Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: Significant Import Of [Right] Knowledge

ādamhi davvabhāve apade mottūṇa giṇḥa talia ṇiyadaṃ.
 thiramegamimaṃ bhāvaṃ uvalabbhaṃtaṃ sahāveṇa..

ābhiṇisudohimaṇakevalaṃ ca taṃ hodi ekkameva padaṃ.
 so eso paramaṭṭho jaṃ lahiduṃ ṇivvudiṃ jādi..

ṇāṇaguṇeṇa vihῑṇā edaṃ tu padaṃ bahū vi ṇa lahaṃte.
 taṃ giṇha ṇiyadamedaṃ jadi icchasi kammaparimokkhaṃ..

edamhi rado ṇiccaṃ saṃtuṭṭho hohi ṇiccamedamhi.
 edeṇa hohi titto hohidi tuha uttamaṃ sokkhaṃ..

(Ādamhi davvabhāve apade) The transitory attributes of the soul cannot be [truly] identified with the [eternal] soul; hence (mottuṇa) abandon them; instead (ṇiyadaṃ thiraṃ taha egaṃ imaṃ sahāveṇa uvalabbhaṃtaṃ bhāvaṃ giṇha) grasp what is eternal, indestructible, steady and unique as well as truly identifiable with the soul, viz., pure consciousness.

(Abhiṇi-sudohi-maṇa-kevalaṃ ca taṃ ekkameva padaṃ hodi) Five classes of knowledge viz. (i) sensuous, (ii) scriptural, (iii) clair­voyance, (iv) mind-reading and (v) omniscience—are divisions of a single faculty called knowledge; (so eso paramaṭṭho jaṃ lahiduṃ ṇivvudiṃ jādi) and this faculty/capability is inherent in the soul and its emergence leads to final emancipation of the soul.

(Ṇāṇaguṇeṇhi vihῑṇā bahū vi edaṃ padaṃ tu ṇa lahaṃtῑ) Without the benefit of the virtue of knowledge [inspite of striving in various ways], many are unable to attain emancipation- [i.e., to demolish the karmic veil which obstructs it] (taṃ jadi kamma-parimokkhaṃ icchasi edaṃ ṇiyadaṃ giṇha) therefore, if you desire freedom from the bondage of karma, grasp the eternal faculty-knowledge.

(Edamhi ṇiccaṃ rado) [Addressing the aspirant] (oh bhavya) always adore the faculty of knowledge, (edamhi niccaṃ saṃtuṭṭho hohi) be content with it, (edaṇa titto hohi) be totally satisfied with it (tuha uttamaṃ sokkhaṃ hohidi) you will [positively] attain bliss par excellence.


In these four verses, the author eulogizes knowledge and emphasizes it as the highest spiritual virtue of knowledge, leaving aside all other efforts. Among the numerous attributes, virtues and faculties of the soul, some are merely transient while a few are permanent, innate and unalienable. Both in worldly and emancipated unembodied states, consciousness/knowledge (jñāna) is the most powerful and unalienable capability of the three most precious faculties—three jewels—that constitute the path of emancipation. While faith/belief (darśana) and conduct (cāritra) exhaust their potency of usefulness, once the soul has demolished the deluding (mohanῑya) karma. Knowledge (jñāna) alone [in the form of omniscience] adorns the eternal emancipated state of the soul. By this verses, the author earnestly admonishes the aspirants to concentrate all efforts on the acquisition of knowledge.

To comprehend the full significance of the value of knowledge, we shall, briefly, study the Jain theory of knowledge. Jain epistemology—theory of knowledge—is as old as Jainism itself and can be regarded as of great antiquity in its basic form, the theory is presupposed by the Jain doctrine of karma.

Upayoga (consciousness) is the defining characteristic of a soul. It is a complex of two cognitive faculties; knowledge is the determinate consciousness (jñāna) and intuition is the indeterminate consciousness (darśana). Thus, knowledge is inherent in the soul. In the worldly life, it is obscured by the karmic veil. It is imperfect when the veil is partially removed and pure and perfect when it is totally destroyed. Absence of knowledge is as unnatural to the soul as darkness is to the sun. Of the five classes of knowledge, enumerated in verse no. 7.12, the sensuous and scriptural (mati and śruta) are indirect as they are born with the help of the sense-organs and the mind. The other three are direct and independent of any external instrument.

Mati-jñāna—perceptual or sensuous cognition-is born with the help of the sense-organs and the mind. It includes intellect, memory, conceptual planning etc..

Śruta-jñāna originally meant knowledge embodied in the scriptures and Jains regard their scriptures to contain all the truths verbally expressed. But now it is accepted as articulate knowledge—verbal expression and means of transfer of knowledge from one person to others. In a wider sense, it is held that a soul could never be devoid of sensuous and verbal knowledge. Even the one-sensed organisms such as plants, are held to be possessed of these two. To be devoid of these is to lose the nature, soul and become non-soul.

The Jains believe in the capacity of the soul to know all things irrespective of temporal and spatial distance, i.e., the soul is inherently capable of cognizing all things with all these characteristics—past, present and future. The other three classes of knowledge are completely free from the dependence upon sense-organs, mind or any other external instrument. By clairvoyance—visual intuition—avadhi-jñāna, one can intuit things which have shape or form (rūpῑ).

Manaḥparyāya-jñāna, i.e., mind-reading is the revealer of the objects thought of by the minds of people, i.e. it intuits the states of mind that is engaged in thinking.

Omniscience (kevala-jñāna) is the consummation of all knowledge. It intuits all substances—rūpῑ and arūpῑ—with all their modes. Nothing remains unknown to an omniscient—kevalῑ. It is perfectly consistent with the Jain concept of emergence of full knowledge with the removal of karmic veil. Jains are emphatic that the plenum of knowledge can be attained by the development of a supervision which is potentially in all souls and omniscience is the condition as well as the result of perfection.


Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda Publishers:
Jain Vishva Bharati University First Edition: 2009

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Clairvoyance
  2. Consciousness
  3. Cāritra
  4. Darśana
  5. Jainism
  6. Jñāna
  7. Karma
  8. Kevala-jñāna
  9. Manaḥparyāya-jñāna
  10. Omniscient
  11. Soul
  12. Three Jewels
  13. Upayoga
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