha with his emblem, the svastika. In this open space in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, images of the four Jinas associated with Sarnath and the neighbouring town of Varanasi have been carved: Śreyāṃsa, Candraprabha and Pārśva.

Image by Nalini Balbir © Nalini Balbir

Supārśvanātha or Lord Supārśva is quite popular. As mentioned above, there is some amount of confusion between Supārśva and the 23rd Jina Pārśvanātha or Lord Pārśva. Thus there may be many more images available of the former than thought at first sight.

Supārśva is known through a number of stone sculptures (Shah 1987: 139–142), such as:

  • those in cave 8 and 9 at Khanda-giri, in Orissa
  • the standing marble image in the Jain temple at Pālaḍī, a few miles from Sirohi in Rajasthan, which shows him with five snakehoods, identified from the inscription dated 1291 CE
  • the mutilated standing image with five snakehoods and the svastika in the Neminātha temple at Kumbharia, north Gujarat
  • the standing images in temples number 5 and 28 at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, which have five snakehoods, with the latter figure also showing the emblem of this Jina, the svastika.

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

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