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Mokṣamāla and the Movement of Śrīmad Rājcandra: Part 2

Course Number: 2008
As we have seen in the first half of this course, Śrīmad Rājcandra
was an important Jain Saint of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who founded a
distinct and modern, yet also in many ways quite orthodox, movement of Jainism
known as the Raj Bhakta Marg. In the first half of this course, we focused primarily on
how Śrīmad Rājcandra’s (1867-1901) philosophy was informed by notable events in
his life, and how in turn these events and this philosophy have influenced the
development of the Raj Bhakta Marg. In the second half of this class we will examine
the features of Śrīmad’s philosophy in greater depth based primarily on the writings
of the Mokṣa-māḷā (1887), but occasionally examining his Ātma-siddhi Śāstra (1896)
as well. Moreover, we will examine the central concept of guru bhakti and discuss the
importance of understanding Jain bhakti both within Śrīmad’s thought and tradition,
but also within Jainism more broadly. We will closely examine how Śrīmad discussed
various features of spiritual practice such as the importance of mantra recitation,
sāmāyika and dhyāna meditation, and other practices intended to remove one’s
karma and give one a direct experience of one’s spiritual essence. Finally, we will
unpack the concise and elegant arguments that Śrīmad offers for the existence of an
eternal soul—all discussions intended to both edify and inspire practitioners to
dedicate themselves to an ardent spiritual practice where one might hope to attain
self-realization and even liberation within 15 lifetimes—a significantly more attainable
and immediate goal than what is often understood by many in the Jain tradition.
Learning Objectives:
• Read and reflect on the teachings of Śrīmad’s Mokṣa-māḷā regarding themes of
self-realization, bhakti, religious practices, and philosophical discourses
including logical proofs for the existence of a soul.
• Understand the importance of Śrīmad’s emphasis of attaining self-realization
and liberation, and how this relates to understanding him as a reformer or a
revivalist.
• Examining key features of bhakti, especially guru bhakti, in the Śrīmad tradition
and how this might inform a broader understanding of the importance and
role of bhakti in the Jain tradition more broadly
• Examine key features of religious practice advocated by Śrīmad and widely
practiced by his followers including mantra recitation, sāmāyika, dhyāna, and guru-bhakti
• Take time to reflect on philosophical principles of Śrīmad and applicability into
daily life
• Inquire into the deeper meanings and implications of the Śrīmad’s teachings in
dialogue with other Jain teachings and other religious traditions.

Course Length

10 hours Self-Study (Professor available by appointment in office hours)

Learning Area

Jain Philosophy, History and Anthropology