Article: Saṃbhava

Saṃbhavanātha or Lord Saṃbhava is the third 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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This manuscript painting shows an important animal in Jain myth. The horse is the emblem – lāñchana – of Saṃbhavanatha or Lord Saṃbhava, the third Jina. It is also the symbol of the 6th group of Bhavanavāsin gods, the Vāyu-kumāra or ' stormy youths'.

Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

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

Saṃbhava’s symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the horse.

Like all Jinas, Saṃbhava has a pair of spiritual attendants, often shown in art. His yakṣa is Trimukha. Digambaras call his yakṣī Prajñapti while Śvetāmbaras call her Duritāri.


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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