Real And Conventional

Pandit Todarmalji

Shri Jogidas Khandelwal of the Godika section was the father of Pandit Todarmalji and Rambha Bai, his mother. He was married. He had two sons-Harishchandra and Gumaniram. Gumaniram was a genius and a great revolutionary like his father. Most of his life w as spent in Jaipur, but he had to go to and settle in Singhana for his livelihood, for some time. He worked under a money-lender of Delhi there.

Traditionally his age was determined to be twenty-seven only, but looking to his scholarship, knowledge and literary achievements and on the basis of the latest references and proofs it is certain that he lived up to forty-seven years. It is certain that he died about the Vikram Samvat 1823-1824. As such he must have been born in the Vikram Samvat 1976-77.

He received ordinary education in the Tera Panth Style of Jaipur, but his deep scholarship was mainly due to hard work and genius, which he distributed very liberally. He was a great intellectual having sharpness of understanding and a studious nature. He knew Prakrit, Sanskrit, Hindi and Kannada. In Samvat 1821, Pandit Rajmalji wrote in his letter of invitation to the Indradhwaj ritual, “It is very difficult to find a man of his intellet these days. All the doubts about religious matters are removed after meeting him.”

About his studies, he himself writes in the Mokshamarg Prakashak, “I have acquaintance with Samaysar and its commentary, Panchastikaya, Pravachansar, Niyamsar, Gomattasar, Labdhisar, Triloksar, Tattvarthasutra, Kshapanasar, Purusharthasiddhiupaya, Ashta Pahud, Atmanushasan and many scriptures describing the conduct of monks and householders and Purans having stories of great personalities. according to my own understanding and knowledge”.

In his life, he wrote in all twelve books, big and small, which contain about a lakh of verses and about five thousand pages. Some of these are commentaries of popular sacred books, while others are independent works of his own. These are found both in prose and poetry. Chronologically, they are the following :

(1) Rahasyapurna Chitthi (V.S. 1811)

(2) Gomattasar Jivkand Hindi Commentary

(3) Gomattasar Karmakand Hindi Commentary (Samayakgyan)

(4) Artha Sandrishti Adhikar Chandrika

(5) Labdhisar Hindi Commentary (V. S. 1818)

(6) Kshapanasar Hindi Commentary

(7) Gomattasar Puja

(8) Triloksar Hindi Commentary

(9) Samosharan Rachna Varnan

(10) Mokshamarg Prakashak (incomplete)

(11) Atmanushasan Hindi Commentary

(12) Purusharthasiddhiupaya Hindi Commentary (incomplete)

The last was completed by Pt. Daulatram Kasliwal in V. S. 1827. His prose style is pure, fully developed and comprehensible. The most beautiful form of his style can be seen in his original work Mokshmarg Prakashak. His language, orginally, Brij, has the stiffness of Khari Boll and also local colour. It is strong and fine enough to express forcefully his ideas and feelings. To know more about him one should read, “Pandit Todarmal : Vyaktittva and Kartrittva”. The present lesson has been taken from the seventh chapter of Mokshamarg Prakashak. For knowing details of real and conventional perspectives, one should study the seventh chapter of Mokshamarg Prakashak.


Gumaniram -Father, you told me yesterday that the three Gems are the path to liberation from the worldly miseries. Are there not two paths to liberation i.e., real and conventional ?

Pt. Todarmalji -No, son, there are not two paths to liberation. The description of the path is of two kinds. The real unconventional path is the real path to liberation and that which is not a path to liberation, and yet, being an accompaniment or indifferently instrumental to it is the conventional path. Real and conventional perspectives are described as such everywhere.

True description is real and imposed exposition is conventional. Samaysar says, “Conventional perspective is unreal, because it does not expound the true nature of things. Real perspective is truthful, because it exposes the nature of things in a correct manner.”

Gumaniram -I have been thinking that experience of the pure soul like that of the siddhas is real perspective and indulgence in rules of good conduct and abstinence are the conventional one.

Pt. Todarmalji -This is not correct, because the name of some one substance and its feelings is not real and that of others is not conventional perspective. To express the intrinsic spirit of a substance – as that only, is real perspective and to impose the modification of other substances on the same is conventional description, e.g., to refer to an earthen pot as made of clay is real perspective, while to refer to it as sugar pot is conventional.

Gumaniram -The experience of pure soul has been treated as real and observance of rules of good conduct and abstinence as conventional perspectives in Samaysar.

Pt. Todarmalji -The experience of pure soul is real and unconventional path of liberation and so it has been called as such. Rules of conduct, abstinence and penance etc. are not a path to liberation; they have been treated as such a path, from the viewpoint of indifferent accompaniments and so they are called conventional perspective.

Exposition of the path of liberation from real perspective should form the basis of our faith and the same from the conventional point of view should be treated as untrue and worth not having any faith therein.

Gumaniram -So shall we preserve the belief of the real perspective for our liberation and accept the conventional for our activities in this world ‘?

 Pt. Todarmalji  No, my son, real and conventional expositions should be treated as they intrinsically are. Perspectives have no place in activities. Activities are the behaviour of the substances. To regard the activity of a substance as its own is the real perspective and to regard the same as of others is called conventional perspective. So our faith should be that the exposition of the real perspective is truthful, while that of conventional perspective, being an imposed one, is untrue.

Gumaniram -Why did you say that we should stick to the faith of real perspective and leave that of unreal perspective ?

 Pt. Todarmalji – Conventional perspective describes substances mixing the self and its activities and causes with the non-self and its behaviour. To regard it as real is wrong faith and as such, it is to be abandoned. The real perspective exposes the elements as they intrinsically are and does not mix them with one another. To have faith in such exposition is the right faith, which is desirable.

Gumaniram -Then why do Jain scriptures propound the acceptance of both these perspectives ?

Pt. Todarmalji -The acceptance of both the perspectives means that we should treat the exposition of the real perspective as ‘Truth is like that’, and where conventional point of view is predominent, to regard it as not intrinsically true, but that the exposition is imposed or due to some sort of connection with other indifferently instrumental objects.

Gumaniram -If you regard conventional exposition as undesirable, people will discard rules of good conduct, abstinence, etc.

Pt. Todarmalji -The naming of observances, rules of conduct and abstinence etc. are not conventional perspective, but treating them as path to liberation is such. We should stop to treat them as a path to liberation. If you leave good conduct and other merits, you will indulge in violence and other vices and that would be more harmful. It is, therefore, not correct to stop following rules of conduct, abstinence etc., while it is also not correct to treat them as leading to liberation of the soul.

Gumaniram -If it is like this, why do scriptures accept the conventional perspective at all ?

Pt. Todarmalji -A barbarian cannot be explained things, except in his own language. Likewise, spiritualism cannot be expounded without taking recourse to conventional exposition. Therefore, scriptures include conventional expositions as such. We may have to take recourse to the language of the barbarian to explain our ideas to him, but it is not desirable to become barbarians ourselves. Likewise, conventional perspective, being an expounder of spiritualism has a place in scriptures, but it is not to be followed or accepted as true.

Gumaniram -How does conventional perspective expound the real aspect ?

Pt. Todarmalji -We cannot see with our eyes the length and breadth of the Ganges, that rises in the Himalayas and falls in the Bay of Bengal. To know its length, breadth and curves of flow, we have to take help of a map. The Ganges of the map is not the real Ganges; we can know details of the Ganges, but cannot quench our thirst with the help of the map, we shall have to go to the bank of the real Ganges to quench our thirst.

Exposition from conventional point of view is like the Ganges of the map, we can understand the elements, but cannot have experience of the soul with its help. For knowing and experiencing the intrinsic soul, we have to take recourse to the subject of the real perspective i.e., our pure soul. Thus, conventional perspective is desirable only for purposes of knowing the different attributes of our soul.

Dr. H.C. Bharill