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Jain Agam Literature -By Pravin K Shah

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Jain Friends Digambar Jain Literature:

The Digambar sect believes that there were 25 Agam-sutras (11 Ang-agams + 14 Ang-bahya-agams) complied from the original preaching of Lord Mahavir. However, they were gradually lost starting about two hundred years after Lord Mahavir's nirvana. Hence the existing Agam-sutras (which are accepted by the Swetambar sects) are not accepted by them as authentic scriptures.

In the absence of authentic scriptures, Digambars use the following literature as the basis for their religious practice. These scriptures were written by great Acharyas (scholars) from 100 to 800 A.D. and are based on the original Agam Sutras.

  • Two Main Texts:
    • Shatkhand-agam
    • Kasay-pahud
  • Four Anuyogas:
    • Pratham-anuyoga (Dharma-kath-anuyoga) - Religious Stories
    • Charn-anuyoga - Conduct
    • Karan-anuyoga (Ganit-anuyoga) - Description of the Universe
    • Dravy-anuyoga - Philosophy


This Digambar scripture is also known as Maha-kammapayadi-pahuda or Maha-karma-prabhrut. It was written by two Acharyas; Pushpadant and Bhutabali around 160 A.D. The second Purva-agam named Agraya-niya was used as the basis for this scripture. The scripture contains six volumes. Acharya Virsen 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 A.D.

Kashay-pahud (Kashay Prabhrut): This scripture was written by Acharya Gunadhara. The fifth Purva-agam named Jnan-pravad was used as a basis for this scripture. Acharya Virsen and his disciple, Jinsen, wrote a commentary text known as Jaya-dhaval-tika around 780 A.D.

Four Anuyogas:

  1. Pratham-anuyoga (Dharma-kath-anuyoga) - Religious Stories

    This anuyoga consists of the following texts which contain religious stories, art, literature, history, poetry, and like literature.
    Name Author Time
    Padma-puran Ravisen 650 A.D.
    Harivamsa-puran Jinsen II 783 A.D.
    Adi-puran Jinsen II 783 A.D.
    Uttar-puran Gunabhadra 879 A.D.

  2. Charn-anuyoga - Conduct

    This anuyoga consists of the following texts which contain principles of observances, conduct, behavior, and like literature.
    Mulachar Vattaura 600 A.D.
    Trivarnachar Vattaura 600 A.D.
    Ratna-karanda-shravak-achar Samantabhadra 600 A.D.

  3. Karan-anuyoga (Ganit-anuyog) - Description of the Universe

    This anuyoga consists of the following texts which contain geography, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, and like literature.
    Surya-prajnapti Unknown -  
    Chandra-prajnapti Unknown -  
    Jaya-dhaval-tika Virsen/Jinsen 780 A.D.
    Gommat-sar Nemichandra Siddhant Chakravarti 1000 A.D.

  4. Dravy-anuyog - Philosophy

    This anuyoga consists of the following texts which contain philosophical doctrine, theories, Tattvajnan, and like literature.
    Niyamasar Kunda-kunda 100 A.D.
    Panchastikaya Kunda-kunda 100 A.D.
    Pravachanasar Kunda-kunda 100 A.D.
    Samaya-sara Kunda-kunda 100 A.D.
    Tattvartha-sutra Umaswami 200 A.D.
    commentary by Samantabhadra 600 A.D.
    commentary by Pujyapad 700 A.D.
    commentary by Akalank 750 A.D.
    commentary by Vidyanand 800 A.D.
    Aptamimamsa Samantabhadra 600 A.D.
    commentary by Akalank 750 A.D.
    commentary by Vidyanand 800 A.D.


The Jain literature which was complied by Ganadharas and Srut-kevlis is known as Agam literature. These texts are the holy scriptures of the Jain religion.

The Agam Sutras show great reverence for all forms of life and strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, nonviolence, and opposition to war. The existing Agam Sutras are accepted as the authentic preaching of Lord Mahavir by the Swetambar sects, but the Digambar sect does not accept them as authentic. Digambars follow two main texts (Shatkhand Agam and Kasay Pahud) and four Anuyogs (consisting of more than 20 texts) written by great Acharyas (scholars) from 100 to 800 A.D.

All other Jain literature is known as Non-agam literature.

Summary Table: Category Accepted by Digambar Swetambar Murtipujak Sthanakvasi Terapanthi Ang-agams 11 11 11 Ang-bahya-agams 14 34 21 Total Agams 25 45 32

Classification of Ang-bahya-agams of Swetamber Sects:

Upang-agams 12 12
Chhed-sutra-agams 6 4
Mool-sutra-agams 4 3
Chulika-sutra-agams 2 2
Prakirna-agams 10 none
Total Ang-bahya-agams 34 21

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