Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seminar to revive Saman Suttam

A group of Jain scholars in the city have organised a national seminar on Jainism with the aim of reviving a 36-year-old book that seeks to unite all the sects of the religion. The seminar, which began on Thursday and will conclude on Friday, involves 15 academic presentations on Various Facets of Saman-Suttam, a book compiled from other Agamas (religious scriptures) by 300 Jain Acharyas and scholars from both the Digambar and Shvetambar sects. The book, commissioned by freedom fighter and human rights advocate Vinoba Bhave, was completed in 1974. 

"Bhave's aim was to create a single text that explained the essence of Jain philosophy common to all sects," said Dr Geeta Mehta, a Jainology professor at KJ Somaiya Centre for Studies in Jainism, which has organised this seminar at its campus.

Written in the form of 756 Prakrit verses, the book has been translated in English, Hindi and Gujarati over the years. But it did not bring about a unity between sects as it had intended. "Each sect preferred to refer to its own texts rather than one which belongs to all," said Dayanand Bhargav, a Jaipur-based professor of Vedic religion.

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