by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 185,989 words
The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It is a large encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue where Mahavira replies to various question. The present form of the Sutra dates to the fifth century A.D. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his J...
An edition and English translation of the gigantic and encyclopaedic Jain work, the Bhagavatī-sūtra, was a long-felt desideratum, especially for those who could not follow Ardha-Magadhi easily. This book is of great importance in that the work, being the largest of all Jain canonical writings, contains, besides Jain tenets of philosophy, many things secular, providing information on the political, social, and economic conditions of the contemporary society, education, different systems of religion, cosmology, geography, etc. This provides a high incentive to a scholar doing research in Jainism.
As regards the translation, it must be said at the outset that the English of Professor Lalwani is so lucid and graceful that it makes for pleasant reading by itself, even without the text. Every word in the translation looks natural to it, and we have the pleasure of reading good English side by side with a graceful Ardha-Magadhi coming from the mouth of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra.
The explanatory notes appended and the different tables clarifying the contents of the text and philosophy incidentally speak of the translator’s proficiency in Ardha-Magadhi. Professor Lalwani deserves all praise in undertaking such a strenuous and gigantic task.
—V. L. Joshi, JRAS 1976, Part 2,
The rich content of the Bhagavatī Sūtra, as conveyed by the profundity and precision of its concepts, is at once metaphysical and scientific. Its standpoint is not different from that of the other Agamas of Jainism, whose distinctive formulation of fundamental principles and theories, like those of space, time and matter, ahiṃsā and karma, atomicity and multiplicity of souls, and their evolution through states and degrees of grossness, gets properly highlighted in it. One may well hope that the present translation would attract and inspire fresh scholarship into the field of Jainology.
—K. Seshadri, The Hindu, Nov 11, 1973.