xxx, 359p., Plts., Figs., Tables, Epil., Bib., Index, 25 cm.
CONTENTS:- 1. Introduction. 2. Development of Jaina Pantheon. 3. Literary Sources. 4. Tirthankara Images in prominent Jain Temples. 5. The life and images of Tirthankaras. 6. Tirthankaras in Cave Art. 7. Other Aspects. 8. Epilogue.
The Tirthankaras in Jainism enjoy the highest position in both the Svetambara as well as the Digambara sects. Each one of the twenty four Tirthankaras have their own glory and importance as cult figures and are revered not only by the Jaina followers in the country but the world over. The first as well as the last few of them are considered to be historical figures. They are adored in the form of sculptures and other means of the plastic art from the time immemorial. The archaeological evidence stands testimony to their adoration in shrines and temples which had been built by the contemporary rulers or even the member s of the merchant guilds in the ancient past. These vestiges of the ancient period stand witness to the excellence, the Indian sculptural art had achieved in the remote past. Not only in the temples, but the images of the Tirthankaras were found carved in the mountain caves like Rajagir and other sites in the entire length and breadth of the country, besides miniatures in the Kalpasutras. The literary evidence in Jaina pantheon also did not lag behind in expressing the glory of these Tirthankaras. In fact there is huge collection of the ancient Jaina hand written manuscripts lodged in several of the Jaina temples and the Libraries like those at Arrah, Varanasi and other places. An attempt has been made to highlight the glory of the Tirthankaras, quite briefly on the basis of these records, which is likely to attract the people at large.