Illustrating Jain Ethics in Medieval Didactic Literature: Virtue, Karma and Female Agency in the Lilavatisara
Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor's Name
Steven M. Vose
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Ethics in religion, Translation studies
Date of Defense
This thesis presents an analysis of virtue as it is illustrated in Jinaratna-Suri’s Līlāvatīsāra (Epitome of Queen Līlāvatī). By the deliberate use of simple yet remarkably clear and straightforward language, this text is able to prescribe the methods necessary for acting virtuously while solidifying spiritual archetypes that operate in a social context.
In this project, I argue that Virtue and the Western definition of goodness, work as parallel yet independent ideas. Intrinsic moral behavior as a sign of spiritual advancement can take on different natures depending on the underlying motivation of the characters. Thus, as far as it is represented in this text, virtuosity is intrinsically linked with the operative/active aspect of karmic residue, as well as with the works of fate and human agency.
My research also argues that the combination of these prior phenomena effectively illustrated through allegorical language leave very little opportunity for female agency to operate. Women’s virtuosity becomes one that portrays female characters as “the other” and marginalizes the roles they play accordingly. The text groups these characters into archetypes of a rather negative nature which hamper the development of their literary personas. Because the repetition of such method, these female characters become representatives of their whole group, solidifying their own spiritual boundaries in the process .
Rodriguez, Carol, "Illustrating Jain Ethics in Medieval Didactic Literature: Virtue, Karma and Female Agency in the Lilavatisara" (2019). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4028.
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