Bhagavati-sutra (Viyaha-pannatti)

by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 185,989 words

The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It is a large encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue where Mahavira replies to various question. The present form of the Sutra dates to the fifth century A.D. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his J...

Part 10 - On the Asurakumāras

Q. 16. Bhante! How long is stated to be the life-span of the Asurakumāras?

A. 16. Gautama! Minimum 10,000 years, and maximum slightly more than a sāgaropama.

Q. 17. Bhante! What’s the duration of the breathing activity, inhaling and exhaling, of the Asurakumāras?

A. 17. Gautama! Minimum duration of breathing activity is seven stokas, and maximum slightly more than a pakṣa32.

Q. 18. Bhante! Are the Asurakumāras keen for intake?

A. 18. Yes, they are so.

Q. 19. Bhante! After what time-gap do they feel the desire for intake?

A. 19. Gautama! Their intake is stated to be of two types. They are: conscious and unconscious. Of these, unconscious intake is incessant and takes place every moment; but the desire for conscious intake grows after a minimum gap of a full-fast day losing in all four meals33 and a maximum gap of slightly more than 1,000 years.

Q. 20. Bhante! What’s the sort of intake by the Asurakumāras?

A. 20. Gautama! From the standpoint of substance, (they take) substances consisting of infinite spaces; from the standpoint of time, place and modification, (it is to be understood to be the same) as stated (in the twenty-eighth chapter) in the Paṇṇavaṇa Sūtra. The rest as with the infernal beings.

Q. 21. In what form does matter taken in by the Asurakumāras transform again and again?

A. 21. Gautama! It transforms again and again into organs of hearing, vision, smell, taste and touch. It transforms into forms which have beauty, complexion, superiority, agreeableness, attractiveness, stature, pleasantness and into forms conducive to happiness but never to degradation and misery.

Q. 22. Does matter taken by the Asurakumāras in the past transform?

A. 22. (In the above discussion) substitute ‘Asurakumāras’ for ‘infernal beings’, and the rest is identical...till exhaust not karma which is still dormant.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

32. The calculations are as follows:

one śvāsa=one prāṇa,
seven prāṇas=one stoka,
seven stokas=one lava,
77 lavas=one muhūrta (48 minutes),
is less than 48 minutes,
is a fortnight.

33. Literally, it should mean missing four principal meals, two on the fast day, one in the afternoon of the day preceding, and one in the morning of the day following the fast.

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