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Nandi Sutra – A Jain Text

Authored by Sri Devavacaka, it deals with the fundamentals of Jainism, as contained in Agamas which are the original religious text dealing with the teachings of Tirthankaras (literally “builders of the Lord”), including Sri Mahavira and his immediate followers, called gandharas (literally ‘leaders of the Assembly’). Its contents are aphoristic and comprise, inter alia, Mangala Sutra, Sanghata Sutra and Jnana Sutra.

Jnana Sutra contains the outline of the philosophical thought of Jainism and presents a consistent theory of knowledge which is bold in its approach. It designates mati (sense perception) and shruta (scriptural knowledge) as paroksha (indirect); and avadhi (clairvoyance), manahparyaya (telepathy) and kevala (perfect knowledge) to be pratyaksha (direct), as the latter is acquired by the being intuitively or directly without the meditation of the senses and mind.

Modern scientific knowledge acquired through observation, stratification, generalization and induction are classed as indirect knowledge, being mediated by the senses and mind. The concept of omniscience, according to Jainism, is therefore not to be confused with the totality of informative knowledge accumulated progressively by ordinary sense perception, scientific methodology and the study of scriptures. It is, in truth, an instantaneous perception of the whole truth – the order of things – by the self, irrespective and independent of time, space and causality.

Nandi Sutra, with the vritti (commentary) by Acharya Haribhadrasuri, Durgapadavyakhya on that vritti by Sri Sricandracarya and also author, edited by Muni Punyavijayaji, was published in 1966 CE in an attractive format by the Prakrit Text Society, Varanasi, under the general editorship of Dr. Vasudev Sharan Agarwal and Pt. Dalsukh Malvania.