Indrabhuti Gautama

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Kalyanaka / Important Events
Moksha date 527 BCE

Indrabhuti Gautama was the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara.[1] He was a Ganadhara.


His birth name was Indrabhuti Gautama. He was commonly referred by his gotra, Gautama. He is often referred to as Goyama in Prakrit scriptures.


He was born in the Gochchar village in the Magadha kingdom to a Brahmin couple Vasubhuti and Prithvi.

Digambara Tradition[edit]

According to Shatkhandagama, the digambara scripture, the Indra, pretending to be a medicant, approached Indrabhuti. 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 samavasarana 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.[citation needed] His brothers Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti, both scholars of distinction, also became Ganadharas of Lord Mahavira. He obtained salvation in Nawada.[citation needed]

Svetambara Tradition[edit]

According to Svetambara scripture Kalpa_Sūtra, Indrabhuti the great Brahman was preparing for yagna (a holy sacrifice) along with his 500 disciples which included his learned brothers Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti. He was so learned and spiritually powerful person that when ever he performed a yagna Indra along with other devi-devtas (demi-gods) would attend the same. The same was aught to happen this time too, Indrabhuti observes the devi-devtas arriving from the sky in their divine vehicles, but to his shock neither of them stopped at his ashram (hermitage) but passed over it without even giving an eye to Indrabhuti. This hurt Indrabhuti's ego making him think that who suddenly became more powerful than he was. He decided to follow the vehicles of devtas to reach that person and challenge him for a shastrarth (scriptural debate) and defeat him. But little did he know that his life was going to change forever. Indrabhuti reaches the place where the devtas stopped and climbed a beautiful Samavasarana (sermon) of Lord Mahavir. Indrabhuti's ego melted away at the sight of the Manasthambha and his curiosity rose to see the person inside the Samavasarana. By then all his 500 disciples reached there after him. Indrabhuti started climbing the steps of Samavasarana. Each step he climbed his ego melted and finally he sees the face of the person he wanted to defeat - it was Lord Mahavira. Seeing the divine face his ego melted completely and he thought "what a divine face, how calm and pure his expressions are. How mature but at the same time innocent his face is" but before he completed his thought Lord Mahavir called him "Goyama" (Gautama), leaving a surprise in Indrabhuti's mind that how does he know him and his Gotra, but before he could he react Lord said "being a learned Brahman why still do you doubt the existence of the atman (soul). "Now this came as a shock to indrabhuti as this indeed was his doubt and he had not shared it with any one yet, Lord continued and cleared his doubt by reciting a shloka from the upanishads itself and similarly he cleared the doubts of Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti. Indrabhuti along with his 500 disciples became so dispassioned that they asked Lord to give them Diksha and become ascetics to which Lord obliged and made them his disciples, and Indrabhuti was then known as Gautam swami.[citation needed]

Meeting with Kesi[edit]

Keśī is believed to have been born about 166 to 250 years after the death of Pārśva and to have met the ganadhara of Mahavira, Gautama.[2] Their discussion about the apparent differences between the teachings of the two tirthankaras is recorded in Jain texts.


Diwali marks the day when Mahavira attained Nirvana and Gautam Swami obtained the kevalajnana. He had 500 students studying with him while he was conducting a yajna at Madhyam Pava. Lord Mahavira, after having attained kevalajnana, came to Vipula hill just outside the capital Rajagriha of King Srenika. According to the tradition he was awaiting suitable disciples before commencing his public teachings.[citation needed] He was the first pupil of Lord Mahavir and was greatly attached to him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Teerthankar mahaveer aur unki acharya parampara by Dr. Nemi chandra shastry, Sagar, 1974 vol-1-4.
  2. ^ von Glasenapp 1999, p. 35.