Evolution of Sthanakavasi and Terapantha Sect [2.1] Literature

Posted: 21.05.2008
Updated on: 09.06.2015

Evolution of Sthānakavāsi and Terāpantha Sect

2.1     Literature

Lonka’s literature made available by Dalsukha Malvania consists of two parts - 58 bolas giving his views on what he considers to be true religion and 54 bolas appended to the main work criticizing the popular trends followed by the community during his time in the name of religion. Lonkā in his bola 17 quotes from Daśavaikālika sutra, Adhyāya first a statement describing the true Jaina religion as enunciated by the tīrthańkaras

“Spirituality is the highest wealth, Non-violence, restraint and penance.
Even the gods revere a mind always set on a spiritual Path.[3]

By quoting this statement Lonkā wants to emphasis that the true religion as preached by the tīrthańkaras consists of ahińsā, samyama and tapa. Roughly speaking the appended 54-bolas question practices of religion, which in his opinion go against these three basic principles of Jaina religion. Therefore these bolas can be classified into three groups


  1. commenting on temple building and idol worship, and all conduct related to it which goes against the principle of ahińsā,
  2. The practice of the monks which goes against the principle of samyama and
  3. the austerities practised during his time which were not sanctioned by and found in the agamas.

It can be said on the basis of this classification that he is pointing out those practices which go against the cardinal principles. Thus his fifty four bolas can be classified into these three groups, which go against ahińsā, sańyama and tapa.


    1. the bolas which comment on the temple building etc they raise the issue of nonviolence,
    2. 2) issues related to Śramaņācara which goes against the principle of sańyama and
    3. 3) issues related to austerities which go against the principle of tapa as found in āgamas.

Similar classification of the original 58 bolas of Lonkā had been done by Dalsukha Malvania in the following way. The first group discusses views on Hińsā, (violence) on the basis of samyaktva and mithyātva. The second group discusses the views on idol- worship. The third group discusses the authenticity of the commentary literature. Lonkā has based his views mainly, or perhaps exclusively on the scriptural authority. This is clear from the quotations he gives in support of his views. He not only quotes from authoritative books like the Jaina scriptures and the various Niryuktis, Cūrnis, Tikās and Bhāşyas, etc. but also raises the questions and doubts about the interpretations of the scriptures. He questions the additions and the concessions made by the interpreters to the pure religion preached by tīrthańkaras in order to safeguard the institutionalized religion and the interest of the acaryas. The fact that he has not mentioned Tattvārtha sūtra is understandable in the view of the fact that even now Tattvārtha sūtra is not much known to the laity among Swetāmbaras. But the fact that he questions or doubts some of the interpretations of āgamas given by Niryuktis shows that he wants to understand pure religion as found, preached, propounded in agamas which is regarded as the original pure teaching of the tīrthańkaras, Kevalis and Śruta-Kevalis and which is not a matter of pure intellectual scholarship. Thus it is clear that Lonkā is interested in discovering pure religion by removing various impurities and dogmas added to it through ages.

Lonka in each of his 54 appended bolas mentions in one phrase one current practice and asks “where is it found written in the tradition”? He devotes his 58 bolas for quoting from various scriptures to highlight what is true religion and thereby arguing that the prevalent practices go against the true religion as found in the scriptures and hence not acceptable. The scriptures, which Lonka has quoted, are Ācārāńga sūtra, its vritti and niryukti, Sutrakŗtāńga, Samavāyāńga, Daśavaikālika Sūtra, Uttarādhyayana tra, its cūrņi and vritti, Bhagavati sūtra, Anuyogadvāra, Vipāka Sūtra, Niśitha cūrņi, Āvaśyaka Niryukti etc.


    3.   Tr. K.C. Lalwani, Daśavaikālika Sutra, 1.1

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