(Mission Statement) Technological Enhancement in Swadhyay

An attempt to revolutionize the way we do digital swadhyay

मैं नमो नगन जैन जन ज्ञान ध्यान धन लीन |
मैन मान बिन दान घन एन हीन तन छीन ||

Swadhyay (स्वाध्याय) has evolved in a very great manner for many centuries. Previously in the forth era, human beings use to capture all the shrut knowledge in their mind itself. After entering the 5th era (current) — due to depletion of learning capacity — धरसेनाचार्य initiated the first proposal to convert shrut knowledge into a written format (लिपिबद्ध) and that’s how the first Jain scripture (प्रथम श्रुत स्कंद) named षठ खण्डागम came into existence authored by भूतबलि and पुष्पदंत आचार्य.

Thereafter, many Acharyas wrote scriptures and simplified the existing one (टीका). Many Jain followers started creating copies of those scriptures by manually writing the whole shastra word by word. That’s how — the shastra we read today — were preserved for centuries. Around 250 years back, Jaipur was the hub for such work. Hundreds of manually written shastra are still preserved in Jaipur Govt Historic Assets. Then came the printing era — you all very well know this one.


It’s time for digital revolution.

I was stunned with the number of scriptures on my grandfather’s table.

Actually, he is doing an extensive research for filling up the questions of Vigyan Vatika — national level questionnaire competition of Jainism (you can easily detect the book in the image above).

What if we can make the researching process real quick and accurate with the use of technology? It can help us save a lot of time finding stuff and more time to read.


Problem.

I spent my high school in a Jain Institute, Mangalayatan. Those were the days when we can find almost any scripture from Jinvani Mandir.

Tirthdham Mangalayatan (Jinvani Mandir)

One of my Batchmate, Rishabh Jain did a very great job of creating a collection of different scriptures with proper segregation in Jinvani Mandir.

But in today’s era, people are remotely scattered and are busy with their 9–5 job, it’s not possible to carry scriptures with us or even maintain a collection. Even if we download PDFs, it’s not responsive on mobile devices (small fonts).

  • What if the fonts automatically adjusts the device screen size (mobile, tablet, laptop etc)?
  • What if you’re not able to understand the meaning of a line, para or topic? What if we can easily share a unique link of that “hard to understand” line, para or topic on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and ask for the solution.

A swadhyay doer might face many problems and there are many unsolved doubts occurring while reading a scripture. How can this all be solved?

Technology.


Solution.

After passing out from Mangalayatan, I too had these problems personally. Since last few weeks, I had programmed a prototype webapp trying to solve this problem. For our beta launch, we had deployed the first chapter of मोक्षमार्ग प्रकाशक authored by पंडित प्रवर टोडरमलजी. Check the link below:

https://jainism.tech/s/mokshmarg-prakashak/4

It automatically adjusts the fonts according to your device and instead of downloading the whole shastra, it render the required content on your browser itself (remember how the facebook content rendering works). No need to download any app or something.

Now, if I have a doubt or want to share a line of MMP first chapter, say — जिस संसार भय से तीर्थंकरादि डरे उस संसारभय से रहित हैं वे बड़े सुभट हैं — I’ll simply highlight the text on the webpage and create an unique shareable url like the one below (will explain the process to create unique links in the next section). Click the following link and see the magic:

https://jainism.tech/s/mokshmarg-prakashak/4?id=NR0455KESli5aIpU5U17

Come on. Click it. I’ll wait.

You see, the text I was referring to is “yellowed” and you’re automatically scrolled to the exact position of the topic. This is what you saw, right?

Now, I can share this unique link with my friends or someone who can assist me in understanding the topic. And that’s how we all can create an efficient digital community of swadhyay doer (don’t forget to join our Telegram group).


How it works?

Let me illustrate the exact process to create a shareable link with just a few clicks. I’ll do it on desktop, it works same on mobile device.

  • Visit the shastra webpage. Scroll down to the para you want to share and select the text (click and drag the cursor on desktop OR tap the screen for long on mobile). On selecting, a “share” icon will pop out at right bottom corner as shown in the image below.

Remember, multi-para selection doesn’t work and the selected text must be more than 20 but less than 1500 characters.

  • Click that share icon and it will create a unique link (image below) referring to the selected text. Copy it, share it with anyone you like or yourself visit the url once to check if its working as expected.

Visit the link and it will scroll you down to the exact position with yellowed text (already explained above).


Possible Usecases (aka How it helps?)

  • If you have any query while reading any shastra, you can simply share that exact phrase with anyone (who has internet). Share it on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or simply email it. The counter party does not have to download the shastra or scroll to the exact position referring to. It saves a lot of time and simplifies the process of asking doubts. Very useful for person living remotely.
  • If you’re writing an article and have any reference from different scriptures, create a unique link of gatha etc and link it to your article. The reader of your article can easily jump to the referenced topics. One of my Shastri friend, Anubhav Jain wrote a research paper explaining the state of चारित्र in चतुर्थ गुणस्थान — it was an awesome read. He referenced 18 scriptures in the paper but it’s not convenient to download all PDFs and scroll all the way down to the exact position of the topic. In such types of cases, the writer can simply create a shareable ID and link it to their piece of content.
  • This happens many times that you remember the lines but are not able to recall the exact position in the Shastra. You can use your mobile or desktop browser in-built search tool to search for that specific text or phrase.

These are few use cases which are available in our current version of web app. We will gradually launch all the features and educate people on how to use it 😀. Thereafter, we will also explain more use cases. Stay tuned. Stay in touch.


Features.

We had already implemented:

  • The “fit to screen” responsive design.
  • You can use browser in-built search tool to search for any on-page text.
  • Create an unique URL for sharing any text, line or para of the Shastra.

Future Endeavour.

  • A comprehensive database of scriptures in web view format.
  • On page navigation to different chapters and sub chapters.
  • On page definition dialog box for complex words.
  • Intra shastra search (search text or a phase in the current shastra).
  • Inter shastra search (search text or a phase in all the shastra in our database).

Acknowledgement to Ishan Jain for assisting in server maintenance and Divya for manually converting the PDFs into web readable format.

If you want to — get regular updates, suggest a feature or contribute to the project — talk to us directly on our Telegram group. You can also email me at hey@sowmayjain.com

सर्वज्ञ शासन जयवंत वर्ते।