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Aptamimamsa – Jaina Text

Aptamimamsa is the title of a Jaina text literally meaning ‘analysis of the marks or characteristics of an authoritative or reliable person.’ Acharya Samantabhadra (4th-5th century CE) is the author of Aptamimamsa. He is the foremost in the tradition of Sarasvat acharyas. He is held in high esteem by the Digambara sect of the Jains and they regard him as a shrutadhara (knower of all the twelve canons of sacrifice). Acharya Samantabhadra, a kshatriya, was born in Uragapur, the ancient historic capital city of the Cholas in South India. Besides Aptamimamsa, he composed Svyambhustotra, Yuktyanusasana, Jina stutisataka and Ratnakaranda-sravakacara. He was an erudite scholar and a logician par excellence.

Aptamimamsa, also known as Devagama, is the first work of Acharya Samantabhadra. The work begins with the word devagama, hence the title. The work is divided into a ten paricchedas and consists of 114 karikas. As the text elucidates the characteristics of an apta (one who is authoritative), it is called Aptamimamsa (enquiring into the authoritativeness of such people). Through the dialectics of Syadvada, the text refutes the views of other systems, which it terms as one-sided and dogmatic, and extols the virtues of the multi-dimensional (anekanta) viewpoint.

Acharya Samantabhadra was the first person in the Jain philosophical tradition to logically analyze the authoritativeness of the apta. The dialectics of Syadvada or conditional prediction is the most important theory propounded by the Jains to comprehend Reality. Aptamimamsa presents the catholic outlook of the Jains and emphasizes that, as Reality is complex, it should be subjected to multiple analyses from all points of view.

Acharya Akalanka has written a commentary on Aptamimamsa entitled Ashtasati, and Acharya Vidyananda has written a tika (a gloss) entitled Ashtasahasri on Ashtasati.