Does any one know about Jainism manuscripts?

Jai Jinendra,

Here are my questions:

  1. All our scriptures, where are the original manuscripts?
  2. Are they preserved intact?
  3. How can we link the current granths available to original manuscripts to cross verify?

No, the original manuscript of most of the granths are not available. Maybe none of the manuscript of the historical grants are available. These scriptures were written thousands of year back. Even manuscript of “chahdhala”, which was written around 200 years back is still not available.

If the original manuscript had been available, there would have been less Sects and pants of Jainism.

Thanks for the reply. Then question arises of reliability and authenticity of existing texts…how can we resolve this problem?

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Yes, it does. Sadly there is no way to verify its authenticity. But there still exists an indirect way, i.e. don’t take anything as taught, use your “Vivek”(ability to think) for that.
for ex: somebody says god created the universe. You can think like this, though it may be very difficult.
If god created the universe, where was he before he created that? Before creating the universe, was he having a body or not? If he was having a body, who created that body? If not, who can a god who is non materialistic i.e. not having hands like us can create the materialistic world? This was the thinking of Acharya Jinsen.

Also when you go in deep learing, you can put one and one together and infer from your vivek only what is correct and what is not.

Moreover it is very difficult to get the true knowledge. Even pandit daulatramji says in his “BaudhiDurlabh bhavna”,

धन कन कंचन राजसुख,सबहि सुलभकर जान।
दुर्लभ है संसार में, एक जथारथ ज्ञान॥

explanation: You can get wealth, beauty, kingdom etc easily, but it is very difficult to get the true knowledge.

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Thanks,. Can we say that since there is no contradictions in Jainism scripture, hence we can safely follow it? Also most of the scripture is known thru ‘Atma Gyan’ so won’t be problem.
The reason I asked this is in context, people of other religions when spread their religion in Europe, they pride on their textual preservation , hence it is the truth. They say our text is intact hence our religion it true.

There is no contradiction in true Jain scripture, but there are contradictions in the present time. The reason being different people took meanings of different words differently unintentionally or intentionally. Some people have even changed the words of the scriptures. So you cannot follow them safely. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow any. Try and find what you think is the best.

I would like to correct you that most of the scriptures are the written form of the vani of kevalgyani bhagwaan, and his knowledge was perfect.

I think you are talking about Christianity. Jesus was born in 4 B.C. only, while our religion has no beginning and no end. If you want proof of existence of Lord Aadinath or Lord Parshvanath, you can check this:

But if take a deep drive into jain scriptures, you can get the true knowledge.

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Thanks for details and link.

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What do we mean by original?

  • If by original we mean to say the manuscripts (पाण्डुलिपि) composed by the Acharyas themselves, then it is very unlikely that any manuscript can survive for two millennia.

  • However, we do have the manuscripts in their original form [in terms of the content]; the copies (प्रतिलिपि) of which were made time to time in order to preserve them. It used to be a profession during those times. The copyist (or scribe) usually mentions a few details at the end of the manuscript (=colophon) which are very important for historical purposes. More often that not, it is on the basis of that colophon alone that the authorship of the text and other details regarding the time and place of composition of the original manuscript or of the copy (or sometimes both) are derived.

  • When someone says that the scriptures are intact, I doubt that it was the same piece of paper preserved throughout this period. By intact, it is referring to the content rather than the form or the manuscript per se. And this originality, in terms of content, is what one should be concerned with.

  • Even Bible and the New Testament has many copies and it is only after going through all of them, one arrives at the best available option. Check this link for more info.

  • There are many original manuscripts that are available till date. As mentioned above, even if we have a copy of the manuscript, it is still the same in terms of the content. All the scriptures that we find today in the form of published books have those manuscripts as their source. There have been scholars who have worked day and night (using candle / lamps) to read those manuscripts, verify them with other copies of manuscripts found elsewhere, see if there are any variations, and only then have proceeded for publishing (=critical edition).

  • Pt. Fulchandra Jain Shastri, Prof. A. N. Upadhye, Pt. Hiralal Jain, Pt. Jaganmohanlal Jain, Pt. Pannalal Jain, Pt. Darbarilal Kothiya, Pt. Kailashchandra Jain, Pt. Jugalkishore ‘Mukhtar’, Aryika Gyanmati ji and… the list is endless - all of them have made unparalleled contributions in making those manuscripts available to the masses (in the form of printed books alongwith translations). A simple search at by the name of any of these would validate the point.

  • The story of how षट्खण्डागम was published for the first time will also give a better picture on this. This pravachan might help.

There are two ways to verify the authenticity:

  1. One of them is already mentioned by @shubham1993jain but I would still like to put it in Pandit Todarmal Ji’s words:

यहाँ कोई पूछता है कि — परम्परा तो हमने इस प्रकार जानी; परन्तु इस परम्परामें सत्यार्थ पदोंकी ही रचना होती आई, असत्यार्थ पद नहीं मिले, — ऐसी प्रतीति हमें कैसे हो?

उसका समाधानः — असत्यार्थ पदोंकी रचना अति तीव्रकषाय हुए बिना नहीं बनती; क्योंकि जिस असत्य रचनासे परम्परा अनेक जीवोंका महा बुरा हो और स्वयंको ऐसी महाहिंसाके फलरूप नरक – निगोदमें गमन करना पड़े — ऐसा महाविपरीत कार्य तो क्रोध, मान, माया, लोभ अत्यन्त तीव्र होने पर ही होता है; जैनधर्ममें तो ऐसा कषायवान होता नहीं है।

And again,

प्रश्नः यदि कोई जैनाभास तीव्रकषायी होकर असत्यार्थ पदोंको जैन-शास्त्रोंमें मिलाये और फिर उसकी परम्परा चलती रहे तो क्या किया जाय ?

समाधानः जैसे कोई सच्चे मोतियोंके गहनेमें झूठे मोती मिला दे, परन्तु झलक नहीं मिलती; इसलिये परीक्षा करके पारखी ठगाता भी नहीं है, कोई भोला हो वही मोतीके नामसे ठगा जाता है; तथा उसकी परम्परा भी नहीं चलती, शीघ्र ही कोई झूठे मोतियोंका निषेध करता है। उसी प्रकार कोई सत्यार्थ पदोंके समूहरूप जैनशास्त्रमें असत्यार्थ पद मिलाये; परन्तु जैनशास्त्रोंके पदोंमें तो कषाय मिटानेका तथा लौकिक कार्य घटानेका प्रयोजन है, और उस पापीने जो असत्यार्थ पद मिलाये हैं, उनमें कषायका पोषण करनेका तथा लौकिक-कार्य साधनेका प्रयोजन है, इस प्रकार प्रयोजन नहीं मिलता; इसलिये परीक्षा करके ज्ञानी ठगाता भी नहीं, कोई मूर्ख हो वही जैनशास्त्रके नामसे ठगा जाता है, तथा उसकी परम्परा भी नहीं चलती, शीघ्र ही कोई उन असत्यार्थ पदोंका निषेध करता है।¹

  1. The other way to verify and authenticate them is through a thorough study of manuscriptology. There are various courses offered to learn how to read them. All the scholars mentioned above had mastered that art.

¹ मोक्षमार्गप्रकाशक, pp. 11-12. It would be better if one can read the entire section on ग्रन्थ की प्रामाणिकता और आगम परम्परा and असत्यपद रचना प्रतिषेध

The translations of मोक्षमार्गप्रकाशक are also available in English and Gujarati.


Excellent, thanks for these useful details and links. They will come handy. Thanks for your time @jinesh
This is a wonderful platform to get queries answered. Some of these questions were bothering me for a long time and wanted such venue to address them. Looks like my wish has come true.

Kind regards