In the phrase 'Atma-Siddhi' the word 'Atma' means the self or the soul and the word 'Siddhi' means accomplishments or realisation. Literally also, 'Atma-Siddhi' is therefore a sacred book, by the study and knowledge of which one attains self-realisation. The author starts with the statement of a fact in the first stanza that the soul suffers infinite misery without knowing the real nature of self. Reverence is offered to the true Guru, the Spiritual Master, who disclosed the self. Till stanza 23 is reached, he introduces the subject. The path of realisation has mostly disappeared. Some have become lifeless ritualists and some are in barren knowledge. Only when accompanied with knowledge of soul, non-attachment and renunciation are frutful. Reasons for necessity for having a true Guru and his qualities have been stated. The scripture establishing the existence of the soul and suggested by the true Guru, are recommended where there is absence of the true Guru. The importance of having a true Guru has been stressed stating that passions of anger, pride, deceit and greed pass away by accepting his protection. The soul desirous of liberation knows this line of thinking and the soul who is a bigot takes a perverse view.
In stanzas 23 to 33, the characteristics of a bigot have been stated for the purpose of removing bigotry.
In stanzas 34 to 44, the characteristics of the aspirant for self-realisation and the six aphorisms have been stated. The six aphorisms are discussed thereafter in the form of a dialogue between the Guru and the Pupil in order that right thinking arises and the path of liberation is understood. These six aphorisms are:
1) The soul or the self exists.
2) The souls is ever-existent.
3) The soul is the doer of its Karmas.
4) The soul is the enjoyer of fruits of its Karmas.
5) There is liberation of soul (from being the doer and enjoyer of the Karmas).
6) The means of liberation is true religion.
These six aphorisms are in fact six kinds of beliefs i.e., six schools of philosophy. The author has stated them for making known the highest ideal. In a way, they disclose the fundamental position of Jainism, as has been revealed by the Spiritual Master of the past like Sri Kundakunda Acharya in the first century B.C.
In stanzas 45 to 48, the pupil raises doubt to the first aphorism - The soul exists. The true Guru removes the doubt in stanzas 49 to 58. Similarly, in the following stanzas from 59 to 118, the pupil raises doubt about the other five aphorisms and the true Guru removes them one by one. Ultimately, the true Guru shows the pupil that the self is pure, enlightened, consciousness in core, self-illuminating, the abode of bliss and advises him to contemplate on what has been taught and realise the self. He informs the pupil that the true resolve of all the right knowers of self reaches to this point.
The pupil attains the knowledge of the ever-existing soul as described above, which he had never before, by this teaching. The self appeared to him as pure consciousness itself. He comes to know that he is the doer and enjoyer of Karmas so long as there exists wrong belief about himself. As soon as the conscious attentiveness flowed in his own self, he became non-doer of the Karmas. Then he is the doer and enjoyer of the modifications of his self, which are of the nature of pure consciousness without any thought activity. Liberation is defined to be the state of absolute purity of the self and that by which it is attained is its path. This path has been explained to the pupil in the 'Atma-Siddhi'. He is so happy to know it that he asks himself as to what he should offer at the feet of his Guru, because all the substances of the world are less in value than the value of the self, which the Guru has bestowed upon him. He resolves to live in obedience under the feet of the Guru and exclaims to him in delight, "Oh Lord ! you have shown me my soul distinct from the body, like the sword from its sheath by explaining the six the six aphorsms".
Stanzas 128 to 142 state the conclusion. If one wants to realise the self he must do the right endeavour, i.e., he must turn the conscious attentiveness towards the ever the ever-existing self , which has been explained in this book. Also having heard the language of real stand-point view such as "the soul is unbound, free of all impurities", it is not proper to leave the means of realising it, but the means should be practised keeping the real stand-point view in mind. All the souls are like Siddhas, i.e., liberated souls, as they have potentiality of being liberated. Obedience to the precept of the true Guru and contemplation on the state of Jina are auxiliary cause for this. Compassion, peace, equanimity, forgiveness, truth, renunciation, non-attachment these auspicious states are always awake in the heart of the aspirant for liberation. Without them he is not even the aspirant.
The condition when the deluded thought activity is destroyed or subsided and when the world appears like a refuse of food or like a dream, is the state of the knower of self. The rest are the states of delusion and of mere knowledge in words. It is promised that one who having contemplated on the above-stated first five aphorisms, practises the sixth, attains the state of the fifth, i.e., liberation without any doubt. In the end the pupil offers innumerable obeisances at the feet of the Guru whose state of existence is without any attachment for body though in embodied condition.