Sutra (also known as Tattvarth-adhigama-sutra) is an
Jain text written by Acharya Umaswami, sometime between the
2nd- and 5th-century AD. It is one of the first Jain
scriptures written in the
Sanskrit language instead of the Jain
liturgical language of Ardha Magadhi. Tattvartha
Sutra is also
Jainism as the Moksha-shastra (Scripture describing the path
Sutra is regarded as one of the earliest, most
authoritative books on Jainism, and the only text authoritative in
Śvētāmbara sects (prior to the Saman
Suttam). It is a text in sutras or aphorisms, and presents the
Jain philosophy in 350 sutras over 10 chapters. The
term Tattvartha is composed of the
Sanskrit words tattva which means
"reality, truth" and artha which means "nature, meaning", together
meaning "nature of reality".
One of its sutras,
Parasparopagraho Jivanam is the motto of Jainism.
Its meaning is interpreted as "(The function) of souls is to help one
another", or "Souls render service to one another".
2.1 Seven categories of truth
Karma and rebirths
2.4 Shedding karma and liberation
4 Commentaries and Translations
5 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Sutra is also known in
Jainism as the Moksha-shastra
(Scripture describing the path of liberation).
The text written in Sanskrit, begins with an invocation:
I bow to the Lord, the promulgator of the path to liberation, the
destroyer of mountains of karmas and the knower of the whole of
reality, so that I may realize these qualities.
The first verse of Tattvārthsūtra,
मोक्षमार्ग:" summarizes the Jaina path to
liberation. It means that the
Ratnatraya (three jewels: right view,
right knowledge and right conduct) collectively constitutes the path
to liberation or moksha.
Its ten chapters are:
Faith and Knowledge
Category of the Living
The Lower World and the Middle World
The Celestial Beings
Category of the Non-Living
Influx of Karma
The Five Vows
Bondage of Karma
Stoppage and Shedding of Karma
Chart showing Samyak Darsana as per Tattvarthasutra
The first chapter deals with the process of cognition and details
about different types of knowledge. The next three chapters deal with
the Jīva (soul), lower worlds, naraka, and celestial abodes, devas.
The fifth chapter discusses the Non-soul (ajīva). The next three
chapters deal with the karmas and their manifestations and the influx,
asrava, good and bad karma, shubha-ashubha karma and the bondage of
the karmas. The ninth chapter describes the blocking, samvara and
shedding of the karmas, nirjara. The final chapter discusses moksha or
the liberation of the soul.
Seven categories of truth
The theology in Tattvartha
Sutra presents seven categories of truth in
Souls exist (Jeeva)
Non-sentient matter exists (Ajeeva)
Karmic particles exist that inflow to each soul (Aasrava)
Karmic particles bind to the soul which transmigrate with rebirth
Karmic particles inflow can be stopped (Samvar)
Karmic particles can fall away from soul (Nirjara)
Complete release of karmic particles leads to liberation from worldly
Umaswami categorizes the types of knowledge to be empirical, attained
through one's sense of perception. He adds that knowledge is also
acquired through literature, clairvoyance, and omniscience. In
chapter 2, Umaswati presents sutras on soul. He asserts that soul is
distinguished by suppression of deluding karma, or elimination of
eight types of karmas, or partial presence of destructive karmas, or
arising of eight types of new karmas, or those that are innate to the
soul, or a combination of these. In chapter 3 through 6, Umaswati
presents sutras for his first three categories of truth.
Main article: Ethics in Jainism
In chapter 7, Umaswati presents the Jaina vows and explains their
value in stopping karmic particle inflow to the soul. The vows, with
their respective translations by Nathmal Tatia, are
ahimsa (abstinence from violence)
anirta (abstinence from falsehood)
asteya (abstinence from stealing)
brahmacharya (abstinence from carnality), and
aparigraha (abstinence from possessiveness).
Karma and rebirths
Karma in Jainism
Umaswati, in chapter 8 of Tattvartha
Sutra explains how karma affects
rebirths. He asserts that accumulated karma in life determines the
length of life and realm of rebirth for each soul in each of four
states – infernal beings, plants and animals, human beings and as
gods. Further, states Umaswati, karma also affects the body,
the shape, the characteristics as well as the status of the soul
within the same species, such as Ucchi (upper) or Nicchi (lower)
status. The accumulated and new karma are material particles,
states Umaswati, which stick to the soul and these travel with the
soul from one life to the next as bondage, where each ripens.
Once ripened, the karmic particles fall off, states Umaswati.
Shedding karma and liberation
Main article: Moksha (Jainism)
The chapter 9 of Tattvartha
Sutra describes how karmic particles can
be stopped from attaching to the soul and how these can be
shed. Umaswati asserts that gupti (curbing activity), dharma
(virtues such as forbearance, modesty, purity, truthfulness,
self-restraint, austerity, renunciation), contemplation, endurance in
hardship (he lists twenty two hardships including hunger, thirst,
cold, heat, nakedness, injury, lack of gain, illness, praise,
disrespect), and with good character towards others (he lists five –
equanimity, reinitiation, non-injury (Ahimsa), slight passion and fair
conduct), a soul stops karmic accumulations. External austerities
such as fasting, reduced diet and isolated habitation, along with
internal austerities such as expiation, reverence, service,
renunciation and meditation, according to Umaswati, along with
respectful service to teachers and ailing ascetics help shed
The state of liberation is presented in Chapter 10 by
Umaswati. It is achieved when deluding and obstructive karmas
have been destroyed. This leads to the state of quietism and
potentiality, and the soul then moves to the end of the universe,
Sutra is regarded as one of the earliest, most
authoritative book on Jainism, and the only text authoritative in both
Commentaries and Translations
Sutra has the largest number of Jaina bhashyas or
commentaries in different Indian languages from the fifth century
onward. The total number of commentaries and translations of
Sutra goes beyond 25.
The most famous and oldest commentary on the Tattvārthasūtra is
Sarvārthasiddhi of Ācārya Pujyapada (sixth century CE).
Sarvārthasiddhi along with Akalanka's c. 780 CE Rajavartika and
Vijayananda's Slokavarttika (9th century) form the central texts of
Digambara monastic students.
The text is in sutra form. The word
Sutra (Sanskrit: सूत्र)
means "string, thread". The root of the word is siv, that which
sews and holds things together. In the context of Indian
Sutra means a distilled collection of syllables and words,
any form or manual of "aphorism, rule, direction" hanging together
like threads with which the "teachings of ritual, philosophy, grammar
or any field of knowledge" can be woven.
The distilled nature of sutra texts leave them open to varying
interpretations. The Tattvartha sutra have been variously translated.
The first verse of Tattvartha
Sutra has been translated as follows,
"The enlightened darsana (world view), enlightened knowledge and
enlightened conduct are the path to liberation" – Translated by
"Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct constitute the path to
liberation" – Translated by Vijay Jain
— Umaswati, Tattvartha
The text has been translated into many languages including English and
German, latest being English translation in 1993.
^ a b
Paul Dundas (2006). Patrick Olivelle, ed. Between the
Empires : Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE. Oxford University
Press. pp. 395–396. ISBN 978-0-19-977507-1.
^ Walter Slaje (2008), Śāstrārambha: Inquiries Into the Preamble in
Sanskrit, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, pp. 35 with footnote 23,
^ "Tattvārtha Sūtra". encyclopedia.com.
^ Dundas 2002, p. 86.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. vi.
^ a b c Jaini 1998, p. 82.
^ K. V. Mardia (1990). The Scientific Foundations of Jainism. Motilal
Banarsidass. p. 103. ISBN 978-81-208-0658-0. Quote: Thus,
there is a vast literature available but it seems that Tattvartha
Sutra of Umasvati can be regarded as the main philosophical text of
the religion and is recognized as authoritative by all Jains."
^ Hemacandra; R. C. C. Fynes (1998). The Lives of the Jain Elders.
Oxford University Press. p. xxxix.
^ Sir Monier Monier-Williams; Ernst Leumann; Carl Cappeller (2002). A
Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically
Arranged. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3105-6.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 72.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, p. 131.
^ a b c Cort 2001, p. 16-17.
^ a b S.A. Jain 1992.
^ a b c Natubhai Shah 2004, p. 48.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 1.
^ a b Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 2.
^ Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. xi.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, p. xviii-xx, 2-3, 6.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 12-15.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 33-62.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 7-168.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 169-170.
^ a b Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 195-199.
^ a b Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 118-119.
^ a b Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 200-203.
^ a b Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 121-124.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 213-248.
^ a b c Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 126-145.
^ a b Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 250-263.
^ a b c Vijay K. Jain 2011, p. 146-151.
Satya Ranjan (2005). Prolegomena to Prakritica et Jainica.
^ a b M Winternitz (2010 Reprint), A History of Indian Literature,
Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802643, pages 249
^ a b Monier Williams,
Sanskrit English Dictionary, Oxford University
Press, Entry for Sutra, page 1241
^ MacGregor, Geddes (1989). Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy (1st
ed.). New York: Paragon House. ISBN 1557780196.
^ Umāsvāti 1994, pp. 5-6.
Cort, John E. (2001), Jains in the World : Religious Values and
Ideology in India, Oxford University Press,
Dasti, Matthew R.; Bryant, Edwin F., eds. (2014), Free Will, Agency,
and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy, Oxford University Press,
Dundas, Paul (2002) , The Jains (Second ed.),
London and New
York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-26605-X
Jain, Prof. S.A. (1992) [First edition 1960], Reality (English
Translation of Srimat Pujyapadacharya's Sarvarthasiddhi) (Second ed.),
Jwalamalini Trust, This article incorporates text from this source,
which is in the public domain.
Jain, Vijay K. (2011), Acharya Umasvami's Tattvarthsutra (1st ed.),
Uttarakhand: Vikalp Printers, ISBN 81-903639-2-1, This article
incorporates text from this source, which is in the public
Jaini, Padmanabh S. (1998) , The Jaina Path of Purification,
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1578-5
Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism,
Infobase Publishing, ISBN 978-0816054589
Oldmeadow, Harry, ed. (2007), Light from the East: Eastern Wisdom for
the Modern West, World Wisodm, ISBN 978-1-933316-22-2
Shah, Natubhai (2004) [First published in 1998], Jainism: The World of
Conquerors, I, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1938-1
Umaswami (1994), That which is (Translator: Nathmal
Tatia), Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978-0-06-068985-8
Umāsvāti; Devanandī; Siddhasenagaṇi (1994). Nathmal Tatia, ed.
That which is: Tattvārtha Sūtra. Rowman & Littlefield.
ISBN 978-0-06-068985-8. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
Tattvarthasutra, with Hindi and English translation on crossasia
Selections from the sutra on harvard.edu
Tattvarthsutra (English) on archive.org
Purvas (The Prior Knowledge – considered totally lost)
Digambara Canonical Texts
Sarvārthasiddhi (commentary on Tattvārthasūtra)
Śvētāmbara Canonical Texts
Drstivada (now extinct)
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
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