Article: Munisuvrata

Munisuvratanātha or Lord Munisuvrata is the 20th of the 24 Jinas of the present cycle of time.

The word Jina means ‘victor’ in Sanskrit. A Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma through practising extreme asceticism and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A Jina is also called a Tīrthaṃkara or ‘ford-maker’ in Sanskrit – that is, one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience.

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Story and images

This detail of a manuscript painting shows the universal gathering – samavasaraṇa. When a Jina reaches omniscience, he sits in a samavasaraṇa the gods have built for him. The term is also used for the gathering of animals, humans and gods that listen.

An omniscient Jina preaches
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

There is no historical evidence of Munisuvrata’s existence but traditional writings recount his life as following the usual career of a Jina. Tradition holds that this Jina was born in Kuśagranagara and achieved liberation on Mount Sammeta, also known as Pārasnātha Hill.

Munisuvrata’s symbolic colour is black and his emblem is a tortoise.

Like all Jinas, Munisuvrata has a pair of spiritual attendants, often shown in art. His yakṣa is Varuṇa. The sect of the Digambaras calls his yakṣī Bhahurūpiṇī while the Śvetāmbaras name her Naradattā.


Historical Dictionary of Jainism
Kristi L. Wiley
Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements series; series editor Jon Woronoff; volume 53
Scarecrow Press; Maryland, USA; 2004

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