Operative Consciousness


The Jain community is not acquainted with the life story, as with the famous Tattvartha Sutra of Uma Swami, who attained great fame even with a very small volume of written work.

He was the chief disciple of Kundkund Acharya and blessed this land in the last days of the first Vikram century and the first part of the second century.

Acharya Urna Swami is one of those glorious acharyas, who enjoy complete reliability and respect in the line of the acharyas. In Jain tradition, Tattwartha Sutra enjoys the same dignity as Gita amongst the followers of Yedic religion, Bible amongst the Christians and Quran amongst the Mohammedans.

Another name given to this holy book is Moksha Shastra. The importance of this work can be measured from the fact that during the last two thousand . years, more than a hundred commentaries in different languages have been written on this. Sarvartha Siddhi of Acharya Pujyapad, Tattvartha Wartik of Bhattaklank and Slok Wartik of Vidyanandi are the famous commentaries on this book. Tattvarthasar of Amritchandra Suri is, in a way, a poetic translation thereof. Swami Samantbhadra’s Gandhahasti Mahabhasya containing eighty-four thousand verses was also a commentary on this book, but it is not available.

Artha Prakashika of the old Hindi scholar Pandit Sadasukhji is also its commentary. Modern scholars have also written many commentaries in Khari Boli. It is the first Jain scripture in the Sanskrit language.

Present lesson has been written on the basis of Tattvartha Sutra.


Dharshanlal: Brother Gyanchand, I don’t understand from where father has chosen our names.

Gyanchand Don’t you know that both these names are meaningful, from the religious point of view. The nature of our soul is all consciousness and perception (Gyan and Darshan). Moksha Shastra says, “operative consciousness is the nature of the soul”. The activities of consciousness and perception are called their operation.

Darshanlal Is it like that ? To me these names appear to be strange.

Gyanchand You are correct, brother. As long as we do not know and hear things, they appear like that. Kundkund Swami writes, “This being has heard talks of sensual pleasures and passions many a time, has acquired acquaintance with these and experienced them. As such they appear to be easy, but has neither heard anything about the soul, till today, nor developed acquaintance with it. Therefore, it appears to be strange to him.”

Darshanlal Brother Gyanchand, please explain this operative consciousness more clearly, so that I may understand the mystery of my name.

Gyanchand Alright, hear. Inclinations of the soul connected with life-force are called operative consciousness. i.e. sentience and perception. These are found in all living beings and are not found in other substances. As such these are the essential characteristics of the soul, which is recognised thereby. There are two important parts thereof : (1) Perception and (2) Sentience

Dharshanlan Please explain the difference between perception and sentience.

Gyanchand That which gives a common impression (formless image) is called perception and that which differentiates -between the self and the non-self and gets detailed impressions is sentience.

Darshanlal Is consciousness of all living beings alike ?

Gyanchand Yes, from the . point of view of inherent potentiality all have the same consciousness. However, from the point of present development consciousness is of eight kinds : (1) Sensory knowledge(2) Scriptural knowledge (3) Clairvoyance (4) Telepathy (5) Omniscience (6) Perverted sensory knowledge (7) Perverted scriptural knowledge and (8) Perverted clairvoyance

Darshanlal What do you mean by sensory and scriptural and other knowledges ?

Gyanchand Discarding the tendency of depending on others, the knowledge of objects in a general manner is called sensory knowledge, or knowledge with senses and mind as its indifferent causes is called sensory knowledge. The consciousness that knows other objects in connection with objects known with the help of sensory knowledge is called scriptural knowledge.

The direct and crystal clear knowledge of material objects with limitations of matter, place, time and mode without the help of senses and mind, is called clairvoyance.

Darshanlal And telepathy ?

Gyanchand I shall let you know everything. Spiritual minded monks, without the help of senses and mind, know material objects thought of or located in the minds of others, subject to limitations of matter, place, time and mode and that knowledge is called telepathy.

Omniscience is the perfect, supersensitive direct and clear knowledge, in which all substances are known together and at once, as they really exist with their infinite attributes and modifications of all the three vast measures of time.

Darshanlal Is perverted knowledge also included in consciousness?

Gyanchand Persons having wrong faith, do not understand the nature of their souls. Their sensory and scriptural knowledge and clairvoyance are called perverted sensory knowledge, perverted scriptural knowledge and perverted clairvoyance, because, having wrong faith in the fundamentals, their consciousness is false, even when their worldly knowledge is correct. Since they do not have knowledge of the elements, all their consciousness is perverted.

Darshanlal Are there kinds of perception also ?

Gyanchand Yes, perception is of four kinds :

  1. Ocular perception

  2. Non-ocular perception

  3. Clairvoyant perception

  4. Omniscient perception.

Darshanlal Ocular perception means seeing with eyes. What is non-ocular perception ?

Gyanchand It is not like that. The ordinary awareness of existence which is experienced with the eyes is ocular perception, and the non-ocular perception is the ordinary awareness with the help of the mind and the rest of the four senses, except the eyes.

Darshanlal And what about clairvoyant perception ?

Gyanchand Likewise the perception of the objects which occurs just before the clairvoyance knowledge is called clairvoyant perception, but there is some speciality in omniscient perception.

Darshanlal What is that ?

Gyanchand The direct perception of the whole cosmos, which occurs together with omniscience is called omniscient perception. There is no gap of time in omniscient perception and omniscient consciousness.

Darshanlal Thank you. Very well explained.

Dr. H.C. Bharill