Hence, the study of the Agamas is bound to reveal the most important observations of Jainism and its contribution to Indian culture. As we all know, the collective term given by the Jainas to their Sacred literature is called Agamas written in Prakrt just as the Buddhist Pitakas in Pali and the Brahmanical Vedas in Sanskrit. The Jaina Agamas like the Buddhist Pitakas contain the sermons of their founders. They were later on codified by their trusted disciples into the languages of the people just for the larger benefit of the masses.
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Ang-agams: Ang-agams are the oldest religious scriptures and the back bone of Jain literature. Acharang Sutra Aayarang : This agam describes the conduct and behavior of ascetic life and the description of the penance of Lord Mahavir.
This is the oldest agam from a linguistic point of view. Sutrakratang Sutra Suyagdang : This agam describes nonviolence, Jain metaphysics, and the refutation of other religious theories such as Kriyavada, Akriyavada, Ajnanavada, and Vinayavada. Sthananga Sutra Thanang : This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion defines Jain metaphysics.
Samavayanga Sutra: This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion from a different perspective than the Sthananga Sutra. Vhakhya Prajnapti or Bhagavati Sutra Viyah Pannati : This agam explains the subtle knowledge of soul, matter, and other related subjects.
It is the largest of the eleven Ang-agams. This agam is very useful for understanding the code and conduct of ordinary people Shravaka Dharma in the Jain religion. Antah Kradashanga Sutra Anatagaddasao : This agam tells the stories of ten sacred monks attaining liberation Moksha by destroying their karmas. Anuttaroupa Patika Dashanga Sutra Anuttarov Vaiya Dasao : This agam contains the stories of an additional ten sacred monks who attained the top-most heaven, known as Anuttara heaven.
Prashna Vyakrana Sutra Panha Vagarnai : This agam describes the five great vows mahavratas and the five worst sins defined in the Jain religion. Vipaka Sutra Vivagsuyam : This agam explains the results of good and bad karmas through several stories. Upang-agams: The scriptures which provides further explanation of Ang-agams are called Upang-agams.
It also explains how a person can attain heaven in the next life. Monk Keshi was the Ganadhara of Lord Parshvanath. He removed the doubts of King Pradeshi regarding the existence and attributes of the soul. Monk Keshi made the king a follower of the Jain religion. After his death, the king was born as a deva in heaven. He appeared from heaven to shower Lord Mahavir with unprecedented pomp and splendor. The thirty-two dramas plays described in this agam throw light upon the ancient dramatic art of India.
Jivabhigama Sutra: This agam describes the universe and the subtle description of all living beings souls of the universe. It gives very important information to the scholars of biology and botany. Prajnapana Sutra Pannavana : This agam describes the form and attributes of souls from a different perspective. Surya Prajnapti Sutra Surya Pannti : This agam describes the Sun, the planets and the associated mathematics regarding their motion.
Chandra Prajnapti Sutra: This agam describes the Moon, the planets and the associated, mathematics regarding their motion. Both of these upangas, the Chandra Prajnapti and Surya Prajnapati, sutras are very important in understanding the astrology of olden times.
Jambudveepa Prajnapti Sutra: This agam provides a description of Jambudveepa. Jambudeepa is a place explained in Jain geography. It also provides information on ancient kings. Nirayarvali Sutra: This agam describes the story of ten princes. All ten princes fought with King Chetaka of Vaishali in cooperation with king Konika. In the end all ten princes went to hell after dying in war. They did not fight with King Chetaka in the war. They renounced the world and became monks.
After their death, they went to heaven. Pushpika Sutra Puspiao : This agam describes the previous lives of certain devas angels who worshiped Lord Mahavir. Pushpa Chulika Sutra: This agam describes stories similar to those in the Pushpika.
Vrashnidasha Sutra Vanhidasao : This agam explains how Lord Neminath convinced ten kings in the Vrashni region to follow the Jain religion. Chhed Sutra Aagams: The subject matter described in the Chhed-sutras is for monks and nuns and not for lay people.
It relates to the conduct and behavior of monks and nuns. It also explains how they can repent for their sins and mistakes. Nisheetha Sutra Nisiha : This agam explains the procedure of repentance Prayashchitta in the form of punishment for the monks and nuns who have conducted themselves badly.
Vrahat Kalpa Sutra This agam explains which of the ten kinds of repentance Prayashchittas is appropriate for a particular wrong-doing by monks and nuns. It also defines in clear terms what is acceptable conduct for monks and nuns and what is not.
It explains the qualifications of the listening monk or nun and with what sort of feeling the confession should be made. It also explains what sort of repentance Prayashchitta the monk should perform. There are several other indication of the limits of ascetic life.
Only scattered chapters of this agam are now available. However, the commentaries Bhashya and Churni written about this agam by some elder monks are available. Mahanisheetha Sutra: This agam explains the process of confession and repentance Prayashchitta for monks and nuns.
It explains the magnitude of pain one has to suffer if he or she breaks the fourth vow chastity. It also describes and explains the conduct of good and bad monks. Mool-sutras: The scriptures which are essential for monks and nuns to study in the early stages of their ascetic life are called Mool-sutras.
Avashyaka Sutra: The daily rituals or routines which it is necessary to perform during the day and night for the purification of soul are called Avashyaka. A description of the six routines Avashyakas are explained in this agam. Dasha Vaikalika Sutra This agam briefly describes and explains the conduct of ascetic life. Uttaradhyayana Sutra This agam has the same place in Jain literature as the Dhammapada in Buddhism and the Geeta in the Hindu religion.
It contains preaching regarding religious principles and practices, and many stories, dialogues, and examples based on such principles and practices. Chulika-sutras or Sutras: The scriptures which enhance or decorate the Ang-agams are known as Chulika-sutras or Sutras. Anuyogadvara Sutra: This agam provides the description of many rights regarding the mode of preaching. Prakirna-agams: The scriptures which describe independent or miscellaneous subjects of the Jain religion are known as Prakirna-sutra.
It also describes the types of vows a wise person should take during various states of illness and how he should beg the pardon of all living beings in the universe. It also provides a description of the moon, sun, planets, and stars.
However, it appears from literature referencing this agam that it contained prayers of Lord Mahavir.
Ang-agams: Ang-agams are the oldest religious scriptures and the back bone of Jain literature. Acharang Sutra Aayarang : This agam describes the conduct and behavior of ascetic life and the description of the penance of Lord Mahavir. This is the oldest agam from a linguistic point of view. Sutrakratang Sutra Suyagdang : This agam describes nonviolence, Jain metaphysics, and the refutation of other religious theories such as Kriyavada, Akriyavada, Ajnanavada, and Vinayavada. Sthananga Sutra Thanang : This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion defines Jain metaphysics. Samavayanga Sutra: This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion from a different perspective than the Sthananga Sutra.
Jain Agams and Indian Culture
Traditionally these sutras were orally passed on from teachers acaryas or gurus to the disciples for several centuries. The scholars date the composition of Jain agamas at around 6th to 3rd century BCE. Contents History Date of composition While some authors date the composition of Jain Agamas starting from 6th century BCE,  noted indologist Hermann Jacobi holds that the composition of the Jaina canon would fall somewhere about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BCE  The general consensus amongst scholars is that the earliest portions of Jain canons were composed around 4th or 3rd century BCE. However, with time, it became difficult to keep the entire Jain literature committed to memory. According to tradition, there occurred a twelve years of famine around BC where it was extremely difficult for the Jain ascetics to survive during this time. Under such circumstances they could not preserve the entire canonical literature.
Jain Agamas (Śvētāmbara)
Jain Agamas (Digambara)