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Browsing: Saṃgrahaṇī and Karma-granthas (Or. 2137 ms. B)

Image: Karma-stava

Title: Karma-stava

Source:
The British Library Board
Shelfmark:
Or. 2137 ms. B
Author:
Śrīcandra
Date of creation:
unknown
Folio number:
14 recto
Total number of folios:
40 (Europ. fol.: 14-54)
Place of creation:
western India
Language:
unknown
Medium:
paper
Size:
26.5 x 11 cms
Copyright:
CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)
Image copyright: Creative Commons Public Domain

Background

This manuscript is a remarkable anthology of 14 texts dealing with cosmology and with the theory of karma as expressed in the Śvetāmbara tradition. The collection includes a classic like the Saṃgrahaṇī-ratna, but also less well-known works such as the so-called 'old' karma-granthas and verse commentariesbhāṣyas – on the latter. These texts are rare in the manuscript tradition and are mainly addressed to specialists in karma theory.

The Karma-stavaHymn relating to Karma – here is the 'old' one in 55 Prakrit verses, the authorship of which is uncertain. The well-known work of the same name written by Devendra in the 13th century has replaced it to some extent.

Glossary

Karma
Action or act, thought of as physical in Jainism. Created by mental or physical action, karma enters the soul, which then needs religious restraints and practices to make it flow out. Karma can be both:
  • negative – deriving from harmful acts
  • positive – arising from beneficial actions.
Both types of karma trap a soul in continual rebirth. A pan-Indian concept, karma has extremely complex, detailed and technical divisions and subdivisions in Jainism.
Karma-grantha
Set of specialised treatises in Prākrit dealing with the doctrine, process and categories of karma. Their style is concise and mnemonic and they have given birth to many commentaries.
Hymn
The terms stavan, stavana, stava, stotra and stuti are all used for a prayer, song, chant or hymn to a Jina, a god or any other holy figure. Religious songs are always hymns of praise in Jainism. These devotional songs may be performed during daily rites or on special occasions, such as completion of a fast or a wedding. The hymns may be performed:
  • solo or in groups
  • as a form of meditation
  • as a rite offered as part of worship.
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.
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.
Commentary
An essay explaining a text. Commentaries on the scriptures are common in the Jain tradition and there are various types, including the:
  • bālāvabodha
  • bhāṣya
  • cūrṇi
  • niryukti
  • ṭīkā.
Bhāṣya
A type of commentary on Jain scriptures. It may be either:
  • Prākrit verse commentary on Śvetāmbara texts
  • Sanskrit prose commentary on a Sanskrit work, such as the Tattvārtha-sūtra.

Related Manuscripts

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