Jain narrative literature in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Apabhraṃśa is rightly recognised as one of South Asia’s great cultural heritages and a vital source of material for insight into premodern Jain teachings, practices, and everyday life. However, Jain studies is yet to fully engage with the rich archive of Jain narrative literature in Brajbhāṣā, and a wealth of untapped manuscript material is waiting to be explored. In this article, I argue that by going beyond the too-broad moniker of “Jain Hindī literature” to recognise Jain narrative literature in Brajbhāṣā as a distinct category, we may better understand the Jains of early modern North India as partakers of a wider literary and religious culture. More particularly, by comparing the form and religious outlook of Rāmcand Bālak’s Sītācarit
, a seventeenth-century Rāmāyaṇa
treatment, with the works of the more well-known Banārsīdās, we see that even amongst the Jains who used Brajbhāṣā, considerable variety of outlooks and approaches existed.
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