Kashtha Sangh was a Jain Sect that was prevalent in several regions of North and Western India. It was a branch of Mula Sangh.
Kashtha Sangha was a Digambara Jain monastic order that was earlier much prevalent. It was a branch of Mula Sangh itself and was common in several regions of North and Western India. As per several Jain texts and inscriptions from Delhi region Kashtha Sangha was established by Lohacharya. It is said to have originated from a town named Kashtha. According to Kashtasangh Gurvavali, Lohacharya was the last person who knew Acharanga in the Digambara tradition. He is said to have lived till the 683rd year of the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. The sect was earlier quite famous. Many Jain communities have been affiliated with the Kashtha Sangha and were a part of it. One of the major supporters of this Jain Sangha was the Agrawal Jains. In the ancient times they were all initiated into the sect under the guidance of Lohacharya. Muni Sabha Singh has written about it in his Padma Purana in 1711 of the Vikram Samvat Era. According to the inscriptions dated between 1441 and 1474. the rock carved Jain statues in the Gwalior Fort were mostly consecrated by the Kashtha Sangh Bhattarakas.
Different orders of Kashta Sangha
The Kashta Sangha included several orders that have been stated below:
Nanditat Gachchha: This is associated with Nanded. It is named as Ramasenanvaya in memory of Acharya Ramasena. He is credited with being the founder of the Narsingpura community.
Mathura Sangha: The Agrawals Jains were associated with the Mathura Sangha order. As per the Darshanasar the order was founded by Ramasena. The oldest known inscription is of 1170 AD.
Bagada Gachha: This order is associated with Vagad region of Rajasthan
Lata-bagada Gachha: This order associated with the Vagad and Lata region of Gujarat. It also finds its mention in the 1145 AD inscription of Dubkunda. As per reference Jinasena, the author Harivansh Purana in shaka 705 belonged to this order. Many other Acharyas also belonged to this order. Most of them resided in the Punnata region of Karnataka.
Kashta Sangha: This order though existed at a particulate time, eventually merged into the Mula Sangh. Raighu, the celebrated poet and pratishthacharya was a disciple of the Kashtha Sangh Bhattarakas of Gwalior.