Jain Siddhant Praveshika (Q and A)
Courtesy of Dr. Kirit Gosalia
Call or send him if you need further information
[email protected]
14853 N 12nd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85022


Shri Jain Sidhdhant Praveshika – The Primer of Jain Principles: 

I am honored to present an English translation of Shri Jain Sidhdhant Praveshika. The original auther of this text was Pandit Shri Gopaldasji Baraiyaji. It was a priviledge to read his book in Gujurati published by Shri Digambar Jain Swadhyay Mandir Trust – Songadh, India. His work is written in such a readable style that anyone should be able to understand the basic Jain principles. Since I was able to significantly further my own knowledge about Jainism through this book, I was motivated to attempt an English translation of this work. It is hoped that a translation will be an invaluable tool for the English-speaking children of the western world and India who are studying Jainism. Initially the scope of the work overwhelmed me; however I was encouraged by friends to pursue the project.  In fact, at the completion of the translation, my personal belief in the principles of Jainism was further enhanced.  For a beginning student, this English translation will provide a much clearer vision of the fundamentals of Jainism.  The utmost care has been taken in this translation to maintain the integrity of the original text.  In a very few places, I have taken the liberty to expand the text to convey in English Baraiyaji’s true intention.  The same question-answer pattern as utilized in the original text has been retained.

I am very much thankful to Dr. Melvin Donaho, Ph.D. of Phoenix,U.S.A., to have read and given valuable suggestions for the manuscript. I am also thankful for my good friend Mr. Pawan Jain of Adinath Kundkund Kahan Digambar Jain Trust, Aligarh, India for encouraging me and having spared his valuable time to help print this book.

Great care has been taken to avoid any errors, but occasional errors are inevitable.  If any errors are found by reading through the text, I humbly request the reader to inform me so that proper corrections can be made.  Any suggestions to improve the format will be considered and appreciated.

It is my sincere wish that the material in this book would be helpful for those who desire to understand the principles of Jainism as well as for the students of the Jainism in North America or wherever Jainism is practiced and preached.

Jai Jinendra.

[email protected] (August 10, 2003)



From a Reader’s Perspective :

This reader was privileged to read the draft of the English translation of the philosophy of Jainism as prepared by Dr. Kirit Gosalia and to comment on this original manuscript.  Readers who are already familiar with the philosophy of Jainism and who are aware of its exceptional depth of thought and scholarship understand the need for careful, concentrated study to master its tenets and to further achieve their own personal state of enlightenment.  As one who has devoted his life to teaching, it is to the English speaking reader, and especially to those who are students, desiring to learn the principles of Jainism, to whom my thoughts are addressed.

My fellow readers, this is a work which requires much self-discipline and intense concentration to understand how to apply its tenets to your won lives.  It is not a work to be read quickly, nor to be taken lightly- it is to be savored, thought about, discussed, and savored anew.  Young readers must be prepared to be patient, to seek wisdom, to ask questions of their own, and, yes, at times, to avoid frustration and to persevere.  Remember, to bring your own faith in Jainism to fruition requires a life-long endeavor.  Now, as you approach this work, be prepared to put yourself into the role of asking each of the several hundred questions and then to listen and absorb the answers given to each question.  Before you begin this remarkable task, I urge you that it is first necessary to study Dr. Gosalia’s orientation to this translation.  As one who has both studied and taught world religions, I assure you that his introductory orientation and his translation will provide the reader a comprehensive insight into the philosophy of Jainism.


Melvin W. Donaho, PhD.

Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.


Pandit Shri Gopaldasji Baraiya’s life story :.

The original author of the Jain Sidhdhant Praveshika was Pandit Shri Gopaldasji Baraiya. The following is a brief description of his life.

In the history of India, many bright people existed, who have left the lasting impression on the minds of people with their ideal life and luminous character. Pandit Shri Gopaldasji Baraiya was one such prominent personality. His renunciation, penance and service to the community and the country were remarkable, and because of these traits, the Jain community is proud of him.

Gopaldashji was born in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, according to Indian calender, on 12th, the second half of the month Chaitra, Vikram Samvat 1923, i.e., A.D.1867

He was not Jain by birth; however, in the city of Ajmer, India he became acquainted with a Jain scholar, with whom he discussed the philosophy and literature of Jainism.  Thereafter occurred a transformation in his life, which involved a newfound faith towards the religious philosophy.  Witnessing the indifferences shown to the ancient literatures in Sanskrit and Ardh maghdhi languages disturbed him greatly. As a result, he established the Sanskrit University. To make the study of Jain literature well spread, he also established the All India Digambar Jain Examination Board. Selflessly, he gave priorities to the work of education, literature and cultural activities. He was enthusiastically involved in the propagation of the religion by giving lectures about the philosophy all over the country. Because of his wisdom and the dedication for the religion, the Jain society gave him many honorary degrees, such as Syadvad Varidhi, Vadi Gaj Kesari and Nyay Vachaspati.

Gopaldashji started his literary career by starting a magazine called ‘Jain Mitra’ (Friends of Jainism). After moving from Bombay to Solapur, he was unable to continue the editorial responsibilities, and as a result, Shri Sitalprasadji then handled the publication. Today, the magazine is published from Surat,India.

Gopaldashji gave extensive critiques on the Jain philosophy and also contributed in the creation of many novels. In books, he explained the details of the Jain philosophy in very simplified versions, such as Jain Sidhdhant Darpan, and Jain Sidhdhant Praveshika. His famous novel, Sushila, was written about the apathy people had towards the religion.

The root cause for his success in his life was his selfless service to society. One of many ways he showed his dedication to the Morena Sanskrit University was by having given scholarships to many needy students in the university. He never expected any personal gain from all the religious activities he performed. He dedicated his life to uplift every human being in the society.

He conducted his business with utmost honesty by always remaining away from the immorality in the business. For example, there was once a fire in the market of Morena. Just like the other merchants, he had a sizable amount of economical loss, and also had insurance on the property. While many of the other merchants inflated their loss, Gopaldasji claimed only the loss he had suffered.

Gopaldashji was also very keen in the small details of life. For example, there was a time when his wife requested the university carpenter to make some wooden toys for their kids, which took the carpenter two hours to make. When Gopaldasji came to know the incidence, he was extremely unhappy. He then deposited the amount of money it would have cost into the university account.  When people asked him about such a small amount of money deposited, he replied that one who can steal for a small sesame seed could also steal diamond.

There are countless episodes in the life of Shri Baraiyaji’s life, which proudly denotes ‘the simple living and high thinking’ motto. He lived a simple life; he would pray every day regularly, and also worked selflessly towards the societal problems. His activities reflected his clear thought process. He was an honest, law abiding citizen, throughout his entire life.

Finally on 5th, in the first half of the month Chaitra, Vikram samvat, 1994, i.e., A.D.1938 he expired in city of Morena, India.


 An Orientation to Understanding This Translation of The Philosophy of Jainism.

Shree Jain SidhdhantPraveshika, a primer in the Jain philosophy, explains the principles of Jainism through using a simple question and answer format. First, an inquisitive pupil raises a question, which in turn, is answered by the spiritual teacher in a kindly manner. This format of question/answer provides the basis for understanding the philosophy. If one is able to understand the principles in the right manner, then to be able to follow the right path becomes natural and one does not have to put forth any extra effort.  The student/scholar will find that in Jainism there is great importance given to the aspect of gaining and understanding knowledge.  If one “knows,” then he is able to follow accordingly.  To provide such knowledge, the post canonical compositions of entire scriptures in the Jain philosophy known as expositions (Anuyog) are divided primarily into four parts:

  1. Primary Expositions-Prathamanuyog: In part one, the scriptures are related to story parts.  This is helpful for the beginning student who has little knowledge about the specifics of the philosophy.  Here he can find and understand the descriptions of the life of Omniscient lords, the revered monks and the enlightened householders.  One first gets to know the story and then to learn the morals inherent in the story.
  2. Expositions on the technical matters- Karananuyog:  In part two, the scriptures deal with the nature of the universe and its dimensions. Part two also describes the karma, the aggregate of the smallest particles of the matter, their nature and their types, as well as their effects on the living beings.
  3. Expositions on descipline-Charananuyog: These sets of scriptures, in part three, deal with the ritual aspects of the philosophy. The ritual aspects involved are described in the daily activities of the monks and the householders in detail.
  4. Absolute philosophy Expositions-Dravyanuyog: Part four describes the most important aspects of the scriptures, in which the absolute philosophy of Jainism is discussed in minute microscopic detail. The real nature of the universe with all its content substances is detailed. The specific attention is given to the soul. Jainism teaches that all the substances of the universe exist freely; that they were never created; nor will they ever be destroyed — that, indeed, there was never a “creator” god for the universe. It further teaches that the whole universe exists and keeps on working by its self and that within this universe, no one body is dependent on any one thing or on any other body. Each substance within the universe exists in and of itself. In turn, each substance also has a capacity of its own to sustain itself. And, each substance, from time infinite, survived by itself and will continue to do so for time immortal in the future.

This work was written in the Gujarati language (one of the languages of India), which we have attempted to translate, and to put forth as accurately as possible, into the English language.

The author has brilliantly used Karananuyog and Dravyanuyog in a succinct manner to explain the intricacy of the philosophy.  The philosophy of Jainism is treated in five chapters: 1. The Substance, Modes and Attributes, 2.The Karma, 3.The Soul’s Condition Due to the Association with the Karma, 4.The Spiritual Development Stages, and 5. Gaining Knowledge of a Substance.

In the first chapter, there is the discussion of the real nature of the universe and its contents. We learn that the universe is made of six substances: soul, matter, medium of motion, medium of rest, space and time. Each substance is defined; its characteristics explained; and, its relationship to the universe is delineated. This chapter teaches that each substance of the universe has attributes of its own. For example, an attribute of sugar is its sweetness. The sweetness and the sugar cannot be separated — they are monistic. In the same way, the attribute and the substance are part of each other. They cannot be isolated.

Chapter one further explains the common attributes in a substance. Here we have learned that while there are multiple common attributes, there are six primary ones. These six primary attributes are present in any given substance in the universe. If one believes in a given substance, then it follows that he believes in these attributes as well: eternal existence (astitva), causal efficiency (vastutva), substance hood (dravyatva), objectivity (prameyatva), eternal persistence/ permanence (agurulaghutva) and an extension into the space (pradeshatva). An understanding of these attributes assists one to believe in the independence of all the substances to include the soul. For example, eternal existence by itself defines that a substance exists forever. No body created any substance and, furthermore, the substance by itself sustains its own existence due to its own infinite potential.  Each substance has infinite attributes and each attribute has infinite modes that occur. Modes are like the waves in the ocean. The waves keep on changing continuously while the ocean itself remains steady. Similarly, the “waves” in the substance and its attributes, the modes, keep changing constantly.

After the initial introduction in chapter one, the descriptions of the specific attributes, as described above, are given. These attributes are found only within specific substances. Since this philosophy is interested only in the soul, the soul’s specific attributes such as knowledge, perception, conduct and interactive capacity are fully described, as well as the detailing of its affirmative and non-affirmative attributes.

Chapter two describes the nature of the free and transmigratory soul. The transmigratory status is the real unhappiness for any living being. It addresses the question, why is one in a transmigratory cycle of life and death? The soul’s association with karma* is the real reason for the soul’s being in an unhappy state. Once the soul becomes free of all karma bondage, then the ultimate, everlasting, pure, uninterrupted, internal happiness is achieved. One could describe this to be the state of nirvana. One could also say that this is the true nature of the omniscient lord. Therefore, according to the Jain philosophy every living being has the capacity to achieve the status of omniscient lord.

In chapter two, we further learn that the karman particles have permeated the entire universe. When the soul commits any kind of liking or disliking (rag and dwesh) then the karman particles become attracted and bonded to the soul. These karman particles are now called karma. The soul and the karma remain in association until the fruition of the karma occurs. These karma are the most minute form of particles of matter (one of the universal substances). After giving fruition, the bonded karma are dissociated from the soul. At the same moment the soul again commits likes and dislikes and additional new karma become bonded with the soul. This cycle of the bondage and fruition of the karma has continued in the mundane soul since time infinite. Only when the soul ceases having likes and dislikes, are the cycles of the karma bondage and fruition broken; the soul ultimately becomes free of its cycle of misery; and, achieves the omniscient and permanent state of happiness.  Here we learn that karma are of eight types which can be further divided into 148 sub types. (Please see the graph in the appendix for a comprehensive delineation of these)

Chapter two not only explains the mechanism of the karma bondage in great detail; but also the intimate relationship of bonded karma to the soul is described.  We learn the soul is the cause for bondage of karma and that there are five reasons, from the soul’s perspective, for the karma bondage: wrong belief (mithyatva), vowlessness (avirati), carelessness (pramad), passions (kashay) and the vibratory activities of the soul’s space units (yog).  Finally, there is the description of the process of how the dissociation of karma occur from the soul.

The third chapter describes the soul’s conditions due to its association with the karma. Initially, it mentions the soul’s different forms – its attitudes (bhav). The attentive consciousness (upyog) is the most important action the soul continues to perform at all times, whether he is in either a free form or in a transmigratory form.  We learn that the soul, in the transmigratory form, has body as a result of its association with karma.  As a result of the presence of a body, senses are acquired.  A living being can possibly acquire five senses, as well as reside in

one of the four realms of  existence. (gati).  In summary, the different types of body, the senses, and the realms of existence are described in this chapter. In addition,, details for the nature and  dimensions of the universe, from the Jain philosophical perspective, are provided.

In the fourth chapter the process is shown for getting rid of the misery the soul has experienced since time infinite. Every living creature seeks happiness. But, every mundane soul is unhappy, because it has no basis to know the true nature of happiness. Every one appears to seek the happiness derived from external, material things. However, these external, material things are transient and represent only a perceived happiness.  True and everlasting happiness comes from spirituality and from within the soul.  In chapter three, we learned the description of fourteen spiritual stages for the soul.  All the mundane souls are on the first spiritual stage called wrong belief (mithyatva).  With the guidance from the omniscient lord, the holy scriptures and enlightened teachers, the living being initiates its own efforts in the right direction and begins climbing the ladder through the spiritual stages.  Each and every living being has the capacity to achieve pure, perfect, uninterrupted, everlasting happiness.  This is called omniscience or nirvana.  The Jain philosophy places great importance on ones own efforts (purusharth) to achieve these progressive spiritual stages.  Finally, chapter four describes the nature of all fourteen spiritual stages as well as detailing the bondage, dormancy, and fruition of the different types of karma occurring at each stage.

The fifth, and final chapter, describes how to analyze the object.  Since there are innumerable scriptures available, one is not aware of the nature of analysis, and as a result, one can become confused.  Jain philosophy advocates that the truth has many facets.  This multiple point of view (anekantvad) is indeed the foundation stone for Jain philosophy.  One has to understand from which perspective one is seeking, and viewing what is perceived as fact.

Fortunately, our learned, enlightened teachers have provided us the system for understanding the truth. The truth can be analyzed in four different ways by its: 1) Characteristics (lakshan), 2) Organ of knowledge (praman), 3) Partial point of view (naya) and 4) by an Analysis of truth (nikshepa) per se.

Chapter five has provided all different perspectives in a concise way.  The highly involved, specific details provided, causes one to wonder, how the omniscient lords, the holy Scriptures, and the learned enlightened teachers were able to present the philosophy of Jainism in such great depth.  Hopefully, the reader can gain insight into this depth of the knowledge and can be motivated to begin on the path of the spirituality through his/ her own initiative and perseverance

Jai Jinendra.

Kirit Gosalia, M.D.

August 10, 2003

Phoenix, Arizona,