North Indian Digambara jainism (13th-17th century). The age of the Bhattarakas

Noord-Indisch Digambara jainisme (13e-17e eeuw). Het tijdperk van de Bhattarakas
Start - End 
2012 - 2016 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
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Jainism is a living Indian religious tradition, which rose around the sixth century BCE andlater developed into two branches: Digambarism and Śvetāmbarism. Central toDigambarism’s identity (dig-ambara, lit. "clothed in air") is the ideal of the naked,possessionless monk seeking salvation through meditation. Contrary to this ideal, from thethirteenth century onwards, the Digambara community was headed by Bhaṭṭārakas, clothedmonks, who held seats in temples and monasteries and adorned themselves with royalparaphernalia. Considered significant promoters of Digambara culture, these Bhaṭṭārakashelped shape many North Indian cosmopolitan centers. In the seventeenth century,Bhaṭṭārakas disappeared in North India following the rise of a reform movement, lead by layintellectuals (Paṇḍitas), who protested against the Bhaṭṭārakas’ decadence and authority.Despite their significance, the history and development of the Bhaṭṭārakas institution has neverbeen thoroughly examined. My preliminary research of previously unstudied sources hasdisclosed data which raise questions about present scholarly assumptions on the Bhaṭṭārakas.This project aims to uncover the history of the Bhaṭṭārakas institution, evaluate theirimportance to North Indian culture, and set the record straight about their demise, based onliterary and inscriptional sources, through methodologies of textual criticism (lower andhigher), genealogy and prosopography.



Phd Student(s)