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                    Shri Umasvami                              Click to view  Full Text

Tattvārthdhigama Sūtra, as its very name suggests, deals with the fundamental principles of Jainism. Broadly speaking, it refers to the substance existing in and comprising the universe, and explains their relations and reactions. In other words, the pure soul, the defiled soul and the non-soul are the main topics of this book. Hence it may be looked upon as primarily coming under the class of Dravyānuyoga, one of the four 1 Anuyogas under which the Jainas arrange their literature.


 Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra consists of 344 Sūtras or aphorisms divided under 10 short 2 chapters, its value varying inversely with its size. For, it is considered as a priceless jewel by the Svetāmbaras and the Digambaras as well (the two main sections of the Jaina community). The latter even believe that one reading of this book leads to as much merit as a fast observed for a day and that it is descended from the 6th Anga known as JŮātādharmakathā  and the 2nd Pūrva Āgrayinī. The value of this work is enhanced by the fact that it deal with various subjects such as Anthropology, Embryology, Geology, Mineralogy, Physiology, Psychology, Theology, Zoology, Anatomy, Botany, Ethics, Metaphysics, Physics and Logic. Hence it is no wonder when it turns out to be one of the most-commented-upon work of the Jainas; for, the number of commentaries available even at present comes to about thirty 3. 

Analysis of Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra Ė

The contents of  the 10 chapters as related to aphorisms to aphorisms may be  roughly summarized as under.

The first deals with the path leading to liberation, the definitions and divisions of right faith and its subject-matter, the seven Tattvas, the four connotative Nikshepas or the aspects of the aspects of considering an object, the various kinds of knowledge and the mode of knowing and seven fundamental stand-points known as the Nayas.

The second gives an account of the characteristics of Ātman or the soul, the 53 types of Aupaśamika Bhāva, the classification of Samsārins or the embodied souls, thier organs, bodies and life-periods.

The third deals with the seven hells, the troubles and turmoilís experienced by their denizens, the description of the human world and the classifications of the Tiryachs or the sub-human souls.

The 4th furnishes us with an information about the types of gods or the celestials and their functions, and the maximum and minimum limits of a life-period or Āyushya of living beings.

The 5th has for its subject-matter Ajiva or the non-soul along with its divisions, and the definitions of Dravya or substance.

The 6th deals at length with the activities of the embodied soul giving rise to the channels through which the Kārmika particles flow into the embodied soul.

The 7th deals with vows, their kinds and partial transgressions.

The 8th gives an account of the binding of the soul or the amalgamation of the Kārmika matter with the imperfect soul.

The 9th discusses the ways and the modes of stopping the flow of the Kārmika particles either partially or entirely and of shedding of such particles previously amalgamated.

The 10th treats of Moksha or salvation and the liberated and perfect souls.

From this it appears that the pure soul is dealt with in the 10th, the non-soul in the 5th and the embodies soul in the rest of the chapters which may be looked upon as auxiliary to the 5th and the last.

Furthermore, it may be remarked that these aphorisms deal with different branches of science in its widest sense. 

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