Cakravartin and Jain kingship

Google Books provides John Cort's discussion of the concepts of the cakravartin and Jain kingship. Read pages 98 to 99 of this excerpt from Cort's 'Who is a King?' chapter in Open Boundaries 1998.


Contemporary Śvetāmbara painting on Flickr of the goddess Cakreśvarī or Apraticakrā. She stands on her vehicle, the garuḍa or mythical eagle, and holds in two of her eight hands the disc – cakra – that gives her her name. As well as being the yakṣī – female attendant – to the first Jina, Ṛṣabha, she is a powerful goddess in her own right.


Colourful image on Flickr of the goddess Cakreśvarī or Apraticakrā. In a Śvetāmbara temple, the idol sits on her vehicle, the garuḍa or mythical eagle, and holds in the top two of her eight hands the disc – cakra – from which her name derives. As well as being the yakṣī – female attendant – to the first Jina, Ṛṣabha, she is a powerful independent goddess.

Cakreśvarī at Ellora

The Ellora Caves project presents this photograph of an early Digambara figure of the goddess Cakreśvarī, found in cave 30 of the cave temples at Ellora, Maharashtra. The yakṣī of the first Jina, Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha, Cakreśvarī's power is symbolised in the weapon of the disc – cakra – from which she gets her name.

Cakreśvarī wearing robes

Decorated Śvetāmbara statue of the goddess Cakreśvarī or Apraticakrā. She wears richly embroidered clothes and ornate jewellery, including a headdress. She is the yakṣī – female attendant – of the first Jina, Ṛṣabha, and has also developed into a popular independent goddess. This photograph of a contemporary image in the Dada Bari Jain Mandir, Mehraul, New Delhi, is available on Flickr.

Calculator for VS and CE dates

This calculator at the University of Kyoto in Japan offers a way of working out equivalent dates in various Indian calendars and the Western calendar.

Candraprabha and spiritual attendants

Pictures 16 and 17 on this page show a Digambara statue of the eighth Jina, Candraprabha, and his yakṣa and yakṣī. The sculpture comes from eastern India and dates back to the tenth century.

The HereNow4U website provides text and pictures from Gerd Mevissen's lecture, 'North Bengal (Ancient Varendra): An Innovative Sub-Centre of Jaina Sculptural Art'. This was delivered on 7 March 2008 at the tenth Jaina Studies Workshop, on the theme of Jaina Art and Architecture, held at SOAS in London.

Candraprabha hymn

A recitation on YouTube of a hymn to Candraprabhanātha or Lord Candraprabha, the eighth Jina.

Candraprabha-svāmī statue

The Art Institute of Chicago in the USA provides a photograph of a stone sculpture of the eighth Jina, Candraprabha-svāmī or Lord Candraprabha. Typically for a figure of a Jina, he stands in the pose of 'abandonment of the body' – kāyotsarga – which indicates deep meditation, and is flanked by a pair of attendant deities, his yakṣa and yakṣī. His nudity connects the image to the sect of the Digamabaras.

Cave 32 at Ellora

The five Jain caves at Ellora, Maharashtra, feature very fine examples of sculpture on the pillars and the walls, with deep reliefs depicting Jinas and other holy figures. This figure from cave 32, known as the Indra Sabha cave, is of a Jina, presented in the Digambara style. He is naked and standing in deep meditation. He is probably the 23rd Jina Pārśva, although his snakehood canopy is damaged, as this 2012 Flickr photograph shows.

Ceiling at Ranakpur

The ornate domed ceiling of the main hall – maṇḍapa – of the Ādinātha temple at Ranakpur in Rajasthan. The large figures are the goddesses of magical knowledge – vidyā-devīs – while small sculptures of sitting Jinas are arranged in rows around the concentric circles of the dome. The Digital South Asia Library at the University of Chicago in the USA provides this black-and-white photograph.

Celebrating Mahāvīr Jayanti – part one

First part of a lively Digambara procession arranged for Mahāvīr Jayanti in 2010, held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. This YouTube film shows the music, dancing and joyful atmosphere of many Jain festivals, which is especially demonstrated in the procession – yātrā – also called chariot-procession or car-festival – ratha-yātrā. As this festival celebrates the birth of the 24th Jina, Mahāvīra, two lay people rock a model of a baby in a cradle and a boy dressed as the Jina's lion emblem walks before them. The Jain flag is carried by drummers and worn as a scarf by many festival-goers, many of whom sport crowns. The lay couple representing the Jina's parents ride in a chariot.

You can also watch the second part of the film.

Celebrating Mahāvīr Jayanti – part two

Second part of a lively Digambara procession in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, held to celebrate Mahāvīr Jayanti in 2010. This YouTube film shows lay people rocking a model of a baby in a cradle. Other families who have won auctions – bolīs – held among the lay community for the honour of taking leading roles in the procession ride in chariots or hold the Jain flag. Many procession participants wear badges of the Jain flag. Lay people donate money as the idol of Mahāvīra passes by on a procession float, sheltered under a large model of Mount Meru, the cosmic axis. The procession ends at the temple, where a naked monk addresses the crowds.

You can also watch the first part of the film.

Celebration of Mallinātha’s liberation

This YouTube video shows the anointing of the statue of Mallinātha or Lord Malli to mark the liberation of the 19th Jina. This event is one of the five auspicious events that mark a Jina’s life – kalyāṇakas. The men in orange are temple attendants, who perform many of the ceremonies in Jain temples. This ceremony takes place in the Jain Center of Northern California, in Milpitas, USA.

Centre of Jaina Studies Newsletter

The Centre of Jaina Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at the University of London, publishes an annual newsletter, which is available to download as a PDF. The newsletter features:

  • articles
  • summaries of research
  • academic news
  • book reviews
  • reports of exhibitions
  • otifications and reports of conferences and symposia.

You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to open PDF files.

Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS

The Centre of Jaina Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London, is the only academic centre specialising in Jain research outside India. Established in 2004, the centre hosts an annual conference for scholars of Jainism and publishes an annual newsletter and the International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online). It also runs undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Jain studies.

Chanting the Bhaktāmara-stotra

On 20th April 2007 Jains in London spent 24 hours reciting the Bhaktāmara-stotra for the Akṣaya-tr̥tīyā festival. The hymn is one of the best-known Jain devotional songs and, like the Akṣaya-tr̥tīyā festival, is associated with Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha, the first Jina. This illustrated report by Hina Vora is on the HereNow4U website.

Children perform the Śālibhadra story

This YouTube video presents the tale of Śālibhadra performed by children from the Jain Center of Northern California. This play was part of the celebrations for the 2012 festival of Mahāvīr Jayantī, which took place on the 4th April.

Colin Mackenzie biography

This Wikipedia article on Colin Mackenzie (1753–1821) summarises his career. As the first Surveyor General of India under early British colonial rule, he supervised detailed investigations into Indian architecture, especially in southern India.

Contemporary sūri-mantra-paṭa

An ornate sūri-mantra-paṭa on the Flickr website. A large golden figure of Indrabhūti Gautama, head disciple of Mahāvīra, takes the lotus position in the centre, flanked by worshippers. Rows of deities and worshippers honour him while sacred syllables and the 24 Jinas form rings around him.

This sacred object is used for ritual and meditation by Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjak monks, primarily those from the Kharatara-gaccha and Tapā-gaccha. Only top-ranking monks can use it, aiming to imitate Gautama and to harness the power of the maṇḍala.

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