Hemacandra

orig. Candradeva

born 1088, Dhandhuka, Gujarat, India
died 1172, Gujarat

Sage of Jainism.

His birth is said to have been attended by auspicious omens, and he was educated by Jain priests. Ordained in 1110, he became an adviser to King Kumarapala in 1125, and by converting the king he firmly entrenched Jainism in Gujarat. His many writings include works on almost every branch of Indian philosophy and the sciences as well as literary writings such as his Sanskrit epic, Lives of the Jain Elders. In accordance with Jain tradition, he fasted to death.

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▪ Jaina author
also called  Hemacandra Suri,  Somacandra , original name  Candradeva 
born 1088, Dhandhuka, Gujarat, India
died 1172, Gujarat

      teacher of the Shvetambara (Śvetāmbara) (“White-robed”) sect of Jainism who gained privileges for his religion from Siddharaja Jayasimha, one of the greatest kings of Gujarat. Eloquent and erudite, Hemacandra also succeeded in converting the next king, Kumarapala, thus firmly entrenching Jainism in Gujarat for all time.

      Hemacandra's birth is said to have been attended by omens and supernatural occurrences. His mother, according to tradition, had 14 dreams foretelling the birth of a wondrous son. When the child was taken to a Jain temple, the priest Devacandra noticed he had numerous marks on his body that the priest recognized as auspicious signs and convinced the parents to let him teach the boy.

      When Candradeva was ordained in 1110, he changed his name to Somacandra. In 1125 he became an adviser to King Kumarapala and wrote the Arhanniti, a work on politics from a Jain perspective. A prodigious writer, he produced Sanskrit (Sanskrit literature) and Prakrit (Prākrit languages) grammars, textbooks on science and practically every branch of Indian philosophy, and several poems, including the Trishashtishalakapurusha-carita (“Deeds of the 63 Illustrious Men”), a Sanskrit (Sanskrit language) epic of the history of the world as understood by Jain teachers. He was also a logician. Although derivative in many ways, his works have become classics, setting high standards for Sanskrit learning.

      Jain doctrine is woven throughout his writings. When he was at last considered to have attained the rank of acarya (teacher), he changed his name to Hemacandra. At the end of his life, in accordance with the Jain tradition of the complete denial of the human body and passion, he fasted to death.

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Universalium. 2010.

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