Yogadrstisamuccaya of Haribhadra Suri (Study)

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

This page relates ‘three types of Understanding: Budhi, Jnana, Asammoha’ 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 “A Line of Demarcation between the first four and last four Yogadrishtis”.

Chapter 5.6 - The three types of Understanding: Budhi, Jñāna, Asaṃmoha

It is said that performance of same action yields different fruits to different worshippers if performed with varied mental attitudes. Now our author states the reasons for the varied mental attitudes of different worshippers. He says that due to the vices viz attachment, aversion etc. the performance of an action differs in three types of understanding (i.e. budhi, jñāna, asaṃmoha). This is the reason why the performance of same action yields different fruits[1] .

Haribhadrasūri says that the understanding (bodha) is of three types:

  1. Buddhi,
  2. Jñāna,
  3. Asaṃmoha.

And all the actions of living beings exhibit difference corresponding to a difference in the types of understanding[2] . Generally it is seen that the performance of an action is undertaken with difference in degree of intensity.

It is:

  1. A person worships a deity with less intensity.
  2. Another person performs an act of worship with a medium involvement.
  3. A third person may undertake every act of worship with very high regard and complete devotion for concerned deity.

The reason for such difference in the intensity of devotion is existence of different degree of attachment, aversion and delusion in a worshipper. Due to the existence of these vices in a worshipper a difference is found in his understanding. He performs an action understanding it merely with buddhi or jñāna or with asaṃmoha.

Haribhadrasūri defines the three types of understanding as follows. Buddhi is concerned only with sensuous objects. Jñāna is the knowledge derived from the scriptural texts. When such knowledge accompanies a true religious practice (sadanuṣṭhāna) it is called asaṃmoha[3] . In his auto-commentary on Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya Haribhadrasūri describes the three types of understanding.

The lines are as follows:

kandriyārthāśrayā buddhistīrthayātṛkadarśane tadgamanabuddhivat |
jñānaṃtvāgamapūrvakaṃ tīrthayātrāvidhijñānavat | sadanuṣṭhānavaccaitajjñānaṃ, ...asaṃmoho'bhidhīyate... ||121||

Let us understand these lines of our author in detail. A person whose understanding is of the buddhi type would visit a pilgrimage place only because others do it. He does not desire to enquire into the reasons and results of such visit. For instance a butcher Kālasaurika’s act of listening and enjoying the sermon (deśanā) of Lord Mahāvīra is done with the buddhi type understanding. The butcher used to kill five hundred buffaloes every day. He was not ready to consider his such a cruel act as unworthy. Still he was enjoying the sermon. He likes to listen to the sermon because it is extremely pleasing to his ears. He has nothing to do with the spiritual gains of it.

A person who has gathered knowledge, either from listening or studying the scriptures about various religious precepts as well as performances, his possesses jñāna typed understanding. Whether he visits pilgrimage places or does pujā etc., all his actions would be the results of his understanding that such performances are the mere cause to get rid of the transmigration. Like buddhi type people, the jñāna typed ones do not visit pilgrimage just only because so many other people visit it. The later ones would engage themselves into the act of visiting the pilgrimage place after acquainting themselves with the complete knowledge about the rituals and so on. They desire that their visit to the pilgrimage place would wash away to the karmans and help them to attain spiritual progress. This is their intention of visiting the pilgrimage. Since their intention differs from that of the intentions of buddhi typed persons, both obtain different fruits by performing the same act of visiting the pilgrimage place.

The third type of understanding namely non-deluded understanding (asaṃmoha bodha) is possessed of true religious practice (i.e. sadanuṣṭhāna). Any religious activity undertaken with a non-deluded understanding is pure in all respect. Such a religious activity immediately yields the fruit of liberation to an aspirant who is on his way to achieve the state beyond the worldly existence. The understanding which is born out of non-delusion is considered to be bodharāja i.e. a king understanding among all three understandings.

In the knowledge based understanding one performs religious activities by listening to their greatness and how they are conducive to liberation. While in the non-deluded understanding an aspirant moves one step ahead. An aspirant performs every ritual in the manner that is exactly prescribed in the scriptures. In the knowledge based understanding the performance of religious activities does not necessarily be the most perfect and ideal. In the nondeluded understanding an aspirant, at the time of actual practicing, exerts himself to turn the performance most perfect. A perfect and appropriate performance of religious activity is called a true religious practice (sadanuṣṭhāna.).

The characteristics of a true religious practice (sadanuṣāṭhāna) are mentioned by Haribhadrasūri[4] . They are as follow:

Any religious practice can be called true or proper when it is performed with-

  1. Feeling of regards/gratitude for it,
  2. A joy in exerting oneself,
  3. It should be performed with a great dedication and involvement so that its performance itself destroys obstacles which may arise for upcoming performances.

Thus it makes the path of series of performances free from obstacles. Obstacles are of two types. They are:

  1. Laziness in the performance, dislike for it, temptation of materialistic world and such other.
  2. Supra-sensuous obstacles.
  3. The true religious practice results into the acquisition of prosperous and precious things.
  4. It gives rise to a curiosity to penetrate into the heart of the matter.
  5. It develops the feeling of attendance, on those who are expert on the matter, in the heart of a worshipper.

In the treatise Ṣoḍaśaka Haribhadrasūri classifies souls who practice religious performance.

They are of three types:

  1. Bāla,
  2. Madhyama,
  3. Paṇḍita.

The verse is as follows:

bālaḥ paśyati liṅga, madhyamabuddhivicārayati vṛttam |
āgamatattvaṃ tu budhaḥ parīkṣate sarvayatnena ||1.2||

In this verse the verbs used are paśyati, vicārayati and parikṣate for bāla, madhyama and paṇḍita type souls respectively.

It seems that Haribhadrasūri’s classification of bāla etc has somewhat resemblance with his classification of three types of understanding namely buddhi etc. In Aṣṭaka Prakaraṇa, Haribhadrasūri’s composition, three types of knowledge are mentioned. Their definition and nature seem to correspond with the three types of understanding viz. buddhi etc.

The verse of Aṣṭaka Prakaraṇa is as follows.

viṣayapratibhāsaṃ cā''tmapariṇatimattathā |
tattvasaṃvedanaṃ caiva jñānamāhūrmaharṣayaḥ||9.2 ||

The three types of knowledge are:

  1. Viṣayapratibhāsa,
  2. Ātmapariṇati,
  3. Tattvasaṃvedana.

In the commentary on Aṣṭaka Prakaraṇa the three types of knowledge are explained. The lines are:

viṣayapratibhāsamiti | tad vṛttistvevam ‘viṣayaḥ’ = śrotrādīndiyajñānagocaraḥ śabdādiḥ, tasyaiva na punastatpravṛtto tajjanyasyātmano'rthānarthadbhāvasya, ‘pratibhāsaḥ’ pratibhāṣanaṃ = paricchedo yatra tat viṣayapratibhāsam, eेhikā''mujmikeṣu chdvasthikajñānaviṣayeṣvarthoṣu pravṛttāvātmanastāttvikārthānarthapratibhāsaśūnyamityarthaḥ, jñānamāhuriti samabandhaḥ | ...., kadaṃ ca mithyādṛśāṃ bhavatīti | tatā ātmano jīvasya, pariṇatiranuṣṭhānaviśoṣasampādyaḥ pariṇāmaviśoṣaḥ, saina jñoyatayā yasminnasti jñāne na punastadanurūpapravṛttinivṛttī api, tad ātmapariṇatimat..., kadaṃ cāviratasamyagdṛṣṭīnāṃ bhavatīti | tattvaṃ paramārthaḥ tatsamyag vedyate jñāyate yena tat tattvasaṃvedanam, heyopādedyārthanivṛttipravṛttisamyādakamityārthaḥ,....kadaṃ ca(tu) viśuddhacāritriṇāṃ syāt | jñānaṃbodhaṃ āhaḥ = buvate, maharṣayaḥ -mahāmunayaḥ | ... ||9.2|| aṣṭakaprakaraṇa vṛtti.

The following are the reasons which throw light on the corresponding relation between three types of knowledge mentioned in Aṣṭaka Prakaraṇa and three types of understanding described in Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya:

(1) In the commentary of Aṣṭaka Prakaraṇa jñāna is defined as bodha.Hence we may assume that three types of knowledge (jñāna) and three types of understanding (bodha) are one and the same thing.

(2) The first type of knowledge is based on sensuous objects which is same as the buddhi type of understanding.

(3) The first type of knowledge is possessed by a mithyādṛṣṭi soul, second by a samyagdṛṣṭi soul and third by a cāritrin. This explanation more or less matches with the classification of three types of understanding.

Amitagati in his treatise Yogasāraprābhṛta defines the three types of understanding as follows:

buddhirjñānamasaṃmohaḥ trividhaḥ prakramaḥ smṛtaḥ |
sarvakarmāṇi bhidyante tadbhedācca śarīriṇām ||
buddhimakṣāśrayāṃ tatra jñānamāgamapūrvakam |
tadeva sadanuṣṭhānamasaṃmohaṃ vido viduḥ ||
cāritra-darśana-jñāna tatsvīkāro yathākramam |
tatrodāharaṇaṃ jñoyaṃ buddhyādīnāṃ prasiddhaye || 8.81-83

In twenty third dvātriṃśikā Upādhyāya Yaśovijaya defines buddhi, jñāna and asaṃmoha as follow:

buddhirjñānamasaṃmohastrividho bodhayṣyate |
ratnopalambha-tajjñāna-tadavāptinidarśanāt ||23.23

buddhiriti |buddhiḥ = tathāvidhoharahitaṃ śabdārthaśravaṇamātrajaṃ jñānam |... | jñānaṃ = tathāvidhohena gṛhītā'rthatattvaparicchedanam |... | asammoho = heyopādeyatyāgopādānopahitaṃ jñānam |

In Nayalatā a commantory of Dvātriṃśad-dvātriṃśikā by Muni Yaśovijaya following lines are written in the present context.

They are:

nayāntarābhiprāyeṇa buddhijñānā'saṃmohānāṃ kramaśaḥ śruta-cintā-bhāvanājñānātmakatā yadvā śravaṇa-manana-nididhyāsanātmakatā yadvā viṣayapratibhāsātmapariṇātimattattvasaṃvedanajñānātmakatā yathātantrabhavasoyā bahuśrutaiḥ |[5] ” 23.23 Line 15-17, Pg. 1588, vol.6

To make the meaning of these three more clear Haribhadrasūri presents the following analogy. Buddhi is like perceiving a jewel. Jñāna is compared with the authentic knowledge of jewels which helps to decide prize, size, quality etc. of that jewel. And asaṃmoha is like an attempt to own that jewel after knowing its preciousness[6] .

In Nayalatā, Muni Yashovijaya’s (20th century A.D.) ṭīkā on Dvātriṃśaddvātriṃśikā, we get detailed description of the analogy of a jewel used by Haribhadrasūri to explain the three types of understanding.

  1. ratnopalambha = buddhi;
  2. ratnajñāna = jñāna;
  3. ratnaprāpti = asaṃmoha.

The lines of Nayalatā ṭīkā are as follows:

‘ratnopalambho’ tyādi | kadaṃ tejasvī ti sāmānyenendiyā'rthā''śrayā ratnāviṣayiṇī ratnasvarūpa-mūlya prabhāvādigocara mīmāṃsā śūnyā buddhiḥ ratnaśāstradyabhyāsapūrvakaṃ ‘kadamindnanalaratnaṃ lakṣamūlyaṃ bhaṅga-chidrādidoṣā'petaṃ tathāvidhaṃkāntyādiguṇopetami’ ti u ratnajñānaṃ, tatpūrvikā ca ratnā'vāptirasaṃmoha iti ucyate |[7]

Results obtained from three types of understanding:

Haribhadrasūri says that actions performed with buddhi type understanding result into the continuance of the transmigration. The actions which are performed with jñāna type understanding become seeds which culminate in liberation. The actions arising from asaṃmoha type of understanding yield fruit in the form of liberation without any delay.

From this description we may say that a buddhi type understanding is possessed by a mithyādṛṣṭi soul. A jñāna type understanding is owned by a samyagdṛṣṭi soul. And third and the best type of understanding is held by a soul who is cāritrin. One who performs actions with the buddhi typed understanding is called dehin by the author. Moreover our author addresses owner of jñāna typed understanding as kulayogin and the holder of asaṃmoha typed understanding is designated as bhavātītādhvayāyin.

Dehin is a person who is an enjoyer of worldly existence. And therefore it is obvious that he would perform actions merely with buddhi typed understanding which is purely based upon senses and objects of senses. His all actions would result into the continuance of the worldly existence because the ultimate consequences of these actions are nothing but causes of pain as well as miseries. This is how they yield bitter fruits[8] .

Only kulayogin is eligible for holding the jñāna typed bodha. The definition of kulayogin will be given by the author in verse 210-11. Here in the present context our author has specifically used kulayogin in order to avoid the rest three types of yogins. The actions performed under the guidance of jñāna become means for liberation (muvtyaṅga) to the kulayogin. Such actions enjoy the powerful backing of scriptural knowledge. Therefore they leave such an impact that the previous action becomes cause for the performance of the present action and the present action generates the next action. The benefits derived from the preceding action give rise to the immediately succeeding one. And this is how a series is from that culminates in liberation[9] .

A soul who attempts persistently to transcend the worldly existence (i.e. bhavātītādhvayāyin) comprehends that the state of emancipation (nirvāṇa) as one and same in its essence though it is differently designated. Such type of comprehension is possible because he has asaṃmoha type of understanding. In his auto-commentary on Yogdṛṣṭisamuccaya our author explains the reason why the subject in question is called bhavātītādhvayāyin.

The lines of autocommentary:.

..bhavātītādhvayāyina ucyante, bhavacintā'saṃsparśāditi ||127||

He is called so because he is unaffected by all anxieties pertaining to the worldly existence. In other words he is not worrisome about the materialistic world. Moreover our author mentions the important characteristics of the subject in question[10] .

(1) It is said that,

prākṛteṣviha bhāveṣu-śabdādiṣu buddhiparyavasāneṣu yeṣāṃ coto nirūtsukaṃ nisaṅgatāsamāveśāt”..... ||127||

navaraṃ prākṛtabhāvāḥ śabdādipaātanmātrā'ntaḥ karaṇa-karṇādijñānendriyapaāka karādikarmondriyapañcaka-pṛthivyādipaākamahābhūtā'ṅkārabuddhilakṣaṇāṃ trayoviṃśatiravasoyā atra pātañjalaprakriyā'nusāreṇa | jainadarśanā'nusāreṇaudayikādayaḥ prākṛtabhāvā vijñoyāḥ, karmaprakṛtijanyatvāt |”[11]

The subject in question has become dispassionate towards the things encountered in the course of everyday life.

(2) In the auto-commentary of Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya it is said that,

...., bhavabhogaviraktāste-evambhūtājīvā muktakalpā... ||127||

He is no more interested in the enjoyments of the worldly objects. He is like a liberated soul.

His performance of actions, pure in all respect, done with asaṃmoha type understanding, immediately yield fruit in the form of liberation[12] .

The following two verses of Yogasāpraprābhṛta pertain to the description of the subject in question. The verses are:

santyasammohahetūni karmāṇyatyantaśuddhitaḥ |
nirvāṇaśarmadāyīni bhavā|ḍatītādhvagāminām |
bhāveṣu karmajāteṣu mano moṣāṃ nirudyamam |
bhavabhogaviraktāste bhavā'tītādhvagāminām || 8.86-87 ||

Footnotes and references:


rāgādibhirayaṃ coha, bhidyate'nekadhā nṛṇām |
nānāph lopabhoktṛṇāṃ, tathā buddhyādibhodataḥ ||119||

rāgādibhirdoṣaiḥ ayaṃ cā'bhisandhiḥ kaha loke bhidyate'nekadhā nṛṇāṃ tanmṛdumadhyādhimātrabhodena,... ||119||

-Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


buddhirjñānamasaṃmoha-strividhāṃ bodha kaṣyate |
tadbhedāt sarvakarmaṇi, bhidyante sarvadehinām ||120JJ

............| tadbhedād-buddhyādibhodāt sarvakarmāṇīṣṭādīni bhidyante sarvadehināṃ, hetubhodātpha labhoda itikṛtvā ||120JJ

-Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


kandriyārthāśrayā buddhi-rjñānaṃ tvāgamapūrvakam |
sadanuṣṭhānavaccaita-dasaṃmoho'bhidhīyate ||121||


ādaraḥ karaṇo prīti-ravighnaḥ sampadāgamaḥ |
jijñāsā tajjñasovā ca, sadanuṣṭhānalakṣaṇam ||123||

....., avighna-statkaraṇa evā'dṛṣṭasāmarthyāt, sampadāgamaḥ tata eva śubhabhāvapuṇyasiddheḥ, jijñāsoṣṭādigocaraiva, tajjñasovā coṣṭādijñā''sovā, caśabdāt tadanugrahagrahaḥ |... ||123||

- Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


Verse: 23.23 Line 15-17, Pg. 1588, vol.6


ratnopalambhatajjñāna-tatprāptyādi yathākramam |
kahodāharaṇaṃ sādhu, jñoyaṃ buddhyādisiddhaye ||122||

ratnopalambhaḥ sāmānyenendriyārthāśrayā buddhiḥ, tajjñānaṃ tvāgamapūrvakaṃ ratnajñānaṃ tatprāptyādi tvasaṃmohaḥ, bodhagarbhatvādasya,.... ||122||
   –Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


Verse: 23.23,line 21-23, Pg.1588, part-6.


buddhipūrvāṇi karmāṇi, sarvāṇyeveha dehinām |
saṃsāraph ladānyeva, vipākavirasatvataḥ ||124||

......, kimityāha-saṃsāraph ladānyeva aśāstrapūrvakatvāt, tathā cā''ha-vipākavirasatvata iti, teṣāṃ niyogata eva vipākavirasatvāditi ||124||

-Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


jñānapūrvāṇi tānyeva, muktyaṅga kulayoginām |
śrutaśaktisamāveśā-danubandhaph latvataḥ ||125||

....| kulayogigrahaṇamanyāsambhavajñāpanārtham | kṛta katyāha-śrutaśaktisamāveśāt hetoḥ amṛtaśaktikalpeyaṃ, naitadabhāve mukhyaṃ kulayogitvam | ata evā''ha-anubandhapha latvataḥ muktyaṅgatvasiddheḥ, tāttvikānubandhasyaivambhūtatvāditi ||125||

- Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.


prākṛtiṣviha bhāveṣu, yeṣāṃ coto nirutsakam |
bhavabhogavirakta |ste, bhavātītādhvayāyinaḥ ||
   - Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya


Verse: 23.26, Nayalatā, p.1593, line, 11-14, part-6.


asaṃmehasamutthāni,tveka |ntapariśuddhitaḥ |
nirvāṇaph ladānyāśu, bhavātītādhvayāyinām ||

...... tu ekāntapariśuddhitaḥ kāraṇāt paripākavaśona, ......, keṣāmityāha-bhavātītādhvayāyināṃ-samyakparatattvedināmityarthaḥ ||126||

- Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya and its auto-commentary.

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