Gitarthganga, The Spiritual Research Institute on Jaina Order, Ahmedabad, India
Visionary H. H. Acharya Shri Ramchandrasurishwarji asked his worthy and able disciples Muni Shri Mohjitvijay and Muni Shri Yugbhushanvijay to apply their broad and deep understanding to the core of various scriptures and simplify it for the benefit of novices and saints.
An Overview of the Entire Research Process:
In the initial phase, more than 2,000 authentic and rare scriptures were collected from various repositories, archives and athenaeums. These were obtained either in printed or handwritten form, of which some were in dilapidated and worn-out state. They were digitized using various technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR), scanning and manual entry. For example, out of the forty–five Agams, we took the 1st Agam – Aacharang Sutra. This Agam was OCR’ed and converted into text. Then a Qualitative Analysis was performed to rectify any mistakes/differences between the original and the OCR’ed Agam. The OCR’ed text is in a Unicode font which enables it to be opened on any platform.
With the goal to classify them in a subject-wise reference format, more than 700 of those amended scriptures were digitized and stored in the database. Currently available literature is scripturally classified into four types: Dravyanuyog, Charankarnanuyog, Ganitanuyog (Kalanuyog), and Dharmakathanuyog. To make it simple to comprehend, 108 main and 10,008 sub-subjects which encompass the entire Jain philosophy were identified. Expert saints and well-versed pundits read every part of the scriptures, extracted the core message, and classified those into 10,000+ identified subjects by writing a code. Additionally, about 1,300 scriptures which are not yet digitized word to word are also being indexed or otherwise classified subject-wise in digital form. About 38,000 categorized pictures, illustrations and images are listed in detail. The database also consists of more than 20,000 charts, 3,500 tree classifications based on various subjects and listing of more than 32,000 independent scriptural works. More than 67,000 articles of research, scholars, and modern science have been added to cover the present-day perspective as well. Today, these articles, codes and references aggregate to about 500,000 and are available in the searchable database. This speaks to the volume of work undertaken at the research center.
Creating Value for Scholars Worldwide: On completion of this mammoth task, a learned aspirant shall get an in-depth understanding of a particular subject to help him extract the essence of that subject. For example, on entering the subject ‘AHIMSA (Non-violence)’ as partly shown in Figures 1-4 below, one shall get complete information on its characteristics, definitions, graphics, illustrations, authentic references from scriptures, charts, trees, synonyms, reference places in the books from the subject-oriented library, articles of research scholars and modern science, just to name a few.
Gitarthganga has also developed a unique subject-oriented library containing more than 85,000 books and more than 33,000 e-books. Library e-card covering more than 150 aspects will be linked to the aforementioned subjects, thus giving reference flashes for the selected subjects. Once the process mentioned above is completed, it will be further classified and compiled to form more than a categorized encyclopedia. Software to handle such complexities for the research and subject oriented library has been developed in-house and is being maintained and updated on a regular basis. The application to query the Database is built in .net environment and the backend Database is SQL.
In the Figures 1-3 below, a user can query on a subject, retrieve the results of the query, and see the total number of records of references and its narration related to that subject.
The enrichment of this enormous work on all these subjects is constantly in progress. The interpretation by the experts of these subjects shall reach the common man to know understand their inner realm. This 360-degree view (OCR to Compilation) of the subject will enable the expert to study, interpret and get to the quintessence of the selected subject.
One example of this paramount effort is interpretation of the subject “Dharmathirth” by H.H.Acharya Shri Yugbhushansuri. This book has a collection of sermons, and interpretations based on more than 1200 references collected from various sources. These interpretations involve integrating many aspects, which sometimes may seem counter intuitive. The expert then distills the conclusions of the particular subject which is in line with the universal fundamentals.
Besides the research work, Gitarthganga has also published more than 200 books which include sermons of both Pandit Maharajas and verbatim explanation of scriptures by Shri Pravinchandra Mota.
We invite the worldwide Jain Scholars to collaborate with us and visit us when they are in India!
On the left is Prof. Dr. Nalini Balbir (University of Paris) visiting Gitarthganga in January 2017. Muni, Kushalkirti Maharaj Saheb (far right) is giving an overview of the demo to Dr. Balbir.