SOAS University of London

Centre of Jaina Studies

International Journal of Jaina Studies

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Disentangling Poetry from Profit in Jain Monks’ Literary Works

Author: Aleksandra Restifo

Year: 2020

ISSN: 1748-1074

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) Vol. 16, No. 1 (2020) 1-9

Abstract

Greed (lobha) is one of the four passions (kaṣāya) that are the primary causes for the soul’s bondage by karmic matter. Medieval Jain literature is brimful with stories and accounts where greed is condemned and ridiculed. This article looks at some of these literary instances, in which court poets attempt to uncouple the production of poetry from the monetary reward of a patron. It focuses on the three Jain authors - Bālacandra (thirteenth century), Hemacandra (1089-1172), and Rāmacandra (1093-1174) - who, I argue, set themselves apart from some other non-Jain poets, who engaged in what they implied was the foul practice of writing poetry for personal enrichment. While these monks, as well as Jains more generally, valorized wealth and riches for the purpose of spreading the Jain dharma, building temples, and worshipping the Jina, they denounced the reduction of the poetic skill to the fiscal benefits it can produce.

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The Gold of Gods: Stories of Temple Financing from Jain Prabandhas

Author: Basile Leclère

Year: 2020

ISSN: 1748-1074

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) Vol. 16, No. 2 (2020) 1-25

Abstract

Since they are intended to recall to their audience the pious actions of illustrious members of the Jain community from a more or less remote past, the medieval Prabandhas devote an important space to the activity of temple building as it is probably one of the most expensive donations that could be made to the community. Thus, biographies of prominent Śvetāmbara laymen such as the Caulukya king Kumārapāla or the ministers Vastupāla and Tejaḥpāla include lists of religious edifices erected or renovated at their behest. As regards the sums spent on these constructions, however, it appears that they have not received the same attention from the authors.  While there is only sparse information about funding issues in the chronicles dating back to the fourteenth century, later sources from the fifteenth century record precise amounts of money as well as other details unknown otherwise. Moreover, none of them clearly states where the money exactly came from. It might be assumed that laymen financed religious foundations with their personal wealth, but positive evidence is lacking to prove it. On the contrary, it is said in several stories of temple construction that the funds were miraculously obtained through the intercession of a deity. What can account for this supernatural motif seems to be the need of a divine sanction for the Jain sanctuaries dealt with, either because they rose to prominence at a comparatively late date or because they were located at a site claimed by other creeds. Another motivation would be to extoll the merit of the human founders of the temples inasmuch as the deities choose them on account of their good fortune and pious conduct.

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Salvaging the Plagiarist: Digambara Jain Text Production in Early Modernity

Author: Gregory M. Clines

Year: 2020

ISSN: 1748-1074

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) Vol. 16, No. 3 (2020) 1-23

Abstract

In 1991 Padmanabh S. Jaini published an article highlighting the similarity between two early modern Sanskrit Pāṇḍavapurāṇas, the first by the Mūlasaṅgha author Śubhacandra and the second, composed about fifty years later, by the Kāṣṭhāsaṅgha author Śrībhūṣaṇa. Jaini demonstrates that Śrībhūṣaṇa must have copied his sectarian rival’s earlier work and subsequently labels Śrībhūṣaṇa a plagiarist. While not contesting the fact that Śrībhūṣaṇa copied Śubhacandra, the goal of this article is to reconsider the specific label of plagiarist levelled against the Kāṣṭhāsaṅgha author. By examining the history of both premodern South Asian and contemporary western definitions of plagiarism and by introducing another example of Digambara Jain textual copying during the early modern period, the article argues that labelling Śrībhūṣaṇa a plagiarist inappropriately reads back modern ideas of personal intellectual property onto a premodern literary landscape in which textual copying was, in actuality, a valid form of intersectarian argumentation.

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