Tattvartha Sutra (with commentary)

by Vijay K. Jain | 2018 | 130,587 words | ISBN-10: 8193272625 | ISBN-13: 9788193272626

This page describes cause of sensory-knowledge which is verse 1.14 of the English translation of the Tattvartha Sutra which represents the essentials of Jainism and Jain dharma and deals with the basics on Karma, Cosmology, Ethics, Celestial beings and Liberation. The Tattvarthasutra is authorative among both Digambara and Shvetambara. This is verse 14 of the chapter Right Faith and Knowledge and includes an extensive commentary.

Verse 1.14 - Cause of sensory-knowledge

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Tattvartha sūtra 1.14:

तदिन्द्रियानिन्द्रियनिमित्तम् ॥ १.१४ ॥

tadindriyānindriyanimittam || 1.14 ||

That–sensory-knowledge (matijñāna)–is caused by the senses (indriya) and the mind (mana). (14)

Hindi Anvayarth:

अन्वयार्थ: [इन्द्रियानिन्द्रिय] इन्द्रियाँ और मन [तत्] उस मतिज्ञान के [निमित्तम्] निमित्त हैं।

Anvayartha: [indriyanindriya] indriyam aura mana [tat] usa matijnana ke [nimittam] nimitta haim |

Explanation in English from Ācārya Pūjyapāda’s Sarvārthasiddhi:

He who is invested with lordship and wealth is ‘indra’. Here the word means the soul. The soul is of the nature of knowledge. However, when there is the destruction-cum-subsidence (kṣayopaśama) of knowledge-obscuring karmas, the soul, by itself, is unable to know the objects. And that which acts as the instrument for acquisition of knowledge by the soul is the sense (indriya). Or that which causes the knowledge of hidden objects is the sign (liṅga). Accordingly, that which promotes the knowledge of the subtle soul, is the sense (indriya). For instance, smoke is the cause of the knowledge of the fire. Similarly, the senses, such as touch etc., cannot exist without the soul. Hence by means of those senses the existence of the soul is inferred. Or, ‘indra’ is the word denoting name-karma (nāmakarma). The senses (indriya) are built by that. The senses of touch, etc., are described later. ‘Anindriya’, ‘mana’, ‘antaḥkaraṇa’ are synonyms.

The word ‘anindriya’ is the negation of ‘indriya’–sense. How then can it be used to denote the mind which is also a sign of the soul? The negative sign ‘a’ is used in the sense of slight or a little. A quasi-sense is called ‘anindriya’. For instance there is the usage ‘anudarā kanyā’–the girl ‘without’ the belly. Here the meaning of ‘without’ is taken as ‘slight’ or ‘thin’. How is the meaning ‘slight’ applied to the mind? The sense-organs perceive objects within a limited range, and these last for a long time. But the mind is not like these. Objects that are perceived by the senses as well as those not perceived by the senses are subject to mental cognition. Though the mind is also the sign (liṅga) of the soul (indra), it neither cognizes objects within a limited range nor remains for long (the mental attitude changes quickly).

The mind is described as an internal sense. In investigating good and evil and in remembrance, etc., the mind is not dependent on the senses. Nor is the mind seen outwardly like the eyes, etc. So it is called the internal sense.

What for is ‘tad’–‘that’–used? ‘That’ is used for denoting sensory knowledge (matijñāna). Now sensory knowledge has just been mentioned. It is argued that a rule or an exception refers to what has just been described. So this sūtra would refer to sensory knowledge only even without the word ‘that’. The answer is, ‘that’ is intended to refer to this (previous) sūtra as well as the following sūtra. The knowledge that has synonyms like ‘mati’ is caused by the senses and the mind. And the same has four stages–impression (avagraha), inquisitiveness (īhā), comprehension (avāya) and retention (dhāraṇā). If ‘that’ were not used, the synonyms such as ‘mati’ would refer to sensory knowledge, and the kind of knowledge caused by the senses and the mind, would refer to scriptural knowledge with the four stages mentioned in the next sūtra. Thus it would lead to a faulty inference.

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