Mahapurana (Jainism)

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Mahapurana (महापुराण) is a major Jain text [1] composed largely by Acharya Jinasena during the rule of Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha and completed by his pupil Gunabhadra in the 9th century CE. Mahapurana consists of two parts. The first part is Adi-Puran written by Acharya Jinasena. The second part is Uttarpurana which is the section composed by Gunabhadra. Adipuran contains about 37 chapters where as Uttarpurana contains about 65 chapters.[2] The completed and edited text was released by Lokasena, pupil of Gunabhadra in a celebration at Bankapura in the court of Vira-Bankeyarasa in 898 CE. The first 42 Parvans of this text were written by Jinasena, while remaining 34 Parvans were composed by Gunabhara.

This text gives an encyclopedic account of the Jain tradition.[3] The text is widely quoted. A widely used quote from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, page 140 is:[4]

"Some foolish men declare that Creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised, and should be rejected. If god created the world, where was he before creation? If you say he was transcendent then, and needed no support, where is he now?",[5][6]

A number of Jain and non-Jain texts have been influenced by the Mahapurana. Mahapurana was the model for Saiva Siddhanta Periyapuranam which gives biographies of the 63 individuals.[7]


  1. ^ Published by Bharatiya Jnanapitha, 1979, edited and translated by Pt. Pannalal Sahitya Shastri
  2. ^ A History of Indian Literature: Buddhist literature and Jaina literature. Moriz Winternitz. University of Calcutta, 1933. p. 637
  3. ^ "Antiquity Of Jainism". Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ct12-1[dead link]
  6. ^ Afterword on Jinasena, D. Lakey, The Philosophical Forum, Volume 33 Issue 3 Page 343-344 - Fall 2002
  7. ^ Anne E. Monius, Love, Violence, and the Aesthetics of disgust: Saivas and Jains In Medieval South India in Journal of Indian Philosophy, 2004, vol. 32, no 2-3, pp. 113-172
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