Author in Hindi :  Shri Dalsukh Malvania

Translated by:     Dr. Nagin Shah


(1) Explanation

(2) Obstructions to their Preservation

(3) Recensions

(4) Works Composed on the basis of the Purvas

(5) A List of the Jain Agam Works

(6) Age of the Composition of the agams

(7) Subject Matter of the Agams (55)

(8) Commentaries on the Agams (56)


Chapter I  -             Top


Authorship - Authorlessness

The Agams, also called the Jain Shrut, are as important in the JainDharma as are the Vedas in Brahmanic religion and the Pitakas in Buddhism.  The thinkers of the Mimamsa branch of Brahman philosophy considered the Vedas to be eternal and hence demonstrated them to beauthorless, while the thinkers of the Nyaya-Vaishesik and the otherbranches of the same philosophy maintained and demonstrated that theVedas are composed by God.  But if we ponder a little over these two views, we at once realize that the purpose behind them is one and thesame.  It suggests that the date of the composition of the Vedas was not known.  On the other hand, the Buddhist Tripitakas and the Jain Agams were composed by human beings, not by ‘God,’ and their date of composition is known to history.

Man loves what is old.  This was one of the reasons why the Vedas were believed to be authorless.  Some might have run down the Jain Agams, saying that they are new and have no ancient basis.  To this the Jain reply was that our twelve Anga Agams (an ‘Anga’ being a ‘limb’),collectively called Dvadsangi or Ganipitaka, were at all times in thepast, are in the present, and will be at all times in the future.  They are eternal, firm, permanent, non-destructive, non-decaying and everlasting’ (1).

The logic behind this Jain answer is as follows:

From the transcendental standpoint, Truth is one.  However from the standpoint of different time, space and human beings, it is manifestedin various ways, but through all these manifestations there runs one eternal truth.

If we concentrate on the eternal truth and pay no attention to itsvarious manifestations, then we must say that any person who hasconquered attachment and aversion, and thus become a Jina alwayspreaches the eternal truth about conduct, equanimity, universalaffection and friendship, and the eternal truths on thinking, namely,the principle of relativity, principle of non-onesideness.  There isno time when there is an absence of this eternal truth.  Hence, from this standpoint, the Jain Agams can well be described as beginningless and endless, that is, they are as authorless as are the Vedas.

At one place (2) it is said that there is a vast difference among thebody structures of the twenty four Tirthankars, beginning with LordRishabha and ending with Lord Mahavir.  However, there is no difference whatsoever with regard to their endurance, bodycomposition, wisdom, omniscience, and so on.  Hence there cannot be any difference in their preaching.

Another point worthy of note is that all the modes of all the thingsthat are to be preached are beginningless and endless.  The totality of all the modes; past, present, and future, of all things is alwaysthe same.  Therefore, the Omniscient persons, who know these modes in their totality, preach them in different ages of time, but theirpreachings will never differ on account of the difference of time.  Therefore, it is again said that the Agams, are beginningless and endless they are eternal.

Corroborative statements about the uniformity of the preachings of allthe Tirthankars are found in the scriptures also.  The Acharang Sutra declares(3) that the teachings of all the Tirthankars belonging to thethree divisions of time; past, present, and future are basicallyuniform.  They all teach, “Do not kill any living beings, or overpower them, or enslave them, or harass them, or drive them away.”  This is the religion, which is eternal, firm, everlasting, and demonstrated in precept and practice by virtuous persons.

But if from the empirical standpoint we ponder over what form in whichthe Truth was manifested, who manifested it, and when and how themanifestation took place, then the Jain Agams are proven to be acreation and consequently composed by human beings.  Thus they do have their author, they are not authorless.  Hence the scriptures declare;

“Having climbed the tree of perfect knowledge, an omniscient LordTirthankar showers flowers of knowledge to enlighten principaldisciples, called Ganadhars.  They collected all these flowers in the cloth of the intellect, and have interwoven them into the garland of Dvadsangi” (4).

Thus the two views, one of authorship and the other of theauthorlessness of the Agams get well synthesized and the principle of relativity finds its fulfillment here.

On determining the validity of the Agams from the Listener’s and

Speaker’s Point of View:

The test of goodness of anything depends on the measure of itsspiritual merit.  For this reason, from the absolute standpoint, Jain scriptures could be ‘invalid’ (Mithya Shrut) if a person were to maketheir use in fostering vices, while, on the other hand, the any otherreligious scriptures (Vedas, Bible, Kuran, etc) are considered ‘valid’(Samyak Shrut) if a person desirous of liberation were to utilize them in illuminating the path leading to it.

From the empirical standpoint, the Jain scriptures are nothing but a collection of the essentials of the teachings of Lord Mahavir (6).

In substance, this means that the absolute standpoint mainly keeps thelistener in view while determining the validity of the scriptures, andthe empirical standpoint mainly keeps the speaker in view while determining the same.

A sentence or a word written in scriptures has no knowledge orconsciousness.  However, it possesses the power to convey the meaningwith which it is conventionally related.  It may mean or expressdifferent meanings to different people.  In such a situation, from theabsolute standpoint, the validity of a sentence or a word is notintrinsic but extrinsic.  That is, it depends on the merit of the speaker as well as of the listener.  Therefore, it becomes inevitablefor one to consider the validity of the scriptures from the speaker’sstandpoint and from the listener’s standpoint.  The Jain considerationof the validity of the Agam from both these standpoints is presented below.

The composition of scripture has a specific purpose of showing thelistener the path of true happiness and liberation.  This is accepted by all Indian thinkers.  Usefulness or harmfulness of scripture does not depend on words but does depend on the merit of the person wholistens to words.  This is why the philosophical thinkers formulate divergent doctrines including mutually opposed meanings in the same scriptural statement.

There are many mutually opposed philosophical doctrines are derived bydifferent thinkers using the same scripture such as done in case of Bhagavad Gita and Brahma-sutra of Vedic religions.

Hence, from the listener’s standpoint, to call a particular bookabsolutely valid or invalid or to call a particular book Agam would bequite misleading.  Considering this point, the Jain thinkers adopted avery broad and cohesive view according to which whatever doctrinefulfills the ultimate purpose of life is a valid Agam; the ultimatepurpose is to assist each living being in its efforts to attainliberation.  According to this point of view, all scriptures including the scriptures of other religions are accepted by Jains.

The person whose faith is rational will certainly utilize any bookthat comes before him in illuminating the path of liberation; hence,for him all scriptures are valid.  But for the person whose faith is perverse, that is, who does not desire liberation, not only are thescriptures of other religions invalid but so are the Jain Agams.  In this attitude adopted for the determination of validity of scriptures,there is persistent devotion to truth without a sectarian attachment to scriptures of one’s own faith.

Now let us consider the validity of scriptures (Agam), made from thespeaker’s standpoint, that is, the empirical standpoint.  From thisstandpoint, all the works included in the group of Jain Agams arevalid Agams.  In other words, all those works that are regarded by the Jains as their own scriptures are included in the group of validAgams; and the works which the Jains regard as their Agam do not include works other religions such as the Vedas etc.

Generally, if a scripture contains the statements of a self- realizedperson, it is called Agam Praman (7).  But who is a self realizedperson according to the Jains?  It is said that one who has conquered attachment and aversion is a self realized person, a Jina, or an Omniscient Lord.  Hence the Jain Agams contain the teachings of Jinas.

The speakers of Jain Agams were a self realized persons, free fromattachment and aversion, and possessed the direct perception of allentities with their modes.  So there is no possibility whatsoever of any faults or defects in the content of the Agams, nor is there mutualcontradiction or anything that stands contradicted by reason.  Thus, primarily the direct teachings of Jina are regarded as the Jain AgamPraman.  However secondarily the other works, based on the direct teaching books (Ang Agams) books also regarded as Jain Agam Praman.

There arises a question as to whether the Angs (the first twelve booksof Agam) are the direct words of the Tirthankars.  Have the Tirthankars themselves composed these Agam works?

Before answering this question it is necessary to clarify that theextant Agam works are the compilation of the Agams composed by theGanadhars.  Here, having pointed out the general belief of the Jains about the composition of the Agams, we shall further devote ourselves to the special consideration of the extant works.

The Jain traditional view answers the above question as follows.  Having pointed out the fundamental principles of reality and conduct,Tirthankars have accomplished their objectives.  As has been already shown, the Ganadhars or the Acharyas give these principles the form ofa composition.  It clearly follows that the author of the teachings embodied in the composition is Tirthankar, while the Ganadhars authored the word form of Sutra composition.(9)

When it is said that the Tirthankar authored the Agams(10), what ismeant is that he is the author of the meaning, not of the Sutras.  From this exposition it is clear that the Jain Agams handed down to usin the Ganadhars’ Sutra form are valid because the Tirthankars, theauthors of their meanings, are free from attachment and are direct seers of all entities with all their modes.

According to the Jain tradition, like the Agams preached by theTirthankars, even those preached by a Pratyeka-buddha (11) are valid (Praman) (12).

The twelve Anga works composed by the Ganadhars are not the only worksincluded in the entity called Jain Agam.  Other works which were notcomposed by Ganadhars are also revered as a part of the sacredliterature, as it is a traditional view that the Ganadhars onlycomposed the twelve Angs.  The other canonical literature (Anga-bahya) were composed by Stathviras or elder monks.

Such Sthavirs are of two types; Shrut-kevalis (one who comprehends theentire Shrut-14 Purvas) and Das-purvis (one who has acquired knowledgeof the ten Purvas).  Shrut-kevalis, are those who are especially well versed in the meaning and essence of the Agams.  Therefore, whatever they will say or write could never contradict the Agams.  Their objective is to compose works which expand upon or a bridge thescriptures, according to the needs of the society of their times.  Since the Jinas expounded the subject matter, the Jain Order hasnaturally and without any hesitation included their works in theentire ‘Jin-agam.’  Of course, the validity of their work is on account of their being non-contradictory to the Agams composed by the Ganadhars.

One of the reasons given to support the view that one who has acquiredknowledge of the entire Scripture can never be contradictory to thewords of a Kevalin (an omniscient, enlightened human being).  Also that not all things are capable of becoming an object of words.  Only some part of all the objects of the Tirthankar’s knowledge become theobject of his work.  And one who acquires knowledge of the written scripture can thus ‘say’ what the Tirthankars had said (16).  From this standpoint, there obtains no difference between a Kevalin (theOmniscient) and a Shruta-kevalin (the Knower of the entire Shrut).  Here, their validity is of equal strength.

Chronologically, 170 years (162 years according to another view) afterLord Mahavir’s nirvan, the Jain Order became devoid of anyshrut-kevalis and there only remained those versed in the knowledge ofthe ten Purvas.  Jains believe that only those persons who know andcomprehend the Purvas can be the spiritual practitioners havingrational faith (Samyak Darshan) (17).  Hence in their works there isno possibility of there being present anything that may go againstAgam.  This is the reason why their works also gradually got included in the Jain Agam.

Eventually, other precepts, though not supported by the Ang scriptures, but simply constituting the approvals given by the wisestSthavirs in regard to some subject are also included in the Ang-bahyaAgams.  Even several muktaks (detached stanzas embodying relieving wisdom) are also given place in the Ang-bahya Agam (18).

On the question as to whether adeshes and muktaks are included in theAgam, the Digambar tradition is silent.  But both the Digambar and theSwetambar traditions agree on the point that all the works composed byGanadhars, Pratyek-buddhas, Chaturdas-purvis and Das-purvis are included in the Agams.

From this discussion it is clear that, from the transcendentalstandpoint, truth manifestation takes place in the conscious soul, notin the unconscious word.  Hence, the pages of a book are important only in so far as they can serve as a means to spiritual development.  With this standpoint all the literature in the world can be acceptable, or Upadeya, to the Jains because, for a judicious soul,seeking and finding the required spiritually beneficial material isrelatively easy.  But for an injudicious soul this same path of regarding all the world’s literature as acceptable is fraught withdangers.  Therefore, Jain sages have shown only the selected works from the entire world literature to be Upadeya and placed them in the Jain Agam.

The fundamental principle for selection is that the preachings of onlythat subject which the speaker has directly seen, as it is, can beacceptable; likewise, that subject should have been described as it isin the preaching if the same is to acquire the characteristic ofacceptability.  No narration is regarded as valid if its roots are not in such a preaching or if it is contradictory to such a preaching.

The words of one who, though not directly seeing things as they are,but who hears, directly or indirectly, the truth, are to be regardedas valid (Praman).  Such a hearer, being either a Shruta-kevalin or Das-purvis, has no right to say things unheard from the above mentioned right seer.

In short, the words or narration could be regarded as valid/authenticonly if someone had the true experience (true perception) of what isnarrated in words, as Agam is that Praman which is rooted in trueexperience.  According to this principle, the adesh which we have already mentioned cannot be included in the Agam.

The Digambars maintain that within a period of time after the Nirvanof Tirthankar Mahavir, the entire Agam preached by him became extinct.  This is the reason why they did not find it necessary to include theadeshas in the Agam.  But when the Swetambars tried to preserve the Agams, having compiled them, they found many things which have comedown from ancient Acharyas through oral tradition which were notfundamentally based on the preachings of the Tirthankar; with a viewto preserving such things they placed them in the Jain Agam; andcalling them adesh or muktak, they suggested their difference from the Agams of the other type.


Foot Note

1) See introductory description of 12 Anga works, occurring in

SamavayAnga; and

Nandi Sutra 57.

2) Brihatkalpabhasya, 202-203.

3) AcharAnga, Adhyay-4, Sutra-126,

SutrakritAnga 2.1.15, 2.2.41.

4) Avashyaka-niryukti

tavaniyamanarukkham arudho kevali amiyana

to muyai nanavutthi bhaviyajanavibohanatthea

tam buddhimaena padena ganahara ginhium niravana

titthayarabhasiyam gamthamti tao pavayanattha

5) Anya-yoga-vyava-cchedika - 5.

6) Nandi Sutra 40-41; Brhat gatha 88.

7) aptopadesah sabdah/Nyaya Sutra 1.1.7; also Tattvarthabhasya


8) Nandi Sutra 40.

9) attam bhasai araha suttam ganthanti ganahara niumam

sthiyatthai tao suttam pavatte Ava.  Ni.

10) Nandi Sutra 40.

11) A Pratyekabuddha is one who attains Keval©jnan

(enlightenment, omniscience) without listening to the

teachings of others but only through

pondering over any event occurring in the world.

12) suttam ganaharakathidam taheva patteyabuddhakatha*******

13) ***************

14) In the Jain Agam curriculum, the fourteen Purvas which form

a part of the twelfth Anga were placed last on account of

their deep meaning. So, the meaning of Chaturdas©purvi

(possessor of knowledge of the entire Shrut (sampurnashrutadhar).  According to the Jain tradition it is clear that Bhadrabahu was the last who possessed knowledge of these f ourteen Purvas.

Sthulabhadra learned from him the same, but following the order ofBhadrabahu he could teach others the first ten Purvas only.  Hence after Sthulabhadra there flourished Jain monks who possessed knowledge of those ten Purvas only.  Titthogaliya, 742;

Avashyakachurni, Part II, P.187.

15) Brihatkalpabhasya, gatha 964.

16) Ibid 963, 966.

17) Brihatkalpabhasya 132.

18) Brhat. 144 with a foot note thereon; Visheshavashyakabhasya,

gatha 550.

Chapter II                Top

Obstructions to their Preservation

It is a wonderful feat of the Indians to have composed and preservedthe Vedas.  Even today one can come across hundreds of Brahmans who can recite from memory, without any error, the entire Vedas from thebeginning to the end.  Though they do not have the tradition of the meaning of the Vedas, they do have the tradition of Veda-recitation.

Jains too had made strong efforts in the past to preserve their Agams.  However, the form in which the Ganadhars had compiled the teaching ofTirthankar Mahavir is not available to us today.  Its language being Prakrit, it is quite natural for its language to undergo changes.  So, Jain monks could not preserve the Anga Agams word for word as theBrahmans could do with regard to their Vedas.  In addition, they completely forgot several works and made the state of several otherworks perverse or corrupt.  Yet, we can certainly say that a large portion of the extent Anga Agams is very near to the actual teachingsof the Lord Mahavir.  Although there have taken place changes in those teachings and though even additions have been made, we cannot say thatthe preaching as we have it is totally new, i.e., mentally imagined.  It is so because the Jain Order has often made sincere efforts toprotect and preserve the entire Shrut.  History as a witness to it, we cannot ignore these efforts.

Could the obstructions that caused the destruction of the Jain Shrutin the past, not destroy the Vedas?  What is the reason why the Vedas,which are even more ancient than the Jain canon, remain wellpreserved, while much of the Jain Agams got destroyed or lost?  The answer to this is easy.

In the preservation of the Vedas, lineages of two types have extendedtheir cooperation.  In the birth-lineage, the father teaches his sons,and the later their sons, the Vedas; and in the learning-lineage, theteacher teaches his pupils, and they their pupils; and thus they continued, without any interruption, the tradition of Veda-recitation.

But in the preservation of Jain Agams the birth-lineage has no placewhatsoever.  Father teaches the Agams not to his son but to his pupil alone.  Hence attempts were made to keep the tradition of the Jain Shrut alive through the learning lineage alone.  This very deficiency is the cause of the disorder of the Jain canon.  There was no difficulty for the Brahmans to secure a well learned son and similarlya well learned pupil; but for the Jain Shraman, his well learned sonwas not necessarily entitled to read and to learn the scriptures, ifhe himself were not a Shraman, while a less educated Shraman, though not his son, is entitled to read and to learn from him the Shrut.

Again, preservation of the Vedas was done by one special class whoseself interest was in their preservation only.  Preservation of the Jain Shrut is not dependent on any one special class.  Any one is entitled to read and to learn the scriptures provided he becomes aShraman.  Moreover, a Brahman who has a birth right to learn the Vedas cannot escape from the obligation entailing this right.  That is, in the first stage of his life, it was obligatory for him to study theVedas; otherwise he had no place in Brahmanic society.  Contrary to this, though a Jain Shraman possesses the right to study the JainShrut, he cannot enjoy his right on account of certain reasons.  For a Brahman, the study of the Vedas was everything, while for a Shraman itwas the good conduct that was everything.  Hence, even if some dull-witted pupil could not study the entire Shrut, there would be noobstruction of any sort in his attainment of emancipation (Moksha), and his present life also passed easily without any obstruction whatsoever on the strength of this good conduct.

In daily practices there is no special use of the Jain Sutras.  Since there is possibility of the path of liberation being illumined throughthe study of Samayik Pad (daily meditation an thought purification)alone, is there any wonder if very few persons attempted to acquirethe knowledge of the entire Shrut?  Most of the Vedic hymns are employed in rituals of various types, while only very few Jain Sutrasare meant to be used in the daily practices of the Shraman.  There is a possibility of being immersed in the ocean of the Jain scripture,only if a Shraman has special interest in knowledge for the sake ofknowledge; otherwise, without knowing much of the Jain Agam he canenjoy the nectar of Shraman life.  The Jain Shramans could have penned down their Agams, given them book form, and thus preserved them; thiswould have relieved them of burdening their memory.  But they thought that the act of penning down involved the violation of the vow ofnon-attachment and non-possessions.  Such a violation was unbearableto them.  In the act of penning down Agams and giving them book form (the form of written documents) they found lack of self-discipline and self control (19).

When they made liberal the vow of non-attachment andnon-possessiveness, they had already forgotten much of the Agams.  The possession of books (pustak-parigraha), which they had formerlyconsidered to be the cause of the lack of self-discipline andself-control, was now thought to be the cause of both (20).  They totally changed their attitude towards the possession of books becauseotherwise there was a fear of the destruction of the Shrut.  But what could they do now?  What they had lost could not be recovered and regained.

Of course, this benefit did accrue that whatever wealth of the Agamwhich was still extant at that time remained protected and preserved.  No more damage to it took place.  For the sake of the preservation of the Shrut, the rules of Shraman conduct were made liberal.  Exceptionsto the rules of conduct were formulated, keeping in view the objectiveof the preservation of the Shrut.  Now more importance was attached to the study of the Agams in the daily practices.  Though they did all this, they could not remove the original deficiency:  they did not formulate an exception to the general rule that the teacher can teachthe Agams to his Shraman pupils and none other.  Hence, is there any wonder if the knowledge of the Shrut disappears with the death of theteacher in the absence of his Shraman pupils?  Due to several reasons,especially the severe penances and very hard ascetic life of a JainShraman, their numerical strength has remained meager compared to thatof the Shramans belonging to the other ascetic orders, such as theBuddhists.  In such a situation, is there any wonder if the Agams written down in Valabhi leave aside the Agams orally extant could not be preserved?

Foot Note

19) pottaesu gheppamtaesu asamjamo bhavai/Dasavai Churni p.21

20) Kalam puna paduccha charanakaranattha avocchitti nimittam cha

genhamanassa potthae samhamo bhavai; Ibid p. 21.




Chapter III                Top


(A)     The First Recension done in Pataliputra

In Buddhist history, it is well known that to establish order in thepreaching of Lord Buddha, the Buddhist monks convened three Councils(Samgatis) in chronological order.  Similarly, with a view to establish order in the preaching of Lord Mahavir, Jain Acharyasassembled three times and prepared three recensions of the preachings.  Whenever the Acharyas saw that the Shrut was waning and that there was disorderliness into it, they assembled and established order in it.

The Order of the Jain monks assembled in Patliputra about 160 yearsafter Lord Mahavir’s death, and also after a terrible famine whichlasted for many years (21).  At that time, the middle region of the country (Madhyadesh) was under the sway of this severe famine, causingthe dispersion of Jain monks in various directions.  Naturally, the Anga Agams fell into a bad state.

The monks assembled after the famine, and asked one another what theycould recollect and thus collected and arranged eleven of twelve Angs.  But they found that nobody recollected the entire Drishti-vada, thetwelfth Ang.  At that time Acharya Bhadrabahu alone possessed the knowledge of Drishti-vada, but he had taken recourse to the yogic pathof a special sort and was in Nepal.  So the Jain community requestedAcharya Sthulibhadra with many other monks to go to Bhadrabahu tolearn the text of the Drishti-vada from him.  The Drishti-vada, beingthe twelfth Anga Agam book, contained fourteen Purva-Sutras.  Of thosemonks, Sthulibhadra alone was successful in acquiring the knowledge ofit.  After acquiring the knowledge of ten Purvas, he misused the miraculous power earned through their use.  When Bhadrabahu came toknow this, he stopped giving lessons to Sthulibhadra.  After beseeching by Sthulibhadra, he agreed to teach him the remaining fourPurvas, but he forbid Sthulibhadra to teach these four Purvas to others (22).

As a consequence of this, there existed in the Order of Jain monks,the knowledge of 14 Purvas up to Sthulibhadra.  After his death, the Order possessed the knowledge of eleven Angs and only ten Purvas.  Sthulibhadra’s death (23) occurred 215 years (207 years according to the Digambar view) after Lord Mahavir’s Nirvan.

As a matter of fact, even Sthulibhadra was not a Shruta-kevalinbecause though he had learnt both the text and meaning of the tenPurvas, he had learned simply the text of the remaining four Purvas.  The knowledge of the meaning of these four Purvas was not imparted to him by Acharya Bhadrabahu.

Hence, according to the Swetambar view we have to say that afterAcharya Bhadrabahu’s death (170 years after Lord Mahavir’s death)Shrut-kevalis disappeared from the arena of the Jain Order.  After him, there flourished no knower of the entire Shrut.  The Digambar maintain that the disappearance of Shrut-kevalis occurred 162 yearsafter Lord Mahavir’s death.  Thus, there is a difference of only eight years in the two views.  The two traditions of the lineage up to Acharya Bhadrabahu are as follows:

Digambar Tradition (24)


Keval-Jnani Acharyas

Gautam-swami           12

Sudharma-swami         12

Jambu-swami            38

Shruta-kevalin Acharyas

Vishnu                14

Nandimitra            16

Aparajit              22

Govardhan             19

Bhadrabahu            29


Swetambar Tradition (25)


Keval-Jnani Acharyas

Sudharma (26)         20

Jambu-swami           44

Shruta-kevalin Acharyas

Prabhava              11

Sayyambhava           23

Yasobhadra            50

Sambhutivijay          8

Bhadrabahu            14


In short, of the twelve Angs composed by the Ganadhars, eleven Angsbereft of the four Purvas were recovered by the Order assembled at thefirst council.  Because though Sthulibhadra knew the text of the entire Shrut, he had no right to teach the four Purvas to others.  Hence after him flourished knowers not of the entire canon but of theeleven Angas and ten Purvas only, so there was a question of preserving the Shrut contained in only these.

Division of the Agams on the Basis of View Points of Exposition, and the Extinction of the Purvas:--

According to the Swetambars, the series of the Das-purvis (knowers ofeleven Angas and ten Purvas only) completely ended with the death ofAcharya Vajra.  His death occurred in 114 Vikram Samvat (584 years after Lord Mahavir’s death).  But according to the Digambar, Dharmasen was the last Das-purvis, and 345 years after Lord Mahavir’s death,Das-purvis altogether disappeared from the arena of the Order.  This means that the Digambars place the disappearance of Shrut-kevaliseight years earlier than the date when the Swetambars place it, andthe former place the disappearance of Das-purvis 239 years earlierthan the date when the latter place it.  The essential point thatfollows from this is that the process of the extinction of the Shrut is somewhat speedy according to the Digambar view.

The two traditions of the lineage of the Das-purvis are as follows:

Digambar Tradition (27)


Visakh Acharya  10

Prosthil        19

Kshatriya       17

Jayasen         21

Nagasen         18

Siddhartha      17

Dhritisen       18

Vijay           13

Buddhilinga     20

Deva            14

Dharmasen       16


Swetambar  Tradition (28)


Sthulibhadra    45

Mahagiri        30

Suhastin        46

Gunasundar      44

Kalak           41

Skandil (Samdilya)38

Revati-mitra    36

Arya-Mamgu      20

Arya-Dharma     24

Bhadragupta     39

Shrigupta       15

Arya-Vraja      36


After Arya-Vajra there flourished Arya-Rakshit, who remainedYug-pradhan for thirteen years.  Keeping in view that pupils could have less developed faculties of intelligences, grasping, andretention, he made four classification of the Agams, based on the fourpoints of view exposition (anuyog).  Until his times each and everyAgam Sutra work was expounded from all the four viewpoints of exposition.

Charan-karan-anuyog:  (29)

Those Agams which expounded the ethical viewpoint are classified under the heading of Charan-Karan-anuyog.

E.g., eleven Angas, also known as Kalik-shrut, Mahakalpa-shrut and Ched-sutras.


Those Agams which expounded the religious story viewpoint are classified under the heading of Dharma-Katha-anuyog.

E.g., Rishibhasitas.


Those Agams which expounded the mathematical viewpoint are classified under the heading of Ganit-anuyog.

E.g., the Surya-prajnapti.


Those Agams which expounded the metaphysical viewpoint are classified under the heading of Dravya-anuyog.

E.g., the Drishti-vada.

It was necessary for the Acharyas to expound each and every Sutrawork, employing extensively the viewpoints (Naya), so long as thedivisions of the Sutra works were not made on the basis of theviewpoints of exposition.  But it became unnecessary to employ those viewpoints in the exposition of each and every Sutra work as soon asthe divisions of the Sutra works were made on the basis of the viewpoints of exposition (30).

From what is said above, it is clear that the teaching and the studyof the Shrut must not have continued in the same manner as they hadcontinued before Arya-Rakshit and there must have crept into themslackness to a considerable degree.  So it was quite natural that thecanon should gradually fall into loss and corruption.  It has been said in connection with even Arya-Rakshit that he studied nine Purvasand only 24 yavikas of the tenth Purva (31).  Even Arya-Rakshit wasnot able to impart to his pupils that much knowledge of the Shrutwhich he himself had acquired.  In the life story of Arya-Rakshit it has been said that of all his pupils only Durbalik Puspamitra couldstudy nine Purvas in their entirety but he afterwards forgot the ninthPurva in the absence of constant recitation on his part.  Gradually there disappeared the experts on the tenth to first Purva, in thatorder, and thus there arrived a time when there were none who knew thePurvas.  This was the situation in the year 1000 after Lord Mahavir’s death(32).  But according to the Digambar view that situation occurred

683 years after Mahavir’s Nirvan.

B)      The Mathuri Vachan (Recension done in Mathura)

It is mentioned in the Curni (33) on the Nandi Sutra that owing to thefamine which lasted twelve years, the Sutra works became extinct inthe absence of the activities of taking lessons, repeating them, andpondering over them.  In other words, during those unsettled times, the monks neglected their regular studies of the Sutras; so the Sutraworks fell into oblivion.  After this twelve year long famine, the monks assembled in Mathura under the presidentship of Arya Skandil andcollected and arranged the Kalik Shrut on the basis of what they couldrecall and recite.  Since this vachan was done in Mathura, it is called Mathuri Vachan.  Some assert that the Sutras had not become extinct but there had taken place disappearance of the principalAnuyogadhars.  At that time there existed only one Anuyogadhar, Acharya Skandil.  As he imparted knowledge of the anuyogs to other monks in Mathura, the vachan came to be known as Mathuri.  From thisit is clear that owing to the second famine the Shrut fell into a badstate.  This time the credit of the compilation and arrangement of the Shrut goes to Acharya Skandil.  Muni Shri Kalyana-vijayji maintains that the period of Acharya Skandil’s Yugapradhanatva fell between 827and 840 Vira Samvat.  Therefore, this vachan should have taken place in this period (34).  As a result of this vachan, the Agams were written down.

C)      The Valabhi Vachan (Recension in Valabhi)

Synchronous with the council at Mathura, Acharya Nagarjun convened acouncil of monks at Valabhi and tried to collect and arrange theAgams.  Whatever Prakirna works, in addition to a particular Agam work and its anuyogs, were retained in memory by Vachak Nagarjun and theassembled monks.  Then they were written down and the recension wasprepared after having corrected lengthy portions according to thecontext (35).  As Nagarjun was the president of the is council, the Vachan is called the Nagarjun Vachan as well.

The Penning down by Devardhigani

Then a council of monks presided over by Kshama-Shraman Devardhi-ganiwas held at Valabhi, 150 years after the councils presided over bySkandil and Nagarjun at Mathura and Valabhi respectively.  It wasdecided to document all available Prakirna Sutras, and preserve theAng and other Sutras that were documented in the two former councils.  This will bring uniformity in Sutras as far as possible by resolvingthe differences in Sutras.  Of course, the most important differences were documented in Curnis and Tikas.

This is the reason why we come across in the Sutras as also in thecommentary the phrases such as, ‘vayanamtare puna’ (according toanother recension), and ‘Nagarjuni-yastu-pathanti’ (the followers ofNagarjun read the text as) (36).  Several Prakirna works which were available in one recension only were considered authentic in the form in which they were available (37).

This task was accomplished 980 years after Mahavir’s Nirvan.  After that event, the text of most of the Agam works available at present was settled at this time.

If the list of the Agam literature that occurs in the Nandi Sutra wereregarded as the list of all the Agams documented in this council atValabhi, then we have to say that even after this documentationseveral Agam works, especially many Prakirans, have become extinct.  Also Virastav and Pinda-niryukti Sutras are not mentioned in the Nandi Sutra but which are still recognized by the Swetambars as Agam works.


Foot Note

21) Avashyak Churni, Part II, p. 187.

·         22) Titthogaliya 801-2. Also see ViranirvanaÄ

Samvat  Jaina Kalaganana, p.94.

23) According to Acharya Kalyanavijayji, this refers not to

Acharya Bhadrabahu’s death but to the end of his


·         See Viranirvana Samvat aur Jaina Kalaganana, foot note, p.62.

24) Dhavala, Vol. I, Introduction, p.26.

25) Indian Antiquary, Vol. XI, September, pp 245-246. See also

·         Vira-nirvana samvat Aur Jain Kalaganana, p. 62.

26) Sudharma remained in the state of a Kevalin for eight years;

before that he was in the state of a chadmastha.

27) Dhavala, Vol. I, Introduction, p. 26.

·         28) Merutunga-Vicharashreni. Viranirvana. p. 64.

29) Avashyak Niryukti 763-777; Visheshavashyakabhasya 2284-2295.

30) Avashyak Niryukti 762; Vishesh 2279.

31) Vishesh. Tika 2511.

32) Bhagavati 2.8; Sattarisayathan 327.

33) Nandichurni p.8

·         34) Viranirvana. p. 104.

35) Ibid, p. 110.

36) Ibid, p. 116

37) Ibid, p.112.

Chapter IV                Top

Works Composed on the basis of Purvas

Both the Swetambars and the Digambars unanimously agree on the pointthat the Purva works have become extinct, as also on the point thatthe contents of the Purva works have not become completely extinct.  There are several works which refer to the Purvas.  As we shall see, the Satkhand-agam and the Kashaya-prabhrit have been composed by the Digambar Acharyas on the basis of the Purva works.

Now we present the Swetambar view on this point.  According to the Swetambar view, the Drishti-vada embodies of the entire sacred lore,but for the benefit of the common people other works have beencomposed in easily comprehensible style, incorporating in them theDrishti-vad’s subject matter (38).  Accepting this view, it is being said that the Ganadhars first composed the Purva works and afterwards,on the basis of these Purva works, they themselves composed the remaining Angas (39).  This view seems to be correct.

But we should understand this much, that prior to the composition ofAng literature, whatever sacred lore was available in the form of theShrut became well known by the name of the Purva; and on the basis ofthe Purva, keeping in view the teaching of Lord Mahavir, twelve Angaswere composed and the Purvas are included in one part of the twelfthAnga.  When the works came to be composed in the easily comprehensible style on the basis of Purvas only, it was quite natural that theinterest in the study and teaching of the Purvas declined; and thisconstitutes the reason for the extinction of the Purvas, first in the chronological order.

This is simply a statement of the general principle.  But with regard to some works, long and short, it has been clearly said that theircomposition is based on a particular Purva.  Here we give a list ofsuch works, so that one can know that not only the Satkhand- agam andthe Kashaya-pahud, recognized as Agams by the Digambars, but so manyliterature recognized as Agams by the Swetambars are also having their source in the Purvas only.

1.             The composition of Nisith-adhyayan in Maha-kalpa Shrut, of theAcharang, is based on the 20th Pahud of the third Achara-vastu of the

Pratya-khyan Purva (40).

2.             The composition of the Dasa-vaikalik Sutra is based on Purvas as


Dharma-prajnapti chapter -   Atmapravad Purva

Pindai-sana chapter      -   Karmapravad Purva

Vakya-suddhi chapter     -   Satyapravad Purva

All other chapters       -   Pratyakhyan Purva

The author of the Dasa-vaikalik Sutra is Sayyambhava.

3.             Acharya Bhadrabahu has composed the Dasa-sruta-skandha, Brahat-kalpa Jit-kalpa, and Vyavahar Sutra basing them on the

Pratyakhyan Purva.

4.             Parisah-adhyayan (chapter) of the Uttara-dhyan Sutra is taken from

the Karma-pravad Purva.

Also most of the karma theory composed in the non-agam literature werealso adopted from the Purvas, but as they are irrelevant to the context, we do not take them in the review of our present discussion.


Foot Note

38) Vishesh. gathas 551-552; Brhat. 145-146.

39) Nandi Churni, p. 56; Avashyakaniryukti 292-293. Contrary to

this view, there is another view which maintains that first of all the AcarAnga was composed and afterwards in due order

the remaining Angas were composed. AcarAnga Niryukti 8, 9;

AcarAnga Churni p.3; Dhavala, Vol I, p. 65.

40) AcarAnga Niryukti 291.

Chapter V                Top

A List of the Jain Agam Works

Now we shall see which works are at present, in practice, regarded as Agams.

There is no difference of opinion among the sects of the Jains, on thepoint that the basic source of the entire Jain literature is a groupof twelve Anga works composed by the Ganadhars.  Also, the sects mostly agree with regard to the titles of the twelve Anga works.

The twelve Anga works are as follows:

1.     Acharang

2.     Sutra-kratang

3.     Sthanang

4.     Samavay-ang

5.     Vhakhya-prajnapti

6.     Jnata-dharma-kathang

7.     Upasaka-dashang

8.     Antahkra-dashang

9.        Anuttaroupa-patika-dashang

10.   Prasna-vyakrana

11.   Vipak Sutra

12.   Drishti-vada

According to all the three sects, the last Anga work named Drishti-vada has been the first to become extinct.

Extinction of the Agams (Shrut) according to the Digambar view:

The Digambars maintain that after the death of Lord Mahavir the canonstarted becoming extinct gradually, and that in the year 68 after thedeath of Lord Mahavir there was not a single Acharya who possessedtotal knowledge of the Angas or Purvas; of course, there were Acharyaswho possessed the knowledge of some portion of ‘this or that’ Anga/Purva.

In the tradition of such Acharyas, there flourished Pushpadant,Bhutabali, and Gunadhara; the first two composed the Satkhand Agam onthe basis of a portion of the second Purva named Agrayaniya, and thethird, Gunadhara, composed Kashaya-pahud on the basis of a portion ofthe fifth Purva named Jnanapravad (41).  Both these works have beenaccorded a respectable place in the Agams in the Digambar tradition.  According to them the Angas have already been extinct.

The following are the time periods in chronological order, accordingto the Digambars in which the Shrut gradually became extinct after the death of Lord Mahavir (42).

 3 Kevalins - Gautam, etc. (43)                62 years

 5 ShrutaKevalins - Vishnu, etc. (43)         100 years

11 Dasapurvis - VishakhAcharya, etc. (44)     183 years

5 EkadasAngadharis - Nakshatra


Pandu                    220 years



4 AcarAngadharis -   Subhadra


Yasobahu                118 years


683 years

Ang-bahya Agams of the Digambars

Though the Digambars contend that the fourteen Ang-bahya Agams,naturally different from the twelve Anga Agams, were composed bySthavirs, they also believe that those Ang-bahya Agams too have become extinct.  The titles of these fourteen Ang-bahya Agams are as follows:

1.     Samayik

2.     Chaturvin-shatistava

3.     Vandana

4.     Pratikraman

5.     Vainayiks

6.     Kritikarma

7.     Dasavaikalik

8.        Uttaradhyayan

9.        Kalpavyavahar

10    Kalpakalpik

11.   Mahakalpik

12.   Pundarik

13.        Mahapundarik

14.   Nisithik (45).

Upon examining the list of Ang-bahya Agams, accepted by the Swetambars, it becomes quite clear that out of 14 Ang-bahya Agams, many have been preserved.

Though the Digambars believe in the extinction of the original Agams,they have given as much importance to some works as they gave to theoriginal Agams; having given these works the title ‘Jaina Veda,’ they grouped them in the four anuyogs as follows:

1.          Pratham-anuyoga

     Padma-puran                   (Ravisen),

     Harivamsa-puran               (Jinasen),

     Adi-puran                     (Jinasen),

     Uttar-puran                   (Gunabhadra)

2.          Karan-anuyoga


Chandra-prajnapti             (Jayadhaval).

3.          Dravy-anuyog

Pravachanasar,                (Kunda-kunda)




Tattvarthadhigam Sutra (Umasvami) and

commentaries on it composed by Samantabhadra (46),

Pujyapad, Akalarik, Vidyanand, etc.

Aptamimamsa (Samantabhadra) and

commentaries on it composed by Akalarik,

Vidyanand, etc.

4.          Charan-anuyog

Mulachar (Vattakera)


Ratna-karanda-shravak-achar (47).

On examining this list, it becomes clear that the works written up to the tenth century have been included in it.

Agam works of the Sthanak-vasi Sect:

According to the Swetambar Sthanak-vasi sect, all the Angas except theDrishti-vada are extant.  The Ang-bahya Agams maintain that only the following twenty one works are extant.

* 12 Upangs,

*  4 Ched Sutras,

*  4 Mul Sutras,

*  1 Avashyak

12 Upangas -

1.                Aupapatik,

2.                Rajaprasniya,

3.                Jivabhigama,

4.                Prajnapan,

5.                Surya©prajnapti,

6.                Jambudvipaprajnapti,

7.                Chandra©prajnapti,

8.                Nirayavali,

9.                Kalpavatamsik,

10.   Puspik,

11.                Puspachulik,

12.                Vrisnidas.

In Shastroddhar Mimamsa, Acharya Amolakh-rsi writes that theChandra-prajnapti and Surya-prajnapti are both the upangas ofJnatadharma.  Bearing in mind this exception, one should join

Aupapatik, etc.  with AcharAnga, etc.  respectively.

4 Ched Sutras -

1.                Vyavahar,

2.                Brihatkalpa,

3.     Nisitha

4.                Dasashrutaskandha

4 Mul Sutras -

1.                Dasavaikalik,

2.                Uttradhyayan,

3.     Nandi,

4.     Anuyog.

1 Avashyak

Thus, in all 21 Angabahya Agam works are available at present.

The Shvetambar Murtipujak sect accepts these 21 Angabahya Agam worksin the very form in which they are accepted by the Sthanakavasi sect.  In addition to these works, the Shvetambar Murtipujak sect hasaccepted some other works as Angabahya Agam, but the Sthanakavasi sect regards them as either not authentic or extinct.

Like the Sthanakavasi sect, its subsect known as the Terahapanthiaccepts the existence (at present) and authenticity of 11 Anga worksand 21 Angabahya works only, not of the other works.  In both these sects, commentarial works (viz.  Niryukti, etc.)  are not accepted as authentic.

Currently, the outlook of some Sthanakavasi monks has become liberalon account of their inclination towards the history of Agam literatureand also on account of their engagement in the study of old commentaries like Niryukti.  They have started maintaining that the authors of the Dasavaikalik, etc.  were not Ganadhars but Sthavirs like Sayyambhava, etc.  But there are other Sthanakavasi monks projecting a more sectarian outlook who have no faith whatsoever inthe commentaries on the Agams and rejects the study of Sanskritcommentaries, and firmly believe that the authors of both the AngaAgam and the Angabahya Agam were Ganadhars only, and not any other Sthavir (48).

The Agam works of the Shvetambar Sect

As we have already stated, among the sects there is no difference ofopinion on the subject of Anga works.  Hence, the already mentionedtwelve Angas accepted by all Jains, the only difference being that theDigambars maintain that they became extinct in the already mentionedchronological order while the Shvetambars maintain that only the last Anga work has become extinct (49).

The Shvetambars assert that in the year 1000 after Lord Mahavira’sdeath, only the the twelfth Anga Drishtivad which contained fourteenPurvas has become extinct.  They further contend that Acharyas composed several works adopting subject matter from the Purvas so longas the Drishtivad was extant, and that many such works are included in Angabahya Agams and a few even in the Anga Agams.

The Digambars have accepted 14 works, the Shvetambars 34 works, and the Sthanakavasis 21 works as Angabahya Agams.

The following is the list of extant 11 Angas and 34 Angabahya Agams, according to the Shvetambar sect.

11 Angas - AcarAnga, etc

12 UpAngas - Aupapatik, etc.

10 Prakirnaks -

1.                Chatuhsharan,

2.                Aturapratakhyan,

3.                Bhaktaparijna,

4.                Samstrak,

5.                Tamdulavaicharik,

6.                Chandravedhyak,

7.                Devendrastav,

8.                Ganividya,

9.                Mahapratyakhyan,

10.   Virastav (50).

6 Ched Sutras -

1 Nisitha,

2 Mahanisitha,

3 Vyavahar,

4 Dasashrutaskandha,

5 Brihatkalpa,

6 Jitakalpa.

4 Mul Sutras -

1 Uttaradhyayan,

2 Dasavaikalik,

3 Avashyak,

4 Pindaniryukti (51)

2 Chulik Sutras -

1 Nandi Sutra,

2 Anuyogadvar Sutra.


Foot Note

41) Dhavala Vol. I, Introduction p.71; Jayadhavat, p. 87.

42) See Jayadhavat, p. 49.

43) ***

44) ***

45) Jayadhavat, p. 25; Dhavala, Vol. I, p. 96; Gomattasar,

Jivakand, 367-368.

46) Not available.

47) Jaina Dharma, p. 107; ÃHistory of Indian LiteratureÄ , Vol. II, p. 474.

48) ShastroddharaMimamsa, pp. 43, 45, 47.

49) Bhagavati 2.8; Titthogaliya 801; Sattarisayathan, 327.

50) The ten Prakirnaks are enumerated with some changes also;

for that refer to Canonical Literature of Jains, pp.45-51.

51) According to some Oghaniryukti too is included in the fourth

item. According to some others, Oghaniryukti is to beenumerated in place of Pindaniryukti.



Chapter VI                Top

Age of the Composition of the Agams

As we have already seen, there is not only one work designated by theterm ‘Agam’ but a group of works composed by different authors.  Hence we cannot assign the Agam to one and the same period of time.  Lord Mahavira started preaching in the year 500 before the Vikram Era.  Therefore no Agam work can be assigned to the date prior to this year.  On the other hand, on the basis of the final recension, the penningdown of the Agam works was accomplished in Valabhi in 510 V.S.  (according to Digambar view in 523 V.S.).  So, no Agam work can beassigned to a date posterior to this year (52).  Keeping in view thesetwo limits - the upper and the lower - we have to consider the problem of the age of the composition of the Agams.

The Angas are regarded as the works composed by the Ganadhars, buteven they are not uniformly ancient.  Any body can well see that thefirst and the second parts (called Shruta-skandhas) of the Achar-angaSutra differ widely with regard to their thought and language.  The first part is more ancient than not only the second part but also anyof the Agam works.  We cannot say that it is absolutely free from theadditions and alterations, but we can definitely say that very little has been added to it as compared to other Agam works.

Even if what it contains is not the direct preaching of Lord Mahavira,it is definitely very near to it.  In such a situation, we cannot assign the compilation of the first part to a date later than the year300 before the Vikram Era.  It is more probable that it had been compiled in the first council which prepared the first recension.  The composition of the second part should be assigned to a date later thanthat of Acharya Bhadrabahu, because, when compared to the first part,the second exhibits the product of a developed stage in the treatmentof rules and sub-rules of monastic conduct.  Yet we cannot place itafter the second century before the Vikram Era; we can generally saythe same in connection with all the Anga works.  This does not mean that whatever is compiled belongs to the date of compilation.  Thecontent was ancient and it was continuously handed down fromgeneration to generation through a tradition from the Ganadhars onwards.  That content was compiled.

Nor does it mean that nothing new has been added to it after thesecond century before the Vikram Era.  In Anga works like theSthangAnga, there occurs a mention of an event that even took place inthe sixth century after Lord Mahavira’s Nirvan.  But, apart from some such mention, all the ideas contained in the Anga works are veryancient.  Owing to the influence of time and to the nature of their Prakrit language, they went through changes according to theprinciples of the development of language.  This is because in ancienttimes, their study was conducted not through written books but throughoral instruction.  For example, the Prasnavyakaran as we have it at present differs, in content, from the work of the same title describedin the Nandi-Sutra.  This means that the Prasnavyakaran as we have it

today is not original but is a work entirely composed later on.

We have no means of knowing as to when after the Valabhi Recensionthis original Anga work became extinct, and when the newPrasnavyakaran; new in the sense of having altogether novel contents,came into existence and took the place of the original Prasnavyakaran.  We can say this much, that it had already been composed before thedate (beginning of the 12th century V.S.)  of the composition of Abhayadeva’s commentary.

Now, following chronological order, we should discuss the problem ofthe age of the Upanga works.  We definitely know the date of the Prajnapan Sutra.  Its author is Arya-Shyam also known as Kalaka-charya (Nigoda-vyakhyata) (53).  He had become Yug-pradhan in 335 Vira Samvat and held that dignified position until 376 Vira Samvat.  Hence, the Prajnapan could be assigned to the period lying in between 335 V.N.  Samvat and 376 V.N.  Samvat.  That is, it could be regarded as havingbeen composed in between the year 135 and the year 94 before thecommencement of the Vikram Era.  We do not know who the authors of the remaining Upanga works are.  But we cannot regard them as the works composed by Ganadhars; they are works composed by other Sthavirs, and they were not composed in the same period of time.

The Upangas Chandra-prajnapti, Surya-prajnapti and Jambudvip-prajnaptiare included in the Parikarma of the Drishtivad as per Digambar sect(54).  They are also mentioned by name in the Nandi Sutra by Swetambar sect.  Hence, these three works should belong to the period before the seperation of Digambar and Shvetambar sects.  Therefore, they shouldnot be placed after the commencement of the Vikram Era.  Generally, we can say the same thing in connection with all the remaining Upangas.  The present text of the Chandra-prajnapti is almost identical withthat of the Surya-prajnapti.  This suggests that the original Chandra-prajnapti text might have become extinct.

In connection with the Prakirnak works we can say that theircomposition took place at different times, and the Valabhi councilthat prepared the final recension of the Agams can be regarded as the lowest limit.

Of the Ched Sutras, the Dasashrut, Brihatkalpa, and Vyavahar are wellknown as the works of Bhadrabahu.  Hence they cannot be placed later than the year 170 after Lord Mahavira’s death; that is, they werealready composed prior to the year 300 before the commencement ofVikram era.  The other acharyas have written commentaries (Niryukti and Bhasya) on the above ched-sutras; therefore, there has been no scope for them to undergo any change.

The Nisitha Sutra is nothing but an appendix (chulika) to the Acaranga Sutra.  Hence, it too is ancient.

The Jitakalpa Sutra is composed by by Acharya Jinabhadra.  It is thesummary work of Kalpa-Vyavahar and Nisitha Sutras.  Hence it has been accorded a place in the Ched class, after the Panchakalpa Sutra became extinct.

The present Mahanisitha Sutra was saved from falling into oblivion.  by Acharya Haribhadra.  He recomposed the text in its present form but

its subject matter is ancient.

Out of the four works that are designated as Mul Sutras, the date ofthe Dasavaikalik Sutra is definitely known.  It is a work by AcharyaSayyambhav who was given the dignified position of a Yug-pradhan inthe year 75 after Lord Mahavira’s death, and who retained thatposition till his death in the year 98 after Mahavira’s death.  This means that the composition of this Dasavaikalik Sutra took placebetween the years 395 and the year 372 before the commencement of theVikram Era.  We can say this much, that the Chulikas that occur in it have been added later on.  Apart from this, there has been no

possibility of any other addition or alteration in the text.

The Uttaradhyan Sutra is not a work that was composed by one Acharyaat one time.  Yet there is nothing that can prevent us from placing it in the third or the second century before the start of the Vikram Era.

Being an Angabahya Agam, the Avashyak Sutra cannot be a work composedby a Ganadhar.  It should be a work composed by some other monk contemporary of a Ganadhar.  This work has its use in the daily practices of a Jain monk.  Hence, its composition should be regarded as prior to even that of the Dasavaikalik Sutra.  It is stated in Ang Sutras that monks should study Samayik-adhyayan and the eleven Angas(Samaiyani Ekadasamgani).  From this it becomes clear that, of all Agam works, the Avashyak Sutra was taught first to the monks.  This fact indicates that its composition occured at the same time when Angasutras were composed.  This means that it is proper to hold that it had already been composed prior to the year 470 before the beginning of the Vikram era.

Pinda-Niryukti is a part of Dasavaikalik-Niryukti.  Hence it is a work by Bhadrabahu II.  Therefore, it should belong to the fifth or the

sixth century V.S.

Of the Chulik Sutras, the Nandi Sutra has been composed byDevardhigani.  Hence it should be assigned to the beginning of the sixth century V.S.

It is difficult to decide the author of the Anuyogadvar Sutra.  But the Anuyogadvar Sutra was composed later than the Avashyak Sutrabecause the former has applied its method of exposition (Anuyog) tothe later.  It is possible that it has been composed either after Arya- Rakshit or by Arya-Rakshit.  However, its composition was certainly accomplished before the commencement of the Vikram Era.  It is possible that afterwards some additions and alterations of some chapters might have taken place.

Whatever we have said in this discussion on the age of the Agams isnot a final word.  When we study each and every Agam work from the standpoints of its matter and form and explore and examine fully allthe internal and the external evidences, we shall be able to completethis discussion accurately, and determine the age of each and every Agam work.  Here we have attempted simply a general treatment.


Foot Note

52) Prakirnaks, like Chatuhsaran and Bhaktaparijna which are not

mentioned in Nandi, are an exception to this statement. It isvery difficult to decide as to when they were included in the

group of Agam works.

·         53) Viranirvana, p. 64.

54) Dhavala, Introduction, Vol. II, p.43

Chapter VII                Top

Subject Matter of the Agams (55)

Some Agam works deal with right conduct;

AcharAnga, Dasavaikalik, and so on.

Some Agams deal with preaching of Jain religion

Uttaradhyayan, Prakirnak, and so on.

Others treat of the contemporary conceptions pertaining to

cosmology, cosmography, astronomy, and related topics; they are

Jambudvip-prajnapti, Surya-prajnapti, and others.

The injunctive statement of atonements and the treatment of thegeneral and exceptional rules of Jain monastic conduct constitute the principal subject matter of the Ched Sutras.

Some delineate the life story of the followers of the path propounded by the Jinas;

Upasakadas-Anga and Anuttarau-papatikadas.

Still others intend to teach eternal wisdom and fundamentals of religious conduct by narrating illustrative imeginary stories;


The Vipak Sutra illuminates the fruits of auspicious and inauspicious past deeds through illustrative stories.

The Bhagavati Sutra contains Lord Mahavira’s dialogues with others.  Like the Buddhist Suttanipata, the Bhagavati Sutra contains questions and answers pertaining to various subjects.

Some treat of metaphysics.  Foremost among them are Sutrakrit, Prajnapan, Rajaprasniya, Bhagavati, Nandi, Sthan, Samavay and Anuyogadvar.

Having refuted the metaphysical views prevalent in those days, theSutrakritAnga propounds its own view.  It refutes the materialist viewand proves the independent existence of a soul.  It establishes the theory of many souls in place of the theory of one soul.  It demonstrates that body and soul are different.  It shows that there are past deeds (Karma) and establishes that they have their fruits.  It refutes various views regarding the creation of the universe andestablishes that neither God nor any such individual has created itbut that it is beginningless and endless.  Again, having refutedKriyavad, Akriyavad, Vinayavad and Ajnanavad, it establishes Susamskrit Kriyavad.

Prajnapan extensively deals with the various states of a soul.

In Rajaprasniya, Kesi-Shraman of Lord Parshva’s tradition, whileanswering a question put to him by King Pradesi of Shravasti, refutesthe view that the soul does not exist, establishes its existence, andexplains many points pertaining to a soul by illustrations and arguments.

In many questions and answers contained in the Bhagavati-Sutra, many philosophical ideas of Naya, Praman, and so on are found scattered.

The Nandi-Sutra is a good work dealing with the Jain view of the nature and the types of knowledge.

The form of the SthanAnga and SamavayAnga is very similar to that ofthe Buddhist Amguttara-nikay.  In these two Agam works there occur discussions pertaining to soul (Atma), matter (Pudgal), knowledge(Jnan), Naya, Praman, etc.  In the SthanAnga there occurs adescription of the dissenters that arose in Lord Mahavira’s doctrinaland monastic discipline.  There were seven dissenters who at different times expressed their dissent regarding different points of Lord Mahavira’s doctrines.  They are called Nihnavs.

In the Anuyogadva Sutra, the method of arriving at the true meaning ofa word or a sentence is primarily set forth.  In other words, it

mainly deals with the Jain method of exposition (anuyog).

Occasionally it well treats of the Nayas and the metaphysical verities.


Foot Note

55) See my article in Premi Abhinandana Franth

Chapter VIII                Top

Commentaries on the Agams (56)

The commentaries on the Agams have been written in Prakrit andSanskrit.  Those written in Prakrit are known as Niryukti, Bhasya, and Churni.  Niryuktis and Bhasyas are composed in verses while Churnis are in prose.

All the extant (present) Niryuktis have been composed by BhadrabahuII.  He flourished in the fifth or sixth century V.S.  In hisNiryuktis he has conducted philosophical discussions in an attractivestyle.  Whenever faced with an opportunity in the Niryuktis to write about the Buddhists and the Charvaks he seized it, without fail.  He has proven the existence of a soul.  He has penetratingly treated ofthe topic of knowledge, and has philosophically expounded theprinciple of non-violence.  He was doubtlessly an expert in the method of arriving at the true and multifaceted meaning of a word or astatement.  He laid the firm foundation of the Jain philosophy by writing on the subjects of Praman, Naya, and Nikshep.

One should study the Bhasyas, if one wants to have a complete pictureof the full discussion on any particular subject that had been carriedon till the date of their composition.  Among the authors of theBhasyas, Samghadasa-gani and Jinabhadra are famous.  They belong to the seventh century.

In his Vishesh-avashyak-bhasya, Jinabhadra has logically expounded theideas expressed in the Jain Agams.  He has fully discussed the topics of Praman, Naya, and Nikshep.  Apart from these topics, he has logically expounded the metaphysical and ethical varieties.  We cansay that there is no philosophical topic which has not been discussed by Jinabhadra.

In his Brahat-kalpa-bhasya, Samghadasa-gani has philosophicallydiscussed the general and exceptional rules of the Jain monasticconduct.  He too has occasionally written on the topics of Jnan, Praman, Naya, and Nikshep.

The Churnis that are available to us belong to the seventh or theeighth century.  Among the authors of the Churnis, Jinadas Mahattar isfamous.  He has written a Churni on Nandi Sutra and others as well.  Churnis briefly present, in prose, the subject matter of thecorresponding Bhasyas.  Their special feature is the narration of Prakrit stories similar to Jatak stories of Hindu literature.

The oldest Sanskrit commentaries on the Agams are those written byAcharya Haribhadra.  He has been assigned to the periods between 757 V.S.  and 857 V.S.  Haribhadra had mainly given the Sanskrit versionof the Prakrit Churnis, thinking it proper to make use of hisknowledge of philosophy in this area.  Therefore, we find in hiscommentaries the presentation of all the philosophies as prima facieviews.  He attempts to give a definite, crystallized shape to Jain philosophy on the strength of his knowledge of philosophy.

After Haribhadra, Silamk-suri wrote Sanskrit commentaries in the tenth century.

After Silamk-suri there flourished the famous Sanskrit commentator Santya-Acharya.  He wrote Brihat-tika on the Uttaradhyayan.

After him, there flourished the also well known commentator Abhayadevwho, living from 1072 to 1134 V.S., wrote Sanskrit commentaries onnine Angas.  These two commentators fully utilized the old commentaries that were available to them, and have also independently conducted philosophical discussions.

Here we should mention the name of Maladhari Hemachandra who was also a Sanskrit commentator.  He was a scholar of the twelfth century.

However, among the authors of Sanskrit commentaries on the Agams,Malayagiri holds the supreme position.  If one wants to read commentaries and philosophical discussions in lucid language, heshould select those written by Malayagiri.  While reading his commentaries, one experiences the joy of reading pure philosophicalwork.  He fluently and smoothly writes on all the subjects of Jain philosophy, for example, Karma, ethics, cosmography, astronomy, etc.  He presents the subject matter so clearly that there remains no desire to consult other literature on the subject.

Like Vachaspati-Misra, Malayagiri presented various philosophicalviews with such a logic that the reader would feel as if the writerhimself is the advocate and upholder of the view presented.  He was acontemporary of Acharya Hemachandra.  Hence we should regard him as a scholar of the twelfth century.

The Sanskrit and Prakrit commentaries were so voluminous and thediscussions on various topics had become so hard and heavy that it wasthought necessary to write brief commentaries which simply gave the meaning of words.

Again, with the passage of time, Sanskrit and Prakrit lost theirposition as spoken language and became simply literary languagesconfined to a very group of learned scholars.  When this was the situation, other scholars started writing Balavabodha commentaries incontemporary Apabhramsa, which is a Old Gujarati language.  These commentaries are also known by another general name ‘Taba’.  There

flourished many scholars who wrote Balavabodha, or Taba, commentaries.

But of them we should especially mention the name of Dharmasimha-muniof 18 century.  He rejects the interpretation given in the old commentaries and gives his own interpretation.  However his interpretation fits in well with the tenets of his own sect (Loka-gacha) which had arisen in opposition to idol-worship.


See my article in Premi Abhinandana Franth

56) Ibid.