Like the Buddha, he renounced a privileged lifestyle to become an ascetic. After twelve years, he is reputed to have attained enlightenment and became ajina, or conqueror, from which his followers took the name, the religion of the conquerors. The Kalpa sutra, a religious Jain text deals primarily with the lives of the 24 Jinas the founders of Jainism, and ends with the birth and life of the historical Mahavira. This is one of the most popular Jain texts to be illustrated and is still read aloud to the laity every year during the rainy season.
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Like the Buddha, he renounced a privileged lifestyle to become an ascetic. After twelve years, he is reputed to have attained enlightenment and became ajina, or conqueror, from which his followers took the name, the religion of the conquerors. The Kalpa sutra, a religious Jain text deals primarily with the lives of the 24 Jinas the founders of Jainism, and ends with the birth and life of the historical Mahavira.
This is one of the most popular Jain texts to be illustrated and is still read aloud to the laity every year during the rainy season. Each of the 24 Jinas was first conceived in the womb of a Brahmin lady and then miraculously transferred to that of a Ksatriya or warrior lady. This was the only caste that a Jina, a perfected religious leader could be born into. Wellcome Indic Sanskrit 3, Folio 42v, dated Image no.
A work in Prakrit, its composition is originally attributed to the celebrated author Bhadrabahu BC to The Kalpasutra shows the early stage of the development of Jainism, the succession of pontiffs and the rules for Jaina monks during the four months of monsoon or chaturmasa when the monks are not on the move. The text records the five auspicious events - the descent from heaven, birth, initiation, obtaining of omniscience, and death - and many legends of the last three Pathfinders or Tirthankaras: Aristanemi, Parsvanatha, and Mahavira, and those of Rishabhanatha, the first of the 24 Tirthankaras.
The tradition of 24 Tirthankaras became established among the Jainas around the first or second century AD though its older roots are not denied. As an illuminated manuscript, the Kalpasutra, representative of Jaina visual culture, contains some masterpieces of Jaina miniature paintings. The western Indian Jaina miniatures have left a significant mark in subsequent Indian painting. An illuminated manuscript is a handwritten book that is embellished with brilliant inks and dyes - largely silver and gold.
During the middle ages, many such manuscripts were created in the monasteries in different parts of the world. Illuminated manuscripts came in many forms and certain characteristics of these forms were essentially global. The brilliance of gold symbolises transcendental light.
As each of the Christian saints is illustrated with their own symbols, the pictures of the Jains are accompanied by illustrations of their specific symbols". Among many other details, the Kalpasutra gives a list of 42 rainy seasons spent by Mahavira since he renounced the life of a householder. The Kalpasutra is significant for its narration of geographical locations most of which have been identified to be in the modern state of Bihar and some parts of Bengal and UP.
A major portion is devoted to the biography of Mahavira and includes details of his birth, lineage, parentage, childhood, marriage and journey to asceticism and finally, his death. The Kalpa- sutra describes 14 dreams. This important Jaina canonical text is the oldest available on the life of the Tirthankaras. Once a year during the auspicious Paryusana festival, a Kalpasutra manuscript is taken out in procession and read by the monks before the laity.
Great merit is attributed to hearing the Kalpasutra. Posted by.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions to have survived until the present time and its basic teaching is one of non-violence. The Kalpasutra is divided into three sections. The second part deals with the life of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara. The third part deals with rules for the ascetics and laws during the four months chaturmas of the rainy season, when ascetics temporarily abandon their wandering life and settle down amidst the laity.
Jain Manuscript Painting