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The Unknown Lonka: Tradition and the Cultural Unconscious

Flügel, Peter (2008) 'The Unknown Lonka: Tradition and the Cultural Unconscious.' In: Caillat, Colette and Balbir, Nalini, (eds.), Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, pp. 181-279. (Papers of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference Vol. 9.)

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Abstract

The article investigates the effective history of the ideas of the 15th century Svetambara Jaina lay reformer Lonka, who is regarded as the founder of the aniconic or 'protestant' Jaina tradition. The article delimits the scope of Lonks's influence on the still existing but ignored Lonkagaccha tradition, which has lost all memory of its own past and on the aniconic Sthanakavasi and Terapanth traditions. Lonka's life and work is almost entirely unknown. This is partly due to the deliberate suppression of his ideas by his opponents, and partly because of the competitive appropriation of his legacy by the aniconic Sthanakavasi and Terapanth Jaina traditions. Informed by Jan Assmann's theory of the cultural unconscious, the article critically reviews the available sources on Lonka and the Lonkagaccha, focusing on processes of canonisation and repression of memory, and on techniques of selective citation and re-combination of transmitted elements of the Jain tradition through which authority was claimed both by Lonka and his successors and by modern Jain authors who tried to establish Lonka as an ancestral figure for competing factions of the aniconic Jaina tradition. The article is in two parts. First, the ways in which the teachings of Lonka and the Lonkagaccha tradition are depicted in modern Jaina historiographic literature is explored, and how the scant information on Lonka was compiled and redacted by different interested parties, and then some of the texts which were attributed to Lonka himself by D.D. Malvaniya are translated and analysed.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Jainism, Lonka, Lonkagaccha, Sthanakavasi, Terapanth, Vijayanandasuri, Atmarama, Jethmal, Jnanasundara, Parvati Devi, V.M. Shah, Vallabhavijaya, aniconic Jaina traditions, cultural unconscious, Lunka na Saddahiya ane Lunka na Kariya Athavana Bolo, Lunka ni Hundi 34 Bol
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions > Centre of Jaina Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions
Copyright Statement: WIth permission of the editor.
Depositing User: Peter Flugel
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2008 10:05
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/3195

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