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9th C Jain text draws Indian scholars to Ahmedabad

    Ahmedabad (Gujarat), May 12, 2016: A holy Sanskrit text dating back to the 9th century will be discussed for seven days by experts from across India, in Ahmedabad from May 22 to 29. The workshop for the discussions, to be held at the Ahmedabad University, is being organized by the LD Institute of Indology along with other organizations.

    The text, “Upmati Bhava Prapancha”, is known for its rich narrative, use of allegories, and over 2,500 characters in its 16,000 shlokas. Jitendra Shah, the director of the LD Institute, said that the text is studied by monks and devotees alike to understand the nature of Dharma and the world around us.

    “The text is written by poet Siddharshi, the cousin of renowned Sanskrit poet Magha, and a resident of the erstwhile Bhinmal,” Shah said. “It has been interpreted and re-interpreted over centuries to grasp its symbolism. German Indologist Hermann Jacobi had praised the text for being one of the first ‘rupak kathas’ of Jainism.”

    Shah said that the tale of the text’s making is equally compelling. “It is said that Siddharshi had gone wayward and he was banished from his home one night,” Shah said. “He accidentally went to an Upashray and got to know Jainism. He shunned his past life to become a learned man.” That was the time when Buddhism was becoming strong in India. “He moved from Jainism to Buddhism several times after which his gurus asked him to narrate his experiences and the text was born,” said Shah.

    Experts said that if Siddharshi wanted to talk about human nature, feelings like anger, lust, and compassion would take human forms and would ‘befriend’ a person. Likewise, he would talk about mind as a place to understand various religious concepts. – News Courtesy: Times of India

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