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 - Types of knowledge

Q. 84. Bhante! How many types of knowledge are there?

A. 84. Gautama! There are five types of knowledge, viz., perceptual, scriptural, extra-sensory, psychological and supreme.

Q. 85. Bhante! How many types of perceptual knowledge are there?

A. 85. Gautama! There are four types, viz., indication or a bare link (ābhāsa), consideration (ihā), determination (abāya) and memory (dhāraṇa),as state in the Rājapraśniya Sūtra, till supreme knowledge.

Q. 86. Bhante! How many types of non-knowledge are there?

A. 86. Gautama! Three types, viz., perceptual non knowledge, scriptural non-knowledge and distorted knowledge (vibhaṅgajñāna).

Q. 87. What about perceptual non-knowledge?

A. 87. It has four types, wrong indication, till wrong memory.

Q. 88. How about wrong indication?

A. 88. Wrong indication may be of two types, viz., about meaning and about composition, as stated about perceptual knowledge in the Nandī Sūtra, except synonyms, till wrong memory.

Q. 89. And what about scriptural non-knowledge?

A. 89. The same as stated in the Nandī Sūtra, till as decided by those with non-knowledge and with a wrong outlook, till the four Vedas with their supporting literature,—all these belong to scriptural non-knowledge.

Q. 90. And what about distorted knowledge?

A. 90. Distorted knowledge takes many varieties. It may be village-based, town-based, sannivesa-based, island (continent) -based, ocean-based, region-based, mountain-based, hill-based, tree-based, mound-based, horse-based, elephant-based, man-based, kinnara-based, mahoraga-b ased, gandharva-based, ox-based, animal based, payasa (animal with two hoofs)-based, bird-based and monkey-based. Thus vibhaṅga knowledge is located at different sites.

Q. 91. Bhante! Are the living beings with five organs of sense endowed with knowledge or with non-knowledge?

A. 91. Gautama! They may be endowed with knowledge or with non-knowledges Among those who are endowed with knowledge, some are endowed with two, some with three, some with four, and some with one. Those endowed with two types have perceptual and scriptural. Those with three have perceptual, scriptural and extra-sensory, or perceptual, scriptural and psychological. Those with four have perceptual, scriptural, extra-sensory and psychological. Those with one have, as a rule, the supreme knowledge. Those who are endowed with non-knowledge, may either have two types, viz., perceptual and scriptural, or three types, viz,, perceptual, scriptural and distorted.

Q. 92. Bhante! Are the infernal beings endowed with knowledge, or with non-knowledge?

A. 92. Gautama! With knowledge, also with non-knowledge. When endowed with knowledge, as a rule, three types of knowledge, viz., perceptual, scriptural and extra-sensory; when with non-knowledge,some with two and some with three. Thus upto three types of non-knowledge.

Q. 93. Bhante! Are the Asurakumāras endowed with knowledge, or with non-knowledge?

A. 93. As with the infernals, with three types of knowledge, as a rule, but upto three of non-knowledge, and repeat this, till the Stanitakumāras.

Q. 94. Bhante! Are the earth bodies endowed with knowledge, or with non-knowledge?

A. 94. Gautama! Not with knowledge, but with non-knowledge, and, as a rule, with perceptual non-knowledge and scriptural (meaning here knowledge of sound) non-knowledge, and like this, till plant life.

Q. 95. And what about the two-organ beings?

A. 95. Gautama! They may be endowed with knowledge, or with non knowledge. Those who are endowed with knowledge are, as a rule, endowed with perceptual and scriptural knowledge. Those who are endowed with non-knowledge are also, as a rule, endowed with perceptual and scriptural non-knowledge. So also those with three organs and four organs.

Q. 96. And what about the five-organ animals?

A. 96. Gautama! They may be endowed with knowledge, or with non-knowledge. In the case of those who are endowed with knowledge, some have two types and some have three; so also about three types of non-knowledge, i.e., upto three types of knowledge and three of non-knowledge. Men are like five organ beings, with knowledge upto five types, and non-knowledge upto three. The Vāṇavyantaras are like the infernal beings. The Jyotiṣkas and the Vaimānikas have three types of knowledge and three types of non-knowledge, as a rule.

Q. 97. And the perfected beings, pray?

A. 97. Gautama! They are endowed with knowledge, not with non-knowledge, and, as a rule, endowed with a single knowledge, which is the supreme knowledge.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

A. 85. Ābhāsa is a bare indication from a distance. Ihā refers to an enquiry to check the correctness or otherwise of the indication. Avāya stands for a determination that it is this and not anything else. With dhāraṇā the thing is fixed in mind so that the memory is not erased even at a gap of time.

Nandī Sūtra has the following synonyms for these four which are as follows:

ābhāsa or avagrahaavagrahaṇa, upadhāraṇa, śravaṇa [,] avalambana, medhā.
ihāābhogana, mārgaṇa, gabesaṇa, cintā, vimarṣa.
avāyaābartaṇa, pratyāvartana, avāya, buddhi, vijñāna.
dhāraṇādharaṇa, dhāraṇa, sthāpaṇā, pratiṣṭha, koṣṭha.

Their duration has been indicated in the following couplet:

uggahe ikkasama[??]e aṃtomuhuttiyā īhā |
anttomuhuttie avāe dhāraṇā saṃkhejjaṃ vā kālaṃ asaṃkhejjaṃ vā kālaṃ ||

Avagraha or Ābhāsa lasts for a unit of time called samaya. Ihā lasts for less than a muhurta. (48 minutes). So also avāya, less than a muhurta. Dhāraṇa lasts for a limited or unlimited time depending on the life-span of the person concerned.

Śruta knowledge has fourteen types, viz., akṣara śruta, anakṣara śruta, etc.

Avadhi or extra-sensory knowledge has two types, viz., bhāvapratyaya and guṇapratyaya.

Manaḥparyāya has two types, viz., ṛjumati and vipulamati.

Kevala is a single type.

Vibhaṅga knowledge which is virtually a non-knowledge is the reverse of extra-sensory knowledge.

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