* Taranapantha or Samaiyapantha
The Bisapantha followers support the Dharma-gurus, the religious authorities known as Bhattarakas. They serve as the heads of Jaina Mathas, i.e. religious monasteries. The Bisapanthas worship the idols of Jain Tirthankaras and also the idols of Ksetrapala, Padmavati and other deities. The idols are worshipped with saffron, flowers, fruits, sweets and incense sticks. The offer worship by doing arati and distribute prasada, i.e., sweets that have been offered to the idols. Presently the Bisapantha followers mainly belong to Maharashtra, Karnataka and South India. A large number of Digambara Jainas also belong to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Terapantha was formed in North India in the year 1683 of the Vikram Era. It was formed to rtevolt against the domination of the Bhattarakas. The Digambara Terapanthis believe in nudity and idol-worship. They worship the idols of Tirthankaras. They worship the idols with sacred rice called 'Aksata', cloves, sandal, almonds, dry coconuts, dates, etc. however they do not use flowers, fruits and other green vegetables for their worship. Neither they perform Arati nor do they distribute Prasad. while worshipping they stand and do not sit.
The Terapanthis oppose the various religious practices as they think that they are not real Jain practices. The Terapanthis are more popular in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Taranapantha was founded by Tarana-Svami or Tarana-tarana-Svami (1448-1515 A.D.). The followers of this sub sect worship Sarnaya, i.e., sacred books and not the idols, hence they are also known as Samaiyapantha. Tarana-Svami died at Malharagarh, in former Gwalior State in Madhya Pradesh. This place is now regarded as an important pilgrimage centre.
The Taranapanthis do not believe in idol worship. However, they have temples were they keep their sacred books for worship. They do not offer articles like fruits and flowers at the time of worship. They worship the sacred books of the Digambaras as well as the fourteen sacred books written by their founder Tarana-Svami. The Taranapanthis emphasise upon spiritual values and the study of sacred literature. Tarana-Svami; are against the caste-distinctions and embrace people belonging to low-caste. Thus the distinctive traits of the Taranapanthis were a revolt against the religious beliefs and practices prevailing in the Digambara Sect.
The Taranapanthis are few in number and they are mostly confined to Bundelkhand, Malwa area of Madhya Pradesh and Khandesh area of Maharashtra.
The Gumanapantha sect was started by Pandit Gumani Rama or Gumani Rai, who was a son of Pandit Todaramal. He lived in Jaipur in Rajasthan. The members of the Gumanapantha sect prohibit lighting of candles or lamps in the Jain temples. It is regarded as a violation of the fundamental doctrine of Jaina religion, viz., non-violence. Thus, they only visit and view the image in the temples and do not make any offerings to them.
The sect put emphasis on purity of conduct and self-discipline hence it was also known as shuddha amnaya, that is pure or sacred tradition. Gumanapantha was prevalent in several parts of Rajasthan. Presently it is found in some areas of Rajasthan around Jaipur.
The Totapantha sub sect was formed because of the differences between the Bisapantha and Terapantha sub-sects. The Totapantha believe to some extent in the doctrines of Bisapantha and to some extent in those of Terapantha. The Totapanthis are extremely few in number and are found in some pockets in Madhya Pradesh.
(Last Updated on : 30-04-2012)
|More Articles in Digambara Sect (3)|