Kinds of Celibates
Q. How many kinds of celibates are
A. There are five kinds of celibates:
Donning the sacred threads
(ii) Avalumh - Sub-ordinate or
(iii) Adiksha - Non-initiated
(iv) Goodh - Fully devoted
(v) Naishthik - Dedicated or
having perfect faith
Q. (i) Who are called 'upney'
(sacred threads donned) celibates?
A. The persons (apostles) who wear on
their body the sacred threads in a manner ordained by the holy teachers
and study the Jain scriptures; and thereafter observe the vows meant for
the house-holders, are called 'God' (sacred threads donned) celibates.
(ii) Who are called avlamb
A. The persons, who assume the
appearance of ascetics; donne clothes ordained for them by the holy
teachers; study and follow the Jain scriptures in practical life and
thereafter observe the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'Avalumb'
(sub-ordinate or dependent) celibates.
(iii) Who are called 'Adiksha
A. The persons who neither assume the
appearance nor donne clothes ordained for celibates, but study and follow
the Jain scriptures in practical life and thereafter observe the vows
meant for the house-holders, are called 'ago' (non-initiated) celibates.
(iv) Who are called 'gurh' (fully
A. Persons, who get initiated to
monkshood in adolescence, study and follow Jain scriptures. But on the
insistence of their kith and kin, or being incapable in bearing severe
tortures, or forced by some special royal decree, or by their own sweet
will, discard the nude state as that of Lord Jinendra and still observe
the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'by' (fully devoted)
(v) Who are called the 'neshtik'
(dedicated or having perfect faith in the omniscient lord, the scriptures
and the holy teachers) celibates?
A. The persons, who can be distinguished
by the tuft of hair on their head at the time of meditation. Their chest
is adorned with the sacred threads. Their loincloth of red or white color
is always tied round their waist. They always subsist on alms; which are
learned in scriptures and observe all vows of ascetics; and who are always
engaged in prayer and worship of Lord Jinendra, are called 'neshtik'
Sukh Deva was a life long celibate
by birth. It is said that as soon as he grew young he went away to the
forest to perform penance. At the time of his departure, his father Vyas
Deva gave him counsel and spoke, "My son! The name and fame of our
grandfather has survived as a result of the noble deeds of our father, and
our father's glory has survived due to our good deeds. Likewise, our fame
and glory will remain immortal in the world owing to your virtuous deeds.
But alas! The name of our family will be extinct on your becoming an
ascetic. If you are bent upon doing penance, first enter into wed-lock
like your ancestors and then perform penance in the company of your
But Sukh Deva turned a deaf ear to
his father's appeal and spoke, "Dear father! You are mistaken to think
that a son makes his father's name immortal. The name and fame of a person
depends on his or her virtuous deeds. The fame and glory of the truthful,
religious minded persons and celibates alone shines in the world for ever
like that of the sun and the moon, even if they do not have sons and
Saying so Sukh Deva set out for the
forest. The great sage Viase followed him to bring him back. On the way
the queens, princesses and ladies of the royal family of the historic city
were bathing in the river Narmada. These ladies did not put on veils and
go in seclusion on seeing the young Sukh Deva. But later on when the old
sage Viase passed by that side, all these ladies at once put on veils out
of the feeling of shame. Seeing this sage Viase was amazed and he asked
the ladies, "My daughters! What is the reason that on seeing me you
covered yourselves, but went on bathing unperturbed naked in the river
despite seeing the nude young Sukh Deva passing from here?" In reply the
females said, "O great sage! You are fully aware of all secrets of a woman
and you yourself were a victim to sexual desires. That is why on seeing
you we covered ourselves. But Sukh Deva is totally ignorant about
sexology. Therefore, we did not deem it proper to put on veils on seeing
the innocent nude Sukh Deva." On hearing this eye opening word, sage Viase
returned to his hermitage.
Bhartrahari writes about celibacy
in the following lines:
Krishna kanr khaj shrawanrahit
Vrinr puti kiln krimikul
Koshuha Kshama jinro
Shunimanvaiti shva hatmapi ch
A very old lean and thin dog,
starving for two days; whose wounded body was bleeding and covered with
pus; who was blind of one eye; who was lame and crippled; whose ugly face
with fattened throat was hanging down, lay in the road in this miserable
plight. The pedestrians in the road suspecting an immediate end of the
dog, which was in the last stage of life, thought if the dog died in the
mid-road, the environment would be filled with pestilence (foul smell).
Therefore, the dog must be shifted elsewhere, before it breathed its last.
Meanwhile a bitch passed by that side. On seeing her, the almost dead dog
got up overpowered with a passionate desire of lust and began to chase
In fact, celibacy is the only
superb vow in all the three worlds. He who observes this vow attains a
sacred state of existence. It has been said:
Samudra tarnai yadvad, upao no
Sansar tarne tadvat, brahmcharne
I.e., Just as a boat or ship proves
a helpful means in going across the sea, likewise celibacy is a very fine
and easy means to cross the ocean of the world. The lustful desire for sex
exists in the heart of a living being only so long as he/she does not
realize the real motif of life and does not understand his/her real self,
or does not grasp the real nature of the soul. The day when one begins to
see one's own soul face to face, one gives up one's lustful desires for
sex and sensual pleasures and observes celibacy.