Bhagavati Sutra

Posted: 09.05.2007
Updated on: 31.07.2012

Alias

Bh.S., Bhagavatisutra, Bhagavatī Sūtra, Bhagwati Sutra, Vyākhyāprajñapti, भगवतीसूत्र

Vyākhyāprajñapti

Sanskrit: Exposition of Explanations

commonly known as the Bhagavati Sūtra (भगवतीसूत्र), is the fifth of the 12 Jain Agamas said to be promulgated by Mahāvīra.

The Vyākhyāprajñapti is said to have been composed by Sudharmaswami by the Śvētāmbara school of Jainism; it is written in Jain Prakrit.

It is the largest text of the canon, said to contain 60,000 questions answered by Mahavira. The subject matter of the answers ranges from doctrine to rules of ascetic behaviour.

Contents:

The Vyākhyāprajñapti is divided into 41 sections known as shatakas. It follows question and answer pattern. The questions are raised by Gautama, Makandiputra, Roha, Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti, Skandaka, Jayanti and others. Briefly, the answers may be categorised under the following categories:

  • related to ascetic conduct
  • related to the six substances
  • related to ontology
  • related to reincarnation
  • related to geography
  • related to cosmology
  • related to mathematics
  • related to obstetrics
  • brief biographies of famous contemporaries of Mahavira
  • miscellaneous subjects


The Jain Scripture Bhagavatī Sūtra (Bh.S.) occupies probably the foremost position if we set out to enlist books with ample possibilities of the study of philosophy and science.

Though the basic object of the Bh.S. is to explore the subtle mysteries of philosophy and spirituality, yet at many places there are significant scientific discourses. For example, the Bh.S. describes cosmology, matter, space, time, the medium of motion and the medium of rest, velocity, energy black hole etc. All these pertain to Physics and have been treated quite at length.

Dr. Samani Chaitanya Pragya

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