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Digambar constitute one of the major sects in Jainism. The word ‘digambar’ literally means ‘sky clad’. This word refers to the peculiar practice of remaining naked, a practice adhered to, by the monks belonging to this sect. This practice of wearing absolutely nothing represents their principle of possessing no earthly things, which is seen as a path leading towards higher spiritual grounds. Even the alms they receive are carried in their hands, without resorting to the use of any bowls or utensils.

The Digambar sect was formed around third century BC, owing to the disagreement among two groups in the religion over the authenticity of the religious scriptures. The other sect, which formed as a consequence of the dispute, was the shwetambar. These two primary sects have their own versions of the Jain scriptures.

The Digambar are differentiated from the shwetambar mainly by their dress code, religious scriptures and the code of conduct regarding women. Digambar believe in the renunciation of worldly things, including clothes, for achieving asceticism. They do not believe that women can achieve ‘Moksha’.

The Digambar are further divided into major sub-sects such as Bisapantha, Terapantha, and Taranapantha. Apart from these major sub-sects there are minor ones such as Gumanapantha and Totapantha.

Updated on 4th June, 2015

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