literature, a Portrait
There are innumberable
works on Jaina literature. Right from the time of Mahavira to the present day many great
Jainacaryas and writers have written thousands of books. Acaryasri Umasvati has written
500 works. Sri Haribhadrasuri also has written 1444 books. Kalikalasarvajna
Hemacandracarya has a vast literature to his credit. Upadhyaya Srimad Yasovijayaji Maharaj
has composed 108 big works. Many learned sadhus have written innumerable books. The
Bhagavadgita is considered to be the most important work of Hindus, Kuran-e-sharif is the
chief work of Muslims and the Bible is the most sacred work of Christians. Similarly
Agamas are the most sacred and authentic literature of Jain religion. It is also known as
Sutra, Sastra, Siddhanta or Nirgrantha
Pravacana. Formerly there were 84 Agamas but now only 45 are existent. Among these
45 Agamas, the first Agama-anga is the Acaranga Sutra. This Anga contains a subtle and
sutra-style description of the pure conduct and thoughts of the Jain monks. Only this
great work can be considered a brief epitome or a representative of Jain literature. This
Acaranga-sutra, the main work of Jain literature, is written in the style of sutras. Being
written in sutras, its sutras are variously interpreted.
Bhagvan Mahavira gives the
essence of right knowledge in three words - upapannei va dhuvei va vigamei va (It is
produced, it remain permanent and it is destroyed). He gave his discourses in the
Ardhamagadhi langauage which could be understood even by ordinary people and childern. His
learned disciple Sudharmasvami and other Ganadharas (chief pupils) arragned his discourses
in the sutra form. There are 12 parts of his discourses which are known as angas.
10 . Prasna Vyakarana
11. Vipaka Sutra
(The 12th agnga is lost.)
4. Bhakta Praijna
4. Dasasutra Skandha
|1. Nandi Sutra
discussed in the Agamas are :
Acaranga (The first Anga) - It contains discussions about knowledge, perception,
character, penances and power, etc. It describes gocari, Vinaya (education)
Siksa (training), language, good conduct, ceremonies etc.
Sutrakrtanga. It discusses Loka, Aloka, Lokaloka, Jiva, Time and establishes the theory of
Anekantavada by refuting 363 views, (80) kriyavadas, (67) Ajnana Vadas and (32)
Sthananga - It discusses Jiva, Time, Loka and geography.
Samavayanga. It discusses objects bearing nos. 1 to 101 and the form of the 12 angas.
Bhagavatisutra deeply discussed Jiva, etc.
Jnatadharma katha contains the stories of Jain devotees.
Upasakadasa describes the lives of Sramanas.
Antakritdasa contains the lives of souls about to be liberated.
Prasnavyakarana conatins questions about Vidya-mantras and dialogues between gods.
Vipakasutra discusses the causes of happiness and misery.
The 12th anga is Drstivada,
but it is lost.
Sudharmasvami alone has not
written all the agamas. Syamacarya, has written 4th Upangas, Shri Virbhadra Gani has
composed the Chatuhsaran sutra.
The names of the writers of
Payanna are not known. Bhadrabahusvami has written all the Chedasutras except the first
two. Shri Haribhadrasuri has reconstructed Mahanisitha written by Sudharmasvami.
Devavacakagani is the author of Nandisutra, while Dasvaikalikasutra and Pindaniryukti are
written respectively by Svayambhavasuri and Bhadrabahusvmi.
The ascetics began to
forget the sutras on account of the weakening of memory. All the ascetics gathered
together in Pataliputra and collected all that was remembered by different ascetics. After
500 years. Arya Skandilacarya gave lectures on the sutras. They are known as Mathuri
version. In vira samvat 980, Devardhigani Ksamasramana called a council at
Vallabhipur (Vala) and put the doctrines of Jain Agamas on paper.
Thus the Agmas were written
for the first time. They are known as the Vallabhi version. Copies were made
and propagated at various places. The Agamodaya Samiti of Surat and other bodies have
published these 45 Agamas. Most of the agamas have been translated into Gujarati and other
These Agamas contain the
knowledge of various subjects. Many languages have come into existence by changes taking
place in the Prakrit language. The original Prakrit language cannot be understood properly
but these Agamas are available in Sanskrit, Apabhramsa, old Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi,
Kannada, Tamil, English and German languages.
Next to the Agamas,
Tattvarthadhigamasutra is a very valuable work for understanding Jain philosophy. Many
commentaries have been written on this work.
Saddarsanasamuccaya of Sri
Haribhadrasuri, Visesvasyakabhasya of Sri Jinabhadra Srimasramana, Pariksasutralughuvrtti
of Sri Anantavirya, Syadvada-manjari of Pramanansya Tattvalokalankara of Sri Mallisena and
Tarkarahasyadipika of Sri Gunaratna are other important works of Jain philosophy.
As philosophy and nyaya
(logic) are closely connected, it is sometimes difficult to separate the works on these