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The Ganadhara Gautam Swami


Gautam Swami







The Ganadhara Gautam Swami was the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara. His real name was Indrabhuti, but he is after referred to as Gautama because that was his gotra. He was born in the Gochchar village in the Magadh kingdom to a Brahmin couple Vasubhuti and Prithvi. He had 500 students studying with him while he was conducing a yajna at Madhyam Pava.

Lord Mahavira, after having attained kevalajnana, came to Vipula hill just outside the capital Rajagriha of King Shrenika. According to the tradition he was awaiting suitable disciples before commencing his public teachings.

According to Shatkhandagama, the Indra, pretending to be a medicant, approached Indrabhuti.
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The Indra asked him to explain the meaning of a verse:

पंचेव अत्थिकाया छज्जीव णिकाया महव्वया पंच |
अट्ठयपवयण-मादा सहेउओ बंध-मोक्खो य ||

When he was unable to explain the verse, the Indra advised him to visit the samosharana of Lord Mahavira so that he can learn the meaning of the verse.

As he was approaching the set of Lord Mahavira at his gandhakuti, he saw the lofty manastambha (the column of pride). Seeing the manastambha, his pride vanished and he was filled with humility.

He became the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira at the age of 50. The day he took diksha is celebrated as Guru Purnima.

His brothers Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti, both scholars of distinction, also became Ganadharas of Lord Mahavira.

Diwali marks the day when Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana, and Gautam Swami obtained the kevalajnana.