Today I Play Holī in My City ►Digambar Jain Holī Songs From Jaipur

Published: 23.12.2014
Updated: 15.03.2018

International Journal of Jaina Studies
(Online) Vol. 9, No. 7 (2013) 1-50



The springtime festival of Holī has long posed a problem for Jains.  Jain ideologues have criticized the celebration of Holī as contravening several key Jain ethical virtues.  In response, Digambar Jain poets developed a genre of Holī songs that transformed the elements of Holī into a complex spiritual allegory, and thereby “tamed” the transgressive festival.  This essay analyzes the six Holī songs (pad) by the poet Budhjan (fl. CE 1778-1838) of Jaipur.  An investigation of this Digambar genre of Holī songs encourages us to see that many of the “Hindu” Holī songs from this same period were also engaged in a process of reframing and taming Holī.  Both Hindu and Jain songs translated its antinomian and transgressive elements into softer, less threatening sets of metaphors specific to their spiritual traditions.


“Today I Play Holī in My City” Digambar Jain Holī Songs From Jaipur

The springtime festival of Holī has long posed a problem for Jains. Jain ideologues have criticized the celebration of Holī as contravening several key Jain ethical virtues. In response, Digambar Jain poets developed a genre of Holī songs that transformed the elements of Holī into a complex spiritual allegory, and thereby "tamed" the transgressive festival. These songs were part of a culture of songs (pad, bhajan) and other vernacular compositions by Digambar laymen in the cosmopolitan centers of north India in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. I argue in this essay that an investigation into this Digambar genre of Holī songs encourages us to see that many of the "Hindu" Holī songs from this same time period were also engaged in a process of reframing and taming Holī. Both Hindu and Jain songs translated its antinomian and transgressive elements into softer, less threatening sets of metaphors specific to their spiritual traditions.

On the first night of the festival everyone gathers for the burning of a bonfire, in memory of the burning of an evil woman or demonness. In many interpretations this is the demoness Holikā. [1] The bonfire clearly violates the central Jain ethical principle of ahiṃsā or non-harm. Igniting a fire at night, when inevitably many insects and other small living creatures will be incinerated, is seen as an act of fearsome violence. A well-known story of the twenty-third Jina, Pārśvanāth, for example, relates how he perceived that a Brāhmaṇ ascetic, performing a penance by sitting in the sun surrounded by fires, was unmindfully incinerating two snakes.

The next morning is Dhuleṇḍī; this is a riotous time, as neighbors throw colored liquids and dry colored powders on each other. Many people accentuate the festivities by consuming bhāṅg and becoming intoxicated. Holī is also a time when many people sing songs "publicly characterized as obscene"; they focus on "the joking [and potentially sexual] relationship between a woman and her younger brother-in-law" (Jassal 2012: 219). In many villages, women employ long phallic staffs and thick, wet-knotted ropes to beat the men (Miller 1973: 18f.). All of this clearly goes against the Jain emphasis on decorum, mindfulness and equanimity (samatā, saṃyam, sañjam). Scholarship has shown the many ways that the observance of Holī involves extensive sub-altern expressions of subjugated social and economic status, something in which many Jains from middle- and upper-class families, as paradigmatic "alterns,"[2] might understandably be reluctant to participate.

For these reasons Holī was included on a list of "harmful customs" (hānīkārik rivāz) that Śvetāmbar Mūrtipūjak reformers in the early twentieth century urged their fellow Jains to avoid (Cort 2000: 175f.). In the middle of the twentieth century, the Śvetāmbar Mūrtipūjak Tapā Gacch monk Ācārya Vijay Amṛtsūri (1953) contrasted the proper Jain spiritual (bhāv) observance of Holī, which was aimed to wear away accumulated karma, with the popular physical (dravya) observance of Holī, which had the opposite effect, and bound the soul to sinful karma. He concluded his short Holikā Vyākhyān (Sermon on Holikā) with a list of the great amount of karma one accumulated by the extensive karmic suffering brought about by observing the popular Holī customs, and contrasted this with a list of fasts one could undertake to remediate the karmic affects of the popular Holī.

In a 1940 essay published in the Hindī-language journal Anekānt, of which he was the founder and editor, the Digambar intellectual and social reformer Jugalkiśor Mukhtār (1877-1968) decried the way that Holī was commonly observed, and argued that its true essence was equanimity (samatā) and independence (svatantratā) (Mukhtār 1940b). He argued that it was of vital interest to the cause of the nation for the Congress to take the lead in restoring the observance of Holī to its original spirit. This would help instill a true spirit of independence (svarājya) in the people. If Congress was unwilling or unable to take the lead in this effort, he suggested that another national religious organization such as the Hindu Mahasabha should. He concluded his essay with a ten-point plan for the reform (sudhār) of Holī. This included using liquid ingredients in the play of colors that were not harmful, eliminating the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicating substances, not trading insults and not singing obscene songs. He accompanied his article by a poem he wrote in Hindī entitled "Holī Holī Hai," in which he played upon the oral coincidence between the Hindī "Holī" and the English "holy" to ask in the refrain, "How is Holī holy?" (kaise "holī holī hai"?) (Mukhtār 1940a). The refrain was a rebuttal to the popular phrase "Holī hai!" This is the standard response to any criticism of the excesses of Holī, and implies, "it's Holī, so anything goes!" He reprinted the poem in a 1948 issue of Anekānt, proudly noting that he had been told that the poem had been painted on the wall of the Bīspanth Koṭhī temple at the important pilgrimage shrine of Sammet Shikhar in eastern India.

This is not just a modernist response to Holī. The fifteenth-century Digambar poet Brahm Jindās criticized the popular performance of Holī in his Holī Rās. [3] As summarized by Premcand Rāṅvkā (1980: 70f.), Jindās described how Holī had been observed in the fourth spoke of time in Jain cosmology, a Jain version of the golden age of truth (satya yug):

"[S]pring (basant) was played on the full moon of Phālgun. Rās, bhās, kavitt, phāg and gīt [all genres of songs] were sung. Virtuous people worshipped in the Jina temples. There were performances of religious stories. This was the correct Holī. The way Holī is observed nowadays is not correct."

A century-and-one-half later, the Digambar poet Chītar Ṭholiyā in his Holī kī Kathā, which he composed in Mozamabad in 1603, said that the play with colors and the Holī bonfire are both examples of mithyātva or wrong faith. According to him, not only does participating in the play of Holī result in a person being reborn in an infernal existence (joṣelai holī mithyāta / so pāvai narakā kau pāta), but just watching the bonfire will have the same result (holī jalatī deṣai soya / naraka taṇauṃ jīva soya). [4]

On the other hand, Holī is a neighborhood event in which everyone in a community is expected to participate. Most Jains have done so willingly and even eagerly. It is a joyous springtime festival, the celebration of which traditionally has not been tied to any one religious community. An article in the March 15, 2008, edition of the Rājasthān Patrikā, a Hindī-language daily newspaper in Jaipur, listed several locations where there was public singing for the eight days leading up to Holī. These included the Lārlījī temple of Krishna in Rāmgañj Bazār, the Vaiṣṇo Devī temple in Rājā Park, the Ānand Kṛṣṇa Bihārījī temple in Tripoliyā, and the Śyām Sevā Parivār organization of Krishna devotees in Jamnāpurī. Another article in the same issue described a poetry recital in celebration of the season; of the five poets mentioned in the article, three were Muslim. At the conclusion of Holī, there is a big annual kavi sammelan ("poet's gathering") in Vidyādharnagar, a suburb of Jaipur, which is attended by thousands of connoisseurs who come to hear seasonal poetry.

Much of what goes on during Holī, such as visiting with friends and neighbors to express loving comradeship, and eating sweets, dried fruits and other special seasonal foods, is not opposed to Jain ethics or etiquette. Not to participate in these activities can even be seen as rude and anti-social. Despite the ideological stance that a strictly orthodox Jain should not participate in various aspects of Holī (and some indeed do not), in actual fact the vast majority of Jains of all traditions living in north India do so. In Jaipur, for example, on the afternoon of the final day of Holī, many Digambar Jains used to go to the Phāgī temple in Ghīvāloṃ kā Rāstā, where there was a program of devotional singing of Holī and other songs (Anūpcand Nyāytīrth 1990: 15).[5]

Singing Spring: Phaguā, Phāgu

Holī in north India is more than a two-day religious and social event. It is a high point of a larger set of cultural events that mark the season of spring. As we have seen, there are many musical and poetic performances. People gather in Hindu temples and other public places to sing Holī songs in a seasonal style known as phaguā, after the spring month of Phāgun. In traditional north India, wintertime often saw the men of a family go elsewhere, to work, trade or soldier. In Phāgun women expected their men to return. Many phaguā songs express viraha or love in absence, and are filled with emotional longing and sexual anticipation. Others express saṃyog, as the man has returned and the lovers are again united.

Phāg is also one of the names for the red powder that people throw on each other while playing Holī. While the various myths behind the festival indicate that most of the activities pre-date the Krishna-oriented Vaiṣṇavization of north India, in large parts of north India, Holī for several centuries has been inextricably linked with imitating the ways that Krishna and his companions played it. The play of colors in particular is closely associated with the spiritualized erotic play of Krishna and the gopīs in the countryside of Braj.

Modern phaguā songs derive from the older genre of phāg or phāgu. As described by Charlotte Vaudeville (1986: 21), "the main and almost sole theme of the phāgu is the erotic theme in its various aspects and phases: viyoga and saṁyoga, union and separation of lovers." Kantilal B. Vyas (1942: xxxviiif.) has summarized the features of a phāgu. It begins with a sensuous description of spring, as all of nature exhibits new life. The poem then turns to the heroine. The fertile exuberance of spring accentuates her longing for her absent lover. The detailed descriptions of the love-sick heroine are essential to the mood of the poem, creating a sympathetic sense of longing in the audience. At length, the hero returns, the lovers are reunited, and rather than being in conflict with the surrounding natural setting, their fertile erotic play is consonant with it. The poem ends with a sense of profound fulfillment.

This genre was adopted by more theologically oriented poets in the Vaiṣṇava and Jain traditions to express the separation of the person from his or her spiritual essence. In a Vaiṣṇava phāgu, the poet allegorized the separation of the lovers to the separation of the soul from God as Krishna. In a Jain phāgu, the poet allegorized the separation of the person as defined externally by the transitory and deluded body and senses from the person's true being, the internal, eternal and wise soul.

The Jain genre of phāgu, and another genre that Vaudeville demonstrated had extensive overlap with it, the genre of bārahmāsā (a cycle of songs depicting the twelve months of the year), had a significant influence on the later Digambar genre of Holī songs. Vaudeville (1986: 22) wrote, "in the oldest phāgus... the 'play-acting' element is always noticeable," so the genre lent itself to transformation from narrative poetry into drama. These two genres of phāgu and bārahmāsā appear to have been particularly popular in the language now characterized as Old Gujarati, and the examples Vaudeville discussed were all composed by Śvetāmbar authors. In relation to the bārahmāsā genre, she observed (p. 17), "the oldest known viraha-bārahmāsas [sic] are not krishnaite poems... but Jain works in Apabhraṁśa or old Mārvāṛī-Gujarātī; the heroes are not Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā, but one of the Jain saints, usually the romantic Nemi (Neminātha) and his fiancée Rājimatī, cruelly abandoned by him on her wedding day."[6] Agarcand Nāhṭā (1962b: 36f.), and following him Vaudeville (1986: 23), argued that the genre of phāgu also shows Jain, and particularly Śvetāmbar Jain, origins. The oldest known phāgu is the twenty-seven-verse Sthūlibhadra Phāgu by the Śvetāmbar author Jinapadmasūri. He was head of the Khartar Gacch from VS 1390 to1400 (CE 1333- 1343) (Vinayasāgar 2004: 202f.).[7]

A third genre that overlapped extensively with phāgu was dhamāl (also spelled dhamār; in older Digambar texts often spelled ḍhamāl). This was not as early a genre; the earliest Digambar examples are from the sixteenth century VS, and the earliest Śvetāmbar examples from the seventeenth century VS. The overlap between phāgu and dhamāl was so great that Nāhṭā (1962b: 39) said, "There must be differences between phāgu and dhamāl in terms of meter, rāginī and style, but in the seventeenth century, from when most of the compositions in the genre of dhamāl date, both names are applied to the same compositions." We see this clearly in the seventeenth-century text I discuss below by the seventeenth-century Banārsīdās, which was entitled both Adhyātam Phāg and Adhyātam Dhamār in the same manuscripts.

Among Jains phāgu and bārahmāsā appear to have begun in Śvetāmbar literary circles, but they did not remain exclusively Śvetāmbar genres. There was also a Digambar expression of this genre, as seen in the Ādīśvar Phāg by Jñānbhūṣaṇ, composed sometime around 1500 CE. The author was a bhaṭṭārak who occupied the Sagwara seat (in what is now Dungarpur District in southern Rajasthan) of the Kāṣṭhā Saṅgh, Nandītaṭ Gacch. He was active between VS 1531 and 1560 (CE 1475-1504). His Ādīśvar Phāg in two cantos, the first in Sanskrit and the second in what Kāslīvāl (1967: 59) characterized as "Rajasthani influenced by Gujarati,"[8] narrated the biography of the first Jina, Ādināth or Ādīśvar. After dwelling at great length on the hero's childhood and accession to the throne as king, Jñānbhūṣaṇ achieved a denouement in which the divine dancer Nīlañjanā was sent by the gods to remind Ādīśvar of the need to renounce the world. She danced so energetically that she fell dead. This shocked Ādīśvar into realizing the fragility of life, and caused him to renounce his throne and become a homeless mendicant. We see here a skillful redeployment of the common phāgu emphasis on viraha or bereavement at separation from one's beloved to underscore the Jain valorization of renunciation of the emotions.

Other Gujarat-based bhaṭṭāraks also composed phāgus. [9] Bhaṭṭārak Sakalakīrti of the Idar branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ composed a Śāntināth Phāgu in the late fifteenth century (Kāslīvāl 1967: 1f). Bhaṭṭārak Vīrcand of the Surat branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ composed a Vīr Vilās Phāg, on the life of Nemināth, sometime shortly before 1600 (Kāslīvāl 1967: 106f.). Bhaṭṭārak Ratnakīrti of the Surat branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ composed a Nemināth Phāg and Nemināth Bārahmāsā, also sometime shortly before 1600 (Kāslīvāl 1981: 51f.). Finally, Brahm Rāymall, another renouncer in the Surat branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ, but who lived in the Ḍhūṇḍhahāḍ region (the modern-day Jaipur area), composed a Nemīśvar Rās or Nemīśvar Phāg in VS 1615 (CE 1558; Kāslīvāl 1978: 16f.). These works are all found in Digambar libraries in north India, and so almost certainly influenced the later north Indian genre of Digambar Holī songs. [10]

A Digambar Jain Counter-Tradition of Holī: Banārsīdās

Digambar Jain poets in north India developed a tradition of short Holī songs (pad) that was both in continuity with the older phāgu, dhamāl and bārahmāsā literature, and a response to the popular transgressive observances. [11] We do not know when this counter-tradition of Holī songs started, but it has been in existence since at least the time of Banārsīdās (1586-1643), who composed several Braj-bhāṣā poems on the subject. Included in his Banārsī Vilās, the collection of his poetic works compiled shortly after his death by his friend and fellow poet Jagjīvanrām, is an eighteen-verse poem entitled Adhyātam Phāg or Adhyātam Dhamār. Banārsīdās engaged in an extensive allegorization of the observance of Holī, in which he stressed the need to turn away from externalities and focus on one's inner spiritual essence. In the refrain of the poem, he asked,

                Without spirituality

                        how will you realize

                                   your divine form?[12]

This is the basic message of the style of Digambar spirituality known as Adhyātma; Banārsīdās was a leader in one of the most important Adhyātma circles, in Agra, in the midseventeenth century (Cort 2002). Adhyātma involved a radical form of soteriological dualism, and in the song Banārsīdās recommended that while deluded people play the external, physical Holī, the spiritual seeker should instead "play in the virtues of the power of the spontaneous soul"[13] and thereby destroy delusion. Among the many virtues in which the seeker should revel is sumati, right or good thought or belief. Hiralal Jain (1962: 14) felicitously translated sumati as "good intention." In this poem, Banārsīdās said that sumati is like a festive black cuckoo, whose singing aids the soul (ghaṭ) that is wandering in a fog as thick as a cloud of cotton.[14]

Two other poems by Banārsīdās also described the Jain spiritual Holī. A short poem in the springtime rāg of Basant described the saints (sant) gathered in the Jina's court (darbār).[15] The other involved a more fully developed allegory, similar to what we find in the many Holī songs of subsequent centuries. [16] Banārsīdās said that the heroine Sumati and her friends expelled the evil woman Kumati (Bad or Wrong Thought, Belief or Intention) from their midst. In place of the passionate colors of Holī, they sprinkled the colors of equanimity (samatā). Instead of a physical fire to burn the wood of the bonfire (and the small living beings who make it their home), they developed the interior fire of meditation (dhyān) in which they burnt up the eight forms of karma. Banārsīdās also allegorized the foods shared by people on Holī: the sweets became compassion (dayā), the expensive dried fruits became renunciatory asceticism (tap), and the betel leaf became truth (sat). Finally, the congregational musical performance of Holī was allegorized, as the drums and tambourines instead of music played the guru's speech (vacan), as well as knowledge (jñān, gyāṅn) and forgiveness (kṣamā, khimā).


Banārsīdās was not the only Jain poet of his time to allegorize Holī. His fellow member of the Agra Adhyātma seminar, Jagjīvanrām (also Jagjīvandās), was an Agravāl Jain who was a divān for Jāfar Khan, a courtier of Shah Jahan (Premī 1957: 106f.). In VS 1701 (CE 1644) he collected Banārsīdās's smaller writings into the Banārsī Vilās. He was also a poet in his own right. He composed an Adhyātmik Phāg, which was built around the recitation of the Namaskāra Mantra.[17] In the song he urged his listeners as faithful Jains to play Holī in the appropriate manner, so they would never again suffer the burning pain of life in this world of suffering. [18] He concluded:

                Your hair stands on end

                        and happiness arises

            when you play Horī here

                        in the right way. [19]

                        Jan Jagjīvan sings:

                        remember the blessed Jina King.

            The dried fruits are crown and crest-jewel

                        as you play Phagvā with your body.[20]

The Battle between Delusion and Discrimination

Possibly because Banārsīdās is regarded as a foundational poet for the subsequent tradition of lay Digambar poets in north India, he was also credited with the composition of an allegorical drama, called Moh Vivek Yuddh, or The Battle between Delusion and Discrimination. Most scholars, however, have rejected his authorship of this text. Nāthūrām Premī (1957: 83f.) rejected it on the grounds that the text does not match Banārsīdās's known works either in use of Jain technical language or its skill in metrics. Saroj Agravāl (1962: 265f.) compared the text with two other known texts of the same name, by one Jan Gopāl (ca. VS 1650-1730) of the Dādūpanth,[21] and the second by Lāldās (composed ca. CE 1675 or 1710?), who was a Vaiṣṇava. She concluded that the Banārsīdās text is an abridgement of the one by Jan Gopāl, and so must have been authored by another, later Banārsīdās. Ravīndar Kumār Jain (1958; 1965; 1966: 207f.), who appears not to have known of Agravāl's detailed analysis, nonetheless came to the same conclusion by a similar close comparison of the texts by Banārsīdās and Jan Gopāl. Agarcand Nāhṭā (1964) also concluded that the text attributed to Banārsīdās was authored by Jan Gopāl. In verses two and three, the author of Moh Vivek Yuddh explicitly said that he related in a more concise version what was found in three longer texts by the earlier poets Malh, Lāldās and [Jan] Gopāl. According to Premī (1957: 84f.), on the basis of information provided to him by Agarcand Nāhṭā concerning a manuscript in a Jaipur library, Malh (or Mall), also known as Mathurādās, was an Advaitin author who lived in Antarved. [22] Malh's Moh Vivek Yuddh, composed in VS 1603 (CE 1546), was a vernacular version of Kṛṣṇamiśra's Prabodhacandrodaya.

The presence in the Digambar libraries of Jaipur of five manuscripts of Moh Vivek Yuddh attributed to Banārsīdās indicates that it was copied and read by later Digambar authors, for whom the attribution to Banārsīdās would have given the text an authoritative status.[23] Agarcand Nāhṭā (1962a: 95f.) wrote that a manuscript in the bhaṇḍār (library) of the Śvetāmbar Jain Baṛā Upāsarā in Bikaner contained the Moh Vivek Yuddh along with four texts whose attribution to Banārsīdās is certain: the Mokṣamāl Paiṛī, the Jñān Paccīsī, and his Braj-bhāṣā translations of the Sindūraprakara and the Kalyāṇamandira Stotra. The manuscript was commissioned by a layman named Śāh Haṅsrāj, and copied in the town of Malkapur in 1703 by a Śvetāmbar mendicant named Raṅgvimalgaṇi. Haṅsrāj had the Sindūraprakara copied for his own studies (paṭhanārth), but had the other three copied so that he could use them in sermons (vācanārth). He obviously was an important leader of a local intellectual circle, and he was described as a leader of the local congregation (saṅghmukhya). While there is no colophon to the Moh Vivek Yuddh, it is possible that it was also copied for Haṅsrāj. Its presence in this manuscript shows that at least in the early eighteenth century in this one Śvetāmbar setting, Banārsīdās's authorship of Moh Vivek Yuddh was accepted.

In 118 verses, the text describes a lengthy battle between two opposing armies. On the one side was the army of Vivek (Discrimination), who was assisted by such allies as Niṣkām (Dispassion), Dayā (Compassion), Saraltā (Straightforwardness) and Udārtā (Generosity). On the other was the army of Moh (Delusion), who was assisted by Kām (Passion), Krodh (Anger), Māyā (Illusion), Mamtā (Egotism), and others. In the end, Vivek was victorious.


Moh Vivek Yuddh indicates another line of historical influence upon the Holī songs of the later Digambar poets. This is the long tradition of allegory in South Asian religious writing. The Śvetāmbar scriptures, for example, contain many symbolic and metaphorical stories, as well as several instances of formal allegory. [24] The classical example of the use of allegory in Jain literature is the Sanskrit Upamitibhavaprapañcakathā (Allegorical Story of the Diversity of Worldly Existence), composed by the Śvetāmbar monk Siddharṣi in CE 906. All the characters in this long novel had highly allegorical names such as Niṣpuṇyaka (Virtueless), Supuṇyaka (Good Virtue), Sadbuddhi (True Insight), Sadāgama (True Scripture) and Sumati (Good Intention). Several centuries later, during the short reign of the Caulukya emperor Ajayapāla (CE 1229-32), the lay Śvetāmbar poet Yaśaḥpāla composed his Sanskrit Moharājaparyāya (Defeat of King Delusion), an allegorical drama first performed in the Kumāravihāra, a temple to Mahāvīra built in Tharad by Ajayapāla's predecessor Kumārapāla. This drama, about the "conversion" of Kumārapāla to Jainism, detailed a lengthy struggle between the armies of Vivekacandra (Moon of Discrimination) and Moha (Delusion). Their armies were populated by a large cast of virtues and vices. Allegory was also employed by Digambar authors, for example in the ca. fourteenth century VS Sanskrit Madanaparājaya (Defeat of Lust) by the south Indian layman Nāgadeva. This narrated a battle between the hero Jinendra and his foe Madana or Kāma (Passion), whose chief general was Moha (Delusion). Again, both sides were filled with allegorical characters from Jain soteriology. In the end, Madana and his army were defeated, Jinendra married Siddhi (Spiritual Perfection), and the two went to Mokṣa.

The most famous allegory in Indian literature, and one that had a significant influence on Jain literature, was the Prabodhacandrodaya (Moonrise of Spiritual Awakening) of Kṛṣṇamiśra. The author was an Advaitin ascetic who lived in the court of the Candella king Kīrtivarman, where the play was first performed sometime soon after 1060 CE (Kapstein 2009: xxviii). The play is said to have been written in order to teach philosophy to one of Kṛṣṇamiśra's disciples (Nambiar 1971: 2), and it serves well as an introduction to the various schools of Indian philosophy. In the play, Kṛṣṇamiśra lampooned representatives of the various non-Advaita schools, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Cārvāka, and described (with adequate accuracy) and rejected their doctrines. The hero of the play was Puruṣa (Soul), who had forgotten his identity with Parameśvara, the Supreme Being. He had been led astray by his wife Māyā (Illusion). His son Manas (Mind), along with a companion named Ahaṃkāra (Egoism), contributed to his ignorance. Manas in turn had two wives, the bad wife Pravṛtti (Activity, i.e., active engagement with the external sensory world) and the good wife Nivṛtti (Quiescence, i.e., ceasing such active engagement). Pravṛtti's son was the equally bad Moha (Delusion), while Nivṛtti's son was the good Viveka (Discrimination). Moha and Viveka waged a war over their grandfather, each of them accompanied by an appropriately negative and positive army of external and internal values and practices. Manas saw that Pravṛtti had been the source of much suffering, and he became attached to Nivṛtti. He was aided by his good sons and associates, and became quiet, i.e., he turned away from external stimuli and focused upon his interior spiritual essence. Viveka was then able to awaken Puruṣa to his true nature.

This play was widely read in the subsequent centuries by intellectuals and artists in all traditions. It was also the source of extensive imitation, adaptation and translation. It had a significant place in the vernacular literatures of north India (Agravāl 1962; McGregor 1971, 1986; Sharma 2011: 136f.). As we saw above, as Moh Vivek Yuddh it was adapted into Brajbhāṣā by poets of several different religious persuasions, including a Jain.


Arguably the most important Digambar Jain response to the Prabodhacandrodaya was the Sanskrit Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka (Drama of the Sunrise of Knowledge), written in VS 1649 (CE 1593) by the domesticated monk Vādicandra. The title was a direct nod to Kṛṣṇamiśra's earlier allegorical drama, for whereas the earlier play detailed the Moonrise of [Salvific] Awakening, Vādicandra's concerned the Sunrise of [Salvific] Knowledge. [25]

Vādicandra was a bhaṭṭārak of the seat of the Sūrat Branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ of the Mūl Saṅgh in southern Gujarat (Premī 1956). [26] He composed the Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka in Mahuva, in present-day Surat district in southern Gujarat. He wrote a number of texts, mostly in Sanskrit, but also in the vernacular, between VS 1640 (CE 1584) and VS 1657 (CE 1601), including a Pārśva Purāṇa and a Pavanadūta. The latter was an imitation of Kālidāsa's Meghadūta, so Vādicandra had an obvious propensity for imitations of classical Sanskrit literature.

The Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka was the story of the hero Ātman (Soul). He had a number of children by his two wives Sumati (Good Intention) and Kumati (Bad Intention). Sumati's four sons were all virtues: Prabodha (Awakening), Viveka (Discrimination), Santoṣa (Contentment) and Śīla (Virtue). Kumati's five sons were all vices: Moha (Delusion), Kāma (Passion), Krodha (Enmity), Māna (Pride) and Lobha (Greed). Several of these characters reappeared in the works attributed to Banārsīdās a generation later, and still others were included in the subsequent genre of Digambar Holī poems.

Sumati and Kumati are good and bad variants of one of the five forms of knowledge (jñāna) according to Jain epistemology. In brief, mati-jñāna consists of knowledge that is mediated by the senses (which, in Jainism, includes the mind). [27] In the Holī poems, mati simply refers to all the ways that the person interacts with external stimuli, and allows those stimuli to shape his or her understanding of and reaction to the world. Because it is sensory, mati-jñāna is inherently different from the immaterial soul. The soul (jīva, ātman), on the other hand, is marked by consciousness (cetanā). [28] Pure consciousness, however, is obscured in the unliberated soul by karma. Of particular importance here is the form of knowledgeobscuring (jñānāvaraṇīya) karma that blocks knowledge; one of the five sub-forms of this karma blocks mati-jñāna.

While the Digambar allegories of Sumati, Kumati and Cetan are based on the basic elements of Jain epistemology and karma theory, they do not relay the technical details. Rather, the allegories work on a simpler and more straightforward understanding that Cetan is the pure, eternal soul within the person, characterized in particular as being Consciousness. In Sanskrit the feminine noun cetanā was the preferred form, but in the vernacular literature the masculine noun cetan was used. This allowed the poets to allegorize Cetan as a male hero. Sumati and Kumati are the positive and negative mentalities - mind is considered one of the senses in Jain ontology - by means of which a person, as a transitory embodied being, interacts with the world. These two aid or hinder the person in realizing his or her pure, eternal essence. Sumati and Kumati comprise all of the thoughts, beliefs and intentions through which one interacts with the external world. Since mati is a feminine noun, the poets then allegorized Sumati and Kumati as feminine characters.

We do not have any definitive proof that Banārsīdās himself read or otherwise knew of Vādicandra's drama, composed a generation earlier in a different province of the Mughal Empire. It is clear that subsequent poets did read it, and it had a significant influence on later vernacular Digambar literature. There are at least eight manuscripts of the drama in the Digambar temple libraries in Jaipur, and at least another half-dozen manuscripts in other Digambar temple libraries elsewhere in Rajasthan (Kāslīvāl 1945-72). More important as evidence of its influence is that it was translated at least five times into the vernacular, making it among the most frequently translated of all Digambar Sanskrit texts. Just a single manuscript copy exists of some of these translations, indicating that they might be translations done privately for a person's own edification.[29] An otherwise unknown author named Jinvardās (who, from his name, might have been a renouncer disciple of a bhaṭṭārak), composed his version in VS 1854 (CE 1797); the single extant copy was made by one Dayācand Cāndvāṛ and deposited in the Baṛā Terāpanth temple library in Jaipur in VS 1892 (CE 1835). The unknown Bakhtāvarlāl composed his version, of which just a single copy was extant as of 1954, in VS 1854 (CE 1797). The one copy of a version by the unknown Bhagavatīdās was copied in VS 1877 (CE 1820). The well-known vernacular hymnist and author Bhāgcand composed his version in VS 1907 (CE 1850). There are at least twelve manuscripts of his version in Rajasthan libraries. The last version was by Pārasdās (also Pārśvadās) Nigotyā (d. VS 1936 = CE 1879), an important Digambar paṇḍit of Jaipur who was a voluminous author.[30] In VS 1883 (CE 1826), his father Ṛṣabhdās Nigotyā (who was also an active writer) built the Digambar Temple Nigotiyān, a Terāpanth temple in Jaipur, which is still managed today by his descendents (Anūpcand Nyāytīrth 1990: 14f.). There are at least eight manuscripts of Pārasdās's version in Jaipur temple libraries. [31]


Another precursor to the later Digambar Holī tradition, who also pre-dates Banārsīdās, is the poet Būcrāj. Little is known of this poet. His only two dated texts are from 1532 and 1534. In total he composed eight longer texts and eleven short gīts and pads. He was a renouncer in the bhaṭṭārak tradition who lived in the area of what is now Rajasthan and Haryana. [32] In his undated Bhuvanakīrti Gīt, Būcrāj expressed his devotion to Bhaṭṭārak Bhuvanakīrti as his guru, and also indicated that he had spent some time in the group of renouncers led by Bhuvanakīrti's predecessor Bhaṭṭārak Ratnakīrti. Bhūvanakīrti and Ratnakīrti occupied the seat of the Nagaur branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ. The branch was started by Ratnakīrti in 1515; he was later consecrated as bhaṭṭārak in Delhi in 1524.[33] He was succeeded by Bhuvanakīrti in 1529, who occupied the seat until 1533. [34] The colophon of a manuscript of the Samyaktva Kaumudī that was copied in 1525 indicates that it was donated to a Brahm (celibate renouncer) Būc in Champavati (also known as Chaksu and Chatsu), a town with an important Digambar presence that is located about twenty-five miles south of present-day Jaipur.[35] Kāslīvāl (1979: 11f.) has written that Champavati between 1518 and 1528 was a center of Bhaṭṭārak Prabhācandra and his group of celibate disciples, and they produced a number of manuscripts, so Būcrāj may have been one of the celibate renouncers in Prabhācandra's following. Prabhācandra was head of the Delhi branch of the Balātkār Gaṇ from which Ratnakīrti had earlier broken off. Prabhācandra and Ratnakīrti were both disciples of Bhaṭṭārak Jinacandra, and Johrāpurkar (1958: 110) indicates that the separation was simply one of geography, not ideology, so Būcrāj and other renouncers may have moved between the two groups. According to Kāslīvāl (1979: 12), Prabhācandra's group was one in which there was extensive study of Sanskrit and Prakrit texts, and so being in this group may have been attractive to a renouncer like Būcrāj with strong literary interests. Būcrāj completed his Mayaṇ Jujjh in Champavati in 1532. His only other dated text is the Santoṣ Jayatilaku, which he completed in Hisar in 1534. In a gīt (song) he venerated the icon of the Jina Śāntināth in Hastinapur, a Jain pilgrimage shrine about fifty-five miles northeast of Delhi.[36] Manuscripts of Būcrāj's texts have been found mostly in Rajasthan, confirming that while he spent time in other regions of northern India, this was probably his principle area of residence. [37]

Būcrāj is best known as a poet of allegories (rūpak), composed in a form of vernacular language that showed strong influences of Apabhramsa, but also the rising influence of Hindī. In the 159 verses of his Mayaṇ Jujjh (The Battle against Lust) he narrated a struggle between the first Jina, Ṛṣabha, and Kām (also known as Madan), the god of erotic love or lust. The battle was carried out between the same pair that we see in the Moh Vivek Yuddh attributed to Banārsīdās, and who also played major parts in Kṛṣṇamiśra's Prabodhacandrodaya: the hero was Vivek (Discrimination), while his opponent was Moh (Delusion). Vivek was the son of Cetan (Consciousness) by his good wife Nivṛtti (Quiescence), while Moh was Cetan's son by his bad wife. Moh in turn married Māyā (Illusion), and their son was Kām. Among Moh's female companions was Kumati, along with Kusīkh (Bad Learning) and Kubuddhi (Bad Insight). Vivek married Sumati. Vivek was assisted by a retinue of virtues, while Moh was assisted by a large number of vices. In the end, Vivek defeated Moh, and so the renouncer Ṛṣabha overcame Kām.

Several of Būcrāj's other narrative texts also involved allegories that fit within the larger Digambar literary tradition that includes the later Holī songs. His 113-verse Santoṣ Jay Tilaku told the story of a contest between Santoṣ (Satisfaction) and Lobh (Greed). The Cetan Pudgal Dhamāl was a springtime narrative of 138 verses in which he told of the conflict between Cetan and Pudgal. This is the fundamental Jain ontological duality of conscious soul and unconscious matter; recognizing the profound difference between the two, and so orienting oneself toward the former while rejecting the latter, is at the heart of the spirituality emphasized by the later Jain vernacular poets.

The Ongoing Tradition of Cetan, Sumati and Kumati

The allegory of King Consciousness and his two wives, Good Intention and Bad Intention, continued to be popular in Digambar vernacular literature outside of its use in the Holī songs I discuss below. The poet Bhaiyā Bhagavatīdās (also spelled Bhagotīdās), whose pads continue to be sung today, composed his Cetan Caritra (Epic of Consciousness), also known as Cetan Karm Caritra (Epic of Consciousness and Karma), in 1679.[38] Bhaiyā Bhagavatīdās was a Digambar Osvāl who lived in Agra, where his father Daśrath Sāhu had been a wellknown merchant. [39] His dated compositions are from a period between 1674 and 1698. In part because of his residence in the Mughal capital, his texts contain much Urdu and Persian vocabulary (Miśra 1989-99: 3: 316). He composed more than sixty texts, ten of which were to varying extents in the genre of allegory. In the 290 verses of the Cetan Caritra, he narrated the story of King Cetan and his two wives, Sumati and Kumati. Sumati sees that Cetan is entangled in Karma, and tells him that he must fight illusion (moh) with the weapons of discrimination (vivek), and the distinctly Digambar spiritual emphasis on knowing the difference (bhed-vijñān) between the sentient soul and the insentient material body. In response to this positive influence of Sumati, Cetan's other wife, Kumati, leaves him and returns to the home of her father, King Illusion (Mohrāj). He sends a messenger named Lust (Kām) to demand that Cetan accept back Kumati, or else prepare for battle. When Cetan refuses to take back Kumati, King Illusion advances with his army led by the generals Passion (Rāg) and Aversion (Dveṣ). They are assisted by warriors with the names of the various kinds of karma. Cetan in turn is assisted by his minister Knowledge (Jñān), and a number of warriors whose names indicate positive spiritual perceptions and practices. In the end, Cetan is victorious.

Another text that relays the conflict between Sumati and Kumati is the Sumati Kumati kī Jakhaḍī (The Binding of Kumati) by Vinodīlāl.[40] He was a resident of Sahijapur, a town on the Ganga, but also spent time in Delhi during the reign of Aurangzeb, where he composed a vernacular prose rendition of the Bhaktāmara Stotra and its related stories in 1690.[41] Other texts by him date from between 1685 (or 1687) and 1693.[42] He was a follower of Bhaṭṭārak Kumārsen, who occupied a seat of the Kāṣṭhā Saṅgh, Māthur Gacch, Puṣkar Gaṇ. [43]

The later poets who composed Holī songs that employed the allegory of Cetan, Sumati and Kumati, also composed songs outside the Holī setting that described either all three of them, or just the struggle between Sumati and Kumati (and, accordingly, the need for a good Jain also to struggle between them). Budhjan, whose Holī songs I analyze below, for example, composed the following pad in the Rāg Kaliṅgaṛā:

                The work of Kumatī
                        is worthless,
                                   sir. (refrain)

            The woman Sumatī
                        is smart -
            the doctrine tells you, sir,
                        she is excellent.

            She is born of endless bondage.
            Her brothers are anger,
                        greed & intoxication.
            Illusion is her sister,
                        wrong faith her father -
                        this is the lineage
                                   of Kumatī. (1)

            She loots your house
                        of knowledge, wealth
                                   & wisdom.
            She gives birth
                        to passion & aversion.
            Then you become weak
                        & karma foes
                                   grab hold of you.
            You dance the dance
                        in life after life. (2)

            Get rid of your affection
                        for her family -
                                   this is Budhjan's advice.
            Color your love with Sumatī
                        the daughter of Dharma,
                                   live in the palace
                                               of liberation. (3)[44]

The Story of the Holī Festival

In tracing the various literary streams that inform the later vernacular Holī songs of King Consciousness, Good Intention and Bad Intention, we should be aware of an earlier genre of Holī literature that appears not to have influenced the later Holī allegory. This is the genre of narratives, found in both Sanskrit and vernacular, and in both prose and verse, that relate the story behind a specifically Jain way of observing Holī in a nonviolent manner. Above I mentioned the Holī kī Kathā of Chītar Ṭholiyā, which he composed in Mojamabad in 1603. Almost nothing is known about Chītar Ṭholiyā. The Holī kī Kathā is his only extant composition. We do know, however, that Mojamabad in the early seventeenth century was an important center of Digambar Jainism within the Kacchvāhā state. [45] In the 101 or 102 verses of his poem,[46] Chītar Ṭholiyā told the story of a rich merchant named Manorath and his wife Lakṣkmī. Their youngest daughter was named Holikā. She was widowed just a few days after her marriage, and returned to her natal home. There she fell in love with a young man named Kāmpāl (Lord Lust). She employed a go-between to arrange for a meeting with him. Holikā killed the go-between so that she could not tell of Holikā's inappropriate behavior. She then burnt the corpse, so people would think that it was Holikā who had died. Holikā and Kāmpāl ran off, and became absorbed in their passion for each other. The go-between was reborn as a fierce goddess (vyantarī) who began to oppress the people of the city with an illness. She appeared to someone in a dream, and explained what to do to pacify her. She instructed the people to burn a log on the full-moon night of Phāguṇ, and then rub the ashes from the fire on the foreheads of anyone who was ill. If this was done in the spirit of correct Jain faith (samyaktva), the goddess would be pacified and the person cured. People came to call this fire "Holī." Holikā and Kāmpāl, meanwhile, became impoverished due to their single-minded focus on their erotic affair. Holikā returned to her natal city, and came to the shop of Manorath. He saw her eyeing a saree, and remembered that Holikā had been fond of it. He realized she was his daughter, and took her back into her home. Chītar Ṭholiyā concluded, as we saw above, with the exhortation that people should perform Holī in a state of equanimity and peace, whereas the popular, more riotous performances were a sign of wrong faith (mithyātva).

Other texts also told this tale. An anonymous Sanskrit prose text entitled Holī Rañja Parva Kathānaka (The Story of the Festival of Holī Color) found in a manuscript in the Digambar library formerly in the old capital of Amer, and now at the Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān in Jaipur, tells the same story. This manuscript was copied in 1820. As with many Jain narratives, this explanation for the observance of Holī is not restricted to the Digambars. The Holī Rañja Parva Kathānaka by a Śvetāmbar monk named Jinasundarasūri, in fifty-one Sanskrit verses tells essentially the same story as does Chītar Ṭholiyā and the anonymous Holī Rañja Parva Kathānaka.[47] None of the characters of this narrative, however, appear in the vernacular Digambar Holī songs.


In the two centuries following Banārsīdās, seemingly every one of the dozens of prolific poets who made up the thriving lay Digambar vernacular literary scene in north India included several Holī songs in his repertoire. [48] For example, we find two Holī songs among Bhāgcand's eighty-seven songs, and there are seven Holī songs among the more than 700 we have from Pārasdās Nigotyā. On the occasion of this celebration of the scholarship of Alan Babb, and in honor of his close study of the city of Jaipur over the past two-and-a-half decades, I have chosen to present and analyze the six Holī songs (pad, bhajan) by the Jaipur Digambar Jain poet Birdhīcand (also Badhīcand, Bhadīcand and Budhcand), better known by his nom de plume Budhjan.[49] He was active between VS 1835 (CE 1778) and VS 1895 (CE 1838), and so lived a generation before Pārasdās Nigotyā. He may well have known Pārasdās's father Ṛṣabhdās, since they were contemporaries, although we have no evidence that they met. Budhjan was a prolific author of more than two dozen independent texts, and more than 250 short pads. He also built a temple, in VS 1864 (CE 1807), the Budhcand Baj temple on Ṭikkīvāloṃ kā Rāstā in Kiśanpol Bazaar (Anūpcand Nyāytīrth 1990: 60f.). This temple is in the Gumān Panth.

Budhjan's poems do not show a single, simple allegorization of Holī. Rather, in each composition the poet gave different symbolic interpretations of various elements in the observance of Holī. Presumably part of the enjoyment of hearing the songs sung in performance would be the pleasure of seeing how the poet had structured equivalences in any one particular song, and then comparing them to the next song that followed in the series. To give some sense of how they might have been received in performance, I will first present and discuss the poems individually, before returning to an overview analysis of them.[50] The order here is the same as that in the recent edition of Budhjan's collected independent songs by Tārācand Jain.

Now he's come home, my King Consciousness[51]

In the first poem, Sumati - who is never directly named in the poem, but is understood to be the person singing it - celebrates that her lord and master Consciousness has returned home from unspecified travels in time to play Holī. As contemporary scholarship has shown, Holī is a time of social anti-structure, when the hierarchical concerns of society are temporarily set aside. Sumati does this as well, in addition to setting aside worldly concerns that distract one from the spiritual pursuit. The poet indicates one ritual way to overcome Kumati: donation (bali) to the gurus. Since at the time of Budhjan there were no full-fledged naked Digambar munis in north India, but only landed and clothed bhaṭṭāraks, whose authority and therefore suitability for donation the Gumān Panth rejected, Budhjan either speaks idealistically of giving to a true renouncer, or else by "gurus" (gurujan) refers to the Jinas, the ultimate teachers for the Jains. Budhjan then turns to his allegorization of Holī. The reservoir that holds the water to be used in the water-fights equals experience of the self (nij subhāv). The red dye, the squirt-gun, and the act of sprinkling the dyed water are all referred back to this experience of the self. Through this experience, Sumati sings that she will be able to keep Cetan "at home," and he will not wander again.

                Now he's come home,
                        my King Consciousness.
                        now I can play Horī. (refrain)

            I've put aside laziness
                        I've put aside worries
                                   I've put aside family

            I am firm
                        I am steadfast
                                   I am strong.

            Don't think about Kumati -
                        she's a bad one.
            She keeps looking at me.
            I give & give
                        to the gurus
            to drive away
                        my silly ideas. (1)

            I fill the reservoir
                        with the water of experience
                                   of my self,
            I stir in
                        the red dye
                                   of my self.
            I pick up the pure pickārī[52]
my self
            I sprinkle
                        my mind itself. (2)

            I have sung
                        I have rejoiced
                                   he's now under my sway
            never again
                        will he go away.
            Budhjan says,
                        I am dyed [with the self]
                                   & will remain inside
                        [I have found]
                                   my timeless strength. (3)[53]

Everyone has gathered to play Horī

In this poem, Cetan is missing when everyone else gathers to play Holī, as Kumati has stolen him through greed (lobh) and delusion (moh). These two vices are common to all Indic religions, but in Jainism are both forms of karma (Jaini 1979: 131). The sweets that people give each other at Holī are given a negative gloss, as lies (jūṭha) that have allowed Kumati to lead Cetan into unvirtous actions. Sumati reflects one of the foundations of Jain ontology: every individual soul in its pure state is indistinguishable from every other soul in its perfections, and the perfected soul is God, the Lord of the three worlds (tīn lok sāhib). But we forget this due to the karmic vices, and so are condemned to become slaves (dās) of our wrong perceptions and intentions, and to wander through the city of rebirth. In her bereavement at losing Cetan, Sumati turns to the gurus - here clearly the Jinas - and weeps her petition (araj) that they show mercy (dayāl) on her, and return Cetan to Sumati - in other words, that they return Consciousness to the influence of Good Intentions.

Everyone has gathered
                        to play Horī.
Whom will I meet
                        to play Horī? (refrain)

Kumati is an evil one.
                        She has charmed my wise one.
She's sown greed & delusion
                        & robbed him.
He is naïve
                        so she fed him sweets of lies.
She forced him
                        away from his virtues. (1)
He is the Lord
                        of the three worlds.
Who is equal
                        to his strength?
He doesn't remember
                        his self.
He's become a slave
                        & wanders about her city. (2)

Budhjan says,
                        Sumati says to the gurus,
                                   Hear my plea
                                               & show mercy on me.
                                   I weep & moan
                                               I grasp your feet.
                                   Give me back
                                               my dear Cetan. (3)[54]

Cetan, play Horī with Sumati

In this third song, the speaker is Budhjan, who directly addresses Cetan, in other words, his own Consciousness. He urges his Consciousness to break with all that is "other" (ān, i.e., anya), the term commonly used in Jainism to indicate karma, the material bondage that is "other" than the pure immaterial soul. As in this poem, the karmic "other" (anya, par) is contrasted with what is one's "own" (nij), the soul. Budhjan again uses an urban metaphor, one that would speak to the lived experience of his urban (and urbane) listeners in a Jaipur temple, when he urges Consciousness to return home to his own city. In this poem Budhjan engages in a fuller allegorization of Holī than the first two poems. The ashes (chār) from the Holikā fire are the passions; Budhjan here uses a technical term, kaṣāy, that is specific to Jain philosophy. The saffron (keśar) that is mixed into the water to sprinkle on other people is samakit (right faith), while deluded people fill the shoulder-bags they carry during Holī with stones that are mithyā (wrong faith). This is another fundamental Jain dualism, as rejecting the wrong way of understanding the world (mithyā, mithyātva, mithya-darśana), and coming to right faith (samakit, samyaktva, samyak-darśana), or the correct way of seeing the world as has been shown by the Jinas, is the key moment in one's becoming a true Jain. Instead of carrying around the heavy stones of wrong faith in one's shoulder-bag, one should carry around the light red powder (gulāl) of the self. This is what leads to enlightenment, and allows one to forego the external play of the senses and karma in favor of the inner spiritual play (vilas) with the beautiful bride of liberation (śiv-gori). There is a gentle eroticism in this image of play, as vilas (more often vilās) refers to sensuous engagement with the world. R. S. McGregor (1997: 928) defines vilās as "sensuous pleasure; luxurious life... pleasure with the opposite sex, flirting." The spiritual union of one's liberated self is compared and contrasted with the worldly union with a beautiful woman (gorī, gaurī).

                        play Horī
                                               with Sumati. (refrain)
                        Break with your love
                                   for that other one,
                                               that shrewd one.
                        Join with the good one.

            You wander
                        from path to path.
                                   Come to your own city.
            Why not share
                        the juice of Phaguvā
                                   with your own?
            If not
                        you'll be wretched. (1)

            Give up the passions -
                        they're ashes -
                                   grab hold of her.
            Mix the saffron
                        of right faith.
            You carry around
                        stones of wrong faith -
                                   throw them away.
            Fill your shoulder-bag
                        with the red powder
                                   of the self. (2)

            You've fallen
                        under the spell
                                   of frauds.
            All you've gained
                        is sorrow,
                                   you've lost your senses.
            Budhjan says,
                        restore your own appearance
                                   & play with the bride of liberation. (3)[55]

Cetan, today I'll play Horī with you

This fourth song is the most sensuous of Budhjan's Holī songs. In it he explicitly refers to the erotic nature of Holī and transforms it into an allegory of the spiritual path. This song also starts with the image of Cetan returning home after wandering elsewhere for many days. Sumati is piqued, and vows to get back her own. In a sort of violent love-play, she binds him, but with equanimity (sañjam-mat), and visits upon him afflictions (parīṣah), which, she assures him, will be good for him. This again involves technical Jain doctrine. The stories of the Jinas and subsequent ascetic monks are filled with the stories of the afflictions (parīṣah) they endured with equanimity (samyam, sañjam). In this song, enduring afflictions is equated with the games of lovers. Earlier Cetan had been bound by Kumati (here called Durmati); but Sumati binds him for his own good. She lovingly bathes him to make him pure, and then rubs his body with the red powder (gulāl) of right faith (samakit daras). She gently sprinkles the juice or nectar (sudhāras) of right knowledge (jñān) on him, and rubs the paste (cobā) of right conduct (cārit) all over his body.[56] These three are the three jewels of right faith, knowledge and conduct that together make up the Jain path to liberation, here allegorized as unguents with which Sumati covers his body. Finally, just as lovers feed sweets to each other with their own hands, she feeds Cetan the sweets of compassion (dayā). Through all these intimate acts, Sumati makes Cetan's body fruitful (saphal), and says that the two lovers, formerly separated but now joined, will remain together forever. By this Sumati is able to fulfill her mind's desires (man kī āśā); whereas the desires of a worldly lover would be loveplay with her man, in the spiritual allegory Mind desires immersion in the pure soul.

                        today I'll play Horī with you. (refrain)
            Why have you wandered elsewhere
                        for so many days?
            Now I'll take my revenge.

            I count as wrong
                        everything you've done.
            Now I will bind you
                        with equanimity.
            You will endure
                        many afflictions
            but they'll be good for you. (1)

            She made you suffer
                        & made you wander -
            I'll drive away Durmati.
            You've been fettered
                        by the spells of frauds.
            Now I'll bathe you
                        & make your appearance pure. (2)

            I'll rub you
                        with the red powder of right faith.
            I'll sprinkle you
                        with the nectar of knowledge.
            I'll rub the paste
                        of right conduct
                                   all over your body.
            I'll feed you
                        the sweets of compassion. (3)

            Budhjan says,
                        I'll make your body fruitful.
                        I'll grind up
                                   all your misfortunes.
                        I'll remain with you.
                                   never again
                                               will we be apart.
                        I'll fulfill
                                   my mind's desires. (4)[57]

Today I play Horī in my own city

Many of the scholarly accounts of Holī focus on it as a rural festival, celebrated in villages, especially the villages of the cowherds of Braj. It has long been an urban festival as well, and Budhjan as a lifelong city dweller focuses on its urban aspects. This allows him to employ a widespread spiritual metaphor of the body as a city (oftentimes described as a city of nine gates), and traveling and celebrating within the city as a metaphor for the inward spiritual path. Budhjan says he will celebrate Holī in "my own city" (nij-pur); this could equally be translated "the city of my self," and the double entendre is intentional. The subject of this song is Budhjan, who says how elated (umagi) he is that both Cetan - in this case called Cidānand (Bliss of Consciousness), a widespread Indic term for the spiritual self - and Sumati have come to his town to play Holī with him, in his very body. He again allegorizes elements of Holī to the three jewels: the red powder (gulāl) is right knowledge, the saffron (kesar) is right faith, and the water thrown from the squirt-gun (picukī) is right conduct. In the fourth verse Budhjan creates an allegory using elements of haṭha yoga; these are stock in trade for nirguṇ songs across the religious traditions of north India, and found in many other Jain songs. Whereas the external Holī is known for its distinctive seasonal songs, Budhjan silently sings his soul with every yogic breath.[58] Whereas in the external Holī people douse each other with a cascade of colored water, Budhjan in his yogic Holī spreads the "unstruck sound" (anahad).

                Today I play Horī
                        in my own city. (refrain)

            I am elated
                        Cidānand-jī has come
                                   & beautiful Sumatī has come as well. (1)

            All worldly shame
                        & worries of family
                                   have gone.
            I fill my bag
                        with the red powder of knowledge. (2)
            I mix the color
                        of the saffron of right faith.
            I squirt right conduct
                        from the picukī. (3)

            With every breath
                        I silently sing the beautiful songs.
            I spread a cascade
                        of the unstruck sound. (4)

            Budhjan says,
                        when they see this
                                   & are soaked
                        they'll observe
                                   an amazing story. (5)[59]

I will play Horī in the court of the blessed excellent Jina

We saw above that many Jain songs in the bārahmāsā and phāgu genres involve the twentysecond Jina, Nemināth. It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of Holī songs also describe the play of Holī in Nemināth's court (darbār). This is part of a much older use of the life of Nemi to contrast the Jain path of world-renunciation, equanimity and non-harm to the world-affirming, sensuous and therefore potentially harmful sports of his cousin Krishna. While Budhjan does not explicitly mention Nemi in this final song, most Jain listeners would assume that in this song Budhjan is describing himself playing Holī in Nemi's court. He again contrasts the interior spiritual Holī of the self (sarūp) with the exterior material Holī of the other (par), karma. He contrasts Kumati as a demoness (nārikā) with Sumati as a similar sounding but ethically opposite good woman (nāri). He allegorizes the ashes (bhasmī) of the Holikā fire and the colors (raṅg) of the Holī play with the dualistic pair of wrong faith (mithyā) and right faith (samakit). Whereas people in the material Holī drink bhāṅg and become intoxicated, Budhjan drinks the juice of the self (nij ras), and thereby attains a spiritual intoxication that fills him with bliss (ānand) and joy (haraṣ).

I will play Horī
                               in the court
                                   of the blessed excellent Jina. (refrain)

I will remove the spell
                        of the power
                                   of the other.
            I will purify
                        my innate self.
                                   I will play Horī. (1)

I will no longer keep company
                        with Kumati
                                   that demoness.
            I will summon
                        the good woman Sumati.
                                   I will play Horī. (2)

I will sweep away
                        the ashes
                                   of wrong faith.
            I will filter the color
                        of right faith.
                                   I will play Horī. (3)

Budhjan says,
                        I drink the juice of the self
                                   & now I'm drunk.
                        I'm filled with joy
                                   & bliss.
                                               I will play Horī. (4)[60]

The Allegorical Songs of Holī and Jain Spirituality

We do not see in these songs a single, rigidly imposed allegorization. There are a few elements that are common: the male hero is Cetan (in one place Cidānand), Consciousness; the female heroine is Sumati, Good Intention; and the wicked anti-heroine is Kumati (in one place Durmati), Bad Intention. The basic allegorical message is that of Digambar spirituality: the need to turn away from the external world of sensory influx and karmic bondage, and focus instead on the inner spiritual path to the purity of the soul. The many ways that a person can be distracted by external sensory experience are symbolized by aspects of Holī, as are the religious virtues and practices that allow one to turn away from the externals and return to one's self, one's soul.

The ashes (chār, bhasmī) of the Holikā fire in one case are the passions (kaṣāya), and in another are wrong faith (mithyā). In another song, wrong faith is symbolized by stones (pāthar) that a person carries around in a shoulder-bag. Wrong faith, what we can also translate as incorrect worldview, the wrong way of seeing things, in other words, is the very essence of the personality of Kumati.

Right faith (samakit), on the other hand, is the very essence of Sumati. It shows up in four of the six songs, symbolized in two cases by the saffron (keśar, kesar) mixed into the water that is squirted in the Holī play, and in the other two by the dry red powder (gulāl, raṅg) that is thrown in the Holī play. The red powder also symbolizes the self (nij) in two songs, and knowledge (jñān) in another song. The water into which the saffron or other coloring agents is mixed symbolizes experience of the self (nij subhāv) and right conduct (cāritra). Knowledge and right conduct also appear in different guises in Budhjan's more erotic song, "Cetan, today I'll play Horī with you," the former as nectar or juice (sudhāras) shared by the lovers, and the latter as cooling paste (cobā) that Sumati rubs all over Cetan's body.

Finally, one element of Holī appears as both a virtue and a vice. Celebrants share sweets (miṭhāī) with each other on the afternoon after playing with color, a sign of the loving communion with family, neighbors, and even strangers that is at the heart of one social message of Holī. In one song the sweets symbolize the lies (jūṭh) with which Kumati has entranced Cetan and led him away from his virtues (guṇ), and in another they symbolize compassion (dayā) that Sumati feeds to Cetan to keep him united with her.

In the hands of an unskilled poet or a pedantic moralist, allegory can be a deadening genre, which can quickly fail to hold the reader's (or listener's) attention. The analogies between the external, physical surface of the drama, and the interior, spiritual and conceptual message, can become mechanical, predictable and therefore boring. This is not the case, I argue, in Budhjan's songs. He employs his skills to provide a different "take" on the underlying allegory in each song. I intentionally import this term from western music to indicate the way that allegory functions in these Holī songs. Any take of a song, whether in live performance or in the recording studio, will differ from all others, perhaps in slight and subtle ways, perhaps in significant and even drastic ways. The music aficionado knows the "original" of a song, and can appreciate the ways that the performance of any particular take plays with it and creates something new (or, of course, the opposite - not all takes work for all listeners). In a similar manner, the knowledgeable members of an audience gathered in a Digambar temple in Jaipur during the season of Phaguā to hear a performance of Budhjan's songs, would know the many cultural elements in the observance and play of Holī, and would also know the basics of Digambar Jain spirituality and the path to the perfection of the soul. To the extent that each song successfully presented a new way of allegorizing that spiritual path through the elements of Holī - a new take on the inner spiritual Holī - members of the audience would experience musical joy. They would also experience a heightened understanding of the spiritual truths of Digambar spirituality, and perhaps some of them thereby advance along that spiritual path themselves (or, "them-selves").

Taming Holī

The Digambar Jains have not been the only ones in north India to compose and sing allegorical Holī songs. Many "Hindu" poets have also composed such songs, in both the nirguṇ and saguṇ styles,[61] although it does not appear to have been as extensive a genre as among Digambar poets. In an article on the Holī songs in north Indian religious literature, Bhaṅvarlāl Polyākā wrote that religious poets, "have seen Holī in a different way, and experienced it in a transcendent [alaukik] form. They hear the message of Holī in a different way, and their play of colors with the pickārī and other toys is different" (Polyākā 1957: 141). He discussed Holī pads by eleven authors. Three of these were Jain - Budhjan, Daulatrām and Dyānatrāy. Of the other eight, six were "Hindu": Mīrābāī, Sahajobāī, Caraṇdās, Cunnīlāl, Sāhabrām and Nārāyaṇ. Two were Muslim: Yārī Sāhab and Afsos Sāhab. He concluded, "Sant and bhakti poets of every tradition have composed spiritual (ādhyātmik) pads in connection with Holī, and have described the Holī play of their chosen deity (iṣṭ)" (Polyākā 1957: 151).

Paying attention to the Jain allegorization of Holī allows us to see how non-Jain authors also strove to recast Holī as a spiritually transformative occasion rather than a socially transgressive one. Let me give a few examples.

The large anthologies of songs in the Dādū Panth known as Pañc Vāṇī, include a single Holī song each by three of the five poets. These are Kabīr, Nāmdev and Hardās. Dādū and Raidās do not appear to have composed such songs, at least not among those in the anthologies.[62] In their critical edition of the Pañc Vāṇī, Callewaert and de Beeck included songs by Gorakhnāth and Sundardās; the latter's songs also include one Holī song. These four nirguṇ songs show an allegorization of Holī, although not the same as the Jain allegory with Cetan, Sumati and Kumati. Kabīr sings:

                Play Horī with the true teacher.
                        Drive away disease & death,
                                   bring wandering to an end.[63]

He continues, to sing of spraying forgiveness (ṣimā, kṣamā) with the pickārī, of playing Horī in the alley of meditation (gyāṅn galī), and of the dramatic display of the true teacher playing Phāg (tamāsā satagura ṣelai phāga).

Nāmdev's song begins in a manner similar to several of those by Budhjan:

                My beloved has wandered
                        to a foreign land,
                                   how can I play Horī?[64]

He does not, however, engage in an extensive allegorization of the elements of Holī. Both Hardās and Sundardās refer to the "red powder of knowledge" (gyān gulāl), and in their songs they play on the image of the inner self being soaked in the color of true spiritual experience. [65]

Saguṇ poets have produced Holī songs that are in many ways quite similar to those of the nirguṇ poets, reminding us that the saguṇ-nirguṇ distinction, while heuristically useful at times, can also obscure as much as it reveals. The saguṇ Holī songs focus on the loving play with colors and liquids, in which the participants dye each other and erase visual social differences, and simultaneously dye their souls and erase the ignorant perceptions of difference between God and soul. The sixteenth-century Vaiṣṇava poet Paramānand sings (Sanford 2008: 170f.):

                Listen, darling beloved reveler, let's go play
                        some games.
            Sandalwood and vermilion, perfumed yellow die and red powder,
                        everyone throws rasa.
            And they take red powder and yellow color, their play resplendent
                        in every bower.
            You throw on us, we throw on you: we'll wear
                        each other's color.
            The heart of hearts knows this inner joy; he smiles,
                        darling and handsome.
            Paramānand knows the connoisseur of rasa; he divides and
                        throws the rasa.

Here the play of colors in Holī symbolizes the Vaiṣṇava emphasis on communion: of congregants with each other, and of congregants with God, the "darling and handsome" one, who is, of course, Krishna. Further, the poet emphasizes that the seeming separation of one from another, of soul from God, is in fact all part of God's creative play, his līlā. God experiences life as a unity, but also creates our human experience of difference. In that experience of difference, the soul feels the absence of God, and so many Holī songs begin with a lamentation at separation, as we see in the beginning of the song by Nāmdev. Many centuries later, at the tail end of the Braj-bhāṣā poetic tradition, the Banarsi Vaiṣṇava poet Bhāratendu Hariścandra wrote a Holī song remarkably similar to that of Nāmdev, in which the female soul mourns the absence of her lover at the beginning of the Holī season:

                Friend, my beloved
                        is in a foreign land -
                                   how will I play Horī?[66]

For a Vaiṣṇava, the absence of the beloved reveler at Holī symbolizes the separation of the feminized Soul from the masculine Krishna; for a Jain, it symbolizes the separation of Good Intention (feminine) from the Conscious Soul (masculine).

It is striking that all of these poets - Jain, nirguṇ, saguṇ - present a softened, cleaned up version of Holī. It is a celebration of loving companionship, in which people gently throw colored powder and sprinkle colored liquid over each other, and share with each other sweets and drinks. These depictions of Holī in the songs of all traditions, to symbolize the theological positions on suffering and liberation, are quite different from the descriptions we get from other sources.

In the songs, the revelers gently throw powder and colored water on each other. They do not douse each other with buffalo urine (Marriott 1966: 203). They might gently hit each other in the songs; we do not find people with lacerated scalps from being struck with hurled water pots (Marriott 1966: 203), or with bruised shins from being fiercely beaten with sticks by village women (Crooke 1968 II: 316, Marriott 1966: 203, Miller 1973: 19). In the songs, the poets drink the juice of religious essence, and become intoxicated in the love of Krishna or the experience of the self. They are not intoxicated on bhāṅg or country liquor (Marriott 1966: 203f., Miller 1973: 18, Jassal 2012: 227). While many of the songs involve a symbolized eroticism, this is always within the bounds of poetic propriety. The poets sing devotional bhajans and pads, not sexually explicit and insulting gālīs (Crooke 1968 II: 316, 320f., Cohen 2007, Jassal 2012). Their songs are never obscene (aślīl). There are no references to Mahālaṇḍ or Superdick raping the mothers and sisters of the listeners (Cohen 2007). We do not hear of young men and old men dressed as bridegrooms, riding backwards on donkeys, waving gigantic penises made of rags and paper (Marriott 1966: 202, Cohen 2007: 206; cf. Bose 1967: 37f., 53f.). The veiled eroticism of the Holī songs of the Jain, Vaiṣṇava and nirguṇ poets is always heterosexual; the male homoeroticism of Holī in Banaras is missing (Cohen 2007). Equally missing is the violence in reaction to caste, class and gender hierarchies that lies clearly visible just beneath the surface of much Holī activity.

Holī in the songs is fun and playful; Holī today, at least in many cities, is a potentially dangerous time when many people wisely stay off the streets.

In other words, Holī as performed today in Braj and Banaras, and from the historical evidence as it has been performed for at least several centuries, is a deeply transgressive affair. Seemingly every hierarchy - of caste, class, religion, gender, age, sexuality - is turned upside down. It is a time of freedom. But this freedom is not the calm, controlled freedom of orthodox religious ideology; rather, it is an antinomian social freedom from forms of oppressive domination.

Some religious reformers may descry the excesses and subversions of Holī, and urge their co-religionists to avoid it as a "harmful custom" that runs counter to religious orthodoxy. But Holī is unavoidable in north Indian life, and has been for centuries. We see, then, how religious poets from many traditions have tried to soften the subversions of Holī. Budhjan and the other Jain poets employed their educated literary tools of metaphor, symbolism and allegory to transform Holī's social transgressiveness. Instead of critiquing and reversing the hierarchies of society, we find in Budhjan's poems a gentler, more irenic religious transgressiveness, in which the listener is urged to put aside all the external constraints and ignorance of worldly existence and turn instead to an inner spiritual pursuit of that which is ultimately real.


1.Pre-Modern Texts

APP Adhyātma-Pad-Pārijāt. Edited by Kanchedī Lāl Jain. Varanasi: Śrī Gaṇeś Varṇī Digambar Jain Saṅsthān, 1996. Ādīśvar Phāg of Bhaṭṭāraka Jñānbhūṣaṇ. Ms. copied VS 1597, Collection of Digambar Jain Mandir Bhanpura, through Anekānt Jñān Mandir, Bina. Available: Ardhakathānak of Banārsīdās. With English Translation by Mukund Lath. Ardhakathānaka: Half a Tale: A Study in the Relationship between Autobiography and History. Jaipur: Rajasthan Prakrit Bharati Sansthan, 1981. Banārsī Vilās of Banārsīdās. Edited by Nāthūrām Premī. Bombay: Editor, 1905. Banārsī Vilās of Banārsīdās. Edited by Kastūrcand Kāslīvāl & Bhaṅvarlāl Nyāytīrth. Second Printing. Jaipur: Akhil Bhāratīya Jain Yuvā Pheḍareśan, 1954/1987 (First Printing Jaipur: Nānūlāl Smārak Granthmālā). Brahm Vilās of Bhaiyā Bhagavatīdās. Edited by Nāthūrām Premī. Bombay: Hindī Granth Ratnākar, 1904/1926. Brahm Vilās. Khatauli: Śrīmatī Śīlādevī Jain, 1981. Available: Bhuvanakīrti Gīt of Būcrāj. In: Kāslīvāl 1979: 106-107. BBhS Budhjan Bhajan Saurabh of Budhjan. Edited and Modern Standard Hindī Paraphrase by Tārācand Jain. Mahāvīrjī: Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān, 2006. Cetan Caritra (Cetan Karm Caritra) of Bhaiyā Bhagavatīdās. Ms. 161, Veṣṭan 153, Digambar Jain Mandir Baṛā Terāpanth, Jaipur. Cetan Caritra (Cetan Karm Caritra) of Bhaiyā Bhagavatīdās. Brahm Vilās, 1981 Edition, 55- 84. Cetan Pudgal Dhamāl of Būcrāj. In: Kāslīvāl 1979: 90-101. HPS Hindī Pad Saṅgrah. Edited by Kastūrcand Kāslīvāl. Jaipur: Digambar Jain Atiśay Kṣetra Śrīmahāvīrjī. Holī of Bhāratendu Hariścandra. Bhāratendu Samagra. Edited by Hemant Śarmā, 109-118. Varanasi: Pracārak Granthāvalī Pariyojanā, Hindī Pracārak Saṅsthān, 1879/1989 (Original Banaras: Hari Prakāś Yantrālay). Holī kī Kathā of Chītar Ṭholiyā. Ms. 1356, Veṣṭan 1356, Amer Bhaṇḍār, at Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān, Jaipur. Copied in Jaipur in VS 1811 (CE 1754) by Pt. Hemcandra. Holī kī Kathā of Chītar Ṭholiyā. Ms. 1357, Veṣṭan 1357, Amer Bhaṇḍār, at Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān, Jaipur. Copied in Malpura by Pt. Dayārām, n.d. Holī Parva Kathānaka of Jinasundarasūri. Mss. 253-255, Veṣṭan 74, Godhān Bhaṇḍār, Jaipur. Holī Rañja Parva Kathānaka. Anon. Ms. 2871, Amer Bhaṇḍār, at Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān, Jaipur. Copied in 1820. Jagrām Godīkā Padāvalī of Jagrām Godīkā. Edited by Gaṅgārām Garg. Bharatpur: Pāras Pāṇḍulipi Prakāśan Samiti, n.d. Jain Pad Sañcayan. Edited by Gaṅgārām Garg. Mahāvīrjī: Jainvidyā Saṅsthān, 2002. Jain Horī Saṅgrah Pustak. Bombay: Śrāvak Bhīmsīṃh Māṇek, 1886. Available: JBhG Jinendra Bhakti Gaṅgā. Delhi: Jain Sāhitya Sadan, n.d. JPS Jain Pad Saṅgrah. Edited by Nāthūrām Premī. Bombay: Nirṇay Sāgar Pres, 1909. Partial Copy available from Jain E-library: Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka of Vādicandra. Ms. in Syādvād Mahāvidyālay, Banaras. Available: Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka of Vādicandra. Modern Standard Hindī Translation by Nāthūrām Premī. Bombay: Hindī Granth Ratnākar, 1909. Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka Bhāṣā of Bhagavatīdās. Ms. 133, Veṣṭan 220, Saṅgahī Bhaṇḍār, Jaipur. Copied in VS 1877 (CE 1820). Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka Bhāṣā of Bhāgcand. Ms. Veṣṭan 562, Choṭe Dīvān Bhaṇḍār, Jaipur. Copied in VS 1877 (CE 1820). Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka Bhāṣā of Jinvardās. Ms. 618, Veṣṭan 538, Amer Bhaṇḍār, Jain Vidyā Saṅsthān, Jaipur. Copied in Jaipur by Dayācand Cāndvāṛ in VS 1892 (CE 1835). Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka Vacanikā of Pārśvadās (Pārasdās) Nigotyā. Ms. Digambar Jain Mandir Ajmer, through Anekānt Jñān Mandir, Bina. Available: Jñānasūryodaya Nāṭaka Vacanikā of Pārśvadās (Pārasdās) Nigotyā. Ms. 617, Veṣṭan 537, Baṛā Tarāpanth Bhaṇḍār, Jaipur. Commissioned by Hīrālāl Chāvḍā, VS 1936 (1879). Madanaparājaya of Nāgadeva. Edited and Hindī Translation by Rājkumār Jain. Second Printing. Varanasi: Bhāratīya Jñānpīṭh Prakāśan, 1966. Madanaparājaya of Nāgadeva. Translated by Nalini Balbir & Jean-Pierre Osier as La Défaite d'Amour. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2004. Madanaparājaya of Nāgadeva. Translated by Dashrath Jain as Madana-Parajaya (The Defeat of Kamdev/Lust). Delhi: Megh Prakashan, 2006. Mayaṇ Jujjh of Būcrāj. In: Kāslīvāl 1979: 45-69. Moharājaparyāya of Yaśaḥpāla. Edited by Muni Chaturavijay. Baroda: Central Library, 1918 (Gaekwad's Oriental Series 9. Moh Vivek Yuddh attributed to Banārsīdās. Ms. 22, Veṣṭan 2417, Digambar Jain Mandir Baṛā Terāpanth, Jaipur. Nemināth Phāg of Bhaṭṭārak Ratnakīrti. In: Kāslīvāl 1981: 121-126. Nemināth Bārahmāsā of Bhaṭṭārak Ratnakīrti. In: Kāslīvāl 1981: 126-133. Nirguṇ-Bhakti-Sāgar: Devotional Hindī Literature. Edited by Winand M. Callewaert & Bart Op de Beeck. Two Volumes. New Delhi: Manohar, 1991 (South Asia Institute Heidelberg, South Asian Studies 25). Pārśvadās Padāvalī. Edited by Gaṅgārām Garg. Amirganj, Tonk: Digambar Jain Samāj, 1972. Prabodhacandrodaya of Kṛṣṇamiśra. Edited and English Translation by Sita Krishna Nambiar. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1971. Prabodhacandrodaya of Kṛṣṇamiśra. Translated by Matthew Kapstein as The Rise of Wisdom Moon. New York: New York University Press and JJC Foundation, 2009. Santoṣ Jay Tilaku of Būcrāj. In: Kāslīvāl 1979: 70-83. Sthūlibhadra Phāgu [Thūlibhadda Phāgu] of Jinapadmasūri. Prācīna Gūrjara Kāvya Saṁgraha, Part I, 38-40. Edited by C. D. Dalal. Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1920/1978 (Gaekwad's Oriental Series 13). Sthūlibhadra Phāgu [Thūlibhadda Phāgu] of Jinapadmasūri. Prācīn Phāgu Saṅgrah, 3-6. Edited by Bhogīlāl Ja. Sāṇḍesarā & Somābhāī Dhū. Pārekh. Baroda: Mahārājā Sayājīrāv Viśvavidyālay, 1955. Sthūlibhadra Phāgu [Thūlibhadda Phāgu] of Jinapadmasūri. Prācīna Gūrjara Kāvya Sañcaya, 89-94. Edited by H. C. Bhayani & Agarchand Nahta. Ahmedabad: L. D. Institute of Indology (L. D. Series 40). Sthūlibhadra Phāgu [Thūlibhadda Phāgu] of Jinapadmasūri. Translated by Charlotte Vaudeville 1986: 111-116. Upamitibhavaprapañcā of Siddharṣi. Edited by Peter Peterson. Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1899 (Bibliotheca Indica N.S. 946).

2. Modern Texts

Agravāl, Saroj. Prabodhacandrodaya aur uskī Hindī Paramparā. Allahabad: Hindī Sāhitya Sammelan, 1962.

Amṛtsūri, Ācārya Vinay. Holikā Vyākhyān. Fourth Printing. Lakhabaval: Śrī Harṣpuṣpāmṛt Jain Granthmālā, 1953/1979.

Anūpcand Nyāytīrth (editor-in-chief). Jaypur Digambar Jain Mandir Paricay. Jaipur: Śrī Digambar Jain Mandir Mahāsaṅgh, 1990.

Anūpcand Nyāytīrth. "Ḍhūṇḍhārī Bhāṣā kī ek Prācīn Kṛti - Holī kī Kathā." Anekānt 57 (2004) 3-4, 86-92.

Balbir, Nalini. "Recent Developments in a Jaina Tīrtha: Hastinapur (U.P.): A Preliminary Report." The History of Sacred Places in India as Reflected in Traditional Literature. Edited by Hans Bakker, 177-191. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990.

Bangha, Imre. "Maru Gurjar and Madhyadeśī: The Hindi Ādikāl." Paper Presented at the 11 th International Conference on Early Modern Languages in North India, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, 3-6.8.2012.

Bangha, Imre & Richard Fynes (tr.). It's a City Showman's Show! Transcendental Songs of Ānandghan. New Delhi: Penguin India, 2013.

Beeche, Robyne (director). Holi: A Festival of Colour. Vrindaban: Stein Films Ltd., In Association with Sri Caitanya Prema Sansthana, 1990.

Bhāyāṇī, Harivallabh Cūnīlāl. "Prācīn Gujarātī 'Phāgu.'" Śodh ane Svādhyāy, 34-39. Bombay: R. R. Śeṭhnī Kampanī, 1965.

Bose, Nirmal Kumar. "The Spring Festival of India." Culture and Society in India, 36-84. Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1927/1967 (Originally in Man in India 7).

Callewaert, Winand M. & Peter G. Friedlander. The Life and Works of Raidās. New Delhi: Manohar, 1992.

Cohen, Lawrence. "Holi in Banaras and the Mahaland of Modernity." Gay and Lesbian Quarterly 2 (1994) 399-424 (Reprint in Sexualities. Edited by Nivedita Menon, 197-223. London: Zed Books, 2007).

Cort, John E. "Defining Jainism: Reform in the Jain Tradition." Jain Doctrine and Practice: Academic Perspectives. Edited by Joseph T. O'Connell, 165-191. Toronto: University of Toronto Centre for South Asian Studies, 2000.

Cort, John E. "A Tale of Two Cities: On the Origins of Digambar Sectarianism in North India." Multiple Histories: Culture and Society in the Study of Rajasthan. Edited by Lawrence A. Babb, Varsha Joshi & Michael W. Meister, 39-83. Jaipur: Rawat, 2002.

Cort, John E. "Budhjan's Petition: Digambar Bhakti in Nineteenth-Century Jaipur." Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jains Studies 4 (2009) 39-42.

Cort, John E. "Daulatrām Plays Holī: Digambar Bhakti Songs of Springtime." Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 8 (2013a) 33-35.

Cort, John E. "Foreword." It's a City Showman's Show! Transcendental Songs of Ānandghan. Translated by Imre Bangha & Richard Fynes, 3-18. New Delhi: Penguin, 2013b.

Cort, John E. "God Outside and God Inside: North Indian Digambar Jain Performance of Bhakti." Bhakti Beyond the Forest: Proceedings of the Tenth International Bhakti Conference. Edited by Imre Bangha, 255-286. New Delhi: Manohar, 2013c.

Cort, John E. "'This is How We Play Holī': North Indian Digambar Jain Holī Songs." Texts and Traditions in Early Modern North India: Selected Essays from the Eleventh International Conference on Early Modern Languages of North India. Edited by Tyler Williams, John Stratton Hawley & Anshu Malhotra. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (Forthcoming).

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Dundas, Paul. The Jains. Second Revised Edition. London: Routledge, 2002.

Granoff, Phyllis. "Regionalism and Shared Jain Culture in Medieval Rajasthan." Paper presented at The Intersections of Religion, Society, Polity, and Economy in Rajasthan: A Conference on the Occasion of Alan Babb's Retirement, Amherst College, 13-15.7.2012.

Hawley, John Stratton. "The Nirguṇ/Saguṇ Distinction." Three Bhakti Voices: Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Times and Ours, 70-86. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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Jain, Ravīndar Kumār. "Hindī meṃ 'Moh Vivek Yuddh' Sañjñak Racnāeṃ." Vīr Vāṇī 10 (1958) 14-15, 208-211.

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Jaini, Padmanabh S. The Jaina Path of Purification. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

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Jassal, Smita Tewari. Unearthing Gender: Folksongs of North India. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

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Johrāpurkar, Vidyādhar. Bhaṭṭārak Sampradāy. Sholapur: Jaina Saṃskṛti Saṃrakṣaka Saṅgha, 1958.

Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand (ed.). Rājasthān ke Jain Śāstra Bhaṇḍāroṃ kī Granth Sucī. Five Volumes. Jaipur: Digambar Jain Atiśay Kṣetra Śrīmahāvīrjī, 1945-72.

Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand (ed.). Praśasti-Saṅgrah. Jaipur: Śrī Digambar. Jain Atiśay Kṣetra Śrīmahāvīrjī, 1950.

Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand. Rājasthān ke Jain Sant: Vyaktitva evaṃ Kṛtitva. Jaipur: Digambar Jain Atiśay Kṣetra Śrī Mahāvīrjī, 1967.

Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand. Mahākavi Brahm Rāymall evaṃ Bhaṭṭārak Tribhuvankīrti: Vyaktitva evaṃ Kṛtitva. Jaipur: Mahāvīr Granth Akādamī, 1978.

Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand. Kavivar Būcrāj evaṃ unke Samakālīn Kavi. Jaipur: Mahāvīr Granth Akādamī, 1979.

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Kāslīvāl, Kastūrcand. Khaṇḍelvāl Jain Samāj kā Vṛhad Itihās. Jaipur: Jain Itihās Prakāśan Saṅsthā, 1989.

Katz, Marc J. (director). Holi Hey! A Festival of Love, Color, and Life. Madison: University of Wisconsin, Center of South Asian Studies, 1996.

Kelting, M. Whitney. Singing to the Jinas: Jain Laywomen, Maṇḍaḷ Singing, and the Negotiations of Jain Devotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Marriott, McKim. "The Feast of Love." Krishna: Myths, Rites, and Attitudes. Edited by Milton Singer, 200-212. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

McGregor, R. S. "Some Manuscripts Containing Nanddās's Version of the Prabodhacandrodaya Drama." Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1971) 487-493.

McGregor, R. S. "A Brajbhāṣā Adaptation of the Drama Prabodhacandrodaya by Nanddās of the Sect of Vallabha." Perspectives on Indian Religion: Papers in Honour of Karel Werner. Edited by Peter Connolly, 136-144. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1986.

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Miśra, Śitikaṇṭh. Hindī Jain Sāhitya kā Bṛhad Itihās. Four Volumes. Varanasi: Pārśvanāth Vidyāśram Śodh Saṅsthān, 1989-99.

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