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Browsing: Uttarādhyayana-sūtra (Prakrit c.1)

Title: Final colophon

Source:
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Shelfmark:
Prakrit c.1
Author:
unknown
Date of creation:
1465
Folio number:
33 verso
Total number of folios:
33
Place of creation:
western India
Language:
Ardhamāgadhī Prākrit
Medium:
ink on paper
Size:
29.8 x 11 cms
Copyright:
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
JAINpedia Copyright Information

Description

This is the colophon of a manuscript of the Uttarādhyayana-sūtra, a fundamental text for Śvetāmbara Jains.

A colophon in a manuscript is found at the end, and 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, as with this example.

Background

The Uttarādhyayana-sūtra is a scripture in the Śvetāmbara canon. It belongs to the class known as Mūla-sūtras, which include the most basic texts new mendicants learn at the beginning of their monastic education. It consists of didactic chapters, stories or parables and ascetic poetry teaching the fundamentals of Jainism. For instance, it opens with a chapter on the rules of respect and politeness that all monks have to observe, especially junior ones. It ends with an extensive chapter describing the rich world of living beings according to the Jain conception.

The Uttarādhyayana-sūtra is one of the most frequently illustrated texts. Nevertheless, there are manuscripts, such as this one, which just have the Prakrit text and nothing more.

This manuscript is notable for its detailed colophon, digitised here. The manuscript is relatively old, since it was copied in 1464 CE.

Translation

Not everything in this colophon is clear so a translation would be premature. However, the following observations can be made at this point.

The production of this manuscript was inspired by Jinaharṣa-sūri of the Kharatara-gaccha, one of the most powerful Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjak monastic orders in western India.

The monastic lineage shown here is a dissident branch of the main Kharatara-gaccha sect, known as the Pippalaka-śākhā. Jinavarddhana-sūri was its first leader, in approximately the second half of the 14th century. His successors are named here as Jinacandra-sūri, Jinasāgara-sūri, Jinasundara-sūri and Jinaharṣa-sūri. They are also known from many other sources.

The remaining part gives information about the extended family of lay Jains who were involved in getting the manuscript copied. Although not everything is clear, it seems that the family, including the women, are known for other pious activities recorded here. Given the nature of these actions, it is likely that the family was wealthy and closely devoted to Jinaharṣa-sūri, the head of the monastic order. Their other devout activities include:

  • organising a pilgrimage to the holy place of Shatrunjaya in Gujarat, in which the ceremony where Jinaharṣa-sūri was given the highest monastic title – sūri, meaning pontiff or head of the monastic order – took place
  • partly funding the restoration of temples in another significant Jain holy place, Mount Girnar
  • other religious works in the service of Jainism – sādharmika-vātsālya.

The two persons who arranged for the manuscript to be copied did it for the benefit of their brother. This means that it was done in his memory after he had died.

Transcription

Text of the colophon:

4. iti śrīUttarādhyāyanāni samāptāni //śrī//     //cha//   //cha//  śrī:          //  //cha// śrī//  śrī// śrī//
5. // saṃvat 1521 varṣe śrīKharataragacche śrīJinavarddhanasūri-paṭṭa-prabhu-śrīJinacaṃddhanasūri-paṭṭālaṃkāra śrīJinasāgarasūri-paṭṭa-prabhākara-śrīJinasuṃdarasūripraṃ°-paṭṭa-pra-
6. bhākara-dinakara / śrīJinaharṣasūrīṇām upadeśena / śrīMaṇḍapadurgga-vāstavya- Sotīdelhā-putra-śrī-Śatruṃjaya-mahātīrtha-yātrā-śrīJinaharṣa-sūripada-sthāpanā-sā-
7. dharmmika-vātsalyādy-aneka-puṇya-caritra-pavitrā Sodyadharaṇā-bhāryā Laṣāī-putra śrīGirināra-giri-śṛṃgāra-cāru-caturmukha-prāsāda-samuddharaṇa-
8. [X damaged syllable] raso° śrīJiṇarāja-so° śrīMāṇikyābhyāṃ bhāryā śrī° Gaurāī śrā° Hāsū so° Maṇḍalika so° baḍūyā so° Īsara so° Kuṃ-
9. [X damaged syllable]rapāla-pramukha-sāra-parivāra-yutābhyāṃ śrī-pustaka-bhāṃḍāgāre / sva-bhrātṛ- Sopanayaṇā-puṇyārthaṃ / śrīUttarādhyayanaṃ lekhayāṃ cakre / śubhaṃ bhavatu.

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.
Kharatara-gaccha
Subsect of the Śvetāmbaras, chiefly found in Rajasthan and Mumbai and established in the 11th century. 
Sāgāra
Sanskrit term meaning 'with a home’ – that is, a ‘householder’ or lay Jain. A synonym for a lay person, emphasising that he or she is a member of a household, with responsibilities to the family, community and society that a Jain mendicant does not have.
Uttarādhyayana-sūtra
An ancient Jain text outlining the rules of monastic conduct, said to be Mahāvīra's final sermon. These 36 lectures provide rules for ascetics but also discuss various topics, such as karma and the substances in the universe, and recount the tale of Nemi's renunciation.
Ascetic
Someone who withdraws from ordinary life to meditate and practise physical hardships in order to advance spiritually. Jain ascetics or mendicants beg for food from devout lay followers and wander the land. Also used as an adjective to describe the practice of rigorous, even extreme, physical hardships in the belief that it leads to a higher spiritual condition.
Mendicant lineage
Ascetics are initiated into a tradition handed down from a named religious teacher. Religious instructions and principles are passed on orally and in writings from one generation of mendicants to the next, continuing the monastic lineage.
Monastic order
A single-sex group of ascetics that vows to follow rules set out by a founding religious teacher. They formally renounce the world to become monks and nuns. They usually have a hierarchy of leaders at different levels to govern them.
Rite
A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases.
Scripture
Set of sacred texts that believers accept as authoritative within a religion. Synonymous with canon.
Sect
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.
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.
Donor
A donor gives freely. He or she may give alms to a mendicant or money to an institution. This donation may be for specific items or purposes, such as the creation of art. A donor, sponsor or patron may be named or pictured in the artwork.
Gujarāt
The westernmost state in India, which is a stronghold of Śvetāmbara Jainism.
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.

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