Tatvarthaadhigama Sutra

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It is assumed that one is aware of the traditional and other translations of this sutra available:

Nigantham Pavyaanam Sacham

Tatvarthaadhigama Sutra was written by ‘Vachaka  Umaswati’ derieved from the principles of Nirgranth ‘Deshna’.

Sutra is coming from the word ‘sut’ meaning Yarn. A yarn consists of innumerable filaments. As one rises in spiritual levels, deeper meanings are revealed. Contemplation on the sutras results in insights. ‘Sutra’ is in condensed form where minimum words are used. It also means a secret, idea. Meaning of ‘asutra’ is planning, sutra is unplanned. Sutras are based on ‘deshnas of tirthankaras. Deshana is spoken without a motive, i.e. ‘nathi udhdeso paasagasse’ as always mentioned in most chapters of Acharanga  Sutra.

Tatvarthaadhigama Sutra first chapter first aphorism is ’Samyak darshan Gyan Charitrani moksha marg’ It explains samayak darshan gyan charitra (ratna treyi ) together is the way to moksha . Uttaradhyana sutra chapter 28 named ‘moksha marg’ also subscribes to a similar meaning – “na dhamsanisa nanam, nanena vina na hunti charana guna, agunasya nathi mokho, nathi amokhasya nibbanam’! Here there’s a difference between Moksha and Nirvaan, moksha is moha ka kshay which is the state of twelfth gunasthanak i.e. kshina mohaniya, which happens here and the consequence being nirvana… nir = without,  vaan = body i.e. asariri avastha , freedom from transmigration.  Thus it means without samyak  darshan there is no samayak gyan ,without samayak gyan there is no samyak charitra, without all these qualities there is no moksha, and without moksha there is no nirvana.

What is Samyak? The word Samyak is coming from the root word ‘samay’. Samyak Darshan , samyaktva, Samkit, Samayik, all these words are derieved from this root word ‘samay’.

‘Samyo’ is the title of the first chapter of suyagadang sutra. What is samay is also explained in Bhagwati sutra, in chapter eleven shataka eleven

. In a conversation between Bhagwan Mahavir and Sudamsana Shethi, samay is defined as indivisible unit of time. The actual word in the sutra is explained as “No Vibhajaya” (no division). Concept of time in Hinduism is YUG and Buddhism it is KALP.

It is only in Nirgranth Dharma that the concept of time is thoroughly explained. Starting  with samay upto anant kaalchakra. Fractions of time are avli, sthok, muhrat etc. to a maxium period of utsarpini – ascending cycles, avsarpini descending cycles, and anant  kaalchakras infinite time cycles.

Quote-Acharya kundakund , ’Samyo khalu Nimmalo appa’! the uncontaminated the unconditional soul is samay

Samyak is functionally absence of time gap between Darshan gyan and charitra. How does this state come about? It is very difficult to put in words this state of being. Darshan simply means to look, observe, cognize. Gyan is a state of knowing, comprehending, learning. Charitra is conduct or act of the above two which is darshan and gyan.  When there is indivisible state of time there are no thoughts! Time is thought!  Yet this state is not uncommon e.g. whenever there is crisis or danger our thought speech and action are spontaneous.

A simile in a story form explains this in Acharanga sutra chapter 6. This is a story of a (Kurma )turtle. It goes as – there was a pool fully covered with algae (sheval). In the pond there were many turtles with their family and relatives. The turtle could never peek at the open sky because of the algae covering the surface. One day something fell in the pond piercing the algae. One turtle managed to surf his way up and had a glimpse of the vast open sky from that spot. He was wonderstruck, when a thought come to his mind, that I must show this to my family and friends. He went to fetch his family and friends and came back to the surface, but alas that spot was again covered with algae. The crux of the story was that the wonder struck state was thought free.  The thought of going back to fetch his family and friends was state of attachment.

Any attempt to describe in words, which are pudgals (non living), the living (jeev ) ,is being illogical and absurd, so atma/samay in the absolute view is indescribable.

Acharang Sutra Chapter five quote – All sounds recoil thence, where speculation has no room nor does the mind penetrate there!  Atma is not long non-small non round non triangular non quadrangular non circular; he is not black, nor blue, nor red, nor green, nor white, neither of good nor bad smell; nor bitter nor pungent; nor astringent nor sweet; neither rough nor soft; neither heavy nor light; neither hot nor cold; neither harsh nor smooth; he is without body; without resurrection; without contact (of matter); he is not feminine nor Masculine nor neuter; he perceives ,he knows but there is no analogy (whereby know the nature of the liberated soul); its essence is without  form; there is no condition of the unconditioned . There is no sound, no taste, no touch, nothing of that kind.

Aphorism 2

“Tatvaarth Shraddhanaam  Samyak darshanam :

‘Tatvaarth’ is originally derived from two words Tha , and , tva.  Tha means what is and  tva means  as is, -so what is as is means  tatva.  ‘arth’ means any padaarth or substance. Thus to know any substance, as is, without any corruption or distortion is tatvaarth. One can also find similar words in Hinduism or in Hindu temples written as ‘tat sat’ meaning, what is, is real or actual.

Word ‘Shraddhanam’ – here word shraddha is to be understood thoroughly. Shraddha ,  generally understood and interpreted as faith, belief etc.  Faith, belief etc., are imported from abrahamic religions like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, where concept of god is that of a creator or omnipotent. Faith inherently produces violence. Stronger the faith the more violent one is. Violence and Dharma cannot exist  together, also one can easily be led to blind faith. Faith produces loyalty which is, ‘Raag’ (attachment) and raag is invariably accompanied by ‘dwesh’ (aversion); e.g. a dog is considered to be a faithful animal, if the master is attacked the dog turns violent.

In this aphorism the word Shraddha is to be understood in the correct context.  Shraddha derived from two  words  ‘Shra “ which means  shravan and ‘dha’ means darshan, it is a state of being –‘avasatha’  not bhaav. This is a state of complete attention or jagruti or jatna. The word shradha  in dravidian language  is very  commonly used  to mean ‘pay attention’, it is a state of gnata drashta;  in Gujrati  it is jovu & janvu observing & comprehending.

In Bhagwati sutra, shatak II,  Udeshak 5th – there are ten words (das bol) through which  bhagwan Mahavir explains the path, from shravan (listening)…to siddhi (Liberation). The original ten words are:-      Savanne; Nnane; Vinnane; Pachkhane; sanjame; Annanaya; Tave; Vodhane; Akriya; Siddhi. These ten is   a process one undergoes in a spiritual path. If one comprehends understands undergoes and applies then he has arrived!!!

In uttaradhyan sutra chapter 11, there are 5 obstacles to learning through shravan (listening.Ardhmagadhi word=Sochha).  The word shravak  is  coming from the root word shravan. Attention is always in the moment, when one is in total attention one is thought free, in other words neither in the past nor in the future, but in the absolute present. So it becomes samayak shraddha.  Being attentive is functionally to be neutral and be in a state of learning free of prejudices. It is this state that Bhagwan Mahavir said as ‘Durlabh’ (rarity ).  Original words for the four durlabh are in chapter 3, Uttaradhyayan sutra , as follows-1.  Maanusattam means human birth. 2. Suyi shaddha which means sutra shraddha (Shravan, darshan and study);  Sutra Study is emphasized by an example given in uttaradhyan sutra chapter 29 gatha 59, by understanding and completing the course of study of sutras, How does a jeev benefit?  Here an example is given of needle and thread, if a needle is lost it is difficult to find, but if it is with the thread it is easy to find, similarly if a jeev, who has complete sutra knowledge, though he may transmigrate in all 4 gatis, he will somehow attain Nirgranth dharma and liberate himself soon.  3. Sanjamo means Saiyam.   4. Viriyam means energy to implement and application.

The words Samyak Darshanam is already explained elaborately in Aphorism 1.

All the above explanations are relevant to a person who has done swadhyay (self study) and anupeha (subtle observations).

Aphorism 3

Thanisargaadhighamadha :

This sutra explains the source through which Samyak Darshan is obtained.

The first source mentioned is Nisarg- which is nature or naturally (Swabhav). This can be interpreted in many ways.

Among all the beings in this world, it is only human being, who, at some point, in his life time, wonders about himself and his surroundings (environment). This is because it is only human beings, who besides having the five senses also capable of, discriminatory knowledge, inquisitive mind of their own, and a thinking capacity, with reasoning and logic.

For samyak darshan it is imperative that one has a quest, for understanding himself and nature. It is also necessary, that he is free of prejudices, preconceived notions, is open to all view points (anekant), neutral, unconditioned and free of unnatural passions, vices etc. His study is not only objective but more intensively subjective.

P.S. please refer to original sutras , MOOL PAAT for all following sutras.

Thanang sutra, 2nd sthan, mentions, “samadhamsane duvihe pannate, tam  jaha, nissage samadhamsane, cheva, abhigham samadhamsane.”

This means samayak darshan is of two types, one acquired naturally, and other, by learning, listening, applying, or by shrut gyan, from Nirgranth preceptor.

Uttaradhyan sutra 28 chapter, 16th gatha “Thahiyanam……”  means to see things in a factual manner (thahiyanam), to observe as it is, to know as it is, to listen as it is, to understand as it is, and total acceptance (Samatham) as it is, ( without resistance) is samyak darshan.

Again same Chapter 16th gatha elaborates further the interest required to come to it. “Nisagha Uvaesa ruyi (ruchi) ……dhamma ruyi”). Nature; Updesh (advice/suggestion); Aagna (order within one self); Sutra;  biya ruyi (similar to oil drop spreading in water);  Abhigham (agam);  Vistaar (complete understanding);  Kriya (activity);  Sankheva (Summary);  Dharma.

Samyak Darshan acquired naturally is further explained in gatha 17 as follows:  Bhuyathenahigaya………..nissagho!                                                                                                                                                  The one who comes to know about the facts of existence and that which is existing… (Bhuyathenahigaya…), through ones  own intelligence (sahasmimayiyaye)  (potani buddhi thi). (This word is often repeated in acharang sutra, most of the chapters emphasizing to do one’s own research and study, i.e. non dependency)…comes to know about living and non living (jeev and ajeev); merit and demerit (paap and punya) and the means to stop the influx (Karman) [asrav/samvar]; is Nisarg ruchi. The following  Gatha 18 also explains Nisarg ruchi.

“ Jo jinadhitte bhave …… ….nayavo”!

Those who perfectly understand the perception of the jinas in all ways  with respect to  substances (dravya);  space (kshetra);  Time (Kaal);  Modification and attributes ( Bhaav); by himself (Sayameva) by discernment, and discriminatory knowledge (emeva nanhati, nnyava)

2.Udesh ruchi – can come about by listening to jina/Kevali and not a -Kevali  (chaumathenam)

3. Aagna ruchi –  is those who’s attachment/aversion, greed ,ignorance, in a way has ended (passion free ) and  when  order is established  in oneself.

4 Sutra ruchi –  those who have understood  and comprehended sutras from all perspectives and knows which is anga pravisht (within) and anga bahyar (out side the anga).

5. Beeja ruchi –  from studying a single subject, it spreads to comprehensive studies of several  subjects which in similar to oil drop spreading on the surface of the water.

6. Abhigam ruchi – those who have understood the sutra in its totality with its meanings,  The eleven angas and the 12th (Painnangam), drishti  vaada.

7. Vistaar ruchi –  is those who understood all the substances (6 dravyas) in totality by reasoning logic and inference (all nayas).

8. Kriya ruchi –  those who practice and apply darshan, gyan, charitra, austerities (tapa) humility (vinay), samitis and guptis.

9. Sankshep ruchi – those who have no false perception, rigidity, or floppiness, does not forget facts and have condensed the truth, and is aware of heretical philosophies.

10. Dharma ruchi – Those who understood, astikaya dharma (six dravya ), sutra dharma, charitra dharma (conduct), comprehend thoroughly deshna of the jinas.

In conclusion: When one is Free of all delusions (mithyatva) and Absolute SANITY prevails its Samyaktva.

It is popularly understood and true in a way, when a jeev’s mohiniya  karma has reduced (sthithi} duration  to less than  seventy koti of sagaropam , may be,  one comes to samyaktva , also explained by the following story – one can find a pebble on the sea shore which is round and smooth, but once upon a time , it was a giant rock. In course of time, by the lashing of the sea waves, it has acquired this shape. Similarly a jeev transmigrates in all the four gatis, undergoes several cycles of birth and death, till he perceives and comes to this state!!

Aphorism 4 

“Jeevajeevashravabandhasamvarnirjara mokshatatvam”

This sutra explains the seven fundamentals (tatva).

Some sects consider it as nine tatvas, by dividing ashrava into merits and demerits (paap and punya). Thanang sutra 9th thanam, mentions itas nine.. Uttaradhyan sutra chap 28, gatha 14 mentions it also as nine.

Jeev as living, and Ajeev as non – living.

  1. Jeev is that which has consciousness, feelings, capacity of knowing, perception, and cognition (upayog).
  2. Ajeev is devoid of the above qualities. Ajeev consists of matter (pudgal), identified by colour, taste , smell and touch. Ajeev also consists of space (aaksha astikay); time (kaal); the substance that facilitates in motion (Dharmastikaya) and the substance that facilitates in remaining still (adharmastikaya). These are the five non – living substances.
  3. Asharav – (influx): Asharav is influx of karman vargana pudgal (matter) which is attracted to the soul, by activity of mind speech and Body.  Meritorious activity is punya, demeritous activity is called paap. Both are chains or traps, considered as golden and iron.
  4. Bandha – (Bondage): Bandh is actually Binding, conjunction and amalgamation of the karman vargana pudgal with soul. There are various types of bondages.
  5. Samvar (Stoppage of influx): By being in equanimity. Acharanga sutra chap 4 udeshak 2, explains different kinds of ashrava. “Je asava , te parissava, je pariasava te asrava, je anasava , te aparisrava,je aparisava ,te anasava”There are as many ashravas as there are parishrava, there are as many parishrava as there are asrava. There are as many anashravas as there are as many aparisharvas. There are as aparisravas as there are anasravas.Asharava is that by means of which karman takes effect on the soul. Parisharava is that by which the influx of karman is counteracted (nirjara). Anashrava is that by which ashrava is avoided (vows). Aparishrava is that by which karman is acquired or bonded.Spiritual activity begins with samvar.
  1. Nirjara – (disjunction): The actual disjunction of karman vargana pudgal, which is opposite of bondage is nirjara. Nirjara is of two types, sakam (natural, voluntary) and akam (involuntary). Austerity, penance, endurance, etc are some of the means to nirjara.
  2. Moksha – End of desire (moha kshaya): it is the state of 12th gunsthanak (‘Kshina Mohiniya’), complete annihilation of bondage of karman vargana pudgal results in Moksha, the consequence of being; `ending of transmigration and cycles of birth and death.

Aphorism 5

Naamsthpanadravyabhaavastha nyasah !

This sutra is to do with transfer of knowledge and communication. To arrive at a correct understanding and perception, the meaning of the words has to be comprehended in the same manner expressed between the speaker and the listener. Words are used to express and describe, to describe a substance (dravya) one has to name (naam) and give it a form (sthapana) and explanation in the context along with the attributes (Bhaava). A sentence consists of noun, pronoun, adjective etc. Any substance can be described through its qualities, attributes (guna) only, and the understanding which comes about in totality from all seven nayas (nyasa).

The described knowledge is always indirect. True understanding is an individual experience that comes through perception (darshan ) and contemplation (gyan) of name (shabd) and form (roop).

Note : it is very important to understand that, name (shabd) and form (roop), may become the biggest obstacle for transcendence (moksha).

In Thanang sutra 5th sthan explains “Sadhesu (naming,by word which is pudgal), ruvesu  (form), gandhesu (smell),  rasesu (taste), fasesu (touch), the five kaam guna described as major  obstacles to nirvana.

Aphorism 6


Understanding comes through praman and naya. Adhigham is total understanding not only at intellectual level, but also to know holistically and totally.

Naya can also mean gyan. Naya is to know from all viewpoints.

One can also say that it is information accumulated.

Praman is actual perception (darshan), processing all information and experiencing them.

There is always a controversy which come first Gyan or Darshan, but in reality both happen simultaneously. The division happens when one has to explain in a particular context.

Uttaradhyan Sutra Chapter 28 gatha 29 “ Nathi charitham Samattha Vihunam……….Samattham”

There cannot be right Conduct without samyaktva, but samyaktva can happen without conduct. Samyaktva and conduct can happen simultaneously and together (juguvam). But it is essential that samyaktva precedes (poovam) conduct. Similarly Praman and Naya, though differentiated for understanding both are essential. Praman is of two types Direct (Pratyaksha) Indirect (paroksha).

Naya are of seven types, which will be explained in other subsequent sutras.

To be continued  …..

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