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AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF UPAMITI – BHAVA – PRAPAÑCA – KATHĀ

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PREFACE

I have made an analytical study of the 10th century text of UPAMITI-BHAVA-PRAPAÑCA-KATHĀ, in this thesis. My aim was to study and evaluate the uparalleled allegorical text of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā written by Siddhaṛṣi. The subject matter of the text inspired me to take up this research study. It is marvellous indeed that the author has interwoven an entire tale with philosophy and expounded the concept of manifold existence, which cannot be confined to a particular philosophy or religion.

Jaina ethics and metaphysics have stemmed from the spirituality experienced and expounded by Tirthakars and Arhats. The same tradition of spiritual purification and termination of the worldly sojourn has been pronounced in the text of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā in lucid Sanskrit. Prior to commencing the story of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā, the author has given a fore-running allegory of the Virtueless Beggar who latter becomes Rich-in-Virtue. The author has been remarkably straight-forward in saying that the Virtueless Beggar is none other than himself.

I have divided the thesis in five chapters. The first chapter is an Introduction to Story Literature. The second chapter is divided in two parts. Part-I is about the life and time of the author and Part-II is Canto I of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā, which enumerates the fore-running allegory of the Virtueless Beggar. In the third chapter, the story of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā is told from Canto II to Canto VIII. The fourth chapter is divided in two parts. In Part I the concept of Manifold existence is discussed through the study of concepts of Ātman, Karman and Emancipation and Part II is a literary appraisal of the text of Upamiti-Bhava-Prapañca-Kathā. In the concluding fifth chapter I have discussed the observations and the significance of the above study in modern times.

The above research study has enriched my knowledge of the fundamentals of Jainsim and my faith in them. It has given me immense spiritual satisfaction and I feel blessed for the same. I hope all aspirants and readers enjoy studying this book and enlighten themselves of the facts of life and right living.

Chennai 2007                                                                                       Priyadarshana Jain

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