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Gunacandra – Jain Literary Scholar

Gunacandra was a Jain literary scholar and he is known for his contribution during 1160 – 75 CE to the history of Sanskrit literature. Gunachandra was the pupil of the celebrated Jain polymath, Hemacandra, and a close friend and associate of Ramchandra, author of several works in Sanskrit. He is believed to have lived in the present day Gujarat.

Gunacandra came into contact with Ramcandra when both of them were disciples of Hemachandra. In the circle of Hemacandra, however, Gunacandra was treated as a junior by his associates and elderly persons like Ramchandra.

Ramcandra sought his help when he composed Natya Darpana, along with a commentary on it, after the departure of Hemacandra in 1173. It seems that Gunacandra was involved in writing a commentary on Natya Darpana from the very beginning. His name appears along with Ramcandra’s in all copies of the manuscript. Beside Natydrapana, Gunacandra also helped Ramcandra write Dravalankar. Apart from this joint authorship, very little is known about his life.

According to Jaina sources, Gunacandra was acquainted with the writings of Somaprabhacarya.  The literary career of Gunacandra flourished when Gujarat was under the rule of Kumarpala. After the death of King Kumarapala, Ajayapala became the king. A cruel ruler, he is said to have caused the death or Ramcandra by torture, leaving Gunacandra in deep sorrow.




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