Folk-Lore/Volume 31/Review/Traditions of the Jains

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Traditions of the Jains. The Life and Stories of the Jain Savior Parçvanātha. By M. Bloomfield. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1919.

This book is based on an Indian work, Parçvanātha Charitra, by Bhāvadeva Sūrī, published in 1912. The last of the Jain Tirthamkaras or deified Saints, Mahāvīra, is supposed to have flourished in the fifth or sixth century B.C. Parçvanātha is said to have lived 250 years before him. Beyond tradition there is little to prove that he was an historical personage; but the doctrines ascribed to him are fundamental in Jain legend, and this is the first complete account of the Saint accessible to Europeans. The book takes the usual form of accounts of the previous births of the Saint, interwoven with which are various tales and moral discourses. The notes by the translator in which variants of the tales and accounts of the beliefs and ceremonies of the Jains are given, are of considerable interest.