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...

Chapter 3: On the worlds (pṛthivī)

Q. 21. Bhante! How many have been stated to be the worlds19 (puḍhavī/pṛthivī)?

A. 21. Gautama! Refer on this chapter two on ‘Infernal Beings’ in the Jīvābhigama Sūtra— (to be noted are) all about the worlds,...till their structure and dimensions.

Q. 22. Bhante! Have all the beings been born there before?

A. 22. Well, Gautama! Many times or innumerable times20. Chapter on ‘Worlds’ (in the Jīvābhigama Sūtra).

Chapter three ends.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

19. The relevant portion of the Sūtra reads as follows:

puḍhavī ogāhittā ṇirayā saṃṭhāṇameva bāhallam
vikkhambhaparikkhevo vaṇṇo gaṃdho ya phāso ya

[Worlds (Hells) are seven, which are, Ratna-prābhā, Śarkarā-prabhā, Vālukā-prabhā, Paṅka-prabhā, Dhūma-prabhā, Tamaḥ-prabhā and Tamastamaḥ-prabhā.]

Ratna-prabhā has an expanse of 1,80,000 yojanas. Leaving aside 1,000 yojanas at the top, and 1,000 yojanas at the bottom, the remaining 1,78,000 yojanas shelter 30,00,000 cells which are the abodes of the infernal beings. And like this in all the worlds.

Their expanse is as follows:

Śarkarā-prabhā—1,32,000 yojanas,
Vālukā-prabhā—1,28,000 yojanas,
Paṅka-prabhā—1,20,000 yojanas,
Dhūma-prabhā—1,18,000 yojanas,
Tamaḥ-prabhā—1,16,000 yojanas,
Tamastamaḥ-prabhā—1,08,000 yojanas,

Ogāhittā—distance of the hells.

Saṃṭhāṇa—structure or shape. The infernal abodes inside the āvalikā are round, triangular or quadriangular. The rest are of diverse shapes.

Bāhalla—width or thickness. It is 3,000 yojanas for each, the bottom 1,000 yoyanas being solid, the middle 1,000 yojanas being alluvial and the top 1,000 yojanas being contracted.

Vikkhambhaparikkhevo—length and breadth. Some of the infernal abodes are stretched over dimensions which are measureable, while some others are stretched over dimensions which cannot be stated.

Vaṇṇa—hue. Infernal beings take a deep black hue or hue with a dark tinge, and all of them have a dreadful shape of body.

Gaṃdha—smell of their body. It is similar to that of a rotten animal carcass. In fact, nothing in the infernal beings is graceful or attractive.

Phāsa—touch. The touch of the body of the infernal beings is like that of a sharp weapon, or like the bite of a scorpion, or the touch of fire.

20. All beings that have been called prāṇa, bhūta, jīva and satta have, before attaining these forms, lived many times or innumerable times in the hellish worlds.

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