Vividha Tīrthakalpa ► Preliminaries ► Publisher’s Note

Posted: 09.01.2011

In the Jain religion it is a very old tradition to compile and guard the literature in which there is a combined and dedicated contribution of both  Shramanas and Shravakas. This is the reason why the Jains have a huge store of handwritten books. As an example we mention Jinbhadrasūri who established various stores of knowledge, and after that established the famous library of Jaisalmer, which preserved the oldest manuscripts written on tadpatra (a tree leaf used to write before the invention of paper) of the Jain books.

Muniśri Jin Vijayji were planning to publish this ancient treasure of the best literary jewels by amending and editing them by means modern means as available in the third decade of the last century. This plan was supported by Śri Bahadur Singh ji Singhi, who was a famous and respected head of the Kolkata Jain society. For the smooth functioning of this work he established a “Singhi Jain Granthmala” (Singhi Jain Book Series) in remembrance of his father Śri Dalchand ji Singhi.  The execution of this initiative came under supervision of Bharatiya Vidyā Bhavan, established by Śri K.M. Munshi.

Due to the demise of Śri Bahadur Singhji Singhi in 1944 the completion of this project was temporarily interrupted, but his able sons respected the emotions of their father and did not allow a lasting interruption in the cumulative execution of this plan. The work continued on a regular basis during the lifetime of Muniśri Jin Vijayji. Plans come to an end due to the passing away of dedicated people. This also happened with this important work, which was stopped due to the demise of Muniji and Munshiji. But till then more than sixty important books had already been published and this series of books (granthmala) attained international recognition in the circle of Jain scholarship.

In the past thirty to forty years researchers have felt deprived of the books of this series. All these books are now difficult to obtain and several are not even available in organized libraries. Looking into this, Prakrit Bharati Academy has planned to republish this series of books. To realize such a task is not easy, and also depends on the availability of abundant financial resources. Thus the execution of the plan was delayed. Then only, coincidently, this plan was discussed which Śri Ranjan Singhi of the Singhi family (Son of Śri Babu Narinder Singh Singhi, grandson of Babu Bahadur Singhji Singhi). He appreciated the plan of republication of these books and consented to bear the expenses for the entire project. We appreciate the love for literature and culture of respected Śri Ranjan Singhi and the entire Singhi family and thank them for their support.

The first jewel in the series of republications which was the Kathakośa Prakran (Volume 11 in the original series) which was much appreciated by the scholars. The second project to be undertaken is Pūrvāchārya Virchit’s Jaipayad Nimit Śāstra (Volume 43 in the original series) This book, written more then 680 years ago, is based on questions contained in the Nimit Śāstra. Ancient scholars were accustomed to think in various dimensions and conducted experiments to acquire knowledge about unknown elements and emotions (bhava) and also with concern to the knowledge of various types of complicated subjects. They used to encrypt this knowledge in a vary complex system. This book is an effort to understand and to make understand some of these elements. We hope that the reader, especially the researchers will find it beneficial. We heartily thank all the people associated with these publications.


About this Volume:

Vividha Thīrthakalpa of Jinaprabha Sūri (Original Serial  Number 10)

As the name of this book indicates, this unique work is compiled in the form of a directory of famous Jain pilgrimage centres of that period. The author of this 13th century work was Āchārya Jinaprabh Sūri, a prominent scholar and influential Āchārya. He was highly esteemed by the then rulers of India, Muhammad Shah Tughlak. Probably he was the first Jain Āchārya to impress the Muslim ruler with the importance of the Jain religion. Wandering is an essential part of a Jain ascetic’s life, but this book clearly indicates that the author had a special interest in history and historical places. That appears to the reason that during his pilgrimages he compiled the related historical and geographical information and brought it together in the brief style of a directory. The scholarly editor of the series believes that there is no parallel work in Indian Literature, let alone in Jain literature. We hope that the reader, especially the researchers, will find it beneficial.

Devendraraj Mehta
Founder and Chief Patron
Prakrit Bharati Academy