Jain Science and Spirituality

by Medhavi Jain | 2020 | 61,419 words

This essay studies the elements of Jainism and investigates how Jain science and philosophy can give the world answers to through science and spirituality. Instead of interpreting it as a confined, strict philosophy, it is shown that Jainism represents a path towards self-awakening through self-improvement....

2. Jaina Scriptures (Agamas)

Jainism has no founders but only the reformers in form of tirthankara, who reestablish the already found truth according to the intellect of the people of their time; the present “Jain writings start with the last of the tirthankaras, Mahavira (c. 599-527 B.D), who perceived the old nirgrantha group and rejuvenated its ethical and strict enthusiasm and exercises.”[1]

For many centuries Mahavira’s sermons were remembered through the gurushishya (teacher-disciple) tradition. But when the intellectual strength and memory of the people started to recede “his teachings were organised in twelve ańgas (parts). These ańgas created the primitive literature of Jainism. (Please note that there is a contradiction in the Digambara & Svetambara sects about the original texts, while the prior believes that all of Mahavira’s original teachings are lost, the latter believes that they have sustained it).

They are as follows:

1. Acarańga set down standards of control for the saints.

2. Sutrakrtańga contained further directives for the monks with respect to what was reasonable or unacceptable for them and how they should defend their promises. It additionally gave a composition of the principles and authoritative opinions of different beliefs.

3. Sthanańga recorded in numerical request, classes of information relating to the substances of nature.

4. Samvayańga grouped items as per likenesses of time, spot, number, etc.

5. Vyakhya-prajnapti or Bhagavat clarified the substances of life and nature in the form of a quiz.

6. Jnatrdharmakatha contained insights seeing strict lecturing just as stories and accounts determined to convey moral conviction.

7. Upasakadhyayana or Upasaka-dashaka was intended to fill in as a strict code for laymen.

8. Antakrddashaka gave records of ten holy people who achieved salvation after massive affliction.

9. Anuttaraupapatika contained records of ten monks who had gone to the most noteworthy paradise subsequent to suffering extraordinary oppression.

10. Prashna-vyakarana have records and scenes for the invalidation of inverse perspectives, foundation of one's own confidence, advancement of heavenly deeds, and counteraction of malice.

11. Vipaka-sutra clarified how temperance was remunerated and fiendish rebuffed.

12. Drstivada was inclusive of the following five sections:

(a) Parikarmani contained tracts portraying the moon, the sun, Jambudvipa, different islands and oceans, just as living creatures and non-living substance.

(b) Sutra gave a record of different precepts and ways of thinking numbering no under 363.

(c) Prathamanuyoga described antiquated history and portrayed the lives of incredible lords and monks.

(i) Purvagata managed the issues of birth, passing, and progression, and comprised of the accompanying fourteen subsections:

(ii) Utpada depicted how substances, for example, living creatures are delivered and kept up and rotted.

(iii) Agrayani gave philosophical composition of nature.

(iv) Viryanupravada clarified the forces and possibilities of the spirit and different substances.

(v) Asti-nasti-pravada examined the substances of nature from different perspectives relating to their unbounded characteristics and structures.

(vi) Jnana-pravada was a study in etymology, giving description of how knowledge was gained in its five forms, namely: mati (intellectual), shruti (hearing), avadhi (clairvoyance), manah-paryaya (the condition of mental discernment which goes before the achievement of absolute knowledge), and kevala (the highest knowledge).

(vii) Satya-pravada examined the idea of truth and reality and type of misrepresentation.

(viii) Atma-pravada was simply the investigation of the self or the rule of life.

(ix) Karma-pravada provided an explanationtion of the eight form of karma bondage named: jnanavarana (knowledge obscuring), darshanavarana (obstruction of one’s perception), vedaniya (expression of feelings), mohaniya (delusion producing), ayu (duration of life as governed by karma), nama (body making karma), gotra (bondage that decides in which class one is to be born), and antaraya (any obstacle to realization) along with their subdivisions.

(x) Pratyakhyanavada contained expiatory customs and rules for the recognition of fasts and pledges.

(xi) Vidyanuvada was a composition of different sciences and expressions, including visualization.

(xii) Kalyanavada was dedicated to astrology and a explanation of the five felicitous events, that are: conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment and salvation, in the lives of sixty-three great men namely–the tirthankaras, the cakravartins, the baldevas, the narayanas, and the prati-narayanas.

(xiii) Pranavada was the study of physical culture and life span, and clarified the eight types of restorative treatment.

(xiv) Kriyavishala gave a piece of the seventy-two expressive arts, including composing and verse.

(xv) Loka-bindu-sara dealt with worldly occupations along with the ways and means to secure liberation.

(d) Culika was the fifth part, of Drstivada, managing charms and enchantment, remembering techniques for strolling for the water, flying all around, and securing distinctive physical structures.”[2]

According to the Digambara tradition “this extensive assortment of basically the entire information on the occasions, mainstream just as strict, couldn't endure long in its unique structure. The entire standard was saved for just 162 years after Mahavira; that is up to the eighth successor–Bhadrabahu.

Acarya Dharasena bestowed the information on hardly any segments of Purvas to his supporters Pushpadanta and Bhutabali, who based on it composed Shatkhandagama during the first or second century A.D. Henceforth the Shatkhandagama is viewed as the soonest accessible strict writing among the Digambaras. For them it is the preeminent expert for the lessons of Mahavira. Another most regarded work, expounded on a similar time was the Kashaya-pahuda of Gunadharacarya. Drstivada, the twelfth Ańga, was additionally the premise of this content.”[3]

Besides the above two texts, five great texts of Acarya Kundakunda, together known as the pancaparmagama are also considered to be authentic as the Agamas, by the Digambara sect. They are–Niyamasara, Pancastikayasara, Pravacanasara, Samayasara, and Ashta-Pahuda.

“The ‘Essence of Restraint’ (Niyamasara), manages the required ceremonial practices occupant upon the parsimonious, while the 'Essence of the Five Entities' (Pancastikayasara) appears in inception to have been an inexactly associated collection of refrains whose topic is evident by its title for example the five substances in particular–jiva, ajiva, akasa, dharmastikaya and adharmastikaya. The 'Essence of Scripture' (Pravacanasara) is a manual managing parsimonious and profound conduct, and the 'Essence of Doctrine' (Samayasara) the most renowned of Kundakunda's works, is to a great extent gave to the discourse of the genuine idea of the soul.”[4]

“The Eight Discourses' (Atthapahuda) speaks to his lessons basically. This work is the way to understanding balanced discernment, accomplishing analytical knowledge and rehearsing judicial conduct throughout everyday life.”[5]

“Every one of these works, despite the fact that they for the most part examine various parts of the Jain way, give an embodiment of Kundakunda's general soteriological viewpoint as including an extreme interiorization of the strict life.”3

As per the Shvetambara tradition “in the fifth century A.D. all the consecrated writings accessible today were gathered and systematized under the presidentship of Devariddhi Ksamashramana.

They are as under:

1. The eleven Ańga named above, the twelfth being completely lost.

2. Twelve Upańga (sub-parts): Aupapatika, Rayapasenaijja, Jivabhigama, Prajnapana, Surya-prajnapti, Jambudvipa-prajnapti, Candra-prajnapti, Nirayavali, Kalpavatamsika, Puspika, Puspaculika, and Vrsnidasha.

3. Ten Prakima (scattered pieces): Catuh-sharana, Atura-pratyakhyana, Bhaktaparijna, Samstaraka, Tandulavaitalika, Camdavijjhaya, Devendrastava, Gani-vidya, Maha-pratyakhyana, and Vira-stava.

4. Six Cheda-Sutra: Nishitha, Maha-nishitha, Vyavahara, Acaradasha, Kalpa, and Panca-kalpa.

5. Two Culika-Sutra: Nandi-Sutra and Anuyogadvara.

6. Four Mula-Sutra: Uttaradhyayana, Avashyaka, Dashavaikalika, and Pindaniryukti.”[6]

There is a vast ocean of knowledge to be learned, understood and assimilated into the consciousness, in form of agama or ancient texts. One may take many lifetimes to grasp the whole, from the core of one’s soul but once it is comprehended; one’s journey towards freedom begins for sure.

However be it the modern times or in history, “one ought not take the sacred writings actually, however keep the possibility of self-investigation and amalgamation at the fore edge of one's brain”,[7] along with having an honest, unbiased and critical approach. Then only one can be able to have the trio of right perception, right knowledge and right conduct

Footnotes and references:


Jain Hiralal. Studies in Jainism (SIJ). Chapter: Literature of Jainism. The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. Calcutta. First Edition 1997. pp. 70


Studies in Jainism. pp. 70,71,72,73


Studies in Jainism. pp. 73


Dundas Paul. The Jains. pp. 108


http://www.herenow4u.net/index.php?id=73937 (Retrieved on 20.11.2018 @ 9:50 AM)3 Dundas Paul. The Jains. pp. 108


Studies in Jainism. pp. 74,75


Living Jainism. pp. 39

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