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Sanskrit Manuscripts : Jñātādharmakathā


Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The <i>Jñātādharmakathā</i> is the sixth Aṅga of the Śvetāmbara canon, a narrative text in Ardhamāgadhī Prakrit with short parables and extensive legends. The most famous are section 8 about Mallī, the 19th Jina who, according to the Śvetāmbaras, was a woman, and section 16, which is a Jain version of the <i>Mahābhārata</i>. This manuscript is especially valuable because it belongs to a set of the 45 Śvetāmbara <i>āgama</i>s commissioned by the members of the same family. This set is now scattered among different libraries. Some items have been traced in Berlin and in India (see Balbir 2006: 325-352). The colophon is identical in all items traced. It always indicates the place of the copied manuscript within the group by a phrase of the type "manuscripts of the 45 Āgamas have been made to copy. Among them this is the 10th Anga/Upāṅga, etc." In this case, the colophon also gives the name of the donor, Jayakaraṇa, a resident of Khambhat; he and his family members systematically collected manuscripts of the Śvetāmbara canonical works (see Balbir 2006 and Balbir 2013). The Cambridge University Library has two items belonging to this collection: this one and <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='/view/MS-ADD-02252/1'>Add.2252</a>, the <i>Antakr̥ddaśāvivaraṇa</i>, the eighth Aṅga of the Śvetāmbara canon (see also Balbir 2013). The scribes of the two manuscripts are different, but the designs in the opening and closing illustrated pages are comparable in both. </p>

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