Photo Composition: An ancient, ornate manuscript laid out on a wooden scholar's desk. The manuscript is illuminated with intricate illustrations representing the six fundamental substances. Above the manuscript, a soft glow projects holographic symbols for Jiva, Ajiva, Dharma, Adharma, Akasa, and Kala. Floating beside the manuscript, a quill writes the title 'Dravyasaṃgraha: The Essence of Jain Philosophy.' Surrounding the scene, there are lit candles, ink pots, and magnifying glasses, evoking a sense of deep study and reverence.

Analysis of “Dravyasamgraha” by Ācārya Nemicandra

Dive into the profound teachings of Dravyasamgraha by Ācārya Nemicandra, offering a detailed look at Jain cosmology, the nature of the soul, and the spiritual path to liberation.

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The “Dravyasamgraha” is an ancient Jain text written by Ācārya Nemicandra in the early centuries of the common era. The provided section below focuses on Jain cosmology, the nature of the soul, and the paths to liberation. Here’s a breakdown of the key points and their significance:

  1. Salutations to the Jinas: The text begins with a tribute to the Jinas, or the great spiritual teachers of Jainism, highlighting the importance of reverence in the tradition.
  2. Jiva and Ajiva: These are fundamental concepts in Jainism. ‘Jiva’ denotes the living soul, while ‘Ajiva’ refers to non-living entities. The text elaborates on the characteristics of Jiva, its different states, and its intrinsic nature.
  3. Upayoga, Darshana, and Jnana: Upayoga refers to the application or use of consciousness. Darshana and Jnana are two types of Upayoga – Darshana is perception, while Jnana is knowledge. The text details various forms of these, emphasizing the importance of right perception and knowledge in Jainism.
  4. Vyavahara Naya and Nischaya Naya: These are two standpoints used to describe reality in Jainism. The Vyavahara Naya is a practical or empirical standpoint, while Nischaya Naya is an ultimate or real standpoint. The text contrasts the two to show the multifaceted nature of reality in Jain thought.
  5. Kinds of Jivas: Differentiates living entities based on their senses. For instance, plants have one sense, while humans have five. This classification system underscores Jainism’s intricate understanding of life forms.
  6. Pudgala, Dharma, Adhrma, Akasa, Kala: These are forms of Ajiva. Pudgala refers to matter, Dharma to the medium of motion, Adhrma to the medium of rest, Akasa to space, and Kala to time. Each is elaborated upon, providing a comprehensive Jain cosmology.
  7. Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara, Moksha: These terms describe the soul’s journey. Asrava is the inflow of karmic matter, Bandha is its bondage, Samvara is the stoppage of this inflow, Nirjara is the shedding of karma, and Moksha is liberation. They outline the spiritual path in Jainism.
  8. Punya and Papa: These refer to meritorious and sinful actions, respectively. They underscore the Jain emphasis on ethical actions leading to spiritual consequences.
  9. Three Jewels: Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct are termed the “Three Jewels” of Jainism. They are seen as the path to liberation.
  10. Meditation: Emphasizes the importance of meditation in realizing the self and attaining spiritual enlightenment. The text provides guidelines and insights into the Jain practice of meditation.
  11. Closing Note: The author, Ācārya Nemicandra, humbly asks learned sages to correct any errors in his work, showing the humility and the collaborative nature of Jain scholarship.

Context and Culture: Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that emphasizes non-violence, asceticism, and the cyclical nature of life and karma. The “Dravyasamgraha” is a foundational text that provides insights into Jain cosmology, ethics, and metaphysics. The concepts discussed in the text form the backbone of Jain philosophy and provide a framework for understanding the universe, the nature of the soul, and the path to spiritual liberation. The repeated reference to different standpoints (like Vyavahara Naya and Nischaya Naya) demonstrates the nuanced and multifaceted approach Jainism takes to understanding reality.

Figures and Locations:

  • Ācārya Nemicandra: The author of “Dravyasamgraha,” he was a prominent Jain scholar and theologian.
  • Jinas: The great spiritual teachers in Jainism who have achieved liberation.

This text reflects the rich tapestry of Jain thought and its intricate understanding of the universe, life, and the soul. It provides valuable insights into the Jain way of life and its spiritual pursuits.


Original Text of Dravyasamgraha

  1. I always salute with my head that eminent one among the great Jinas, who is worshipped by the host of Indras and who has described the Dravyas (substances) Jiva and Ajiva.
  2. Jiva is characterized by upayoga, is formless and an agent, has the same extent at its own body, is the enjoyer (of the fruits of Karma), exists in samsara, is Siddha and has a characteristic upward motion.
  3. According to Vyavahara Naya, that is called Jiva, which is possessed of four Pranas, viz., Indriya (the senses), Bal (force), Ayu (life) and Ana-prana (respiration) into the three periods of time (viz., the present, the past and the future), and according to Nischaya Naya that which has consciousness is called Jiva.
  4. Upayoga is of two kinds, Darshana and Jnana. Darshana is of four kinds, Darshana is known to be (divided into) Chaksu, Achuksu; Avadhi and Kevala.
  5. Jnana is of eight kinds, viz., Jnana and Ajnana of Mati, Sruta and Avadhi, manah-paryaya and Kevala. (It is also divided into Pratyaksha and Paroksa (from another point of view).
  6. According to Vyavahara Naya, the general characteristics of Jiva are said to be eight kinds of Jnana and four kinds of Darshana. But according to Suddha Naya, (the characteristics of Jiva) are pure Jnana and Darshana.
  7. According to Nischaya Naya, Jiva is without form; because the five kinds of colour and taste, two kinds of smell, and eight kinds of touch are not present in it. But according to Vyavahara Naya [Jiva] has form through the bondage [of Karma.]
  8. According to Vyavahara Naya is the doer of the Pudgala Karmas. According to Nischaya Naya (Jiva is the doer of) Thought Karmas. According to Suddha Naya (Jiva is the doer) of Suddha Bhavas.
  9. According to Vyavahara Naya, Jiva enjoys happiness and misery the fruits of Pudgala karmas, According to Nischaya Naya, Jiva has conscious Bhavas only.
  10. According to Vyavahara Naya, the conscious Jiva, being without Samudghata, becomes equal in extent to a small or a large body, by contraction and expansion; but, according to Nischaya, Naya (it) is existent in innumerable Pradesas.
  11. The earth, water, fire, air and plants are various kinds of Sthavara possessed of one sense. The Trasa Jivas, conches, etc., are possessed of two, three, four and five senses.
  12. Jivas possessing five senses are known (to be divided into) those having mind and those without mind. All the rest are without mind. [Jivas] having one sense (are divided into two classes) Badara and Suksma. All (of these have again to varieties each) Paryapta and its opposite.
  13. Again, according to impure (Vyavahara) Naya, Samsari Jivas are of fourteen kinds according to Margana and Gunasthana. But according to pure Naya, all Jivas should be understood to pure.
  14. The Siddhas (or liberated Jivas) are void of karmas, possessed of eight qualities, slightly less than the final body, eternal, possessed of Utpada (rise) and Vyaya (fall), and existent at the summit of Loka.
  15. Again, Ajivas should be known to be Pudgala, Dharma, Adhrma, Akasa and Kala. Pudgala has form and the qualities, Rupa, etc. But the rest are without form.
  16. Sound, union, fineness, grossness, shape, division, darkness and image, with lustre and heat (are) modifications of the substance (known as) Pudgala.
  17. As water assists the movement of moving fish, so Dharma (assists the movement of moving) Pudgala and Jiva. (But) it does not move (Pudgala and Jiva which are) not moving.
  18. As shadow (assists the staying of) the travellers, (so) Adharma assists the staying of the Pudgalas and Jivas which are stationary, But that (i.e. Adharma) does not hold back moving (Pudgalas and Jivas).
  19. Know that which is capable of allowing space to Jiva etc. to be Akasa, according to Jainism Lokakasa and Alokakasa, thus (Akasa is) of two kinds.
  20. Lokakasa is that in which Dharma, Adharma, Kala, Pudgala and Jiva exist. That which is beyond (this Lokakasa) is called Alokakasa.
  21. Vyavahara Kala (Time from the ordinary point of view) is that which helps to produce changes in substances and which is known from modifications (produced in substances), while Parmarthika (i.e. real) Kala is understood from continuity.
  22. Those innumerable substances which exist one by one in each Pradesa of Lokakasa, like heaps of jewels, are points of time.
  23. In this manner this Dravya is said to be of six kinds, according to the subdivisions of Jiva and Ajiva. The five, without Kala, should be understood to be Astikayas.
  24. As these exist, they are called “Asti” by the great Jinas, and because (they have) many Pradesas, like bodies, therefore (they are called) Kayas. (Hence these are called) Astikayas.
  25. In Jiva and in Dharma and Adharma, the Pradesas are innumerable, in Akasa (The Pradesas are) infinite and in that which has form (viz., Pudgala) (these are) of three kinds, (viz., numerable, innumerable and infinite). Kala (Time) has one (Raradesha). Therefore it is not (called) Kaya.
  26. An atom (of Pudgala), though having one Pradesa, becomes of many Pradesas, through being Pradesa in many Skandhas. For this reason, from the ordinary point of view, the omniscient ones call (it to be) Kaya.
  27. Know that (to be) surely Pradesa which is obstructed by one indivisible atom of Pudagala and which can give space to all particles.
  28. We shall describe briefly those varieties of Jiva and Ajiva also which are (known as) Asrava, Bandha, Samvara. Nirjara and Moksha with Punya and Papa.
  29. That modification of the soul by which Karma gets into (it) is to be known as Bhavasrava, as told by the Jina, and the other (kind of Asrava) is the influx of Karma.
  30. Then, it should be known that of the former (i.e., Bhavasrava) (the subdivisions are) Mithyatva, Avirati, Pramada, Yoga, Anger, etc., (which are again of) five, five fifteen, three and four classes, respectively.
  31. That influx of mater which causes Jnanavaraniya etc., it to be known as Dravyasrava as called by the Jina and possessing many varieties.
  32. That conscious state by which Karma is bound (with the soul) is called Bhava-bandha, while the interpenetration of the Pradesas of Karma and the soul is the other (i.e., Dravyabandha).
  33. Bandha is of four kinds, according to the (subdivisions, viz.,) Prakriti, Sthiti, Anubhaga and Pradesa, Prakirti and Pradesa are (produced) from Yoga, but Sthiti and Anubhaga are from Kasaya.
  34. That modification of consciousness which is the cause of checking Asrava (influx) of Karma, is surely Bhavasamvra, and the other (known as Dravyasamvra is known from) checking Dravyasrava.
  35. That Vratas (Vows), Samitis (attitudes of carefulness), Guptis (Restraints), Dharmas (Observances), Anuprekasas (Meditations), Parisaha-jayas (the victories over troubles) and various kinds of Charitra (Conduct) are to e known as varieties of Bhava-samvara.
  36. That Bhava (modification of the soul) by which the mater of Karma disappears in proper time after the fruits [of such Karma] are enjoyed [is called Bhava-Nirjara], also [the destruction of Karmic matter] through penances [is known as Bhava-Nirjara.] And that destruction [itself] [is known as Dravya-Nirjana] Thus Nirjara should be known of two kinds.
  37. That modification of the soul which is the cause of the destruction of all Karmas, is surely to be known as Bhava-moksha and (actual) separation of the Karmas [is] Dravya-moksha.
  38. The Jivas consist of Punya and Papa surely having auspicious and inauspicious Bhavas (respectively). Punya is Satavedaniya, auspicious life, name and class, while Papa is (exactly) the opposite (of these).
  39. Know that from the ordinary point of view, perfect faith, knowledge and conduct are the cause of liberation, while really one’s own soul consisting of these three (is the cause of liberation).
  40. The three jewels (i.e., Perfect Faith, Perfect Knowledge and Perfect Conduct) do not exist in any other substance excepting the soul. Therefore, the soul surely is the cause of liberation.
  41. Samyaktva (perfect faith) is the belief in Jiva, etc. That is a quality of the soul, and when this arises, Jnana (knowledge), being free from errors, surely becomes perfect.
  42. Samyak Jnana (Perfect Knowledge) is the detailed cognition of the real nature of the ego and non-ego, is freed from Samsaya (Doubt), Vimoha (Perversity) and Vibhrama (Indefiniteness), and is of many varieties.
  43. That perception of the generalities of things without particularities in which there is no grasping of details, is called Darsana in (Jaina) scriptures.
  44. In Samsati Jivas, Jnana is preceded by Darshana. For this reason [in him], the two Upayogas (viz. Jnana and Darshana) do not (arise) simultaneously. But in Kevalis, both of these two (arise) simultaneously.
  45. Know Charitra to be refraining from what is harmful and engagement in what is beneficial. But according to Vyavahara Naya, Charitra (Conduct) has been mentioned by the Jina to consist of Vrata, Samiti and Gupti.
  46. That checking of external and internal actions by one who has knowledge, in order to destroy the causes of Samsara, is the excellent samyak Charitra (Perfect Conduct) mentioned by the Jina.
  47. Because by the rule a sage gets both the (Vyavahara and Nischaya) causes of liberation by meditation, therefore (all of) you practise meditation with careful mind.
  48. If you wish to have your mind fixed in order to succeed in various kinds of meditation, do not be deluded by or attached to beneficial objects and do not be averse to harmful objects.
  49. Repeat and meditate on (the Mantras), signifying the Paramesthis and consisting of thirty-five, sixteen, six, five four, two and one (letter) and other (mantras) taught by the Guru (preceptor).
  50. That pure soul existing in an auspicious body, possessed of (infinite) faith, happiness, knowledge and power which has destroyed the four Ghatiya Karmas, is to be meditated on as an Arhat.
  51. Meditate on the Siddha – the soul which is bereft of the bodies produced by eight kinds of Karmas, which is the seer and knower of Loka and Aloka, which has a shape like a human being and which stays at the summit of the universe.
  52. That sage who attaches himself and others to the practice of Virya (Power), Charitra (Conduct) and Tapa (Penance) in which faith and knowledge are eminent is to be meditated as Acharya (Preceptor).
  53. That being, the greatest of the great sages who being possessed of the three jewels, is always engaged in preaching the religious truths, is (known as) Upadhyaya (Teacher). Salutation to him.
  54. That sage who practices well conduct which is always pure and which is the path of liberation with perfect faith and knowledge is a Sadhu. Obeisance to him.
  55. When a Sadhu attaining concentration becomes void of conscious effort by meditation on anything whatever, that state is called real meditation.
  56. Do not act, do not talk do not think, so that the soul may be attached to and fixed in itself. This only is excellent meditation.
  57. As a should which (practises) penances, (holds) vows and (has knowledge of) scriptures, becomes capable of holding the axle of the chariot of meditation, so to attain that (meditation) be always engaged in these three (i.e. penances, vows and Sastras).
  58. Let the great sages, full of the (knowledge) of Sastras and freed from the collection of faults, correct this Dravya-samgraha which is spoken by the sage Nemichandra who has little (knowledge) of the Sastras.

To Summarise “Dravyasamgraha” by Ācārya Nemicandra

The Dravyasaṃgraha, written by Ācārya Nemicandra in the 10th century, explicates core elements of Jain philosophy, beginning with an introduction to the six fundamental substances (Jiva, Ajiva, Dharma, Adharma, Akasa, and Kala). It elaborates on the characteristics of Jiva (soul), describing its formlessness, agency, and role in experiencing karma. The text categorizes Jivas into Sthavara (immobile) and Trasa (mobile) based on senses, with further divisions for Samsari Jivas.

It explains Ajiva (non-soul) substances like Pudgala (matter), Dharma (motion), Adharma (rest), Akasa (space), and Kala (time). The document delves into concepts of Asrava (influx), Bandha (bondage), Samvara (restraint), and Nirjara (shedding) of karma, and the path to Moksha (liberation). It stresses the importance of meditation and focuses the mind on spiritual figures like Arhat and Siddha. Overall, the text provides a comprehensive overview of core Jain philosophical concepts fundamental to achieving spiritual enlightenment.

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