The Kalpa Sutra, by Prakrit Bharati Academy, Jaipur, India
The Kalpa Sutra (Kalpa Sūtra) consists of a detailed biography of de 24st Tirthankara (tīrthaṅkara) of Jainism, Lord Mahavira, and also of Parshvanath, the 23rd.The lives of all the earlier 23 Tirthankaras, though far less is known about them.
The life of Lord Mahavira, who is the most recent of all Tirthankaras is a favorite among all Jains. He is one of the few whose historicity is beyond skeptical doubt, though all 24 are believed in as equally genuine by all Jains.
The original text was written by Bhadrabahu Swami, who died in the year 357 BCE, and is one of the oldest extant texts of Jainism
The book also contains the code of conduct for Jain monks
Nowadays the Kalpa-Sutra is read by Jain monks during the holy festival of Paryushan. This tradition started in Gujarat after a son of the king of Vadanagar died at an early age. The then Acharya Dhaneshvar Suri read Kalpa Sutra to the king. This tradition has continued ever since.
Bhadrabahu I is considered the author of the text and it is traditionally said to have been composed about one hundred and fifty years after the Nirvāṇa (‘passing away’) of Mahavira (traditionally 599 – 527 BCE)
A nineteenth century English translation of The Kalpa Sûtra” by Hermann Jacobi has been republished by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers in Delhi in “The Sacred Books of the East” series(Vol 22) (1989), ISBN 81-208-0123-7
The book is here published as photographs of the original pages of this Prakrit Bharati Academy edition, of which but few physical copies are available today.
(- Dr. Rudi Jansma, Jaipur, November 2014)