World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Jain Prakrit

Article Id: WHEBN0002174375
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jain Prakrit  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Prakrit, Pali, Indian literature, Tamil Jain, Gatha, Jain Agamas, Jainism in Mumbai, Deshna, Jainism in Maharashtra, Linguistic history of the Indian subcontinent
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Jain Prakrit

Jain Prakrit is a term loosely used for the language of the Jain Agamas (canonical texts). The books of Jainism were written in the popular vernacular dialects (as opposed to Sanskrit which was the classical standard of Brahmanism), and therefore encompass a number of related dialects. Chief among these is Ardha Magadhi ("Half Magadhi"), which due to its extensive use has also come to be identified as the definitive form of Prakrit. Other dialects include versions of Maharashtri and Sauraseni.

The "Aabhidhan Rajendra Kosh" written by Acharya Rajendrasuri, is the only available Jain encyclopedia for understanding the Jain Prakrit, Sanskrit, Ardha-Magadhi and other Jain languages words.

Pali and Ardha-Magadhi

The most archaic of the Middle Indo-Aryan languages are the inscriptional Aśokan Prakrit on the one hand and Pāli and Ardhamāgadhī on the other, both literary languages. The Indo-Aryan languages are commonly assigned to three major groups - Old, Middle and New Indo-Aryan, a linguistic and not strictly chronological classification. The Middle Indo-Aryan languages are younger than Rigvedic Sanskrit,[1] which is also closest to the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language, but were contemporaneous with the 'Classical' Sanskrit of Panini.[2] Some scholars believe that a number of morphophonological and lexical features betray the fact that they are not direct continuations of Ṛgvedic Sanskrit, the main base of 'Classical' Sanskrit; rather they descend from dialects which, despite many similarities, were different from Ṛgvedic.[3] MIA languages, though individually distinct, share features of phonology and morphology which characterize them as parallel descendants of Old Indo-Aryan. Various sound changes are typical of the MIA phonology:

  1. The vocalic liquids 'ṛ' and 'ḷ' are replaced by 'a', 'i' or 'u';
  2. the diphthongs 'ai' and 'au' are monophthongized to 'e' and 'o';
  3. long vowels before two or more consonants are shortened;
  4. the three sibilants of OIA are reduced to one, either 'ś' or 's';
  5. the often complex consonant clusters of OIA are reduced to more readily pronounceable forms, either by assimilation or by splitting;
  6. single intervocalic stops are progressively weakened;
  7. dentals are palatalized by a following '-y-';
  8. all final consonants except '-ṃ' are dropped unless they are retained in 'sandhi' junctions.

The most conspicuous features of the morphological system of these languages are: loss of the dual; thematicization of consonantal stems; merger of the f. 'i-/u-' and 'ī-/ū-' in one 'ī-/ū-' inflexion, elimination of the dative, whose functions are taken over by the genitive, simultaneous use of different case-endings in one paradigm; employment of 'mahyaṃ' and 'tubhyaṃ' as genitives and 'me' and 'te' as instrumentals; gradual disappearance of the middle voice; coexistence of historical and new verbal forms based on the present stem; and use of active endings for the passive. In the vocabulary, the MIA languages are mostly dependent on Old Indo-Aryan, with addition of a few so-called 'deśī' words of (often) uncertain origin.

There are many remarkable analogies between Pali and Ardhamagadhi (Half Magadhi), an old form of Magadhi preserved in ancient Jain texts. Ardhamagadhi differs from the eastern Prakrit of Ashokan inscriptions on similar points as Pali. For example, Ardhamagadhi too does not change r into l, and in the noun inflexion it shows the ending -o instead of the eastern Prakritic -e at least in many metrical places. This similarity is not accidental, since Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, preached in the same area (Magadha) as Gautama Buddha.

Dhammapada verse 103:
Yo sahassaṃ sahassena, saṅgāme mānuse jine;
Ekañca jeyyamattānaṃ, sa ve saṅgāmajuttamo.

Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men,
is he who would conquer just one — himself.

Jain Samana sutta 125:
Jo sahassam sahassanam, samgame dujjae jine
Egam jinejja appanam, esa se paramo jao.

One may conquer thousands and thousands of enemies in an invincible battle;
but the supreme victory consists in conquest over one's self.

Dhammapada verse 70:
Māse māse kusaggena, bālo bhuñjeyya bhojanaṃ;
Na so saṅkhātadhammānaṃ, kalaṃ agghati soḷasiṃ.

Month after month the fool might eat only a tip-of-grass measure of food,
but he wouldn't be worth one sixteenth of those who've fathomed the Dhamma.

Jain Uttaradhyana (9.44):
Mase mase tu jo balo kusaggenam tu bhunjae
Na so sukkha adhammasa kalam agghai solasim.

References


External links

  • Jain Agams
  • Jainism and Its Literature
  • An Illustrated Ardha-Magadhi Dictionary
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.