Article: Highlights of JAINpedia

Contributed by Nalini Balbir


This manuscript painting depicts a Jina meditating. Though hard to identify, he is probably Supārśvanatha or Lord Supārśva, the seventh Jina. The statue's jewellery, ornate headdress and open eyes indicate it is Śvetāmbara.

A Jina meditating, probably Supārśva
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

Devotional songs are part of Jain daily religious practice. They have been composed in all the ancient and modern languages of India, including Prakrit, Sanskrit, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil. Hymns combine text, rhythm and chanting, but also have a visual dimension in many instances.

This is often the case with the Bhaktāmara-stotra, one of the most famous Jain hymns. One JAINpedia manuscript has vignettes and graphical characteristics that make it unusual. Another one has different diagrams for each of the 48 stanzas of the text and indications about performance.

In addition, JAINpedia presents another well-known set of devotional songs with a strong visual element. A collection of hymns to each of the 24 Jinas, composed by the 17th-century writer and philosopher Yaśovijaya, has an image of every Jina.


This manuscript cover illustrates the auspicious dreams of the mother of a baby who becomes a Jina. According to the Śvetāmbara sect, she has 14 dreams.

Fourteen auspicious dreams
Image by Victoria and Albert Museum © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Manuscripts proper are not the only medium of teaching. Material culture in the form of various artefacts is also part of the Jain heritage. Some of these artefacts may be inscribed with text.

Remarkable items on JAINpedia are:

EXT:contentbrowse Processing Watermark

Related Manuscripts

  • Text


    Victoria and Albert Museum. IM 161-1914. Unknown author. 16th century

  • Śakra's thoughts

    Śakra's thoughts

    Victoria and Albert Museum. IM 6-1931. Unknown author. Circa 1490

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