The Three Worlds

edited by
Dr. H.C. Bharill

Lesson 5


The Jain community is not acquainted with the life story as with the famous Tattvarthasutra of Umaswami, who attained great fame even with a very small volume of written work.

He was the chief disciple of Kundkundacharya and blessed this land in the last days of the first Vikram century and the first part of the second century.

Acharya Umaswami is one of those glorious Acharyas, who enjoy complete reliability and respect in the line of the Acharyas. In Jain tradition Tattvarthasutra enjoys the same dignity as Gita amongst the followers of Vedic religion, Bible amongst the Christians and Quran amongst the Mohammadans.

During the last two thousand years, more than a hundred commentaries in different languages have been written on this. Sarvarthasiddhi by Acharya Pujyapad, Tattvarthavartik by Bhattaklank and Shlokwartic by Vidyanandi are the famous commentaries Tattvarthasar by Amritchandra Suri is a poetic translation thereof. Swami Samantbhadra's Gandhahasti Mahabhasya containing eighty-four thousand slokas is also a commentary on this book, but it is not available. Another commentary is 'Artha Prakashika' of the old Hindi scholar Pandit Sadasukhji. Modern scholars have also written many commentaries in Khari Boli. It is the first Jain Scripture in the Sanskrit language. The present portion has been taken from the fourth chapter of Tattvarthasutra.



Student - Sir, we were told in the discourse that Kundkundacharya had gone to Videhchhetra for having Darshan of Simandhar Swami. Where is this Videhchhetra ?

Teacher - The whole universe has been divided in three worlds. We live in the central world. This has innumerable islands and seas encircling each other. In the centre is the Jambu dweep, which is surrounded on all sides by Lavan sea. All round this is the Dhatkikhand island, surrounded by Kalodadhi sea. Then there is Pushkarvar island and Pushkarvar sea. This way, there are innumerable islands and seas.

Student - So we live in the Jambu island. Where does Simandhar Bhagwan live ?

Teacher - He is also in Jambu island, which is not small. The expansion is one lac yojans. Just in the centre is the round Sumeru mount. There are six big mountains which lie from east to west, dividing this Jambu island. They are Himvan, Mahahimvan Nishadh, Neel, Rukmi and Shikheri.

Student - When these six lie from east to west, the Jambu island should have seven parts.

Teacher - Yes, these seven parts are called seven regions. Their names are - Bharat, Himvat, Hari, Videh, Ramyak, Hairanyavat and Eravat.

Student - I have, now, understood that the central region is called Videhchhetra, where Simandhar Bhagwan is propagating his gospels in the religious conference i. e. Samavsharan.

Teacher - Just in the south thereof is Bharatchhetra, where we live. Kundkund was born here and went to Videh.

Student - Can we not go there ?

Teacher- No, did I, not tell you that there are huge mountains in the way ? On each of these mountains is a big tank, from which fourteen rivers rise and flow in all the seven regions. These rivers are - Ganga-Sindhu, Rohit-Rohitasya, Harit-Harikanta, Sita-Sitoda, NariNarkanta, Swarankula-Rupyakula and Rakta-Raktoda. These rivers flow in the order of two in each region from Bharat to Eravat, the first one falling in the eastern sea and the second in the western.

This central world is also called the slanting world (Triyak Lok), because it is oblique in habitation.

Student - What do you mean ? Habitations are all oblique.

Teacher - Habitations of the central world are oblique, but not those of the lower world. They are one below the other.

Student - What is this lower world ?

Teacher - Just below the central world, we have seven hells, named Ratnaprabha, Sharkraprabha, Balukaprabha, Pankprabha, Dhoomprabha, Tamahprabha and Mahatamprabha. They are one below the other. These habitations are full of tortures and are like cavities. The climate is very foul. The beings habitating these hells are unhappy due to unfavourable atmosphere. Besides, they are under the influence of strong passions and so are always killing and attacking one another. In fact, they are abodes of miseries. When people indulge in strong demerits, they are born in these hells. Those born in these, are called hellish beings.

Student - Sinners go to these hells. Where do the virtuous go ?

Teacher - The virtuous go to the heavens.

Student - Where are these heavens ? What is their nature ?

Teacher - Heavens are in the upper world.

Student - Are they oblique or one below the other ?

Teacher - They are one upon the other. I shall show you their situation in the map.

Student - There are seven hells. How many are the heavens ?

Teacher - There are sixteen heavens, named, Saudharm-Eshan, Sanatkumar-Mahendra, Brahma-Brahmottar, Lantav-Kapishta, Shukra-Mahashukra, Satar-Sahastrar, AnatPranat and Aran-Achyut. Above these are situated nine Graiveyakas, nine Anudish and five Anuttar celestial chariots.

Student - What is above these ?

Teacher - The Siddhashila, where countless Siddhas repose. Ordinarily, this is the description of the three worlds.

Student - Sir, I am not fully satisfied. Please explain these in more details.

Teacher - What more can be explained in one lesson ? If you are inquisitive, try to know more details from Tattvarthasutra, Tattvarthavartik, Triloksar and other sacred books.