Floods, Taxes and a Stone Cow: A Jain Apocalyptic Account of the Gupta Period

Paul Dundas

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The Jains are not readily identifiable as a prominent component of society during the Gupta Empire, with the archaeological record of their activities being relatively meagre. This has led to the hypothesis that this community may have migrated from the Gupta realms to the west and south of the subcontinent as a result of antipathy towards the non-orthodox articulated in brahmanical/Vaiṣṇava texts such as the Viṣṇupurāṇa. This paper identifies in the Śvetāmbara text, the Titthogālī, a possible apocalyptic interpretation of this period in which the Jains are described as being subjected to oppression by King Caturmukha and a goddess in the form of a stone cow. The Titthogālī also records the disastrous impact of the flooding of the city of Pāṭaliputra.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-44
Number of pages15
JournalSouth Asian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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