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Panchastikaya Of Kundakunda

Panchastikaya is one of the important works of Kundakunacharya, a famous Jaina philosopher. It is also known as Pancastikayasara in Jainism. The text is in Prakrit gathas and mentions its pancatthiya samgraha at two places in verses 103 and 173. A number of commentaries in Sanskrit, written by Amritachandra, Brahmadeva, Devajita and others, are known. According to Amritachandra, the number of verses is 173, but Jayasena and Brahmadeva fix the number of verses at 181.

Panchastikaya deals with Jain metaphysics or ontology and ethics, i.e., exposition of the path leading to liberation. It describes six dravyas (five astikayas and kala are six dravyas or real existences) and the characteristics of the jiva, which form the central conception of the Jaina system.

Jiva, Chetana, life and consciousness are co-extensive. Wherever there is life, there is consciousness. The text deals with ratnatraya (right faith, right knowledge and right conduct), which is the path to heavenly bliss – liberation (samyagdarshanajnanacaritrani mokshamargah). In the context of samyag darshana and samyag jnana, the author describes nine padarthas (categories) – jiva, ajiva, papa, punya, asrava, samvara, nirjara, bandha and moksha. Regarding moksha (nirvana), the text states that one who has the ideal of liberation must therefore completely eradicate every kind of desire from his heart (169).

The text also elaborates other means to obtain liberation. So, accordingly, one may understand the true nature of Tirthankara, who is the basis of nine padarthas. One may have interest in devotion to the scripture, self-control and penance. With all these, if one is not capable of realizing his own true self, to him nirvana is beyond reach. In this way, Panchastikaya mainly deals with the pure philosophical subjects of the Jain religion belief.