Contributed by Nalini Balbir
The name cūlikā – ‘appendices’ – has become a common generic term for two particular texts in the Śvetāmbara canon. The Nandī-sūtra and the Anuyogadvāra-sūtra are treated separately from other groups of scriptures because they provide a methodological and ‘epistemological context’ (Dundas 2002: 76) for the whole canon.
The word ‘appendix’ suggests that they come at the end. But this is slightly misleading, as the Nandī-sūtra is often said to come first of all Śvetāmbara holy writings because of its contents. The two Cūlikās complement each other in focusing on different aspects of the concept of knowledge, a crucial theme for Jains. Correctly understanding the truth is a necessary forerunner of behaving properly, which, in turn, is required for spiritual progress towards final liberation from the cycle of rebirth. The Nandī-sūtra discusses the five types of knowledge, particularly the two 'indirect' kinds. The Anuyogadvāra-sūtra is a technical treatise on analytical methods, a kind of guide to applying knowledge. These twin texts underscore the central status of the Jain concept of anekānta-vāda, which emphasises how meaning is nuanced and how there are many different ways of interpreting something. From this point of view, the Cūlikās can be considered to come before the other scriptures.
Like most other texts of the Śvetāmbara canon, the Cūlikās are written in a combination of Ardhamāgadhī and Jaina Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit.
share methodological concerns
develop the notion of parameters and methods that can be used to analyse complex concepts from multiple angles.
The approach of considering different factors so as to bring out the multiple shades of meaning of a term or notion is, in a way, anekānta-vāda. Central to Jain thinking, this concept of many-sidedness – in opposition to the idea of a single, absolute meaning – can be applied to virtually everything.
Stages of knowledge
Image by Diwakar Prakashan / Padma Prakashan © Diwakar Prakashan / Padma Prakashan
The Sanskrit term nandī conveys an idea of delight. It is also a technical term in Sanskrit drama for the first stanza of a play, which pays homage to one of the gods. The Nandī-sūtra of the Śvetāmbara canon, which is written in prose and verse, may be regarded as an auspicious beginning from several angles. Indeed, Muni Puṇyavijaya writes that 'It has secured the position of an auspicious introductory prayer in the beginning of Āgamavācana [the words of the Canon]' (1968: Introduction p. 31).
According to the Śvetāmbara tradition, the Nandī-sūtra is the work of ‘Devavācaka’, who was the pupil of Dūsa-gaṇi. It is likely that this is the predecessor or the same person as Devarddhi-gaṇi, who oversaw the final redaction of the Śvetāmbara canon during the fifth century. The Nandī-sūtra appears to collect together materials that are partly found elsewhere in the canon.
The Nandī-sūtra starts with verses of homage to:
The celebration of the community is expressed through images with which it is associated. Many of these images are significant in wider Indian culture, but they all underline the central importance of the notion of community. Symbols linked with community for Jains include:
After these standard introductory elements comes a praise of Mahāvīra’s disciples and the elders who succeeded them. These early Jain teachers are named and celebrated in successive verses. This is what is technically known as Sthavirāvalī or, in the Prakrit form, Therāvalī. Other examples familiar to Śvetāmbara Jains are the second section of the Kalpa-sūtra and the preamble to the Āvaśyaka-niryukti, the fourth Mūla-sūtra.
The list of elders starts with Sudharman and Jambū and closes with Duṣya-gaṇi. Nothing is known about him, but he may have been the predecessor of Devarddhi-gaṇi. This teacher is known as the redactor of the Śvetāmbara canon during the fifth-century council at Valabhī, Gujarat.
One stanza then lists metaphorical terms for the two categories of audience members. Using 14 mnemonic terms the listeners are contrasted as:
Each of the terms is explained in the commentaries to the Nandī-sūtra as well as in those on the Āvaśyaka-niryukti, where the same stanza is found (Balbir 1993). For instance, the term:
Authoritative scriptures. The holy texts that are considered authoritative depend on the group and the period.
Space – one of the five non-material substances that is non-sentient in Jain belief. These five substances make up the universe along with the sentient substance, called jīvastikaya.
The doctrine of 'truth from many viewpoints', which is typical of Jainism. It means that the same reality can be seen from various angles and that reality cannot be understood from a single viewpoint.
Sanskrit term meaning 'destroyer of enemies'. The enemies are the inner desires and passions. It is also a synonym for Jina. An Arhat is a liberated soul who has not yet left his fleshly body, but, as an omniscient being, is 'worthy of worship'.
Someone who withdraws from ordinary life to meditate and practise physical hardships in order to advance spiritually. Jain ascetics or mendicants beg for food from devout lay followers and wander the land.
Also used as an adjective to describe the practice of rigorous, even extreme, physical hardships in the belief that it leads to a higher spiritual condition.
Favourable or lucky. Auspicious objects bring good fortune and may predict good events or a bright future.
Extra-sensory knowledge, clairvoyance. One of the five traditional types of knowledge, it is inborn in heavenly and hellish beings. Humans can attain it only through special yogic practices and it is linked to a high level of spirituality.
Internal, spiritual. Opposite of Dravya
'Lands of Enjoyment' in Sanskrit, where people do not need to make any effort because all their needs are met by wish-fulfilment trees. The Lands of Enjoyment are in Jambū-dvīpa, in the Middle World where humans live.
An essay explaining a text. Commentaries on the scriptures are common in the Jain tradition and there are various types, including the:
A class of Prākrit commentary. Written in prose, the cūrṇis were composed between the 6th and 8th centuries CE.
A god or divine figure, often with physical powers beyond those of a human and with superhuman abilities.
'Sky-clad' in Sanskrit, used for one of the two main divisions of Jainism, in which monks are naked. There are some differences of doctrine or belief between these two sects and to some extent their followers consider themselves as belonging to distinct branches. Divisions can be fierce in practical matters, for example, over the ownership of pilgrimage places, but all sects see themselves as Jains.
An active follower of a religion, especially one who passes on teachings to others.
'Divine sound' in Sanskrit and characteristic of the Jina’s speech after he has reached omniscience. The two main sects of Digambara and Śvetāmbara Jains have slightly different concepts of it but agree that the divine sound is the source of all Jain teaching.
Substance. There are two main types of substances in the universe in Jain belief:
The second type is divided into pudgala – non-sentient matter – and the non-material substances of:
The last is not always included in this category.
A term used for a man who is one of those listed in early sources as the direct successors of Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina.
The westernmost state in India, which is a stronghold of Śvetāmbara Jainism.
Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common.
A 'victor' in Sanskrit, a Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A synonym for Tīrthaṃkara, which means 'ford-maker' or one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience through asceticism. The most famous 24 – Ṛṣabha to Mahāvīra – were born in the Bharata-kṣetra of the middle world, but more are found in other continents. There have been Jinas in the past and there will be some in the future.
Sanskrit for 'self', 'soul' or 'that which is sentient'. It makes up the universe along with ajīva, or non-sentient material substance. It is a material substance that changes in size according to the body it inhabits in each life. It is born in different bodies in various places in the Jain universe based on karma from earlier lives. The soul is liberated from the cycle of birth when it has achieved spiritual purity and omniscience. Also called ātma or ātman.
'Knowledge', of which there are five main types:
With spiritual progress, one can gain the different types of knowledge.
Also one of the 14 'gateways' or categories of investigation of mārgaṇā or 'soul-quest'.
Time. One of the five insentient non-material substances that make up the universe along with the sentient substance, called jīvastikaya.
The Book of Ritual attributed to Bhadrabāhu. It has three sections:
A significant sacred text for Śvetāmbara Jains, the Kalpa-sūtra has a central role in the annual Paryuṣaṇ festival.
Action or act, thought of as physical in Jainism. Created by mental or physical action, karma enters the soul, which then needs religious restraints and practices to make it flow out. Karma can be both:
Both types of karma trap a soul in continual rebirth. A pan-Indian concept, karma has extremely complex, detailed and technical divisions and subdivisions in Jainism.
'Realm of action', used in Jain cosmology for the lands in the Middle World where people must work to live. However, here they can progress on the path of salvation. These lands are Bharata-kṣetra, Airāvata-kṣetra and Mahā-videha. However, Uttara-kuru and Deva-kuru in Mahā-videha are Lands of Pleasure or bhoga-bhūmi.
Omniscience, enlightenment or perfect knowledge – the highest of the five types of knowledge, where one knows everything wherever and whenever it is. It is extremely difficult to attain, equivalent to the 13th stage of spiritual purity in the guṇa-sthāna. Digambaras believe only men can achieve it whereas Śvetāmbaras believe that both men and women can become enlightened.
Believers in a religion who are ordinary worshippers, not clergy or members of religious orders. In Jainism, lay people are often called 'householders', indicating that they live in houses and have domestic responsibilities, unlike ascetics.
A plant noted for its beautiful flowers, which has symbolic significance in many cultures. In Indian culture, the lotus is a water lily signifying spiritual purity and detachment from the material world. Lotuses frequently feature in artwork of Jinas, deities, Buddha and other holy figures.
The 24th Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is yellow and his emblem the lion. Mahāvīra or 'the great hero' is his title. His birth name was Vardhamāna, meaning 'ever increasing'. His existence is historically documented but the two main sects of Digambara and Śvetāmbara Jains have slight differences in their accounts of his life.
Telepathy. The fourth of the five types of knowledge - jñāna - by which one has direct access to others’ minds. Humans in advanced states of spiritual development gain this kind of knowledge.
A Sanskrit word for anything that brings good luck or well-being in any way. It can be an object or a phrase.
The 'liberation' of the soul from its body and thus from the cycle of rebirth because it has no karma and becomes omniscient. The ultimate aim of Jainism is to achieve mokṣa and become a liberated soul in siddha-śilā.
Hell. There are seven levels of hells in the lower world of Jain cosmology.
An ancient pattern of analysis where a given term or concept is considered from different angles, such as time, space, substance.
A term for any of the dead vernacular languages of ancient and medieval India. It may be contrasted with classical Sanskrit, the language used by priests and the aristocracy. The Jains used a large variety of Prakrits, with the Jain canon written chiefly in Ardhamāgadhī Prākrit.
A religious communication offered by a believer to a god or object of worship. It may:
Matter. One of the five insentient material substances of dravya that make up the universe along with the sentient substance, jivastikaya.
Sanskrit for 'worship' or 'homage'. All Jains perform rites of honour to the 24 Jinas. Rites of worship take place daily, with more elaborate ceremonies performed on holy days. Mendicant and lay Jains perform different rituals. Some sects worship images – mūrti-pūjaka – and others do not, and different sects have various practices. Focused on images or not, worship can be:
Equanimity, calm, a mental state where one is able to consider all beings as equal to oneself. The second of the four śikṣā-vratas or vows that lay Jains take. The ritual entails working towards being even-tempered by meditating or reciting mantras for 48 minutes each day. Performing this ritual three times each day is also one of the six duties – āvaśyakas – of a mendicant.
'Right insight' or the proper view of reality, which means faith in the principles of Jainism taught by the Jinas. The first of the Three Jewels of Jainism and a necessary first step in spiritual progress.
Sanskrit for 'community'. The Jain ‘fourfold community’ is composed of monks, nuns, lay men and lay women.
A classical language of India, originally used by priests and nobility. Sanskrit has a rich literary and religious tradition. With only a few thousand native speakers nowadays, it is predominantly used in Hindu religious ceremonies and by scholars.
Set of sacred texts that believers accept as authoritative within a religion. Synonymous with canon.
'White-clad’ in Sanskrit, the title of one of the two main divisions of Jainism, in which both male and female mendicants wear white robes. There are some differences of doctrine or belief between these two sects and to some extent their followers consider themselves as belonging to distinct branches. Divisions can be fierce in practical matters, for example, over the ownership of pilgrimage places, but all sects see themselves as Jains.
Extremely famous Jain holy text written in Sanskrit in perhaps the fifth century CE. Śvetāmbaras call the author Umāsvāti while Digambaras know him as Umāsvāmin. Going into the principles of karma in ten chapters, it discusses the principles and the reality of existence in a concise style – sūtra. The Tattvārtha-sūtra is a key text, fundamental to all Jain sects. Its title is often translated into English as That Which Is.
The everyday or common language spoken by people in a particular country or region, often contrasting with the literary form or the national or official language. Similarly, vernacular architecture reflects local conditions and conventions more than other considerations, such as national or international design trends, and may be built by non-professional architects.