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Browsing: Siddhāntālāpaka (Or. 2137 ms. A)

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Title: Shelfmark and provenance

The British Library Board
Or. 2137 ms. A
Date of creation:
16th century
Folio number:
1 recto
Total number of folios:
Place of creation:
western India
Sanskrit, Prākrit and Gujarati
26.5 x 11 cms
CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)
Image copyright: Creative Commons Public Domain


The SiddhāntālāpakaParagraphs about the Scriptures – is a Śvetāmbara sectarian work, which chiefly discusses issues disputed by the numerous gacchas that emerged from the 12th century onwards. Their subjects are Jain ethics and principles. Quotations from the Śvetāmbara scriptures are used in support of various arguments and are explained and commented upon.

This manuscript unfolds several quotations and points of contention, in what seems to be a disconnected way. There is no colophon so a full investigation of the text is needed to work out the author’s sect. The text has two main parts:

  1. a set of 36 points is dealt with from the beginning up to line 14 of folio 18A. Each point is often marked off by colophons, but not always.
  2. then comes a kind of supplement of further quotations from various texts, discussed in turn.

The central design in the centre or at other places in some folios is noteworthy, partly because there are two designs. Either it is in the shape of a yellow diamond surrounded by red, or syllables of the text have been arranged and circled by red so as to produce lozenge shapes. Such things are not rarities, but they point to the care shown in the production of the manuscript as an artefact.


Literally a Sanskrit word for 'tree', gaccha is used by Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjak Jains to describe the largest groups of their mendicant lineages. It is often translated as 'monastic group', 'monastic order' or 'monastic tradition'. These groups are formed when some mendicants split from their gaccha because of disagreements over ascetic practices.
Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common.
Set of sacred texts that believers accept as authoritative within a religion. Synonymous with canon.
An organised group of believers in a religion, often distinguished from other groups within the same religious faith who have differences of doctrine or practice.
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.
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.

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