Jainism and Patanjali Yoga (Comparative Study)

by Deepak bagadia | 2016 | 109,819 words

This page relates ‘Jain scriptures and Spiritual teachers’ of the study dealing with the Spiritual Practices of Jainism and Patanjali Yoga in the context of ancient Indian Philosophy (in Sanskrit: Darshana), including extracts from the Yogasutra and the Tattvartha-Sutra. The system of Yoga offers techniques which are scientifically designed for the spiritual development of an individual. Jainism offers ethicical principles and meditation practices to assist with spiritual development.

Part 5 - Jain scriptures and Spiritual teachers

Lord Mahavira’s preaching was orally compiled into many texts in the form of Agamasutras or Agama (ganipitika, dvadasamgi). These scriptures were not documented in any form but were memorized by ascetics and passed on by oral traditions to future generations of ascetics. Later on the literature was composed in Ardhamagadhi or prakrta language by his disciples. This language was understood in the area where Mahavira went about during his life. During course of time, as it became extremely difficult to keep memorizing the entire Jain literature, many learned Acaryas or senior scholar monks compiled many commentaries on the Agama literature and independent works on various subjects of Jain Philosophy and religion. Then, during course of time, many learned Acaryas (seniormost monks), mainly 5th Ganadhara, disciple of Mahavira named Sudharma Swami and later Bhadrabahu Swami (450B.C.) compiled many commentaries on the Agam literature. Acarya Sthulibhadra (350B.C.) and his convention prepared uniform version of all Agams. In Jain traditions, this is called as the first Vacana of Agams. One major conference was held during tenth century by all Jain monks under leadership of Devardhigani Ksamasraman. They compiled first time all the sutras in the form of written literature called as “Vallabhivacana”. They could gether 45 Agamas and other scriptures and hundreds of copies made of each one. They were rewritten by Lonkashah in 16th Vikram-century[1]. Later on, printing technology was developed in the beginning of 19th century and actual printing of Agamas was carried out. Agamas contain values, ethics, constraints, Do’s and don”ts, culture, history and arts of human being.

The famous holy book in Jainism called “Kalpasutra” belongs to Chedasutta, which is the description by Bhadrabahuswami, on the life of Mahavira and other Tirthankars. It is the 8th chapter of “Dasa-kappa-vyavahara” (sutra-skandha) text, which also includes rules about personal behaviour and organizational discipline to be observed by monks[2].

Other Scriptures:

Sri Kundakundacharya , a Digambar scholar, wrote Samayasara which is ultimate consciousness Reality. It is synonymous to right faith and right cognition: the essence of perfect consciousness. It transcends all dialectics of aspects i.e. conflicts and controversies. He also wrote “Pravacamsar”, “Niyamsar” and “Ashtapahud (Moksaprabhrut)”.

During second century, Acarya Umaswati, prime disciple of Sri Kundkundacharya and the greatest philosopher translated first Agam into Sanskrit. He wrote “Moksasastra–Tattvarthasutra”, the first literature in Sanskrit. This is the only composition accepted by all Jains of all the sects even on today. It is considered as the source book for Jainism. He had written about 500 scriptures. According to Digambars, he lived during 135–219.

Tattvarthasutra and Sarvarthasiddhi, commentary written by Pujyapadswami is treated as Agam in Digambar tradition. Samantbhadra (1st–2nd century) was first Jain writer on Nyaya. He also composed many other scriptures. Siddhasen Divakara (6th century) wrote important doctrine and other standpoints. Jinbhadra (6th–7th century) authored Avasyakasutra.

Yoga in Jain scriptures:

During 5th and 6th centuries, P. Devnandi wrote “Samadhi tantra[3] ” and “Ishtopa-desh[4] ” describing his spiritual experiences. These scriptures provide us with details of Yoga practices for calming down emotions and peace of the mind. Methods and remedies of Self analysis are profoundly described in “Samadhi Shatak” and its commentaries are by Prabhachandra, Parvatdharma, Dashchandra and Meghchandra. During the year 609, Jinbhadragani structured a very important and useful scripture called Dhyanasataka which gives us details of Asan, Pranayam and Dhyana and Anupreksa. Haribhadrasuri had written commentary on it. During 6th and 7th centu-ries, Yogendudev wrote Parmatmaprakasa, Yogasara and has discussed all techniques to internalize the awareness and three forms of our soul.

Haribhadrasuri of 8th century was a philosopher, logician and artist, who reputedly wrote more than 1444 works. These include several books on Yoga.

Few of them are listed below:

1. Yoga-bindu[5] : It contains 527 verses in Sanskrit discussing about eligible and non-eligible aspirants for Yoga, and five Yoga Anusthanas.

2. Yogadrstisamuccaya[6] : It contains 227 slokas in Sanskrit discussing development of spirituality for aspirants who have intense desire to get liberated. It also mentions characterisitics of four types of Yogis. It is called compendium of views on Yoga. Few stranzas[7] are really comparable with other paths of Yoga.

Stranza 9 as trans-lated by Christopher Key Chapple says,

“There are two types of Yoga practices: renunciation of dharmas (objects), which is complete annihilation of the desire to be active and another one is renunciation of Yoga is the karma of the body and so forth”.

The true essence of the human individual is the self (Atman). The Jains use the term atma and jiva interchangeably, but whereas the former refers to the transcendental nature, the latter is the Self held in captivity by its own karma-producing actions[8].

3. The scripture “Haribhadriya Astaka” (chapter 5/1) describes bhiksa (alms, begging) of Jain monks and is of three types:

i. Dinavrtti bhiksa: Anatha (Handicapped), who are unable to cook, begs due to disability or unability.

ii. Paurushaghni bhiksa: Able, healthy persons beg due to lazyness, lethargy

iii. Sarvasampatkari bhiksha: Detached saints beg whatever is spontaneously available (sahaj prapta), just to follow non-violence and to observe Samyama (control over senses).

4. “Yogavimsika[9] ”: It describes developed states of Yoga through the medium of twenty gathas (stranzas) in prakrta.

5. “Sodshak[10] ”: Here, 16 chapters contain 256 slokas. It mentions various defects at mental level in Yogasadhana.

Some more scriptures are “Sad-darsan samuccaya”, “Yogasatak[11]”.

Acarya Gunbhadra of 9th century wrote “Atmanushashan[12] ” which takes us to our pure form. During 10th century, Amitgati wrote two scriptures: “Subhasitratna sandoh[13] ” and “Yogasar prabhrut[14] ” which included Vrutta, Dhyan and conduct for monks and laymen. Muni Padmanandi wrote “Jnanasar[15] ” in 1029 on Yoga’s spiritual practices.

Ramsenacarya wrote “Dhyamshastra” or “Tattvanushasan” which is based on principles of Concentration, Mantra, Japa and Asana for Dhyana. “Jnanarnav[16] ” written by Shubhchandracarya in 11th century includes Astamga-Yoga, Pranayama, Nadis, Pavanjay, Japa, Mantra, Hathayoga and TantraYoga.

Acarya Hemchandra of 11-12th century, who was born in 1088 A.D. in the town of Dhandhuka in Gujarat, was a great spiritual teacher of King Kumarpal. From the narration of his mother’s dreams before his birth, Acarya Devasuri predicted that she would give birth to a son who would make great progress in the area of spiritual knowledge, intuition and conduct. Due to his influence, king Kumarpal accepted Jainism and implemented vegetarianism and prohibited violence and animal killing strictly in the state of Gujarat. He had broad minded He composed many literary masterpiece works and wrote on many original Jain texts and Agams.

Along with his spiritual progress, Hemchandracarya always thought of universal welfare. People awarded him the title,”Kali-kal Sarvajna”, meaning “all-knower in the dark period”. He died in 1173 A.D. at the age of 84 giving a great culture of Jainism. He wrote more than 35 millions of slokas[17].

He wrote on grammer like “Siddhahemlaghuvrtti”, “Siddhahem Bruhadvrtti” (Tatt-va prakashika), “Siddhahemshabdanusasan” and Dhatuparayan”. He also wrote on Kosha as “Abhidhamchintamani”, “Anekarthakosha” and “Deshinamamala”. On literature, his contribution is “Kavyanusasana”, “Chandonusasana” on Darsana, “Praman mimamsa”, “Vedankusha-Dwijavadanchapeta” on History, “Prakrutdwayasraya mahakavya”and few others like “Vitaragstotra”, and “Mahadevstotra” in the field of stuti. Apart from all thesevarieties of books, his work “Yoga-shastra[18] ”, a treatise on yoga, is very famous and also known as Adhyatma-Upanisad. Many commentaries have been written on it by great scholars. It contains 12 chapters (prakasa) of 1012 slokas. He adopted modern approach in describing the sequence of Patanjali’s Astamga-Yoga in coordination with Triratna of Jainism. It is considered as World encyclopeadia of spiritual knowledge and a guide on duties of laymen and ascetics and a path to self realization for a true Yoga aspirant. There are several similarities in Acarya Hemchandra’s Yoga-shastra and Acarya Shubhchandra’s Jnanarnav.

Hirvijay Suri was well known scholar of 12th Century. He could impress Emperor Akbar, who issued a proclamation prohibiting animal slaughter on certain auspicious days. Pandit Ashadhar’s “Adhyatma Rahasya[19] ” of 13th century opened up many misteries of spiritual world. In the same era, “Aradhanasar Samucchay” by Ravindra Muni, “Yogasarsamgrah” by Sri Gurudas, “Yogasar[20] ” and “Yogapradip[21] ” by unknown authors include reach knowledge of atma-parmatma (individual and universal consciousness). All these scriptures[22] were written in Sanskrit.

Amongst the common people, who contributed greatly in bringing back the spiritual practices and to Jain literature, Lonkashah of Ahmedabad was first hired by a monk to make use of his neat handwriting. Afterwards, through his work, he acquired great knowledge of scripture and then in 1451 AD, started protest against temple rituals, mainly of Chatyavasis[23].

Other important scriptures[24] are “Viseshavashyak bhashya” by Jinbhadragani Kshamasraman, “Syadvad manjari” by Mallisen, “Sammati Tark” by Siddhasen Diwakar and “Dwadsar Naychakra” by Mallivadi suri.

During 15th century, Muni Sundersuri wrote “Adhyatmakalpadruma[25]” which provides guidance on controlling the mind and developing detachment. For concentration of our mind, Bhaskarnandi wrote “Dhyanastav [Dhyanastava][26]” in Sanskrit in 16th century. Sakalchandra wrote “Dhyandipika[27]” in 1569 describing various types and characteristics of Dhyana. Kavi Rajmalla’s “Adhyatma-kamal martand[28]” of 16th century includes 200 slokas on Moksha, path of liberation, Dravyas and seven tattvas of Jainism. “Dhyamsvarupa[29]” of Bhavvijay (1696) has details of Dhyana.

Digambars experienced a significant change during late 16th century through a famous scholar and poet named Banarasidas. He also called for prevention of offerings as daily rituals in the temples, which resulted into high degree of violence. The great Jain scholar of 17th century Upadhyay Yoshovijayji wrote about 500 books in Sanskrit, Prakrut, Gujarati, Hindi and Rajasthani. Out of all these, atleast 108 scriptures are currently available. His contribution was in majority of the fields including Yoga. It includes “Adhyatmasara[30]”(949 slokas), “Shodasakavrtti”, “Dwatrishaddwatrishimka[31]”, “Adhyatmopanisad[32]”, “Patanjal Yogasutravrtti”, “Yogavinsikatika[33]”, “Jnanasar[34]”, “Avashyak Niryukti” and “Viseshavashyak Bhasya” give lots of details of characteristics and types of Dhyana and various related practices.

During 18th century, Devendranandi wrote “Dhyandipika[35]” in Gujarati which included details of twelve bhavnas, Ratnatray, Mahavrut, Dhyana, Mantra and Syad. Pandit Todarmal of Jaipur, who was influenced by Banarasidas emphasized nishcay and naya (absolute aspect) of Kundkundacharya writings.

Shrimad Rajchandraji, a great revolutionary scholar born in 1868, was highly gifted person. He guided Mahatman Gandhi, the greatest leader of Indian freedom fighters and a true practitioner of non-violence and truth. Rajchandra had written many letters, devotional songs and explained the true nature of soul. He gave the most influential literature in the form of “Moksa-mala” and “Atmamsiddhi shastra”. He had plans to freshly propound true Jainism, but unfortunately, he died early at the age of 33.

Uttaradhyayana-sutra” written by Sri Harikesa gives us details of strict codes of ethics for all four segments of Jain sangh, i.e. Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravaka and Shravika.

During 1949, Acarya Tulsi initiated Anuvrutta movements. Swami Karttikeya of Digambara gave “Anupreksa” which describes twelve techniques of meditation for monks and laity. Western philosopher R.Williams wrote “JainYoga[36]” in 20th century and mentioned Sravaka acar i.e. rules for a layman.

Towards the end of 20th century, Acarya Tulsi wrote “Manonushasanam[37]” in a thread of sutras like Patanjali. At the same time, Muni Nathmal wrote “JainYog[38] ” presenting the knowledge in a newly modified way. Atmanramji Maharaj wrote “Jainagamo me Astamga-Yoga[39]” in 1933 and based on it, “Jain Yoga Siddhanta aur Sadhana[40] ” was structured during 1983 by him.

Many other scriptures are found in Jain literature related to spiritual Yogic practices without any name of the authers or copies are not available now. Some of them are Adhyatmabindu, Adhyatmabhed, Yogamga, Yogaratnamala and Yogavivarana.

Thus, from all historical literature it could be concluded that the most important prime scriptures in Jain Yogasadhana were given by two main Acaryas namely Haribhadrasuri from Swetambar sect and Shubhchandracarya from Digambars. The other two major contributors are Hemchandrasuri and Upadhyay Yashovijayji.

The true Jain religion, Darsana and culture are based on direct spiritual teachings by Lord Mahavira. In all these scriptures, meaning was given by Tirthankaras and words were given by Ganadharas. But, main emphasis is put on meaning and not the words.

Footnotes and references:


Madhukar Muni, Gnatadharmakathanga Sutta, Sri Agam PrakAsana Samiti, Oct.1989


K.C.Lalwani (tr.), Kalpa Sutra, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi,1979


Samadhi tantra, Vir Seva Mandir trust, Sarsava, 1939


Ishtopadesha, Paramshrut Prabhavak Mandal, Bambai, 1954


“Yogabindu”, Jain Dharma Prasarak Sabha, Bhavnagar, 1921


Yogadrstisamuccaya”, VijayKamal Kesar Granthmal, Khambhata (Virsamvat 1992)


G.Feuerstein, The Yoga Tradition, Motilal banarsidass Publishers Pvt.Ltd., Delhi, 2002, p.204


Ibid. p.193


Yogavimsika”, Rushabhdevji Kesrimalji Swetambar Samstha, Ratlam, 1927


Sodshak”, Rushabhdevji Kesrimalji Swetambar Samstha, Ratlam, Virsamvat 2462


Yogasatak”, Gujarat Vidyasabha, Ahmedabad, 1956


Atmanushashan”, Jain Sanskriti Samrakshak Sangh, Solapur, Virsamvat 2018


Subhasitratna sandoh”, Nirnaysagar Press, Bambai, 1903


Yogasar prabhrut”, ed. Jugalkishor Mukhtar, Bharatiya Jnanpeeth, Varanasi, 1969


Jnanasara”, Digambar Jain Pustakalay Kapadia Bhavan, Surat, Virsamvat 2470


Jnanarnav”, Paramshrut Prabhavak Mandal, Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, Agas, Virsamvat 2037


Chimanlal Kaladhar, Jaindarshan, Article appeared in daily “Mid-day” dt.24/02/2013, Mumbai.


“Yoga-shastra”, a) Rishabhchandra Johri, Kishanlal Jain, Delhi, 1963, b) edited by G.G.Patel, Jain Sahitya Prakashan Samiti, Ahmedabad, 1938, c) Ek Parishilan, Amarmuni, SanmatiJnanpeeth, Agra, 1963


Adhyatma Rahasya”, Virseva Mandir Trust, Delhi, 1957


Yogasar”, Jain Sahitya Vikas Mandal, Bambai, 1968


Yogapradip”, Jain Sahitya Vikas Mandal, Bambai, 1960


Jain sahitya ka bruhad Itihas” Gulabchandra Chaudhari, Kavya Sahitya series, part-4, Parshvanath Vidyashram Shodh Samsthan; Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 1973, p.255


Jain Philosophy and PracticeJAINA Education Committee, North America, 2002, p.130


Chimanlal Kaladhar, Jain Darshan, appeared in Mid-day, daily newspaper dated 24.02.13


Adhyatmakalpadrum”, Nirnaysagar mudranalay, Bambai, 1966


Dhyanastav”, Vir Seva Mandir, Delhi, 1976


Dhyandipika”, Somchandra Shah, Ahmedabad, 1916


Adhyatmakamal martand”, Manikchandra Digambar Jain Granthmala, V.S. 1993


Dhyamswaroop”, Jinratnakosha part-1, p.166


Adhyatmasar”, Jaindharma Prasarak sabha, Bhavnagar, V.S. 1965


Dwatrishaddwatrishimka” (Yogavtar Battisi), P.Sukhlal Jain Atmannand Sabha, Bhavnagar, 1966


Adhyatmopanisad”, Kesarbai Jnanabhandar sthapak, Jamnagar, V.S. 1944


Patanjal Yogadarsan evam Haribhadriya Yogavimsikatika”, P.Sukhlal Jain Atmannand Sabha, Bhavnagar, 1922


Jnanasar (Ashtak)”, a) Atmannand Sabha, Bhavnagar, 1971 b) Omprakash Jain, Pratap Market, Delhi, 1968


Dhyandipika”, Adhyatman Jnan Prasarak Mandal, 1929


JainYoga”, R.Williams, Oxford University Press, London, 1963


Manonushasanam”, Jain Swetambar Terapanthi Mahasabha, Gorakhpur, Virsamvat 2021


JainYog”, Adarsh Sahitya Sangh, Churu, 1978


Jainagamo me Astamga-Yoga”, Atmanram Jain Prakashanalay, Ludhiyana, (1933)


Jain Yoga Siddhant aur Sadhana”, compiled by Sri Amarmuni, Atmamjnan Peeth, Punjab,1983

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