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Jain Temples in South India : Jain Temple, Gummileru, Andhra Pradesh

Jain Temples

Jain Temples in South India is a new weekly feature on Religion World, which gives you glimpses of different Jain shrines in the this part of the country. Rarely people are aware that Jainism has been prevalent in South India since Maurya dynasty. It became popular over the years and it was the Vijayanagar empire that made it more popular.

With Vijayanagar empire giving the much needed impetus to Jainism, it flourished and they started constructing their temples, art and culture in South India. Moreover the digambara sect also developed here and it had its own followers too. This new series Jain Temple in South India will look at different temples, the history and legend behind the temple, its uniqueness and architecture as well as its specialities. Featured on every Sunday, Jain Temple in South India will be giving its darshan in Religion World.

Jain TempleJain Temple, Gummileru, Andhra Pradesh

The Shree Shankheshwar Parshwanath Jain Temple is one of the Jain Pilgrimages found in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This temple is located in the district of East Godavari, in a village called Gummileru, which is in the revenue division of Rajahmundry.shree shankheshwar parshwanath gummileru

Architecture of the Temple

This temple is notable for its construction. Opulent Rajasthani marble was utilized in the construction without any iron used in the making of the temple. The idols in this temple were discovered in the year 1977 during an excavation that took place as part of the construction of the National Highway 5.

When the local community started worshipping these deities, it was decided to build a beautiful temple in order to give them the proper respect they deserved. This is how the Shree Shankheshwar Parshwanath Jain Temple came to be built. The statues that were unearthed here were those of the Tirthankars like Lord Parshwanath. The religious figures were depicted as seated in the mudra of ‘Ardha-Padmasana’. These statues were dated and found to be more than 2000 years old. They were thought to have belonged to the Mauryan Dynasty that ruled this part of India. This is a testament to the fact that Jainism was a thriving religion during this era in India.

The Jain Sangh was instrumental in constructing this temple. Great care was taken to ensure that the temple was constructed on the very same spot of the discovery. The deities were reinstalled in the year 2006 by Acharya Shri Jayantsen Surishwarji Maharaja.


shree shankheshwar parshwanath gummileruJain Temple Brief History

Unearthed while making a road about 30 years ago, this idol was installed in a small room. Later with the advent of pilgrims the need for a bigger premises was felt. Thus the ‘Jeernodhara’ was done. From many places nearby, ancient idols have been found.The idol of the ‘Moolnayak’ has lions on both sides, so archaeologists believe that it belongs to Emperor Ashoka’s period. The idol is so impressive that one virtually feels the presence of the Lord.

Today, the temple lies contently in the midst of lush and well-maintained gardens.

Story of Lord Parshvanth ( Jain Temple )

Lord Parshvanath Before 10th Birth-Marubhuti Two brothers Kamath & Marubhuti were the ministers of king Arvind of Podanpur. Once Kamath forcibily raped the wife of Marubhuti in his absence. Knowing this, the king expelled him out of the country. Angry Kamath started penance with a rock in his hands in some Ashram. Marubhuti came there to get him returned but Kamath threw the rock on his head, immediately he died and because of the attachment feelings for his brother, Marubhuti was born as an elephant in Sallaki forest.

Lord Parshvanath Before 9th Birth-Elephant King Arvind took Jaineshwari Deeksha and once he reached the Sallaki forest with his Sangh. As soon as Vajraghosh elephant (Marubhuti in previous birth) saw the Muniraj, it became quite peaceful and by his preaching accepted the vows of a Shravak (householder) with Samyaktva (right belief). One day the elephant got trapped into the mud of a river and knowing the death to be sure, it accepted Sallekhna & concentrated on Namokar Mahamantra. In the meantime a Kukut snake (Kamath in previous birth) bit it but due to its peacefulness, the elephant became ‘Shashiprabh Dev’ in the 12th heaven after death.

Lord Parshvanath Before 8th Birth-Shashiprabh Dev Shashiprabh Dev enjoyed the pleasures of the heaven for 16 Sagars (very large time), but he never neglected his religious practices because he knew that he had obtained all the happiness & comforts because of adopting Anuvratas in the previous birth of Vajraghosh elephant. On the other side, the Kukut snake, which had become Narki (hellish being) in the 5th hell due to its wicked nature, underwent the hardships & sorrows of the hellish life for 17Sagars. After completing their life-times the Dev became a Vidyadhar and the Narki became a fierce python (a large snake).

Lord Parshvanath Before 7th Birth-Agniveg Vidyadhar Vidyunmalini, the wife of the Vidyadhar king Vidyutgati of East Videh Kshetra of Jamboodweep, gave birth to the son Agniveg (Shashiprabh dev in previous birth). Later Agniveg ruled over the country but in very young age he took Jaineshwari Deeksha listening to the preachings of Samadhigupt Muniraj. Once Agniveg Muniraj was meditating on his pure soul, suddenly the python (Jeev of Kamath) came there & swallowed him due to the malicious feelings of previous births. Muniraj became dev in the 16th heaven due to death with equanimous feelings while the python took birth in the 6th hell due to its cruel & violent nature.

Lord Parshvanath Before 6th Birth-In Achyut Heaven The Jeev of Marubhuti, who was the image of innocence & forgiveness, was enjoying the divine glamour of the Achyut (16th) heaven. He passed the life of 22 sagars there with Jin-Bhakti, worshipping in the eternal temples of Madhyalok & discussing the principles of Jainism etc. because he was having full belief in the differentiation of the body and the soul. He accepted Samadhimaran at the last and so he was born as a humanbeing in the next birth. On the other side, the Narki of the 6th hell became a Bheel (tribal) after death. Thus, we can notice that the simplicity & innocence in behaviour cause pleasures in life, while the cruel & revengeful nature has become the cause of undergoing sorrow & hardships in next births.

Lord Parshvanath Before 5th Birth-Vajranabhi Chakravarti After coming from the Achyut heaven, the Jeev (soul) of the deity came in the womb of Maharani Vijaya, the wife of king Vajraveerya of the West Videh Kshetra of Jamboodweep. The mother saw 5 auspicious dreams indicating the birth of a Chakravarti son to her. Son Vajranabhi was born and later he became Chakravarti, who ruled over the 6 Khandas along with observing the vows of a Shravak. Once he accepted Jaineshwari Deeksha and performed hard penance for a long time. One day, the Bheel (the Jeev of Kamath) saw him and with inherent anger, pierced & killed the Muniraj with his arrows.

Lord Parshvanath Before 4th Birth-Ahmindra Vajranabhi Muniraj had tolerated the atrocity of the Bheel very peacefully and so he became Ahmindra in the middle Graiveyak, which was even above the 16th heaven. He passed his lifetime of 27 Sagars there with divine comforts along with continuous Jin-Bhakti. However, the Bheel became the Narki in the 7th hell and underwent extreme hardships for 27 Sagars. He remembered all the sinful incidents of the previous births by the effect of wrong-clairvoyance (Ku-avadhigyan) but even on repeated repentance in own heart, he could not get any relief & comfort there. Think! one soul is enjoying the pleasures of heaven due to the effect of Dharmapalan, while the other soul is experiencing hardships due to the feelings & deeds of revenge and anger.

Lord Parshvanath Before 3rd Birth-King Anand The Ahmindra became king Anand at Ayodhya in the next birth, while the Narki became the lion in the nearby forest. By listening to the preaching of a Muniraj, the king got built the Viman of the Surya (sun) with Jin temples, since then Surya-Pujan became famous in the world. Later king Anand took Jaineshwari Deeksha and bound Tirthankar Prakriti in the holy feet of his preceptor by the practice of Solahkaran Bhavnas . Once the lion (Kamath’s Jeev) killed him while he was engrossed in meditation. Muniraj Anand became Indra in the 13th heaven by expiring with equanimity while the lion became Narki in the 5th hell.

Lord Parshvanath Before 2nd Birth-Indra at Aanat Heaven Due to the feelings of equanimity at the time of inflictions, Anand Muniraj had become Indra in the 13th heaven. By the effect of divine clairvoyance (Avadhigyan), the Indra knew that he had come into the heaven due to the hard penance, done in the form of Digambar Muniraj. He enjoyed the divine pleasures for 20 Sagars along with practising Jain-Dharma with full devotion because he definitely knew that all the Punya was owing to Dharma only. Sometime he used to go to Nandishwar Dweep alongwith his family for worshipping, while at some other time, he used to go to the Samavsaran of Tirthankars like Simandhar Swami etc. Sometime he used to enjoy with other deities and so on. In the next birth, this Indra will be Lord Parshvanath.

Garbh (Conception) & Janma (Birth) Kalyanaks of Lord Parshvanath Maharaja Ashvasen was living along with his wife Maharani Vamadevi in 9 storeyed divine palace at Varanasi. One day Kuber started the showering of crores of jewels in his courtyard and continued this practice everyday. After 6 months, Vama Devi saw 16 dreams in the night of Vaishakh Vadi Duj indicating the incarnation of the Tirthankar child into her holy womb. Tirthankar son was born on Paush Krishna Ekadashi. Till then, showering of jewels was continued. Indra took the child on the Panduk-Shila of Sumeru Parvat by Aeravat elephant for Birth-anointment and gave Him the name ‘Parshvanath’.

Deeksha (Initiation) & Kevalgyan (Omniscience) Kalyanaks of Lord Parshvanath Prince Parshvanath took Jaineshwari Deeksha at the age of 30 years. When he was engrossed into meditation in a forest once, an astral deity named Shambar (the Jeev of Kamath) started making atrocities on Him. Dharnendra & Padmavati came to protect the Lord and at the same time Parshvanath attained omniscience. This pious land was called as ‘Ahichchhatra’, where first Samavsaran of the Lord was created.

Salvation of Lord Parshvanath From Sammed Shikharji Lord Parshvanath preached for about 70 years. When one month was remaining of His life-time, He reached Sammedachal mountain (Sammed-Shikhar), where He got Nirvan (salvation) on Shravan Shukla Saptami. At that time, Indras celebrated His Nirvankalyanak Mahotsava with great enthusiasm. Till today, devotees celebrate this Mahotsava by offering Nirvan Ladoo at the Swarnabhadra Koot of Sammed-Shikhar every year. 2883 years have passed since Lord Parshvanath was born, so Supreme Jain Sadhvi Pujya Ganini Shri Gyanmati Mataji inspired the whole country to celebrate ‘Lord Parshvanath Birth-Anniversary Third Millennium Mahotsava’. this Mahotsava was inaugurated at Varanasi, the birthland of the Lord, on 6th Jan. 2005. With organising various programmes, the Mahotsava was celebrated for three years. In these Holy years the vast propaganda of Kalyanak Tirths and Atishaya Kshetra related to Lord Parshvanath viz. Varanasi, Ahichhatrh, Sammedshikhar etc. was done by the society.



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