Retrieving the hidden meaning: Jain commentarial techniques and the art of memory [Book Review]

Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (2):133-162 (2010)
One of the peculiar characteristics of the vast body of Jain commentarial literature is the primacy given to artha , meaning, over sūtra , the root text itself. It is the task of the commentator—or, in a pedagogical context, the teacher—to retrieve and explain a text’s true, hidden meaning, which often appears to stretch and even contradict its apparent meaning. This article examines the interpretive processes in one of the most important Jain commentaries on monastic discipline, the Bṛhatkalpabhāṣya attributed to the sixth-century CE Śvetāmbara Jain exegete Saṅghadāsa. An examination of passages where the commentator claims to uncover the real—but sometimes less-than-apparent—meaning of monastic rules enables us to detect the interpretive moves involved and the underlying assumptions about the nature of text and the work of commentary. I argue that this commentarial tradition presupposes particular practices of memory, and a degree of internalizing the traditional hermeneutical methods, on the part of a monastic practitioner who wants to understand the text correctly and live according to its true meaning.
Keywords Jainism  Commentary  Interpretation  Memory   Bṛhatkalpabhāṣya  Saṅghadāsa
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10781-010-9086-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Jonardon Ganeri & M. Miri (2010). Sanskrit Philosophical Commentary. Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 27:187-207.
Maurice Bloomfield (1924). On False Ascetics and Nuns in Hindu Fiction. Journal of the American Oriental Society 44:202-242.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

29 ( #106,512 of 1,724,889 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,623 of 1,724,889 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.