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 3 - On progeny

Q. 30. Bhante! To how many living beings may a soul in one life be a progeny?

A. 30. Gautama! A soul may, in one life, be a progeny of minimum one, two or three beings, and maximum 200 to 900 beings24.

Q. 31. Bhante! In one life, how many progenies may a being give birth to?

A. 31. Gautama! Minimum one, two or three, and maximum 2,00,000 to 9,00,000 may be given birth to25.

Q. 32. Bhante! What is the reason for this,...till may be given birth to?

A. 32. Gautama! In the excited sex organs of a man and of a woman, a contact comes to be established called maithuna-vṛttika. (In consequence of this), the man’s semen gets mixed up with the woman’s blood, and this gives birth to a minimum of one, two or three progenies, and to a maximum of 2,00,000 to 9,00,000 progenies. It is for this...till may be given birth to.

Q. 33. Bhante! In enjoying sexual experience, what sort of non-restraint is incurred by the soul?

A. 33. Gautama! Just as a human being may, with the help of a burning match stick, destroy a stalk of a cotton plant or a stalk of a ‘bura’ plant, so does a soul indulging in sex experience incur non-restraint of that sort26.

Bhante! So they are. Glory be to the Lord! So saying Gautama paid his homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra and withdrew to his seat.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

24. The consideration is relevant of many developed animal forms where the female may have intercourse with a number of males, and carry the semens of all, so that the offspring she gives birth to is parented by them all.

25. The consideration is relevant of aquatics which, in. consequence of one intercourse, are capable of producing innumerable offsprings. The potentiality is not absent even in a human being, though normally a woman gives birth to one child, or at most a twin at a time.

26. This is a serious lapse, since the hurt caused by man in the process of inter-course may upset a number of embryos in the process of formation.

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