Differences - Digambaras & Shwetambaras

By Gp. Capt. V. K. Jain
572, Asiad Village, New Delhi-110049

Note: The Digamber view is stated here. Clarification about Shwetamber view is given where required.


As can be seen None of these constitute any differences in Basic tenets/principles.

A. Conceptual Category
1. Nudity : This is a precondition for Munis. The 'Panch Mahavratas are not complete without it and hence salvation (Kevalya/Nirvana) is nol possible As a corollary the following differences also arise:

a. Mahavira, at Deeksha was without a shred of clothing.
b. Women cannot attain Kevalya/ Moksha.
c. Teerthankara mallinath was aot a female.
d. A Teerthankara has no female offspring.

The Shwet. view does not support this view point.

In keeping with above there are sculptural differences in the idol of Teerthankaras and the mode of ritual worship between Shwets. & Digs.

2. Original Agamas : Agamas as propounded ny Mahavira are lost whereas the Shwet. maintain that a large part has been salvaged/recorded.
3. Kevalin/Teerthankaras have the following characteristics.

a. They donot take food.
b. They walk above the ground without touching it.
c. Donot suffer any trials/tribulations (Upsargas/Pareeshay).
d. On attaining Nirvana, their body just sublimates: requires no Cremation.
e. Their sermons are radiated from the forehead. It is heard and understood by each being in its own language.

The above views are not held by Shwets.

4. Shudras are barred from becoming Sadhus and hence cannot attain Nirvana.
5. Kev Alin's 18 Doshas - Differences in naming and listing by Dig. & Shwet.
6. Achitta (inanimate) substances only to be used in worshipping. Shwets. are not so restrained.

B. Mythology Category
1. Lords Mahavira, Neminath, ii1allinath, Vasupujya and Parshwanath did not marry.
2. Lord Rishabh performed a 'Panch Mushthi Lochan' and did not have a tuft. of hair.
3. Mahaviras embryo was not transferred from one womb to the other.
4. A chakravartin has 96000 consorts (Shwe.64000).
5. At 'Janmakalyanak' of Teerthankaras the lndra maintains only one form and does not assume five forms as asserted by Shwet.
6. Total No of lndras is 100 (Shwet : 64)
7. A Teerthankara has no real brother or sister.
8. The mother dreams of 16 objects before Teerthankara's birth (Shwet: 14) Teerthankaras donot perform 'Varshidan' before 'Deeksha'.
10. King N abhi and Marudevi were not born as 'yugals' as said by Shwet.
11. A sermon by Bharat led to Bahubali attaining kevaljnan and not any sermon by his sisters, Brahmi and Sundari.
12. There are 11 'Strange occurrences' and not 10 as maintained by Shwet. Some of them are not common to each other.

C. Conduct of Monks : There are some differences in the day to day conduct. Physical touch (specially touching the feet) by persons of opposite sex, consumption of food even if it is specially prepared for the ascetic are permitted in Dig. custom but not by Shwet.



Author : Gp. Capt. V. K. Jain
572, Asiad Village, New Delhi-110049, Tele : 26492386


Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation