Munisuvrata Swami (Munisuvratanātha) was the twentieth Tirthankara of the present half time cycle (avasarpini) in Jain cosmology. He became a siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of his karma. Events of the Jaina version of Ramayana are placed at the time of Munisuvratanatha. Munisuvratanatha lived for over 30,000 years. His chief apostle (gaṇadhara) was sage Malli Svāmi.
Twentieth Jain Tirthankara
Shri 1008 Munisuvratnath Bhagwan Statue
Munisuvrata was the twentieth tirthankara of the present half time cycle (avasarpini) in Jain cosmology. Jain texts like padmapurana place him as a contemporary of Rama. According to Jain texts, Munisuvrata was born as 54 lakh years passed after the birth of the nineteenth tirthankara, Mallinātha. According to Jain beliefs, Munisuvrata descended from the heaven called Ānata kalpa on the twelfth day of the bright half of the month of Āśvina – āśvina śukla dvādaśi– to queen Padmā and king Sumitra. On the third day of Shraavana (month) Krishna (dark fortnight) according to Hindu calendar, queen Padmavati of Rajgir saw sixteen auspicious dreams. When she shared her dreams with her husband, king Sumitra of the Harivamsa clan, he explained that a tirthankara will be born to them soon. Then, Munisuvrata was born to them on the fifteenth day of the Shraavana Shukla (bright fortnight) in 1,184,980 BC. His height is mentioned to be 20 bows (60 metres) and complexion as a dark one.
According to Jain texts, after spending 7,500 years as a youth, Munisuvrata is believed to have ruled his kingdom for 15,000 years (rājyakāla). He then renounced all worldly pursuits and became a monk. According to Jain beliefs, he spent 11 months performing karma-destroying austerities and then attained the all-embracing knowledge – Omniscience (kevala jñāna) under a Champaka tree. He is said to have 18 ganadharas headed by Malli. Puspavati or Puspadatta is believed to be the head-nun of his order. Samayavayanga sutra, however, names Kumbha and Amila as the head ganadhara and head nun respectively.
Munisuvrata is said to have lived for over 30,000 years and attained liberation (nirvāña) from Sammeda śikhara on the twelfth day of the dark half of the month of phālguna – phālguna kṛṣna dvādaśi. Varuna is mentioned to be his yaksha and his yakhsini is named Bahurupini in Digambara tradition and Naradatta in Svetambara tradition.
O Lord Munisuvratanātha! You had attained the excellent observance of the vows of the sages; you are the ascetic supreme, and utterly pristine (having destroyed the inimical karmas). You stood out in the assembly of the sages like the moon in the midst of the constellations of stars.— Svayambhūstotra (20-1-111)
Mahavira is usually depicted in a sitting (or standing) meditative pose, with a lion symbol beneath him; each tīrthankara has a distinct emblem, which allows worshippers to distinguish similar idols. Jivantasvami represents Munisuvrata as a princely state. The Jina is represented as standing in the kayotsarga pose wearing crown and ornaments.
Munisuvrata, 1466 CE, Western India, National Museum, New Delhi
- Chaturmukha Basadi is a famous Jain temple located at Karkala in the Indian state of Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Aranatha, Māllīnātha and Munisuvrata.
- Shri Munisuvrata-Nemi-Parshva Jinalaya located at Santhu, Rajasthan
- Paithan Jain Tirth
Naulakha Mandir, Rajgir
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