Definition of Svetambara in English:



  • A member of one of the two principal sects of Jainism, which was formed c.80 ad and survives today in parts of India. Ascetic adherents of the sect traditionally wear white clothing.

    See also Digambara
    • ‘The author goes on to describe how the great schism between the Svetambaras and the Digambaras, the two prominent sub-sects of Jainism, took place and the essential differences between the two.’
    • ‘Literally, the monks of the Digambaras are naked while those of the Svetambaras wear white clothes.’
    • ‘The Digambaras thus exclude women from their monastic orders, while the Svetambaras have convents for women who choose the higher life.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras wear white clothes and always cover their nose and mouth with a white cloth.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras mainly remained in Gujarat, Kathiavar and parts of Rajasthan and the Digambaras were dominant in the Southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.’
    • ‘Over the years both the Svetambara and the Digambara developed various sub sects.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras, clad in white, are the followers of Parsvanâtha, and wear clothes.’
    • ‘In the mid-twelfth century, the Svetambaras even brought about a brief ‘golden age’ of their own in the Saurashtra area.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras wear white clothes and are moderate in their approach to Jainism.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras tend to outnumber the Digambaras and the majority of Svetambara initiates are women.’
    • ‘During Paryusana, the Svetambaras also take out a copy of Kalpasutra in procession.’
    • ‘The original stock of the Svetambaras is known as Murtipujaka Svetambaras since they are the thorough worshippers of idols.’
    • ‘Bhagchandra Jain consults a wide range of Jain literature from both the Svetambara and Digambara schools to compile a masterful argument for the respect of all life-forms.’
    • ‘The icons of Svetambara are seen clothed with open eyes, whereas the icons of Digambara are seen without clothing and closed eyes.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras, however, believe that Mahavira married and had children before being called by the gods.’
    • ‘These sculptures were made by Svetambara whose monks and nuns wear simple white clothing.’
    • ‘The Svetambaras assert that the practice of complete nudity is not essential to attain liberation.’
    • ‘The Digambara do not accept the possibility of women achieving liberation, while the Svetambara do.’
    • ‘According to the Digambaras, Mahavira wore no clothes thereafter, but the Svetambaras believe that Indra presented him with a white robe.’
    • ‘In May, Svetambara and Digambara Jain munis performed pratistha ceremonies installing a murti Mahavira.’


From Sanskrit śvetāmbara, literally white-clad.