The complete facts of the Antriksh Parshwanath Dispute
|The condition of the divine idol of Antriksh ji Parshwanath before the lep|
|The Dilapidated temple of Antrikshji Parshwanath|
The tirth finds a name in the following Shwetambar scriptures-
- Vividh Tirth Kalp by Acharya Jinaprabh Suri (13th Century)
- Kalikacharya Katha by Acharya Dharmaghosh Suri (14th Century)
- Shri Antriksh Parshwanath Chand by Lavanyavijayji (15th Century)
- Updeshtarangini by Shri Ratnamandangani (16th Century)
- Shri Antriksh Parshwanath Stotra by Ganivarya Shri Bhavvijayji (17th Century)
- Sakal Tirth Vandana Sutra by Muni Shri Jivijayji (18th Century)
- Hirsaubhagya Mahakavya by Acharya Devvimal Suri
- Chaturvinshati Jin Stuti by Acharya Shilratna Suri
- Purushadani Parshwadevnam Mala by Acharya Khushal Vijay Suri
- Gurjar Kavya Sanchay by Atmanand Sabha
- Prachin Tirth Mala Sangrah by Yashovijay Granthmala
- Antriksh Parshwanath Stotra by Anandvardhan Muni
- Tirthmala by Samaysundarji
- 108 holy pilgrimages of Lord Parshwanath.
- Nirvan Kaand
- Apabhransh Nirvan Bhakti by Bhattarak Udaykirti
- Tirthvandana by Shri Gunkirti ji,
- Tirthvandana by Shri Meghraj ji,
- Tirthvandana by Shri Sumatisagarji,
- Tirthvandana by Shri Gyansagarji,
- Tirthvandana by Shri Jaysagarji etc.
|The small window from where Darshan used to take place before the doors were opened for all on 11th March 2023|
3. 1406 AD - According to an inscription dated 1406 AD, a person named Jagasimha (possibly Chalukyan emperor Jayasimha) donated land to build a temple dedicated to Antriksh Parshwanath in the town of Shirpur.
8. 1877 – An inscription on the Silver Dhwajj Dand (flag pole) mentions that the new flag pole was installed by the Shwetambar Jain community.
|The silver flagpole (in front) installed by Shwetambars in 1877|
10. 1901 – In course of time the Polkars, began to assert their rights to management of the temple which led to disputes between Polkars and Jains. Although Shirpur had no Shwetambar Jain residents, 50 families of Digambar community resided in the town. As a result of this, the devotees belonging to the Shwetambar and Digambar sects came together to oust the Polkars by filing a case in the District court.
- 4 Polkars to be employed for cleaning/ maintenance of the temple
- A salary of Rs. 261/- p.a. to be paid to each of them
- Any currency deposited between Re. 1 to Rs. 10/- in the Bhandar (Donation box) to be handed over to Polkars. Any currency higher than Rs. 10/- to be deposited in the Temple trust.
- A time-table was formed wherein 4 time slots of 3 hrs each were given to the Shwetambars and Digambars for making their offerings (i.e 2 slots for both).
- On the occasion of (Shwetambar) Paryushan only one slot was given to Digambars (6 AM -9 AM). On other time slots, the idol was to be worshipped as per Shwetambar Traditions.
- On the occasion of (Digambar) Daslakshan only one slot was to be given to Shwetambars (6 AM -9 AM). On other time slots, the idol was to be worshipped as per Digambar Traditions.
- On the day of Kali Chaudas (day before Diwali) only one slot was to be given to Shwetambars (6 AM -9 AM). On other time slots, the idol was to be worshipped as per Digambar Traditions.
- On the day of Diwali only one slot was to be given to Digambars (6 AM -9 AM). On other time slots, the idol was to be worshiped as per Shwetambar Traditions.
- Members belonging to both the sects could do Darshan at any time of the day
13. 12th February 1908 – Shwetambars initiated the process of Lep (plastering of the idol to repair it) in agreement with Digambars. Kalyanchand Lalchand Yewalkar was hired to undertake the job. Under the directions of Kalyanchand it was alleged that the artists who were to apply the plaster started making unauthorised additions and alterations to the idol and with a view to create and establish that it was an idol of Shwetambar sect. The difference between the two sects is that the Digambar Jains worship a totally nude idol while the Shwetambar worship an idol with a Kati-Sutra and Kachota. (a piece of clothing wrapped around the lower half of the body). Digambars objected to it and removed (the carvings) of Kati-sutra & Kandora with iron rods causing damage to the idol (The same was proved in the inspection notes made by Additional District Judge, Akola dated 24th June 1913). In response, the Shwetambars filed a case against Digambars for the complete possession of the idol and temple. More than 600 evidences were produced by Shwetambars to prove their ownership rights. The Shwetambars also produced evidences of various jewelry and ornaments gifted to the idol since the past many years proving their point as the Digambars do not decorate their idol with ornaments and jewelry.
|Extracts from the Privy Council Judgement mentioning the damage caused to the idol|
- Shwetambars had wrongly framed the case. The temple belonged to Digambar community, so the complete possession of the temple had to be granted to the Digambars
- As the Shwetambars had agreed to the time-table (with Digambars) in 1905, absolute right of ownership could not be granted to Shwetambars
- The temple and idol pertained to the Shwetambar community but as the Shwetambars had agreed to the time-table (with Digambars) in 1905, absolute right of ownership could not be granted to any sect.
- The Katisutra and Kachota were present on the idol before the Lep and Shwetambars had not added it later (as alleged by Digambars).
- Both the sects to observe the points agreed upon the Time Table set in 1905
- As the person who had defaced the Katisutra from the idol had not been identified and caught, no one could be held guilty for the same.
- Shwetambars had the right to conduct Lep and add Chakshus (eyes) to the idol and decorate it with Tika, Mugat (Crown) and Aangi.
- To protect the religious beliefs of Digambars, the Shwetambars were instructed to make the Katisutra and Kandora thinner.
- Digambars were asked not to obstruct on Kati-Sutra made by Shwetambars.
|Extracts of Privy Council Judgement highlighting the details of prior court orders|
- “We declare that the Swetambaris are entitled to the exclusive management of the temple and the image of Shri Antariksha Parshwanath Maharaj at Kasbe Shirpur, with Katisutra, Kardora and Lape, and that they have the right to worship that image with Chakshu, Tika and Mugut and to put ornaments over the same in accordance with their custom.
- That the Digambaris have a right of worshipping the image in accordance with the arrangement made in 1905 without Chakshu, Tika and Mugut or ornaments, but are not to remove or interfere with the Kachota, Katisutra and Lape; we also declare that the Digambaris Sect are permanently restrained from obstructing the Swetambaris Sect in getting the image restored to its original form adorned with the Kachota, Katisutra and plastering the same now and hereafter”
|Decree of Privy Council|
|Inspection note by Additional District Judge, Akola|
- Kati-Sutra’s width was to be of 1 inch. It should cover the waist of the idol in a semicircle with a width of 1/3rd of an inch.
- Kachota was to be of 2 inches in the beginning and 2.5 inch at the end.
- The authority of when to conduct Lep was to stay with Shwetambars and Digambars could not to object to it.
- When the lep was under process, Digambars were prohibited from making any offering until the Lep dried completely.
|Mughal era coins pasted on the stairs of Antriksh Parshwanath Temple (Inset : Zoomed in picture of one of the coins)|
|Idol of Shri Antrikshji Parshwanath after the lep (during Shwetambar rituals)|
|Idol of Shri Antrikshji Parshwanath after Lep (during Digambar rituals)|
29. 1949-1959 – Both sects peacefully conducted their offerings as per the agreed time-table.
|The idol of Shri Antrikshji Parshwanath Bhagwan placed inside a cage. (Dated 26th January 1960)|
31. 1960- Subsequently, the Digambars instituted a civil suit in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, at Washim to put a stay on the plastering and to declare that the judgement by Privy Council was obtained by fraud by the Shwetambars. The court case lingered on in the High Court.
32. 1967-1969 - Both the sects, viz. Digambars and Shwetambars appointed a committee of Panchas, i.e. 5 eminent people namely Shri Babasaheb Naik, Shri Vinaykumar Parishar (M.L.C. & President of the Akola Municipal Council), Shri Jethmalji Maheshwari (M.L.C., Pusad), Shri Shriramappa (Pusad) and Shri Ramrao Zanak (M.L.A.) to suggest a way forward. The committee visited the temple in July 1967, October 1967 and February 1968 and made the following observations -
- Against the judgement of the Privy Council, the Digambars had placed various new articles and inscribed on the walls of the temple - "Digambar Sansthan"and "Digambar Vedi"
- The Digambars had installed new idols in the first and second cellars which were not present during previous visits.
- The original chatra above the main idol had been replaced.
- The idol of Padmavati Devi was found removed from its original place
|Extract from report of the Panchas|
33. 1977 - Digambars filed a revision application in the Bombay High Court to remove the plaster on the idol as seen at end of November 1959. It was contended by the Shwetambars that the Digambars sought to convert the idol and temple into Digambar idol and temple, which is prohibited by Section 3 read with Section 4 of the Places of Worship Act. The Digambars denied the allegations and stated that it was already a Digambar temple, therefore there was no question of converting it.
35. 10th May 1981 - A mob of 400 goons violently attacked a group of Shwetambar Sadhvijis who were staying at the old Shwetambar dharamshala at Antrikshji. Acharya Hemratnasuri (then Muni), a Shwetambar Jain monk, valiantly protected the Sadhvijis but got seriously injured due to the blows dealt by goons with sticks, bricks and cycle chains. Another attempt of violence was also made two days later but the same was averted due to police protection. It was alleged that the goons were hired to throw out the Shwetambar sadhus and sadhvis and take over the Shwetambar dharamshala.
|A Shivling worshipped within the temple premises (on the outside walls of the temple)|
- The first round of litigation, i.e. Privy Council came to end in 1929. The new litigation commenced in 1960 and as on 15th August 1947 no litigation was pending.
- Findings showed that in 1947 the plaster on the idol already had the Kati-Sutra and Kachota. The court stated that one cannot say by certainty that prior to the period whether the idol was nude or not.
- Digambars wanted the primafacie character of the idol to be changed which would lead to the conversion (if at all the idol is found to be Digambari upon removal of the plaster). However, the law did not permit that as Section 3 of the Places of Worship Act 1991 which prohibited any kind of conversion or alterations on the status idols post its character as on 15th August 1947.
|Extracts from the order of the Nagpur Bench of Mumbai High Court|
(ii) The Digambari sect will be allowed to worship the idol as per the agreement entered into between the parties in 1905 but without changing the character of the idol;
(iii) The Shwetambari sect will be at liberty to carry out necessary plaster (lep) on the idol to prevent any wear and tear of the idol and for the purpose of maintenance and proper upkeep of the same.
1) Shri Antriksh Parshwanath temple will remain open.
2) Shri Antriksh Parshwanath's darshan will continue.
3) The photography and videography of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath Bhagwan's current iconography as of March 17, 2023 was attached.
4) Before Lep is commenced, barricading would be done around the idol.
5) The barricading will be done in such a way that people can do darshan of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath.
6) Shri Antriksh Parshwanath's Lep will be performed in its current position and iconography, with no changes.
7) Shri Antriksh Parshwanath's Lep will be performed with pure materials.
8) During lep, the small idol placed in front of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath Bhagwan will be moved to the side.
9) The old lep will be deplastered without harming the idol, and the deplastering will be done according to the artisans' wisdom.
10) Following the completion of the Lep, rituals on the idol would be permitted for both sects only after the artisans determine that the idol is worshipable. Until then, all devotees can have darshan.
11) No one shall use hot water or hot milk for Abhishek on Shri Antriksh Parshwanath's idol after Lep.
12) Those who create any kind of objection obstacle during Shri Antriksh Parshwanath's Lep will be held accountable by their respective sect's representative.
13) In order to ensure that Point No. 6 is followed in letter and spirit, and that the idol of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath remains in the same condition after the new Lep, both parties have agreed to photograph Shri Antriksh Parshwanath using a (professional) camera on March 20, 2023. Based on the photography, the artists will create an illustration. The Lep process will be filmed, and the live telecast will be available to those who have been notified from both sects. The recording will not be distributed in any way. The police department will seal the camera's memory (card).
The above 13 issues were explained to representatives from both parties, and a detailed discussion ensued. Everyone read all of the issues carefully and they were unanimously accepted by everyone present. Representatives from both sects agreed that the idol of Antriksh Parshwanath should appear natural and beautiful, and a consensus was reached. If any party has an objection after seeing the artists' illustrations, it will be resolved through mutual understanding.
|Copy of the Agreement by both the sects on 20th March 2023|
45. 23rd March 2023 -Deplastering of the idol initiated for Lep. A barricade was set up around the idol and Section 144 (prohibiting the assembly of four or more people in an area) imposed in the periphery of 200 meters of the temple till 30th March 2023 with orders that no more than 25 people would be allowed to queue in front of the temple. 5 devotees would be allowed in the core of the temple and another 5 in the sanctum for a maximum period of 5 minutes.
|Idol of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath after first round of Lep|
|Idol of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath after second round of Lep|
|Idol of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath after third round of Lep|
49. 20th June 2023 - After a span of 42 years, 2 months and 2 days, Laghu Panchakalyanak & Abhishek of Shri Antriksh Parshwanath Bhagwan commenced as per Digambar tradition (12 Noon to 6 PM) after Shuddhikaran by Shwetambars. On 21st June 2023, 18 Abhishek Vidhi and first Ashtaprakari puja commenced (6 AM to 12 noon) as per Shwetambar tradition in the holy constellation of Pushya Nakshatra.
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