Bhagavati-sutra (Viyaha-pannatti)

by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 107,351 words

The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It represents an encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue between Mahavira replying to questions asked by his chief disciple Indrabhuti. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his Jinaratnakosa H.D. Velank...

Part 4 - With Śrāvakas from Tuṅgikā

34. Once Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra moved out from the Guṇaśīlaka caitya in the city of Rājagṛha, and having moved out from there, he was wandering in the outside villages. In that period, at that time, there was a city named Tuṅgikā. Description. Outside the city of Tuṅgikā, in the north-eastern direction, there was a caitya named Puṣpavatī. Description. In that city of Tuṅgikā, there lived many who were the followers of the śramaṇa path, who were highly affluent and illustrious, with palacious dwellings standing on elevations, who possessed many couches and cushions, vehicles and pack animals, who had much treasure, gold and silver, who were experts in moneymaking, in many arts and crafts, who fed many for which much food was cooked in their households, who had many valets and maids, cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, etc., and were never excelled (by any one or) by many taken (collectively) together.

They knew well soul and non-soul; they had the knowledge of righteousness and non-righteousness; they were thorough in their knowledge of karma fetters, of checking karma influx, of throwing out karma bondage, activities, instrumentalities, bondage and liberation; they were never covetous of help even from the gods, nor were they to be shaken in their faith in the śramaṇa path either by devas, asuras, nāgas, jyotiṣkas, yakṣas, rākṣasas, kinnaras, kimpuruṣas, gāruḍas, gandharvas, mahoragas or by any other; they had never had any doubt of, expectation from, or confusion about, the nirgrantha tenets; they knew well the implications of the nirgrantha tenets, had complete faith in their implications, and if they had any doubt, they got them duly resolved or clarified; they had realised the meanings and secrets of the holy texts; their devotion to the nirgrantha tenets was, so to say, a part of their very bones and marrows, and they would declare—these words of the nirgranthas are truths, they are great truths, all else being false. They were so generous that the latches behind their doors were always raised up. Their doors were always open to seekers. So restrained were they in their sex behaviour that even if they walked in another’s household, or even stepped inside the king's harem they would incur displeasure of none, nor would anyone question their honesty or integrity...They observed all the vows, viz., sīla, guṇa, viramaṇa, and pratyākhyāna. They performed pauṣadha with fasting on the eighth and the fourteenth days (of the fortnight) and on the full-moon and new-moon days—six fasts each with a pauṣadha per month. They offered to the śramaṇa monks, as per their needs, objects, pure and uncontaminated, like food, drink, dainties, delicacies, cloth, vessels, blankets, dusters, cushions, drugs, herbs or any other. Thus they lived on, enriching their soul by the practice of austerities and penances courted as per their capacity.

In that period, at that time, a progeny of (Arhat) Pārśva, Sthavira Bhagavān, born in a high line and noble family, endowed with power and physical grace, humility, knowledge, faith, conduct and restraint, with little hankering in objects, with great firmness of mind, body and speech, widely renowned, with anger-pride-attachment-greed conquered, with slumber and organs of senses subdued, with passions overpowered, care-free of life as well as death,...till a complete store-house27 of all realisations and high traits, master of many sacred texts, with a large following of devotees, came, in course of his usual wanderings from one village to another, in the company of 500 monks, to the caītya named Puṣpavatī in the north-eastern direction of the city of Tuṅgikā, and halted there, enriching his soul by restraint and penance.

The news of their arrival to the city of Tuṅgikā spread all over, to triangular places, where three, four or more roads met, to all highways and streets,...till people moved out, all going in one direction. When they knew and perceived, they were delighted and pleased, and they called one another and said,

—Oh beloved of the gods, the progeny of (Arhat) Pārśva, Sthavira Bhagavān, born in a high line,...till halted here, enriching his soul by restraint and penance.

(Continued they)

—Oh beloved of the gods! Even to listen the name and lineage of such illustrious monks gives great results; then what to speak of (the result of) going to them, paying them homage and obeisance, enquiring about them, serving them (by attendance),...till asking and getting clarifications from them! So let us go, oh beloved of the gods! Let us pay them homage and obeisance,...till serve them (by attendance). This will be of great benefit to us in this life and in the one following,...till this will leave a long trail of well-being.

Thus they said to one another, (those followers of the śramaṇa order), and the news was transmitted to everyone. They returned home, took their bath, made the usual offerings, performed conciliatory and propitiatory acts for welfare and then put on, in proper manner, clean and ceremonial robes, adorned their bodies with costly decorations and ornaments and moved out from their homes. Having moved out, they assembled together in one place.

Having assembled in one place, they walked through the city of Tuṅgikā, and having thus walked, they arrived at the Puṣpavatī caitya. Having arrived there, they expressed their regard for the illustrious sthavīras in five ways, which are, discarding live objects, carefully holding non-live objects, turning their unsewn cloth in the form of a shoulder cloth, and, on reaching within Sight, they touched their head with folded palms, and concentrated their mind. Having come near the illustrious ones,they move round them thrice,...till in three ways (with their mind,words and body) and.worshipped them. Then those illustrious monks addressed, their followers in the śramaṇa order, as had been (formerly) done by Śramaṇa Keśī on the religion of Four Great Vows, and the vast assembly of people,...till the followers, with great devotion, expressed admiration and approval of their holy words,...till the sermons ended.

On hearing and perceiving the spiritual sermons from the illustrious monks, the followers of the śramaṇa order were delighted and pleased,...till their mind was full of joy, and they moved round (the monks) thrice....till worshipped them in three ways, and having done so, they made submission as follows:

Q. 35. Bhante! What is the outcome of restraint? Bhante! What is the outcome of penance?

On this the illustrious monks said as follows to the followers of the śramaṇa order:

A. 35. Ārya! Restraint stops influx of fresh karma fetters, while penance liberates the soul of karma bondage and purifies it.

Whereon the followers of the śramaṇa order submitted further:

Q. 36. If, as you say, restraint stops karma influx, and penance liberates the soul from karma bondage, then, why are the devas born in the celestial regions?

On this, a senior monk, Kālikaputra by name, gave reply as follows to the followers of the śramaṇa order:

A. 36. Ārya! Because of pūrva-penance, the devas are born in the celestial regions.

Another senior monk, Mehila (Medhila) by name, said as follows to the followers of the śramaṇa order:

Ārya! Because of pūrva-restraint, the devas are born in the celestial regions.

(A third) senior monk, Ānanda rakṣita by name, said as follows to the followers of the śramaṇa order;

Ārya! Because of the remnants of past karma, the devas are born in the celestial regions.

Thereon a senior monk, Kāśyapa by name, said as follows to the followers of the śramaṇa order.

Ārya! It is because of attachment, the devas are born in the celestial regions. Because of pūrva-penance28, pūrva-restraint, remnants of past karma and attachment, the devas are born in the celestial regions. True is this implication, I ordain, and this is not our personal view (only).

On hearing these words of the illustrious monks, the followers of the śra,maṇa order were highly delighted and pleased. They paid homage and obeisance to these illustrious monks and having done so, they asked (further) questions, and having asked (further) questions, they accepted their meanings (solutions). Then they moved round the illustrious monks, thrice, and paid homage and obeisance and having done so, they moved out from the proximity of the illustrious monks, from the Puṣpavatī caitya and returned to their respective abodes. Even the illustrious monks moved out one day from the Puṣpavatī caitya from the city of Tuṅgikā, and were wandering in the outside villages.

In that period, at that time, (there was) a city named Rājagṛha,.., till people dispersed. In that period, at that time Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra had a senior-most disciple, monk Indrabhūti by name,...till held in concentrated form within himself mighty fiery forces. He was undergoing a series of fasts missing six meals (at a time),...till was enriching his soul by restraint and penance. On one fast-breaking day, after he had already missed six meals, Bhagavān Gautama concentrated on the holy texts in the first quarter of the day, held meditation in the second, and then in the third quarter, without haste and without care, he cleaned his mouth-cover, his clothes and vessels, rubbed and dried them and then having picked them up, arrived at the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was, paid him homage and obeisance and made the following submission:

Bhante! Desire I, if it so pleases thee to permit me, in order to break my fast missing six meals, to repair to the city of Rājagṛha, to beg (food) from all households, high, middle and low, as per prescriptions regarding begging.

—Do as it may please you, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

Having thus been permitted by Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, Bhagavān Gautama moved out from the proximity of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, from Guṇasīla caitya, and having moved out, (walked at paces) without haste and without care, observing closely (in fulfilment of precaution regarding movement) the ground of the length of a yuga, he arrived at the city of Rājagṛha, and in the city of Rājagṛha, he started, for purposes of begging as per prescriptions, visiting households, high, middle and low.

Now, as Bhagavān Gautama, in the city of Rājagṛha,...till started visiting households, he heard many people say as follows: Oh beloved of the gods! In the Puṣpavatī caitya, in the city of Tuṅgikā, the followers of the śramaṇa order asked the illustrious monks in the spiritual line of (Arhat) Pārśva as follows: Bhante! What is the outcome of restraint and what is the outcome of penance? whereon the illustrious monks said unto the said followers: Restraint stops influx, penance liberates the soul,...till because of pūrva-penance, pūrva-restraint, remnants of karma and attachment, oh Ārya, the devas attain the celestial regions. True is this implication, and this is not our personal view. Now, how is this to be taken?

When Bhagavān Gautama heard this, there arose a query,...till inquisitiveness, (but) he completed his begging as per prescriptions, and having done so, he moved out from the city of Ṛajagṛha, without haste,...till arrived where was shining Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra. Having arrived near Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, he recounted his experiences in going and coming back, discussed the lapses, if any, in the course of a careful begging, and placed before Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra food and drink brought by him,...till made the following submission:

Bhante! Being permitted by thee, I, while visiting households, high, middle and low, in the city of Rājagṛha for purposes of begging food as per prescriptions heard many people say as follows: Oh. beloved of the gods! In the Puṣpavatī caitya in the city of Taṅgikā, the followers of the Śramaṇa order asked the illustrious monks in the spiritual line of Pārśva—Bhante! What is the outcome of restraint? Wḥat is the outcome of penance?...till true is this implication, and this is not our personal view.

(Continued Gautama):

Bhante! Are the illustrious monks capable of giving such an answer to the followers of the śramaṇa order? Or, are they incapable? Are the illustrious monks accustomed to give such an answer to the followers of the śramaṇa order? Or, are they not so accustomed? Are the illustrious monks equipped to give such an answer to the followers of the śramaṇa order? Or, are they not so equipped? Are the illustrious monks in possession of special knowledge for which they gave this answer, or have they only ordinary knowledge because of which they said...till because of pūrva-penance, pūrva-restraint, remnants of karma and attachment, do the devas attain the celestial regions. True is this implication, and this is not our personal view.

—Gautama! Capable are they, the illustrious monks, in giving reply to the questions of the followers of the śramaṇa order, and not incapable,...till capable-accustomed-equipped-having special knowledge, and not with ordinary knowledge...till true is this implication, and this is not our personal view. So do I say, ordain, establish and maintain that because of pūrva-penance, do the devas attain the celestial regions, that because of pūrva-restraint, do the devas attain the celestial regions, that because of the remnants of karma, do the devas attain the celestial regions, that because of attachment, do the devas attain the celestial regions. (So they are correct in saying that) because of pūrva-penance, pūrva-restraint, remnants of karma and attachment, do the devas attaiṅ the celestial regions. True is this implication, and this is not our personal view.

Q. 37. Bhante! What is the outcome of worshipping such a śramaṇa or māhaṇa29?

A. 37. Gautama! Benefit of listening.

Q. 38. Bhante! What is the outcome of listening?

A. 38. Outcome is knowledge.

Q. 39. Bhante! What is the outcome of this knowledge? A. 39. Outcome is superior knowledge.

Q. 40. Bhante! What is the outcome of superior knowledge?

A. 40. Outcome is renunciation.

Q. 41. Bhante! What is the outcome of renunciation?

A. 41. Outcome is restraint.

Q. 42. Bhante! What is the outcome of restraint?

A. 42. Outcome is check on influx of fresh karma.

Q. 43. And of the check on influx?

A. 43. Outcome is penance.

Q. 44. And of penance?

A. 44. Outcome is the exhaustion of accumulated karma.

Q. 45. Bhante! What i; the outcome of the exhaustion of accumulated karma?

A. 45. Outcome is cessation of (all) activity.

Q. 46. Bhante! Whereto leads the cessation of activity?

A. 46. Gautama! To liberation, which is the final outcome. It is stated like that.

Couplet:

Listening gives Knowledge
Knowledge leads to Superior Knowledge
Wherefrom to Renunciation.
Renunciation is the harbinger of Restraint.
Restraint checks Influx of Karma,
This, in turn, helps the practice of Penance,
Penance ends Accumulated Karma
And then a complete cessation of all Activity.
(Which is the penultimate stage)
Wherefrom the last stage is Liberation.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

27. The word kuttiyāvaṇa may be written in Sanskrit as kutrikāpaṇa. ‘Ku’ means the earth, ‘trik’ is three and āpaṇa is shop, together, it means a shop where objects of the three worlds are available.

28. Penance and restraint of persons with attachment take the prefix ‘pūrva’, while penance and restraint of those without attachment take the prefix ‘paścima’.

Cf.

puvvatava saṃjamā hoṃtī rāgiṇo pocchimā arāgossa
rāgo saṅgo vutto saṅgā kammam bhavo teṇam

29. On śramaṇa, we have śramu khede tapasi ca which means one who knows the misery of living beings in this world. This generates in him a fellow feeling to all living beings. On māhaṇa, we have hana mā hana vadati iti evam, i.e., one who repeatedly says ‘kill not’. The two words have also been used to signify a monk and a lay follower respectively.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: