(Last Updated on : 07/07/2012)
The Sixteen Jaina Mahavidyas forming a group of Tantric goddesses have been rendered a favoured position at Kumbharia in North Gujarat
. It has been given due importance among both the Swetambara
Jaina sects. From eighth century A.D the iconographic forms of the Sixteen Jaina Mahavidyas have been carved. One of the earliest representations of Swetambara Jaina Mahavidyas can be seen at the Mahavira temple at Osian
. It was built by the Pratihara Vatsaraja towards the end of the eighth century A.D. However, Prajaapti, Naradatta, Gandhari, Mahajvala and Manavi are not represented at the temple, while Rohini
, Apratichakra, Vairotya and Mahamanasi have been given much value.
At Kumbharia the iconography of Sixteen Mahavidyas has been well portrayed in the ceiling of the Santinatha temple of 1077 A.D. All the five Jaina temples at Kumbharia have been constructed between 11th to the first half of the 13th century A.D. Among the Sixteen Mahavidyas only eleven of them match with the description of the Chaturvimsatika and with the Nirvana kalika of 10th century A.D. The present group of the Sixteen Mahavidyas is shown all round the central figure of Suparshavnatha
, Seventh Jain Tirthankara. He is seen sitting in dhyana mudra
or meditation posture. He is surmounted by a five hooded cobra over his head. The idol is flanked by two chamaradhara attendants and is adorned with the usual accessory symbols. All the sixteen Mahavidyas, possess four arms and are seated in lalitasana on bhadrasana, with right leg hanging and left being tucked up. The Mahavidyas wear the mukuta and are decorated with necklaces, stanaharas, armlets, bracelets and anklets. They also wear a dhoti. Here the respective vahanas of the Mahavidyas have not been carved in the set. The iconography of the Sixteen Jaina Mahavidyas is explained below following the clockwise direction.
: She is also known as Chakreswari and is the 5th Vidyadevi. She bears the varada mudra and holds a chakra, a chakra and a conch shell
. In almost all the sculptures Apraticakra is seen carrying discs in all her arms. However, in some instances, she holds discs in two or only one of her hands.
: She is the 8th Vidyadevi. She is seen holding the varadaksa, a vajra, a ghanta or bell. Its top is designed like a trident, and a fruit.
: She is the 6th Vidyadevi. She carries a khadga or sword, a bow, a khetaka and a fruit. The figure is in harmony with the description of the Nirvavanakalika except the bow. The bow has been substituted by the uarada mudra.
: She is the 12th Vidyadevi. She holds the varadaksa, a noose, a tree plant and a fruit. The figure matches with the description of the Nirvayakalika, where she bears the varada, a noose, a rosary and a tree.
: She is the 2nd Vidyadevi. She holds the varadaksa, a spear, a kukkuta and a fruit. Prajnapti being in the set of Sixteen Mahavidyas has also been portrayed in the Ranga mandapa of the Virmala Vasahi. Here she holds a kukkuta and a sakti in her upper pair of arms. The figure is in accord concurs with the description of the Nirvayakalika, except for the kukkuta.
: She is the 14th Vidyadevi. She bears a sword, an arrow, a shield and a bow. The figure agrees with the description of the Nirvayakalika which holds a snake in place of a bow.
: She is the 9th Vidyadevi. She holds the varadaksa, a mace, a long stalked lotus
and a fruit. However, in other instances at Kumbharia Gaadhari is seen carrying a thunderbolt and a musala in her upper two hands.
: She is the 13th Vidyadevi. She holds a sword, a snake and a shield. The figure is fully harmony with the description of the Nirvanakalika, prescribing the same set of symbols for Vairotya.
: She is the 7th Vidyadevi. She bears the varadaksa, a noose, a khatvanga i.e. the osseous shaft of the forearm capped by a skull and a fruit. It may be noted that the present figure is not in harmony with any of the Swetambara dhyanas which generally prescribe for Kali a rosary, a mace, a vajra and the abhaya.
: She is the 1st Vidyadevi. She is seen carrying the varadaksa, an arrow, a bow and a fruit. The texts prescribe a rosary, an arrow, a conch and a bow. In the sets of the Vimala Vasahl and the Kharatara Vasahl, however, Rohini holds conch in one of her hands.
: She is the 4th Vidyadevi. She holds the varadaksa, a goad, a vajra and a fruit. This goes with the description of the Nirvanakalika.
: She is the 11th Vidyadevi. She bears a varadaksa, a jwala patra i.e. a pot with flames, a jwala patra and a citron. Chaturvimsatika combines the iconographic traits of two Vidyadevis, Manasi and Mahajvala in one Vidyadevi, called Manasi. Hence, Mahajvala finds no separate mention in the text.
: She is the 15th Vidyadevi. She holds a varadaksa, a sula and a fruit. In the present figure has been represented with Manasi. In all the images Manasi is said to have carried thunderbolts in upper pair of arms.
: She is the 16th Vidyadevi. She holds a long stalked lotus in the upper hands and a fruit. The image is identifiable with Santidevi or Nirvani, the 16th Yaksi.
: She is the 3rd Vidyadevi. She holds the varada, a chain in two upper hands that passes from behind the neck and a fruit. The figure corresponds to the description of the Nirvanakalika.