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Nemichandra – Eminent Interpreter Of Jainism

Nemichandra Siddhanta Chakravarty was an eminent interpreter of Jainism and he flourished in the 10th century CE. Nemichandra was an acharya who was hailed as ‘siddhanta chakravarty’ for his mastery on Jaina sacred writings.

He was an erudite Digambara Jain monk who wrote extensively and influenced many great kings and ministers of South India. He belonged to the Mulasangha, and not much is known about his birthplace, family or lineage. He has mentioned Abhyanandin, Indranandin, Viranandin and Kanakanandin as his teachers. The Jain saints lived in four groups in Tamil country. They are Nandi Gana, Sena Gana, Simha Gana, and Deva Gana. Dramila Sanga was established by Jaina saints. Dramila means expertise in three languages – Prakrit, Sanskrit and Tamil. He learnt the Jain principles in their entirety from this teachers, and we come to know of him from the life and works of Chamunda Raya, the minister of King Narasimha II and the discoverer of the famous image of Gomateshvara at Sravanabelagola.

Nemichandra composed independent works of immense importance based on the knowledge texts. His works include Dravya Sangraha, Gommatasara, Labdhisara, Kshapanasara and Trilokasara – all in Prakrit.

Dravya Sangraha is a ‘compendium of substance’ in 58 verses.

Gommatasara is ‘the essence of the Jain doctrine’ in 1705 verses written for Chamunda Raya and divided into two parts – Jiva Kanda and Karma Kanda.

Labdhisara is ‘the essence of attainment’ in 380 verses.

Kshapanasara is the essence of annihilation in 270 verses.

Trilokasara is the essence of three worlds.

He is also said to have written Pratishthrpatha on the erection and consecration of statues.

There is another Nemichandra of the 12th century CE. He was a commentator who wrote Akhyana Mamkosha and Sukhabodha Vritti.