Study Of Uttarādhyayana Sūtra

Published: 05.02.2009
Updated: 30.07.2015

Study Of Uttarādhyayana Sūtra


The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra occupies an important place in Jaina canonical literature; it is a representative work of Śramaṇika current of thought. It is important for its spiritual fervor, ethical notes, historical references, interesting stories, striking metaphors, inspiring dialogues, besides rituals and code of conduct of an aspirant treading on the path of emancipation. We find in the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra an in-depth analysis of almost all matters relating to life and living, particularly art of right living. It makes a thorough analysis of the internal mind, which is a storehouse of energy as well as of the external world, which is the work place of all mundane souls. In a way it is the ‘Gītā’ of the Jains, hence its importance is non-debatable. The content of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is relevant in all times and is for all people. It is a mini encyclopedia of Jaina faith and practices spread over thirty-six chapters. The depth of Jaina Philosophy and the vastness of contents are two unique features of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra. Jaina Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, Sociology, Psychology are some of the heads under which the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra can be studied.

The āgamas (scriptures) are the sacred texts of the Jains. They are revealed by Āpta i.e. an omniscient considered as an authoritative personages and compiled by the gaṇadharas i.e. principal disciples of the fordmaker / tīrthaṅkaras and practiced by ascetics [ā + ma + ma]. They had been handed down through an oral tradition and were documented nearly 1000 years after Lord Mahāvīra’s nirvāṇa (emancipation). We get four classifications of the āgamas:[1]

Classification I

14 Purvas and 12 Aṅgas.

Classification II

Four Anūyogas.

Classification III

Aṅga Praviṣṭa and Aṅga Bāhya

Classification IV

Aṅga, Upāṅga, Mūla and Cheda Sutras.

The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is an Aṅga Bāhya Mūla āgama and is not compiled by the gaṇadharas but revealed by Lord Mahāvīra before his nirvāṇa. Mūla means fundamental or root. Thus Uttarādhyayana sūtra is an mūla sutra for the fundamentals of Jaina beliefs and practices are discussed, it is the original revelation of Lord Mahāvīra and its study is a pre-requisite for the study of the Jaina canonical literature. The Uttarādhyayana sūtra is written in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra style in which the words are less but the meanings they convey are comprehensive and in-depth. Uttara + Adhyayana, Uttara means answers or excellent or last and adhyayana means study or lessons. Thus Uttarādhyayana means the lessons revealed later or last, some chapters are in question and answer style and it also means excellent lessons. Tradition reveals that it is the last sermon of Lord Mahāvīra discoursed at Pāvāpurī, Bihar. It is in Ardhamāgadhi and it is partly in prose, mostly in poetry and some chapters are a mixture of both. The language of Ācāranga and Sutrakṛtāṅga is comparatively archaic and so is that of Uttarādhyayana[2]. It is a representative work of 600 B.C to 400 A.D. The subject matter of all the four Anuyogas, Caranānuyoga - ethics, Dharmakathānuyoga - stories, Ganitānuyoga - calculations and Dravyanuyoga - metaphysics are spread throughout Uttarādhyayana Sūtra.

Commentary Literature

Of all the āgamas the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is the most popular work and widely commented upon. After the Tattvārthasutra we find so many publications of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra and it is because of the contents, parables, illustrations, simple narrative style and the in-depth analysis of the topics discussed. We have its Niryukti by Bhadrabahu II, a Cūrni by Gopālika Mahattara Śiṣya, Brhadavrtti by Vadī-Betāla Shantisuri, Sukhabodhā ṭīkā by Nemichandra Suri and around a dozen other commentaries[3]. A glance at the 36 chapters of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra gives us an idea of the variety of the contents.

Chapterisation of Uttarādhyayana Sūtra












4 Essentials



Irreparability of life



Art of dying


Ksulaka Nirgranthiya

Young ascetic



Parable of the lamb



Conquering greed



Jaina spirituality



Awakened life



The learned one



Austerity and Yagna


Chitta Sambhuta

Bitter fruits of volition






Qualities of an ascetic





Papa sramaniya

Sinful sage



Fearlessness and King Sanjaya



Detachment of the body



Biography of Anathi Muni



Fruits of deeds done



Steadiness in restraint


Keshi Gautama

Dialogue between the two


Pravacana mata

Mother of ascetics



True Yajna



Duties of an ascetic



Parable of bullocks


Moksa marga gati

Path of emancipation


Samyaktva Parakrama

Right exertion








Apramada sthana

Causes of negligence


Karma prakriti

Karma theory



Colouring of the soul


Anagara marga



Jivajiva vibhakti

Description of soul and matter

Essence of Uttarādhyayana Sūtra as revealed by Mahāvīra

Philosophy of Mahāvīra is the wisdom of the self, the inner, pure transcendental self. Metaphysics (Tattva Mimāṅsā) enables us to develop faith in it, epistemology (Jñāna Mimāṅsā) imparts its knowledge and ethics (Ācāra Mimāṅsā) inspires the aspirants to nurture spirituality and take to the prescribed rituals for self-realization and perfection. Faith, knowledge and practice-together they lead the aspirant on the pathway of emancipation. Ethics is the practice for highest good, through metaphysics one believes in the transcendental and knows very well the limitations of the senses, the basis of metaphysics is the Epistemology i.e. revelations of the all-knowing omniscient tīrthaṅkara/ Arhat. When the three together are blended in spirituality, they serve the purpose of enlightenment. Thus Spirituality is for the God in man and ethics is for the man in Society and Uttarādhyayana sūtra serves both these purposes. Mahāvīra experienced this spirituality, practiced the ethics thereupon became omniscient and enlightened and lastly revealed the truth; hence his philosophy of Anekānta (multiplicity of viewpoints) and his religion of Ahiṅsā (non violence) are universal and for all times and for all people.

The social evils like slavery, casteism, animal sacrifices etc that were there in the society at the time of Lord Mahāvīra, too have been addressed in the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra. One can see the influence of Mahāvīra and the Śramaṇika thought on the social, political and also on the philosophical schools of that time. So many verses that appear in the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra can be traced in the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gītā, Manusmṛti, Dhammapada etc. The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is a song of the soul, it teaches the art of right living as well as the art of right dying. Winternitz, while introducing the Jaina canons says that “With rare exceptions the sacred books of the Jainas are written in a dry-as-dust, matter-of-fact, didactic tone, seldom instinct with that general human interest which so many Buddhist texts possess. Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is one of his ‘rare exceptions’. As a religious poem he holds it to be the most valuable portions of the canon, its oldest nucleus belonging to the ascetic poetry of India and having its parallel in the Buddhist literature such as the Suttanipata and the Dhammapada.

Based on the contents the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra can be treated under the following heads[4].





Monastic Teachings

1-8, 10, 11, 15-17, 27, 32, 35.


Legendary Tales and Dialogues

9, 12 - 14, 18-23, and 25.


Dogmatic Discourses

24, 26, 28-31, 33, 34, 36.

Let us briefly study the contents of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra under the heads given below.

Section I, Monastic Teachings, Chapters 1-8, 10, 11, 15-17, 27, 32, 35:

Chapter I is a sermon on discipline (Vinaya). Vinaya is the root of all virtues. One who is disciplined alone can surrender and shine in life. Humility is a virtue of the wise and arrogance is the root of evil. An arrogant disciple is no good for the society. The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra gives two similes to drive home the significance of humility and discipline. Just as a bitch with rotten ears is shunned from all places, an undisciplined arrogant soul suffers endlessly; and just as a pig shuns the rice grains and feeds itself on excreta, the foolish disciple gives up the teachings of the wise and is a lost case for himself, for the teacher and for society. The discipline of an ascetic who has renounced all mundane bondages is enumerated along with the fruit of the discipline. The spiritual message in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra is summarized in verse 15 and 16. It is said that it is better to conquer oneself rather than be conquered by others. One who does so will be happy in this world and in the next. One ought to conquer oneself by self-restraint and austere practices instead of being controlled by others.

Chapter II gives the details of the 22 afflictions faced by an ascetic during the course of this spiritual journey.

Chapter III teaches time management and describes the four difficult requisites:

    • Human birth with humanitarian qualities like compassion etc.
    • Opportunity to hear the true sermons
    • Steadfast faith in truth
    • Exertion in self-restraint

The commentary on the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra informs that due to the following reasons one is not able to have right knowledge: laziness, delusion, disobedience, pride, anger, ignorance, tension, pleasure, gambling, etc. It is said that rational faith is difficult to acquire and it abides in a straightforward soul[6].

Chapter IV inspire us to be awakened and alert in life. Life is ephemeral and the time that passes away can never be got again, hence do not be negligent even for a while reminds the 10th chapter. Money, riches, kith and kin none can save the soul from old age, disease and death. One who conquers his desires can be freed from all miseries.

Chapter V teaches the art of dying and discusses in detail the death of a wise man and that of a fool. Death is inevitable and the brave face it with calm and poise. Chapter VI informs that ignorance is bondage and the ignorant are subject to pain and suffering in the web of transmigration. The wise give up the ten types of external possessions and fourteen types of internal possessions. The purpose of human life is to practice self-restraint in order to annihilate the karmas and to purify oneself. A self-realized ascetic lives like a bird not possessing anything and not saying anything for the morrow. He searches for the truth all by himself and nurtures friendliness towards all creatures[7]. This has been revealed by all-knowing all-seeing Arhat, Jñātaputra Lord Mahāvīra [8].

Chapter VII reveals the philosophy of Mahavira through parables. Altogether four parables appear in this chapter and there are around 50 parables in the whole of Uttarādhyayana Sūtra that makes the reading interesting. The parable of the lamb informs us that as a lamb is fed with rice and green grass only to be slaughtered for a feast, so the deluded people feed themselves on worldly pleasures to suffer the pangs of hell. Gāthā 7.6 informs us the causes of hell as attachment, taking to non-vegetarian food intense violence and having immense possessions. Just as a fool loses a thousand gold coins for a penny so also the deluded souls lose this precious human birth for mundane pleasures. Just as a king eats the forbidden mango and loses his kingdom so also the ignorant souls fall prey to sense pleasures and lose this precious life. The fourth parable is of three traders who respectively lost, retained and increased their capital. The one who loses the capital of human life symbolizes the evil and sinful people, who land in hell. The one who retains it is the man who is virtuous but not spiritually inclined. Such a person retains his human form in the next birth. The third trader who multiplies his capital symbolizes the man who is noble and spiritual and rises to higher forms of existence. This illustration of three traders has a parallel in the biblical story of the talent and pound (book of Mathews 25, 14-30, Luke 19, 11-26)[9].

Chapter VIII is of Kapila Kevalin and deals with the evils of worldly life and advises the spiritual aspirants to shun it. Evils of causing injury to life, greed and indulgence in women are particularly elaborated. It says greed increases with every want[10]. The story of how greed was conquered by Kapila is told in the commentary literature as a prelude for this chapter. It is said that when Kapila recited this chapter for 500 thieves, all of them were transformed and later on renounced the world for spiritual perfection. He sang to them that contentment, self-restraint, renunciation and non-violence are the way to happiness[11].

Chapter X is titled Dummapattayam ie ‘leaf of a tree’ and is in the form of address by Mahavira to Gautama. There are 37 verses in this chapter and Lord Mahavira gives the admonition of not to be non-vigilant even for a while, 36 times. When Gautama gaṇadhara sees that he is not being enlightened, Lord Mahavira reveals to him that it is due to attachment for Him, hence in this context explains to him the impediments for perfection and motivates him to give up non-vigilance. Lord Mahavira says that life is ephemeral like the leaf of a tree and like a dewdrop and there are so many obstacles. It is indeed difficult to get a human birth and difficult it is to be born in a noble family where you get a chance to know yourself. Conquer yourself and realize your pure self. Having got this precious human birth one must exercise complete vigilance and should not be careless even for a while. The chapter can be summarized as:

‘O! Children of immortality!
Realize, arise and liberate yourself,
Your destination is far off,
The path is full of obstacles,
The resources are limited,
And so is time, hence
Be not negligent even for a while.

-Said Mahāvīra.

Chapter XI is reverence to the Learned and it describes the characteristics of undisciplined and disciplined aspirants. Verse 11.3 informs that due to pride, anger, carelessness, disease and laziness one cannot acquire knowledge. People with the following eight qualities are worthy of acquiring knowledge. Not laughing too much, one with subdued senses, not revealing others’ secrets, being chaste, not having a tainted character, not indulging in relishing tasty food, not having a short temper and one who has immense love for truth [12], such people alone can learn and absorb the teachings of the wise and holy. Likewise the text enumerates the 14 qualities of an undisciplined ascetic who is not worthy of learning and nirvāṇa[13] and 15 qualities of a disciplined ascetic worthy of nirvāṇa [14].

Chapter XV is titled Sabhikkhu, i.e. ‘He is a true ascetic’ and it enumerates the virtues of a true ascetic. A Bhikṣu is one who is devoted to the contemplation of the self, detached, self-restrained, equanimity, spiritually wise and materially selfless, dispassionate, bears all afflictions patiently, does not expect anything from anybody, eats less than required and is committed to the practice of the three jewels. Chapter XVI is related to the practice of chastity. Chapter XVII is in contrast with Chapter XV for it enumerates the qualities of a fake and hypocritical monk who is idle, indolent and least interested in spiritual welfare. Again chapter XXVII too discusses the above theme of Papaśramana and with the illustration of the wicked bullocks informs the readers of the bitterness faced by a teacher whose disciples are arrogant, lazy and undisciplined.

Chapter XXXII titled Pramadasthana enumerates the things one should be careful about and that he must uproot all causes of attachments[15]. One, who has acquired the all-knowing, supreme knowledge, has conquered ignorance, delusion, attachment and hatred, alone reaches mokṣa and enjoys unobstructed happiness and bliss[16]. Just as a hen is born from an egg and an egg from a hen, so also delusion springs from desire and desire from delusion[17]. The seeds of karma are attachment and hatred and it springs from delusion and is the cause of birth and death and verily both birth and death are termed as misery[18]. Hence there is no pain for one who has no delusion, no delusion for one who has no desire, no desire for one who is not greedy and no greed for one who possesses nothing[19]. The same can be revealed as follows:

Question Answer
What is misery? Birth and Death
What is the cause of birth and death? Karmas
What are the seeds of Karma? Attachment and aversion
What causes Karma? Delusion

Sensual pleasures and other worldly temptations allure the soul and are the root cause of delusion and bondage. The chapter reveals that a firefly meets with death due to its attraction for light, a deer due to the temptation of sound, a snake is trapped due to its attraction for smell, a fish is hooked due to the attraction for taste, a buffalo meets with death due to its liking for touch, an elephant is trapped due to its attraction for sexual pleasure. Attraction for one sensual pleasure or the other becomes the cause of misery for each creature, what then to say of man who leads a beastly life absorbed in sensual and sexual pleasures. The verses reveal that the senses and the mind are not the cause of bondage and suffering but the attitude of the deluded soul is the cause of bondage, and there is no fear for one who is not deluded and is a vitarāgī i.e. conqueror of attachment (and hatred)[20].

Chapter XXXV gives a glimpse of the life of a śramaṇa who is totally committed to self-restraint, detachment and renunciation. The last verse of this chapter heralds that one who is detached, devoid of pride, is a vitarāgī i.e. conqueror of attachment and for whom the influx of karma has been arrested, and in him manifests Kevalajñana i.e. omniscience and he alone finally attains nirvāṇa.

Section II, Legendary Tales and Dialogues, Chapters 9, 12-14, 18-23, 25:

It is held by critics that this portion constitutes the earliest nucleus of the Uttarjjhayana. Some of these legends have their parallels in the Buddhist Jātakas. They have also intersections with the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Therefore Winternitz ascribes this portion to the common heritage of ancient Indian Ascetic Poetry[21].

Chapter IX is a brief biography of Nami Rājaṛṣi who was a self-enlightened soul (pratyeka buddha). He ruled over Mithilā before renouncing the world. Indra appeared before him disguised as a Brahmin priest and and put before him ten challenging questions for which Nami gave profound spiritual answers. Their conversation throws light on the Varṇāśrama Dharma of the Brāhmaṇika tradition, the sacrificial practices and social order at that time besides the spiritual message of the ancient śramaṇika tradition which is universally relevant and is an eternal message for all spiritual aspirants. The conversation is allegorical, the questions are practical and the answers are inspiring and noteworthy.

Chapter XII is about an outcaste Harikeśī who rose in spiritual excellence due to austerities and righteous conduct. Śramaṇa conduct signifies the greatest of sacrifices (Yajña). Here austerities are the fire, the soul is the fire place, converging thought, word and action - is the ladle for pouring oblations and one’s accumulated karmas are the oblations to be thrown into the sacrificial fire and burnt. This sacrifice is really efficient in bringing about liberation and not the material one which involves injury to life[22]. The ceremonial sacrifices of the Vedic tradition are condemned and this legendary tale is important for censuring and challenging casteism and sacrifices and for giving spiritual interpretation of the same which is non-violence in thought, word and deed.

Chapter XIII tells us the story of the lives of Citta and Sambhuta. The story is found under the same title in the Jātaka stories (No. 498). The story supports the concept of karma and rebirth and the futility of casteism for spiritual welfare is again showcased.

Chapter XIV is titled Iṣukārīya in which the renunciation of six people of a place called Iṣukāra is told. It is narrated how the king, the queen, the priest and his wife are inspired by the latter’s two sons. The sons tell their Brahmin parents that no son can redeem the parents for everybody is responsible for his deeds. Nobody can be saved by Study of the Vedas or feeding Brahmins in a ceremonial sacrifice. They lead the doer of false actions from darkness to more darkness. Similarities of this tale can be seen in the Jātaka (509) on one hand and Śantiparvan (175/217) on the other.

Chapter XVIII tells us about the renunciation of a King called Sanjaya. The king was inspired by a monk in a forest who gives him a sermon on the sin of killing and on the ephemeral nature of life and on the insignificance of power and possession[23]. The chapter also gives a list of twenty sovereign monarchs who renounced the world in spite of enjoying such reputed sovereignty. The four kinds of different philosophical schools too are enumerated here and the superiority of the Nirgrantha, Anekanta order is established. It also declares the practice of non-violence superior to all world orders.

Chapter XIX is about the renunciation of the Son of Mṛgā i.e. Mṛgāputra which reveals that the pleasures of life are like sweet poison, dreadful and painful ultimately. One who embarks on a long journey without sufficient stuff for the way, comes to grief, so does a person who lives without righteousness. The chapter also says that, ‘Birth and old age are miserable, so are the diseases and death, the world is full of miseries, where all living beings experience pain’[24]. Verse 19.5 mentions about the 18,000-Śileṅga chariot and other virtues of an ascetic. ‘Just as one cannot fill a bag with air and one can’t weigh Mt. Meru in a balance, crossing the ocean by oneself is difficult, so is restraint difficult’[25]. The chapter also enumerates the kinds of tortures afflicted in hell and inspires one and all to give up the Bhoga Mārga and tread on the Mokṣa Mārga.

Chapter XX is a beautiful chapter and reveals a brief life history of Anathi Muni, a great spiritual saint who inspired Śrenika Bimbisāra to become a devoted follower of Mahavira. Jaina literature has scores of references of King Śrenika and it was revealed by Lord Mahavira later on that King Śrenika is going to be the first fordmaker of the forthcoming ascending era (Utsarpiṇi Kāla). The narrative reveals the shelterless nature of the world and that all are Anātha ie shelterless in this world. Neither riches nor kith and kin can save a person from old age, disease and death. Verse 37 of this chapter reveals that the soul is the doer and enjoyer of its own karmas. When the soul treads on the right path it is its friend and when it treads on the wrong path it is its own foe.

Chapter XXI tells us about a lay and handsome householder Samudrapāla, who saw a criminal being taken for execution and was inspired to search the secrets of birth and death, of reward and punishment. Through his story the Uttarādhyayana preaches the essence of karma theory. As you sow, so you reap, is a natural universal law, and none can escape this law except those who have transcended the inferior self and become the supreme selves. The purpose of this precious and auspicious human life is to purify oneself and to free oneself from karmas, and the first step towards this is to know the nature of 18 fold sins and renounce them, if not minimize them to the extent possible. The chapter gives an insight into the austere and spiritual life of Samudrapāla who ultimately destroyed all karmas and became an Arhat.

Chapter XXII is another beautiful narrative which tells us about the legendary Ariṣṭanemi, the 22nd Tirthankara, Rajīmati his eternal lover and his brother Rathanemi. It is said that both Ariṣṭanemi and Rajīmati had been man and wife for the past nine births, but in this birth Neminatha renounced the world to seek enlightenment, but Rajīmati too followed his footsteps and attained Nirvāna before him. The chapter also tells us about the compassionate nature of Ariṣṭanemi and his love for animals. It also tells us about his brother Rathanemi who was tempted by the worldly pleasures even though he had embraced asceticism; later he was cautioned by Rajīmati and saved from sin. The commentary gives information about the Yadava clan, Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva and others.

Chapter XXIII is a dialogue between Keśi and Gautama and is important for its historical content. Keśi was a follower of the Pārśva order and Gautama was the first disciple of Lord Mahavira. The two great leaders met and discussed the differences of Caturyama Dharma of Pārśva and the five Mahavrata order of Mahavira besides scores of philosophical, religious and spiritual details. Keśi enquired and Gautama replied and the people listened with devotion and faith and rejoiced. Ultimately Keśi accepted the five vows and became a follower of Lord Mahavira. During the conversation Gautama clarifies the little doubts of Keśi and enlightens him of the spiritual path of the Tirthankaras, which is pure, logical, practical, eternal, universal and utmost simple.

Chapter XXV highlights the Śramaṇika culture and the Brāhmaṇika culture and establishes the supremacy of spirituality over Vedic rituals, non-violence over violence, wisdom over ignorance, equanimity over incoherent practices and austerities over external appearances. In the city of Varanasi, Jayaghoṣa enlightens his brother Vijayaghoṣa about the true nature of spiritual yajña and the futility of animal sacrifices and ceremonial practices. Verses 31 and 32 inform us: ‘Not by Tonsurebut by Equanimity one becomes a Śramaṇa, not by Chanting of Om, but by Celibacy one is a Brāhmaṇa, not by staying in a Forest but by Wisdom one becomes a Muni, not by external Appearances but by Austeritiesone becomes a Tāpas.’ The spiritual and practical meanings of Yajña, Māhana, Śramaṇa, Muni, Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya etc are revealed. The dreadfulness of the world, sorrows of birth and death, karmas as the cause of transmigration are preached and the message of spirituality, detachment, contentment, self-restraint, significance of vows, righteousness etc is imparted for one and all with loving kindness.

Section III, Dogmatic Discourses, Chapters 24, 26, 28-31, 33, 34, 36:

Section III discusses the dogmatic discourses revealed in chapter 24, 26, 28-31, 33, 34 and 36. Although other lessons also contain dogmatic discourses they were interwoven with narratives and often monastic details are predominant. Chapter II, which narrates the twenty-two afflictions can be included in both sections of monastic teachings and dogmatic discourses besides Chapter XXIV, which elaborates the 5 fold samiti i.e. regulatory practices and the three fold guptis i.e. restraints. The two together make up the spiritual and physical discipline of an ascetic. The former guides the ascetic’s conduct in society and the latter teaches him how to master oneself. The eight together are titled ‘Pravacana-Mātā’, the mother of all teachings. Right Conduct is stressed and elaborated in this chapter whereas the other chapters of this section are important for Right Knowledge and Right Faith.

Dr. Poddar remarks, ‘Historians of literature and critics of the Uttarajjhayaṇa hold the opinion that these pieces are of comparatively recent origin. Dogmatisms must have been a later formulation of the religious renaissance that gave birth to the Ardhamāgadhī (and also Pali) religious literature, its first preferences naturally being religious teachings through discourses and appropriate narratives and not stuffing the audience with dogmatism. Therefore, the opinion of the historians and the critics seems plausible.’[26]

Chapter XXVI is titled samācārī and reveals rules and regulations of an ascetic order. Besides ten points of code of conduct an ascetic should beginning with sunrise divide his day into four parts. The first part is for scriptural study, the second for meditation, the third for collecting alms and the fourth again for scriptural study. Likewise in the four parts of the night beginning from sunset he should study, meditate, sleep and then study in the fourth again. He should regularly practice penitential retreat (pratikṛmaṇa), expiation (prāyaścitta), examination of his belongings (pratilekhanā) etc.

Chapter XXVIII titled Mokṣa Mārga gati elaborates Right Austerity on the path of emancipation as well as the constituents of Right Knowledge, Right Faith and Right Conduct. The significance of each and a fine blend of all are important for emancipation. Five types of knowledge, six substances (dravyas), nine fundamentals (tattvas), description of right faith, its characteristics, its types, its significance and its eight limbs, five kinds of conduct are discussed in detail.

Chapter XIII is titled Tapomārga and discusses in detail the twelve-fold austerities. Through Tapas i.e. austerities one can destroy the karmas accumulated over crores (millions) of births[27]. The divisions and sub-divisions of the six-fold eternal austerities and six-fold internal austerities are enumerated.

Chapter XXIX is Samyaktva Parākrama and contains 73 questions and answers on Right Exertion. The chapter is very important for understanding right exertion and illustrates the fruit of each act of exertion enumerated and their spiritual significance. The soul has been exerting since time immemorial but it has always been in the wrong direction. This chapter gives minute details of exerting in the right direction with right understanding and right faith.

Chapter XXXI is Caraṇavidhi and is like a mini encyclopedia of Right Conduct. Beginning with one to number thirty three it enumerates the strengths and the impediments on the path of emancipation as follows, 1 kind of non-restraint, 2 types of bondages, 3 kinds of punishments etc, 4 kinds of contemplations etc, 5-fold passions etc., 6-fold life forms etc., 7 types of fears etc., 8 kinds of pride, 9-fold celibacy, 10-fold virtues, 11-fold advanced spiritual practices of a householder, 12-fold advanced spiritual practices of an ascetic, 13 kinds of activities, 14 kinds of life forms, 15 kinds of evil gods, 16 chapters of Samavāyānga, 17 types of non-restraint, 18-fold celibacy, 19 chapters of Jñāta-dharma kathā, 20 places of disturbances, 21 defilements, 22 afflictions, 23 remaining chapters of Sutrakṛtanga, 24 kinds of celestial beings, 25 contemplations of five Mahāvratas, 26 chapters of three agamas viz Daśasrutaskandha, Brhatkalpa and Vyavahara Sutra, 27 qualities of an ascetic, 28 chapters of Ācāraṅga, 29 subjects of false knowledge, 30 places of delusion producing karma, 31 qualities of Siddhas, 32 points on Yoga and 33 disrespects are mentioned. Notes on these are spread in different āgamas particularly Samavāyānga, Āvaśyaka, etc.

Chapter XXXIII is an exposition of the eight-fold karma theory with its multifold divisions (148). The concept of karma has been thoroughly analyzed and enumerated with the minutest details in Jaina canonical literature and also in post canonical literature and Digambara literature. Knowledge and right understanding of the karma theory inspires one to be responsible and to exert for self-realization and purification without delay. The Arihantas and Siddhas serve as role models and inspire the aspirants to discover and tap the latent potential of Godhood.

Chapter XXXIV elucidates the six kinds of leśyās under eleven heads. Leśyās are painting thoughts or colouring the soul in transmigration. Passions and vibrations of mind, body and speech build the aura of every individual. Colour taste, smell, touch etc. of each leśyā is cited by various similes. Black leśyā (Kṛṣṇa) is associated with violence, cruelty and lack of restraint; blue (Nila) with jealousy, anger, ignorance, deceit and greed; grey (Kapota) with crookedness, hypocrisy and impoliteness; red (Tejo) with humility, calmness, righteousness; yellow (Padma) with gradual disappearance of passions such as anger, conceit, deceit and greed[28]; white (śukla) with purity, spotlessness, equanimity and passionless state.

Chapter XXXVI is about living and non-living and is the longest of all the chapters containing 268 verses. It begins with a mention of the universe (Loka) and its six constituents, viz principle of motion (Dharmāstikāya), principle of rest (Adharmāstikāya), space (Akāsāstikāya), time (Kala), matter (Pudgalāstikaya) and living beings (Jivāstikāya) and goes to elaborate each one in detail. The discussion on non-living and matter begins with verse 10 and ends with verse 47 and the elaboration on living things begin with verse 48 and ends with 249. The characteristics of liberated and bonded beings are enumerated at great length. The 249th verse says that knowing the nature of living and non-living, one must logically understand them from different aspects and exercise self-restraint. Thus progressing from right knowledge, one is advised to have faith in the above revelations and take to rational conduct in order to realize and release oneself.  The chapter concludes with a note on Sallekhanā i.e. the art of dying. It discusses the contemplations associated with death that are to be nurtured to make death meaningful and life successful. 

The last verse of this chapter and of the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra records that thus the enlightened all-knowing omniscient of the Jñātra vanśa expounded the above teachings for the welfare of all living beings so that they may all accomplish and manifest their true potential and achieve eternal happiness and bliss. Thus we see that Jainism starts with a pessimistic note, progresses through optimism and culminates in pragmatism. The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra gives a comprehensive picture of Jaina asceticism and Śramanika culture, besides Jaina spirituality, beliefs and practices. It is indeed a great work of Ardhamāgadhi Prākrata and is an immortal song of the soul.


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International School for Jain Studies
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  1. Adharmāstikāya
  2. Agamas
  3. Ahiṅsā
  4. Akāsāstikāya
  5. Anekanta
  6. Anekānta
  7. Anger
  8. Apramada
  9. Arhat
  10. Arihantas
  11. Aura
  12. Aṅga
  13. Aṅgas
  14. Bihar
  15. Body
  16. Brahmacarya
  17. Brahmin
  18. Brahmins
  19. Buddha
  20. Caraṇavidhi
  21. Casteism
  22. Celibacy
  23. Chitta
  24. Citta
  25. Conceit
  26. Contemplation
  27. Deceit
  28. Dhammapada
  29. Dharma
  30. Dharmakathānuyoga
  31. Dharmāstikāya
  32. Digambara
  33. Discipline
  34. Dravyas
  35. Equanimity
  36. Fear
  37. Fearlessness
  38. Gati
  39. Gautama
  40. Gaṇadhara
  41. Greed
  42. Guptis
  43. Indra
  44. International School for Jain Studies
  45. JAINA
  46. Jaina
  47. Jainism
  48. Jivāstikāya
  49. Jñāna
  50. Jātaka
  51. Kala
  52. Karma
  53. Karmas
  54. Kevalin
  55. Kāla
  56. Kṛṣṇa
  57. Lesya
  58. Leśyā
  59. Loka
  60. Mahabharata
  61. Mahavira
  62. Mahāvratas
  63. Mahāvīra
  64. Meditation
  65. Meru
  66. Moksa
  67. Mokṣa
  68. Muni
  69. Nemichandra
  70. Neminatha
  71. Nirgrantha
  72. Nirvāna
  73. Nirvāṇa
  74. Niryukti
  75. Non violence
  76. Non-violence
  77. OM
  78. Omniscient
  79. Pali
  80. Papa
  81. Parākrama
  82. Poddar
  83. Prakriti
  84. Pratyeka buddha
  85. Pride
  86. Puranas
  87. Purvas
  88. Pārśva
  89. R.P. Poddar
  90. Sallekhanā
  91. Samiti
  92. Samyaktva
  93. Soul
  94. Space
  95. Sutra
  96. Sūtra
  97. Tap
  98. Tapas
  99. Tattva
  100. Tattvas
  101. Three Jewels
  102. Tirthankara
  103. Tirthankaras
  104. Tīrthaṅkaras
  105. Upāṅga
  106. Uttarādhyayana
  107. Uttarādhyayana Sūtra
  108. Varanasi
  109. Vedas
  110. Vedic
  111. Vinaya
  112. Violence
  113. Winternitz
  114. Yoga
  115. siddhas
  116. Ācāra
  117. Ācāranga
  118. Ācāraṅga
  119. Āpta
  120. Āvaśyaka
  121. āgama
  122. śramaṇa
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