Umasvami the author of
Tattvartha Sutra renounced the world at the early age of 19 years.
The remained an ascetic for 25 years. Then he became the head of
ascetics (Acharya). The was the most famous disciple of universally
worshipped saint Kunda Kunda. The relation ship between Kunda Kunda
and Umasvami is established by on scrimption No. 108, written in
1365 Saka and found at Sravana Belgda.
According to Sewtambara
tradition, Umasvati was a pupil of Sri Ghosanandi Ksamana, who was
pupil of vachaka-mukhya Siva Sri.
The name of his father was Svati, that of his mother Vatsi or
Uma. The was born in the town named Nyagrodhika. The composed his
great work in Kusumapur or Pataliputra, Now Patna in Bihar.
As to the 4 Division of Jaina Literature : Cosmology, History,
Philosophy and Ritual, Tattvartha Sutra has its place in Philosophy
(Dravyanuyoga). This book contains only 10 short chapters, but its
value is in inverse proportion to its size. It is revered both by
Digambara and Svetambara sections of the Jain Community. The whole
of Jaina Philosophy is taught in it. There is no Jaina doctrine or
dogma, which is not expressed or implied in these aphorisms.
The book is an
exposition of Seven Principles of Jainism, i.e., the 7 Tattvas.
the purpose of an Introduction, Justification and Recapitulation of
the whole book. It was necessary to indicate the position of the
principles (tattva) in the whole range of Jaina knowledge.
they are the subject-matter of right belief, and the relation of the
two cannot be appreciated fully, unless we consider the position of
right belief in the scheme of Jaina Philosophy. This position is
indicated by the first Sutra. This brings us to the justification
also. The first purpose of everything living is happiness. Happiness
to be worth anything must be eternal, faultless and independent.
Such happiness is identical with the Jaina conception of liberation.
Right belief in and right knowledge of the seven principles, along
with a life led in the light of the knowledge, and firmly
established on the basis of the belief is the sole threefold path of
final and everlasting deliverance. Thus the first Sŭtra is
a justification of the book which deals with these basic
principles of belief and action. It is also recapitulation, because
the whole book can easily be seen to be merely an expansion of the
various aspects, details and developments of this mighty and all
comprehensive Sŭtra of Jainism.
The whole book consists of 357 Sŭtras, divided into 10
chapters with 33, 53, 39, 42, 27, 39, 26, 47, and 9 Sŭtras