Jain Agam Literature -By Pravin K Shah

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Jain Friends Details of Jain Agams:
    Ang-agams:

    Ang-agams are the oldest religious scriptures and the back bone of Jain literature.

    1. 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.
    2. Sutrakratang Sutra (Suyagdang): This agam describes nonviolence, Jain metaphysics, and the refutation of other religious theories such as Kriyavada, Akriyavada, Ajnanavada, and Vinayavada.
    3. Sthananga Sutra (Thanang): This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion (defines Jain metaphysics).
    4. Samavayanga Sutra:
      This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion from a different perspective than the Sthananga Sutra.
    5. Vhakhya Prajnapti or Bhagavati Sutra (Viyah Pannati):
      This agam explains the subtle knowledge of soul, matter, and other related subjects. 36000 questions and answers are presented in discussion form. It is the largest of the eleven Ang-agams.
    6. Jnata Dharma Kathanga Sutra (Nayadhammakahao):
      This agam explains Jain principles through examples and stories. This text is very useful in understanding the mode of Lord Mahavir's religious preaching.
    7. Upasaka Dashanga Sutra (Uvasagdasao):
      This agam explains the code of conduct of the ten lay followers (Shravaks) of Lord Mahavir. This agam is very useful for understanding the code and conduct of ordinary people (Shravaka Dharma) in the Jain religion.
    8. Antah Kradashanga Sutra (Anatagaddasao):
      This agam tells the stories of ten sacred monks attaining liberation (Moksha) by destroying their karmas.
    9. 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.
    10. Prashna Vyakrana Sutra (Panha Vagarnai):
      This agam describes the five great vows (mahavratas) and the five worst sins defined in the Jain religion.
    11. 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.

    1. Aupa Patika Sutra (Ovavaiya):
      This agam describes the splendid procession (view) of King Konika when he visited Lord Mahavir. It also explains how a person can attain heaven in the next life.
    2. Raja Prashniya Sutra (Raya Pasen Ijja):
      This agam describes the story of Monk Keshi. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Prajnapana Sutra (Pannavana):
      This agam describes the form and attributes of souls from a different perspective.
    5. Surya Prajnapti Sutra (Surya Pannti): This agam describes the Sun, the planets and the associated mathematics regarding their motion.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Nirayarvali Sutra:
      This agam describes the story of ten princes. All ten princes fought with King Chetaka of Vaishali in cooperation with king Konika. King Chetaka was the son of the 10 princes' step-mother. In the end all ten princes went to hell after dying in war.
    9. Kalpa Vatansika Sutra (Kappavadamsiao):
      This agam describes the story of King Konika's children. They did not fight with King Chetaka in the war. They renounced the world and became monks. After their death, they went to heaven.
    10. Pushpika Sutra (Puspiao):
      This agam describes the previous lives of certain devas (angels) who worshiped Lord Mahavir.
    11. Pushpa Chulika Sutra:
      This agam describes stories similar to those in the Pushpika.
    12. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. . 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.
    3. Vyavahara Sutra: *
      This agam describes the system of confession for monks and nuns who fall from proper conduct. 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.
    4. Dasha Shruta Skandha Sutra (Achardasha):
      There are ten chapters in this Sutra. It contains the following information:
      1. 20 places of Asamadhi
      2. 21 powerful faults bringing weakness in conduct
      3. 33 Ashatanas of Guru
      4. 8 Sampadas of Acharyas and their kinds
      5. 10 places of Chitta Samadhi
      6. 11 Pratimas of Sravaka
      7. Bhiksu Pratimas
      8. KALPASUTRA - recited during the Paryushanas
      9. 30 places of Maha Mohaniya karma bandhana
      10. 9 Nida nas (Niyane)
    5. Panch Kalpa Sutra: *
      This sutra explains the daily rituals the monks and nuns have to perform. 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.
    6. 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.
    1. 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. The six routines are; Samayika, Chaturvinshatistava, Vandanaka, Pratikramana, Kayotsarga, and Pratyakhyana.
    2. Dasha Vaikalika Sutra
      This agam briefly describes and explains the conduct of ascetic life.
    3. 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.
    4. Ogha Niryukti or Pinda Niryukti Sutra: *
    This agam explains certain rules and procedures for monks with respect to travelling, staying, accepting food and other necessities from lay people.
  • Chulika-sutras or Sutras: The scriptures which enhance or decorate the Ang-agams are known as Chulika-sutras or Sutras.
    1. Nandi Sutra:
      This agam contains an elaborate description of Tirthankaras, Ganadharas, and five types of Knowledge (Jnan); Mati, Shrut, Avadhi, Manaparyay, and Keval-Jnan.
    2. 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.
    1. Chatuh Sharana: *
      This agam contains prayers to the four benevolent beings:
      1. Lord Arihant- God in the form of human being
      2. Lord Siddha - God in the form of pure consciousness
      3. Sadhu - All monks
      4. Dharma - Religion
    2. Aatur Pratyakhyana (Aayur-Pachakhana): *
      This agam explains differences in the death of children, youths, adults, and old people. 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.
    3. Bhakti Parijna (Bhatta-parinna): * This agam describes the process of fasting and how one should strive to feel at the time of death.
    4. Sanstaraka (Santharag): *
      This agam describes the process of dying by one's own desire (Santhara) and its glory.
    5. Tandulavaitalika: *
      This agam describes the state of pregnancy and provides knowledge about the human body.
    6. Chandra-Vedhyaka: *
      This agam describes the method of concentrated meditation (Dhyana) that one should observe through the description of Radhavedha.
    7. Devendra-Stava: *
      This agam describes the names, positions, and residences of Devas (angels) who live in heaven. It also provides a description of the moon, sun, planets, and stars.
    8. Ganita Vidya: *
      This agam describes palmistry and how it is used to predict the future (Nimitta).
    9. Mahapratyakhyana: *
      This agam explains how to completely give up the worst sins and how to repent these sins.
    10. Veerastava: *
      This agam is considered lost. However, it appears from literature referencing this agam that it contained prayers of Lord Mahavir.
    Note: * These 13 Agams are not recognized by the Sthanakvasi and Terapanthi Jain sects

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