Sutrakritanga (English translation)

by Hermann Jacobi | 1895 | 52,880 words | ISBN-10: 8120801466 | ISBN-13: 9788120801462

The English translation of the Sutrakritanga, which represents the second Agama of the 12 Angas in Shevatambara Jainism. It is traditionally dated to the 4th-century BCE and consists of two parts (verse and prose) explaining various doctrinal aspects of Jainism. Alternative titles: Sūtrakṛtāṅga (सूत्रकृताङ्ग), Sūtrakṛta-aṅga (सूत्रकृत-अङ्ग), Prakr...

Lecture 2, Chapter 3

If a monk who abstains from actions, suffers pain (for acts done) through ignorance, that Karman will be annihilated through control. The wise reach (perfection) getting rid of death. (1)

Those who resist the seductions[1] are placed on a line with those who have crossed the Saṃsāra. Therefore look up (at beatitude as the end in view). Those (virtuous men) regard pleasures as equal to diseases. (2)

Men of princely rank wear precious things imported by merchants; likened (to these precious things) are the excellent great vows together with (the prohibition of) eating at night. (3)

Pleasure-seeking men who are greedy and are absorbed by amusements, are reckless and like the wretched; they do not know that meditation (has been enjoined as) a duty. (4)

As a bullock which is hurt and urged on by the driver[2] becomes weak, and at last, when its strength is exhausted and it is unable to move, sinks down; (5)

So he who knows the pursuit of pleasures, must sooner or later give up their enjoyment (lest they drag him down[3]). He who is still surrounded by pleasant things[4], should not love pleasures, whether he obtains them, or for some reason or other does not obtain them. (6)

Lest the lot of the wicked should fall to you, escape (the influence of the senses), and discipline yourself! The wicked will much and strongly grieve, groan, and wail. (7) See, life in this world (is transient); though your life lasts a hundred years, you die as a short-lived man; mind that (your) years swiftly pass. Nevertheless greedy men are attached to pleasures. (8)

Those who engage in undertakings, who work the perdition of their souls, and who kill (living beings), will go to the world of the wicked, to the abode of the Asuras for a long time (to dwell there). (9)

Though life cannot be prolonged, as the saying is[5], still foolish people sin recklessly (thinking): ‘We are only concerned with the present time; who has seen the next world and returned thence?’ (10)

Believe in the words of him who sees (everything), you who are blind, as it were, you whose sight is blinded, ah, whose sight is obstructed by your works which result in delusion! (11)

The unhappy again and again suffer from delusion; therefore have done with praise and honours! A wise ascetic should consider that living beings are like himself (as regards love of life, aversion to pain, &c.). (12)

The man also who still lives in the house, should, in accordance with his creed[6], be merciful to living beings; we are bidden to be fair and equal with all; (thereby even a householder) goes to the world of the gods. (13)

Being instructed in the creed of the Lord, exert yourself in the truth (i.e. in control)! A monk who has thoroughly subdued his selfishness should collect pure alms. (14)

Knowing the truth, one should live up to it, seeking the Law, earnest in the performance of austerities, possessing the Guptis, being accomplished, one should always exert oneself, intent on the soul’s benefit, and desiring the highest good (viz. liberation). (15)

The fool thinks that his wealth, cattle, and relations will save him; they him, or he them. But they are no help, no protection. (16)

When calamity befalls him, or the end of his life draws near, he must go and come alone; the wise believe that there is nothing to protect him. (17)

All living beings owe their present form of existence to their own Karman; timid, wicked, suffering latent misery, they err about (in the Circle of Births), subject to birth, old age, and death. (18)

He should know that the present time is the best opportunity to mend, and that an awakening is difficult to obtain. A wise man should be aware of this[7]. The (first) Jina[8] has said this, and so the remaining ones (will) say it. (19)

O ye monks, the virtuous (Jinas) that have been and will be, the followers of the Law of Kāśyapa[9], they all have commended these virtues. (20)

Do not kill living beings in the threefold way[10], being intent on your spiritual welfare and abstaining from sins. In this way numberless men have reached perfection, and others, who live now, and who are to come, (will reach it). (21)

Thus spoke the Arhat Jñātṛputra, the reverend, famous native of Vaiśālī[11], who possessed the highest knowledge and the highest faith, who possessed (simultaneously) the highest knowledge and faith.

Thus I say.

Footnotes and references:


Vinnavaṇā = vijñāpanā, explained striyaḥ.


Instead of 'driver' and 'bullock' we might translate 'hunter' and 'deer.'


He should not be engrossed by them as the bullock sinks down beneath its burden.


To render kāmī.


Compare p. 256, note 1.


A various reading mentioned in the commentary is ahiyāsae, 'he should bear (all troubles).'


The whole lecture is put by the commentators in the mouth of Ṛṣabha.


The first and last Tīrthakaras belonged to the Kāśyapa Gotra.


I.e. by your own acts, by order, and by assent; or by thoughts, words, and acts.


See my remarks in part i, Introduction, p. xi. This passage in prose appended to the metrical text seems to contradict the supposition of the commentators that the whole lecture was pronounced by Ṛṣabha.

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