About the Book:
Here is presented a new edition of Acarya Kundakunda's 'Pancastikaya-sara' in Prakrit, edited with translation and commentary by Prof. A. Chakravarti. It is a work of great authority for understanding the Jaina concepts of Ontology and Anekanta. Prof. Chakravarti's philosophical and historical introduction is valuable in as much as it explains the Jaina concepts in the perspective of western philosophy.
The book has been presented to critical readers in its present form by Dr. A. N. Upadhya. It should be welcome to all earnest students and readers of Indian philosophy.
About the Author:
Rai Bahadur Prof. A. Chakravarti, 1880-1960, was one of the most prominent Indologists. He was a Professor of Philosophy in the Government College Kumbakonam wherefrom he retired as Principal in 1938.
A versatile scholar of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Tamil, Prof. Chakravarti was equally well-versed in western philosophy. He is also known for his comparative and analytical approach to philosophic problems in the light of modern researches. It is abundantly evident in a number of classical works which he edited and translated with voluminous introductions, viz. 'Pancastikaya-sara' of Kundakunda (1920); 'Nilakesi' of Samayadivakara Muni (1936); 'Tirukkural' of Tiruvalluvar alongwith its commentary of Kaviraja Pandit (1949) and 'Samayasara' of Acarya Kundakunda (1950).
Apart from a number of essays published in the Cultural Heritage of India, philosophy of the East and the West, Jaina Gazette, Aryan Path etc., he authored some unparalleled books like the 'Jaina Literature in Tamil', 'The Religion of Ahimsa' and so on.
The Bharatiya Jnanpith is a preeminent academic Institute of our country. It has achieved, during the last quarter of a century, quite worthy results in the form of learned publications in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Apabhramsa, Tamil and Kannada. Most of them are equipped with critical Introductions embodying original researches which shed abundant light on many a neglected branch of Indian literature. The number of these publications is nearly one hundred and fifty, included in the Murtidevi and Manikachandra Granthamalas. Most of these works are brought to light for the first time, and thus some of them are rescued from oblivion. It has also published in its Lokodaya and Rastrabharati Granthamalas nearly 350 titles in Hindi comprising almost all the literary forms like novels, poems, short stories, essays, travels, biographies, researches and critical estimates etc. Through these literary pursuits the Jnanpith aims at giving impetus to creative writings in modern Indian languages. By their quality as well as by their appearance the Jnanpith publications have won approbation and appreciation everywhere.
The Jnanpith gives, every year, an award to the outstanding literary work (now the whole contribution) in the various recognised languages of India which is chosen to be the best creative literary writing of the specific period, and its author gets a prize of one lakh (now five lakh-Publisher) of rupees at a festive function.
The Jnanpith, which is so particular about the publication of ancient Indian literature and also in encouraging the progress of modern Indian literature, cannot but take into account the forthcoming 2500th Nirvana Mahotsava of Bhagavan Mahavira, one of the greatest sons of India and one of the outstanding humanists the civilised world has ever produced. Naturally the Jnanpith, among its various plans to celebrate the occasion, has undertaken the publication of important Jaina works; and this Pancastikaya, edited and translated by the late Prof. A. Chakravarti is one of them.
The General Editors record their sense of gratitude to Shriman Sahu Shanti Prasada and his enlightened wife Smt. Rama Jain for the patronage they have extended to the publication of these works, which belong to the neglected branches of Indological learning. It is through their patronage that many unpublished works have come to light, and a number of important texts, accompanied by learned Introductions containing valuable research, have been put in the hands of scholars.
Thanks are due to Shri L. C. Jain who is enthusiastically implementing the publication programme of the Jnanpith.
The Pancastikaya, as it is specified by its brief title, is one of the important works of Kundakundacarya who occupies unique position, next only to Mahavira and his Ganadhara Gautama, in the South Indian Jaina tradition. It deals with Jaina Metaphysics or Ontology and Ethics, i.e., exposition of the path leading to liberation. The text is in Prakrit Gathas, and it mentions its title in two places: Pamcatthiya-samgaha (sutram or suktam) is tacked on to it; and in both the places it is qualified by Pavayanasaram (Pravacanasaram). Though the brief title is more popular, some have used the title in Sanskrit like Pancastikaya-sara, --Samayasara, -prabhrta and sangraha. In this edition they are allowed to remain as they are, inherited from earlier sources.
Plenty of Mss. of the Pancastikaya are known from public libraries (Jinaratnakosa, Poona, 1994, p. 231). A number of commentaries in Sanskrit by Amrtacandra, Brahmadeva, Devajita, Jayasena, Jnanacandra, Mallisena and Prabhacandra are known. Those of Amrtacandra and Jayasena are already printed and well-known. There is a commentary of Balacandra in Old-Kannada; but, so far, it is not published. Some expositions of this work in Hindi have been composed by Hemaraja (Samvat 1700) Rajamalla (Sam, 1716), Hiracanada (Sam. 1718) and Vidhicanda (Sam. 1891).
The importance of this work has been along recognised, and we have a number of editions in print of which the significant ones may be noted here:
(1) The text in Prakrit, along with short introductory remarks in Sanskrit, taken from Amrtacandra's commentary, was published in Roman script in Giornale della societa Asiatica Italiana, Firenze, 1901, by P. E. Pavolini under the title, II Comendio dei Cinque Elementi (Pamcatthiya-samgaha-suttam.) Three is a short informative Introduction by the Editor in Italian. He significantly remarks (of course, that was in 1901) that the texts of the Digambaras are scarcely taken note of and no text entirely edited.
(2) (2) It was published by Pannalal Bakaliwal alongwith Amrtacandra's Sanskrit Commentary and Hemaraja's Vacanika (put into modern Hindi) in the Rayachandra Jaina Sastramala Bombay, 1904.
(3) A A second edition of the above by Pt. Manoharlal was published with the addition of Jayasena's Sanskrit commentary in the same Granthamala, Bombay, 1914.
As far as I can judge, these last two editions have been the basis, so far as the text and commentaries are concerned, of a number of editions published here and there.
(4) The late Br. Shital Prasad brought out an editions of it giving the text, Sanskrit chaya and Hindi translation of Jayasena's Sanskrit commentary, Surat, 1926-27.
(5) Then there is quite a good edition Pancastikaya-samgraha of the text, Amrtacandra's Sanskrit commentary and Hindi translation by Shri Maganalal Jain and published (2nd ed.) from Songad (Saurashtra), 1964.
Excepting Pavolini none of the Editors has devoted and attention to the critical editing of the Prakrit text. Jayasena is one of the Sanskrit commentators who has noted some various reading and also given some additional gathas not found in Amrtacandra's text. All the Editors are mostly interested in the exposition of the contents.
Lately, the texts of Sri Kundakunda's works have been inscribed in marble in the Paramagama Mandira at Songad (Saurashtra) under the enlightening presence of Sri Kanaji Swami Maharaj whose devotion to Sri Kundakunda's words is unique and inspiring. The present writer was requested to edit the Prakrit Texts of Kundakunda's works for being inscribed there, and he has done it in his humble way using a few Mss. that were supplied to him. It is high time that the authorities in Songad collect in this Paramagama Mandira all the known Mss. of Kundakunda's works in Original, in photographs, films or photostat copies (as they might be available) so that, with the help of this material, some day a really critical text of all the works of Kundakunda can be presented for future studies. Nothing is more important and sacred than well preserving the words of this great Teacher whose name is remembered with so much of reverence in the annals of Jaina literature.
A Biographical Note on Prof. A. Chakravarti :
Prof. A. Chakravarti Nayanar(1880-1960) passed his M. A. with distinction, in 1905, from the Christian College, Madras, and took his L. T. in 1909 from the Teacher's College, Madras. For a year or two he worked as a Teacher in the Wesley Girl's School and as a clerk in the Accountant General's office, Madras. In 1906, he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Presidency College, Madras and thereafter he worked as such (having become a Professor in 1917) in the Government College at Rajahmundry, Madras and Kumbakonam (of the then Madras Presidency) from where he retired as Principal in 1938. He was conferred upon the title of Rai Bahadur in the same year.
Prof. Chakravarti was well-versed in the various schools of western philosophy. He brought his wide learning and deep scholarship to bear upon his study of Jaina philosophy. His Introduction to the Pancastikaya (Arrah, 1920) is a valuable exposition of Jaina metaphysics and the path of moksa. In 1937 he delivered Principal Miller Lectures which are published under the title 'Humanism and Indian Thought'. He was a stalwart Jaina Sravaka of his times in Tamil Nadu, he was specially interested in Jaina Tamil literature on which he had written a monograph in English (Arrah. 1941). He has edited a number of Tamil works by Jaina authors with their commentaries and, in some cases, with his learned exposition in English. For instance, Neelakesi, the text and the commentary by Kaviraja Pandithar (Bharatiya Jnanpith Tamil Series, No 1, with an English Introduction) and Tirukkural, with English translation and commentary and an exhaustive Introduction (Madras, 1949). He has also edited the Meru-mandara-puranam in Tamil. His exposition (described by M. S. H. Thompson, in the J. R. A. Society, London, 1955, as 'an indispensable aid to the study of Tirukkural') of the Tirukkural has been hailed both in India and outside as a learned and liberal exposition of the Kural, the Tamil Bible. His 'Religion of Ahimsa' is published by Shri Ratanchand Hirachand, Bombay (1957). It is a learned exposition in English of some aspects of Jainism.
Prof. Chakravarti, as an authority on his subject, contributed a number of essays and articles on Jainism, ahimsa and contemporary thought to various publications such as Cultural Heritage of India, Philosophy of the East and West, Jaina Gazette, Aryan Path, Tamil Academy. He wrote both in English and Tamil. Some of his papers are reprinted in the Yesterday and Today, Madras, 1946. He was a member of a number if Associations and Institutions in Madras.
As a pious Jaina and a deep scholar of Jainism, he wrote a commentary in English on the Samayasara of Kundakunda. He mainly follows the Sanskrit commentary of Amrtacandra. Still his exposition of the Samayasara and his evaluation of its contents clearly demonstrate how ably he has expounded the principles of Kundakunda to make them intelligible to the modern world. This was published by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, and a second edition of it is lately issued.
Prof. Chakravarti was a well-wisher of the Jnanpith; and he gave two of his works, as noted above, for publication in the Jnanpith Series. We are thankful to Thriu V. Jaya Vijayan, B. E. (33, Pudupet Garden street, Royapettah, Madras-14), for the bio-data of Prof. Chakravarti. He is the grandson of the late Professor from his daughter Smt. V. C. Jothimalai. (a.n.u.)
Sri Kundakundacarya, the author of our work, was a very famous Jaina philosopher and theologian. He was also a great organiser of religious institutions. His name is held in great veneration especially by the Digambara section section of the Jainas. Many great religious teachers claimed it an honour to trace lineage from the great teacher Kundakunda. Several inscriptions that are found in south India and Mysore relating to Jaina teachers begin with Kundakundanvaya-of the line of Kundakunda. Students of Jaina literature are familiar with such phrases as the following: Sri-Kundakunda-gurupatta-paramparayam; Sri Kundakunda-santanam; Sri-Kundakundakhya-munindra-vamsa.
These are some of the phrases claimed by Jaina writers such as Sakalabhusana, author of Upadesa-ratnamala, Vasunandin, author of Upasakadhyayana, Brahmanemidatta of Aradhana-Kathakosa. Instances may be multiplied without number, for showing the important place occupied by our author in the hierarchy of Jaina teachers.
The personality of this great teacher, as is generally the case with world famous individuals, is lost in obscurity and shrouded with traditions. We have to depend upon so many written and oral traditions to have a glimpse of this great person. The early history of India is but a string of speculations and even as such there are very many gaps. Under these circumstances, we have to be very cautious about the history of our author.
The one great landmark in the chronology of India is Candragupta Maurya. This great emperor of Magadha is not only referred to in the various literary works of India but is also mentioned by foreign historians, especially the Greeks. The emperor Candragupta especially is of peculiar interest to the students of the early history of the Jainas.
Lewis Rice and Dr. F.W. Thomas have done considerable service to Indian History by cautiously interpreting several available facts, archaeological and epigraphical, relating to that period. The early faith of Asoka and the migration of Bhadrabahu with Candragupta are now accepted facts of historical events and legendary notions of indigenous writers who generally measure time by milleniums. Nevertheless we have to point out that the orientalists have sometimes overreached their work. They generally proceed on the assumption that writing is a late acquisition in Indian civilization. The learned arguments put forward on Panini by Goldstucker to undermine this assumption have been before the learned public for some decades. The excavations of Jaina Stupas at Mathura and Mr. K.P. Jayaswal’s discovery of Konika’s Statue with the inscriptions try to set back the pendulum of Indian chronology to an earlier period. Speaking about the Jaina Stupas Sir Vincent Smith, Writers as follows:
“The assumption has generally been made that all edifices in this Stupa form are Buddhist. When the inscription under discussion was executed not later than 157 A.D., the Vodva Stupa of the Jains at Mathura was already so ancient that it was regarded as the work of the gods. It was probably therefore several centuries before the Christian era.”
Again says he, “Assuming the ordinarily received date, B.C. 527, for the death of Mahavira to be correct, the attainment of perfection by that saint may be placed about B.C. 550. The restoration of the Stupa may be dated about 1300 years later or A.D. 150. Its original erection in brick in the time of Parsvanatha, the predecessr of Mahavira, would fall at a date not later than .B.C. 600 considering the significance of the phrase in the inscription “built by the gods” as indicating that the building at about the beginning of the Christian era was believed to date from a period of mythical antiquity, the date B.C. 600 for its erection is not too early. Probably therefore this Stupa of which Dr. Fuhrer exposed the foundations is the oldest known building in India.”
When we take these historic discoveries with the Jaina traditions that a number of Tirthankaras preceded Lord Mahavira we may not be altogether wrong in supposing that adherents of Jaina faith in some form or other must have existed even anterior to Mahavira and that Mahavira himself was more a reformer than the founder of the faith. If there were Jainas influential enough to build Stupas in honour of their saints even anterior to 600 B.C. will it be too much to suppose that the followers migration to the South? In fact it stands to reason to suppose that a large body of ascetics on account of a terrible famine in the North migrated to a country where they would be welcomed by their devoted coreligionists. If the South were instead of a friendly territory waiting to receive the Sangha of learned ascetics a land populated with strangers and of alien faith. Bhadrababu would not have ventured to take with him into strange land a large body of ascetics who would depend entirely upon the generosity of the people. The Jaina tradition that the Pandya king of the South was a Jaina from very early times and that Bhadrabahu expected his hospitality might have some historical background.
Upto the time of Bhadrabahu’s migration there was no split in the Jaina fold. That the schism of the Svetambaras arose about the time of Bhadrabahu-I on account of the hardships of the famine is more than probable. This fact is evidenced by the complete absence of Svetambaras in the Deccan and South India. The Jainas in the South and Mysore always claim to be of Mula-sangha, the original congregration.
One other interesting fact is the migration of the Digambaras from the South to the North for the purpose of religious propagandism. One point of agreement comes out clearly and is note-worthy, i.e., the direction of the Digambara migration. It was from the South to the North, from Bhadalpur to Delhi and Jaipur. This agrees with the opinion that the Digambara separation originally took place as a result of the migration southwards under Bhadrabahu in consequence of a severe famine in Bihar, the original home of the Jaina community” (Prof. A.F. Rudolf Hoernle. Ind. Ant. Vol. XXI, ‘Three Further Pattavalis of the Digambaras’, pp. 60 and 61).
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