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Dādā Gurūs

Dādā Gurūs. Affectionate name (roughly, ‘Grandad’) of four Jain teachers (suri) in the Śvetāmbara (see DIGAMBARA) Kharatara Gaccha (sect). The Gaccha traces its origins back to a monk, Vardhamana (d. 1031), who broke free from temple-dwelling monks in order to re-establish purity of teaching. Among his disciples was Jineśvara, whose skill in debate led to the name Kharatara, ‘keen-witted’. His most celebrated successor was Jinadatta (1075–1154), who undertook hazardous missionary journeys into Muslim territory to win converts. Jinadatta, with three later suris make up the four Dādā Gurūs: Maṇidhāri Jinacandra (1139–65), the ‘jewel-wearer’, from the jewel in his forehead with which he performed miracles; Jinakuśala (1279–1331), who won many converts; and Jinacandra (1537–1612), who won concessions for Jains and protection for Jain holy places from Muslim rulers, perhaps from Akbar. Places associated with the Dādā Gurūs are still the object of veneration.

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