Jaina Pāribhāṣika Śabdakośa ► Preface

Posted: 24.05.2016

The nectar of the lotus is hidden in its kośa, i.e., bud; money is preserved in the kośa i.e., treasure; based on this law of nature, probably the lexicologists and metaphysicians would have conceived the idea of preparing the kośa i.e., dictionary. The essence of a voluminous treatise can be found in the dictionary.

The "Jaina Pāribhāṣika Śabdakośa" (Dictionary of the Technical Terms of jainism) is in the hands of the reader. Prior to this publication, there are scores of dictionaries on Jain canons and literature.

Abhidhāna Rājendra Kośa[1] (seven volumes)

Alpaparicita Saiddhāntika Śabdakośa[2] (four volumes)




Jain Uddharaṇa Kośa (volume l)[6]

Jain Kriyā Kośa[7]

Jain Lakṣaṇāvalī (three volumes)[8]

Jainendra Siddhānta Kośa (four volumes)[9]



Bhagavāna Mahāvīra Hindi English Jain Śabdakośa [12]

Ratnatraya Pāribhāṣika Śabdakośa[13]

Sacitra Ardhamāgadhī Kośa[14]

An Encyclopaedia of jainism [15]

Encyclopaedia of Jainism[16]

Dictionary of Prakrit Proper Names[17]

Jaina Yoga Pāribhāṣika Śabdakośa[18]

Kriyā Kośa[19]

Pudgala Kośa[20]

Vardhamāna Kośa[21]

Yoga Kośa[22]

Leśyā Kośa[23]

Several Kośas, based on the Āgama (canonical works), have been published so far, before preparation of our present dictionary.

The lexicons, based on the Āgamas, are:

Ekārthaka Kośa[24]

Nirukta Kośa[25]


Jain Āgama Vanaspati Kośa[27]

Jain Āgama Prāṇī Kośa[28]

Jain Āgama Vādya Kośa[29]

Āgama Śabdakośa[30]

Srī Bhikṣu Āgama Viṣaya Kośa[31] (two volumes)

The Jainism is essentially the philosophy of Ātmavādī (propounder of the doctrine of soul), Lokavādī (propounder of the doctrine of cosmos), Karmavādī (propounder of the doctrine of Karma) and Kriyāvādī (propounder of the doctrine of action). The philosophical exposition in Jainism is replete with metaphysical description and metaphysical inquiry. The terminology used in metaphysics has a different connotation from the words used in common parlance and it is often quite mystical. A definition/exposition is needed to comprehend its exact connotation. To fulfil this need, this "Bilingual Dictionary of Technical Terms of Jainism" has been prepared.

We had started the work of editing the canonical works of Jainism at Ujjain in 1955, under the Synod-chief, Acharya Tulsi. At that time, together with the editing work, we had also conceived of preparing the indexes of subjects. Shri Mohanlalji Banthia took the responsibility of fulfilling this work which is now being carried on by Shrichandji Choradia at Kolkata.

As the field of studies in Jain canonical literature got expanded, the need of its translation into English also was felt. Prof. Nathmal Tatia and Muni Mahendrakumarji started the work of translating the canonical works into English. There arose the problem of translation of the technical terms. Nevertheless, as both the translators were scholars of Jain philosophy, the problem got resolved. However, when other scholars who were less acquainted with the Jain metaphysics and Jain philosophy were given the work of translation of the Jain canonical works and other works of Jain literature into English, the problem of translation of the technical terms cropped up.

Meanwhile, in 1996, Ganadhipati Gurudeva Shri Tulsi was passing his cāturmāsa (four month's sojourn during rainy season) at Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun. A meeting, in which myself. Prof. Nathmal Tatia, Muni Mahendrakumarji and Sadhvi Vishrutavibha were present, was held in the benign presence of Gurudeva. After the due deliberations, a decision was taken to perpare a dictionary of the technical terms of Jainism in English.

Gurudeva had coined a sūtra (motto) viz., "first deliberation, then decision, and then implementation" for fulfilment of any task. Accordingly, the decision taken in the meeting got translated into implementation and the work (of translation) started taking shape. Both Dr. Tatia and Sadhvi Vishrutavibha concentrated themselves on the work. I used to dictate the definition of the terminology (in Hindi) to Sadhvi Vishrutavibha and Dr. Tatia translated it into English then and there. After a few days, when Gurudeva perused the work of the duo, he expressed immense pleasure as if a long cherished dream had got realised.

The cāturmāsa was over. Dr. Tatia, however, got indisposed, and we also departed from Ladnun. The work of preparation of the Dictionary got interrupted. In 1997, Ganadhipati Gurudeva passed away. An obstruction got created in the Dictionary's work.

Again in 1999, during our cāturmāsa at Delhi, we thought of reviving the work, but the necessary material for the work was not available there, and hence, the implementation of the project could not take place. In 2000, we passed our cāturmāsa at Ladnun. There, we got the required material and we again re-determined to implement our project.

Gurudeva had desired that our Dictionary should be in English; Dr. Tatia also had passed away then. Hence, we resolved to prepare the Dictionary in Hindi. An important event took place- Yuvacharya Mahashramana got attached himself to this project with devotion. The work started advancing. But after the cāturmāsa at Bidasar in 2001, the Ahimsa Yatra (a long tour for the purpose of non-violence) started. The speed of the work was affected-sometimes it was rapid, sometimes slow.

In 2004, during the cāturmāsa at Siriyari, deliberation was made on the basis of suggestion from Sadhvi Vishrutavibha and ultimately the decision was taken that our Dictionary would be in both languages-Hindi and English. Muni Mahendrakumarji was given the responsibility of the translation into English. He has accomplished his task with devotion and promptness.

Although sometimes our work went at a good pace, while other times at snail's pace, yet we feel delighted that ultimately we have attained the goal, the task is over.

Creation of Lexicon : A Broad Outlook

The bibliography of our lexicon makes clear that the original canonical works of both the traditions-Śvetāmbara and Digambara-have been amply made use of without any bias/prejudice, in the creation of the present dictionary. The canonical works such as Ācārānga, Sṛtakṛtāṅga, Sthānāṅga, Samayavāyāṅga, Bhagavatī, Upāsakadaśā, Praśnavyākaraṇa, Uttarādhyayana, Daśavaikālika, Nandī, Anuyogadvāra, Prajñāpanā, Aupapātika, Niśītha, Kalpa, Daśāśrutaskandha, Vyavahāra, Āvaśyaka and the like, and on one hand the fundamental scholiastic works of the Śvetāmbara tradition such as Niryukti, Bhāṣya, Cūrṇī, Vṛtti etc.-have become the main source for exposition on the technical terms, while on the other hand the Digambara literature including Ṣaṭkhaṇḍāgama, Samayasāra, Gommaṭasāra, Ālāpa Paddhati, Bṛhaddravyasaṃgraha, Jñānārṇava etc. and the scholions on them such as Dhavalā and other commentaries, have served as similar sources for creation of this lexicon. The monumental text- Tattvārtha Sūtra and its commentaries such as the author's own commentary (Svopajña Bhāṣya), Bhāsyānusārriṇi Ṭīkā, Sarvārthasiddhi, Rajavārtika etc. have been amply made use of in our work. The classical works such as Pravacanasāroddhāra, Karmaprakṛti, Pañcasaṅgraha, Tiloyapaṇṇatti, Trilokasāra etc. and the modern works such as Jain Siddhānta Dipikā; Manonuśāsanam etc. have been duly used. The principal works on Jain logic such as Sanmatitarka, Pramāṇa Mīmāṁsā, Nayacakra, Āptamīmāṅsā, Syādvādamaṅjarī, Bhikṣunyāyakarṇikā etc. have been widely utilized. For detailed information, the bibliography is recomended to refer.

The Jain philosophy believes in the doctrines of soul, cosmos, karma, and kriyā (action).[32] It contains the ontological as well as the metaphysical explanations of 'existence'. The technical terms used for metaphysical comprehension have quite different connotations from their general non- philosophical use and also have mystical tinge. The present dictionary on technical terms of Jainism has been prepared for explaining them.

The concept of 'soul' has been accepted by many schools of philosophy. The doctrine of cosmos and karma have also been accepted by them. However, the subtlety/depth in the discussion on these concepts (viz., soul, cosmos and karma) made by Jain Ācāryas is unique-difficult to be found elsewhere. The doctrine of kriyā (action) seems to be quite independent concept. From this point of view, the significance of the "jaina Pāribhāṣika Śabdakoṣa" is evidently proved.

Description and Analytical Definition

Our predecessors (Ācāryas) had written the commentaries in various forms such as Niryukti, Bhāṣya, Cūrṇī, etc. to facilitate the studies in the canonical literature and other semi-canonical works. They facilitate us to comprehend the definition of the terminology used therein. The different commentators have given diverse definitions of a single term. This has someties become helpful in grasping the purport/meaning, but sometime it creates complications. By studying "Jaina Lakṣaṇāvalī" one can very well understand this point. We, however, at some place, have used certain works, other than the usual commentaries. For example, let us consider the definition of the word Sthūla. In common parlance it connotes 'gross'. But in the context of Aṇuvratas, it is not used in that sense. Abhayadevasūri, in his Vṛtti on Upāsakadaśā, has interpreted it as "traṣa" (living beings capable of undertaking locomotion.[33] Haribhadrasūri, however, interprets it as "gross", in his Vṛtti on Āvaśyaka.[34] But, actually, the use of term 'sthūla' here is in the sense of deśa-partly, not fully or completely or totally. Umāsvāti has used the term deśa and sarva for aṇuvrata and mahāvrata respectively.[35] This is corroborated by the allusion of the Bhagavatī Sutra[36], in which it is mentioned that the śrāvaka (the lay follower) undertakes pratākhyāna (abstinence) partly, does not undertake it partly.

Another term, for illustration, is Papa (inauspicious karma). We get the definition of Papa in ancient works, but the term Pāpasthāna is not explained. So we have taken its definition from a relatively later work of Jayācārya.[37]


  1. Our view about 'definition' is that the right of giving new definition should not be restricted only to ancient commentators; the new scholiasts should also be given this right. Based on this line of thinking, we have at many places, created new definitions.
  2. In making of such dictionary on technical terms, it becomes extremely necessary that cross references of the mutually related terms should be given, in order to facilitate the reader to comprehend thoroughly the meaning of the terms. From this point of view, wherever we found necessary we have given the cross reference at the end of the definition of such words.
    E.g., Śarkarāprabhā
  3. Wherever possible, we have illustrated the terms through pictures, diagrams etc.. The figures are given with the words themselves or at the end of the dictionary.
  4. The first task to be undertaken in the preparation of such dictionary of technical terms, is the proper selection of such terms. In the beginning, I myself applied to this task. Afterwards, several others also joined me. In total, there are……….enteries in this dictionary.


No book is accomplished completely unless a proper review is done. For review, what is needed is re-examination and critical scrutiny. In this sort of rather strenuous task, Yuvacharya Mahashramana applied himself. He also was a companion in selection of the words. But this is not all. The way in which he examined the whole work with minute acumen has indeed played the role of building the proper structure of such a voluminous and fruitful achievement. It is again worth mentioning that he could manage time while carrying out dexterously his responsibilities of religious order and other works.

Sadhvi Vishrutavibha undertook the responsibility of coordinating the whole project, and fulfilled it with such a great devotion which exemplifies her trait of patience. Her eagerness sometimes challenged my carefreeness and made me alert to apply myself to the accomplishment of this project. Her acumen and dexterity are manifested explicitly in the task of finding out the reference of the works to substantiate the definitions.

Sadhvi Siddhaprajna's contribution in putting the book in systematic shape is very significant. She has utilized her minuteness of vision in checking the proofs. It shows that if a physically lean and thin person has a high mental power, he/she can become very much efficient.

A valuable contribution has been made by Sadhvi Jayavibha and Samanies like Samani Muditprajna, Ujjvalaprajna. Vinitaprajna, Charitraprajna, Sharadaprajna in assisting the editing work.

English Translation

The present kośa has been translated into English by Muni Mahendrakumarji. He is a genius saint of our religious order. He is a scholar of Jainism, Western Philosophy and Ideas, and many languages too. His devotion to undertake strenuous efforts is also unique.

Sadhvi Vandanashri and Muni Abhijeetkumar have taken pains with devotion in the task of proof-reading of the English Version.

I am delighted that the hearty desire of Ganadhipati Gurudeva Tulsi to prepare an useful lexicon of this type has been materialized in the form of the "Dictionary of Technical Terms of Jain Philosophy".

My auspicious wishes for all the Sadhus, Sadhvies and Samanies, who have contributed to this work-let all them offer their libation at the altar of the multi-dimensional development of Jainism.

28 December, 2008
Acharya Mahaprajna

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