Umā Svāmi is held in high estimation by
the two main sections of the Jainas.
Each section gives a different
account of the life of the author of his great work. Umasvami
wrote most sacred literature on jainism mainly Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra
and Tattvārthā Sūtra. A
Sloka found in Tattvārthā Sūtra at
the end confirms that Umasvami was the author of the above books.
According to the Digambara tradition his name is Umā Svāmi
and he is the most famous disciple
of the revered saint Sri Kundakundācrya. He is
known as Gridhapichchha in consequence of his
preceptor being so designated. This is borne out by a verse found in
one of the manuscripts of Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra
He renounced the world
at the age of 19, led the life of an ascetic for 25 years and
subsequently became the head of the ascetics and discharged his
duties in that capacity for about 40 years.
According to Śvetāmbaras sect
the name of the name of Umā Svāmi was Umāsvāti.
Umāsvāti was born in the city of Nyagrodhikā.
The name of his father was Svāti, while that of
his mother Umā. From this it appears that his
name is a combination of the names of his parents, a fact inversely
reflected in the case of Śri Bappabhattisuri, the
author of Chaturvimsatikā, who was so named after
his fatherís and motherís name Bappa and Bhatti.
The Gotra or the lineage of his father and consequently of the
author was Kaubhishani, while that of his mother, Vātsi.
As very little is known even about the exact period of
his life, it is but natural that one cannot precisely say when he
entered the order of the saints by cutting asunder the ties that
bound him to world. It is, however, suggested in the colophon given
at the end Bhāshya that he composed great work
dealing with almost every doctrine or dogma of the Jainas either
explicitly expressed or implied in the city of Kusumapura (modern
Patna in Bihar and Orissa), after he had renounced the world. He was
a pupil of Śri
Ghohanandi who was the grand disciple (Praśishya)
of Śivaśrī the Vāchakamukhya.
Umāsvāti too, has
this appellation of Vāchaka added to his name.
Even Mādhavāchārya the author of Sarvadarś-ana-sangraha,
who calls him Umāsvāti Vāchakāchārya,
Umāsvāti has composed 32 Sambandha-Kārikās
or the connective verses as an introduction to the Sūtras
he composed. Over and above this he has elucidated these Sūtras
by composing the Bhāshya or the gloss
he is the author of Praśamarati, Śrāvakaprajnapti
etc., the number of these work known as Prakaranas being
are told about the composition of Tattvārthādhigama
Sūtra : One of these is given as follows in the
introduction to its commentary composed in Karnātakiya language
There lived in Kathiawar a pious
Jaina layman named Dvaipāyana. As he was
proficient in the Jaina sacred literature, he desired
to compile a great work, but his attempt was not being crowned with
success owing to some worldly troubles. Therefore he took a vow not
to take his meals until he had composed at least one Sūtra.
He did not wait to practice his vow; so on that very day he composed
the first Sūtra, selecting salvation as the
subject of his work. In order that he might not forget it he
transcribed it on a side of a pillar in his house. Next day he happened to go out on some business. In his
absence a saint visited his house that was warmly received and
entertained by his wife. By chance his eyes fell upon this Sūtra.
He pondered over it and left the place after adding the word Samyag before it.
When Dvaipāyana returned home he saw
the aphorism so proverbially corrected and consequently questioned
his wife, who suggested that the saint must have done this. He ran
at once to find out the saint who had obliged him making such an
invaluable and fundamental correction. On the outskirts of the city
he came across an order of monks in the midst of whom he found the
head of the order seated in the peaceful posture befitting him. He
guessed that must be the very saint he had run after and so he fell
at his feet and requested him to complete the work undertaken by him
as it was far above his ordinary ability. The saint was moved by the
compassion and entreaty, so he finished the work. This saint was no
other than our revered author Umāsvāmi and
the book completed Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra, it
being an expansion of the various aspects, details and developments
of the foremost, fundamental and all-embracing Sūtra of
The brief sketch of date in his life: