About the Book
Acarya Amrtacandra was a great mystic saint who commented for the first time on Kundakunda’s Philosophical, spiritual and mystic works like the Samayasara, He was the person who has a philosopher, a mystic, a poet and a saint. Like Kundakundacarya, he too laid emphasis on Paramarthikadrsti niscayanaya i.e. transcendental point of view.
There are many books on Jain ethics dealing with house holders discipline. Most of them analyse the ethical doctrines by emphacizing the empirical point of view i.e. Vyavahari- kadrsti. It is a unique feature of the present text i.e. the Purusartha-siddhyupaya, that for the first time it has dealt householders’ discipline in the light of transcendental stand-point and, thereby, ethical doctrines are raised on and merged in mystic experience for self-realization. The author of the present book has critically studied for the first time such an important work on Jain ethics, and has paved the way for further critical studies of J ain spiritualism in ethical works.
About the Author
Madhusudan Mishra, the author of the present book, was born on 8th June, 1964 in Jajpur, district, Cuttack, Orissa. A brilliant student all through his academic career, Mr. Mishra stood second in the B.A (Sanskrit) Honours examination of Utkal University, 1983 and received the L. B. Mohanty Memorial Medal for that distinction. He also secured the much coveted First Class First position in M.A. Sanskrit (1985) in the same University and was awarded the University Gold Medal, Rohini Gadadhar Gold Medal and several other prizes. He successfully completed his M. Phil from the University of Pona (1987) and is currently engaged in research for his Ph. D under Poona University, which is nearing completion. Mr. Mishra is a prolific writer who writes in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Oriya. He has to his credit dozens of research papers published in different national and international journals, periodicals, magazines and leading daily newspapers. His research interest indues Veda, Vyakarana, Indian Folk Culture, Puranic mythology and traditional archaeology.
His forthcoming publications include:
(1) Ganesha: Facts and Facets,
(2) Vedic Scholars from the west etc.
At present he is serving in the premier Vedic Research Institute of India: The Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune 411 037.
The present work is an outcome of the research I did during the years 1986-87 in the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages, University of Poona. While presenting it to the world of scholars, I feel it a duty to write a few words as a prologue to the study proper, because the study involves a highly important aspect of a religion, namely, the purustirtha-s, which are traditionally believed to be four in number viz. Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksa. It is believed that it was initially the trivarga theory which constituted the essential feature of Hindu system of thought and Moksa was added to it later on. Since no detailed or coherent account of these four principal goals of human life is found in any religio-philosophical literature, it is extremely difficult to ascertain their exact nature. However, this much is distinct that while the first three goals i.e. Artha, Kama and Dharma are essentially related to the empirical world, the fourth one, Moksa is related to the world beyond.
The concept of Purusartha has been traditionally explained as: “yasmin krte purusasya pritir bhavati sah purusarthah padarthab” (Sarirabhasya on Manusmrti 4. 1. 2). R. N. Dandekar (“The Theory of Purusarthas : A Rethinking,” Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. LXVIII, Poona, 1987, p. 663) defines the purusartha-s as “motivations of human activity”, “individual urges or human ends”, “human needs or desires to be satisfied”, or “the ingredients of experience conducive to human fulfilment”, or “human values consciously pursued by man”. Literally, the word denotes the sense “objects of human life”. Recapitualating -the general view on these ends Dandekar (ibid, P. 664) writes that through the proper coordination of these four, “one is expected to build up a truly integrated personality, and to realise a truly full life-a life which is materially rich (artha), aesthetically beautiful (kama), ethically sound (dharma) and spiritually emancipated (moksa)”. However, moksa always falls out of the orbit due to its intimate relation with the transcendental world, quite opposite to the first three’s with the empirical one. While the first three are intensely engrossed in this world of action, Moksa implies the transcending of this phenomenal globe.
Just like the concept of four-fold human end, the idea of four-fold asrama is also unique to Indian tradition. If the whole human life is taken as a pilgrimage, the four asramas may well be conceived as four resting places. The four asrama-s are brahmacarya garhastha, vanaprastha and yativrata, Even though each one of them has its own significance, still the second one i.e. garhastha is first among all its equals. It is the pivot around which the whole social order revolves. The prestige it commands for its unique role in imparting training to the novices (to enter into householder’s life), fulfilling the desires of the child and old alike, and preparing for the journey to be undertaken by itself in future (i.e. preparation for Vanaprastha and Yativrata days) is to be noted down. Thus it occupies a very central position in our social fabric. Probably for this unique position it holds, Hinduism-nay, Brahmanic culture-lays high emphasis on it.
Jaina tradition also shares the concept of four-fold purusattha, but, divides human life into two major disciplines, namely, monks’ discipline and householders’ discipline. Since Jainism constitutes a part and parcel of the ancient Sramanic culture, it lays more emphasis on an ascetic life. The reason is that since a householder’s life is bound by so many limitations, it’s not so easy to practise the religion in its truest spirit in comparison to the one of an ascetic. Thus the status of being the most ideal discipline has always been given to monkhood. However, householder’s discipline has also been with that as a subordinate one. Even though both the ways are equally competent to achieve the ultimate goal, in monk’s discipline one gets a speedy progress and in household’s it’s slow and gradual.
Attainment of Moksa constitutes the essential and principal goal of both Hinduism and Jainism. But while Hinduism lays more emphasis on householder’s discipline as the means to that end, Jainism lays more emphasis on monk’s discipline. The attainment of Moksa is possible through the proper coordination of samyag darsana, Jnana and caritra (cf. samyag-darsana-jnana-caritrani moksamargah: Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati), claims Jainism. For that attainment, Jainism expects its adherents to follow a definite code of conduct. Even though Jainism lays more emphasis on monk’s discipline, still Mahavira has also built an order where there is a scope for householders also. Thus we have two sets of code of conducts: one for the monks and the other for the householders called sravaka-s. In ancient canonical literature of Jaina Svetambara texts we have got independent works dealing with both the disciplines separately, e.g. the Uvasakadasao deals with householder’s discipline and works like Acaranga and Uttaradhyayanasutra.; deal with monk’s. discipline. On the other side, we have in the Digambara tradition, Vattakera’s Bhagavati-Ardhana, which is, the oldest work dealing of monk’s discipline, besides Kunda- kunda’s works related to the same topic. Samantabhadra’s Ratnakarandakasravakacara constitutes the oldest treatise dealing with householder’s discipline in Digambara Jaina tradition. Actually the reality is : by both the ways one can attain the highest end. But depending on one’s own capacity he will have to choose the order. However, monk’s discipline has always been given the highest status in Jainism and the one of the house-- holder’s occupies a lower status. The last stage of householder’s discipline is the initial stage of monk’s discipline. The aim behind advocating a subordinate discipline like the one of the householders is to introduce the layman to monkhood, but by a slow and gradual manner. Then only the obtainment of the highest human end becomes more feasible and possible.
Amrtacandrasuri, belonging to the 10th century A. D. has presented a work entitled “Purusarthasiddhyupayah” which deals with the householder’s discipline i.e. sravakacara. In this work he lays more stress on the fourth ultimate goal i.e, emancipation. A definite and well organised code of conduct has been ordained by him which will ensure a gradual development of householders towards the status of the monks. An absolute success in adopting and following the twelve vrata-s (vows), namely, the five anuvrata-s, three gunavrata-s and four siksavrata-s constitutes the focus of this text. The uniqueness of this work lies in its introduction to monk’s discipline, even though it is primarily intended for householders with a view to making them familiar with the principal order of Jaina tradition. The code of conduct is just like various means in the way of progress of human life towards the ultimate goal. The code of ‘conduct prescribed and described in the Sravakacara-s is just like a schooling or training for the adoption of monkhood at the final stage.
The Purusarthasiddhyupayah of Amrtacandra is one of the many Jaina Sravakacara-s which highlights the householder’s discipline in a unique way. Its systematic way of presentation, lucid language, rudimentary thinking and high philosophical tone have made it occupy a distinct position in the rich firmament of Jain Sravakacara literature. Unlike other writers, Amrtacandra adopts Kundakunda’s dialectic of Vyava-hara-naya and Niscayanaya (practical and real standpoints) while elucidating the main principle of householder’s discipline, which makes the treatise a unique one by combining Jaina mysticism in householder’s order. This prompted me to critically study the treatise afresh which is being introduced to the scholarly world. I shall feel my labour rewarded if constructive suggestions come from the discerning readers so that I would be in a position to take note of them in future editions.
The present work, as the title suggests, aims at critically studying Amrtacandra’s PS, a treatise on the rules of conduct for Jain laymen. The work belongs to the Carananuyoga section of Jain literature which deals with householders’ and monks’ discipline. The Jain Sravakacaras are one of the important sources of information regarding Jain lay community. They have been composed not only in Sanskrit and Prakrit but also in modern Indo-Aryan languages like Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi etc. There are some Sravakacaras which are composed in Dravidian languages such as Tamil, Kanarese also. The study of Jain Sravakacara literature is very valuable for under- standing Jain community with its socio-religious aspects. Scholars like Mrs. Stevenson, R. Williams, Dr. Vilas Sangave etc. have attempted to present such survey of Jain house- holders’ life with a histortical and sociological perspective. There are works studying individual Sravakacaras independently also. For example, in India a group of Digambara scholars like J. L. Jaini, Champatray Jain, Nathuram Premi, Hiralal Jain, A. N. Upadhye have produced editions of works such as Ratnakarar;qasravakacilra, PS, Dvadasanupreksa; Vasunandi’s Sravakllcilra etc. However, the critical study of the contents of some of the Sravakacaras is still a desideratum. Amrtacandra’s PS is one of such works which await a critical analysis of their contents. Hence an attempt has been made herewith for the first time to present a critical and comparative study of householders’ discipline as reflected in the PS. Though the text of the PS has been edited and translated by Ajit Prasad in English, by Nathuram Premi and Saranaram Jain in Hindi, none of them has tried to evaluate the contents of this work in a comparative and critical way.
Amrtacandra’s Life-As we have already mentioned, Amrtacandra is the author of this work. Nothing is known about his personal life. He gives no information about himself in his works. Asadhara while quoting a verse from the PS addresses him as Thakkura which might be either Amrtacandra’s surname or another name. Except that nothing at all is known about the life of this acarya.
Amrtacandra’s Date-Without any direct historical evidence regarding him, it will be very difficult to settle his date also, Scholars like Dr. A. N. Upadhye, Nathuram Premi place him somewhere Between 10th century A. D. Amrtacandra’s Works-Apart from the PS which is also known as Jinapravacanara-hasyakosa, Amrtacandra has composed Tattvarthasara (a metrical exposition of Tattvarthasatra of Umasvati), commentaries on Kundakundacarya’s Pravacanasara, Pancastikaya and Samayasara and Samayasarakalasa, which is often treated as an independent work.
Amrtacandra’s Position-As a commentator, Amrtacandra’s position is really unparalleled and unique, because, so far as we know, he is the first commentator on the authoritative works of Kundakunda. He does not aim at a verbal explanation, but wants simply to propound the philosophical contents of the original texts. His zeal for anekanta logic is very much striking. That is quite clear from his commentaries and other works. He shows close acquaintance with Digambara as well as Svetambara works. His mastery over Sanskrit idioms is remarkable. According to Dr. A. N. Upadhye, Amrtacandra is more a poet than a prose writers. As a spiritual poet his position is simply unique and unequalled by any Jain author before or after him.
Purusarthasiddhyupayah-As we have already said, the PS deals with the duties of the Jain householders. It is in a highly philosophical tone. After a short introduction giving certain basic principles of Jainism, it discusses the ratnatraya, the twelve vratas and Sallekhana with their aticaras, the tapas and the parisahas, It is in this spirit that the work differs from all others of its kind. In rather harsh verse, Amrtacandra sings the praises of Ahimsa with the fervour of a mystic, always stressing his theme that all the evil man can do in some sense is an expression of Himsa. Thus we see that in the PS, Amrtacandra’s explanation of Ahimsa and the relation between the Vyavaharanaya and Niscayanaya are important contributions to the understanding of the subject. There is a freshness about his treatment and some of his illustrations are indeed original and striking. Thus it is clear that Amrtacandra’s PS occupies an important place in Jain Sravakiiciira literature. In the’ present work we have compared Amrtacandra’s treatment of householders’ discipline with that of his predecessors like Kundakunda, Umasvati and Samantabhadra. The out-come of our study is that Amrtacandra, unlike his predecessors and followers, attaches an unique importance to Ahimsi: as the core of Jain householders’ discipline and tries to interprete all other vows in the same light.
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