Index. ▫Jain Agam (Canonical) Literature ƒ Definition ƒ Classification ƒ Listings of Sutras ƒ Summary of Agams by Jainsects ƒ History of Preservation ƒ Agam. The Agama scriptures have been composed by Lord Tirthankaras by way of their meanings, whereas by ‘Sutra’ they have been composed by Lord Gandharas. Phone:: +91 22 1. ĀGAMA – AN INTRODUCTION (English): This booklet provides a brief summary of each Āgama with a few key sutras highlighted.

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Lord Mahavir’s preaching were orally compiled into many texts scriptures by his disciples. These scriptures are known as Jain Agam or Agam Sutras. Suteas Agam Sutras teach great reverence for all forms of life, strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, compassion, nonviolence, and opposition to war. In olden times, Jain ascetics believe that the religious books and scriptures are possessions and attachments.

Therefore the scriptures were not documented in any form but were memorized by ascetics and passed on by oral tradition to future generations of ascetics.

The memorized sutras were divided into two major groups: Ang Agam sutras sutrras direct preaching of Lord Mahavir. They consist of 12 texts that were originally compiled by immediate disciples of Lord Mahavir known as Ganadhars, who possessed absolute knowledge of the soul or keval-jnan.

They were compiled immediately after Lord Mahavir’s nirvana death. The twelfth text is called Drstiwad, which includes 14 Purvas. Agan Agam sutras provide further explanation of Ang Agam sutras. They were originally compiled by Shrut Kevali monks, who possessed total knowledge of the soul by studying 12 Ang Agams.

They consist of 14 texts according to the Digambar sect, 34 texts according to the Swetambar Murtipujak sect, and 21 texts according to the Sthanakvasi and Terapanthi sects.

Also, during the course of time many learned acharyas elder monks compiled commentaries on the Agam literature and independent works on various subjects afam Jain philosophy and religion. In the course of time, it became extremely difficult to keep memorizing the entire Jain literature Agam sutras sutrass scriptures, Commentary literature, and Independent works compiled by the many scholars. Also there occurred a twelve years of famine around BC.

Jain literature – Wikipedia

It was extremely difficult for the Jain ascetics to survive during this time. Under agaam circumstances they could not preserve the entire canonical literature. In fact, a significant number of Agam sutras were already forgotten surtas lost after the famine. The rest of agams were polluted with some modifications and errors. They concluded that after the famine, the entire Jain canonical literature Ang and Angbayha Agam Sutras became extinct.

In the absence of authentic Agam sutras, Digambars follow Shatkhand Agam and Kasay Pahud as their main texts and four Anuyogs which includes about 20 texts written by great ascetics from to AD sutrws their basis to follow and practice the Jain religion.

Jain history indicates that during the course of time, Swetambar ascetics held three conferences for the preservation of the Jain canonical literature, commentaries, and non-canonical literature. No documentation occurred during the first conference but during the second and third conferences most of the scriptures, commentaries, and other works were documented. Mathura and Valabhi Conferences.


Around to AD, the Wutras sect also divided into three sub-sects known as Swetambar Murtipujak, Sthanakvasi, and Terapanthi.

Differences also exist among all three Swetambar Jain sects in their acceptance of the validity and interpretations of the documented Jain scriptures Agam Sutras and other literature.

Jain literature is classified into two major categories: Agam or Canonical Literature Agam Sutras.

Agam literature consists of many texts, which are the sacred books of the Jain religion. They are written in the Ardha-magadhi Prakrit language. Non-agam literature consists of commentary and explanation of Agam literature, and independent works, compiled by ascetics and scholars.

Jain Agama Literature

Lord Mahavir’s preaching was methodically compiled by his immediate disciples known as Gandharas, and elder monks known as Srut-kevalis into many texts known as Sutras. Hence, the Jain religion does not have one sacred book like the Bible or Koran, but it has many books compiled by Gandharas and Srut-kevalis during years after Lord Mahavir’s nirvan death.

Agam literature is also divided into two groups: Lord Mahavir’s immediate disciples were known as Ganadharas. They orally compiled the direct preaching of Lord Mahavir into twelve main texts sutras. All Jain sects believe that knowledge of the Purvas Drastivad was gradually lost surtas about one hundred fifty years aham Lord Mahavir’s nirvan death.

However, other Jain scriptures and literature reference the subject matter of sutraa Purvas. Present Status of Ang-agams: Number of Ang-agams Lost.

Number of Ang-agams Survived. They possessed the total knowledge of reality soul, matter, their relationship etc.

Jain Agamas

The Digambar sect believes that all Ang-bahya-agams aham also gradually lost starting about two hundred years after Lord Mahavir’s Nirvan. Hence in its opinion, the complete Jain agam literature is lost within few hundred years after Lord Mahavir’s nirvan. Present Status of Ang-bahya-agams. Number of Ang-bayha agams Lost.

Number of Ang-bayha agams Survived. The scriptures, which provide further explanation of Ang-agams, are called Upang-agams. They relate to the conduct and behavior of monks and nuns.

They also explain how they can repent for their sins and mistakes.

Following is the list of number of Ang-bahya-agams recognized as authentic scriptures by different Jain Swetambar Sects: However, they were gradually lost starting from one hundred fifty years after Lord Mahavir’s nirvana. Hence, they do not recognize the existing Agam-sutras which are recognized by the Swetambar sects as their authentic scriptures. In the absence of authentic scriptures, Digambars follow two main texts, three commentaries on main texts, and four Anuyogs consisting of more than 20 texts as the basis for their religious philosophy and practices.

These scriptures were written by great Acharyas scholars from to AD. They have used the original Agam Sutras as the basis for their work. The text contains six volumes.

Acharya Gunadhara wrote the Kasay-pahud. Acharya Pushapdant and Bhutabali. Commentary on Shatkhand-agam Vol 1 to 5. This anuyoga consists of the following texts, which contain religious stories, art, literature, history, poetry, and like literature. This anuyoga consists of the following texts, which contain principles of observances, conduct, behavior, and like literature.

This anuyoga expounded the texts, which had mathematical viewpoints. It consists of the following texts, which contain geography, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, and like literature. This anuyoga consists of the following texts, which contain philosophical doctrine, theories, metaphysics, Tattvajnan, and like literature.


The Jain literature, which was compiled by Ganadharas and Srut-kevlis, is known as Agam literature. These texts are the Holy Scriptures of the Jain religion.

The Agam Sutras show great reverence for all forms of life and strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, nonviolence, and opposition to war. The existing Agam Sutras are accepted as the authentic preaching of Lord Mahavir by the Swetambar sects, but the Digambar sect does not accept them as authentic.

Jain literature

Digambars follow two main text and four Anuyogs sutrss by great Acharyas scholars from to Eutras as the basis for their religious philosophy and practices. Ang-agams are the oldest religious scriptures and the backbone of Jain literature.

This agam describes the conduct and behavior of ascetic life. It also describes the penance of Lord Mahavir. This is the oldest agam from a linguistic point of view. This agam describes nonviolence, Jain metaphysics, and the refutation of other religious theories such as Kriyavada, Akriyavada, Ajnanavada, and Vinayavada. This agam suttras and catalogues the main substances of the Jain metaphysics.

This agam defines and catalogues the main substances of the Jain religion from a different perspective than the Sthananga Sutra. This agam explains sutars subtle knowledge of soul, matter, and other sktras subjects. Thirty-six thousands questions and answers are presented in discussion form. Jnata Dharma Kathanga Sutra Nayadhammakahao: This agam explains Jain principles through examples and stories.

This text is very useful in understanding the mode of Lord Mahavir’s religious preaching. Upasaka Dashanga Sutra Uvasagdasao: This agam explains the code of conduct of the ten lay followers Shravaks of Lord Mahavir. This agam is very useful for understanding the code and conduct of ordinary people Shravaka Dharma in the Jain religion. Antah Kradashanga Sutra Anatagaddasao: This agam tells the stories of ten sacred monks attaining liberation Moksha by destroying their karmas.

This agam contains the stories of additional ten sacred monks who attained the top-most heaven, known as Sutrsa heaven. Prashna Vyakrana Sutra Panha Vagarnai: This agam describes the five great vows mahavratas and the five worst sins defined in the Jain religion. This agam explains the results of good and bad karmas through several stories.

The twelfth Ang-agam Drastivad is considered lost by all Jain Sects. The description, which is found in the other Jain Sutras relating to Drashtivada, indicates that this Ang-agam was the largest of all Agam Sutras.

It was classified in five sturas. The third part, Purvagata contained 14 agsm. They contain the Jain religion’s endless treasure of knowledge on every subject. Some scholars believe that it was so named, the knowledge, which existed before Lord Mahavira was called ‘Purva’.

The scriptures, which were created in relation to Ang-agams, are called Upang-agams.