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Image: Colophon of Kālakācāryakathānaka

Title: Colophon of Kālakācāryakathānaka

Source:
Wellcome Trust Library
Shelfmark:
Beta 365
Author:
Bhāvadeva-sūri
Date of creation:
probably 15th to 16th centuries
Folio number:
12 recto
Total number of folios:
12
Place of creation:
western India
Language:
Māhārāstri Jaina Prākrit
Medium:
watercolour on paper
Size:
28 x 11 cm
Copyright:
Wellcome Library, London
JAINpedia Copyright Information

Description

In Jain manuscripts, as in other Indian manuscripts, the end is the place to look for information on the title of the work, the author, the date of composition and so on. This is the case here, although no date is given.

The closing phrases of the text continue over the verso side of this folio.

This page contains information about the author before the colophon.

Other visual elements

There are several notable things about this page, including that the original paper is slightly torn and has water stains.

This version of the Kālaka story is in verse, with numbers at the end of each stanza, often between two vertical lines, like here. On this page they are:

  • 95 at the end of line 1
  • 96 at the beginning of line 3
  • 97 in the middle of line 4
  • 99 in the middle of line 7.

The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm-leaf. Here the central one is in a square blank shape. Strings through three holes were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circles are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Script

The elaborate script is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, in a form which recalls calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Prakrit.

There are a few notable features of this script:

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • the red vertical lines within the text divide the long sentences into smaller parts, but are not necessarily punctuation marks.

Background

The Kālakācārya-kathā'story of the religious teacher Kālaka' – emphasises the connection between religious practice and magical abilities. As an accomplished Jain teacher, Kālaka can master various magical sciences and transmute brick into gold. He uses his powers to help the Śakas, a foreign population. In exchange, the Śakas help him destroy the wicked king Gardabhilla.

This eventful tale belongs to the Śvetāmbara Jain tradition. It is known in several versions in various languages and is often illustrated.

The story is frequently found as an appendix to the Kalpa-sūtra because the last part of the story explains how Kālaka changed the date of Paryuṣaṇ. This annual festival was moved from the fifth day of the bright half of the month Bhādrapada – roughly equivalent to August to September – to the fourth. The Kalpa-sūtra has a central role in Paryuṣaṇ.

The version of the story here is that of Bhāvadeva-sūri, a Jain Śvetāmbara author of the 13th century CE. It is written in Jaina Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit and represents a short recension, where the story is told in simple language without poetical embellishments.

Translation

This recto page contains information about the author before the colophon, which is not necessarily the author’s creation. It is mostly written by the scribes who copy texts. Sanskrit is often the language of colophons, even when the language of the work is different, which is the case here.

Author information

The last verse of the text is verse 99, on lines 6 to 7. It is written in the same language as the rest of the text – Jaina Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit – by the author. It means:

This story with the origin of the [monastic] lineage of the teacher Kālaka has been composed in short by the teacher Bhāvadeva.

The name of the author and the mention of the version are significant.

The author Bhāvadeva-sūri is a Śvetāmbara Jain monk who lived in the 13th century. He wrote literary works in Sanskrit and Prakrit.

This is a condensed version of the work. Thus the author indirectly acknowledges the existence of longer stories about Kālaka composed by earlier writers.

Colophon

The colophon starts on the final line of the previous page and continues on this page of the folio. It means:

Thus the story of Kālikācārya [variant spelling of Kālakācārya] is completed, is finished// // May there be good! May there be welfare! May there be prosperity. ccha

This kind of wish for good fortune is extremely common. It is addressed to the reader or any person who will have the manuscript in his hands.

What is transcribed as ccha is a letter symbol found at the end of chapters or at the end of works. It indicates that the chapter or the work is finished.

Transcription

This recto page contains information about the author before the colophon, which is not necessarily the author’s creation. It is mostly written by the scribes who copy texts. Sanskrit is often the language of colophons, even when the language of the work is different, which is the case here.

Author information

The last verse of the text is verse 99, on lines 6 to 7. It is written in the same language as the rest of the text – Jaina Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit – by the author. It reads:

6: tāṇa Kālagasūrīṇa vaṃsuppanneṇa nimmiyā / sūriṇā Bhāva-
7: deveṇa / esā saṃkheveo kahā //99//

Colophon

The colophon starts on the final line and continues on the other side of the folio. It reads:

12 recto line 7: iti śrīKālikācāryakathānakaṃ saṃ-
[12 verso line 1: pūrṇaṃ samāptaṃ //    // śubhaṃ bhavatu//    kalyāṇam astu: //     śrīr astu: //    // ccha.]

Glossary

Common Era
The period of time starting with the year when Jesus Christ was traditionally believed to have been born. Using CE is a more secular way of dating events in a multinational, multi-religious world.
Jain
Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common.
Kalpa-sūtra
The Book of Ritual attributed to Bhadrabāhu. It has three sections:
  1. 'Jina-caritra' – 'Lives of the Jinas'
  2. 'Sthavirāvalī' – 'String of Elders'
  3. 'Sāmācārī' – 'Right Monastic Conduct'.
A significant sacred text for Śvetāmbara Jains, the Kalpa-sūtra has a central role in the annual Paryuṣaṇ festival.
Paryuṣaṇ
An eight-day festival in August / September, which is the most important event of the religious calendar for Śvetāmbara lay Jains. They fast, read, spend time with monks and meditate. The last day is the occasion for public repentance. Reading the Kalpa-sūtra and sponsoring new manuscripts or editions of this canonical book are associated with this festival.
Śvetāmbara
'White-clad’ in Sanskrit, the title of one of the two main divisions of Jainism, in which both male and female mendicants wear white robes. There are some differences of doctrine or belief between these two sects and to some extent their followers consider themselves as belonging to distinct branches. Divisions can be fierce in practical matters, for example, over the ownership of pilgrimage places, but all sects see themselves as Jains.
Sanskrit
A classical language of India, originally used by priests and nobility. Sanskrit has a rich literary and religious tradition. With only a few thousand native speakers nowadays, it is predominantly used in Hindu religious ceremonies and by scholars.
Prākrit
A term for any of the dead vernacular languages of ancient and medieval India. It may be contrasted with classical Sanskrit, the language used by priests and the aristocracy. The Jains used a large variety of Prakrits, with the Jain canon written chiefly in Ardhamāgadhī Prākrit.
Bright fortnight
The half of the lunar month in the traditional Indian calendar in which the moon is at its fullest.
Jaina Devanāgarī
The distinctive version of the Devanāgarī script found in Jain manuscripts.
Māhārāṣṭrī Prākrit
A dialect of the Prākrit language used in some Jain writings.
Folio
A single sheet of paper or parchment with a front and a back side. Manuscripts and books are written or printed on both sides of sheets of paper. A manuscript page is one side of a sheet of paper, parchment or other material. The recto page is the top side of a sheet of paper and the verso is the underside.
Recto
Known as a folio, a single sheet of paper or other material has a front and a back side. The recto page is the top side of a sheet of paper and the verso is the underside.
Colophon
Found at the end of a Jain manuscript, a colophon is similar to the publication information at the beginning of modern books. It usually contains the title and sometimes details of the author, scribe and sponsor. The colophons of Jain manuscripts may also include the names of owners, readers and libraries where they have been stored. They frequently have decorative elements and very commonly contain a wish for good fortune for any readers. Written mainly by the scribes who copy texts, Jain colophons are often written in Sanskrit.
Scribe
Someone who copies manuscripts for a living. Scribes are common in societies where literacy is rare. In the past, however, scribes could not always read and write fluently.
Kālakācārya-kathā
The very popular Story of the Ācārya Kālakā recounts the adventures of the Śvetāmbara monk Kālakā. Emphasising the connection between religious practice and magical abilities, the story is frequently found as an appendix to the Kalpa-sūtra because it explains how Kālaka changed the date of Paryuṣaṇ . This annual festival gives a central role to the Kalpa-sūtra scripture.

Related Manuscripts

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