vernaculars for the first time. Mahavira himself preached in the mixed dialect
called Ardha-Magadhi so that people speaking Magadhi or Suraseni might
understand him thoroughly. His teachings that were classified into twelve
books called Srutangas are written in the Ardha-Magadhi language.
Jaina Canonical Texts
The sacred literature of the Svetambaras is written in the Arsha or Ardha-
Magadhi form of Prakrit, and may be classified into twelve Angas, twelve
Upangas, ten Prakirnas, six Chhedasutras, four Mulasutras and two
miscellaneous texts. The Jainas themselves do not claim that these texts are
the authentic productions of the founder of Jainism, but maintain that the
twelve Limbs were codified some two hundred years after Mahavira’s death,
while the whole canon did not receive its definitive form until the 5th century
AD, when it was finally established at a council held at Valabhi in Saurashtra.
1. The Ayaramga-sutta (Acharangasutra) deals with the rules of
conduct which a Jaina monk was to follow.
2. The Suyagadamga (Sutrakritanga), is mainly devoted to a refutation
of the heretic doctrines.
3,4.The Thanamga (Sthananga) and Samavayamga present the Jaina
doctrines in an ascending numerical series.
5. The Bhagavati is one of the most important Jaina canonical texts. It
contains a comprehensive exposition of the Jaina doctrine, and gives a
vivid description of the joys of heaven and the tortures of hell. An
important section of the book contains legends about Mahavira and
his predecessors and contemporaries. The fifth book, for example,
contains an interesting account of Gosala Makkhaliputta, the founder
of the Ajivika sect.
6. The Nayadhammakahao (Jnatadhar-makathah) teaches the main
principles of the Jaina doctrine by means of parables, legends and
7. The Uvasagadasao (Upasakadasah) narrates the story of ten rich
merchants who were converted to laina faith.
(Antakriddash) and Anuttarovavaiyadasao