Definition of Svetambara in US English:



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

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


From Sanskrit śvetāmbara, literally ‘white-clad’.