Shripal Ras: Now Available
Monday, December 12, 2011
Posted by: Pooja Jain
About Śrīpāl Rās
Hagiography of King Śrīpāl and Queen Mayaṇā
Composed in Marugurjar
By Upadhyaya Vinayavijaya & Mahopadhyaya Yashovijaya
Edited by Premal Kapadia; Available in Gujarati, Hindi and English editions
Sripal Ras Illustrations
Many works have been composed in Jain literature, to show the importance of the Navpad (nine padas), and the importance of worshiping them and practicing their teachings in one's day to day life in order to attain liberation from this mundane world. One of these, and indeed one of the best known to the Jain community, is the Śrīpāl Rās, composed about 300 years ago. Thework consists of 1252 verses composed in a pre-modern language called Mārūgurjara.
The work is a religious saga based on the lives of two lay Jain devotees, King Śrīpāl and his wife, Queen Mayaṇā, who together endure several adventures, continue to worship the nine padas and despite having to face several vicissitudes, will attain liberation. The book states that Gautama Ganadhara, the senior-most disciple of Bhagavan Mahavir gave a religious discourse on the Navapada to the twelve-fold religious assembly including King Shrenika. To make the audience enthusiastic and eagerly desirous of worshiping Navapada, enlightened them on extraordinary achievements, fulfillment and prosperity attained in this life and lives to come, by its worship.
It was during this discourse that he related the story that has become known as the Śrīpāl Rās. This unparalleled work of devotion and spiritual ecstasy is adorned with spiritual knowledge and religious history. The ethos of Jainism and its facets have been lucidly revealed in the form of this tale, making it an easy and pleasant read. Consequently, even though it is a Jain tale, it appeals to a wide audience. Each pada of the Navapada is accompanied by an artistically rich pictorial depiction drawn from the best libraries, institutions, temples and private collections (with their generous consent) in India. The beautiful margins and borders with which the verses have been decorated have been taken from manuscripts which mainly date back to the 16th century, CE. Some others which are of excellent quality are from the 17th century belonging to the Bundi school of art. Other schools of art are also represented. These magnificent illustrations, some of which are being released to the public for the first time, constitute a rare and extraordinary collection of Jain art, the finest available to date.
The work took almost 5 years to complete. In its compilation, more than 30 manuscripts from various sources were consulted and extensive commentary from old texts was incorporated. The work was further enriched with exceptional contributions from pandits, scholars and prominent Jain acharyas and upadhyayas, and brought to fruition through the tireless efforts ofseveral others.
The work has been printed generously in 5 volumes with 1120 pages, extensively layered with illustrations (approximately 750), artwork and content. In order to make this important Jain text available to all, this work has been published in three different languages, viz. Gujarati, Hindi and English.