Worshipping the Ideal King: On the Social Implications of Jaina Conversion Stories (1)

Posted: 29.02.2016
Updated on: 01.03.2016

Part 1

 

Worshipping the Ideal King
On the Social Implications
of Jaina Conversion Stories

Peter Flügel[1]

The differences between history, hagiology and mythology are deliberately blurred in Jaina (Jain) literature.[2] Not only biographies and universal histories, the caritras and purāṇas,[3] and monastic chronicles and genealogies, the sthavirāvalīs, paṭṭāvalīs and gurvāvalīs,[4] mix or combine mythological tales with historical facts and eulogies, but also secular clan histories and genealogies, vaṃsāvalīs and khyātas,[5] and similar genres of history within the Jain tradition, such as narrative tales, kathās, or collections of stories, prabandhas,[6] epic poetry, mahākāvya or rāsa, or song, gīta, written in Prakrit, Sanskrit and vernacular languages. Although it contains numerous references to historical personalities, events, places and practices,[7] the value of Jain literature as a source for historical research is limited.[8] Two main reasons for this have been identified. Klaus Bruhn highlighted doctrinal imperatives underlying the general trend in Jain literature to systematically absorb the individual in the typical and the ideal.[9] The paradigmatic example is the diminishing interest in the individual life-history of Mahāvīra[10] in post-canonical biographies and universal histories, in contrast to the increasingly elaborate legends and myths surrounding the lives of the Buddha and of Kṛṣṇa.[11] John E. Cort, on the other hand, pointed to the performative function of Jain historical texts in sectarian ceremonial contexts.[12]   Doctrinal clichés in Jain historical, biographical and hagiographical writing[13] are not only of dogmatic and stylistic significance, but also function as rhetorical devices that are created and used with transformative intent. Notable is the didactic nature of most texts and their emphasis on transformative experiences such as conversion, renunciation and initiation.[14] From an observer's point of view, conversion experiences are predicated on the "realization and internalization of important dogmatic subjects",[15] for instance the ritual orientation towards the conventional list of the twenty-four Jinas or the sectarian lists of succession;[16] though this perspective cannot account for the 'self-reported' enlightenment experiences of the Jinas themselves, who allegedly formulated the core doctrines in the first place. The genre conventions of monastic biographies and didactic stories are easily blurred and deliberately fuzzy, since both follow the general tendency in Jain literature to absorb the individual in the typical, and to trigger moral transformation in the listener or reader, who is incited to line him/herself up behind the Jinas and their lineages of historical successors. The primary aim of Jain historiography is not the reporting of objective facts but religious transformation.[17]

This article investigates the ways in which conversion stories, at the heart of a wide variety of Jain narrative genres, seek to accomplish their aim to evoke in the listener the interiorisation of Jain values by way of identification with and imitation of the exemplary acts of the paradigmatic heroes of Jain history. The principal narrative technique is self-referentiality. Jain conversion stories generally relate how the act of narrating conversion-stories creates actual conversion experiences leading to monastic initiations. Communicative self referentiality, I argue, puts the audience into a double-bind situation[18] which under certain conditions may effect transformative experiences, especially in contexts such as the daily sermon in the morning assembly which mirror the narrative contexts related in the stories.[19]   This argument finds some support in the Jain scriptures themselves, which offer ample reflections on and prescriptions for the proper strategic uses of language.[20] According to the canonical text Ṭhāṇa1–2 4.2.246, religious discourse, kathā, or more precisely: dharmakathā,[21] is of four kinds:[22]

(1) ākṣepaṇī: attracting the listener,[23]

(2) vikṣepaṇī: establishing one's own religion after characterising others,[24]

(3) saṃvedanī:[25] inspiring detachment by pointing to the deficiencies of the body,[26]

(4) nirvedanī: inspiring indifference by enumerating the bitter and pleasant fruits of karman.[27]Examples of the ways in which Jaina narratives try to attract the listener and the motif of the experience of deficiencies of the body for soteriological purposes will be discussed in part two of this article.

1 The Rhetoric of Jaina Conversion Stories[28]

The Śvetāmbara Jain story literature – in particular the medieval kathās, prabandhas and caritras which elaborate older doctrinal and narrative clichés for purposes of religious edification and propaganda (prabhāvanā)[29] – has been described as a mixture of poetry, alaṃkāra, and religious treatise, sūtra,[30] in which "the śāstric pill is to be sugared with poetry for the benefit of those who are unable to swallow it as it is".[31] Jacobi already pointed out that most stories also contain historical information, albeit of questionable validity which has to be established through triangulation in each and every case.[32] Hence, in the main, modern scholars have studied Jain narrative literature in a de-contextualized manner; disregarding the fact that stories, particularly historical biographies, are still widely used by Jain mendicants as examples, dṛṣtānta, illustrating the main message of their sermons, pravacana.[33] Biographical narratives are also a popular vehicle for the transmission of religious knowledge in Jain households.[34] Amongst modern scholars, Phyllis Granoff[35], Nalini Balbir[36] and Lawrence Babb[37] emphasised the importance of narratives, particularly miracle stories, for stimulating actual conversion, pratibodhi, towards a Jain word-view or the decision to renounce the world. However, the ways in which Jain religious narratives seek to accomplish their desired end, and the question why medieval stories still resonate with audiences today, are yet to be investigated.

1.1 Strange Loops

I will address these questions in three steps. First, I delimit the general rhetorical strategy of these stories, then analyze two popular conversion stories, and finally investigate implied conditions of their efficacy. I focus on conversion stories, that is, stories which deal with transformative experiences of religious insight, samyag-darśana or samyaktva,[38] because, in my view, they have a unique capacity to exert influence on their audience by inducing in the mind what Hofstadter calls a self-reinforcing "strange loop" between narrative context and performative context.[39] Conversion stories employ a type of narrative reflexivity which is known as 'enunciative' or 'communicative self-reference', where "the text deals with its own communicative context, its function, the presuppositions of his narration, and … has thus its own communicative situation as its topic."[40] Scripted Jain stories can refer to their communicative contexts only in a general way, that is, per analogy, by describing the efficacy of a conversion story that is narrated in a similar social context as the scripted story itself. The typical setting for didactic stories is the sermon of a monk or nun at the morning assembly or samavasaraṇa. Speakers who invoke such scripted or orally transmitted stories in a specific context also usually address the potential performative functions of their own utterances only indirectly. The strange loop, if it manifests at all, is not generated by the text or the speaker, but by the listener. Communication-induced transformative insight is triggered in the mind of a self-observing listener only if his/her real life experience resonates with the narrated experience of the literary character. The fact that the listener to a religious discourse finds him/herself in a conventional speech situation,[41] a sermon, which mirrors the situation described in the text facilitates identification with the conversion experience narrated in the story and provokes self-reflection. Thus, the phenomenon to be analysed is the performative function of narrative self-reference, that is, the oblique indexicality of a genre of self-referential texts which describe per analogy their own potential function to evoke the desired insight in the mind of a listener placed in a social setting of the same type as the one described by the text itself.

Jain stories often narrate experiences of kings or merchants, who, through a sudden and only temporary dissociation, nirjarā, of karman, 'break through the veil of false appearances' and gain insight, samyag-darśana, into the inherent qualities of their inner soul, jīva, a substance representing the only ground of certainty.[42] Compared to their 'Hindu' counterparts, Jain (conversion) stories appear realistic, pragmatic and un-poetic.[43] They deny, as a rule, super natural intervention into human affairs and stress the responsibility of the individual for its own fate.[44] The prime purpose of Jain stories, including histories, is didactic. Jain stories do not merely want to inform, entertain[45] or edify[46] the Jain community, but also to demonstrate the explanatory power, the usefulness and effectiveness of Jain religious principles in everyday-life contexts, and hence to influence their audience to embrace Jainism.

It is because of the ascetic's long-term intention to provoke changes in the actual behaviour of their audiences that Jain narratives can and must be studied not only as poetry but also as instruments of persuasion. The hypothesis guiding the following discussion is that the narration of conflicts and violence is used in conversion stories as an essential rhetorical device for the effective communication of the Jain principles of non-violence.[47] The structure of the conflicts between the pivotal characters is focal and often carefully constructed in such a way as to reverberate with life experiences of their intended audience.[48]

1.2 Allusion and Malapropism

The rhetorical practices of Jain ascetics, who delicately manipulate and influence, prabhāvita, members of society to support their religion, are not only historically documented, but also a well-known motif of Jain literature and doctrine. The Bhavisattakaha (BK), a tenth-century Apabhraṃśa text written by the Jain layman Dhaṇapāla, for instance, after narrating the previous lives of the hero with a focus on the karmic consequences of previous actions, culminates in the description of the effect of the sermon of the monk Vimalabuddhi on king Bhaviṣyadatta, who is shaken by it to such an extent that he resolves to become a monk.[49] The Līlāvatīsārā (LS) of Jinaratnasūri, composed in Sanskrit in 1285 C.E., is another example of the numerous Jain narratives in which the motif of conversion due to an insight inducing sermons plays a central role.[50] The famous 'conversion' of the historical Chaulukya king Kumārapāla (r. 1143–1172) through a sermon of Hemacandrasūri (1089–1173) is depicted in Merutuṅga's fourteenth-century Prabandhacintāmaṇi (PCM) as the result of a carefully devised long-term strategy of the ācārya,[51] who says to himself:

A man must be a king in his own right, or he must get some king under his influence. But there is no other way by which human beings can attain their ends.[52]

Merutuṅga narrates at length the rhetorical tricks which Hemacandra supposedly used to convert the king to practice Jainism without openly challenging his stern belief in Śaivism, the dominant religion of most royal families in Hindu India. The Prabandhacintāmaṇi explicitly talks about the "use of words intentionally ambiguous"[53] by Jain ascetics who wish to achieve their aim to promote Jainism.[54]

Modern scholars, such as Bruhn,[55] Balbir[56] and Granoff,[57] identified general rhetorical features of medieval Jain story literature, which, on the whole, was not very innovative, but relied on the appropriation and strategic reinterpretation of popular folklore and older brāhmaṇical literature, as previous scholars had pointed out.[58] Following Winternitz,[59] many authors highlighted the method of Verballhornung as characteristic for Jain versions of popular literature.[60] Balbir followed the standard English translation of the word as 'bowlderization', that is, the ways in which "passages considered indecent or indelicate are expurgated".[61] However, in the present case the word is better translated as 'malapropism', that is, deliberate or tendentious corruption. Balbir herself notices puzzling 'counterexamples' and a prevalence of references to violence and conflict in Jain literature:

The focus on narratives connected with hiṃsā is not the result of a deliberate choice; it is undoubtedly a recurring difficult point, though certainly not the only one.[62]

Granoff similarly argued that the Śvetāmbara authors of medieval Jain miracle stories deliberately refrain from references to conflicts and philosophical arguments in order to avoid sectarian divisions, but instead use the methods of 'repetition of familiar stories' and 'allusion' as key devices for the fabrication of an 'all-integrative group image' with an appeal to a wide audience of believers.[63] It is, however, apparent that even the somewhat polemical miracle story of the conversion of Kumārapāla in the Prabandhacintāmaṇi does not fit into a theory of the social function of non-controversial imagery for the Śvetāmbara group-integration.[64] It would seem that one cannot understand the apparent contradiction between a religion propagating absolute non-violence and its own vast body of religious literature prominently depicting acts of violence by studying only the stories themselves from a perspective of doctrinal hermeneutics. One has to take into account the social uses of these stories in ritualized contexts of sermons and debates for the promulgation of the creed, and to investigate their social implications and functions to appreciate the apparently inappropriate depiction of acts of conflict and violence in the chosen narratives. "The essential element", J.C. Jain suggested, "is the narrator-audience relationship which takes a literary form in the course of time, becoming didactic due to the new demands of the social situation."[65]

The importance of widely used poetic techniques such as malapropism and allusion (which I see as intrinsically interconnected in the cases at hand) has often been highlighted. However, the main difficulty involved in understanding the rhetoric of medieval Jain stories – the necessary element of symbolic violence in rhetoric and the role of narrations of conflict in Jain stories – is yet to be addressed.[66] The following suggestion is but one step towards a solution of this conundrum. The key rhetorical strategy of Jain moral tales, I argue, is the intentional construction and 'exploitation' of conversational implicatures for the purpose of evoking experiences of insight, samyag-darśana, or conversion, pratibodhi, through techniques of defamiliarization,[67] displacement, and the violation of expectations,[68] as analyzed by psychoanalysis, philosophical pragmatism[69] and sociolinguistics.[70] It cannot be the principal aim of Jain ascetics to use 'allusions' in order to incorporate as many facets of life as possible, rather than promoting their doctrine in such a way as to achieve pragmatic effects. In the next section I will discuss the ways in which the telling of a story focusing on violence and its potential psychological and social consequences may be connected. But first I need to clarify what I see as the core strategy of Jain narratives – the frequently reported prevalence of intentionally polyvalent language usage[71] and the technique of disguising moral teachings in the cloak of popular story motifs.[72]

1.3 Deep Meaning and Symbolic Violence

I interpret the use of allusions in Jain narratives not as means for achieving social harmony, but as a preliminary rhetoric device intended to generate conversational cooperation to be subsequently exploited by Verballhornung and similar rhetorical strategies. In order to influence an often entirely unfamiliar audience, the mendicant, the paradigmatic narrator, needs to establish first a common ground between speaker (writer) and hearer (reader). This is usually done with the help of allusions to common-places (familiar situations, stories, typical social conflicts etc.) which will involve the audience and attract emotional commitment. Only if a relationship of cooperation between speaker and audience is established can second order processes of manipulation and 'flouting' of this relationship be potentially effective. Poetic techniques such as the displacement or malapropism of words or symbolical language can only be pragmatically successfully when the linguistic communication is embedded in a pre-established process of (conversational) interaction.[73] Filliozat rightly stressed that This kind of literary narration, meant first to catch the attention and then to preach for conversion, is not peculiar to Jaina literature, but is common to many religious works of edification in India.7[74]

However, which conversational opener and type of story will be chosen in a given situation depends to a large extent on the prevalent 'conditions of acceptability' in a particular audience, which indirectly determine the range of possible rhetorical strategies.[75] The choice of didactic narratives by Jain ascetics needs to reflect the social ethos that is predominant in a given 'speech situation'. Like all trained orators, Jain monks learn to carefully assess their audience,[76] and tend to choose and change universally popular themes and stories[77] in order to be able to address and exploit or transform the sentiments of the masses.[78]

Once conversational cooperation is established, intentional multivocal language can be potentially successfully used, usually at the end of a narrative, for achieving either purely aesthetic or (eventually) psychological effects (e.g. insight or conversion). The principal type of intentional multivocality, the relationship between deceptive surface meaning and hidden truth, informing Jain narratives, I argue, is rooted in Jain ontological dualism. The projection of the categories of Jain doctrinal dualism generates an effect which may be called 'ontological ambiguity': the distinction between surface meaning and deep meaning, which has the potential to infuse any given preconception or common sense assumption with an element of uncertainty. In other words, the underlying intentionality informing the rhetoric of Jain conversion stories is ultimately Jain ontology itself.

Intentional multivocality was already identified as a universal characteristic of Jain narrative literature by authors such as Hertel,[79] J.C. Jain,[80] and others. Often, they noted, Jain narratives apparently do not mean what they say, or, the other way round, what they say is not what they really mean.[81] This phenomenon has been described in terms of a 'disguise' of the general strategic aim of religious conversion under the mantle of entertainment. Mone, for instance, concludes with regard to the Kīcaka-episode in the Jain Mahābhārata:

Thus preaching on religion and its ethic and popularising the doctrine is the only purpose of the author, as revealed through his story. Under the guise of tale-telling, there appears moral and life-regulating precepts – this so happens in every such Jaina narrative.[82]

A good example of this general rhetorical strategy of Jain narratives – to disguise religious meanings with a worldly plot – is the frequent use of love stories, kāma kathā, to attract the attention of an audience. The obvious problem, as J.C. Jain notes, is that the surface content of love stories cannot possibly be in concordance with the underlying religious intentions of Jainism, nor with the merchant ethos of most Jain families:

Since the Jains were always a mercantile community, and therefore were more attracted to stories relating to wealth, the above literary emphasis on artha is understandable. What is more problematic is why so many Jain stories are so rich in the theme of kāma or romantic love.[83]

The pragmatic reason for using love stories is of course first to attract the attention of the listeners and then to infuse them with moral insight. Love stories are just a disguise for the transmission of Jain doctrines: a sweet coating of the bitter pill of morality. However, "Sometimes the disguise is so good … that the moral or teaching element... is difficult to find".[84]

The structural relationship between surface meaning (phenomenal appearance) and disguised meaning (noumenal essence) is in Jainism always interpreted in terms of the ontology of jīva and ajīva. Jīva, the true inner essence of things, is hidden under the external guise of its karmic shackles. Truth, according to Jainism, can be found hidden under the fetters of untruth, like the soul in the body, the gold in the rock, the lotus in the mud, the king amongst the people, etc. Popular narratives are conceived in similar ways as 'vehicles' for the communication of Jain principles which constitute their underlying eternal 'truth'.

In Jain philosophical terms,[85] the general rhetoric strategy employed by Jain ascetics is the juxtaposition of the perspectives of the worldly or conventional point of view, vyavahāra-naya (VN), and the transcendental point of view, pāramārthika-naya (PN),[86] in such a way, that the commonsensical perception of the surface meaning of a story or event is progressively altered as the story unfolds through the confrontation with the point of view of the omniscient Jinas conveyed by Jain ascetics and their retrospective interpretations of the karmic consequences of earlier actions of the pivotal characters.[87]

Most Jain narratives exploit the implications of the Jain karman theory by narrating in which ways karman accumulated in a previous existence bears fruit in the next, the so called avadāna motif.[88] The popular nidāna stories are a subcategory of avadāna stories. They illustrate the negative consequences of bad karman, accrued for instance by performing penance for worldly gains,[89] or how two or more protagonists are "held in relation to one another by the tie of love or hatred through a succession of parallel births."[90]

1.4 Social Implication

This retrospective mode of interpretation operates in a similar way as the expiatory Jain rituals of self-retrospection, pratikramaṇa, of which, one might argue, Jain conversion stories are but a reflexive form.[91] Similar to pratikramaṇa rites, retrospection as a narrative motif or technique creates reflective distance and enables the discrimination and objectification of elements of 'karmic delusion' and their separation from the 'true nature of the self'. The process of reflexive differentiation of karman and jīva is predicated on the analysis of the different outcomes of actions informed by worldly orientations (VN) and transcendental orientations (PN), through the comparison of consequences and antecedences of actions from the objective point of view of a quasi-omniscient narrator.[92] In this way, religious 'truth' and 'illusion' become distinguishable and the potential for purification is furthered. The meaning of life, or of segments thereof, is thus apprehended "by looking back over a temporal process in which every part of the process is assessed by its contribution to the total result".[93] The retrospective identification of underlying principles which explain a series of apparently contingent events is a strategy of ontologization, of projecting or implanting preconceived categories into narrated 'lived experience' which in turn seems to confirm the validity of the categories itself and weakens the psychological resistance to acceptance.[94] Jain conversion stories, or dharmakathās, always culminate in the insight, renunciation and final salvation of the hero of the story. It may be argued that Jain texts with a greater historical content, such as the monastic chronicles, are resistant to ontological projections. However, even a cursory look at the material shows that they are similarly framed by cosmological and soteriological conceptions. The chronologies of the monastic orders, the paṭṭāvalīs, generally begin with the death of Mahāvīra and construct a mostly imaginative but not entirely invented link of successions up to the present, but also anticipate the end of their line in the not too distant future, as predicted by Mahāvīra in view of the unchangeable cosmological time-cycles. In the light of the Jain 'higher critique' it ultimately does not matter at what time one ācārya was preceded by another, except for often deliberately historically inaccurate sectarian historiography. The only thing that counts is the soteriological trajectory of the individual soul. Through the method of retrospective reinterpretation the surface meaning of both purely fictitious narratives and chronologies can be 'flouted' through acts of "salvific exploitation".[95] In this process, intentional multivocality is produced precisely by "reducing the polysemantic possibilities to a single interpretation",[96] that is, to the author's preferred version of Jain doctrine, to create effects of religious 'insight' and to force the 'social implication' of behavioural change.[97] This can be done in such a way that the surface plot itself is hardly touched at all:

For the moral teaching imparted by the story does not lie in the events themselves as they are related in the tale, but in the explanation which the kevalin gives at the end of this story. This kevalin shows that all the misfortunes undergone by the persons which act a part in his narrative, have been caused by bad deeds, and that all their good luck has been caused by good actions, done by them in previous existences. It is clear that this method of teaching morals is applicable to any story whatsoever... the consequence of this fact is, that no story-telling monk is obliged to alter any story handed down to him, and that, from this reason, Jainstories are much more reliable sources of folk-lore then the stories handed down in the books of the Bauddhas.[98]

From a discourse theoretical point of view, the intended effect of including the exegesis as an integral part of a story is to force a 'social' implication upon the audience, who should realise the principles of non-violence in their own life. Forcing a 'social implicature' upon an audience is achieved less through the textual rhetorics itself than though the normative impact of the setting. As W. Iser argues, the textual and social meaning of a text is created to a large extent by the "actions involved in responding to the text",[99] that is, the interpretations and reactions of the listeners or readers. A literary work is not the text itself, but the end product of the interaction between text and the individual reader, who finally 'realizes' (konkretisiert) its implied meaning:

The text provokes certain expectations which in turn we project on to the text in such a way that we reduce the polysemantic possibilities to a single interpretation in keeping with the expectations aroused, thus extracting an individual, configurative meaning. The polysemantic nature of the text and the illusion-making of the reader are opposed factors.[100]

There are two aspects to our notion of social implication. From a disinterested phenomenological point of view every sentence is a multivocal statement: "the sentence does not consist solely of a statement... but aims at something which is beyond what it actually says".[101] The unbiased individual reader reduces the range of possible intentional sentence correlatives according to his or her own individual dispositions and in this way creates textual meaning. A sermon, however, is a normatively regulated setting with pre-structured social expectations and limited freedom of unchecked individual interpretation in the face of self-referential narrative hermeneutics. Only from pragmatic and sociolinguistic, for instance Gricean perspectives, the normative presuppositions of discourse come into view. Here, not only the intentional sentence correlatives created by isolated readers constitute the crucial 'unsaid' dimension of a text, but the doctrine-based social intention of the speaker expressed in a normatively regulated speech situation which might be 'realised' or not by individual listeners.[102]

1.5 Self-Exegesis

What the narrative cliché of a text-immanent Jain exegesis added at the end of a Jain narrative text does, I would argue, is to further reduce the range of possible interpretations for the audience by introducing a sense of normative intentionality into imported fictional or historical tales (if one wishes to use such a distinction), and to suggest both a ontologically 'true' and a pragmatic interpretation, which retrospectively – through contrast – reveals the 'illusory' character of the audiences prior responses to the early sections of the story and supplants it with its own, supposedly 'higher' or 'deeper', form of interpretation. The superiority of the doctrinally informed ascetic interpretation over interpretation of other narrative characters is partly a consequence of its retrospective mode of presentation, which allows for detached, transcendent systematicity, whereas prior responses are, as Iser shows in his work, time-related and built on constantly changing perspectives. The effect of the self-referential exegesis within the text is the creation of systematic ambiguity of the elements of the story which, through the additional interpretation from the teleological, 'ultimate point of view', gain a 'symbolic', multivocal character[103] for an audience whose 'natural response' to the narrated events is to be shaken in order to prepare the ground for potential effects of religious insight.[104] In proposing a more powerful causal explanation of the narrated events on the basis of their karman theory, ascetic characters demonstrate the 'illusory' character of prior interpretations and thus confronts the members of the audience, who were initially enticed to identify with the main heroes of the story, with a contrast between the univocal 'truth' of Jainism and their own deficient, obviously highly ambiguous interpretations.[105] Frustration on the part of the listener is, however, prevented through the pragmatic, teleological scheme of interpretation which suggests practical ways of how to avoid further 'self-deception' through a real change of life.[106] In this way, by using 'salvific violence' and indirectly attacking personal responses, and by implanting a 'pragmatic' interpretation into a 'fictional' text, the worldly desires of the audience may be momentarily reoriented toward implementing Jain ideals of nonviolence. This strategy of 'destroying' the profane universe of conventional meanings thus operates similar to the tantric use of intentional language, saṃdhyā bhāṣā, which, as Eliade[107] and Bharati[108] have shown, uses the methods of 'flouting' common sense meanings in order to create a 'paradoxical situation' which elicits experiences of insight and behavioural pressures.

The authors of (medieval) Jain stories have succeeded in transforming popular tales, biographies and histories into conversion stories with a hidden didactic and hence social intention in mind, that is, to evoke similar experiences as narrated in the story in their audience to effect progressive acts of renunciation. This is achieved particularly through the violation of the expectations of the audience, and the inclusion of the character of the interpreting ascetic into the story. Here, the narrated transcendent perspective of pāramārthikanaya and the long-term dogmatic intention, abhiprāya, of the narrator seem to merge in such a way that real life and the events of the story become temporarily indistinguishable.

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