Hemachandra was a Jain scholar, poet, and polymath who wrote
on grammar, philosophy, prosody, and contemporary history. Noted as a
prodigy by his contemporaries, he gained the title kalikālasarvajña,
"the all-knowing of the Kali Yuga".
1 Early life
Hemachandra and Siddharaja
Hemachandra and Kumarapala
5.1 Jain philosophy
5.3.1 Dvyashraya Kavya
5.6 Other works
6 See also
9 External links
Hemachandra was born in Dhandhuka, in present-day Gujarat, on Kartika
Sud Purnima (the full moon day of Kartika month). His date of birth
differs according to sources but 1088 is generally accepted.[note
1] His father, Chachiga-deva was a
Modh Bania Vaishnava. His
mother, Pahini, was a Jain. Hemchandra's original given name was
Changadeva. In his childhood, the Jain monk Devachandra Suri visited
Dhandhuka and was impressed by the young Hemachandra's intellect. His
mother and maternal uncle concurred with Devachandra, in opposition to
his father, that
Hemachandra be a disciple of his. Devachandra took
Hemachandra to Khambhat, where
Hemachandra was placed under the care
of the local governor Udayana. Chachiga came to Udayana's place to
take his son back, but was so overwhelmed by the kind treatment he
received, that he decided to willingly leave his son with
Some years later,
Hemachandra was initiated a Jain monk on Magha Sud
Chauth (4th day of the bright half of Magha month) and was given a new
name, Somchandra. Udayana helped Devchandra Suri in the
ceremony. He was trained in religious discourse, philosophy,
logic and grammar and became well versed in Jain and non–Jain
scriptures. At the age of 21, he was ordained an acharya of the
Śvētāmbara school of
Nagaur in present-day Rajasthan. At
this time, he was named
Hemachandra and Siddharaja
Hemachandra at Hemchandracharya North
At the time,
Gujarat was ruled by the
Chaulukya dynasty from
Anhilavada (Patan). It is not certain when
Hemachandra visited Patan
for the first time. As Jain monks are mendicants for eight months and
stay at one place during Chaturmas, the four monsoon months, he
started living at Patan during these periods and produced the majority
of his works there.
Probably around 1125, he was introduced to the Jayasimha Siddharaja
(fl. 1092–1141) and soon rose to prominence in the Chaulukya royal
court. According to the Prabhavaka Charita of Chandraprabha, the
earliest biography of Hemachandra, Jayasimha spotted
passing through the streets of his capital. The king was impressed
with an impromptu verse uttered by the young monk.
In 1135, when the Siddharaja conquered Malwa, he brought the works of
Bhoja from Dhar along with other things. One day Siddhraja came across
the manuscript of Sarasvati-Kanthabharana (also known as the Lakshana
Prakash), a treatise on
Sanskrit grammar. He was so impressed by it
that he told the scholars in his court to produce a grammar that was
as easy and lucid.
Hemachandra requested Siddharaja to find the eight
best grammatical treatises from Kashmir. He studied them and produced
a new grammar work in the style of Pāṇini's
Aṣṭādhyāyī. He named his work
Siddha-Hema-Śabdanuśāśana after himself and the king. Siddharaja
was so pleased with the work that he ordered it to be placed on the
back of an elephant and paraded through the streets of Anhilwad
Hemachandra also composed the Dvyashraya Kavya, an epic on
the history of the Chaulukya dynasty, to illustrate his grammar.
Hemachandra and Kumarapala
Hemachandra at Jain Center of New Jersey, US
According to the Prabhachandra, there was an incident where Siddharaja
wanted to kill his nephew Kumarapala because it was prophesied that
the kingdom would meet its demise at Kumarapala's hands. Hemachandra
hid Kumarapala under a pile of manuscripts to save him. However,
such motifs are common in Indian folk literature, so it is unlikely it
was an actual historical event. Also, many sources differ on
Hemachandra became the advisor to Kumarapala. During
Gujarat became a center of culture. Using the Jain
approach of Anekantavada, Hemchandra is said to have displayed a
broad-minded attitude, which pleased Kumarapala. Kumarapala was a
Shaiva and ordered the rebuilding of
Somnath at Prabhas Patan. Some
people who were jealous of Hemachandra's rising popularity with the
Kumarapala complained that
Hemachandra was a very arrogant person,
that he did not respect the devas and that he refused to bow down to
Shiva. When called upon to visit the temple on the inauguration with
Hemachandra readily bowed before the lingam but said:
Bhava Bijankaura-janana Ragadyam Kshayamupagata Yasya,
Vishnu va Haro Jino va Namastasmai.
I bow down to him who has destroyed the passions like attachment and
malice which are the cause of the cycle of birth and death; whether he
is Brahma, Vishnu,
Shiva or Jina.
Ultimately, the king became a devoted follower of
Hemachandra and a
champion of Jainism.
Starting in 1121,
Hemachandra was involved in the construction of the
Jain temple at Taranga. His influence on Kumarapala resulted in
Jainism becoming the official religion of
Gujarat and animal slaughter
was banned in the state. The tradition of animal sacrifice in the name
of religion was completely uprooted in Gujarat. As a result, even
almost 900 years after Hemchandra,
Gujarat still continues to be a
predominantly lacto-vegetarian state, despite having an extensive
He announced about his death six months in advance and fasted in his
last days, a Jain practice called sallekhana. He died at Anhilavad
Patan. The year of death differs according to sources but 1173 is
Instruction by Monks, Folio from the Siddhahemashabdanushasana
Worship of Parshvanatha, Folio from the Siddhahemashabdanushasana
A prodigious writer,
Hemachandra wrote grammars of
Prakrit, poetry, prosody, lexicons, texts on science and logic and
many branches of Indian philosophy. It is said that Hemachandra
composed 3.5 crore verses in total, many of which are now
His systematic exposition of the Jain path in the
Yogaśāstra and its
auto-commentary is a very influential text in Jain thought. According
to Olle Quarnström it is "the most comprehensive treatise on
Jainism known to us".
Sanskrit grammar was written in the style of Pāṇini. It has
seven chapters with each chapter having four sections, similar to that
of the grammar of Bhoja. The Siddha-Hema-Śabdanuśāśana also
Prakrit languages: the "standard"
Maharashtri Prakrit), Shauraseni, Magahi, Paiśācī, the
otherwise-unattested Cūlikāpaiśācī and
Gurjar Apabhraṃśa, prevalent in the area of
Gujarat and Rajasthan
at that time and the precursor of Gujarati language). He gave a
detailed grammar of
Apabhraṃśa and also illustrated it with the
folk literature of the time for better understanding. It is the only
To illustrate the grammar, he produced the epic poetry Dvyashraya
Kavya on the history of Chaulukya dynasty. It is an important source
of history of region of the time.
The epic poem Trīṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacharitra or "Lives of
Sixty-Three Great Men" is a hagiographical treatment of the twenty
four tirthankaras and other important persons instrumental in defining
the Jain philosophical position, collectively called the
"śalākāpuruṣa", their asceticism and eventual liberation from the
cycle of death and rebirth, as well as the legendary spread of the
Jain influence. It still serves as the standard synthesis of source
material for the early history of Jainism. The appendix to this
work, the Pariśiṣṭaparvan or Sthavirāvalīcarita, contains
his own commentary and is in itself a treatise of considerable
depth It has been translated into English as The Lives of the Jain
His Kavyanuprakasha follows the model of Kashmiri rhetorician
Mammata's Kavya-prakasha. He quoted other scholars like Anandavardhana
Abhinavagupta in his works.
Abhidhan-Chintamani (IAST abhidhāna-cintāmaṇi-kośa) is a lexicon
while Anekarth Kosha is a lexicon of words bearing multiple meanings.
Deshi-Shabda-Sangraho or Desi-nama-mala is the lexicon of local or
Sanskrit origin. Niganthu Sesa is a botanical lexicon.
He composed the Chandonushasana, a work on prosody, with commentary.
In this work, Hemachandra, following the earlier Gopala, presented an
earlier version of the
Fibonacci sequence. It was presented around
1150, about fifty years before
Fibonacci (1202). He was considering
the number of cadences of length n, and showed that these could be
formed by adding a short syllable to a cadence of length
n − 1, or a long syllable to one of n − 2.
This recursion relation F(n) = F(n − 1) +
F(n − 2) is what defines the
His other works are a commentary in rhetoric work Alankara Chudamani,
Abhidhana-chintamani, Pramana-mimansa (logic), Vitaraga-Stotra
List of Indian mathematicians
^ The dates of birth and death differs according to sources. He was
initiated at age of 21.
As per Dundas, (1089–??)
As per Datta and Jain World, (1088–1173)
Gujarat Gazetteers, Volume 18, (1087–1174)
As per Indian Merchants and Entrepreneurs, (1089–1173)
^ a b Dinkar Joshi (1 January 2005). Glimpses of Indian Culture. Star
Publications. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-81-7650-190-3.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l
Paul Dundas (2002). The Jains. Psychology
Press. pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0-415-26606-2.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Amaresh Datta; various (1 January
2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume One (A To Devo).
1. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 15–16.
^ Asoke Kumar Majumdar 1956, p. 97.
^ a b c d e "Hemacandra". Jain World. Archived from the original on 29
April 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
^ Pandit, Shankar Pandurang, ed. (1936). The Kumarapalacarita (Prakrta
Dvyasraya Kavya) of
Hemachandra with commentary of Purnakalashagani.
Prakrit Series Book LX. P. L. Vaidya (revision) (2
ed.). Poona: The Bhandarkar Oriental Institute.
^ Asoke Kumar Majumdar 1956, p. 83.
Jhaverchand Meghani (2003). A Noble Heritage: A Collection of Short
Stories Based on the Folklore of Saurashtra. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
^ Encyclopaedia of Oriental Philosophy. Global Vision Pub House.
p. 278. ISBN 978-81-8220-113-2.
^ Olle Quarnström, The Yogasastra of Hemacandra : a twelfth
century handbook of
Svetambara Jainism, 2002, introduction
Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.
^ Hemacandra; R. C. C. Fynes (1998). The Lives of the Jain Elders.
Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-283227-6.
^ Thomas Koshy (2001).
Fibonacci and Lucas numbers with applications.
John Wiley & Sons. ... before
Fibonacci proposed the problem; they
were given by Virahanka (between 600 and 800 AD), Gopala (prior to 1
135 AD), ...
^ Philip Tetlow (2007). The Web's awake: an introduction to the field
of Web science and the concept. John Wiley & Sons.
ISBN 0-470-13794-0. This sequence was first described by the
Indian mathematicians Gopala and
Hemachandra in 1150, who were
investigating the possible ways of exactly packing items of length 1
and 2 into containers. In the West it was first studied by ...
^ Olle Quarnström (2002), The
Yogaśāstra of Hemacandra: A Twelfth
Century Handbook of Śvetāmbara Jainism, Harvard University Press,
Gujarat (India) (1984). Gazetteers. Directorate of Government
Print., Stationery and Publications. p. 183.
^ Makrand Mehta (1 January 1991). Indian Merchants and Entrepreneurs
in Historical Perspective: With
Special Reference to Shroffs of
Gujarat, 17th to 19th Centuries. Academic Foundation. p. 65.
Asoke Kumar Majumdar (1956). Chaulukyas of Gujarat. Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan. OCLC 4413150.
Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India:
From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education,
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra of Hemchandra English translation
of books 1-10
Bibliography of Hemachandra's works, Item 687, Karl Potter, University
Acharya Hemchandra by Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy
The Rhythm of Poetry
The Golden Mean and the Physics of Aesthetics
Jain monks and nuns
John E. Cort
Champat Rai Jain
Jeffery D. Long
Digambar Jain Mahasabha
Vishwa Jain Sangathan
Dynasties and empires
Statue of Ahimsa
Jain terms and concepts
List of Jains
List of Jain temples
List of Jain ascetics
List of Digambar Jain ascetics
Topics List (index)
Monks & nuns
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