First Steps To Jainism
SANCHETI ASOO LAL
BHANDARI MANAK MAL
With the blessings of Gurudev the second part of our
publication `First Steps to Jainism' is before the readers. It may be recalled
that the First Part was printed in 1984 with a second edition in 1989. Since
then we have been working on the second part which has indeed taken a long
This was partly due the complex nature of the subjects dealt
with in this part like 'The Doctrine of Karma' and 'The Central Philosophy of
Jainism-Anekantavada-specially the latter. Partly the delay was due the fact
that we wanted to explain the subjects in detail to make the book
comprehensive and that too in simple language. However, the subject of 'Anekantavada'
or the Theory of Non-One-sidedness has become so expansive that it has been
difficult to keep up with the latest developments, not to talk of explaining
the same. Actually with the researches of eminent scholars like Dr. D.S.
Kothari and Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis the scope of Anekantavada and Syadvada has
become very wide, being corroborated by the conclusions of the latest
developments in physics and statistics. Therefore, even experts in these
subjects can not throw proper light on the findings of the great men
mentioned, because to understand the implications fully one has to have not
only the scientific knowledge but also knowledge of the philosophical
subjects. Such combinations are very rare indeed. We have, therefore, decided
to give the articles of the above named scholars in original in the
Appendices. At the same time the demand for the second part has been
increasing and enquiries were received as to when this part will be out.
Therefore, we have given in the concerned chapters in this book in simple
language whatever we understood about these complicated subjects with
apologies to our readers who find some grey areas therein.
From the above it will be clear that true to its name, the
chapters in this book can be considered first steps to the storehouse of
knowledge of the subjects covered. However, after reading the chapters the
readers will not remain completely unfamiliar with the subjects and the terms
employed; and to some extent their thirst for more information on the subjects
may be aroused. Even this will be a source of satisfaction to the authors. For
those who are keen for more knowledge, there is abundant literature available
on the subjects, some indications whereof will be available in the appendices,
which are also scholarly treatises on the subjects. Thus this book will
provide not only elementary knowledge as first steps to the subjects, but will
also supply some advanced knowledge thereof, and the matter included herein
may prove of interest to the laymen as well as the scholars.
For obvious reasons this book should be read in continuation
of Part I, in which indications were given about its contents. However, Part I
dealt with the basic information about distinctive features of Jain religion,
as also the path prescribed thereunder for all-round development of the human
personality, man's place in the universe and his duties to himself and his
fellow creatures. We give in the following paragraphs the scope of chapters in
this book in brief:
The Doctrine of Karma :
In the first chapter of this book we have dealt with `The
Doctrine of Karma'. In Jain metaphysics Doctrine of Karma occupies the same
supreme place as God occupies elsewhere as the main moving force. Though the
concept of Karma is accepted in all systems of Indian religions "in no other
system, perhaps, has Karma been taught to be of such concrete, realistic,
physical nature," as in Jainism, where Karma have special significance as
Material particles with psychophysical qualities and distinctive powers of
being attached with the soul and giving results. In this chapter an attempt
has been made to describe the Karma in their various aspects and varieties. We
have drawn heavily on Dr. H.V. Glasenapp's research work `The Doctrine of
Karma in Jain Philosophy' which was published in Germany in the beginning of
this century and was published in India in English in 1942. It is indeed an
exhaustive treatise on the subject of Karma and an example of German
scholarship and painstaking study. The degree of Ph.D. was granted to the
author in 1914 for this work by the Bonn University. We have thought it fit to
include in the appendices not only the Preface to the German edition by Dr.H.V.
Glasenapp (as App. A), but also the Foreword to the English edition by Rev.
Dr. R.Zimmermann of St. Xavier College, Bombay (as App. B), which we found
very useful, as well as interesting, and think that these will be liked by the
readers. It may also help in charting further studies of the subject as Dr.
Glasenapp has given useful information about the books on the subject, and
contents of the Karmagranthas.
Stages of Progress of the Soul - The
Fourteen Gunasthan :
In this chapter the Jain path of progress of the soul on the
way to salvation is indicated whereon the fourteen Gunasthana form the
fourteen milestones. This shows that as the Karma load of the soul reduces,
the soul rises on the scale of spiritual development and progresses on the
path of liberation. This chapter is, therefore, directly related to the
'Doctrine of Karma. Similarly the next chapter deals with The Five Bodies, the
human soul acquires from time to time since times immemorial. These are also
related to the Doctrine of Karma, but because of the fact that they are
matters of common interest brief separate mention has been made of the same,
as the Karma are also attached to the soul in the form of Karma body (Karman
The Central Philosophy of Jainism -
This is the chapter dealing with the philosophical
contribution of Jainism which is being supported by latest findings by
scientists ranging from mathematicians to physicists. Actually this
contribution of Jain philosophy contains seeds of synthesis of conflicting
views and proves that the things which appear contradictory are actually
complementary. This is also the latest finding of "The Principle of
Complementarity which we owe principally to Niel Bohr - perhaps the most
significant and revolutionary concept of modern physics". (Extract from Dr.
D.S. Kothari's article 'Modern Physics and Syadvada' given in the App. C) As
stated earlier the scope of Anekantavada (including Nayavada and Syadvada
which have been dealt with in this chapter) is expanding with modern findings
of eminent scholars. Thus, interesting light is thrown by Dr. B.K. Matilal in
his lectures delivered at and published by L.D. Institution, Ahemdabad (which
one can read with benefit), that Anekantavada is a sub-variety of
Vibhajyavadda like Buddha's Middle way. The latter however, is only analytical
and can be termed the `Exclusive Middle'; while Mahavira's Anekanta should be
called `Inclusive Middle' with analysis as well as synthesis. Further the
learned Doctor mentions that the standpoints or Naya were classified into
various types for taking into account the different philosophical views
prevalent in classical India. The vindication of these age old principles by
advancement in science only goes to prove that the great seers-the Jinas-had
perceived the eternal truths and one should approach these with open mind and
reverence instead of criticizing and scoffing at them as has been the case at
times. Special mention may be made of the following appendices on the subject
which we have included for the reasons given in the book :
App. C - Modern Physics and Syadvada by Dr. D.S. Kothari.
App. D - The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvada in Relation
to Probability By. Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis.
App. E - The Syadvada System of Predication By Dr. J.B.S.
App. F - Anekanta By Dr. Nathmal Tatia.
Freedom of Will
In this last chapter we give the Jain view about the
solution of the age old riddle whether man's destiny is supreme or his effort
(Takdir vis-�-vis Tadbir). True to its Anekantavadi tradition Jainism gives a
satisfactory answer to the problem which we hope will be of interest to the
We close with our grateful thanks to all those who have
helped us in this work, special mention may be made of Shriman Johari Mal ji
Sahib Parakh and Dr. Sagar Mal ji Sahib of Varanasi whom we consulted from
time to time. The authors of books and articles from which we have drawn
heavily deserve our gratitude. These include Dr. B.K. Matilal, Dr. H.V.
Glasenapp., Dr. R. Zimmermann S.J., Dr.. D.S. Kothari, Prof. J.B.S. Haldane,
Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis, Dr. Nathmal Tatia and others.
Special mention must also be made with our grateful thanks
and acknowledgements for the following publications, individuals and
institutions whose contribution we have included in this compilation which we
think will add to the utility of this book :-
The article 'Modern Physics and Syadvada' by Dr. D.S.
Kothari has been supplied to us by his son Dr. L.K. Kothari, Jaipur.
Dr. Prakash Rao, editor 'Sankhya' has supplied the two
articles by Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis and Dr. J.B.S. Haldane titled `The Indian-Jaina
Dialectic of Syadvad in Relation to Probability' and 'The Syadvada System of
Predication' respectively. These were published in Sankhya (1954) Vol. 18 at
pp. 183-194 and pp.195-200 respectively and the Indian Statistical Institute
Calcutta has permitted us to publish the same.
Prof. Mahalanobis' article was originally published by
Dialectica Vol 8/2 (1954) pp. 95-111 Switzerland.
Prof. R. Zimmermann's Foreword and Dr. H.V. Glasenapp's
Preface to the German edition of his book 'Doctrine of Karma in Jain
Philosophy' has become available to us from the English translation thereof,
published in 1942, by the Trustees of Bai Vijibai, Jivanlal Panalal Charity
Dr. Nathmal Tatia has permitted the publication of his
We again express our gratitude and reverence to Gurudev who
inspired us to undertake these studies, and who is, unfortunately, not with us
to bless this effort, as he blessed Pt. I.
ASOO LAL SANCHETI
M. Com. LL.B., I.R.A.S.
Retd. Financial Adviser & Chief Accounts Officer,
Former Member, Accounts & Finance,
Rajasthan State Electricity Board
MANAK MAL BHANDARI
Jodhpur (Raj.) 342 003.