Atma Tatva Vichar or Philosophy of Soul by Dakshina Deshoddharka

Atma Tatva Vichar or Philosophy of Soul

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Atma Tatva Vichar or Philosophy of Soul
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It is extremely gratifying that a book in English language has been printed with the name 'Philosophy of Soul'. It is a translation from the book written in Gujarati "Aatma Tarva Vichar" meaning thought on the principle of Soul. The original book in Gujarati in two volumes consists of religious discourses given by an eminent Holy scholar His Holiness Shrimad Vijay Laxman Sooriswarji Maharaj. He is a well known Jain Aacharya. These discourses are edited in Gujarati by another able scholar Shri Dhirajlal Tokashri Shah.

The laborious and difficult task of translating two Gujarati volumes of Aatma Tatva Vichar into this English volume is very satisfactorily completed by prof. Ghanshyam Joshi, M.A., who is Sahityacharya and Master of languages. A learned Jain and Man of letters Shri Jamnadas J. Udani has given sufficient labour and thought in carefully examining and revising the entire translation. To check and select appropriate English expressions for the original Gujarati technical terms and phrases and thus bring the true tone of the spirit and meaning of the original was no less difficult task, which Shri Udani has admirably accomplished.

Universally revered eminent Jain acharya Shrimud Vijaya Laxman. Sooriswarji Maharaj needs no introduction. Also, his monumental work Philosophy of Soul needs no preface. However, I avail of this opportunity to bring many salient points of Jainism, by this preface, to the notice of Jain and non Jain readers.

The reader will experience great joy in reading this book and will not leave it half finished even if he has no particular interest in abstract philosophy. Because the language used in this book by His Holiness is simple and lucid and the aspects of the philosophy of soul as propounded in Jain Religion are explained in a logical way. Moreover, this book of religious discourses presents many religious stories which go to explain the bigger principles of certain aspects of Jain Philosophy. In this way the book has become extremely interesting even to the laymen.


Introduction

This masterly yet lucid treatise originally in Gujarati is the outcome of scholarly discourses delivered at Bombay by Aacharya Shrimad Vijaylaxmansurishvarjee, the exponent and propagator of Jainism. These discourses were complied in Gujarati by Shri Dhirajlal T. Shah.

I Feel, I am fortunate on being invited to translate into English this valuable and sacred treatise on soul, religion and Karmas. I have strived my best to reflect the original, tempo and charm of the discourses, with out and out loyalty for the original. At times I was compelled to exercise my judicious discretion to translate Jain religion-technical terms which are very often quite foreign to the western concept. In such cases the translation has to be made explanatory.

There has remained unending dispute over 'he' or 'it' to be used as pronoun for 'soul' Soul the very reservoir of consciousness deserves 'he' for indication. But some argue that 'he' usually indicates a male human being and so 'it' would be preferred, still, there are other western philosophers who mostly use 'she' for soul. I think it difficult to insist for any of the three pronouns to represent 'soul' Inspired by claborate discussion with late Shri P. S. Badami the erudite scholar and the unforgettable genius, I have at times used 'He' when soul acts as an agent of some acts, while for the passive description of soul I have used 'it' for soul. The readers will pardon me under this confused and insoluble state of affairs and for any other error if any.

Most of the terms are translated either in explanatory manner or by coining equivalent English term nearest to the concept, Still for guidance some of the terms are explained in 'glossary' just by 'gateway' of this grand treatise.

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