Kalpa Sūtra

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Kalpa Sūtra
Kalpa Sutra
Detail of a leaf with, The Birth of God Mahavira (the 24th Jain Tirthankara), from the Kalpa Sutra, c.1375–1400.

The Kalpa Sūtra (Sanskrit: कल्पसूत्र) is a Jain text containing the biographies of the Jain Tirthankaras, notably Parshvanatha and Mahavira.[1] Traditionally ascribed to Bhadrabahu, which would place it in the 4th century BCE,[2] it was probably put in writing 980 or 993 years after the Nirvana (Moksha) of Mahavira.


Within the six sections of the Jain literary corpus belonging to the Svetambara school, it is classed as one of the Cheda Sūtras. This Sutra contains detailed life histories and, from the mid-15th century, was frequently illustrated with miniature painting. The oldest surviving copies are written on paper in western India in the 14th century.

The Kalpa Sutra is ascribed to Bhadrabahu, traditionally said to have composed it some 150 years after the Nirvāṇa (death) of Mahavira.[2] It was compiled probably during the reign of Dhruvasena, 980 or 993 years after Mahavira's death.[3]


The book is read and illustrated in an eight-day-long festival of Paryushan by Jain monks for general people. Only monks can read the scriptures, as in Jainism, this book has very high spiritual values.

Kalpasutra folio on Mahavira Nirvana. Note the crescent-shaped Siddhashila, a place where all siddhas reside after Nirvana.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Jacobi, Hermann (1884). Müller, F. Max (ed.). Kalpa Sutra, Jain Sutras Part I, Sacred Books of the East. 22. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
  2. ^ a b "Mahavira". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 2006. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009 – via Answers.com.
  3. ^ Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 75.


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