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Historical and Contemporary View of Jain Literature. Yashwant K. Malaiya. JAINA Convention Santa Clara July 3, 2005. Historical and Contemporary View of Jain Literature. Coordinator: Amit Jain, McKinsey, San Francisco Moderator: Prof. Yashwant Malaiya, Colorado State University

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Historical and Contemporary View of Jain Literature

Yashwant K. Malaiya

JAINA Convention Santa Clara

July 3, 2005


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Historical and Contemporary View of Jain Literature

  • Coordinator: Amit Jain, McKinsey, San Francisco

  • Moderator: Prof. Yashwant Malaiya, Colorado State University

  • Dr. Jagdish Jain: Jain Mission, Delhi

  • Vinod Daryapurkar: Jainworld.com

  • Samanijis Sanmati Pragya & Jayant Pragya: Disciples of Acharya Mahapragya


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Jain Literature: Classification

By source

  • Agam: Lord Mahavira & Kevaklis, through oral tradition

    • Agam-tulya: texts by early authors

  • Other: by other Acharyas & scholars

    Anuyoga classification

  • Pratham: Historical & Puranic accounts

  • Charana: Conduct of monks and lait

  • Karana: metaphysics and cosmology

  • Dravya: principles and nature of things



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Languages

  • Earlier literature in Prakrits

    • Ardha-Magadhi, Shaurseni, Maharashtri

  • Sanskrit: starting with Tatvartha-sutra

    • Still used by Jain scholars

  • Early Tamil and Kannada literature

  • Apabhramsh

  • Hindi, Gujarati etc

  • English: since early 20th century


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Issues

  • Major Jain contributions to literature in various language

  • Potential ways of making Jains and non-Jains aware of these contributions

  • Approaches for promoting creation of literature for the current and future generations.

    Here we may broaden the definition of the term literature to include not just text but other media (music and visual media) as well.


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Jain Contributions

  • Jains love literature. They are the most literate community in India.

  • Jain literature is not limited to religious. Many secular Jain contributions as well, grammars, mathematics, histories etc.

  • Earliest Kannada literature is entirely Jain.

  • A large part of classical Tamil literature was Jain.

  • According to some scholars the earliest Hindi/Gujarati book was a Jain text: Bharat Bahubali Ras.

  • In Apabhramsha language, almost all the available literature is Jain.

  • The first auto-biography in India is Ardha-Kathanaka of Banarasidas.

  • Oldest libraries in India are Jain Bhandaras of Patan and Jaisalmer


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Suggested Focus Topics

  • Yashwant K. Malaiya: Mention about Jain literature across various languages.

  • Dr. Jagdish Jain: Highlight contributions of the Digambara tradition and mention current initiatives and needs.

  • Vinod Daryapurkar: Focus on technology, web, and new forms of lierature.

  • Samanijis Sanmati Pragya & Jayant Pragya: Highlight contributions of the Swetambara tradition and mention current activities and needs.

  • Format: 75 lecture session, 75 minute workshop



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Questions for possible discussion

  • Laukika and Paralukika Dharmas: (Worldly vs Spiritual literature): Do we need more laukika literature to balance the two?

  • Do we need Stavans and Pujas in English?

  • Should we have more non-text (audio/video) literature, since it is easier to absorb?

  • Do we need more Narrative literature, since it is easier?

  • How can we create literature (both text and media) that will take the message of Jainism to not just future Jains, but to non-Jains as well?

  • How can we bring back the spirit of innovation that was displayed by early Tamil, Kannada, Gujarai, Hindi authors?


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