International Journal of Jaina Studies

Current issue

Who is a Yogi? Depictions of the Yogi in Classical and Medieval Digambara Jain Literature

Author: John E Cort
Year: 2022
ISSN: 1748-1074

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) Volume 18, Number 1 (2022) 1–61

The four classical and medieval Digambara Prakrit and Sanskrit texts known collectively as the Yogī-Bhaktis contain four depictions of the ideal Jain yogi. These texts depict him as a:

  1. Digambara mendicant following the many rules of Jain mendicant conduct, whose practice is firmly within the constitutive elements of Jain cosmology and soteriology 
  2. renouncer living in the open in all seasons in the forests and atop mountains and practicing fierce asceticism
  3. practitioner of postures (āsana) and other yogic techniques
  4. possessor of supranormal powers (ṛddhi).

This article explains these four portraits in detail. It then contrasts these with a fifth depiction, found
primarily in the Apabhramsha texts of the Digambara mystical tradition, of the ideal yogi
as a seeker of spiritual knowledge (jñāna) who rejects the formal practices found in the
other four depictions.

Taken together, these five depictions make an important contribution to the study of the history of yoga and yogis in South Asia.

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The International Journal of Jaina Studies is dedicated to the promotion of scholarly exchange among academics, researchers, and students engaged in the study of the Jainism and Jain culture. It welcomes submissions of research papers, monographs and reviews in all fields of Jaina Studies.

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Type Format
Books: Jaini, Padmanabh S. The Jaina Path of Purification. Berkeley: California University Press, 1979.
Edited Volumes: Jambuvijaya, Muni. "The Jaina Agama Series." Jain Studies in Honour of Jozef Deleu. Ed. Rudy Smet & Kenji Watanabe, 1-12. Tokyo: Hon-no-Tomosha, 1993.
Articles: Folkert, Kendall W. "Jaina Studies: Japan, Europe, India." Sambodhi 5, 2-3 (1976) 138-147.

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Editorial Board


  • Peter Flügel

Editorial Board

  • Mark Allon
  • Lawrence A. Babb
  • Nalini Balbir
  • Piotr Balcerowicz
  • Willem Bollee
  • Johannes Bronkhorst
  • Frank van den Bossche
  • Christine Chojnacki
  • John E. Cort
  • Eva De Clerq
  • Paul Dundas
  • Christoph Emmerich
  • Anna Aurelia Esposito
  • Sin Fujinaga
  • Phyllis Granoff
  • Julia Hegewald
  • Padmanabh S. Jaini
  • William Johnson
  • Whitney M. Kelting
  • Kornelius Krümpelmann
  • James Laidlaw
  • Padmanabaiah Nagarajaiah
  • Olle Qvarnström
  • Josephine Reynell
  • Maria Schetelich
  • Renate Söhnen-Thieme
  • Jayandra Soni
  • Alvappillai Veluppillai
  • Royce Wiles
  • Kristi L. Wiley
  • Clifford R. Wright
  • Robert Zydenbos

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About the IJJS

Published by the Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS

The Centre of Jaina Studies at SOAS established the peer-reviewed International Journal of Jaina Studies (IJJS) to facilitate academic communication. The main objective of the journal is to publish research papers, monographs, and reviews in the field of Jain Studies in a form that makes them quickly and easily accessible to the international academic community, and to the general public. 

As an open access online publication the IJJS (Online) can be more flexible and creative than a standard print journal. The texts are in pdf-format and can be published and downloaded at virtually no cost. To increase velocity all contributions are issued individually in numerical order. It is intended to re-publish articles and monographs in book form on demand. 

The IJJS is now also available in print from Hindi Granth Karyalay Publishers, Mumbai, India.

The journal draws on the research and the symposia conducted at the Centre of Jaina Studies at the University of London and on the global network of Jaina scholarship.

The opinions expressed in the journal are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of the School of Oriental and African Studies or the Editors, unless otherwise indicated.