Article: Sacred writings

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Śvetāmbara

A gallery of the Agam Mandir in Pune, Maharashtra, displays plates inscribed with the 45 holy writings or Āgamas of the Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjak sect. Temples devoted to scriptures, Agam Mandirs were invented in the 1940s

Gallery of an Agam Mandir
Image by Nalini Balbir © Nalini Balbir

Copies of the Kalpa-sūtra are displayed in public. The text and the book itself are at the centre of the festival of Paryuṣaṇ.

The festival of Jñāna-pañcamī is an annual occasion where books of the Āgamas are dusted, repaired, copied and so on.

Among Mūrti-pūjak sects, there are specific worship ceremonies – pūjā – and specific ritual diagrams – yantras – honouring their 45 Āgamas.

The Mūrtipūjak leader Ācārya Ānandasāgara-sūri inspired the 1999 publication of the Śvetāmbara Āgamas, known as Āgama-mañjūṣā. Weighing several kilos, the single monumental volume is enshrined in glass boxes in temples and is an object of worship.

Ācārya Ānandasāgara-sūri also inaugurated a new type of temple in the 1940s. The Āgam Mandir contains inscriptions or engravings of all the 45 scriptures of the Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjak sects.

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