Pujyapada

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Ācārya Pūjyapāda who lived in the 5th century of the Common Era was a renowned grammarian and saint belonging to the Digambara tradition of Jains. Before initiation as a Jain ascetic, he was known as Devanandi. Since it was believed that he was worshiped by demigods on account of his vast scholarship and deep piety, he was named Pūjyapāda. He was heavily influenced by the writings of his predecessors like Ācārya Kundakunda and Ācārya Samantabhadra. He is rated as being the greatest of the early masters of Jain literature.[1] He was prominent preceptor, with impeccable pontifical pedigree and spiritual lineage. "He was a great yogi, sublime mystic, brilliant poet, noted scholar, eminent author and master of several branches of learning.[2] He wrote in Sanskrit, in prose as well as verse form.[3] He was pontiff of the Nandi sangha, which was a part of the lineage of Ācārya Kundakunda. He was the tenth guru of the pontifical lineage of the Nandi Sangha. He was born in a Brahmin family of Karnataka. His parents were Madhava Bhatta and Shridevi.[4]

It is likely that he was the first Jain saint to write not only on religion but also on secular subjects, such as ayurveda and Sanskrit grammar. When one looks at the earlier writers in the Jain tradition, notably Kundakunda and Samantabhadra, one does not find any secular writings. They wrote beautifully on religion and the means to attain liberation. Whereas Ācārya Pūjyapāda, besides being a profound scholar of the Jain religion and a mendicant walking in the footsteps of the Jinas, was a grammarian, master of Sanskrit poetics and of ayurveda. Ācārya Pūjyapāda was said to be the guru of King Durvinita of the Ganga dynasty.[5] He is reliably dated as having lived between 464 - 524 CE.[6]

Ācārya Pūjyapāda's works[edit]

  • Jainendra Vyākaraṇa (Jainendra Grammar) - Jainendra Vyākaraṇa deals with Sanskrit grammar and is considered as one of the finest early works on Sanskrit grammar.
  • Sarvārthasiddhi (Attainment of Higher Goals) - Sarvārthasiddhi is a commentary on the Tattvārthasūtra, marked by precision and conciseness. It serves as the definitive mula patha for all Digambara works on the Tattvārthasūtra. Sarvārthasiddhi is the earliest surviving commentary on the Tattvārthasūtra, since an even earlier commentary, the Gandhahastī Mahābhāṣya of Ācārya Samantabhadra, is no longer available. Not even the famed Jain manuscript libraries, known as Grantha Bhandaras, have a copy of the Gandhahastī Mahābhāṣya.
  • Samādhitantra (Method of Self-Contemplation) – It is a treatise on yoga and adhyatma, outlining the path to liberation through differentiating the soul from the body. This is a short work, succinctly written, with 106 verses.
  • Iṣṭopadeśa (Divine Sermons) – It is a concise work of 51 verses dealing with the real and ethical aspects of life using examples from our day to day lives. Ācārya Pūjyapāda adumbrates the spiritual requirements that would transform our mundane lives into the sublime. Pūjyapāda differentiates between the important and the trivial, the essential and the non-essential and explains how the soul is different from its mortal coil. He goes a step further and explains that without realizing the essential difference between the eternal, i.e. the soul and the mutable, i.e. the body, all the devotion and all the meritorious deeds one performs shall not lead to liberation.
  • Daśabhaktyādisangraha (Collection of Ten Adorations) - This is a collection of 10 adorations of the Arihantas and the Siddhas, meant to be performed by Jain ascetics. It also serves to record traditions, especially concerning the life of Mahāvīra.
  • Śāntyāṣṭaka (Hymn in Praise of Śāntinātha) - A poem of 8 verses in adoration of Bhagavān Śāntinātha, the 16th Tīrthankara.
  • Kalyāṇakāraka (Causer of Benefit) - A valuable work on āyurveda.
Digambara Jain monks hold that one must master three texts in order to have a fruitful ascetic career:
i) Samādhitantra to cleanse the soul
ii) Jainendra Vyākaraṇa to cleanse one's language
iii) Kalyāṇakāraka to cleanse one's body and keep it free of disease and the debilitating effects of aging.
  • Śabdāvatāranyāsa (Arrangement of Words and their Forms) - A work on Sanskrit grammar, said to be a gloss on Pāṇinī
  • Jainābhiṣeka (Jain Anointment) - A work on Jain rituals
  • Chandaśāstra (Treatise on Prosody) - A work on Sanskrit prosody

Ācārya Pūjyapāda's philosophy[edit]

Pūjyapāda is emphatic and focused that liberation is the only way to attain eternal bliss. Pointing to the knotty nature of materialism, existentialism and hedonism he leads the reader to the path of spiritual bliss through rational knowledge, rational perception and rational conduct. He is a writer of brevity and does not believe in highly embellished poetry. He says what he needs to in simple Sanskrit verse.

The first ayurvedic book preached by worshipful HAYGRIVA maha deva, and compiled by pujyapada NANDIKESVARA, a jain ophthalmologist of 5th century The history of ayurveda documents an ancient clinical work entitled Netra Prakashika . It is estimated to be a work of Pujyapada Muni, who lived during 464-524 . A stone carving laid in Nagara taluk of Shivamogga district provides a solid proof of the excellence of medical writings of this Pujyapada Muni . British historian Edward Peter Rice, has accepted that: Pujyapada, also known as devanandi, belongs to the sixth and seventh century. He was a jain muni, who practiced yoga and was believed to have acquired extra ordinary psychic powers. He travelled throughout South India and went as far as Videha (Behar in the north) … He wrote a treatise in Sanskrit on medicine which long continued to be an authority The sanctity of Pujyapada is legendary in the minds of jain scholars . Pujyapada remained immortal in Kanakagiri, a jain pilgrimage centre in Karnataka (near Mysore). Acharya Pujyapada had a celestial power of contemplating with shri mandaraswamy of videha kshetra. He inspired his nephew Nagarjuna to install the sacred foot prints of 24 prophets and finally attained nirvana in Kanakagiri. The name – kanaka-giri, literally mean the mountain of gold. It is the result of alchemy experiments of Nagarjuna, who tried to convert entire mountain into gold. It is also said that Pujyapada himself taught the secrets of rasa shastra to Nagarjuna, the tallest personality in the history of Rasa Shastra.

This ancient book on eye diseases authored by Pujyapada NANDIKESHVARA is now published by Chaukhamba Vishvabharati, Varanasi, with English rendering, illustrating most of the conditions quoted in the text. The reference of Netra Prakashika is found in – ‘A check list of Sanskrit medical manuscripts in India’ edited by Bhagavat Ram Rao, published by institute of history of medicine, Hyderabad in 1972 in association with CCRAS, New Delhi, in page number 38, manuscript in devanagari script (TSML) – 11073. The abbreviation TSML refers to Tanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library, located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Importance of NETRA PRAKASHIKA 1. Ophthalmic complications of systemic diseases : Several systemic diseases will lead to ocular complications. Such specific diseases and their ophthalmic complications are not illustrated in the front line texts of ayurveda. Netra Prakashika has enlightened the readers about the specific complication of internal diseases like Prameha, Granthi, Kamala and Grahani. Such description will herald new horizons in the understanding retinal problems like diabetic retinopathies. 2. New diagnostic method for different dosha invasions of the eye : There are new clues towards the diagnosis of vataja dristi, Pittaja dristi, Kaphaja dristi along with the clinical judgment on shuddha dristi and ashuddha dristi ( normal and abnormal eye). 3. Iotrogenic diseases of the eye: The eye complications produced due to improper treatment of other diseases are given due importance. A separate chapter is devoted towards the diagnosis and management of them, entitled – nana kritrima sanjata netra roga. 4. Pilla Roga and Patala Roga : Most of the diseases mentioned in Netra prakashika are not found in other ayurvedic texts. Though Yogaratnakara, Gadanigraha and Bhaishajya ratnavali have described new therapeutics for eye diseases like patala roga and pilla roga, the explanation of these diseases are not found in the texts. Vagbhata has separately classified 18 chronic disease as pilla roga, but their separate clinical features are not provided. Netra Prakashika has given comprehensive account of ten types of pilla roga of the eyelids and thirteen types of patala roga that trouble the conjunctiva. 5. Special classification : Eye diseases are classified based on the presenting symptoms like disturbance to the appearance of conjunctiva ( drik shukla rupa), corneal opacities (pushpa) etc., 6. Karmaja netra roga and Karma shanty : A great stress is laid upon the bad deeds in the origin of incurable diseases. A novel therapeutic regimen with charity, prayers and worship of God are specified to restore health. 7. Ten stages of eye diseases: The different stages of the eye diseases and their termination in visual loss is depicted with great details. Immediate attention at the earliest stage is advocated for complete remission of the disease. They start from slight pain, redness, pus discharge,dryness, softening of the lens, staphyloma, foulsmell, phthisis and blindness. Shula vedha Aruna mamsaka Puya samvardha Shukla jataka Daha ruksha Mani mandaka Budbudakara Dagdha durgandha Mani bhinnaka Netra hina

8. Importance of chronicity : Eye diseases are clinically classified as roga bala (acute stage), roga kaumara kala (sub acute stage) and roga vardhakya kala(chronic). The eye disease with long duration ( chronic) are always considered as of guarded prognosis . 9. Occular tumours and visual problems : There are details of several ocular tumours and diseases that reduce the visual perception, which are not even mentioned in any other text of ayurveda. 10. Protection of eye: Prevention of eye diseases with carrot and other green leaves, yoga and pranayama are explained separately in netra traniya adhryaya. 11. Therapeutic excellence :Separate chapters are provided for the topical medications like anjana. Most drug formulations mentioned in Netra prakashika are original and are not found in any other books of ayurveda. 12. Medicated oils to cure eye disease: A novel drug delivery system by medicated oils is advocated in the treatment of eye diseases. Specific oil formulations are advised to each disease in the form of shiro basti, shiro taila, abhyanga and basti. In addition, the role of panchakarma like vamana, virechana, rakta moshana and nasya karma are emphasised. 13. One hundred eye diseases : There is a passing reference about the classification of eye diseases in Chakrapanidatta commentary The ancient authorities like Videha has enumerated 76 diseases, Satyaki 96 diseases and Karala 80 diseases in the eye. Vagbhata and Sharangdhara have enlisted 94 pathological conditions in the eye . Netra Prakashika has accounted highest number – 100 of ailments in the eye. The diseases are classified based on the site of affection and the etiological factors as follows: Diseases of the eyelids and eyelashes 24 Diseases of the shukla sandhi 09 Diseases of shweta mandala 13 Diseases of the krishnamandala 05 Diseases produced as a complication 22 Diseases extending to entire eyeball 20 Diseases disturbing vision 07


Thus publication of Netraprakashika is a historic event in Shalakya Tantra. It is a valuable addition to the understanding of ancient treatment methods of eye diseases, refreshingly different from the front line texts of ayurveda. It is hoped that Shalakya horizon will see new light with this book .

Online Information of related interest[edit]

Pujya pada has written an exclusive text book on the management of eye diseases entitled NETRA PRAKASHIKA . The manuscript is in taleyole form is available in tanjore sarswathi mahal library of tanjavur...Any one has seen the book in print form?

Attribution[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Page 98, Jain, Jyoti Prasad. The Jaina Sources of the History of Ancient India. Second, revised edition: 2005.
  2. ^ Page 98, Ibid.
  3. ^ Page 98, Ibid.
  4. ^ Introduction. Jain, Jaykumar.Samadhitantra. First edition, 2006.
  5. ^ "Jaina Antiquary". Volume XVIII.1, pp 13-15.
  6. ^ Page 102, Jain, Jyoti Prasad. The Jaina Sources of the History of Ancient India. Second, revised edition: 2005.