Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda ► Introduction ► Preamble To Chapters I And II

Posted: 28.04.2010

1. Jain Metaphysics

According to Jain metaphysics, the REALITY consists of six eternal (indestructible) substances which constitute the cosmos. They are Space (Ākāśa), Principles of Motion and Rest (Dharma and Adharma), Psychical Order of Existence (Jīva), Physical Order of Existence (Pudgala) and Time (Kāla). Each of the above substances or dravya is always associated with certain intrinsic and unalienable qualities (guṇas). Again each substance and its quality must exist in some determinate state or form. This is its mode of existence—paryāya. The mode is subject to constant change, that is, a new mode continuously replaces the old one. It should be carefully remembered that the creation and destruction are relevant only to modes and not to substance, i.e., the substratum of qualities and modes.

Thus, the Jain concept of reality excludes both a permanent and unchanging real of Parmenides and also the mere eternal flux of Heraclitus. That is, it avoids the Scylla of fluxism and the Charybdis of illusionism. An unchanging permanent (such as Puruṣa of the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system) and mere change without substratum (as fluxist Buddhist) are unreal or absurd self-contradicting concepts. The Jain concept of reality reconciles both these aspects and combines them into an organic unity. It corresponds to the modern concept of organic development rather than its Hegelian aspect.

It is not difficult to see that the dynamic constitution of the substance, basically, flows from its unalienability from its own infinite qualities/attributes.

It is the richness of content that makes the Jain concept of pure and perfect state of the soulSiddhahood, as we shall presently see-as against the nihilistic attitude of Vedānta etc. which insists upon a qualityless (nirguaṇa) existence as the Ultimate Reality. It is this unalienable unity that exists between the substance and its qualities that may be said to be the central doctrine of the Jain metaphysics.

It can also be easily seen that the most important feature of the dynamic constitution of the reality is its capacity of modification—paryāya or mode of existence. Each of the six eternal substances is continually changing and the change is viewed from two aspects: (i) Intrinsic or self-interaction[1]artha paryāya. It is instantaneous and free from external influence, (ii) vyañjana paryāya, on the other hand, is a particular mode of existence for a pretty fixed duration of time. For instance, besides the molecular aggregation and disintegration that takes place every moment in a physical object—artha paryāya—the object may have a particular mode of existence as a pot, for example, for a certain length of time. This state of becoming and remaining a pot is vyañjana paryāya of matter. Similarly for conscious substance—jīva. The continuous change that takes place in consciousness is its artha paryāya, while its existence as a particular organism, say as a man or as a beast, with a determinate span of life is its vyañjana paryāya. Thus Jīva and Pudgala have both types of modification while the other four substances undergo only artha paryāya.

2. Psychical Order of Existence—Jīva

The psychical order of existence—Jīva is the central figure of Jain metaphysics. Its characteristic attribute is consciousness or cognitive faculty (cetanā). It is enveloped by an inanimate environment made up by the other substances which are all devoid of consciousness. There are infinite number of Jīvas, each numerically different from another. They are classified into two fundamental categories:

  1. Saṃsāri Jīva - State of worldly existence (mundane). In this state, the soul is embodied and experiences sensuous pleasures and pain. It is subject to metempsychosis or cycles of re-births. In this state there is constant interaction between Jīva and Pudgala.
  2. Mukta Jīva - State of emancipated existence. This is pure and perfect state of Jīva in which the soul is disembodied and is also free from the cycles of re-births. There is no interaction between Jīva and Pudgala, whatsoever in this state. Both categories are real.

The fundamental basis of Jain philosophy is the belief that the pure and perfect or emancipated state is integral to all souls. Jains (and many other Indian systems) have always been conscious of the innate potentiality of achieving perfection and the possibility of the realization of eternal, disembodied and pure self-perfection.

3. Physical Order of Existence—Pudgala

Amongst the five inanimate substances that comprise the environment, the most important one is the physical substance—Pudgala—which is identified with matter in modern scientific terms. The characteristic attributes of matter are: touch, taste, smell, colour and sound, thus making it perceptible to sense-organs. 'Jīva' on the contrary, is totally devoid of these and cannot, therefore, be apprehended by sense-perception. The physical bodies are constituted by atoms—parāmaṇus. This atomic structure of the physical reality is comparable to the concepts of modem science. Though sub-atomic physics has revolutionized the concept of atom which is no more basic and elementary, it does maintain its individuality. It cannot be denied that atom is the empirical foundation of the structure of the physical existence. Parmānu is the ultimate atom or the ultimate indivisible point of matter. All physical objects being aggregates of atoms, undergo changes entirely due to atomic disintegration or aggregation.

4. The Worldly Life—The Body and the Soul

Every living organism or a Saṃsāri Jīva is an organic unity of two different entities—Jīva and Pudgala or the soul and the body. Though this dualistic separation is, empirically unverifiable, it is a transcendental fact. Again the term body, in Jain philosophy, implies not one but two different things, besides the gross or physical body, that we actually perceive, there is a subtle microbody—kārmaṇa sarīra.[2] This body is composed of a class of matter (varganā) which is different from the class of matter of the physical body. This class of matter is called kārmaṇa varganā and it is the subtlemost class. The subtle body is an inalienable appendage of worldly life and is transcended only in the emancipated state.

5. NAYA—The Technique for getting an Insight into the Nature of Reality

All real and concrete things are extremely complex entities because they possess innumerable attributes and relations. What enters into the course of our direct perceptions is but a tiny fragment of the full reality. And even this imperfect and fragmental perception seems to be implicitly complex and always to contain a plurality of aspects. A completely adequate apprehension of the whole of reality must be all-embracing and must include all data without contradiction or discrepancy. It would, thus, experience the whole of real existence directly by a completed insight. The ability for such a pure and perfect apprehension is called omniscience (kevalajñāna) and is possessed by a kevalī alone. Our own ability for apprehension falls far short of such an ideal. Our apprehension, therefore, always has the character of being piecemeal and fragmentary. Whereas in the perfect apprehension, every fact would be directly seen as linked with every other, in our piecemeal one, facts would appear to be in isolation and independence of one another, as bare casual collocations. Hence our descriptions and predications would be relative and circumscribed because they emerge from a limited and partial nature of the intellect. What, then, should be our approach for comprehending the true nature of reality? Our ideal should, then, be to apprehend the reality from one particular aspect at a time. Such an apprehension is an opinion or way of approach for any one aspect and is called NAYA by the Jains. Since every aspect of a reality reveals its nature in its own way, naya is thus a technique for getting insight into the nature of reality. The technique of naya plays an important part in the law of Anekānta (non-absolutism) of Jains.

6. Two Categories of Naya

Jains, recognizing the extreme complexity of the nature of reality, introduced the technique of naya. The reality which has many facets would lead to multitude of description. Every one of them may be partially true, but not one of them would be the whole truth.

We have already mentioned above the two states of the soul. The pure and perfect state—the emancipated state—of the soul is to be achieved. In the ordinary worldly state of existence, the soul is radically different. Its infinite glory is dimmed by alien conditions and limitations. In this state, Jīva is an embodied consciousness or an organism which can be perceived by the sense-organs through its gross or physical body.

In its worldly existence, the soul is not only associated with a body of its own but with several other animate and inanimate objects. Thus the soul which is by its own intrinsic nature a complex entity becomes much more complex by identifying itself through its interests with its environment of things (including body). Under such conditions, it is an extremely difficult problem to define the precise nature of the soul. Hence, the necessity for using the technique of naya.

There are two main categories of nayas:

  1. Transcendental aspect or niścaya naya. It represents the ultimate, fundamental and integrated point of view. The soul is looked at as a whole with all the richness of its attributes but no distinction is being made between the substance and its attributes - qualities and modes. That is to say in this aspect, only the substance is considered to be the entire reality, while its attributes etc. are relegated to mere adjuncts, for the time being, but not dismissed as absolutely non-existent.
  2. Empirical aspect or vyavahāra naya. It represents the popular, conventional, practical or pragmatic view. The complex nature of the soul is broken down into its diverse attributes and our attention may be directed to any one particular attribute with which the soul is to be identified at the moment. In other words, in this aspect, 'substratum' of attributes is, for the time being, removed from the theatre of consideration, while the attributes are restored with the main part, without however denying the former's existence.

7. Salient Features of Jain Doctrines

As already stated in the general introduction, there are some fundamental metaphysical and philosophical doctrines which are peculiar to Jain philosophy. To grasp properly the Jain views in general and the author's views expressed in this book in particular, it is necessary to first understand and appreciate these doctrines. We shall, therefore, very briefly discuss the salient features of these doctrines.

(1) The Doctrine of Non-absolutism (Anekānta)

The first and the most important doctrine is the law of anekāntavāda, that is, non-absolutism. It is basal to the structure of Jain philosophy and at the same time, is its most original contribution to philosophical thinking that has come down to us as an invaluable heirloom. Unfortunately, anekāntavāda is more maligned than understood. Its originality lies in that it seeks to reorientate our logical attitude and asks us to accept the exposure of (apparent) contradictions as the true measure of the nature of Reality. It is the key to unlock the mystery of the paradoxical nature of Reality.

To fully understand the fundamental nature of the conscious substance which is the subject matter of the entire book and, in particular of the first two chapters, we shall discuss the basic principles of this unique doctrine. In the first place, non-absolutism neither endorses absolute eternalism nor absolute fluxism, but explains both these extremes as real with reference to different aspects of the same reality.[3]

The law of anekānta affirms that there is no opposition—between the unity of being and plurality of attributes. A thing is one and many at the same time-a singularity and a plurality rolled into one, i.e., it is neither an absolute unity nor split-up into a irreconcilable-plurality. It also asserts, that there is no contradiction between identity and otherness, as they are not absolute characteristics but are only partial and limited and not complete and unqualified. Thus anekāntavāda—non-absolutism—is the law of the multiple nature of reality. It corrects the partiality of philosophers by supplementing the other side of Reality which escaped them.

Non-absolutism being the foundation of Jain philosophy, mutation (change) is as much real as permanence. Change or modification is a fundamental characteristic of all that is real. A substance is a substratum of infinite qualities and modes. Nothing can exist without being in some determinate way and the modes of a substance means its existence in a determinate state of being. Thus, assert Jains, the qualities (guṇas) and modes (paryāyas) cannot be absolutely different from the substance nor can they be absolutely identical with it. The admission of the qualities and modes leads to the triple characteristics—existence, cessation and persistence—in the constitution of a real. This concept of Reality is only one which can avoid the conclusion that the world of plurality, which is the world of experience, is an illusion. Either the world is to be accepted as real or dismissed as an unreal appearance. The triple characteristics gives out the internal constitution of Reality. A real persists through time and thus has these three—past, present and future—temporal determinations. So a real is real for all time. A real which has no past and no future is a fiction and a non-entity.

(2) The Theory of Knowledge

The second important doctrine is associated with the theory of knowledge. Though the Jains agree with other schools that philosophical speculation is a necessary discipline of the mind which strengthens convictions and reduces doubts, they maintain that the ultimate or transcendental truth cannot be realized by philosophical discipline alone. Nor are the ordinary sources of knowledge adequate for the discovery of the ultimate truth, being subject to the limitations imposed by the senses. The plenum of knowledge can be attained by the development of a total-vision, which, fortunately, is inherent in all of us. They are emphatic that omniscience is the condition as well as the result of perfection and advancement in philosophical enquiry cannot, by itself, bring about the final consummation.[4]

Consequently the pure conscious principle (soul, self) can never be the object of an indirect/perceptual cognition. It can be apprehended directly, by an omniscient only. Thus anything that has been asserted in respect of the pure soul must have originally come from an omniscient, who could transfer his knowledge through the medium scriptural/verbal knowledge (śrutajñāna). This has been made clear by the author at the very beginning of the first chapter.

(3) The Inherent Purity of the Self

The third doctrine is regarding the innate potentiality of all souls to achieve final liberation/emancipation and the beginningless infection by perversity (mithyātva). Jains, in agreement with other Indian philosophies, hold that purity and perfection is integral to the soul and self-realization is not a new creation in the sense of emergence of an absolutely unprecedented state. Yet the soul has been hindered from self-realisation which is the same as the discovery of its infinite glory, from eternity.

The hinderence comes from perversity (mithyātva) which has no beginning in time. It is there from all eternity. The question "Why a soul is inflicted with it" is as absurd as the question "Why should the soul exist?" The existence of the soul is an ultimate fact and the existence of perversity, coeval with it, is equally an ultimate fact to which no question of origination can be relevant. Mithyātva is there and it is not that we don't know its nature, its nature and functions are well known. We do not know the beginning because it has not beginning.

"I am this, I am of this, Mine is this-everything that is non­self, living, non-living, or mixed. Mine was all this formerly; I was all this in the past; again will this be mine and I shall again be this. The deluded one possessed all these false notions about the self. The undeluded, however, knowing the truth does not do so." (Chapter 1 verses 20 to 23).

At the same time, Jains, again in agreement with other Indian philosophies, firmly believe in the innate ability of the soul to achieve final liberation. Thus the soul is subjected to two forces diametrically opposite to each other, from eternity. Firstly there is the centrifugal force, comprising the inherent love for truth and abstinence which have never been completely obliterated. The qualities of the soul, which comprise the centrifugal force, are crippled and enfeebled by the obscurbing, obstructing and deluding karma. For instance, pure and perfect knowledge—omniscience—is integral to the soul but it remains obscured by the knowledge-obscuring (jñānāvaraṇa) karma. Similarly, predilection for truth (samyaktva) is the innate characteristic of the soul, but it remains perverted by delusion (mithyātva). But this does not mean that there is absolute non-existence of knowledge (jñāna), love of truth, (sraddhāna) and abstention from sinful acts (virati). If that were the case, the soul would lose its soulness. If the soul were completely stripped of all these characteristics, there would be nothing left to distinguish the soul from the non-soul, which is metaphysically impossible. To continue its existence as a conscious principle, the soul must necessarily possess at least an infinitesimal fragment of the pure and perfect knowledge ever uncovered.[5]

Even the darkest and the densest clouds cannot completely hide the sunlight, so also the obscuring karma cannot totally cover the knowledge of the soul. Same is the case with the innate capacity of the soul for renunciation and abstinence (virati), as well as the intrinsic predilection for truth (samyaktva), remaining unobscured is also explained on the analogy of the clouds. In short, the fundamental qualities of the soul remain intact even in the most undeveloped state of its worldly existence (such as plants). The soul can never be regarded to have absolutely lost any of its characteristics because what is absolutely non-existent, can never come into existence. We have said that emancipation is integral in the soul and once we accept this statement, we have also to accept the partial unobscuring of its characteristics. And this is the basis of the centrifugal force. This centrifugal force incessantly tries to pull the soul away from the cycles of endless births which is the same as the wheel of saṃsāra. But this tendency of the soul is thwarted by a powerful centripetal force, which compels the soul to continue its orbiting. This centripetal force is produced by the deluding (mohanīya) karma and consists of passions, quasi-passions, attachment, aversion and other powerful psychological distortions. At the very root is perverted attitude (mithyātva).

The centrifugal tendency, as stated above, is that part of the inherent potency of the soul which remains unobscured and unobstructed. It is this potency that will ultimately enable the soul to leave the circle of worldly state (saṃsāra) and take the path of emancipation. This could happen only when the centrifugal force can become strong enough to neutralise and overwhelm the opposing centripetal force.

The problem 'Why should the centrifugal tendency develop into a mighty force in one soul and remain only a dormant tendency in another' is not regarded as needing solution. It is an ultimate fact of experience that degree of power, spiritual or physical varies from person to person and this cannot be accounted by further ultimate facts. A bhavya ātmā, i.e. the soul who is qualified to be liberated, feels a mighty impulse from within to realize itself, This impulse, produced by the centrifugal force, may become so strong and irresistible that it overcomes the opposing centripetal force. Once the centripetal force is weakened, the soul has succeeded in its struggle and is bound to be liberated.

(4) Doctrine of Nayas

The fourth important doctrine, a constituent of Jain logic, is the doctrine of nayas which enables us to apprehend an object from a particular aspect at a time and also enables us to gain insight in the complex nature of the Reality. All reals are extremely complex because they possess innumerable qualities and relations and, therefore, must be apprehended from different aspects. Multifaceted reals, inevitably lead to "multiple predicates", each one of them being partially true but not one of them is totally true.

Theoretically the number of possible nayas are infinite, since we have to deal with infinite attributes and relations. In practice, the Jain logicians generally enumerate seven different nayas. As far as, it concerns us, we can reduce the number to two main aspects-substantive aspect (dravyārthika naya) and the aspect of change or determinal manifestation (paryāyārthika naya). They are also called transcendental or ultimate aspect (niścaya naya) and empirical aspect (vyavahāra naya) respectively.

All nayas are in perfect harmony with the law of anekānta, i.e., when the soul is viewed in its pures and perfect state in accordance with the ultimate aspect, its worldly state as per empirical aspect is not denied but ignored for the time being.

Pure soul, being incorporeal, cannot be perceived by the sense organs and is an object of pure and perfect knowledge (omniscience) only. But the soul, even in its purest state, does neither surrender its individuality nor relinquishes its dynamic constitution and continues to possess its own pure qualities. As stated earlier, existence apart from qualities (Vedāntists believe in quality-less existence as the Ultimate Reality) would be an empty abstraction and is, therefore, the more unfit to stand for Ultimate Reality.

But the pure and perfect state of the soul is to be realized from its worldly state of existence, which is radically different and must therefore be viewed from the empirical aspect. In this state it is an embodied entity or an organism which is perceivable by the sense organs through its gross organic/physical body. Besides the body, it is also associated with several other things, living and non-living. Impure instincts and emotions (psychological distortions) are also associated with the soul according to this aspect. Thus, by identifying itself through its worldly interests with its environment of things and persons, its complex nature becomes much more complicated. It is, therefore, extremely difficult to define the nature of the soul unless we examine it from different aspects.

The two main aspects are subdivided into six which are generally employed in the examination of the nature of the soul. Briefly, the sub-divisions are:

(1) Śuddha niścaya naya and (2) aśuddha niścaya naya. In the first, the soul is viewed as a whole, i.e. without any distinction between the substance and the qualities which are pure and unalloyed expression of the nature of the soul. In the second, it is still viewed as a whole though somewhat impure by alien influence.

Similarly, there are four sub-divisions of the empirical aspect. We have fully discussed these and would not like to repeat them here.

Thus the doctrine of nayas is an important key to reveal the appropriate attributes of the soul both in its fundamental form and in the worldly state of existence, surrounded by an alien environment.

Doctrine of nayas is not merely a matter of theoretical interest to us. Apprehension and understanding the nature of Reality must be of practical use if we have to make progress. Sure, if one has to make progress, one must know the truth. It must always be remembered that the soul's pure/emancipated state of existence and the worldly embodied state are both equally real and yet neither of them is an Absolute Truth.

As humans, various socio-economic institutions-such as property ownership, social status, caste and community, nationality etc. extend our personality far beyond the Pure Self and into the environment of the physical order of existence. Prosperity or adversity of the family, community or nation generate a sympathetic feeling of pride and pleasure or sorrow and suffering respectively. Thus, our attitude and behavior in the worldly state is, to a great extent, dependent on the empirical aspect. But it will be a serious mistake to consider the worldly state as the only truth and deny other side of the coin-the transcendental truth-altogether. Undoubtedly, our worldly attitude and behaviour (this is what vyavahāra precisely means) cannot ignore our worldly extended state as prescribed above-and cling blindly to the ultimate aspect of SELF. At the same time, the ultimate or transcendental aspect must not be totally ignored.

This can be imporved and extended further.

The following special terms in these chapters need further explanation:

1. Siddha (Savvasiddhe) - Metempiric soul.

The author begins the book with traditional obeisance to Siddhas. The term literally means "one who has achieved the ultimate consummation of the goal". Thus it refers to those souls who have fully attained self-realization and disembodied state of existence. They are free from the cycle of rebirths, once and for ever. The term savvasiddhe employed by the author implies multiplicity of such souls and is meant to emphasize the Jain conception of emancipated state. Though all emancipated souls are totally identical to one another, they do not fuse into a singularity. Each soul retains its individuality in this state and is, therefore, numerically different from the others.

The author also mentions several unique attributes of this state:

  1. dhuvaṃ implies unchanging eternal existence. Except for some peculiar self-interaction, which is a characteristic of all reals, the metempiric soul is not subject to modification due to an external influence.
  2. acavalaṃ implies total freedom from the cycle of rebirths (transmigration).
    amala (an alternate reading for acala) implies total freedom from corruption or pollution by an alien.
  3. anupama implies without parallel or comparison. The transcendental glory of the siddhas transcends everything in the worldly life and there is nothing which can be used as a parallel or comparison.

2. Svasamaya, parasamaya - The term samaya means the Self. Since the chapter would deal with two states of the self (both states being real in proper context), this term is given two adjectives denoted by prefixed-'sva' (own) and 'para' (alien). Thus svasamaya indicates the pure self unencumbered by anything external, while parasamaya implies impure self corrupted by alien substance. Thus, parasamaya is the state of worldly existence of the soul while svasamaya is the state which has transcended the worldly conditions.

3. Apramatta, pramatta - These terms literally mean vigilant/alert and and non-vigilant/careless respectively. They are technical terms used to denote the two stages of spiritual advancement and to indicate ascetic aspirant's ethico-spiritual development on the path of emancipation. In the earlier stage of an ascetic life, the aspirant is bound to neglect some of his duties and is generally careless about austerities and penances. Vigilance is achieved after an arduous course of spiritual discipline and keeps the ascetic alert and wakeful.

4. Vyavahāra naya, niścaya naya - Please see the doctrine of nayas in the preamble above.

5. Śrutakevalī - An erudite scholar of scriptures, who is deemed to be an omniscient, by virtue of his scriptural knowledge being on par with that of an omniscient. The term is thoroughly explained in the annotation to verses 9 & 10 of the first chapter.

The soul who has annihilated all passions and psychic dispositions polluted with attachment and aversion is qualified and entitled to be called Svasarnaya—totally self-generated state/mode of existence.

The soul who possesses even an iota of attachment is parasamaya. According to the above, only omniscient (kevalī) and the emancipated souls (siddha) are svasamaya. All the rest are parasamaya. The above definitions are from the ultimate and transcendental aspect.

6. Jñānī, ajñānī - These terms would literally mean "one who knows" and "one who does not know" i.e., who is ignorant, respectively. But here the term ajñānī does not mean 'ignorant' i.e. devoid of knowledge, but possesses perverted knowledge. Jains believe that perverted belief, perverted knowledge and intense attachment are the three beginningless states of the consciousness infected with delusion. This is the root of all evils. In the absence of right belief/world-view, the knowledge cannot be right and is therefore perverted. The soul gropes in the darkness until the potency of the beginningless delusion is reduced and made ineffective to an appreciable extent by the efforts of the soul under an impelling urge from within. In the course of time the soul attains sufficient purification to overcome the perverted belief and consequently, right world-view/enlightenment dawns upon it. The whole horizon changes, and the perverted knowledge—ajñāna - is transmuted into right knowledge—jñāna and the soul is known as jñānī. Hitherto deluded/false notions (I am and was this, mine is and was-all that is non-self, non-living or mixed) (see verses 20 to 22) disappear and the jñānī identifies himself with the self and self alone, as the concluding verse of the first chapter emphasizes.

7. Adhyavasāna (Adhyavasāya) - Subtlemost/minutest dispositions of living organism—They are produced in the microbody—karmaśarīra, and proceed towards gross physical body where they are ultimately get transmuted into threefold—mental, vocal and physical-activities. Since they have to pass through the domain of defiling matter, they are infected with attachment, aversion, delusion etc.

8. Jina-Jinendradeva - OmniscientThe original preceptor of the Jain Philosophy. He is vitarāga, i.e., totally free from the infections of attachment and aversion (like & dislike). And he is omniscient i.e., has annihilated the knowledgeobscuring karma and attained omniscience (kevalajñāna) which is competent to directly apprehend the soul (Tīrthaṅkara, Sarvajña,Arihanta are synonyms).

9. Sukṣma-badara/Paryāpta-aparyāpta - These are various aspects for dividing living organisms into different categories.

Namaḥ Samayasārāya

Śrī Kundakundāiriyappaṇidaṃ Samayapāhuḍaṃ
Aha Mangalāyaraṇaṃ.

Obeisance to Samayasāra-the pure and perfect Self.

SAMAYAPĀHUḌAṂ composed by Śrī Kundakundācārya


vaṃdittu savvasiddhe dhuvamacalamaṇovamaṃ gadiṃ patte. vocchāmi samayapāhudamiṇamo suyakevalībhaṇidaṃ.. 1

Ācārya Kundakunda declares that (vandittu) bowing to (savvasiddhe) all the emancipated souls who are (dhuvam) imperishable, (acalam) motionless and (patte) who have attained (anovamaṃ gadiṃ) the surpreme state of consciousness, (which is indescribable), (O) Hey! [bhavyas!] (vocchāmi) I shall reiterate (iṇam) this (samaya-pāhudam) samaya prabhṛata (sudakevalī-bhaṇidaṃ) which has been propounded by śrutakevalī who are deemed to be omniscient by virtue of their perfect scriptural knowledge.


The first verse (couplet) is the traditional auspicious invocation. The author, Ācārya Kundakunda, pays obeisance to all the emancipated souls and vows to reiterate (vocchāmi) what has already been propounded by those gifted persons who are deemed to be the omniscients by the virtue of their perfect scriptural knowledge, in the scripture called 'Sumaya-pāhuḍa'[6] i.e., scripture dealing with pure and perfect souls/Self. Thus he decleres that he is only a spokesman and not the originator of the subject. By the syllable 'o', he inspires all those who aspire to be enlightened to read and study it carefully.

Note the utmost honesty and humility of Ācārya Kundakunda in declaring that the originator of the subject is a śrutakevalī,[7] while he is only a spokesman. The subject of the book is the pure and perfect Self. Now, the soul (Jīva), the conscious substance, being amurta, is not amenable to sensuous perception or intellectual understanding, and hence, the subject can be authoritatively propounded only by an omniscient (kevalī) or a śrutakevalī who is on par with kevalī (in knowledge) by the virtue of his scriptural) knowledge of the subject. Even an erudite scholar like Ācārya Kundakunda cannot assume the authority of propounding the subject.

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