The Sthaviravali of the Kalpa Sutra

The Kalpa Sutra of the Svetambaras gives a list of patriarchs of their Church. This is the generally accepted list of the Shvetambara Church. Hemachandra has followed this list, except in some cases where he has omitted details of some of the patriarchs named in the list. (Another list of patriarchs or pontiffs of the Svetambaras is given in the NandiSutra. See Appendix V.)


     Mahavira had eleven Ganadharas. They knew the twelve Angas, the fourteen Purvas, and the whole of the Siddhanta. Except for Indrabhuti and Arya Sudharman all the others had died before the Nirvana of Mahavira. "The Nirgrantha Shramnas of the present day are all spiritual descendants of the monk Arya Sudharman; the rest of the Ganadharas left no descendants."


     "The disciples of Mahavira were:

l. Sudharman.

2. Jambu-Naman.

3. Prabhava.

4. Shayyambha, father of Manaka.

5. Yashobhadra."


     The Kalpa Sutra now continues the list in two forms: one in a short redaction, and the other giving the Gana-Kula, and Shakha founded by the various teachers. Gana designates the school which is derived from one teacher. It appears to be equivalent with the modern Gaccha. Kula designates the succession of teachers in one line, and Shakha the lines which branch off from each teacher.1


     In the short redaction the list of sthaviras after Arya Yasho-Bhadra is the following:


     6. (a) Bhadrabahu and (b) SambhutaviaJya.

     7. Sthulabhadra.

     8. (a) Mahagiri and (b) Suhastin.

     9. (a) Susthita and (b) Supratibuddha, surnamed

           (a) Kotika and (b) Kakandaka.

    10. Indradatta.

    11. Datta.

    12. Sinhagiri.

    13. Vajra.

    14. Vajrasena.



     The Kalpa Sutra then continues with the detailed list of the names of the disciples, or the ganas, kulas and shakhas, founded by these nine generations of sthaviras. Some of them are mentioned below:


6(a) Bhadrabahu had four disciples among which Godasa was the founder of the Godasa gana which was divided into four Shakhas. These were: (i) Tamraliptika, (ii) Kotivarshiya, (iii) Pundravardhaniya and (iv) Dasikharbatika.


     It will be noticed that of the four shakhas founded by Godasa, three were named after places in west and north Bengal. Names of none of these shakhas founded by Godasa, or by any other disciple of Bhadrabahu appear again in the history of Jainism.


     6(b) Sambhutavijaya had twelve male disciples, among whom was Sthulabhadra who was No. 7 in the short list. Sambhulavijaya had seven female disciples also.


     8(a) Mahagiri who presumably was the senior of the two disciples of Sthulabhadra had eight disciples. Of these eight disciples, we need name only two: Kodinna and Rohagutta, Kodinna's disciple Assamitta is said to have started the fourth schism of the Church in 220 AV., while Rohagutta is said to have started the sixth schism in 544 AV. Since it is not possible, that two persons separated by one generation only will live more than 300 years apart, the Rohagutta of the sixth schism must have been a different person. Among the eight disciples of Mahagiri we do not find the name of Bahula. Now Bahula according to the Nandi-Sutra2 was the pontiff of the Jain Church after Mahagiri. The absence of his name from the Kalpa-Sutra list is therefore intriguing.


     8(b) Suhastin had twelve disciples, some of them founded a number of ganas, shakhas and kulas. Some of these ganas, kulas, etc. are found in the inscriptions on the Jain ruins at Kankalitila at Mathura. These prove that the long lists of names of the ganas, kulas, shakhas, etc., are not fictitious and some at least of these names, occurring in the Kalpa Sutra actually existed. Unfortunately, the Mathura inscriptions do not name any contemporary pontiffs. We are thus unable to establish the chronology of these leaders of the Jain Church from these independent sources.


     Among the twelve disciples of Suhastin, only 9(a) Susthita and 9(b) Supratibuddha who became joint Pontiffs after Suhastin, matter for this purpose because only the ganas, kulas, etc., founded by them can be traced in the Mathura inscriptions. These two pontiffs founded the Kautika gana. This gana finds the largest number of mention in the Mathura inscriptions. The gana itself was divided into four kulas.


The names of the kulas are as below:


As mentioned in the      As found in the Mathura Kalpa Sutra      inscriptions


Bambhalijja      Brahmadasika


 Vacchalijja      Vacchaliya


Vanijja      Thaniya or Sthaniya


Panhavahanaya      Panhavahanava




Similarly for the shakhas, we have:


Uchchanagari      Uchchhenagari




Vajri      Vajri or Veri


Majjhimilla      Majhima


     It will be noticed that the the shkahas is not found in the Mathura inscriptions.


Next to the Kautika gana, the largest number of thc Jain inscription of Mathura mention the Varana gana. Now no such gana is mentioned in the Kalpa-Sutra. Kalpa-Sutra however mentions the Charana gana. It has been conjectured3 that since the Brahmi letters Cha and Va look similar, the name of the gana should be read Varana, and there is copyist's error in the Kalpa-Sutra. If we accept this then we find the similarity in the names of the kulas of this gana as follows:


Kulas of the Charana gana      Kulas of the Varana gana

the Kalpa-Sutra      mentioned in the Mathura



a. Vacchalijja      i (Vacchali) yato


b. Pritidharmika      ii. Petavamika


c. Halijja


d. Pushyamitrika      iii. Pushyamitriya


e. Malijja


f. Aryachetaka       iv. Aryachetiya


g. Kanhasahav. Kaniyasika       vi. Arya-Hattakiya.




     viii. Nadika


      The Charana gana of the Kalpa-Sutra was founded by Shrigupta, one of the disciples of Suhastin. This gana also had four shakhas. Their correspondence with the Mathura inscriptions is as follows:


shakhas of the Charana      shakhas of the Varana gana gana of Kalpa Sutra      of Mathura inscriptions


a. Haritamalakari      i Haritamalakadhi


b. Samkashika      ii. Sam (kasiya)


c. Gavedhuka      

d. Vajranagari      iii. Vajanagari


     iv. Oda



The similarity in the names is striking. It seems, therefore, that the conjecture is correct, and the Charana gana of the Kalpa-Sutra should be read as Varana gana as found in the Mathura inscriptions.


The next two pontiffs of the Church were:


10. Indradatta who was one of the five disciples of the joint teachers Susthita and Supratibuddha, and-


11. Datta



Hemachandra in this Sthaviravali has completely ignored these two pontiffs. The Kalpa-Sutra also does not add anything more about them except to mention their gotras. In fact we are not even told whose disciple Datta was. The next two pontiffs were-


12. Sinhagiri who was a disciple of Datta, and -


13. Vajra who was a disciple of Sinhagiri.



We do not know whose disciple 14. Vajrasena was.

Vajrasena is the last pontiff named in the short list of the Kalpa-Sutra. The longer list gives 19 more names of successive pontiffs in a string, starting with Pushyagiri and ending with Shandilya. After this the Kalpa-Sutra has six gathas giving the names of six more pontiffs. The last of these six is Kshamashra-Mana-Devarddhi the president of the Vallabhi Council. The canonical books of the Svetambaras were reduced in writing in this Council. The names of these 25 pontiffs are:


15. Pushyagiri

16. Phalgumitra

17. Dhanagiri

18. Sivabhuti

19. Bhadr

20. Nakshatra

21. Raksa

22. Naga

23. Jehila

24. Vishnu

25. Kalka

26. SamPalita and Bhadra

27. Vriddha

28. Sanghapalita

29. Hastin

30. Dharma

31. Sinha

32. Dharma

33. Shandilya

34. Jambu

35. Nandita

36. KshamashRam Deshiganin .

37. KsamashRamna Sthira-gupta.

38. Dharma.

39. KshamashRamna Devarddhi.





1.Note by Jacobi, in Sacred Books of the East. Vol. xxii, p. 288n


2. See Appendix V.


3 J. P. Singh, Aspects of Early Jainism, p. 43.