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Title: Rāj Bhakta Mārg : the path of devotion to Srimad Rajcandra : a Jain community in the twenty first century
Author: Salter, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 6000
Awarding Body: University of Wales, Cardiff
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis is a diachronic study of a branch of modern Jainism that was established at the beginning of the twentieth century. It makes extensive use of ethnographic data collected during field-research in Gujarat, Mumbai (India) and London (UK). Members of this branch of Jainism follow a Jain layman from Gujarat called Srimad Rajcandra (1867 to 1901 CE). Srimad was profoundly dissatisfied with contemporary Jainism. He believed that its soteriological message had been subverted by empty rituals and groundless theorizing, and that spiritual ignorance had resulted in sectarian division, something to which he vehemently opposed. Today there are numerous ashrams and temples dedicated to Srimad. Most are in Gujarat, from where the majority of his followers originate, but some are also found in other regions of India. Srimad's following extends beyond India into diaspora Jain communities in North America and Europe, including Britain. This thesis argues that Srimad's devotees are unified by an inclusive history and ideology that is centred in the life and teachings of Srimad Rajcandra, and so can be viewed collectively as a distinct movement within modern Jainism. Two tangible factors that distinguish Srimad's followers from other Jains are their acceptance of his writings (in Gujarati) as scripture and their veneration of his image in the form of photographs and statues. Such an argument is necessary because the structure of the Srimad Rajcandra movement is fragmentary. It is a composite of various disparate, autonomous lay communities and individuals. Each community has its own local history and independent tradition, which influence its specific beliefs and practices. This thesis discusses the internal causes for the movement's organizational structure. These include Srimad's lay status and anti-sectarian values, his interpretation of self realisation as a religious experience, and his teaching about guru 'bhakti' as a means of attaining liberation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BL Religion ; H Social Sciences (General)