Jain Temple, Kamaldah, Gulzarbagh, Patna, Bihar..JPG
  • Sakatala (father)

Sthulabhadra (297-198 BCE) was the founder of Svetambara Jain order during a 12-year famine in Maurya empire in third or fourth-century BC. He was a disciple of Bhadrabahu and Sambhutavijaya. His father was Sakatala, a minister in Nanda kingdom before the arrival of Chandragupta Maurya. When his brother became the chief minister of the kingdom, Sthulabhadra became a Jain monk. He is mentioned in the 12th-century Jain text by Hemachandra.


Sthulabhadra was a son of the Dhana Nanda's minister Sakatala and brother of Shrikaya.[1][2] He is traditionally dated in 297 to 198 BCE.[1] He loved and lived with a royal dancer in Dhana Nanda's court named Rupkosa.[1][2] He denied ministry after the death of his father and became a Jain monk.[3] His brother became the chief minister in Nanda empire later.[4][2] He became a disciple of Sambhutavijaya (347-257 BCE) and Bhadrabahu (322-243 BCE).[5][2][6] He led an ascetic life for 12 years.[4] He spent his chaturmas at Rupkosa's home, during which she tried to lure him away from ascetic life but failed.[4] Sthulabhadra in turn gave her vows of a Shravika (Jain laywoman).[4]

He is said to have learned the 14 purvas (pre-canons) from Bhadrabahu and is considered as last Shrut Kevali(all knower of Jain Scriptures) in Svetambara tradition, a claim which is rejected by Digambara tradition.[4] He was succeeded by his disciples Mahagiri and Suhasti.[4][7] Digambara texts state that Sthulabhadra permitted the use loincloth during the 12-year famine, a practice that started the Svetambara order.[8][9] He is mentioned in the 12th-century Jain text by Hemachandra.[2]



  1. ^ a b c Natubhai Shah 2004, p. 42.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hemacandra 1998, pp. 155, 169, 194–200.
  3. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 273.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Natubhai Shah 2004, p. 43.
  5. ^ Natubhai Shah 2004, pp. 42–43.
  6. ^ Arya Sthulibhadra By Vijaya Nityānanda Sūri, Cidānanda Vijaya
  7. ^ Jain Dharma ka Maulik Itihas, Acharya Hastimal, 1974, Part 2, p. 383-440
  8. ^ "Digambara",
  9. ^ Sthulabhadra, Ganesh Lalwani, Jain Journal, April 1985, p. 152