Tattvartha Sutra

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Tattvartha Sutra (also known as Tattvarth-adhigama-sutra or Moksh-Shastra) is a Jain text written by Acharya Umaswati,[1] probably in the fourth or fifth century CE.[2] It was an attempt to bring together the different elements of the Jain path, epistemological, metaphysical, cosmological, ethical and practical, otherwise unorganized around the scriptures in an unsystematic format. It is the first Jain text in sutra or aphoristic form, and bring almost entire Jain doctrinal system in 350 sutras spread over 10 chapters.[3] The term Tattvartha is composed of the Sanskrit words tattva "things, realities" and artha "true nature". Umaswati is accepted by all the sects of Jains and is said to have lived around the 2nd century BC.


Chart showing Samyak Darsana as per Tattvarthasutra

The Tattvartha Sutra is regarded as the most authoritative book on Jainism, and the only text authoritative in both the Svetambara and Digambara sects, and its position comparable with that of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Hinduism.[4] It has the largest number of bhashyas or commentaries in different Indian languages from the fifth century onward. The earliest extant Digambara commentary on the text is Sarvathasiddhi, by the sixth century CE grammarian, Devanandi, commonly known as Pujyapada. It along with Akalanka's c. 780 CE Rajavartika and Vijayananda's 9th century Slokavarttika form the central texts of Digambara monastic students.[3]

The first verse, "सम्यग्दर्शनज्ञानचारित्राणिमोक्षमार्ग:" summarizes Jainism by saying that right view, right knowledge and right conduct collectively are the path of liberation or moksha. The first chapter deals with the process of cognition and details about different types of knowledge. The next three chapters deal with the soul, lower worlds, naraka, and celestial abodes, deva. The fifth chapter discusses Non-soul (Ajiva). The next three chapters deal with the karmas and their manifestations and the inflow, asrava, good and bad karma, shubha-ashubha karma and the bondage of the karmas. The ninth chapter describes the blocking, samvara and shedding of the karmas, nirjara. The final chapter discusses moksha or the liberation of the soul.[3]

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  1. ^ Singh, p. 6647
  2. ^ Dundas, Paul (2003). Jains. Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 9781134501656. 
  3. ^ a b c Jaini, p. 82
  4. ^ Jaini, p. 81


Further reading[edit]