A Digambara Jain Samskāra in the Early Seventeenth Century: Lay Funerary Ritual according to Somasenabhattāraka's Traivarnikācāra

In: Indo-Iranian Journal

Abstract

This paper examines the description of the funeral ritual to be performed for a lay Digambara Jain which is provided by Somasenabhattāraka in his Traivarnikācāra , written in Maharashtra in 1610. This description represents the fullest textual account hitherto available of premodern Jain mortuary ceremonial for a non-renunciant. Despite Jainism's consistent rejection of brahmanical śrāddha ceremonies intended to nourish deceased ancestors, Somasenabhattāraka clearly regards the performance of these as a necessary component of post-funerary commemoration. The paper focusses on Somasenabhattāraka's references to árāddha and the ancestors and suggests how categories deriving from brahman ritual ideology were maintained in a devalorised form in the Digambara Jain context.

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