Yogadrstisamuccaya of Haribhadra Suri (Study)

by Riddhi J. Shah | 2014 | 98,110 words

This page relates ‘Nature of spiritual activities performed by a Sthira-drishti beholder’ of the study on the Yogadrstisamuccaya: a 6th-century work on Jain Yoga authored by Haribhadra Suri consisting of 228 Sanskrit verses. The book draws from numerous sources on traditional Yoga. Three important topics are stipulated throughout this study: 1) nature of liberation, 2) a liberated soul, and 3) omniscience.—This section belongs to the series “The Eight Yogadrishtis and the nature of a Liberated Soul”.

Chapter 4.5c - Nature of spiritual activities performed by a Sthirā-dṛṣṭi beholder

After discussing the understanding of the sthirā dṛṣṭi Haribhadrasūri mentions the nature of spiritual activities performed by a sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder. It is said that the spiritual activities of the subject in question are free from confusion (bhrama) and singles (anagha)[1] . To perceive a shell as a pearl is called confusion[2] . In reality it is a shell but out of illusion a person confuses it with a pearl. Thus he perceives a shell as a pearl by mistake. When the subject in question performs spiritual activities viz. bowing down[3] etc. with such confusion, he faces the problem like whether I have performed a specific spiritual activity[4] . This is how he remains confused regarding the performance of spiritual activities properly.

They are performed without any such confusion by a sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder. Therefore, they are without any sin/fault[5] . Moreover absence of transgressions makes the performance of spiritual activity sinless/faultless[6] . It is the case for a sthirā dṛṣṭi holder who possesses destruction type of right faith (kṣāyikasamyagdarśana).

The sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder is a samyagdṛṣṭi soul. Hence he has realized the fact that the soul is an only real and permanent object and the rest is fake, illusory and worth abandoning. He has acquired the capacity to distinguish between the self (soul) and the non-self. According to him those things, which are beneficial for his soul, are worth accepting. Those things, which increase transmigration and thus cause harm to his soul, are worth ignoring. For him the entire struggle of worldly existence is as momentary and unreal as a sand-castle made by a child[7] . Even though he sees fame and fortune of a cakravartin[8] (the king of kings), he considers them to be temporary and unpleasant by nature[9] .

Similar type of description of a samyagdṛṣṭi soul is found in the following two verses of the Pañcaliṅgi Prakaraṇa. They are:

bālohadhūligihiramaṇasaṃnibhaṃ tassa savvamābhāi |
devidaṃ cakkavaṭṭaṇāipayamaddhuyamavassaṃ ||
47 || 
iya savvattha asaraṇaṃ aṇaṃtaduhabhāyaṇaṃmi saṃsāre |
appāṇaṃ mannaṃto niccuvviggo mahādukkhaṃ ||
48 ||

Moreover, Haribhadrasūri says that the subject in-question perceives worldly objects viz. body, house etc.[10] as a juggler’s trick, a mirage, a fata morgan[11] , a dream. It means for him the worldly objects are as illusory and fake as a juggler’s trick, a mirage and so on[12] . His perception is an outcome of the discriminative power born out of properly applying the knowledge grasped from the scriptures[13] . Thus, Haribhadrasūri has explained how the beholder of sthirā dṛṣṭi perceives the entire worldly affairs.

Here, we may refer to the following verse from (20th cen. A.D.) the treatise Adhyātmatattvāloka written by Nyāyavijaya. The verse describes perception of the worldly happenings of an aspirant who has obtained the right faith.

It is:

pratyāhṛtergranthivibhedanenasphu radvivekojjvalamānasānām |
saṃsāraceṣṭā pratibhāti bāladhūlīgṛhakrīḍāsannibhaiva ||
3.121 ||

The worldly existence is truly unpleasant and impermanent. Due to the obtainment of right faith the sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder perceives it like that only. The soul is eternal and real in actual sense. Hence, the subject in question acknowledges the soul as it is. According to him it is non-external, of the form of omniscience knowledge, free from all disturbances and ailments. It is considered to be the ultimate truth. Anything other than it is merely a disturbance/nuisance[14] .

The enlightened sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder possesses non-abstinence (avirati). Therefore, even though he acknowledges the unreal as well as momentary nature of worldly existence, he is unable to abstain himself form it. However, he is capable of acknowledging rightly the implied meanings of the scriptural texts due to the untied knot of ignorance, attachment and aversion. Hence Haribhadrasūri says that the subject in question reflects upon the nature of worldly objects as follows[15] :

He thinks that the riches, which are always accompanied by poverty, cannot be considered to be a source of happiness. Similarly how can one consider the worldly pleasures, which are invariably connected with sin, as a cause of happiness[16] ? This is so because not a single worldly pleasure is obtained without either harming/hurting or killing living beings. To cause pain or death to living beings is sinful. Thus, the worldly pleasures go hand in hand with sins. Therefore they never can become source of true happiness[17] .

If someone performs religious/virtuous activities instead of sinful activities, meritorious karmans (puṇya) are accumulated by him. He obtains materialistic pleasures viz. to get birth in heaven etc. by such meritorious karmans. Someone doubts whether such materialistic pleasures are worthy?[18] Haribhadrasūri clears this doubt by stating that even the materialistic pleasures, acquired as a result of performing religious/virtuous activities, are worthless in most of the cases. It is just like fire,that burns, arising even from the sandalwood i.e. the best of the woods[19] . If the sandalwood, howsoever costly and rare, is put to fire, it invariably burns. It is so because to cause burning is the nature of fire[20] . Similarly worthlessness is the nature of materialistic pleasures. No matter how they are obtained. It is so because while enjoying the worldly pleasures, there arises negligence (pramāda) in the enjoyer[21] . Negligence is the mother of sins. Hence, the worldly pleasures are worthless in most of the cases.

Haribhadrasūri, an erudite scholar, states that the worldly pleasures acquired as a result of performing religious/virtuous/spiritual activities are worthless in most of the cases. Instead of saying in all the cases he says that it is so in most of the cases. He has stated so with a reason which he explains in the auto-commentary.

Jainism claims that in the third last birth a particular type of soul performs spiritual activities namely viśasthānaka which invariably results into the obtainment of the tīrthaṅkara-hood. In the birth of a tīrthaṅkara he possesses prosperity as well as fortune as an outcome of extraordinary meritorious karmans accumulated by performing spiritual activities. However as he possesses purity and inclination for the scriptures, he owns the psyche which has comprehended the essence of spirituality. Even though the tīrthaṅkara soul is in possession of the best of the worldly pleasures, he never enjoys them indulging in sinful activities. It is so because that type of negligence is absent in him due to spiritual elevation[22] . Instead of enjoying the worldly pleasures, the tīrthaṅkara renounces them and chooses to be a monk. Hence, the best of the worldly pleasures, which increase the transmigration of an ordinary living being, are incapable of even obstructing the spiritual journey towards liberation of the tīrthṅkara. Therefore, it may be said that the worldly pleasures acquired as a result of the worldly pleasures acquired as a result of performing spiritual activities are not worthless in all cases.

The subject in question is very clear about the worthlessness of the worldly pleasures and also their concomitant relation with sins. Hence he contemplates deeply on the ways to get rid of the desire of worldly enjoyments. If he finds someone saying that to put an end to the desire of worldly pleasures, one should enjoy them. For such beliefs the sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder thinks that seeking release from the desire for enjoyment through indulging in enjoyment is like removing a burden from one shoulder and placing it on the other[23] . Thus, when one enjoys materialistic pleasures, their enjoyment causes accumulation of inauspicious karmans. The accumulated inauspicious karmans produce corresponding bad residue (saṃskāra) which will subsequently give rise to new desire/another desire for enjoyment of worldly pleasures[24] . The subject in question believes that by indulging in enjoyment one can get satisfied temporarily. However, it does not liberate hem completely from having desire of worldly enjoyment[25] .

Haribhadrasūri states that the sthirā dṛṣṭi beholder, who perceives worldly existence as well as the soul in the aforementioned manner, is steady minded and an expert in practicing withdrawal of the senses (pratyāhāra). Such a subject in question, who possesses the power to discriminate between the self and non-self, always exerts himself genuinely in overcoming the obstacles on the way of religious practices[26] . He exerts himself in this way because he has obtained that type of purity of soul[27] .

Footnotes and references:


,................... |
kṛtyamabhrāntamanaghaṃ,....................... || 154 ||


| bhramaḥ = antarviplavaḥ = cittavipayaryaḥ, śuktikāyāṃ “ rajatamidabhitivadatasmiṃstadgraha itiyāvat |.... || 18.15 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Dvātriṃśad Dvātriṃśikā, vol: 4, Pg: 1242.


| kṛtyaṃ vandanādi,.... || 154 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


| tatra = tasmin sati kṛ tākṛ tavāsanā = “ idaṃ mayā kṛ tamidaṃ vā na kṛ tamityevaṃrūpā vāsanā....,... || 18.15 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Dvātriṃśad Dvātriṃśikā, vol: 4, Pg: 1242.


| kṛtyaṃ vandanādi, abhrāntaṃ kṛ mamadhikṛtya, ata eva andham ... |.... || 154 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


|...,... anaghamanaticāratvāt |.... || 154 ||


bāladhūlīgahṛ krīḍā–tulyā'syāṃ bhāti dhīmatām |
tamogranthivibhedena, bhavaveṣṭā'khilaiva hi || 155 ||


Catravartin is the one who rules six continents. According to Jainism there were twelve cakravartins in the present descending era (avasarpiṇi). their life history is explained with full detail in a treatise Triṣaṣṭiśalākā-puruṣa of Hemacandra (12th century A.D.). however there are other treatises also which contain their life story in Jain literature.


, bhavaceṣṭā'khilaiva hi cakravartyādiceṣṭārūpā'pi prakṛtyasundaratvādasthiratvācca || 155 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


bāhayān dehagahṛाdīn ... bhāvān padārthān |... || 156 ||


, gandharvanagaraṃ–hariścandrapurādi.... || 196 ||


māyāmarīcigandharva-nagarasvapnasannibhān |
bāhayān paśyati tattvena, bhāvān śrutavivekataḥ || 156 ||


| ku ta ityāha–śrutavivekataḥ–samyakpariṇatena śrutajñānena || 196 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


abāhayaṃ ke valaṃjyoti-nirrābādhamanāmayam |
yadatra tat paraṃ tattvaṃ, śeṣaḥ punarūpaplavaḥ || 157 ||


ete hi bhinnagranthitvādatु tamaśrutapradhānā ityevamālocayanti
   –It is an avataraṇikā of yerse 159 of Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


na hayalakṣmīsakhī lakṣmī-yarthā''nandāya dhīmatām |
tathā pāpasakhā loke, dehināṃ bhogavistaraḥ || 159 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


, tathā pāpasakhā loke tathātadavinābhāvena dehināṃ bhogavistaro nā''nandāya, nā'nupahatya bhūtāni bhogaḥ saṃbhavati, bhūtopaghātācca pāpamiti bhāvanā || 159 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


dharmabhogaḥ sundara ityāpyāśaṅkāpohāyā''ha
   –It is an avataraṇikā of yerse 159 of Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


dharmādapi bhavan bhogaḥ, prāyo'narthāya dehitām |
candanādapi sambhūto, dahatyeva hutāśanaḥ || 160 ||


, kimityāha–dahatyeva hutāśanaḥ tathāsvabhāvatvāt |
prāya etadevaṃ, na dahatyapi kaścit, satyamanatrābhisaṃskṛ tād dāhāsiddheḥ |
sakalalokasiddhametaditi ||
160 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


anarthāya dehināṃ tathāpramādavidhānāt |... || 160 ||


prāyograhaṇaṃ śuddhadharmākṣepyabhoganirāsātha,ṃ tasya pramādabījatvāyogāt, atyantānavadyatītharkaṃ rādiphalasiddheḥ puṣyaśuddhyādāvāgamābhiniveśād dharmasāracittopapatteriti |... || 160 ||


bhogāt tadicchāviratiḥ, skandhabhārāpanuttaye |
skandhāntarasamāropa–statsaṃskāraviśvānataḥ || 161 ||


| ku ta ityāha–tatsaṃskāravidhānataḥ
tathākamarbandhonā'niṣṭabhogasaṃskāravidhānāt tattvatastadicchā'nivatृ teriti |............. || 161 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya (2010)


bhogāt sakāśāt, tadicchāviratirbhogecchāviratistātkālikī |... || 161 ||


evaṃ vivekino dhīrāḥ pratyāhāraparāstathā |
dharmabādhāparityāga-yatnavantaśca tattvataḥ || 158 ||


, tathā-tena prakāreṇa dharmabādhāparityāyatnavantaśca tathāntaḥpariśuddheḥ tattvataḥ–paramārthena || 158 ||
   –Auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya

39 “alaulyamārogyamaniṣṭhu ratva,gandhaḥ śubho mūtrapurīṣamalpam |
kāntiḥ prasādaḥsvarasaumyatā ca, yogapravatृ teḥ prathamaṃ hi cihanam || 1 ||
   –Auto commentary on verse 161 of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya.

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