Banarasa-vilasa, Jain religious poetry


An anthology of Jain Digambara religious poetry.

What is the manuscript?

The Banārasī-vilāsa is a collection of philosophical and religious poems in Old Hindi language written by Banārasī Dāsa and collected after his death by Jagajīvana.
The version contained in this paper manuscript includes 3500 verses from about fifty different compositions (some of them dated) and was copied in clear Devanāgarī writing by a Jain scribe in the 19th century.

Who was the author?

Banārasī Dāsa (1586–1643 CE) was a merchant and poet whose work was largely inspired by the Jain philosopher Kundakunda (probably active in the 3rd century CE). Kundakunda’s teachings on the true nature of the Self have a central place in the doctrine of the Digambara sect of Jainism.

Banārasī Dāsa’s other works include the Samayasāra Naṭaka on the essential principles of Jain philosophy and the Ardhakathānaka (Half a Tale), probably the first autobiography in Indian literature in which describing his personal experiences, he offers an interesting and detailed account of life in India at the height of Mughal power.

Full title:
19th century
Old Hindi
Banārasī Dāsa
Usage terms

Public Domain. Please consider cultural, religious & ethical sensitivities when re-using this material.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 22393

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