Jain literature comprises
Jain Agamas and subsequent commentaries on
them by various Jain asectics.
Jain literature is primarily divided
Digambara literature and
Svetambara literature. Jains
literature exists mainly in Magadhi Prakrit, Sanskrit, Marathi, Tamil,
Rajasthani, Dhundari, Marwari, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam,
Tulu and more recently in English.
1.1 Jain Agamas
2.2 Kashay‑pahud or Kashay-prabhrut
2.3 Acharya Kundakunda
3.2 Narrative literature and poetry
5 See also
Main article: Jain Agamas
The canonical texts of
Jainism are called Agamas. These are said to be
based on the discourse of the tirthankara, delivered in a samavasarana
(divine preaching hall). These discourses are termed as Śrutu Jnāna
(Jinvani) and comprises eleven angas and fourteen purvas. According
to the Jains, the canonical literature originated from the first
tirthankara Rishabhanatha. The
Digambara sect believes that there were
26 Agam‑sutras (12 Ang‑agams + 14 Ang‑bahya‑agams). However,
they were gradually lost starting from one hundred fifty years after
Lord Mahavir's nirvana. Hence, they do not recognize the existing
Agam-sutras (which are recognized by the
Svetambara sects) as their
authentic scriptures.
English translation of the
Ratnakaranda śrāvakācāra (1917)
Digambara tradition, two main texts, three commentaries on main
texts, and four Anuyogas (exposition) consisting of more than 20 texts
are followed. These scriptures were written by great Acharyas
(scholars) from 100 to 1000 AD using the original Agama Sutras as the
basis for their work. According to Vijay. K. Jain:
Bhutabali was the last ascetic who had partial knowledge of
the original canon. Later on, some learned Āchāryas started to
restore, compile and put into written words the teachings of Lord
Mahavira, that were the subject matter of Agamas. Āchārya Dharasen,
in first century CE, guided two Āchāryas, Āchārya Pushpadant and
Āchārya Bhutabali, to put these teachings in the written form. The
two Āchāryas wrote, on palm leaves, Ṣaṭkhaṅḍāgama- among
the oldest known
Digambara Jaina texts. Around the same time,
Āchārya Gunadhar wrote Kaşāyapāhuda.
The prathmanuyoga (first exposition) contains the universal history,
the karananuyoga (calculation exposition) contains works on cosmology
and the charananuyoga (behaviour exposition) includes texts about
proper behaviour for monks and Sravakas.
Main article: Shatkhandagama
Shatkhandagama is also known as Maha‑kammapayadi‑pahuda or
Maha‑karma‑prabhrut. Two Acharyas; Pushpadanta and
it around 160 AD. The second Purva‑agama named Agraya‑niya was
used as the basis for this text. The text contains six volumes.
Virasena wrote two commentary texts, known as Dhaval‑tika on
the first five volumes and Maha‑dhaval‑tika on the sixth volume of
this scripture, around 780 AD.
Kashay‑pahud or Kashay-prabhrut
Main article: Kasayapahuda
Acharya Gunadhara wrote the Kasay-pahud on the basis of the fifth
Purva‑agama named Jnana‑pravad. Acharya
Virasena and his disciple,
Jinasena, wrote a commentary text known as Jaya‑dhaval‑tika around
Further information: Kundakunda
Jain text composed by Acharya
Kundakunda in the first century B.C.
Samayasāra (The Nature of the Self)
Niyamasara (The Perfect Law)
Main article: Gommatsāra
Gommatsāra is one of the most important Jain texts authored by
Nemichandra Siddhanta Chakravarti. It is based on the major
Jain text, Dhavala written by the Acharya
Bhutabali and Acharya
Pushpadanta. It is also called Pancha Sangraha, a collection of
That which is bound, i.e., the Soul (Bandhaka);
That which is bound to the soul;
That which binds;
The varieties of bondage;
The cause of bondage.
Bhadrabahu (c. 300 BCE) is considered by the jains as last
sutra-kevali (one who has memorized all the scriptures). He wrote
various books known as niyukti, which are commentaries on those
scriptures. He also wrote Samhita, a book dealing with legal
Umaswati (c. 1st century CE) wrote Tattvarthadhigama-sutra
which briefly describes all the basic tennets of Jainism. Haribhadra
(c 8th century) wrote the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, a key Jain text on
Yoga which compares the Yoga systems of Buddhists, Hindus and Jains.
Siddhasena Divakara (c. 650 CE), a contemporary of Vikramaditya, wrote
Nyayavatra a work on pure logic.
Hemachandra (c. 1088-1072 CE) wrote the Yogaśāstra, a textbook on
yoga and Adhatma Upanishad. His minor work Vitragastuti gives outlines
of the Jaina doctrine in form of hymns. This was later detailed by
Mallisena (c. 1292 CE) in his work Syadavadamanjari. Devendrasuri
wrote Karmagrantha which discuss the theory of Karma in Jainism.
Gunaratna (c. 1400 CE) gave a commentary on Haribhadra's work.
Dharmasagara (c. 1573) wrote kaupaksakausi-kasahasrakirana (Sun for
the owls of the false doctrine). In this work he wrote against the
Digambara sect of Jainism. Lokaprakasa of Vinayavijaya and
Yasovijaya were written in c. 17th century CE.
Lokaprakasa deals with all aspects of Jainism. Pratimasataka deals
with metaphysics and logic.
Yasovijaya defends idol-worshiping in this
work. Srivarddhaeva (aka Tumbuluracarya) wrote a
Kannada commentary on
Tattvarthadigama-sutra. This work has 96000 verses.
Jainendra-vyakarana of Acharya
Pujyapada and Sakatayana-vyakarana of
Sakatayana are the works on grammar written in c. 9th century CE.
Siddha-Hem-Shabdanushasana" by Acharya
Hemachandra (c. 12th century
CE) is considered by
F. Kielhorn as the best grammar work of the
Indian middle age. Hemacandra's book Kumarapalacaritra is also
Narrative literature and poetry
Jaina narrative literature mainly contains stories about sixty-three
prominent figures known as Salakapurusa, and people who were related
to them. Some of the important works are Harivamshapurana of Jinasena
(c. 8th century CE), Vikramarjuna-Vijaya (also known as Pampa-Bharata)
Kannada poet named
Adi Pampa (c. 10th century CE), Pandavapurana of
Shubhachandra (c. 16th century CE).
Jains literature exists mainly in Jain Prakrit, Sanskrit, Marathi,
Tamil, Rajasthani, Dhundari, Marwari, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada,
Malayalam, Tulu and more recently in English.
Jains have contributed to India's classical and popular literature.
For example, almost all early
Kannada literature and many Tamil works
were written by Jains. Some of the oldest known books in Hindi and
Gujarati were written by Jain scholars.
The first autobiography in the ancestor of Hindi, Braj Bhasha, is
called Ardhakathānaka and was written by a Jain, Banarasidasa, an
ardent follower of Acarya
Kundakunda who lived in Agra. Many Tamil
classics are written by Jains or with Jain beliefs and values as the
core subject. Practically all the known texts in the Apabhramsha
language are Jain works.
Jain literature is in Shauraseni and the
Jain Prakrit (the
Jain Agamas, Agama-Tulya, the Siddhanta texts, etc.). Many classical
texts are in
Sanskrit (Tattvartha Sutra, Puranas, Kosh, Sravakacara,
mathematics, Nighantus etc.). "Abhidhana Rajendra Kosha" written by
Acharya Rajendrasuri, is only one available Jain encyclopedia or Jain
dictionary to understand the Jain Prakrit, Ardha-Magadhi and other
languages, words, their use and references within oldest Jain
Jain literature was written in
Apabhraṃśa (Kahas, rasas, and
Standard Hindi (Chhahadhala, Moksh Marg Prakashak, and
others), Tamil (Nālaṭiyār, Civaka Cintamani, Valayapathi, and
Vaddaradhane and various other texts). Jain
versions of the
Mahabharata are found in Sanskrit, the
Apabhraṃśa and Kannada.
Main article: Prakrit
Jain Prakrit is a term loosely used for the language of the Jain
Agamas (canonical texts). The books of
Jainism were written in the
popular vernacular dialects (as opposed to
Sanskrit which was the
classical standard of Brahmanism), and therefore encompass a number of
related dialects. Chief among these is Ardha Magadhi, which due to its
extensive use has also come to be identified as the definitive form of
Prakrit. Other dialects include versions of
Champat Rai Jain
Champat Rai Jain
Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 135.
^ Melton & Baumann 2010, p. 1553.
^ a b Dundas 2002, p. 80.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2012, p. xi-xii.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2012, p. xii.
^ "Digambar Literature", jainworld.com
^ Vijay K. Jain 2012.
^ Jaini 1927, p. 5.
^ Jaini 1927, p. 3.
^ Jaini 1927, p. 2.
^ von Glasenapp 1999, p. 175.
^ Banerjee, Satya Ranjan (2005). Prolegomena to Prakritica et Jainica.
The Asiatic Society. p. 61.
Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.
Jain, Vijay K. (2012), Acharya Amritchandra's Purushartha Siddhyupaya:
Realization of the Pure Self, With Hindi and English Translation,
Vikalp Printers, ISBN 978-81-903639-4-5, This article
incorporates text from this source, which is in the public
Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010), Religions of the
World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, One: A-B
(Second ed.), ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3
Dundas, Paul (2002) , The Jains (Second ed.),
London and New
York City: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-26605-X
Jain, Champat Rai (1929), Risabha Deva - The Founder of Jainism,
Allahabad: The Indian Press Limited, This article incorporates text
from this source, which is in the public domain.
Jaini, Jagmandar-lāl (1927), Gommatsara Jiva-kanda, archived from the
original on 2006
Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India:
From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education,
von Glasenapp, Helmuth (1999), Jainism: An Indian Religion of
Salvation [Der Jainismus: Eine Indische Erlosungsreligion], Shridhar
B. Shrotri (trans.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,
Purvas (The Prior Knowledge – considered totally lost)
Digambara Canonical Texts
Tattvartha Sutra (Note1)
Sarvārthasiddhi (commentary on Tattvārthasūtra)
Śvētāmbara Canonical Texts
Drstivada (now extinct)
Tattvartha Sutra is accepted by both
Digambara and Śvetāmbara as
their texts although Śvetāmbaras do not include it under canonical
John E. Cort
Champat Rai Jain
Jeffery D. Long
Digambar Jain Mahasabha
Vishwa Jain Sangathan
Dynasties and empires
Statue of Ahimsa
Jain terms and concepts
List of Jains
List of Jain temples
List of Jain ascetics
List of Digambar Jain ascetics
Topics List (index)
Monks & nuns