Acharya Pujyapada

Published: 28.03.2014
Pujyapada, Ācārya Pūjyapāda


Born: 464 CE
Passed away: 524 CE




Ācārya Pūjyapāda who lived in the 5th century of the Common Era was a renowned grammarian and saint belonging to the Digambara tradition of Jains. Before initiation as a Jain ascetic, he was known as Devanandi.

Since it was believed that he was worshiped by demigods on account of his vast scholarship and deep piety, he was named Pūjyapāda. He was heavily influenced by the writings of his predecessors like Ācārya Kundakunda and Ācārya Samantabhadra. He is rated as being the greatest of the early masters of Jain literature.

He was prominent preceptor, with impeccable pontifical pedigree and spiritual lineage. "He was a great yogi, sublime mystic, brilliant poet, noted scholar, eminent author and master of several branches of learning.

He wrote in Sanskrit, in prose as well as verse form.

He was pontiff of the Nandi sangha, which was a part of the lineage of Ācārya Kundakunda. He was the tenth guru of the pontifical lineage of the Nandi Sangha. He was born in a Brahmin family of Karnataka. His parents were Madhava Bhatta and Shridevi.

It is likely that he was the first Jain saint to write not only on religion but also on secular subjects, such as ayurveda and Sanskrit grammar. When one looks at the earlier writers in the Jain tradition, notably Kundakunda and Samantabhadra, one does not find any secular writings. They wrote beautifully on religion and the means to attain liberation. Whereas Ācārya Pūjyapāda, besides being a profound scholar of the Jain religion and a mendicant walking in the footsteps of the Jinas, was a grammarian, master of Sanskrit poetics and of ayurveda. Ācārya Pūjyapāda was said to be the guru of King Durvinita of the Ganga dynasty.[5] He is reliably dated as having lived between 464 - 524 CE.

Ācārya Pūjyapāda's works:

  • Jainendra Vyākaraṇa (Jainendra Grammar) - Jainendra Vyākaraṇa deals with Sanskrit grammar and is considered as one of the finest early works on Sanskrit grammar. 
  • Sarvārthasiddhi (Attainment of Higher Goals) - Sarvārthasiddhi is a commentary on the Tattvārthasūtra, marked by precision and conciseness. It serves as the definitive mula patha for all Digambara works on the Tattvārthasūtra. Sarvārthasiddhi is the earliest surviving commentary on the Tattvārthasūtra, since an even earlier commentary, the Gandhahastī Mahābhāṣya of Ācārya Samantabhadra, is no longer available. Not even the famed Jain manuscript libraries, known as Grantha Bhandaras, have a copy of the Gandhahastī Mahābhāṣya.
  • Samādhitantra (Method of Self-Contemplation) – It is a treatise on yoga and adhyatma, outlining the path to liberation through differentiating the soul from the body. This is a short work, succinctly written, with 106 verses.
  • Iṣṭopadeśa (Divine Sermons) – It is a concise work of 51 verses dealing with the real and ethical aspects of life using examples from our day to day lives. Ācārya Pūjyapāda adumbrates the spiritual requirements that would transform our mundane lives into the sublime. Pūjyapāda differentiates between the important and the trivial, the essential and the non-essential and explains how the soul is different from its mortal coil. He goes a step further and explains that without realizing the essential difference between the eternal, i.e. the soul and the mutable, i.e. the body, all the devotion and all the meritorious deeds one performs shall not lead to liberation.
  • Daśabhaktyādisangraha (Collection of Ten Adorations) - This is a collection of 10 adorations of the Arihantas and the Siddhas, meant to be performed by Jain ascetics. It also serves to record traditions, especially concerning the life of Mahāvīra.
  • Śāntyāṣṭaka (Hymn in Praise of Śāntinātha) - A poem of 8 verses in adoration of Bhagavān Śāntinātha, the 16th Tīrthankara.
  • Kalyāṇakāraka (Causer of Benefit) - A valuable work on āyurveda.

    Digambara Jain monks hold that one must master three texts in order to have a fruitful ascetic career:

    i) Samādhitantra to cleanse the soul
    ii) Jainendra Vyākaraṇa to cleanse one's language
    iii) Kalyāṇakāraka to cleanse one's body and keep it free of disease and the debilitating effects of aging.

  • Śabdāvatāranyāsa (Arrangement of Words and their Forms) - A work on Sanskrit grammar, said to be a gloss on Pāṇinī
  • Jainābhiṣeka (Jain Anointment) - A work on Jain rituals
  • Chandaśāstra (Treatise on Prosody) - A work on Sanskrit prosody


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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adhyatma
  2. Arihantas
  3. Ayurveda
  4. Body
  5. Brahmin
  6. Digambara
  7. Guru
  8. Karnataka
  9. Kundakunda
  10. Mahāvīra
  11. Sangha
  12. Sanskrit
  13. Soul
  14. Tattvārthasūtra
  15. Yoga
  16. siddhas
  17. Ācārya
  18. Śāntinātha
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