A classification of the Jain Scriptures


Pandit Todarmalji was born about Vikram Samvat 1797 in Jaipur. His father Jogidasji was of the Godika section of the Khandelwal Digamber Jain community. His mother was Rambhabai. He was the only son of his parents. His elder son was Harishchandra and younger Gumaniram. Gumaniram was a great revolutionary genius.

He possessed wonderful memory. At the age of about ten, he obtained deep knowledge of difficult subjects like Logic, Grammar and Arithmetic. His all-round brilliance was matchless. He himself writes :

I have studied Samaysar with its commentary, Panchastikaya, Pravachansar, Niyamsar, Gommattasar, Labdhisar, Triloksar, Tattvhrtha Sutra, Kshapanasar, Purusharthasiddhi-upaya, Ashtapahud, Atmanushasan and other works on the conduct of Jain monks and householders and those that describe the life stories of great kings and others engaged in the pursuit of the soul.”

His teacher was Vanshidharji., He died at the early age of about 47 years on account of communal dissensions.

Pandit Rajmalji writes about him in Samvat 1829- “It is very difficult to find such a brilliant person in these times. All the doubts about religious truths are removed, if you meet and discuss things with him.”

Ten of his prose and poetic works are available. Some of the prose works are commentaries, others are independent writings.

(1) Gommatsar Jivkand commentary (2) Gommatsar Karmakand commentary (3) Labdhisar, Kshapanasar commentary (4) Triloksar commentary (5) Atmanushasan commentary (6) Purusharthasiddhiyupaya commentary (7) Arthasandrishti Vichar (8) Mokshamarg Prakashak (original) (9) Rahasyapurna Chitthi (original) (10) Gommatsar Puja (Sanskrit) (original).

His prose style is pure, fully developed and comprehensible. He had extraordinary control over the language. He was a great scholar of Prakrit and Sanskrit, along with Hindi.

This lesson is based on the eighth chapter of the Mokshamarg Prakashak. 


Student – Whose life story has been described in Mokshamarg Prakashak ?

Teacher-There is no story in Mokshamarg Prakashak. Way to liberation has been shown in it.

Student- So Mokshamarg Prakashak is not a scripture ?

Teacher – Why ?

Student – There are stories in scriptures. My father used to ask me to accompany him to the temple, where religious good stories are read.

Teacher – Yes, there are life stories of great men in the scriptures. Those books which describe the results of the merits and demerits with the help of the life stories of great men and. in the end hold detachment alone to be worthy of pursuit are the first kind of religious texts.

Student – So are religious books of many kinds ?

Teacher – Religious books are called the voice of Jinendra Deo. They propound detachment from worldly existence. There are four ways of telling this-Prathamanuyoga, Karnanuyoga, Charnanuyoga and Dravyanuyoga.

Student – I like religious books containing stories. They give me joy.

Teacher – The goodness of religious books lies in the description of the religion of detachment, not merely in stories.

Student – Then why have stories been written in the religious texts ?

Teacher – You just told me that you like these stories. People engaged in worldly affairs do not always like to listen to preachings of detachment etc. They are just like sugar-coated pills for people of lesser intellect for inspiring them to take interest in Religion of Detachment, through their medium. Ultimately, these preach the gospel of non-detachment only.

Student – So it is like that. Holy texts relating life stories of people are included in Prathmanuyoga. What is the subject matter of Karunanuyoga ?

Teacher – Karnanuyoga contains steps of soul’s journey from mundane existence to liberation and states, where living beings are to be found, different modes of karmas and the geography of the three worlds. Since it gives figures and measures, it comprises most of Mathematics.

Student – It must be very difficult ?

Teacher – Of course, because it describes very minute things seen and known by omniscient beings only. Gommattasar Jivkand, Gomattasar Karmakand, Labdhisar, Triloksar are all such works.

Student– Is Charnanuyoga easier to comprehend than others ?

Teacher – Yes. It contains matter comprehensible to people of ordinary intellect. It elaborates the rules of conduct of the monks and householders and as such its style is that of books on ethics and morals. This classification specifies ways and means which encourage beings to leave demerits and follow real religion.

Student – Is Ratnakarand Shrawakachar a holy work of this kind?

Teacher – Yes, there are others like Purusharthasiddhi-upaya also.

Student – Are Samaysar and Dravyasangraha of the same category ?

Teacher – No, they are scriptures of Dravyanuyoga, because the nature of six substances, seven fundamentals and discrimination of the self from the non-self are dealt with in Dravyanuyoga.

Student– Like Karmanuyoga, does this category also describe things known and seen by the omniscient ?

Teacher – No. It includes easily comprehensible thoughts like

those in Charnanuyoga, but this category emphasizes eternal behaviour, while Dravyanuyoga describes the different phases of soul development. Logical treatment predominates in Dravyanuyoga.

Student – Why does it follow the style of logical presentation

Teacher – It does so, because here we have to arrive at spiritual fundamental principles, which we cannot do without logical treatment.

Student – Some say that Dravyanuyoga treats external behaviour as something despicable. Is it true to say that people will detract from the path of conduct by reading books of this category ?

Teacher – External conduct without spiritual leanings has been decried in Dravyanuyoga, but it has also emphatically discarded license in the field of conduct. In fact, people will become abstinence-minded by comprehending their souls by reading Dravyanuyoga.

Student – What if some mentally retarded people become corrupt?

Teacher – If an ass dies by eating sugar, people do not stop taking sugar. Likewise if people of lesser mental development become licentious, after knowing the fundamental spiritual elements, wise people should never abandon their pursuit of truth. The mentally retarded persons continue to pursue wrong faith. The only harm is that they would not enter good phases of life; instead they will be born in bad phases, but all the same, they would continue to exist in this worldly state. Spiritual teaching should not, however, be stopped or discarded, because that would close the path of liberation and thus harm countless people.

Student -Why read those texts which may have an element of danger ? What is the harm if we do not read them ?

Teacher – The original schooling in the path of complete liberation is contained in spiritual texts only. If you decry them, you decry the path of liberation.

Student – Let us not read them first.

Teacher – The practice according to teachings of Jainism is that one should acquire right faith with the help of spiritual texts (Dravyanuyoga) and then practice abstinence according to Charnanuyoga. As such Dravyanuyoga is beneficial in the first stages of development.

Student – Should we not first read Prathmanuyoga ?

Teacher – There is no fixed rule that such and such texts should be read first. Weighing one’s own feelings, one should read those texts that will foster one’s interest and conduct or to read others according to one’s likings. Many religious texts include styles of two or three classifications.

Dr. H.C. Bharill