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Samavayanga Sutra (c. 3rd-4th century BCE) is the 4th amongst the 12 Angas of the Jaina canon. The sutra is believed to have been composed by Gandhara Sudharmaswami. This ancient manuscript is the holy book of the Svetambara sect. This text contains the essence of Jain religion, defined and catalogued systematically. Written c. 300 BCE, it is a part of the collection of texts containing Lord Mahavira’s teachings, collectively termed as Agama Sutras.
Subject matter of the Agama
Samavayanga Sutra contains elements of mathematics and astronomy. One of the interesting aspects of this text is its portrayal of Monasticism and spirituality in the terms of numerology.
Mathematics - The Samavayanga Sutra seems to be in continuation of the Sthananga Sutra and follows the numeric method of describing substances from 1 to 1 billion.
Astronomy – It contains discussion on Mount Meru, the jyotishcakra, the Jambudvipa itself, the measurements used in the Jaina canon, the Jaina Loka, the different types of Earth, the 7 Hells, the increase in water levels in the Lavana ocean and like. It also gives information on the subject matter of the 14 Purva and the 12th Anga, Drstivada. Being one of the oldest and most referred texts, it forms the backbone of the Jain literature. There is a description of the life-span of the Gods in the Samavayanga Agama. There is also a mention of the days of their inhalation and exhalation. It further defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion from a different perspective than the Sthananga Sutra. Furthermore, it contains references to the Damili script, an early Tamil script known as Tamil Brahmi.
- Jain 1998, p. 5.
- Jain, Sagarmal (1998). "Jain Literature [From earliest time to c. 10th A.D.]". Aspects of Jainology: Volume VI.