Jainism and Patanjali Yoga (Comparative Study)

by Deepak bagadia | 2016 | 109,819 words

This page relates ‘main Twelve Angas’ 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 5.1 - The main Twelve Angas

[Full title: Jain scriptures (1): Twelve Angas]

There are two catagories of sacred scriptures, those belong to original Agama series called as Angpravishta and others written by great Acaryas called as Angbrahya.

In 455CE, when scripture was written first time, there were 84 texts of Agama and 36 of Nigamas, out of which many got lost and destroyed. Now, according to Swetambers, only 45 Agams are available after development of printing technology[1].

To remove the controversy, “Samanasuttam” of 756 verses was compiled by all the sects of Jainism represented by their scholars in presence of Acarya Vinoba Bhave in 1975 on the 2500th death anniversary of Lord Mahavira.

Currently, according to different sects of Jainism, following Agams are accepted to be in the original form[2] :

Jain Sects Total Anga-sutras / Agamas (Main) Number of Anga-agamas Lost Number of Anga- agams Survived
Digambar 12 12 0
Swetambar Murtipujak 12 1 11
Swetambar Sthanakvasi 12 1 11
Swetambar Terapanthi 12 1 11

Present status of main Angas and Present Status of Ang-bahya-agams:

Jain Sects Total Ang-bayha Agams Number of Anga-bayha agamas Lost Number of Anga-bayha agamas Survived
Digambar 14 14 0
Swetambar Murtipujak 34 0 34
Swetambar Sthanakvasi 21 0 21
Swetambar Terapanthi 21 0 21

Dwadasamga [Dvadasanga] is a group of twelve scriptures, which are main Angas listed by their

Category of Anga-bahya-agamas Swetambar Murtipujak Sthanakvasi and Terapanthi
Upang-agams 12 12
Chhed-sutra-agams 6 4
Mool-sutra-agams 4 3
Chulka-sutra-agams 2 2
Prakirna-sutra-agams 10 None
Total Ang-bahya-agams 34 21

Sanskrit titles are mentioned below, followed by brief description for each one. These Angas describes how to minimize and then, finally get rid of Kama and Artha out of four purusartha as of Indian traditions. Then, after attainment of higher state, how to get rid of outer Dharma also to attain moksa is nicely explained which is worth understanding, following and to get uplifted, liberated. The twelve Upangas deal with cosmographical, cosmological, astronomical and hagiological themes. Out of these Upangas, “Raja Prashniya sutra” details dialogue between Sage Keshin and ruler Prasenajit where, Keshin tries to prove that the soul is independent of the physical body. The four Mula-Sutras (Fundamental) are primers of ascetics. The ten “Prakirnas” (mixed scriptures) contain instructions about a variety of subjects such as prayer, conscious dying, astrology and medicine. The seven “Cheda-sutras” (cutting sutras) deal with monastic rules. Thus, the Jain canon consists of forty five works in all (12+12+4+10+7)[3].

The main twelve Angas are listed below. The list of names is followed by brief description of each one[4] :

  1. Acaramga sutra;
  2. Sutrakrutamgasutra;
  3. Sthanamga sutra;
  4. Samvayanga sutra;
  5. Vyakhyaprajnapti sutra (Bhagvatisutra);
  6. Jnata Dharmakathasutra;
  7. UpasakadasangaSutra;
  8. Antakrid Dasamga sutra;
  9. Anuttaroprajnapti sutra;
  10. Prasna vyakarana sutra;
  11. Veepaka sutra;
  12. Dristivad sutra (lost, not available now);

1. Acaramga sutra:

It is the oldest and first scripture written by Sudharma Swami, 5th Ganadhara of Lord Mahavira contains 25 chapters and has total 2644 slokas. It contains the maximum spiritual practices among all other Angas. First pada (Srutakhand) contains nine chapters mainly on principle and practices of non-violence (ahiṃsā). It also talks of knowing self (all types of jiva), Ashrav, Samvar and types of violence (śastraparijñā), forms of world (lokavijaya), carnal indulgences, desires, body and food (śitoṣṇiya), forms of liberated souls, three types of aspirants (saṃyaktva), bodage, liberation and core fundamentals of the worlds of beings (lokasāra), abandoning pride, isolation and cleansing (dhuta), renouncing households, ultimate knowledge, process of critical self-review, ascetics with one or two clothes (mahāparijñā), emancipation (anekāntavāda), service to others (vaiyāvṛtya), description of meditational death (saṃlekhanā), disciplined routine, mental support to help right conduct, fasting and meditation (upadhānaśruta)[5].

The second pada (Srutakhand) has sixteen chapters on non-attachment and non-accumulation of material and thoughts (vairāgya, aparigraha). It also has five chulikas. This scripture describes Sangha system of Jainas managed by Acara (disciplines of life), important rules and conduct for Jain monks and nuns and life of a layman. It presents a sacred account of Mahavira’s life as a wandering mendicant and his 25 bhavanas.

The virtues of a pure soul described here include non-violence, detachment from all and equanimity (samatabhava). Different categories of jiva and methods of controlling violence to them are explained here. It prescribes place for sitting and procedure for ascetics to take and consume food, water and clothes. This scripture is very useful for protection of monk life and providing security to it and to strengthen our faith and cultivate one for livings like six kayas (Prithvikaya and others)[6]

2. Sutra-Krita (Suryagadamga sutra)—An aphoristic Composition.

It describes fundamental teachings of Jainism relative to the monastic life and combating non-Jaina doctrines like non-violence. This sutra contains the matters concerning 363 gingers who attended the sermon session of Lord Mahavira. It includes three Chulikas. The scripture starts with dos and don”ts of ahara, vihara (body movements and dietary instructions), applications of Shaiyesana, Irya (location for stay and sadhana, speech), clothings and utensils. This scripture helps us in avoiding and minimizing bondages and for stoppage of influx of karma. It also explains the rare availability of human life, uncertainty and impermanency of human life and life span, our duties, significance of non-violence and preachings to 98 sons of Rishabhdev Tirthankar. It has two Shrutskandhas, first has 16 chapters and the second one has seven chapters.

3. Sthanaga (Receptacle):

The theoretical name of this sutra is “Thanamga”. It was written by Shrutsthaveer. The Sthanamgasutra is known in Prakrt as the Tha-nam, which denotes quantum. Hence, the style of the Sth ana nga Sutra is unique. It is divided into ten chapters, and each chapter enumerates certain topics realted to worldly materials and facts according to their numbers. This agama defines and cata-logues the main substances of the Jain metaphysics. Diverse topics such as the Dharmakathanuyoga, Carananuyoga, Karananuyoga and Dravyanuyoga are cov-ered. While the focus is on Karananuyoga, this unique Agama serves as a huge an-thology to all branches of Jaina knowledge. The topics are covered in as: -the theory of numbers, arithmetical operations, geometry, operations with fractions, simple eq-uations, cubic equations, quartic equations, and permutations and combinations. It also gives classifications of five types of infinities. It also consists of detailed enu-meration of the key principles of Jainism, mainly Pudgals, tattvas like jiva and ajiva. Those great personalities who were contemporaries of Lord Mahavira and who with their great deeds and virtues, made a reservation in the list of future Tirthankaras. The nine great personalities like Sulsa, Revati, and Shrenik are described in the 9th sub-division of this sutra. Lord Mahavira himself had given the vow of renunciation to eight kings. In the 8th sub division we can read a list of these 8 kings. Great details about Jain views of geography are found in this Sutra. There are at present 3770 slokas and 12000 padas[7].

4. Samavayamgasutra (combination):

This is in continuation of the exposition of the Sthamga. The Sutra explains briefly the form and structure of 12 Angas. Using numerics from 1 to 100, matters upto koda-kodis (high multiples) are described. It tells us that all 23 Tirthankaras (except Lord Rishabh) got the ultimate knowledge at the time of sunrise and that all these 23 Tirthankaras had knowledge of 11 Angas. Details of all Kevaljnanis desciples of Lord Mahavira, other great cakravartis (super kings), mount Meru, Jambudwip and Devavimanas (aeroplanes) are included in this scripture. This Sutra is Brahmi script. All nine Tattvas, numbers and positions are explained in this sutra. It has 46 alphabets. The Sutra has 144000 padas and 1667 slokas in it.

5. Bhagavati-Vyakhya-Prajnapti (Exposition of explanations):

It describes recorded dialogues of Lord Mahavira with his disciples like Gautam who asked him 36000 questions and got very explanatory and thorough replies to each of his question. Many questions were asked by oyher Ganadharas, disciples and non-Jainas also. It includesin its 288000 padas,vivid picture of Mahavira’s life, his eleven Gandharas and his times including information about Gosala, an ascetic who lived with him for six years.Besides, it also includes Navkar mantra, Brahmi script, and various questionairs on varities of subjects like consequences of karma, dravya (particles) and kal (time) that answered by his disciples and scholars, the question asked by the householders of Tumgiya city and the replies received on them by the disciples of Lord Parshvanath traditions.

The Sutra also contains the story of renunciation of Rushabhdatta and Devananda and their ultimate liberation. It also includes structuring and other details of lives of all living beings (jiva) having one to five senses, their types, origin, movements (gati) and relations. Even today when this Sutra is read in lectures by Jain Acaryas (Vyakhyan), a special ceremony is performed in its greetings. It is divided into 41 sections known as shatakas. It follows question and answer pattern.

The questions are raised by Gautama, Makandiputra, Roha, Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti, Skandaka, Jayanti and others. Briefly, the answers may be categorised under the following categories:

  1. Related to ascetic conduct;
  2. Related to the six substances;
  3. Related to ontology;
  4. Related to reincarnation;
  5. Related to geography;
  6. Related to cosmology;
  7. Related to mathematics;
  8. Related to obstretics;
  9. Brief biographies of famous contemporaries of Mahaviraa;
  10. Miscellaneous subjects;

6. Jnata-dharma-katha (Stories of knowledge and morality):

The original name of this sutra is “Nayadhammakahao”. It consists of legendary accounts that illustrate Jaina doctrines in details. Total two divisions of this sutra have 29 subdivisions, 5500 slokas and 576000 pads. Its part “Tumbak adhyayan” contains several stories containing distinguished sermons. Through stories, Lord tries to explain how to practice Ratnatrayi (Jain’s tri-gems), how and why to maximize faith and practice of five vrattas, to control senses, increase in inner virtues of self, how not to expect fruits of deeds, carried forward of karmas of previous births and other virtues for a pious life. The Thirteenth sub division (Adhyayan) describes how a soul falls down without compnionship of and the great sermons by the ideal Guru (the true guide).

7. Upasaka-Dasamga (10 chapters on lay followers):

The original name is “Upasak-dasha”. “Upasaka” is true follower of Jainism and “dasha” means ten. It describes life stories of ten such followers of Lord Mahavira. It also contains discussion on duties and life of a layman (sravakdharma), life scatches of ideal laymen disciples following twelve vruttas and legends of saintly men and women from among the laity.The Upasaka-Dasamga has 7152000 padas, At Present we have a text of 812 verses.

This is the only scripture based on discussion on shravak-dharma (life of an ideal layman). The concepts of detachment, truth, forgiveness etc. are well explained through life scatches of ten followers of Lord Mahavira, who adopted the dharma directly from him. They were as under:

  1. Anand [Ananda];
  2. Kamdev [Kamadeva];
  3. Chulinipita;
  4. Suradev [Suradeva];
  5. Chullasatak [Cullasataka];
  6. Kundakaulik [Kundakaulika];
  7. Sakdalputra [Sakadalaputra];
  8. Mahasatak [Mahasataka];
  9. Nandinipita;
  10. Shalinipita;

They all adopted restricted lifestyle, culture and vruttas making minimum usage of articles and consumables. They slowly developed detachment towards that too. They followed the principle which says “Truth is big, not the person”. In one of the incidences, when Anand, the junior disciple got proved right by Mahavira, the senior disciple Gautam apologise Anand. They all followed “shravakadharma” for twenty years followed by samlekhana (fasting till death) for one month and then left body[8].

They used to circulate only one third of their wealth into business keeping one third as reserve fund to minimise stress and develop detachment.

8. Antakrt Dasamga sutra (10 chapters on Kevalis, End-makers):

It consists of ten ascetics who won enlightenment and brought an end to the cycle of rebirths (during anta-muhurta).Its original name in Prakrut Language is “Antgad Dasa” scripture. It is divided into 8 divisions and 92 sub divisions, has 900 slokas with 2328000 padas. The word “Antkrt” has a special meaning attached to it, when the soul attains Kevaljnan. The ultimate knowledge and immediately thereafter deducting and destructing all his karmas of eight kinds, and does not live a moment there after, and immediately goes in to the state of “Siddha”, such souls in technical terms are known as antkrut. Life of such ninty monks and twenty three queens of King Shrenik are described in this scripture. In this sutra, we have the life stories of all such souls from all classes who became “Siddha” immediately after attaining Kevaljnan the ultimate knowledge. Each one of those souls had 17years of ascetic life, one month of Sanlekhana and got liberated to Siddhaloka.

9. Anuttara-Upapatika-Dasa (Anuttaroprajnapti, 10 chapters on the highest risers):

The original name is “Anuttaro vavaidasha”. It contains legends of thirty three saints who ascended to the highest heavenly worlds.It includes 192 sloka and has 4608000 padas describing the life stories of great virtuous souls as well as their virtuous character that had led the most pure characterous lives and then emerged in Anuttar Viman -a well known land of god–“Dev Loka”. It also includes very hard austerities of Dhanna-Kakandi as was praised by Lord Mahavira himself.

10. Prashna-Vyakarana (Questions and explanations):

The Prakrut name of this 10th Jin Agam Sutra in the scripture is “Panha Vagaranani”. In present time only a few portion of this Sutra is available. It comprises of discussions of the good elements like Non-violence and others, all five vruttas. It consists of both good and bad elements i.e. Asrava and Samvara from the Jaina code of ethics. As per Nandi Sutra version about this Sutra, it contained 108 problems, 108 non-problems, 108 problems–cum–non-problems several super-intelligence and hymns (Mantras) as well as the dialogue and discussion of Monks held with Nagkumar and other Bhavanpati Gods. It also explains bondage of karma, transitoriness, kasayas and unwholesome (asubh) Yoga. It has 2300 slokas, 9216000 padas.

11. Vipaka-sruta (Revelation on Repening):

The original name is “Vivag Suyam”. It contains legends that illustrate the karmic consequences of good and evil acts. It has 2 main divisions (i) Unhappiness DukhaVipak Sutra Skandh and (ii) Happiness Sukha Vipak Sutra Skandh. Each of them has 10 Sub divisions and total 1216 slokas and 18432000 padas. One of the best illustrations of Mruga-putra and great monk Subahu are eye openers to the modern rulers.

12. Drishti-Vada (Instruction about Views):

Consists of fourteen purvas, which have been lost. So, manytimes this is not counted and only 11 Angas have been made available.

Footnotes and references:


Acharya Umaswati, Tattvarthasutra, JAINA and Shrut Ratnakar, Ahmedabad, July, 2007, p.24


http://www.jainworld.com/literature/jainagamliterature/chapter3.asp (Retrieved on 24/09/2015)


G.Feuerstein, The Yoga Tradition, Motilal banarsidass Publishers Pvt.Ltd., Delhi, 2002, p.190


Tej Sahebji, Jain Dharmsaar, Tej Sahebji, 2015, pp. 12-22


Amarmuni, Acharamgasutra, Motilal banarsidass Publishers Pvt.Ltd., Delhi, chapter-1, sutra-92, pp. 5-6


Article “Literature of Jain philosophy and Agamas”, http://www.jain24.org/BookPDF/ENGLISH/Jain%20Agamas.pdf (retrieved on 12/08/2015)


www.jainworld.jwnet (Retrieved on 18/09/2015)


Madhukar Muni, Upasakadasamgasutta, Sri Agam Prakashan Samiti, Beawar (Rajasthan), 1989

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