Interesting Story of Prakrit Poet Haribhadra Suri (Post No.11,260)


Post No. 11,260

Date uploaded in London – 12 SEPTEMBER 2022         

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 We have no biological records of Prakrit poet Haribhadra. We know from his writings that he obeyed the command of Jinabhata, an Acharya of the Sitambaras/ Svetambaras and he was the pupil of Acharya Jinadatta. He was the spiritual son of the nun Yaakini Mahattaraa.

The external sources give us some interesting information. Dr Jacobi has written about it.

Haribhadra was born at Chitrakuta, the modern Chitor, where he probably lived until his initiation. He was a Brahmin by caste and had mastered all the Brahminical learning. He is said to have been the family priest of King Jitaari or Jitasatru.

 Proud of his erudition he proclaimed that he would become the pupil of anyone whose proposition he could not understand and this vow was written on a golden plate he wore on his belly. Once a mast elephant having got loose and caused great havoc in the street , Haribhadra fled before him and climbed a Jain temple to save himself. At the sight of the sight of a Tirtankara, a Jain saint, he composed a verse to deride him. Next day he heard an old nun reciting a Gatha which baffled his understanding.

 The gaathaa was

Chakkidugam haripanagam panagam chakkeena kesavo chakkee

Kesava chakkee kesava duchakkee Kesey a chakkee ya

He asked her to explain its meaning, but she referred him to her guru. On his way to the guru, he passed by the temple and pronounced the same stanza, changing one word so that now it was in Jina’s praise. There he met Jinabhata suri, who promised to teach him after initiation. Haribhadra agreed and acknowledged Yaakini Mahattaraa as his spiritual mother.

 Later on he was so well versed in Jain Agamas, and his conduct was such that the guru appointed him as his successor. The scene of his later life as a monk seems to have been the neighbouring parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

 Haribhadra is a versatile and voluminous writer. Though tradition credits him with the authorship of 1400 prakaranas, only 27 works are available now. He tried various branches of literature. He wrote both in verse and prose in Sanskrit and Prakrit. They explained Jain tenets, refutations of the opponents doctrines. He wrote commentaries as well


Studies in Jain Literature, prof v m Kulkarni, Ahmedabad,2001

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