Asaga was an early jaina poet from South India. He is an important past master (pūrvakavi) named by the Apabhraṁśa poet Dhavala, and the Kannada digambara poets Ponna, Cāmuṇḍarāya, Durgasiṁha and Kēśirāja.
Two Sanskrit texts by Asaga are available – the literary Vardhamāna-caritra (VC) and the plainer Śāntinātha-purāṇa (SP). he claims to have written eight other texts of Jaina doctrine. Asaga is said to have written some Kannada texts, including a Kannada Kumārasambhava, but none of them is available.
In the VC, Asaga says that he wrote it in the year 910 (853 CE), in the presence of Bhāvakīrti, for the delight of the lay devotee (śrāvaka/ śrāvikā) named Sampat [=Śrī?] at Maudgalya hill, in the Śrīnātha kingdom. Āryanandi, a disciple of Nāganandi encouraged him to write the VC. Asaga then went to the city Viralā (Varaṭā) in the Coḍa territory and wrote eight texts on the jaina doctrine (VC – 18.102-105).
In the biographical verses (kavipraśasti) at the end of the SP, Asaga mentions that he was a pupil of Nāganandi [of the Nandi gaṇa]. He also states that he wrote this SP for his devout friend Jināpa (Jinappa?) after he wrote the ornate Sanmati-caritram (=VC).