Istopadesa by Acarya Pujyapada is a concise work of 51 didactic verses leading the reader from the empirical to the transcendental , from the mundane to the sublime, through an experiential process of self-realization , rather than through a metaphysical study of the soul- nature.
The Supreme World Teacher (Lord Jina or Tirthankara) is the embodiment of ultimate bliss - indescribable, beyond the realm of senses - that results due to the union of the Effulgence of Knowledge Divine, that is, all-embracing Omniscience which reveals the reality of all substances and their infinite modes, and victory over attachment and aversion. Omniscience shines like a multitude of rays originating from a single source but revealing the whole universe. Or, it shines like the sun coming out of the clouds. The Omniscient Lord is really qualified to preach the gospel to the world. His auspicious body (paramaudarika sarira) acquires most splendid attributes, free from eighteen imperfections, worthy to be venerated and worshipped by the lords of the men and the four classes of devas. The attributes of His auspicious body include victory over gravitation, no further need of food and water, the eyelids are never closed, no perspiration, no shadow, and the hairs and nails do not grow any more. Peace and plenty must prevail wherever He goes. Naturally hostile animals become as friends in His presence, and flowers and fruits bloom out of season.
The devas erect a heavenly Pavilion (samavasarana) befitting Lord's glory, and there the World Teacher sits, facing the East, a few inches above the huge golden lotus placed on a throne of heavenly gems. The Lord appears to be looking in all the four directions. His voice is without the movements of the glottis or lips, and is, therefore, termed anaksari (without letters). The Lord's divine voice, as a result of one of the eight splendours (pratiharya), is heard and enjoyed by all present in their respective tongue (ardhamagadhi bhasa). The World Teacher is the sun that blossoms the soul-lotus of the worldly beings. His divine discourse is the rain of nectar-water that washes away the dirt of ignorance from all souls. He is a wish-fulfilling tree (kalpavrksa) for all those aspiring for liberation.
When the life karma of the World Teacher is within one muhurta (48 minutes), He embraces the highest order of pure concentration and annihilates the four non-destructive (aghatiya) karmas achieving the ultimate goal that a soul may aspire to reach, i.e. liberation (nirvana). Liberation signifies that there is nothing left to strive for or look forward to. His soul is purged of all karmic impurities and becomes pristine like pure gold, free from dirt and alloys. He crosses the worldly ocean of transmigration. He lives eternally in the supreme state of infinite knowledge and bliss.
Only a disciple of exceptional brilliance and accomplishment (riddhi) is able to fully assimilate, without doubt, delusion, or misapprehension, the irrefutable teachings of a Tirthankara. The presence of such a worthy disciple or Apostle, called a Ganadhara, is mandatory in the congregation before the Tirthankara delivers His sermon. As per the divine discourse of the World Teacher the Apostle composes the most sacred Scripture comprising twelve departments (Dvadasanga), also referred to as eleven Angas and fourteen Purvas since the twelfth Anga includes the fourteen Purvas that contain the true description of His teachings. The Scripture composed by the Apostle is a thorough description of the path leading to liberation, contains the true nature of all substances, is incontrovertible as it faithfully reflects the Words of the World Teacher, and has the power to vanquish all anxieties and inquisitiveness of the knowledgeable soul aspiring to tread the same path. The men of ordinary intellect cannot reach the depth of the teachings contained in the Scripture.
After the nirvana of the twenty-fourth Tirthankara Lord Mahavira (599-527 BCE), Ganadhara Gautamasvami, the Apsotle, compiled His teachings in the form of the most sacred Scripture (Dvadasanga). Subsequently, the knowledge contained in the Scripture was transmitted orally by the teachers to the disciple saints.
It is generally accepted by the Digambara sect of Jainas that the comprehensive knowledge contained in the original Angas and Purvas was gradually lost during the course of around six hundred years following the nirvana of Lord Mahavira as it was transmitted orally from one generation of Acaryas to the next. Acarya Bhutabali was the last ascetic who had partial knowledge (of a single Anga) of the original Scripture.
Learned Acaryas later on started to restore, compile and put into written words the teachings of Lord Mahavira, that were the subject matter of DvadaSanga. Acarya Dharasen, during the late first century to early second century CE, guided two Acaryas, Acarya Pushpadant and Acarya Bhutabali, to put these profound tenets in the written form. The two Acaryas wrote, on palm leaves, Satkhandagama - among the oldest known Digambara Jaina texts. Around the same time, Acarya Gunadhar wrote Kasayapahuda.
Since then an enormous amount of magnificent Jaina literature has been created by the most learned Acaryas. Only a part of this ocean of literature on various aspects of Jaina faith and philosophy may be available today in readable form. We articulate, with utmost everence, the names of many distinguished Jaina Acaryas, and read their works with great devotion. Prominent -Jaina Acaryas whose works have exerted the greatest influence on the thinkers as well as the practitioners, ascetics and laymen, include Acarya Kundkund, Acarya Umasvami, Acarya Samantabhadra, Acarya Pujyapada, Acarya Amritchandra, Acarya Nemichandra Siddhanta Cakravarti, Acarya Jinasen, Acarya Shubhachandra, and Acarya Amitagati.
Acaryas themselves practise the five-fold observances in regard to faith (darsanacara), knowledge (jananacara), power (viryacara), conduct (caritacara), and austerities (tapacara) and guide disciples to follow these observances. They are worthy of meditation; I bow my head in reverence to them.
All bhavya souls have the potential to attain liberation, the state of infinite knowledge and bliss. It is pertinent, therefore, to acquire the true knowledge about the divine attributes of the perfected souls and also the path that leads to the attainment of such attributes. By the adoration of the supreme attributes of the World Teacher we confess our deficiencies, on the one hand, and proclaim our aspiration to reach the same supreme status, on the other. Study of the sacred Scripture is recommended to attain purity of faith which leads to the belief that all objects other than the pure Self are alien and worth renouncing. A person with right faith believes in sevenfold realities - the soul, the non-soul, influx, bondage, stoppage, gradual dissociation, and liberation - as ascertained in the Scripture.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend