Mountains of Eternity: Raidhū and the Colossal Jinas of Gwalior

Phyllis Granoff


This paper explores the unique political and religious circumstances surrounding the carving of the colossal Jina images at Gwalior fort in the 15th century. It focuses on the works of the Apabhraṁśa poet Raidhū, who was a pivotal figure in the Gwalior court and the Digambara community. In his poems Raidhū speaks often of the end of times, the Kali yuga. This paper argues that the carving of the colossal Jinas was part of a strategy to turn Gopālagiri into a holy mountain destined to survive the coming cataclysm. Medieval Jain texts give ample evidence of a belief among both Śvetāmbaras and Digambaras that certain holy mountains covered with wonderful images of the Jinas would be left unscathed at the destruction of the world. The paper also explores the intimate networks of patronage in 15th century Gwalior.

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