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 7: On celestial beings

Q. 49. Bhante! How many have been stated to be the types of devas?

A. 49. Gautama! Devas are stated to be of four types, which are, Bhavanavāsis, Vāṇavyantaras, Jyotiṣkas and Vaimānikas.

Q. 50. Bhante! Where has been stated to be the abode of the Bhavanavāsī devas?

A. 50. Gautama! Underneath the Ratnaprabhā hell32. For details, refer to chapter on ‘Location’ (in the Paṇṇavaṇā Sūtra), difference being that they are called ‘bhavanas’. This should be noted that they are born in an infinite fraction of the sphere,...till (to be noted) the location of the abode of the liberated souls, the location of the kalpas, their thickness and height, their structure, from the Jīvābhigama Sūtra,... till need be stated as in the chapter on Vaimānika33.

Chapter seven ends.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

32. Ratna-prabhā hell has a thickness of 1.80,000 yojanas. Leaving aside 1000 yojanas at the top and 1000 yojanas at the bottom, located in the remaining 1,78,000 yojanas are the 7,72,00,000 bhavanas which are the abodes of the Bhavanavāsī gods. They are born in the infinite portions of the sphere and they reside in the infinite portions of the sphere.

33. On the base of the kalpas (celestial abodes), we have as follows in the Jīvābhigama Sūtra:

ghaṇaudahipaitṭhāṇā surobhavoṇā huṃti dosu kappesu tisu vā[?]paiṭṭhāṇā tadubhayasu-paiṭṭhiyā tisu ya teṇa param uvarimagā āgāsaṃtarapaiṭṭhiyā savve

[The first two kalpas are based on viscous water, the next three on viscous wind, and the next three on viscous water and viscous wind. Those above them have the sky as their base.]

On the dimensions, we have as follows:

sattavīsasayāim āimakappesu puḍhavibāhallam
ekkikkahāṇi sese du duge ya duge caukke ya

paṃcasaya uccatteṅam āimakappesu hoṃti vimāṇā

ekkikkavuḍḍhi sese du duge ya duge caukke ya

The above may be re-written as follows: (in yojanas)

  Thickness Height
Saudharma and Aisāna 2700 500
Sanatkumāra and Māhendra 2600 600
Brahmaloka and Lāntaka 2500 700
Mahaśukra and Sahasrāra 2400 800
Āṇata, Prāṇata, Āraṇa, Acyuta 2300 900
Graiveyaka vimānas 2200 1000
Five Anuttara vimānas 2100 1100


Some of the kalpas stand in a row called āvalikā, which may be round, triangular or quadriangular. The others are not arranged in an āvalikā, and they have diverse shapes. The Jīvābhigama Sūtra contains details about their colour, tinge, smell, etc.

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