Literally, the Sanskrit for ‘ancient’. The term can mean either:
- a measurement of 84,000 x 84,000 years
- the scriptures of the 24 Jinas‘ preaching and long since lost.
The 14 Pūrvas held all the knowledge in the universe and the few who knew them were given the exalted status of śruta-kevalin – ‘scripturally omniscient person’. In line with the prophecy of the last Jina, Mahāvīra, knowledge of the Pūrvas died out within a thousand years of his liberation. Parts of the Pūrvas are said to form elements of later philosophy and scriptures.« Back to Glossary Index