Antakrddasa Sutra

 

 

By M. S. Sri Amar Muni

 

Introduction : Among the Agamas throwing light on forms of penance-practice, Antakrddasa sutra deserves special importance. Its very name is informative about the most auspicious fruition of penance-practice. Penance is never observed to dry up the body; but its aim is to burn the Karmas, which are stuck to soul, and make them ashes. As the dust, dirt, other chemicals, mixed with gold are burned by fire and gold becomes pure. In the same way by penance, Karmas are totally exhausted and soul attains its true and natural form. Thus Karmas are exhausted or ended by penance. By destruction of Karmas the cycle of births and deaths also comes to an end because Karmas is the root cause of births and deaths- Kammam ca jai maranassa mulam. So the tradition of births and deaths is exhaustively uprooted.

Literal meaning of Antakrddasa also denotes the position of souls who have ended the cycle of birth and death; and it describes the propiliation method of those souls. In this sutra, there is the titillatory description of rigorous propiliation, austerities, meditation and yoga practicing of 90 propiliators, who have uprooting the cycle of births and deaths attained their goal - salvation.

Antakrddasa Sutra is the eighth holy scripture (anga) among Agamas. It contains eight sections and all propiliators described in it attained salvation, ending all the eight type of Karmas. Therefore, in Jain regime, in the eight days of Paryuana Parva, old tradition of reading this sutra is prevailing.

Language : The language of this sutra is Ardhamagadhi. It is precepted in canons that Ardhamagadhi language is favourite to Tirthankaras, Ganddharas and gods. Therefore it is favourite to all. All the canons of Jain religion are scribed in this language.

Style : There are four divisions of Jain canons. Dravyanuyoga- the sutras describing subjects, like-soul, karma, elements, etc. Carnanuyoga- canons describing rules of conduct etc., Ganitanuyoga- having description of mathematics, universe (loka), geography, rivers, mountains etc. Kathanuyoga-written in recital style-such as life-sketches, stories, etc., Kathanuyoga- written in recital style-such as life-sketches, stories, etc., such canons.

Thus jnatadharmakatha, Anuttaropapatikadasa, Vipaka, Nirvayavalika and Antakrddasa are counted in Kathanuyoga, because stories have chief place in them.

Subject Matter : There is titillatory description of propiliation of 90 soul in this Agama. Generally, it is considered as penance-Agama, because penance-practicing is chiefly described in it. But deeply pondering over all the subject matter of this Agama it becomes clear that considering the path of liberation, we get co-ordination of penance, meditation, studying scriptures and obtaining knowledge etc.

Gautama-kumara etc., 18 monks obtained salvation by practicing 12 firm sage-resolutions and Guna-ratna-samvatsara penance.

Antikasen-kumara etc., 14 sages attained liberation grasping the knowledge of 14 purvas and practicing general penance of two day's fast (third day taking food) for whole life.

Arjuna garland maker sage practicing two day's penance for only six months and due to utmost peace, forgiveness, and tolerance obtained emancipation.

The boy sage Atimukta-kumara, studying knowledge, practicing Gunaratna samvatsara penance and after a long period of consecration becomes liberated.

Monk Gajasu-kumala attained liberation without studying any scripture and only one day consecration period due to his utmost forgiveness, equanimity and engrossed in ultimate pure meditation (sukla dhyana).

Nanda, Kali etc., nuns practiced rigorous penances and after a long period of consecration could be liberated.

In this way the auspicious co-ordination of all the limbs of salvation viz., austerity, restrain, peace, subduation, pardon, forgiveness, meditation, etc., we get in this Agama.

Ideals of this Sutra : By studying this canon specialized inspiration arouses at every step of austerity, forgiveness and pure meditation. Beside this, the specific inspiration of some ideal characters points out to the enlightening ideals, as 
(1) Like Vasudeva Sri Krsna, the firm belief in religion, the feeling of respecting qualities and gracious activity to become helpful to promulgate and expansion of religion. 
(2) Restrain and practicing of nunhood by eight queens of Vasudeva Sri krsna inspires to renounce worldly rejoicings and accept renunciation.
(3) Brilliant character of monk Gajasukumala teaches the lesson of steadiness, firmness, tolerance and utmost forgiveness.
(4) Character of Sudarsana sage-worshipper indicates devolution to worshipable supreme God. (Mahavira). self confidence, and religious brilliance.
(5) Monk-life of Arjuna garland maker points towards uncomparable tolerance power, subdued sentiments and propiliation.
(6) Description of penances practiced by Kali etc., consorts of king Srenika, displays the ideal of destroying the inauspicious Karmas by austerities- tavasa dhunai pava Kammam.
(7) The interesting description of boy-sage Atimuktakumara beautifully points towards the simplicity, modesty and gentleness in life.

Thus this Agama, giving several types of ideals, paves the way of propiliation to obtain salvation. So its reading and hearing is beneficial to all.

The Present Edition : Today the teaching and reading of Antakrddasa Sutra is done frequently. Its publication has been done by many publishers in different styles. Vivid commentaries also published on it. Some publishers published its original text with Hindi translation and some published only original text.

Thus small and big, many editions are published and every edition bears its utility. Beside Hindi language many publications have come forth is Gujarati language also. English edition of Sri Modi also came under my sight. Readers may ask, then what is the specialty of this edition?

Illustrated Agama Publication : At the auspicious occasion of Diamond jubilee ceremony of Reverend venerable Uttara Bharatiya Pravarttaka Gurudeva Bhandari Sri Padma Chandraji Maharaja, we have resolved to publish Illustrated Agamas. Illustrated publication of Agamas, is itself a historical work and it also bears its own importance. Some hand written manuscripts with pictures of Kalpasutra and Uttaradhyayana Sutra are available in ancient knowledge-stores, it is heard; and it is also heard that the cost of each copy of pictorial Agamas valued more than twenty or twenty five thousand rupees. What to say of getting such valuable and not available volumes, even to see them is too much difficult. Still every person having the curiosity about Agamas have keen desire that Illustrated Agamas could he seen and obtained.

It is quite definite that by illustration the most serious subject could be grasped easily. Illustration gives the shape to shapeless, makes easily knowable to difficult to know. One illustration is more influensive than thousands of stanzas and couplets. In all the utility and necessity of pictures is regularly increasing in the modern method of education.

Although the publication of Illustrated Agamas bears too much cost. While preparing illustration, tradition and the limit of Agama-both are kept in mind; and from preparation to printing, whole the process of illustrations is much more expensive. So the illustrated edition of Agamas becomes too much costly than that ordinary edition. Ordinary reader feels himself unable to purchase it. All these difficulties may be rectified and society is thinking over this problem. Still then the illustrated publication, and with Hindi-English version, proves more eye-capturing, readable and grand than other ordinary publications. This fact is accepted by all.

Englightened thinker and man of literature Srichand Surana 'Saras' gave the shape to my keen desire of publishing Illustrated Agama. His fervent devotion to Venerable Gurudeva, faith in Agamas, inclination and experience of publishing pictorial publication made this hard and too much laborious task easy.

We have published Illustrated Uttaradhyayana Sutra and this year Antakrddasa Sutra. These are before you.

Special courage and inspiration remained to this publication of learned nun uppravarttini Sri Saritaji Maharaja. Beside this, the fervent devotees of venerable Gurdeva Sri lavishly and liberally co-operated us.

In this way, with the co-operation of all, the second publication Illustrated Agama publication series-Illustrated Sri Antakrddasa sutra came into light and reached to the hands of readers.

I believe that by this effort (Publication) the interest will go on increasing about reading Agama of the persons inhabiting in India and foreign countries. English version will prove more helpful to the English speaking gentry to clear understanding the inherent purport of Agama residing in India and abroad and thus they will go ahead for the welfare of their souls.

 

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Article Courtesy : Mr. Pravin K. Shah
Chairperson Jaina Education Committee
 Federation of Jain Associations in North America 
509, Carriage Woods Circle Raleigh, NC 27607-3969, USA 
E-Mail : pkshah1@attglobal.net

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