- The Therapanthis are a schismatic movement within the the STHANAKAVASI sect of Jains (see JAINISM). It emerged from the attempt by the 18th-century monk Bhikanji to deal with the peren-nial conflict faced by Jain monks: to eschew all worldliness or to work actively for the welfare and salvation of all beings.Bhikanji’s solution, radical for Jains, was that renunciation was more important than saving of an animal’s life. He argued that if one were, for instance, to save the life of a dog, one would then be responsible for the violent KARMA of that animal in the rest of its life. Other Jains, shocked at this conclusion because of its apparent rejection of the Jain notion of AHIMSA or noninjury, predicted that Bhikanji would never have even 12 disciplines. Therefore, when the sect did in fact take hold, it became known as the Therapantha (the way of the 13).Further reading: V. G. Nair, Jainism and Therapanthism (Bangalore: Adinatha Jaina Shvetambara Temple, 1970); Muni Nathmal, Acarya Bhiksu: The Man and His Philoso-phy (Churu: Adarsa Sahitya Sangha, 1968).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.