About the Book
The present volume is published by the Oriental Institute, M.S. University of Baroda in sacred memory of late Dr. U.P. Shah, Ex-Deputy Director and General Editor, Ramayana Deptt. of the Institute. It contains research articles specially written by scholar-friends of Dr. Shah Philosophy, Jaina Iconography, Art-History to Indian Literature in general as his interest too ranged to all the afore mentioned subjects.
As will be evident from the life-sketch and the bibliography of his works, Dr. Shah made an impact in the field of Jaina Iconography and Art-History, though he handled, with equal felicity, subjects related to Oriental studies. Some of the articles appearing in this volume break new ice regarding certain knotty points of Jaina philosophical thought and religious practices. It would be helpful to view the contents of this volume from the standpoint of long, mutual affinity and correlatedness of the ancient Vedic and Jaina traditions that flourished coevally over a great stretch of time in this country of uncommon tolerance and understanding of opposing ideas and ideals, evincing brilliant insights into the problems of Being and Consciousness ever probed by human mind. The methodology of symbolical representation of transcendental principles and perceptions evolved in both Jaina and Brahmanical traditions of thought is well-documented in this volume, which will prove to be a treasure for the student of Oriental studies in general and Indology in particular.
About the Author
The Chief Editor of this Commemoration Volume, Dr. Ramkrishna Tulajaram Vyas was born in 1934. He took his B.A. and M.A. Degrees from the Bombay University. He was also awarded Ph.D. Degree for his thesis entitled "Brhadarranyaka Upnisad: A Critical Study" by the same University. He is also Vyakaranacarya and Sahityaratna (Hindi).
He has a very long-standing teaching, research and administrative experience in different capacities. He served in the Oriental Institute of Baroda as its Dy. Director for five years and also as its Director for seven years i.e. 1987-1994. He retired recently as its Director on 31st Oct. 1994.
Five books written and nine books edited by him are published. More than sixty research papers, written by him are published in different research journals and periodicals. He participated in many regional, national and international seminars, conferences and workshops. He worked in several capacities as member, Secretary, Chairman etc. in several committees.
I am happy to place this Commemoration Volume in the hands of scholars of Oriental Studies, published in the sacred memory of Dr. U.P. Shah (1915-1988), an internationally reputed and recognized scholar of pioneers in the field of the then nascent discipline of Art-History and distinguished himself in the area of Indian Sculpture and Painting and wrote a valuable book on Jaina Art and Iconography, apart from several other works and over one hundred and fifty research articles published in reputed research journals of several Universities and Institutions of the world. He contributed substantially in the development of the Jaina school of painting after the pioneering work of Dr. Norman Brown and Manjulal Majumdar, particularly in the state of Gujarat.
The then Bombay Government assigned him the task of writing authentic volumes on two newly discovered art-treasures of Gujarat, namely the bronzes from Akota near Vadodara and the sculptures from Shamlaji in north Gujarat. He, in his consequent works, showed that Vadodara and its ambient area in the western Gujarat and developed in the medieval era its own school of bronze-sculpture with fine Jaina content-parallel to the Chola bronzes of South India and Pala bronzes of Bengal and Bihar. He also exhibited affinity of the Saivite and Matrka sculptures of Shamlaji with those of Elephant. Moreover, his researches in the Lakulisa cult proved Karavan 30 kms to the south-east of Vadodara to be the most important centre of the Saivite cult in the beginning of the Christian era from where it spread upto Almora and Nepal in the north, upto Orissa in the east and upto Nagapattinam near Tanjore in the south.
He distinguished himself by discharging his duties meticulously as Deputy Director, Oriental Institute, M.S. University of Baroda and as the last General Editor and Head of the Valmiki Ramayana Project. He was a dynamic member of the Senate of the M.S. University from 1958 to 1970 and was the Founder President of "Heritage Trust of Baroda". Hence it is quite proper that this volume containing articles of scholars and friends of Dr. U.P. Shah from all over the world is dedicated to his memory.
In the year 1990 a committee under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor. M.S. University
of Baroda was formed to suggest appropriate measures for a suitable memorial of Dr.
U.P. Shah. The committee resolved: (1) to publish a Commemoration Volume. (2) to Institute
an annual award of gold medal. to be conferred on a student who secured highest marks
at M.A. in the subject of Art-History /Sanskrit/ Archaeology. and (3) to institute annual
memorial lecture series in the above subjects to perpetuate the memory of Dr. U.P.
Shah. It also resolved to raise funds and invite research articles from scholars and friends
of Dr. V.P. Shah from all over the world. An appeal in this regard was issued. the response
to which was indeed heart-warming. Consequently. this volume mostly containing articles
on subjects related to Jaina Iconography. Art-History and Archaeology is being consecrated
to his memory. However. articles on subjects connected with oriental studies in general
are also included.
Coming as he did from a vaisnava family. Dr. Shah was circumstantially led to choose
the field of Jaina Art and Iconography and Art-History for specialization. nevertheless.
he was at home with a host of other subjects. like Epic-Studies. Text-Criticism. Cultural
HIstory and was temperamentally Interested In any subject related to Indological and
For the last five m1llennia this country has been witnessing the growth of two parallel
thought-currents. generally described as Vedic and non-Vedic, orthodox and heterodox.
a closer scrutiny of which reveals a uniformity in their world-view. cultural ideal and
paradigms and basic tenets. .Jainism. branded as heterodox system of thought. may be
traced back to the Vedic era in its sramana-tradition. as the Rgveda X.136 speaks of
munayah- vatarasanah or air-girded ascetics travelling through space. Jainism, not finding
adequate rational accountability for the Vedantic non-dualism. which maintains that the
one gives rise to the many. that is. viewing the world characterised by multiplicity as
derived from unitary. changeless. absolute. postulated five real substances. namely. jiva;
life, kala. lime. akasa. space, dharma, virtue and adharma, nonvirtue. This stand earned
for it the title 'realistic pluralism'. But the Jaina ideal of Kevali, the accomplished Muni
or Arhat who is held to be omniscient, brings it to the verge of monism, since the
Arhat. according to Jainism itself, transcends the dual1ty of subject and object and
realizes himself to be the trans-personal absolute, unitary Being, encompassing the totality
of objective existence in an act of meditational gnosis.
It is, thus, evident that both Vedanta and Jainism share an almost common cultural
ideal. The other philosophical premises for both, regarding the basic tenets, such as.
the theory of karma and re-Incarnation, emancipation and meditational practices and
the like. are also very similar with minor technical differences. It is. therefore, natural
that the myths. symbols. and visual art-forms arising from them have been Influenced
mutually in both the traditions. The archetypes concretized in their sculptures and icons
take rise from similar psychological background. The central thrust of both the systems
of thought happens to be the realization of the impermanence of the objective aspect
of existence and the attainment of enlightenment. consequent upon ethical refinement
and various medttattonal practices. effecting gradual psychic tranquillization-cum-stabi-
lization and simultaneous attainment of higher vision and wisdom on the subjective side.
leading ultimately to a transcendental. steady state which may be characterised as immutable.
immortal and absolutely real.
The Vedic seer-poets communicated their ideas through symbols and myths. because
this mode of communication was the only suitable mode for representing the contents
and processes of the unconscious at the extreme end of which they discovered the Self.
As the mathematically precise language is the most suitable method for representing
scientific concepts and theories. allegorical method suits most for metaphysical propo-
sitions. Symbolism to metaphysics is what mathematics is to science. There persists
still a confusion regarding the exact understanding of the Vedic myths and symbols.
some scholars maintaining them to embody 'action-plan' for collective survival. others
holding them to be metaphorical presentation of pre-historical ethnic conflicts. still others
holding them to represent a process through which the atemporal. undifferentiated
consciousness enters into temporality and conditioning. ahistortcal ushering itself into
history. a powerful protagonist of which is El1ade Mtrcea, a contemporary French philosopher.
But of late some scholars. both oriental and occidental. have advanced the theory that
they represent an intense 'inner search' for the self-existent and self-luminous principle
and communicate the result of this search graphically. Postulating such a self-evident
principle is the logical necessity for a thorough explanation of all actual existents of
the world and their knowledge.
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