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Digambara (Sanskrit: दिगंबर) "sky-clad" is one of the two main sects of Jainism. "Sky-clad" has many different meaning and associations throughout Indian religions. Many representations of deities within these traditions are depicted as sky-clad, e.g. Samantabhadra/Samantabhadrī in Yab-Yum. Certain traditions and lineages also practice Digambara as a lifelong vow as evidenced by numerous sadhus throughout India.


Distinctives of Digambar

Digambara is one of the two main sects of Jainism, the other being Svetambara.

Gommateshvara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola 978-993 AD.

Until the leadership of Acharya Bhadrabahu, there was no significant division. After that some divisions gradually arose. Generally, Digambara monks wear no clothes whereas Svetambara "white-clad" monks usually wear white clothes.

Although senior Digambara monks wear no clothes, following the practice of Mahavira, they do not consider themselves to be nude. Rather, they are wearing the environment, that is the quintessential, akasha or space. Digambaras believe that this practice represents a refusal to give in to the demands of the body for comfort and private property. Only Digambara ascetics are required to forsake clothing and not the laity. Digambara ascetics have only two possessions: a peacock feather broom and a water gourd. Conversely, Svetambara monks usually wear white maintaining that nudism is no longer practicable. While there are some differences in some practices, the main principles of each sect such as Mahavratas, Anuvratas and so forth are the same.

Digambara Jain communities in India

The native Jain communities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Southern Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are all Digambaras, as are the Saravagis and the Agrawals of North India. In Gujarat, the majority of Jains follow the Svetambara tradition, although some Jain communities of these regions, like the Humad, narsinghpura are also Digambaras.

Chatutath, Pancham, Bogar, Kasar, Patni, Sethi, Tongia, Rara/Raoka, Kasliwal, Godha, Badjatiya and Patwa are sub-castes belonging to the aforementioned Khandelwai or Sarawagi sub-community. They are mainly from Rajasthan. Their ancestors have been engaged in business and have attained great welath. Many Jain temples and havelis made in the Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Jodhpur regions were built by them.

Other Digambara communities include Padmavati Porwal, Saitwal, Lad, Bagherwal, Aggarwal and Visa Mewada.

The Parwars come mainly from Bundelkhand. They are one of the most learned amongst Jains and most Pandits and scholars of tirthakshetras are Parwars.

Digambara monasticism

The prominent Acharyas of the Digambar tradition were:

Circa the 10th century, Digambar tradition was divided into two main orders.

  • Mula Sangh, which includes Sena gana, Deshiya gana and Balatkara gana traditions
  • Kashtha Sangh, which includes the Mathura gana and Lat-vagad gana traditions

Acharya Shantisagar, the first Acharya of the 20th century, belonged to the tradition of Sena gana. Practically all the Digambara monks today belong to his tradition, either directly or indirectly. The Bhattarakas of Shravanabelagola and Mudbidri belong to Deshiya gana and Bhattara of Humbaj belongs to Balatkara gana. Among the prominent Digambara Acharyas today are Acharya Vidyasagar, Acharya Vardhman sagar, Acharya Vidyanand, Acharya Pushpadant and Acharya Devanandji and Acharya Abhinandan Sagar Ji. Acharya Abhinandan Sagar Ji & Acharya vardhman sagar ji are the current pattacharyas of Acharya Shantisagar Ji.

Sub-sects of Digambara

Those following the Terapanth reforms are called Terapanth. Others who follow more traditional practices are called Bisapanthi. In practice, the division between the sub-sects is unimportant, and separate institutions do not exist.

Among the Digambaras, the Taran Panthi follow Taran Swami and Kanji Panthi follow Kanji Swami.

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Digambara —    Digambara is one of the two main divisions of the Jain tradition (see JAINISM). It literally means “those wearing the sky as a garment,” a refer ence to the complete nudity of the monks of this branch. The Digambara Jains, who are relatively… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Digambara — Digambara, Sekte, s. Dschaina …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Digambara — /di gum beuhr euh/, n. the earlier of the two principal Jain sects, whose members went naked. Cf. Svetambara. [ < Skt: naked] * * * ▪ Jainist sect Sanskrit“Sky clad,” i.e., naked       one of the two principal sects of the Indian religion Jainism …   Universalium

  • Digambara — Ein Digambara (Sanskrit, m., दिगम्बर, digambara, übersetzt: „im Luftkleid“, „im Himmelskleid“ oder „in die Weltweite gekleidet“) ist ein Angehöriger einer überwiegend aus Mönchen bestehenden religiösen Gruppe, die dem Jainismus angehört.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Digambara — Digạmbara   [Sanskrit, »Luftbekleidete«, d. h. Nackte], radikal asketische Richtung des indischen Jaina Ordens (Jaina), deren (heute unter 100) Mönche keine Kleidung tragen, im Gegensatz zur gemäßigten Richtung, den Weiß Gekleideten… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Digambara — [dɪ gʌmbərə] noun a member of one of two principal sects of Jainism, who reject property ownership and formerly did not wear clothes. See also Svetambara. Origin from Sanskrit Digāmbara, lit. sky clad …   English new terms dictionary

  • Digambara — n. member of one of the two principal divisions of Jainism …   English contemporary dictionary

  • digambara — di·gam·ba·ra …   English syllables

  • digambara — diˈgəmbərə noun ( s) Usage: capitalized Etymology: Sanskrit, literally, sky clad, naked : a member of a major Jain sect formed in the 3d century B.C. and distinguished by its original abandonment of all worldly possessions including clothes and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Digambara Jaina Temple, Khandagiri — Digambara Jaina Temple, Khandagiri …   Wikipedia

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