Niyamasara of Acharya Kundakunda's (The Origianl Text in Prakrit with its Sanskrit Renderings Translation, Exhaustive Commentaries)

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Item Code: NAI048
Publisher: Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi
Author: Acharya Kundakunda
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9789326350235
Pages: 126
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 260 gm
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Book Description
About the book

Niyamasara is one of the most renowned adhyatmika works of Acharya Kundakunda. It deals with the path of liberation, which is Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct, the three jewels of the Jaina faith combined. The word Niyamasara literally signifies the Right Rule, i.e. the true and indispensable law for the attainment of liberation.

Attachment and aversion, which include all passionate thoughts and activities, are the main cause of karmic bondage; while non-attachment or pure thought activity leads to freedom from bondage.

With the original text in Prakrit, with its Sanskrit rendering and English translation and exhaustive commentary, had been published first time by the Central Jaina Publishing House, Lucknow in 1931.

After a long time the same translation is being brought out by Bharatiya Jnanpith so that the readers and scholars of Jaina philosophy may enrich themselves for their academic purpose.



Niyamasara in one of the most renowned Adhyatmika works of Sri Kundakunda Acharya. He was the preceptor of Sri Uma Swami, the renowned author of Sri Tattvarthadhigama Sutra.

The Sanskrit commentary of Niyamasara was written by Sri Padmaprabha Maladhari Deva, who appears to have lived about 1000 A.D. He was preceded by Acharya Amrita Chandra, who wrote Sanskrit commentaries on Panchastikaya, Pravachanasara and Samayasara, the great monumental works on Jaina metaphysics by Sri Kundkunda Acharya. Padmaprabha has frequently quoted and referred to some of the verses of Amrta Chandra in his commentary on Niyamasara.

In 1912, a lucid Commentary with learned explanatory notes was written in Hindi by Jaina Dharma Bhushana Brahmachari Sital Prasadaji. No other Commentary in Hindi is available.

In 1928, the said Brahmachariji, at the request of the local Jainas passed the rainy season at Rohtak and stayed there from the 30th June to the 12th November. It was through his kind persuation and encouragement, that the English translation of this work was undertaken and finished by me. The translation and commentaries were written under direct and immediate supervision Brahamachariji.

The treatise is named Niyamasara, because it deals with the path of liberation, which is Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct, the three jewels of the Jaina faith combined. The word Niyama literally means, ‘rule or law’, and Sara means ‘the right’. Niyamasara thus signifies the Right Rule, i.e.., the true and indispensable law for the attainment of liberation.

The sole object and the whole gist of this treatise is to show that the all-pure, all-conscious, all-blissful and self-absorbed soul alone is the Siddha, a perfect soul. If a soul is in bondage with karmic matter, i.e., if it has any connection, whatsoever, with the Non-Soul, it is imperfect, and is under delusion. Its imperfection or weakness is accountable for the continuance of transmigrations-experiences of pain and pleasure. In order to obtain liberation, and eternal beautitude, a soul must get rid of all connection with the Non-self. When this connection with the Non-self is completely severed, Siddha-pada, perfection, is attained.

Right Belief, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct have been dealt with from two points of view, the real and the practical.

The real is the only sure and direct path; while the practical is an auxiliary cause to the attainment of the real. Real path of liberation is absorption in the self.

Attachment and aversion, which include all passionate thoughts and activities, are the main cause of karmic bondage; while non-attachment or pure thought activity leads to freedom from bondage.

1. Practical Right Belief is the true and firm belief in Apta, the all-accomplished, all-knowing, and the source of all knowledge of the Agama, the scripture, the written discourse, which first flowed from the omniscient, and in the form of Tattvas, the principles or categories.

The Apta must have there three characteristics-

(a) Freedom from all defects such as hunger, fear, anger, delusion etc. (b) Omniscience and (c) non-volitional propagation of truth. Such are the Arhats, the adorable Lords, of whom the most prominent are the twenty-four Tirthankaras.

Agama is the scripture composed by the highly learned and spiritually advanced saints from discourses which flowed from the Arhats. These scriptures are faultless and free from the flaw of inconsistency.

Tattvas : the principles, categories or substances are seven : (1) Jiva, soul, (2) Ajiva, non-soul, (3) Asrava, inflow, (4) Bandha, bondage, (5) Samvara, the check of inflow, (6) Nirjara, the shedding of previously bound Karmas, and (7) Moksa, liberation from all Karmic contact.

All that exists is included in one or other of the two principles, soul and non-soul. While a man is alive, it is the soul in his body which perceives and knows all objects; A body without soul in incapable of perceiving or knowing anything. Material objects such as pen, table or chair cannot feel or know anything. They are unconscious or inanimate substances.

I. The soul: It is the only conscious substance. From the real point of view even a mundane soul is pure, all-knowing and all-blissful; it is potentially so. From the practical point of view such a soul experiences various kinds of pain and pleasure in different conditions of life.

II. The Non-soul: It comprises the other five real and independent substances, which when taken together with the soul make up the six Dravyas or substances-

(1) Pudgala: ‘Matter’ is the most prominent, and plays a very important part in the amphitheatre of the universe. The special attributes of matter –substance (pudgala) are touch, taste, smell, and colour. It exists either in the form of atoms or of molecules, Only gross molecules are perceivable by the senses; fine, electric and karmic molecules which compose the electric and the karmic bodies of all mundane souls are not perceivable by the senses.

(2) Dharma Dravya: ‘Medium of motion’ is a single, immaterial substance, pervading throughout the whole of the universe. It is only an auxiliary cause of motion for soul and matter.

(3) Adharma Dravya: ‘Medium of rest’ is also a single immaterial substance, pervading throughout the whole universe. It is also only an auxiliary cause of rest for soul and matter.

(4) Akasa Dravya: ‘Space’ is a single infinite immaterial substance. Its function is to give accommodation to all substances.

(5) Kala Dravya: ‘Time’ is an immaterial substance. It is an auxiliary cause of bringing about modifications in all the substances.

III & IV. ‘Inflow’ (Asrava) and ‘Bondage’ (Bandha):

Every mundance soul has a karmic body, formed of karmic molecules. The universe is full of karmic molecules. Inflow of these molecules towards the soul, caused by the soul’s own vibratory activities through mind, speech, and body, is called Asrava. When these molecules are so attracted towards the soul, they are assimilated in the existing karmic body. The causes of assimilation or bondage are the soul’s vibratory activities and passions. This process is known as Bandha (bondage). The processes of Inflow and Bondage of Karmic matter go on simultaneously. The main auxiliary causes of both of them are-

(a) Wrong belief (Mithyatva)

(b) Vow-lessness (Avirati)

(c) Passions (Kasaya)

(d) Soul’s Vibratory activities (Yoga)

V. Samvara: ‘Checking of Inflow’ and ‘Bondage of kamic’ molecules, is called Samavara (Stoppage).

The main causes of stopping the inflow and bondage of karmic molecules are :

(a) Right belief.

(b) Observance of vows.

(c) Passionlessness.

(d) Restraint of soul’s vibratory activities.

VI. Nirjara: ‘The shedding of karmas’ already bound with a soul on matutrity or prematurely, is called Nirjara. The shedding of karmas on prematurely is caused by pure thought-activities brought about by the practice of right kind of austerities. The shedding of karmas on maturity is a natural and automatic process.

VII. Moksa: ‘Liberation’ is freedom from all karmic matter as a result of the non-existence of the cause of boundage and the shedding off all karmas previously bound. It is the state of Siddha, the condition of perfection.

Continuous devotion to Apta, study of the scriptures, and meditation of the seven principles, cause the subsidence of wrong belief (mithyatva) and of the four error-feeding passions (anantanubandhi kasayas) and as consequent upon the real right belief which is an attribute of the soul, and which shines forth in its true splendor. At this stage the right believer is fully convinced of the true and pure nature of his own soul, and this is the Real Right Belief.

Right Knowledge:

I. Practical Right Knowledge is the acquisition of the detailed knowledge of all the seven principles explained above, with the help of the Jaina scriptures, This Right Knowledge must be free from three main defects (a) doubt (Samsaya), (b) Perversity (Viparyaya) and (c) indefiniteness (Anadhyavasaya). Such knowledge reveals the complete and precise nature of things.

II. Real Right Knowledge is to know the true and real nature of the soul as quite distinct from all other non-soul substances.

Constant contemplation of and unflinching devotion to the subject matter of practical right knowledge is an auxiliary cause of the attainment of Real Right Knowledge.

Right Conduct:

A right believer, who has fully realized the true and real nature of his own soul, and is bent upon getting rid of the karmic dust which is in bondage with his soul, tries to follow Right conduct. His main object in doing so, is to be free from attachment and aversion, and all impure thought-activities and to attain the condition of equanimity.

Practical right conduct consists is observing the following five vows:

(a) Ahimsa (Refraining from doing injury.)

(b) Satya (Refraining from falsehood.)

(c) Asteya (Refraining from theft.)

(d) Brahmacharya (Chastity, purity.)

(e) Aparigraha (Non-attachment.)

This practical right conduct can be observed either partially or fully. Laymen observe it partially, while those who observe it fully are saints. Partial observance is merely a stepping stone to the conduct of a saint, without following which it is not possible to advance spiritually and to ultimately liberate the soul from karmic bondage.




  Chapter Page No.
  Introduction 9
I Soul : Jiva 21
II Non-Soul: Ajiva 35
III Pure Thought-Activity : Suddha Bhava 46
IV Practical Right Conduct : Vyavahara Charitra 60
V Repentence : Pratikramana 71
VI Renunciation : Pratyakhyana 79
VII Confession : Alochana 85
VIII Expiation : Prayaschitta 89
IX Supreme Equanimity : Parama Samadhi 94
X Supreme Devotion : Parama Bhakti 99
XI Real Independence : Nischaya Avasyaka 102
XII Pure Conciousness : Suddha Upayoga 110
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