A feature of Jain scriptures is the importance accorded tothe conduct of the laity. One of the first such works isAcarya Samantabhadra's Ratnakaranda Sravakacara .Written in the early centuries of the Common Era, it is anenduring masterpiece prescribing normative lay conduct.Its style is terse and to the point.If the Jain doctrine has survived for the past two millenniaafter the death of the last ford maker Tirthankara Mahaviradespite great socio political-upheavals and the fluctuatingfortunes of the Jain community, credit should go to theinnate correctness and relevance of the Tirthankaras'teachings of which the Ratnakaranda Sravakacara is asplendid example.The Ratnakaranda Sravakacara occupies a special andrevered place in the hierarchy of Digambara scripturaltradition. It has been a defining authority on ideal Jain layconduct for the past two millennia.Comprising of 150 slokas, this work has ensured Samantabhadra's place in Jain history as it serves as aninspiration to Jains even today, more than two millenniaafter it was composed.Since the study of the classical languages Sanskrit andPrakrit is not very prevalent in the Jain lay communitytoday, the Jain community has largely learnt of theRatnakaranda Sravakacara through sermons by monksand learned lay Pandits.
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