Banārasīdās’s Karmachattīsī  - Thirty-six stanzas on Karma

Posted: 05.01.2011
Updated on: 24.01.2011

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Banārasīdās’s Karmachattīsī 

Thirty-six stanzas on Karma

 

Introduction

The well-known merchant of Jaunpur, Banārasīdās (1586-1643), who gave to the world the first Indian autobiography,[1] wrote in Braj in Agra, where he was considered as the leader of an Adhyātma group,[2] a series of philosophical poems gathered after his death by his friend Jagjīvan under the title Banārasīvīlāsa. The text presented here, written between 1623 and 1635, belongs to this collection.

The title “Karmachattīsī” [3] announces a reflection on Jaina karma theory, but the text, prima facie, looks like a mixture of different elements of a more general Jaina doctrine. Banārasīdās informs the reader that he will “expound some conclusions (nirṇaya) on soul and on karma” (verse 2). He begins by making the essential difference between sentient entities (jīva), which are divided in two main categories (saṃsārī and siddha), and non-sentient entities (ajīva, dravya), which are matter (pudgala), space (akāśa, named here gagana), time (kāla), motion (dharma) and rest (adharma). A large part of this short text emphasizes in fact the substance “matter” because it is of course the heart of karma theory. Each properties (guṇa) and modes of representation (paryāya) of matter are mentioned, with some arrangements and novelties in the lists given by our author, according to his habits.[4] The end of the text is somewhat surprising by the medical vocabulary used by Banārasīdās who evokes the difference between two types of diseases, one caused by “bad” karma and the other caused by “good” karma. This distinction is made by Kundakunda who devotes an entire chapter (fourth adhyāya) of his Samayasāra to the good (puṇya) and the bad (pāpa) karmic bondage, telling at the beginning that “a shackle made of gold is as good as one made of iron for the purpose of chaining a man. Similarly karma whether good or bad equally binds the jīva”.[5] This text, as we know after his autobiography, has caused him a real philosophical jerk, and we can find many elements described by Kundakunda in Banārasīdās’s poetry. Following the Digambara philosopher, Banārasīdās considers as fundamentally different the soul (jīva) and the non-soul (a-jīva), a distinction that transmigratory souls cannot make, missing the way towards achieving their pure nature, taken by the diseases of karmic bondage.

As we can see, Karmachattīsī is far from a precise description of all the categories of karma that we could expect. It is only at the end of the text that we find finally expressed two categories of karma (verse 35). The fact is that Banārasīdās wrote another text on the subject, the Karmaprakṛtividhāna in which he describes all the subcategories of karma over its 175 stanzas, using the correct denomination. We give here the beginning of this text, as an illustration.

2

नमों केवली के वचन, नमों आतमाराम ।
कहौं कर्म की प्रकृति, सब भिन्न भिन्न पद नाम ॥२॥

namõ kevalī ke vacana, namõ ātamā-rāma
kahaū̃ karma kī prakṛti saba, bhinna bhinna pada nāma.

Homage to the speech of Omniscient, homage to the beauty of the soul. I will tell all the categories of karma, giving their name in separate verses.

3

एक हि करम आठविधि दीस। प्रकृति एक सौ अड़तालीस।
तिन के नाम भेद विस्तार। वरणहुं जिनवाणी अनुसार॥३॥

eka hi karama āṭha-vidhi dīsa, prakṛti eka sau aṛatālīsa

tina ke nāma bheda vistāra, varaṇahū̃ Jina-vāṇī anusāra.

One single karma shows eight species. Categories are one hundred forty-eight in number. I will describe their name, subspecies and extent, following the words of the Jina.

4

प्रथमकर्म ज्ञानावरणीय। जिन सब जीव अज्ञानी कीय।

द्वितिय दर्शनावरण पहार। जाकी ओट अलख करतार॥४॥

prathama-karma Jñānāvaraṇīya, Jina saba jīva ajñānī kīya

dvitiya Darśanāvaraṇa pahāra, jā kī oṭa alakha karatāra.

The first karma is “Jñānāvaraṇa”, Obscuring knowledge. The Jina said that it makes all the souls ignorant. The second is “Darśanāvaraṇa”, Obscuring faith, a rock-obstacle, whose obstruction is acting invisibly.

etc.

The Karmaprakṛtividhāna is as well structured as the Karmachattīsī is not. Mixture of Jaina doctrine, medical evidences, Digambara philosophy, the Karmachattīsī is a kind of reminder probably written by Banārasīdās to etch in his memory readings and oral learning provided by pandits[6] he listened to. In order to compare with a more ‘official’ doctrine, we used the Tattvārthasūtra and the Tattvārthavṛtti,[7] a Digambara commentary by Śrutasāgarasūri (16th c.), disciple of Vidyānandi, a bhaṭṭāraka from Gujarat.

 

Karmachattīsī

1

परम निरंजन परम गुरु, परम पुरुष परधान।

वन्दहुं परमसमाधिगत, भयभंजन भगवान ॥१॥

parama-nirañjana parama-guru, parama-puruṣa paradhāna.

vandahū̃ parama-samādhi-gata, bhaya-bhañjana bhagavāna.

I bow to the Lord, supremely pure, supreme master, the best among the supreme men, who has reached supreme contemplation, who destroys fear.

2

जिनवाणी परमाण कर, सुगुरु शीख मन आन।

कछुक जीव अरु कर्म को, निर्णय कहों वखान ॥२॥

Jina-vāṇī paramāṇa kara, suguru śīkha mana āna.

kachuka jīva aru karma ko, nirṇaya kahõ vakhāna.

Having taken the Jina’s speech as the authority, which is a very important teaching brought to mind, I expound some conclusions on soul and on karma.

3

अगम अनन्त अलोकनभ, तामें लोक अकाश।

सदाकाल ताके उदर, जीव अजीव निवास ॥३॥

agama ananta aloka-nabha, tā mẽ loka akāśa.

sadā-kāla tā ke udara, jīva ajīva nivāsa.

Empty space is motionless and infinite. It contains the world and the sky. Its womb is the place where sentient and non-sentient entities live eternally.

4

जीव द्रव्य की द्वै दशा, संसारी अरु सिद्ध।

पंच विकल्प अजीव के, अखय अनादि असिद्ध ॥४॥

jīva dravya kī dvai daśā, saṃsārī aru siddha.

pañca vikalpa ajīva ke, akhaya anādi asiddha.

The substance of the soul has two states: transmigratory and liberated. There are five varieties of non-sentient entities, which are imperishable, eternal, unrealised.

5

गगन काल पुद्गल धरम, अरु अधर्म अभिधान।

अब कछु पुद्गल द्रव्य को, कहों विशेष विधान ॥५॥

gagana, kāla, pudgala, dharama, aru adharma abhidāna.

aba kachu pudgala dravya ko, kahõ viśeṣa vidhāna.

Space,[8] Time, Matter, Motion and Rest are their names. I now expound some characteristics of the substance “Matter”.

6

चरमदृष्टी सों प्रगट है, पुद्गल द्रव्य अनन्त।

जड़ लक्षण निर्जीव दल, रूपी मूरतिवन्त ॥६॥

carama dṛṣṭi sõ pragaṭa hai, pudgala dravya ananta.

jaṛa lakṣaṇa nirjīva dala, rūpī mūratīvanta.

Through the ultimate vision, it is clear that substance Matter is infinite; fitted with senseless attributes, non-sentient groups, it has a form and a shape.

7

जो त्रिभुवन थिति देखिये, थिर जंगम आकार।

सो पुद्गल परवान को, है अनादि विस्तार ॥७॥

jo tri-bhuvana thiti dekhiye, thira jaṅgama ākāra.

so pudgala paravāna ko, hai anādi vistāra.

This Matter, which is seen in the three worlds under immovable and movable aspects, has infinite and expanded measures.[9]

8

अब पुद्गल के वीसगुण, कहों प्रगट समुझाय।

गर्भित और अनन्तगुण, अरु अनन्त परजाय ॥८॥

aba pudgala ke vīsa-guṇa, kahõ pragaṭa samujhāya.

garbhita aura ananta-guṇa, aru parajāya.

Now I make clearly understood the twenty attributes of the Matter[10] – which contain other infinite attributes – as well as its infinite modes of representation.

9

श्याम पीत उज्ज्वल अरुण, हरित मिश्र बहुभांति।

विविधवर्ण जो देखिये, सो पुद्गल की कांति ॥९॥

śyāma pīta ujjvala aruṇa, harita miśra bahu bhānti.

vividha-varṇa jo dekhiye, so pudgala kī kānti.

Black, yellow, white, red, green, mixed in many ways:[11] the diversity of the colours which you see is the beauty of Matter.

10

आमल तिक्त कषाय कटु, क्षार मधुर रसभोग।

ए पुद्गल के पांच गुण, षट मानहिं सब लोग ॥१०॥

āmala tikta kaṣāya kaṭu, kṣāra madhura rasa-bhoga.

e pudgala ke pāñca-guṇa, ṣaṭ mānahĩ saba loga.

Sour, bitter, astringent, pungent, salty and sweet are the enjoyments of taste. Although there are five attributes of Matter, everybody considers them as six.[12]

11

तातो सीरो चकिनो, रुखो नरम कठोर।

हलको अरु भारीसहज, आठ फरस गुणजोर॥११॥

tāto sīro cakino, rukho narama kaṭhora.

halako aru bhārī-sahaja, āṭha pharasa guṇa-jora.

Hot, cold, viscous, rough, soft, hard, light and heavy are the eight strong attributes of touch.[13]

12

जो सुगन्ध दुर्गन्धगुण, सो पुद्गल को रूप।

अब पुद्गल परजाय की, महिमा कहों अनूप ॥१२॥

jo sugandha-durgandha-guṇa, so pudgala ko rūpa.

aba pudgala parajāya kī, mahimā kahõ anūpa.

The nature of Matter has the attributes of good smell and bad smell.[14] Now, I expound the incomparable greatness of the modes of Matter.[15]

13

शब्द गन्ध सूक्षम सरल, लम्ब वक्र लघु थूल।

विछुरन भिदन उदोत, तम इनको पुद्गल मूल ॥१३॥

śabda, gandha, sūkṣama, sarala, lamba, vakra, laghu thūla.

vichurana, bhidana, udota, tama, ina ko pudgala mūla.

Sound, smell, subtlety, straightness, length, bendness, lightness, grossness, covering, desintegration, light and darkness are the roots of Matter.[16]

14

छाया आकृति तेज दुति, इत्यादिक बहु भेद।

ए पुद्गलपरजाय सब, प्रगटहिं होय उछेद ॥१४॥

chāyā, ākṛti, teja, duti, ityādika bahu bheda.

e pudgala-parajāya saba, pragaṭahĩ hoya ucheda.

Shadow, shape, heat, light and the many categories described are all modes of development of Matter. This is clear. Let’s cut it short.

15

केई शुभ केई अशुभ, रुचिर भयानक भेष।

सहज स्वभाव विभाव गति, अरु सामान्य विशेष ॥१५॥

keī śubha keī aśubha, rucira, bhayānaka bheṣa.

sahaja svabhāva vibhāva gati, aru sāmānya viśeṣa.

Some are good, some are bad, of pleasant or frightening kind; innate nature, creation,[17] destiny and general characteristics are present.

16

गर्भित पुद्गलपिंड में, अलख अमूरति देव।

फिरै सहज भवचक्र में, यह अनादि की टेव ॥१६॥

garbhita pudgala-piṇḍa mẽ, alakha amūrati deva.

phirai sahaja bhava-cakra mẽ, yaha anādi kī ṭeva.

“Invisible, formless god is contained in the ball of Matter.[18] He circulates easily in the wheel of rebirths. This is the state of things[19] from eternity!

17

पुद्गल की संगति करै, पुद्गलही सों प्रीति।

पुद्गल को आपा गणै, यहै भरम की रीति ॥१७॥

pudgala kī saṃgati karai, pudgala hī sõ prīti.

pudgala ko āpā gaṇai, yahai bharama kī rīti.

He creates the meeting of Matter[’s atoms]. He has affection for Matter. He adds up the soul to the Matter”. This is a way of confusion.[20]

18

जे जे पुद्गल की दशा, ते निज मानै हंस।

याही भरम विभाव सों, बढै करम को वंश ॥१८॥

je je pudgala kī daśā, te nija mānai haṃsa.

yāhī bharama vibhāva sõ, baḍhai karama ko vaṃśa.

The migrating soul considers as its own all the states of the Matter. This confusion, caused by imagination, increases the succession of karma.

19

ज्यों ज्यों कर्म विपाकवश, ठानै भ्रम की मौज।

त्यों त्यों निज संपति दुरै, जुरै परिग्रह फौज ॥१९॥

jyõ jyõ karma vipāka-vaśa, ṭhānai bhrama kī mauja.

tyõ tyõ nija saṃpati durai, jurai parigraha phauja.

As long as karma, which has the power to mature, keeps the wave of confusion, one’s own success disappears, one is attached to his army[21] of possessions.

20

ज्यों वानर मदिरा पिये, विच्छू डंकित गात।

भूत लगै कौतुक करै, त्यों भ्रम को उत्पात ॥२०॥

jyõ vānara madirā piye, vicchū ḍaṅkita gāta.

bhūta lagai kautuka karai, tyõ bhrama ko utpāta.

The turmoil caused by confusion is comparable to a monkey who has drunk alcohol or whose body has been bitten by a scorpion, looking like possessed, showing a strange spectacle.

21

भ्रम संशय की भूल सों, लहै न सहज स्वकीय।

करम रोग समुझै नहीं, यह संसारी जीय ॥२१॥

bhrama saṃśaya kī bhūla sõ, lahai na sahaja svakīya.

karama-roga samujhai nahĩ, yaha saṃsārī jīya.

By oversighting the anxiety of confusion, it cannot find its own Nature: here is the transmigrating soul, it does not understand the disease of karma.

22

कर्म रोग के द्वै चरण, विषम दुहूं की चाल।

एक कंप प्रकृती लिये, एक ऐंठि असराल ॥२२॥

karma-roga ke dvai caraṇa, viṣama duhū̃ kī cāla.

eka kampa prakṛtī liye, eka aiṇṭhi asarāla.

The diseases of karma are of two types. The progression of both is troublesome. One’s nature is trembling, the other’s is continuous spasms.[22]

23

कंपरोग है पाप पद, अकर रोग है पुण्य।

ज्ञान रूप है आतमा, दुहूं रोग सों शून्य ॥२३॥

kampa-roga hai pāpa pada, akara-roga hai puṇya.

jñāna-rūpa hai ātamā, duhū̃ roga sõ śūnya.

The trembling disease is because of harmful karmic bondage. Inactive disease is because of beneficial ones. The soul, whose nature is knowledge, is free from both diseases.[23]

24

मूरख मिथ्यादृष्टि सों, निरखै जग की रोंस।

डरहिं जीव सब पाप सों, करहिं पुण्य की होंस ॥२४॥

mūrakha mithyā-dṛṣṭi sõ, nirakhai jaga kī roṃsa.

ḍarahĩ jīva saba pāpa sõ, karahĩ puṇya kī hoṃsa.

Through deluded view, the idiot sees the anger of the world. Sentient entities are afraid of all harmful karmic bondage and desire beneficial ones.

25

उपजै पापविकार सों, भय तापादिक रोग।

चिन्ता खेद विथा वढ़ै, दुख मानै सब लोग ॥२५॥

upajai pāpa-vikāra sõ, bhaya tāpādika roga.

cintā kheda vithā vaḍhai, dukha mānai saba loga.

Fear, fever and all other diseases appear because of a transformation of harmful karmic bondage. Anxiety, depression and pain increase. Everybody considers it as misfortune.

26

उपजै पुण्यविकार सों, विषयरोग विस्तार।

आरत रुद्र विथा बढै, सुख मानै संसार ॥२६॥

upajai puṇya-vikāra sõ, viṣaya-roga vistāra.

ārata rudra vithā baḍhai, sukha mānai saṃsāra.

Development of diseases linked with sensual enjoyment appears because of a transformation of beneficial karmic bondage. Distress, fear and pain increase. The world considers it as pleasure.

27

दोऊं रोग समान है, मूढ न जानै रीति।

कम्परोग सों भय करै, अकररोग सों प्रीति ॥२७॥

doū̃ roga samāna hai, mūḍha na jānai rīti.

kampa-roga sõ bhaya karai, akara-roga sõ prīti.

Both diseases are the same. The idiot does not understand this way. He is afraid of the trembling disease, he favours the inactive disease.

28

भिन्न-२ लक्षण लखे, प्रगट दुहूं की भांति।

एक लिये उद्वेगता, एक लिये उपशान्ति ॥२८॥

bhinna bhinna lakṣaṇa lakhe, pragaṭa duhū̃ kī bhānti.

eka liye udvegatā, eka liye upaśānti.

We can clearly observe the different signs for both categories. For one there is agitation, for the other one there is tranquillity.

29

कच्छप की सी सकुच है, बक्र तुरग की चाल।

अंधकार को सो समय, कंपरोग के भाल ॥२९॥

kacchapa kī-sī sakuca hai, bakra turaga kī cāla

andhakāra ko so samaya, kampa-roga ke bhāla.

There is contraction like a tortoise. Progression is like the winding course of a horse. There is an instant of darkness. Light is shed on trembling disease.

30

बकरकूंद-सी उमंग है, जकरबन्द की चाल।

मकरचांदनी-सी दिपै, अकररोग के भाल ॥३०॥

bakara-kūnda-sī umaṅga hai, jakara-banda kī cāla.

makara-cāndanī-sī dipai, akara-roga ke bhāla.

There is jubilation like the jump of a goat. Progression is of oppressive clutch. It shines like the moonlight of Capricorn. Light is shed on inactive disease.

31

तम उदोत दोऊं प्रकृति, पुद्गल की परजाय।

भेदज्ञान बिन मूढ़ मन, भटक भटक भरमाय ॥३१॥

tama-udota doū̃ prakṛti, pudgala kī parajāya.

bheda-jñāna bina mūḍha mana, bhaṭaka bhaṭaka bharamāya.

Darkness and light are two species of the modes of Matter. Without discernment, the idiot’s mind is doomed to any kind of confusion.

32

दुहूं रोग को एक पद, दुहुं सों मोक्ष न होय।

बिनाशीक दुहुं की दशा, बिरला बूझै कोय ॥३२॥

duhū̃ roga ko eka pada, duhū̃ sõ mokṣa na hoya.

bināśīka duhū̃ kī daśā, biralā būjhai koya.

There is just one way for both diseases. From none of them is there Liberation. Few are those who can understand the state leading to the destruction of both.

33

कोऊ गिरै पहाड़ चढ़, कोऊ बूढ़ै कूप।

मरण दुहू को एक सो, कहिवे को द्वै रूप ॥३३॥

koū girai pahāṛa caṛha, koū būḍhai kūpa.

maraṇa duhū ko eka so, kahive ko dvai rūpa.

Some fall from a mountain on which they climbed. Some sink in a well. Both find death. It is said to be one in two forms.

34

भववासी दुविधा धरै, तातैं लखै न एक।

रूप न जानै जलधि को, कूप कोष को भेक ॥३४॥

bhavavāsī du-vidhā dharai, tātaĩ lakhai na eka.

rūpa na jānai jaladhi ko, kūpa kośa ko bheka.

It is established that there are two kinds of inhabitants in the world.[24] That’s why we do not see them as one. The frog knows the treasure of the well, not the aspect of the ocean.

35

माता दुहुं की वेदनी, पिता दुहूं को मोह।

दुहु बेड़ीं सो बंधि रहे, कहवत कंचन लोह ॥३५॥

mātā duhū̃ kī vedanī, pitā duhū̃ ko moha.

duhu beṛī̃ so bandhi rahe, kahavata kañcana loha.

Sensation-producing karma is the mother of both. Deluding karma is the father of both. Both are fettered with a shackle known to be made of golden metal.[25]

36

जाति दुहूं की एक है, दोय कहै जो कोय।

गहै आचरै सरदहै, सुरवल्लभ है सोय ॥३६॥

36. jāti duhū̃ kī eka hai, doya kahai jo koya.

gahai ācarai saradahai, sura-vallabha hai soya.

Birth is one for both, even some say that it is two. One who seizes, acts, and believes[26] is really the beloved of gods.

37

जाके चित जैसी दशा, ताकी तैसी दृष्टि।

पंडित भव खंडित करै, मूढ बढावै सृष्टी ॥३७॥

jā ke cita jaisī daśā, tā kī taisī dṛṣṭi.

paṇḍita bhava khaṇḍita karai, mūḍha baḍhāvai sṛṣṭi.

The world-view depends on the condition of the mind. The wise breaks the existence into pieces, the idiot increases the creation.

इति कर्मछत्तीसी

 

References


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Banārasīdās. 2007. Ardhakathānaka. Traduction en hindi contemporain par Rohiṇī Chaudharī. Delhi: Yātrā Books, Penguin Books.

Banārasīdās. 2009. Ardhakathānak : A half story. Translated from the Braj Bhasha by Rohini Chowdhury ; preface by Rupert Snell. Delhi: Penguin Books.

Banārasīdās. (forthcoming). Histoire à demi : récit autobiographique d’un marchand jaina du XVIIe siècle. French translation of Ardhakathānaka by Jérôme Petit.

Banārasīdās. 2010. Dhyānabattīsī : 32 Steps to Self-Realisation. Introduction and English translation by Jérôme Petit. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay.

Chakravarti, A. 1971. Ācārya Kundakunda’s Samayasāra. With English Translation and Commentary based upon Amṛtachandra’s Ātmakhyāti. Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith.

Cort, John E. 2002. “A Tale of Two Cities: On the Origins of Digambar Sectarism in North India” in Multiple Histories : culture and society in the study of Rajasthan, L. A. Babb, V. Joshi, M. W. Meister (ed.). Jaipur: Rawat Publications, pp. 39-83.

Glasenapp, Helmuth von. 1942. Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy. Varanasi: P.V. Research Institute, 2d edition 1991.

Guérinot, Albert Armand. 1926. La religion djaïna. Paris: Paul Geuthner.

Gupta, Dindayalu. (no date). Brajbhāṣā Sūrkośa. Braj-Hindi dictionary, 2 vols., Lucknow: Viśvavidyālaya Hindī Prakāśan.

Jain, Mahendra Kumar. 1949. Tattvārtha-Vṛtti of Śrī Śrutasāgara Sūri. The Commentary on Tattvārtha-Sūtra of Umāsvāmī with Hindi translation. Delhi, Bharatiya Jnanpith, third edition 2002.

Jain, Ravindra Kumar. 1966. Kavivar Banārasīdās : jīvanī aur kṛtitva. Delhi: Bhāratīya Jñānapīṭh Prakāśan.

Jaini, Padmanabh S. 1979. The Jaina Path of Purification. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

Kundakunda. Samayasāra. Original Text, Romanization, English Translation and Annotations (with scientific interpretation) by Shri Jethalal Zaveri assisted by Muni Mahendra Kumar. Ladnun: Jain Vishva Bharati University, 2009.

Lath, Mukund. 1981. Ardhakathānaka. Half a Tale: A study in the interrelationship between autobiography and history. Jaipur: Rajasthan Prakrit Bharati Sansthan.

McGregor, R.S. 1993. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.

Monier-Williams, Monier. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1899, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002.

Premī, Nāthūrām. 1957. Kavivar Banārasīdās viracit Ardha Kathānak. Bambaī: Hindi Granth Ratnākar. [dvitīya saṃśodhit saṃskaraṇ. pratham saṃskaraṇ 1943].

Snell, Rupert. 1992. The Hindi Classical Tradition, a Braj Bhāṣā Reader. Delhi: Heritage Publ.

Tatia, Nathmal. 1951. Studies in Jaina Philosophy. Varanasi: P.V. Research Institute.

Tatia, Nathmal. 1994. Tattvārtha Sūtra: That Which Is. Umāsvāti/Umāsvāmī with the combined commentaries of Umāsvāti/Umāsvāmī, Pūjyapāda and Siddhasenagaṇi. London: The Institute of Jainology, HarperCollins Publishers.

Turner, R. L. 1966. A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages. London

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