About the Book
The ‘Samavayanga-sutta’ is the fourth in the series of
the twelve most authentic and the earliest Canonical texts Cangas) composed in
the Ardhmagadhi Prakrit. It is usually dated in the 5th to 4th c. BCE. ‘Samavaya’
means ‘a group’ ‘an aggregate’ or a ‘cluster’ of items, subjects or concepts
usually associated with each other through certain common characteristics. The
text is named as such because it follows the pattern of enlisting the subjects
and themes related to Jain doctrine in a group form following numerical order
in ascending manner. i.e. starting with 1 and going upto 100 in a regular way and
then beyond in a faster pace, upto one crore. These subjects are then dealt with
in a detailed and substantial manner unfolding their characteristics, a process
during which important psychological and ontological aspects of Jain doctrine
as well its cosmological beliefs come to fore. The text is thus an invaluable
source of deriving information on various aspects of Jain philosophy and belief
It is the first ever English translation of the text embellished
with critical and supplementary notes which is being issued for the sake of reaching
a wider Jain and Non- Jain readership, especially researchers and scholars.
About the Author
Ashok Kumar Singh (Jan. 1956)
An alumnus of the Allahabad University having Master’s
degrees both in Sanskrit and Philosophy. Acquired D.Phil. on ‘‘A critical study of the Prabandhakosha of Rajashekhara".
Later he developed special interest for Prakrit
as well as Jain Studies and has acquired proficiency in both of them.
Has independently edited 07 books and has been a
co-editor of 3 works. Has participated and presented papers in more than a dozen
national and International Conferences. Around 30 of his research articles ha e
appeared in reputed journals.
He has been on the staff of B. L. Institute as
Associate Professor looking after its teaching and research activities and at
present he is on faculty of the Parshvanath Vidyapeeth, Varanasi.
The B. L. Institute of Indology, Delhi has immense
pleasure in publishing the English translation of Samvayangasutra in
its Silver Jubilee Year 2009.
Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Associate Professor, has very
carefully prepared this English translation of the ancient Ardamagadhi text
Samvayangasutra, as accurate as possible. For this volume, he wrote a
learned preface and introduction and appexed four appendices to add the further
value to the work. On the occasion of the publication of this volume we
congratulate and express our best compliments to the translator and editor.
Our sincere thanks are due to eminent scholars of Indology
Prof. S. R. Banerjee & Prof. Piotr Balcerowicz, Poland. Both have been closely
associated with this project. Prof. S. R. Banerjee at the initial stage and Prof.
Piotr was generous in going through the draft of English translation and
suggesting to include the text in the project. In fact the present final shape
of this volume is the incorporation of his precious suggestions.
For the text of this volume our sincere obligation is
also due to Mahavira Jaina Vidyalaya, Mumbai and its erudite editor Rev. Muni Jambuvijayaji.
It will be perfectly in place here to say some words
about how the BLII was founded on the eve of its Silver Jubilee Year. The late
Revered Jain Ach. Vijay Vailabh Surishwarji Maharaj is well-known throughout India
for his humanism, his concern for the upliftment of the human race and his
disciplined way of life.
To commemorate the teachings of the great visionary
Ach. ‘a beautiful memorial (Smarak Complex) with a magnificent shrine has come
up on the outskirts of Delhi. The Smarak is the brain-child of the late
Mahattara Vidushi Sadhvisri Mrigavatiji, herself a great scholar of Jaina
Canons and a true disciple of Ach. VijayVailabh Surishwarji Maharaj.
The Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology (BLII)
was started through the munificent donations provided by the trusts of the
Bhogilal Leherchand family and through Atma Vallabh Jaina Smarak Shikshan Nidhi
to sponsor and promote research in Indology and other aspects of Indian
culture, objectives dear to Revered Acharyasriji. Ach. VijayVallabhji Maharaj
was advised by his guru in his last sermon:
"Temples to God have been built. Now you must
build temples to Sarasvati."
The academic programme of the Institute is to initiate,
organise and give a fillip to research in Indological subjects in general and
Jainology in particular.
Our thanks are also due to Sri Rajkumarji, General
Secretary of Sri Atma Vallabh Jaina Smarak Shikshan Nidhi, for the keen
interest shown in this publication.
We also thank to the staff of the BUI, for their
assistance and cooperation in various ways, especially to Mr. Laxmi Kant, Computer
Operator, BLII who has very sincerely accomplished the task of in corporating
proof correction and type-setting. We wish that the work receives appreciation
of scholars and proves incentive to the translator for bringing out similar
works in future.
It is gratifying that Jaina canonical literature
attracted the attention of scholars golbally. Since the publication of
authentic translations of four canons, namely Acaranga, Sutrakrtanga, Uttaradhyayana and Kalpasutra, in the Sacred Books of the East Series and of few
others outside, a number of commendable efforts have been made by Jaina
Institutions- academic as well as religious, by scholars in India and abroad,
to bring out the English translations of the, Svetambara Ardharnagadhi canons. With
the result that few of these like Acaranga,
Uttaradhyayana, Kalpasutra and Dasavaikalika have
more than one English translations. But texts such as Samavayainga, Prajnapana are still waiting for the favour of scholars in this
Prior to my arrival at BLII, this Institute has already
undertaken the project of English translation of third Angasutra Sthananga, therefore, with the permission of the management I took the project of
translating this fourth Anga text, Samavayangasutra.
Because in content and style it bears
close similarity with the third Anga. Both texts are encyclopaedic nature and are suppliment
to each other. Though categories here exceed ten and continue by progression up
to hundred and then far exceed hundred. Immediately following, but without any
logical connection with this, is a detailed table of contents and extent of all
the twelve Angas; then all sorts of statements which cannot be united
into one class and which deal partly with doctrine, partly with hagiology and, if
we may use the expression, history or legend.
Initially, at the pattern of SBE Series, it was
intended to bring out only the English translation of this work and the text of
Madhukar Muni edition published from Byavar was made as the base for the
purpose. Subsequently, in the light of the suggestion of the Aademic Council of
BLII, notes on translation was included in the original scheme. For including
text with variant readings in the present project i.e. the text of critical
edition of Mahavira Jaina Vidyalaya, Mumbai, Institute as well as the translator,
is very much obliged to Prof. Piotr Balcerowicz, Poland. Ultimately,
Introduction, three appendices Gatha Index, Classified Index of Proper Names,
Glossary of Technical Terms, in addition to Bibliography and Word Index, present
the composit whole of this project of the present edition.
The introduction, in brief, commences with the meaning
of Agama, Sruta and other terms used to
connote this genre of sacred literature. The relation between Piirva and Dvadasangi, date
of composition of Ardhamagadhi canons, abridgement in Jaina canons and
subject-matter of Samaviiyiifl.ga is dealt herein. The information on the editions of Samavayanga brought
out till date also is given here. The text and variant readings of Mahavira Jaina
Vidyalaya edition, published in the Jaina Agama Series, edited by Pujya Muni Jambuvijayaji,
is reproduced in this volume, verbatum. Word index, also is based on that of
this edition. For Classified Index of Proper Names the model given in the Ladnun
Edition of Samavao has been adopted and changed according to the readings
of Mahavira Jain Vidyalaya edition. For notes on the translation the editions
of Byavar, Rajasthan and Ladnun editions have been utilized. The system of
transliteration given in the Sanskrit-English Dictionary of Monier Williams has
Now, I may take this opportunity to express my sincere
thanks to various persons who in various ways have helped me during the course
of this project. First of all I offer my deep sense of gratitude to my guru
Respected Prof. Suresh Chandra Pandey, Former Head, Sanskrit Department of
Allahabad University, who inspired me for the study Of Jaina literature by
suggesting me to take a Jaina text for research. I can not find suitable words
to express my gratefulness to Prof. Jitendra B. Shah, Director, 1. D. Institute
of Indology and Vice Chairman of BLII, in whom since 1984 I have found a well
wisher. In fact, I solely owe to him for my arrival at BLII.
I will always be indebted to Prof. M. A. Dhaky, a
profound scholar of international repute whose unparalled knowledge of Jaina
religion, literature, art and architecture, makes him a natural role model for
those in this area. I have the fortune to interact with his writings and in
person from the very start of my career. His blessings have always been with
me. I express my deep sense of gratitude to Prof. Satya Ranjan Banerjje,
Quondam Professor at Kolkata University, a great Savant of Prakrit and Jaina
Studies, who was associated with this project from its inception. He has
enriched this project by his invaluable suggestions, during his stay at BLII
for Summer School of Prakrit and as the member of the Academic Council of BLII.
The scriptures or canons, English equivalent for agama or sruta, are
officially recognized sets of sacred texts, pertaining to any religious, philosophical,
scientific and other systems. Lexically, the term canon connotes: (a) authentic
laws of religion, spirituality, thoughts and behaviours, (b) a list or collection
of authoritative books or writings, containing the above laws’. Webster’s Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary", mentions its meanings as : (i) an ecclesiastical rule
or law enacted by a council or other competent authority, (ii) the body of ecclesiastical
law etc. According to Oxford English
Dictionary", this term denotes any
set of sacred books. Thus, canons are the basic literature of a system - religious,
philosophical, scientific and others, regulating their working, following and
Etymologically, the term sruta stands, in general, for
reading, teaching and preservation of learning by successive and traditional
teacher-taught hearings and memorised communications, in olden days. Its
derivative meaning referred only the heard words and their meanings but
comprehended other methods also, leading to knowledge and ultimately, all the
instrumental causes leading to produce sruta’, However, in Jaina tradition, it
stands for the knowledge, dealing with the spiritual and moral upliftment of
living beings. The term agama, a specific and later form of stuta, denoting
form of general knowledge, implies valid and consistent one, imparted by the
Besides, sruta and agama, a number of other words are
mentioned in Jaina texts. Anuyogadvarasutra"
mention ten and eight, respectively. With
three in common, thus, total fifteen. The term sastra, also frequently used,
makes the total sixteen, connoting all-purpose utilitarian meaning implying:
(i) those containing rules governing the society and individuals and (ii) those
preserving the culture of the community. The synonyms for sruta and agama may be put
as follows: sruta: heard from the attained or his disciples.
1. sruta: heard from the attained or his disciples.
2. upadesa: instructions
to learn about good or bad.
3. agama: traditional
doctrines or sacred canons containing them.
4. sutra: abbreviated
indicators, aphorisms or sacred collections.
5. grantha: treatises
of sermons, collections, connecting or stringing together of sermons.
6. siddhanta: tenets
or established truths.
7. sasana: authentic
controlling instructions on disciplines.
8. ajna: commandments.
9. vacana: sermons
in the form of spoken words.
10. prajnapana: communication
11. jinavacana: precepts
of the Jinas.
12. pravacana: special
13. aptavacana: instructions
of the attained.
14. aitihya: traditional
15. amnaya: sacred
16. sastra: teaching, awakening and discipline about constraints
and preservation of culture".
The great Jaina scholars Revered Muni Punyavijaya and
Pt. Dalsukh Malvania also deliberated, in detail, on the meaning and synonyms
of the word ‘agama’ as occurred in canonical literature. To quote their
words, "From the use of the word ‘agama’
in the scriptures at various places we
gather that the intention there is to convey the meaning jnana (knowledge) by
the term ‘agama’. ‘Agametta anavejja is translated into Sanskrit as ‘jnatva ajnapayet’ i.e. ‘may order after having known’.
Ach. Bhadrabahu says that ‘pravacana’, ‘sutra’ and ‘artha’ .are synonyms". But how ‘sutra’ and ‘artha’ can be
synonymous with ‘pravacana’ because ‘pravacana’
constitutes the genus while sutra and artha constitute
its species and also because sutra and artha are not mutually identical. Jinabhadra" solves the
difficulty by suggesting that even sutra and artha could be considered to be synonymous v ith ‘pravacana’ if
we view genus and its species mutually identical. Thus, Jaina literature
contains a number of terms prevalent for the sacred literature Jainas.
Relation Between Purva & Drstiviula: The Samavayangsutra
deals elaborately with the sections and sub- sections of twelfth Anga canon Drstivada.
Purva, here is enumerated as its third of five sections, others being Parikarma,
Sutra, Anuyogo and Culika in respective order. The content of this twelfth Anga
is also described in Sthanangasutra (c.3rd cent. B.C.), Nandisutra of Devavacaka
(c. mid 5th cent. ), Tattvarthavartika of Akalanka, Dhavala of Virasena, Jaidhavala
of Jayasena and Angaprajnapti. Against the background that Drstivada is taken
to be extinct and Purva represented the literature prior to Mahavira era, this
description becomes significant. The relation between purva literature and Angas
in general and twelfth Anga Drstivada, in particular has been haunting the
scholars since long and last word on it has yet to come. Some considered Purva literature
as explicitly denoting the literature prior to Mahavira while to some it formed
the part of 12th anga Drstivada. To them, the fourteen Purvas formed the part
of twelth Anga Drstivada and belonged to Sudharma. In consequence of this the
six patriarchs viz. Prabhava, Sayyam- bhava, Yasobhadra, Sambhutivijaya,
Bhadrabahu and Sthulabhadra had the epithet of srutekvalin or caturdasapurvi (knower
of fourteen Purvas).
The following seven patriarchs: Mahagiri, Suhasti to
Vajra knew only ten Purvas. As tradition maintains that with Sthulabhadra, the
knowledge of the last four Purvas (11-14) ceased to exist, hence Mahagiri etc.
are called dasapurvi. In Anuyogadvara there is also mention of the navapurvi, a
grade lower than dasapurvi alongwith dasapurvi and caturdasapurvi. From that
point the knowledge of the Purva decreased gradually and ultimately, in the
time of Devarddhigani, 980 years after Vira (463 AD); only one Purva remained.
On the basis of mention in the Samavayanga etc. the
content of the whole Drstivada including the fourteen purvas, Drstivada appears
to be still extant at the time of these texts and moreover, to be still intact,
since there is no mention of any imperfection.’
Abridegment in Canons
The tradition to abridge the text was in vogue due to
learning of stuta by heart and facilitate the scribing. Pt. Bechardas
Doshi observed, "The traditional Jaina monks considered the tendency to
write and get written as sinful activities. They, nevertheless, adopted this
path as an exception to safeguard the scriptures. The less writing, the better.
They adopted a method to reduce the sinful activity to the least for the
safeguard of the scriptures. With the help of two novel words ‘vanno’ and ‘java’ they
could abridge thousands of gathas, hundreds of sentences and their beginning was
shortened as well as no deficiency occurred in understanding the meaning of the
Three reasons- the system to learn the sruta by heart,
convenience by the scribe and intention to write briefly- are probable causes
leading to the abridgement of the text. It undoubtedly caused no deficiency in
the meaning, but it marred the charm of the text. The monks, having learnt the
whole canonical literature by heart, can make out the antecedents and precedent
referred to by the words ‘vanno’ and ‘java’ but the class of monks learning with the help of the
manuscripts cannot do. The text, having the references of ‘vannao’ and ‘java’ has not
proved much beneficial to them.
According to Pt. Bechardas Doshi, the text abridgement
was done by Devarddhigani Ksamasramana. He writes Devarddhigani Ksamasramana while
putting the agamas into writing, kept some important points in mind. Wherever
he found similar reading, he avoided the later one by using the words, e.g. jaha uvavaie, jaha pannavanae
etc. to denote the omitted text. When some
statement occurred repeatedly in a text, he used the word ‘java’ and wrote
the last word of it refraining from the repetition.
Modem scholars held the view that the process of
abridgement might have been started by Devarddhigani, but it developed in the
later period. In the specimens, available at present, the abridged text is not
uniform. A sutra has been abridged in one specimen but written in its
full version in the other. The commentators also mentioned" it in many places.
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