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 the commencement of rainfall

Q. 10. Bhante! When the rainy season starts its first time-unit (samaya) in the south of the isle named Jambūdvīpa, then the rainy season starts its first time-unit also in the north; when the rainy season starts its first time-unit in the north, then, does the rainy season start its first time-unit in the east and the west of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa in the time-unit just following?

A. 10. Yes, Gautama, it is so. When the rainy season starts its first time-unit in the southern region of the isle named Jambūdvīpa,.,.till in the time-unit just following.

Q. 11. Bhante! When the rainy seasson starts its first time-unit in the east of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa, then it starts also its first time-unit in the west; and when it starts its first time-unit in the west, then, does the rainy season start its first time-unit in the north and the south of Mount Meru in the time-unit just preceding?

A. 11. Yes, Gautama, it is so. When the rainy season starts its first time-unit in the east of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa,...till in the time-unit just preceding.

What has been stated of the first time-unit of the commencement of rainfall has to be repeated about āvalikā, ānapāna, stoka, lava, muhūrta, day-night, fortnight, month and season3.

Q. 12. Bhante! When the winter season starts its first time-unit in the south of the isle named Jambūdvīpa, (then it starts the same in the north; and when it starts the same in the north, then, does it start its first time-unit in the east and the west of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa in the time-unit just following)?

A. 12. The discussion on the rainy season is to be repeated in the case of winter, and so also in the case of summer,...till (all) seasons. All the three (i.e., rains, winter and summer) are alike, and they take 30 forms.

Q. 13. Bhante! When in the south of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa, there is the first ayana (consisting of three seasons of two months each), then, is there the same first ayana in the north too?

A. 13. What has been said of the time-unit has to be repeated about ayana,.. till its first time-unit falls in the period just following.

And what has been said of ayona is to be repeated about a year, a yuga, a century, 1000 years, 100,000 years, pūrvāṅga, pūrva, truṭitāṅga, truṭita, aṭaṭāṅga, aṭaṭa, avavāṅga, avava, hūhūkāṅga, hūhūka, utpalāṅga, utpala, padmāṅga, padma, nalināṅga, nalina, arthanūpurāṅga, arthanūpura, ayutāṅga, ayuta, nayutāṅga, nayuta, prayutāṅga, prayuta, cūlikāṅga, cūlikā, śirṣaprahelikāṅga, śirṣaprahelikā, palyopama and sāgaropama4.

Q. 14. Bhante! When in the south of the isle named Jambūdvīpa, it is first avasarpiṇī (down-phase of the time-cycle), in the north, too, it is first avasarpiṇī; and when it is first avasarpiṇī in the north, then, to the east and and the west of Mount Meru in the isle named Jambūdvīpa, (it is said), there is no avasarpiṇī nor utsarpiṇī; it is a fixed time.5 Is it so?

A. 14. Yes, Gautama, it is so,...repeat what (you have) said,...till a fixed time. What is stated about avasarpiṇī is to be repeated about utsarpiṇī.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

3. The Jaina time division is as follows:

Samaya is the smallest time-unit which is not divisible any further.
Āvalikā
is an unlimited number of time-units added.
Ucchvāsa
is a limited number of āvalikās added.
Nihśvāsa
is a limited number of āvalikās added.
Ānaprāṇa
is one ucchvasa plus one niḥśvāsa.
Seven ānaprāṇas make one stoka.
Seven stokas make one lava.
77 lavas or 3773 śvasocchvāsas make 1 muhūrta which is equal to 48 minutes.
30 muhūrtas make one aho-rātra (day-night, or simply day).
15 aho-rātras make one pakṣa (fortnight).
2 fortnights make one māsa (month).
2 months make one ṛtu (season).

4. Further division of time upward is as follows:

3 seasons make one ayana,
2 ayanas make one year,
5 years make a yuga,
20 yugas make a śataka (century), and so on till a 100 śatakas (100,000 years) make a millenium,
84.00,000 years make one purvāṅga,
84.00,000 x 84,00,000 years make one pūrva,
1 pūrva x 84,00,000 years make one truṭitāṅga,
1 truṭitāṅgas x 84,00,000 years make one truṭita.

And so on (see the Sūtra for further divisions up).

The highest figure given in the Jaina texts expressible in terms of arithmetical digits is śirṣaprahelikā [śīrṣaprahelikā?] with 194 digits; it is reproduced below:

7582, 6325, 3073, 0102, 4115, 7973, 5699, 7569, 6406, 2189, 6684, 8080, 1832, 96, followed by 140 zeroes, making 194 digits in all. Here ends the countable number. When the number is beyond this figure, it is expressed with the help of comparisons like palyopama and sāgaropama.

5. Avasarpiṇī is the down or declining phase of the time-cycle. In the down phase, physical dimensions and life-span of living beings go down and so also their capacity for endeavour, activity, strength, energy and self-exertion. The colour, smell, taste, substance and touch of matter gradually wane. The length of this phase of the time-cycle is stated to be 10 koḍākoḍī sāgaropamas. The entire period of decline has six subdivisions, each being called an ārā on the analogy of spokes in the wheel.

Utsarpiṇī is the up-phase of the time-cycle when the aforesaid attributes in living beings as well as matter are gradually enhanced. It has a similar length and similar sub-divisions as avasarpiṇī.

When there is no down-phase or up-phase of the time-cycle, it is fixed time.

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