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Repetition in Jaina Narrative Literature [Part 3]

Published: 11.04.2012

The paper was published in Indologica Taurinensia (Vol. XI, 1983, pp. 27-75).


§ 5. Antakṛddaśāḥ

We have selected the 8th aṅga Antakṛddaśāḥ in order to demonstrate the main types of repetition (§ 3) as found in Varga Literature. Ant. has been studied by A. Weber [18] and W. Schubring. [19] The translation by L. D. Barnett (Barnett, Ant.) was to a large extent the basis of our analysis. For the Digambara concept of ten antakts (appearing under each of the 24 Jinas) refer to the dictionaries. [20]

Ant. is a work of Varga Literature, and as such has been introduced by our observations on this genre in §§ 2-4. The works or texts of the Varga Lit. are not as uniform in character as one might expect, and a certain lack of uniformity is also observed if we compare the eight chapters or vargas within Ant. in relation to one another. There is a dichotomy of «narrative units» and «variation units», as mentioned in § 3 supra. But some narration units are more original than others.

Likewise some variation units are more detailed than others (differences which are irrelevant if taken by themselves but which cannot be ignored in an analysis). Here we mention only the more noteworthy motifs from the narrative units:

Gautama (I, 1)

parents want to see their son at least one day in royal state; [21]

Gajasukumāra (III, 8)

mother (Devakī) separated from her children, trial-story (Gajasukumāra), Kṛṣṇa and the brick-carrier;

Padmāvatī (V, 1)

prophecy (Kṛṣṇa's future, destruction of Dvāravatī);

Arjunaka (VI, 3)

man (Arjunaka) possessed by a yakṣa, trial-story (again Arjunaka);

Atimukta (VI, 15)

boy-friar (Atimukta). [22]

The eighth and last varga differs in its structure from the rest and is mainly concerned with dogmatical matters (upavāsa arithmetics).


§ 6. General Analysis of Antakṛddaśāḥ

Before starting our exposition we have to warn the reader that Antakṛddaśāḥ is a work where «understanding» (Verstehen) is not to be used in the usual sense. We have to disentangle a literary composition which is (along with others) exceptional even by ancient Indian standards.

Along with our text the reader will have to use not only figs. 1-2, but also the translation (Barnett, Ant.) and an edition, preferably the pothī edition used by us. [23] The terms - varṇaka-repetition (va°REP in figs. 1-2), hero-variation (hero-VAR, heroine-VAR), narrative unit, variation unit - will be useful, although some of the structural features are not fully covered by them.

As Ant. consists of eight vargas we have divided the conspectus (figs. 1-2) into eight boxes (III and VIII divided for technical reasons). Details on the vargas as such are found in the inserted panels (three in each box, see below). We have presented the text of Ant. as a sequence of units, described in an abbreviated manner and preceded by the numbers of the lines in our pothī edition (p. 1a = lines 1-5, p. 1b = lines 6-15, …). Thus the first unit appears on lines 1-3, and the last unit on lines 578-583.

In each box, the panel in the right hand corner mentions the pages of the pothī edition, the pages of the translation, and the sūtras (sūtras according to the pothī ed.). The upper panel to the left always has two lines, of which the first reads as follows: «varga I, adhyayanas 1-10: pp. 5-37 of the pothī ed.». Before explaining the rest of the panels we have to direct our attention to the sequence of units.

Following the distinction introduced in § 3, we shall first of all isolate nine «narrative units»:





































Five of these nine stories have already been mentioned in § 5. Whatever the reader may feel about the originality of the individual accounts, the literary substance of Ant. is contained in this group of nine stories (and nine adhyayanas). Also the series has a common negative factor: The stories quote from other works (varṇaka-repetition), but they are no devices for the repetition of textual elements in Ant. itself.

This is the function of the remaining part of the text which consists of mere «variation, units» (hero-variation). The picture is blurred by two factors, (i) «varṇaka-repetition» and «hero-variation», which were originally distinct phenomena, tend to converge (not, however, to the point of producing borderline cases). Some of the varṇakas are quite large (no longer cliches of limited size but considerable portions of a story), and some have their source-passage in Ant. itself. Again some of the variation units present a scattering of text. (ii) In Ant., each case of variation counts as one adhyayana. But these figures (contained in the text and not in doubtful colophons) do no justice to the literary form of Ant. and produce «adhyayanas» which consist sometimes only of a single name. Ant. has single, self-contained cases of variation and series of variations (difference in the text form). We consider a series as one block (not numbered but treated as such in the conspectus). Therefore, the number of our blocks (narrative units and variation units taken together) is much smaller than the number of adhyayanas. Ant. IV, 1 is one block and Ant. IV, 2-10 another block.

We can now return to the panels of the conspectus. The second line of the upper panel to the left mentions the lines of our edition where the «kārikā» occurs. «Kārikā» is the expression used by A. Weber [24] for the enumeration of the names of the heroes (heroines) as given in the various adhyayanas. The kārikās appear at the beginnings of the eight vargas (Varga I: lines 8-9 = Āryā «Goyama Samudda Sāgara Gambhīre ceva hoi Thimie ya / … »). The lower panel to the left shows the internal organization of the varga. Figure «1» stands either for a narrative unit or for a simple variation unit (single case of variation). Higher figures («4», «5», etc.) stand for complex variation units (series of 4, 5, etc. cases).


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Indologica Taurinensia

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