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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 11, 2016

Authorship and Authority in the Sanskrit Literary Tradition of the Swaminarayana Movement: Śikṣāpatrī and Satsaṅgijīvanam

Jaydev A. Jani and Peter Schreiner

Abstract

This paper presents what the Satsaṅgijīvanam, a text by Śatānanda-Muni about the life and teachings of Sahajānanda, the founder of the Swaminarayana Movement, in two different passages reports about the authorship of the Śikṣāpatrī. It would appear that Swaminarayana (the name by which the founder came to be known) wrote the Śikṣāpatrī well before Śatānanda produced the version included in the Satsaṅgijīvanam. What the Satsaṅgijīvanam tells us about the authorship and the process of transmission of the Satsaṅgijīvanam itself complicates the evaluation of the Satsaṅgijīvanam as a historical document. Yet, the fact that the text shows that Swaminarayana may not be the author of the currently known Śikṣāpatrī invites reflection about the function of texts in the traditional self-perception and in the history of the Swaminarayana Movement.

Acknowledgements

The article is based on Peter Schreiner’s presentation at the international conference entitled “Sahajanand Swami and the Swaminarayan Sampraday: Historical, Social and Cultural Perspective” (New Delhi, 1–4 August 2013), organized by the B.A.P.S. Swaminarayan Research Institute. It results from research on the Satsaṅgijīvanam carried out in collaboration with Jaydev A. Jani (M.S. University of Baroda) during a research project at the University of Zürich (Switzerland) between 1992 and 1994. The funding by the Swiss National Research Foundation (Schweizer National Fonds) is gratefully acknowledged.

Bibliography of quoted references

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Published Online: 2016-6-11
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

©2016 by De Gruyter