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Jain Cosmology

Collette Caillat (Author) Ravi Kumar (Author)
Synopsis The cosmos has been for the Jains, from the very earliest times, a gigantic theatre where souls play out their roles. The travel across the ocean of samsara, struggling, from the rebirth to anther, until the time comes when they are liberated, and finally win the spiritual perfection of the Siddhas. The Jains make no distinction between this vision of the transcendental world and the experience of life. Whatever is fated for the souls occurs in a world which has been made known to us by astronomical, geographical and other observations, and which thinkers of every Indian community from the very earliest times have tried to interpret. It consists of countless rings of seas and continents, one inside the other, upon which millions of stars shed their light. In the middle is the circular island of Jambu-dripa (‘Continent of the Rose-apple Tree’), and in the very center of that island is Mt. Meru, with its two suns and moons. To the south of the island is the land of Bharata – India – bounded by the Himalaya mountains, crossed by great rivers, and adorned by princely capitals where live civilized men who can profit from the teaching of the Jinas. Jain cosmology has inspired many descriptions of this kind. There is also a tradition of manuscript illustration more than 1,000 years old, which despite its age remains amazingly fresh.
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About the authors

Collette Caillat

Collette Caillat held a chair at the University of Paris (New Sorbonne; Indian and South-East-Asian Civilization), and has also been the guiding spirit of the Centre for Buddhist and Jain Studies (Equipe de Recherche Associee au CNRS). She taught Sanskrit and Comparative Grammar at the University of Lyon, before being elected to her position at the Sorbonne in 1966. Since 1987, she is a member of the Academic des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France). She has worked upon the canonical texts and languages of Buddhism and Jainism, but is also interested in the customs and beliefs that are described in the books of the Jain Community, which she enjoyed the privilege to discuss with Dr. A.N. upadhye and Prof. D.D. Malvania. Apart from a number of articles, she has published Les expiations dans le ritual ancien des religieux jaina (translated into English under the title Atonements in the ancient ritual of the Jaina monks, Ahmedabad, I.D. Institute of Indology), a paracanonical Svetambara text entitled Candavejjbaya (with the translation into French), A French translation of the Diogambara poem Paramatmaprakasa, under the title Lumiere de l’Absolu (in collaboration with Nalini Balbir).

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Ravi Kumar

Ravi Kumar is an Associate Fellow at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi, India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Jain Cosmology
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8187330082
length 200p., Plates; Bibliography; Index; 32cm.