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 1 - Tamaskāya or bodies formed by dark matter

Q. 58. Bhante! What is it that is to be called tamaskāya? Is it proper to call earth as a tamaskāya? Is it proper to call water as a tamaskāya?

A. 58. Gautama! Not earth is tamaskāya, but water is tamaskāya.

Q. 59. How is it so?

A. 59. Gautama! It is because some earth-bodies are good ' enough to shine in part, and some others do not so shine. For this, it is so.

Q. 60. Bhante! Wherefrom does a tamaskāya start? Where does it end?

A. 60. Gautama! Outside the isle called Jambūdvīpa, as you obliquely cross innumerable isles and seas, you reach an island named Aruṇavara. From the outer rim of that island, as you go 42,000 yojanas into the Aruṇodaya sea, from the uppermost end of its water, there arises a single rampart all along as tamaskāya12. From there, it rises upto 1721 yojanas, and then obliquely extends, covering four heavens named Saudharma, Īśāna, Sanatkumāra and Māhendra and then reaches higher up a vimāna named Riṣṭa in Brahmaloka, and at this point tamaskāya ends.

Q. 61. Bhante! What’s the shape of tamaskāya?

A. 61. Gautama! At the base, it is stated to be of the shape of an earthen lamp, and at its crest, it is like the cage of a cock.

Q. 62. Bhante! What are stated to be its length and breadth? What’s its circumference?

A. 62. Gautama! (Tamaskāyas are) stated to be of two types, which are, those with restricted extensity and those without restricted extensity. Now, those which have a restricted extensity have dimensions (i.e., length and breadth) of a limited (number of) thousand yojanas, and a circumference of an unlimited (number of.) thousand yojanas. Those which have an unrestricted extensity have dimensions of an unlimited (number of) thousand yojanas and a circumference of an unlimited (number of) thousand yojanas.

Q. 63. Bhante! How big is the tamaskāya?

A. 63. Gautama! At the centre of all isles and seas is this isle named Jambūdvīpa,... till stated to be so much in circumference. Supposing a god with great fortune,... till great influence takes 21 rounds of this isle named Jambūdvīpa within a time-limit no bigger than the time taken in saying thrice ‘I go’, ‘I go’, ‘I go’. If such a god moves out at the speediest and quickest pace... till (best pace) possible for a god, and if (at this pace) he walks for a day, for two days, for three days,... till six months, then, he may have covered some portions of the tamaskāya, while some other portions of it he may not have covered. Gautama! So big has been stated to be the tamaskāya.

Q. 64. Bhante! Is tamaskāya a house or a shop?

A. 64. It is neither.

Q. 65. Bhante! Is tamaskāya a village or a halting place?

A. 65. It is neither.

Q. 66. Bhante! Do the great clouds in tamaskāya accumulate moisture? Do they have formation? Do they shower rain?

A. 66. Yes, so.

Q. 67. Bhante! Is it done by deva, asura or nāga?

A. 67. Gautama! Deva does it, asura does it, and also nāga does it.

Q. 68. Bhante! Is tamaskāya a thunder-like sound? Is tamaskāya a gross lightning?

A. 68. Yes, it is both.

Q. 69. Bhante! Is it done by a deva, etc.

A. 69. Done by all the three.

Q. 70. Bhante! Is tamaskāya coarse earth-body? Is it coarse fire-body?

A. 70. None of these, but difference is that it may be these with oblique movement.

Q. 71. Bhante! Does tamaskāya have the shape of the moon, the sun, planets, stars and heavenly bodies?

A. 71. None of these, though these are near to tamaskāya.

Q. 72. Bhante! Is tamaskāya the beam of the moon? Is it the ray of the sun?

A. 72. It is neither, but it is dark (defiling) in itself (kadusanīya).

Q. 73. Bhante! What has been stated to be the colour of tamaskāya?

A. 73. Gautama! The colour of tamaskāya is dark, with dark effect, grave, horrifying, dreary, fear-generating and pitchy black. At its first sight, even a god is terrified. And if perchance a god steps into it, then, at a very quick and fast pace, he moves out of it.

Q. 74. Bhante! How many have been stated to be the names of tamaskāya?

A. 74. Gautama! Thirteen names have been stated, which are: tama, tamaskāya, andhakāra, mahāndhakāra, lokāndhakāra, lokatamisra, devāndhakāra, devatamisra, devāraṇya, devavyūha, devaparigha, devapratikṣobha, aruṇodaka sea.

Q. 75. Bhante! Is tamaskāya the outcome of earth, of water, of soul, or of matter?

A. 75. Gautama! Tamakāya is not the outcome of earth; it is the outcome of water, of soul and also of matter.

Q. 76. Bhante! Have all prāṇas, bhūtas, jīvas and sattvas been formerly born in the species of tamaskāya as earth-bodies,... till mobile beings?

A. 76. Gautama! (They have been so born) many times or an infinite number of times, but they have never been born as coarse earth-bodies, or as coarse fire-bodies.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

12. The expression egapaesiyāe sedhīe does not mean an array of one-pradeśa beings; it means a similarity from the base till the summit. For, tamaskāya consists of dark water-bodies who need innumerable cells or space-points for their stay. An array of beings with one pradeśa is not big enough to hold all the water-bodies constituting the tamaskāya.

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