Samana Suttam is the religious text created in 1974 by a committee consisting of representatives of each of the major sub-sects of Jainism to reconcile the teachings of the sub-sects after a gap of about nearly two thousand years.
A great achievement
Shri Vinoba Bhave
All the aphorisms selected for this hand book have been selected from the different Agamas, hence its purity and sanctity is automatically guaranteed. -Dr. Ram Jee Singh, Ex- Prof. and Head of the Dept of Philosophy, Ex- Member of Parliament.
Samana Suttam can be regarded as an Encyclopedia of Jainism which comprehends all aspects of Jainism as a view of reality and as a mode of living. -Prof S. R. Bhatt, Ex- Chairman, Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
"Those, who go on praising their own view and condemning those of their rival, simply make a show of their learning and are variously in the grip of transmigratory cycle." "There are various types of people, various types of their activities and various types of (their) capabilities. Hence one ought to give up quarreling with the people of one's own faith and also with that of others."
Samana Suttarti is the religious text created in 1974 by a committee consisting of representatives of each of the major sub-sects of Jainism to reconcile the teachings of the sub-sects after a gap of about two thousand years following the composition of Tattvarthasutra by Acarya Umasvati/Umasvami, which was the first Text to be recognized by all the Jaina sub-sects. At Umasvati's time although multiple Orders existed, there was perhaps no clear sectarian division. By the 20th century, however, Jainism had gradually divided into several sub-sects. For someone to compile a Text at this time, and for it to be approved by all sects, was an extrptional event.
My first teacher of Jainism, Ksullaka Jinendra Varni compiled a book, drawing from the original Prakrit texts, and as a result of effort undertaken by Shri Vinoba Bhave, a famous deciple of Mahatma Gandhi, it was critically examined by several monks of different Orders including Acarya Vidyanandaji, Acarya Susila Kumaraji, Muni Janakavijaya ji and Acarya Mahaprajna ji as well as scholars like Dr. A.N. Upadhye, Pandit Darbari Lal Kothia and Shri Agarachand Nahta, and others (photos on the opposite page). Finally in an assembly held on 12 December 1974 it was approved by all.
The heads of the four Jaina Sanghas in their letter (dated 07.12.1974) to Shri Vinoba Bhave regarded this work 'a great achievement'. Shri Vinoba Bhave expressed his 'best of the satisfaction' on the compilation of this book. Since then, many editions of the work have been published. A few of them are as follows :
1. The first edition of the work was published by Sarva-Seva-Sangha-Prakasana, Varanasi in the year 1975. It contains the original Prakrta Text with Samskrta chaya and Hindi translation. It has no commentary but it gives the history of the composition of this work in an authentic manner which was repeated in later editions. I have followed this work for Prakrta Text and Samskrta chaya as has been done in the other editions too. However, where-ever there was any mistake in the Samskrta chaya, it has been corrected.
2. In the year 2014, Somaiya Publication Pvt Ltd. Mumbai brought out a 'Comprehensive Study' of Samana Suttam in four big volumes. It was edited by Dr. Geeta Mehta and Dr. Kokila Shah with great care and love. It is an attempt to popularize Samana Suttam amongst all sects of the Jainas, by quoting the monks and scholars of all sects without partiality. I have received much inspiration from my long association with the preparation of this work. I have followed the I-LEAP software, which has been followed in this edition.
This may be a slight deviation from the international practice, but it, being the latest software, is more convenient. In any case, the reader will not find any difficulty in following the text with the help of I-LEAP chart given at the very beginning.
3. Another edition of the work was published by Bhagwan Mahavir Memorial Samiti, New Delhi, in the year 1993 with English translation by Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr K.K. Dixit. I have followed this English translation in most of the Gathas, but have given my own translation where the tradition of Indologists differs from the translation given in this edition. For example the word 'Dharma' has been translated as 'religion' at all the places. This, in my opinion, is misleading. I have kept the original term 'Dharma' in my translation. It has been the practice with Indologists to keep such words as 'Dharma' Karma' and 'Brahman' as they are, because their English synonyms are hard to find. I have followed this practice.
It is my pleasant duty to acknowledge the help which I have received from all the editions cited above. Obeisance to the previous path-makers-namo purvebhyah pathikrdbhyah.
In spite of all the above editions, I felt the necessity of bringing out a new edition for an important reason. Dr. (Prof.) Ramji Singh made a remark about Samana Suttam :'The Text is highly biased towards ethical ideas and practices. This is natural because this is meant for the common and religious people, who do not bother much for the logical or metaphysical questions.'(Various Facets of Samana Suttam, Mumbai, 2012 p. 60)However, I felt that Samana Suttam, being a compereium of Jainism, should have a commentary,which contains not only the popular aspect of Jainism but its deep philosophical thoughts also, which may not be so popular but are very valuable from an academic point of view. I have done this by quoting relevant portions from an ancient commentary on Tattvarthasutra viz. Sarvarthasiddhi which was supplemented by quotes from Jaina-Tarka-bhasa of Yasovijya. Thus the present commentary can serve as an 'Introduction to the Study of Jainism'in all its aspects. This has been possible by drawing help from the following works-
1. Reality, The English translation of the Pujyapadacaryas Sarvarthasidhi commentary by Prof. S.A. Jain, who has liberally declared his work to be Non-copy right, which 'may be reproduced, translated, and published in any language without any special permission.' This work was published in the year 1992 by Jwalamalini Trust, Madras.
2. My own English translation of Jaina-tarka-bhasa of Yasovijaya published by Motilal Banarassidass, Delhi in the year 1973.
3. Jaina Ethics, my own Ph.D. thesis, published in the year 1968 by Motilal Banarassidass, Delhi. (Reprinted by the same publisher in 2018).
4. My work on 'Studies in Jaina Agamas' published recently by the Jaina Visva Bharati Institute (Deemed University) Ladnun (Rajasthan), 2019.
In short, this commentary contains the essence of my 50 years' study of Jaina religion and philosophy.
I need not add anything more because in the main body of the commentary, I have given a detailed preambles before the Sections where it was necessary. The reader can find my views on the contents of the Samana Sutam in those preambles.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere sense of gratitude to the following:
1. The editor of the previous editions of Samana Sutam mentioned above in the preface. These editions proved to be of great help to me at every step.
2. The editor of the present edition, Shri Pramod Kumar Agrawal, who left no stone unturned to make this book printable by using his exceptional experience of preparing press copy of such complicated Texts as Samana Sutam on computer. Shri Agrawal is himself busy in making valueable contribution in the field of Ancient Indian Philoshphy and Modern Science and yet he very kindly spared his time for editing this work. He has a rare combination of benevolence and scholarship in him. He prepared the subject -index of the work with great insight
3. Shri Hari Har Sharma, who used his knowledge of English language for revising the work with great care.
4. Dr. Mrs. Manju Nahata, who prepared the beautiful design cover of the work. She is preparing Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Jaina religion.
5. I am glad that this work of mine is being published by Hansa Prakashan, Jaipur, which has earlier published my commentary on the Bhagavad Gita also. It is a happy coincidence that scholars, who have compared this work, Samana Suttam, with the Bhagavad Gita, give equal importance to both of these works and that both of them, with my commentary, are being published by the same publisher.
The problem before Indian systems of philosophy in general, and before Jainism in particular, is that of removal of misery of life.
Jainism goes deeper into the causes of misery and makes a thorough enquiry into the means of absolute removal of misery once for all. This is the common point of all liberation-oriented systems of India. As we proceed, we shall find that the whole of the Samana Suttam has only this end in view.
The central theme is that one of the major causes of misery is hankering after sensual pleasures which are fleeting, shallow and deceptive in the sense that they never give a sense of fulfillment. It appears that when a particular desire is fulfilled, we will have nothing more to do. But it never happens. Life comes to an end and desires remain unfulfilled.
Of course, we may have short breaks of apparently pleasant feelings here and there, now and then. Such is the allurement of these apparently pleasant feelings that we continue to run after them for the whole life. A few, of course, take the courage of resisting this allurement and search for an everlasting unmixed happiness.
Our experience shows that there is nothing substantial in worldly pleasures, but we do not learn from that experience. We go on making experiments one after the other with all kinds of worldly pursuits, but we get nothing except frustration. We think that we cannot get real happiness in one situation and therefore try to make another experiment. As a matter of fact, such is the nature of worldly pleasures as they cannot satisfy us. It is not because of any fault on our part that we fail to have sense of fulfillment in our worldly pursuits. Such is rather the nature of things that we never concentrate on what we have but on what we do not have. Hence there is always dissatisfaction.
As Jainism talks much about suffering, one may, therefore, feel that it is pessimistic, but in fact it speaks of happiness also which comes from detachment. Jainism is optimistic because it believes that real happiness is the birthright of all. We have to cut at the root of misery and what remains will be real happiness, whereas the so-called happiness that we normally have is always mixed with suffering.
THE ROLE OF SCRIPTURES:
There is the necessity and importance of the study of Scriptures for this purpose. Study of scriptures is a powerful means of acquiring knowledge of what is really good and what is bad. Scriptures contain the experiences of those who have attained enlightenment and who have first-hand knowledge of Truth. It is through the study of scriptures that one can know the Path of reaching the ultimate goal. One's own experience is very much limited. But scriptures contain the knowledge of the omniscient.
By reading scriptures, we know the reality of life. Life is short-lived but we want to become immortal. We think that we can become immortal by amassing wealth or by attaining an important position in society but the path of immortality lies in self-realization only.
There is always an apprehension that we may not be able to go to the heart of the message of the scriptures. We should, therefore, take the help of Acaryas to understand the real meaning of the scriptures. Therefore, there is the importance of the Order (Samgha) of which Acaryas are an important part.
When we realize that the real happiness lies within, we get detached from outward world. The philosophy of Lord Mahavira is soul-centered. It may appear that his philosophy is self-centered, but it is entirely different from narrow selfishness. The enlightened selfishness is based on the understanding that self-interest is identical to the interest of others.
In fact, all liberation-oriented systems may appear to be selfish, but liberation is not possible without eliminating ego, whereas only a person with ego can be selfish. When ego is eliminated, one realizes the basic equality of all living beings. His mere existence becomes a source of happiness for all. The real help is to remind others that only they can help themselves. The spiritual Order is based on such a noble concept of service.
One can give happiness to others only if he himself is happy. In fact, one can give only what one has. The service does not mean imposing our ideals and ideas on others. Therefore, the true service of others lies in making oneself free from attachment so that one can serve as a beacon of Light for all.
What we call love is in fact desire to serve selfish motive. We think that all others are the means and I am the goal. The others think in the same way that they are at the centre. This leads to conflict. But when we work at the spiritual level, the interest of the members of the Order does not come into conflict with others because of absence of ego. They cooperate and do not compete. This is possible at the spiritual level because spiritual bliss increases by sharing whereas material progress necessarily involves direct or indirect competition. As the Order is a spiritual institution, 'it is affectionate like parents and affords shelter to all living beings'.
THREE INSTRUMENTS OF EXTROVERSION:
If we want to realize self, we have to be introverted, whereas we have three instruments by which we become extrovert-speech, body and mind. Body is the grossest. Subtler than the body is speech which is a vehicle of thoughts. The process of thought continues even at the dreaming stage. The mind is still subtler than thoughts. The mind continues to work even in deep sleep. Mind is the storehouse of impressions. When these impressions come at a conscious level, they become thoughts. All these three-mind, thought and body-make one extrovert. In fact, we identify ourselves with these three. When we say that we are fat or thin, we identify ourselves with the body. When we say that we think, we identify ourselves with thoughts. Deeper than thought is the layer of mind of which we are aware when we are in deep sleep. Jainism believes that words are also material. Similarly, mind has also a physical form. Mind, speech and body are all physical in a way. We have to rise above them.
We should know that there is no dichotomy between mind and matter. We live in thoughts. Words play an important role. We become what we think and we think what we speak or what we hear. We have to realize that we are neither body nor thoughts nor mind. These are the three instruments by which we become associated with others. If we can disassociate ourselves with these three, we can disassociate ourselves with the relations of attachment and aversion because it is through them that we establish relationships with others. When this extroversion diminishes, we start becoming introvert. Then we feel happiness from within and, therefore, the allurement of an outside world fades away. Here starts our journey from temporary sensual pleasures to permanent spiritual bliss.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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