Vratas of House-holder
(A) Five minor vows - We have noticed above that
for a house-holders a liberalised code of conduct called ï¿½Anuvrata' is
prescribed. Anuvratas (Minor vows) are five in number --
(i) Minor vow of non-violence, i.e., abstinence from
the killing and misbehaving of mobile living beings.
(ii) Minor vow of truthfulness, i.e., abstinence from
saying a lie to fulfil one's vested interest.
(iv) Limiting one's sexual activities to one's own wife
or to remain satisfied by one's own wife.
(v) Limiting one's own possessions.
(B) Three supplementary vows - However in order
to keep a house-holder constantly on the track some supplementary vows are
also prescribed. These are known as ï¿½Gunavratas', which are three in
(i) Digvrata -- ï¿½Dig' means direction and ï¿½Vrata' means
a vow. Thus Digvrata is a vow to carry out one's activity only within a
(ii) Bhogopabhogaparimana - ï¿½Bhoga-Upabhoga' means
sensual enjoyment of material things. This vow prescribed limitations
regarding the enjoyment of material objects and these restrictions may
also be with regard to the time and place when and where they may be
enjoyed. Both the above vows are intended to limit the worldly activities
and the extent of the worldly enjoyments, if the total and absolute
restriction is not possible.
(iii) Anarthadanda-viramana - This vow is meant to
prevent one from indulgence in such acts which are not necessary. A
house-holder has to undertake various types of activities. He cannot
afford to put a stop to all activities, but using proper direction he can
desist from certain acts such as :
Inflicting bodily injuries or killing others (
Advising others to act in such a manner which results
in sinful acts (Papopadesa).
Giving weapons which would result in violence (Himsopakari
Engaging oneself in useless and morally degrading
activities such as gambling, reading sex-literature, seeing low-taste
dramas and indulging in talks which are morally degrading.
(C) Four educative vows - These are four in
number. These vows are meant to give periodic education in right conduct
and to keep perpetual vigilance over one's activities. They are of four
(i) Samayika - This is the most important daily
activity to discipline mind and body, to review and reassess day's
activity and to offer prayerful respect to the souls who have achieved
liberation as well as to those who are on the path to liberation. Both in
the morning, before daily activities are undertaken, and in the evening,
before going to bed, one has to sit in meditation with the spirit of
forbearance, friendliness and fraternity for all, irrespective of their
cast, creed or complexion. One practices equanimity of mind and tries to
shed all different types of Kasayas such as anger, pride, deceit and
greed. Virtues of great masters who have achieved liberation are extolled
and prayers are offered for developing one's capacity to absorb these
virtues in actual life.
This vow of Samayika is so important that Bimbisara,
the king of Magadha, who was an ardent follower of lord Mahavira, was told
by the Lord that if a particular house-holder could give to him only a
fraction of the fruit of his daily practice of equanimity (Samayika), his
path of liberation would become easiest. The King, like most of the
persons possessed of power and riches, thought that it would be easy for
him to manage that particular house-holder who was an ordinary layman,
living in poverty. The king offered money and other things to purchase a
small fraction of the merits achieved by him from Samayika. The
house-holder simply smiled at the ignorance of king's arrogance and would
have appropriately replied in Biblical terms, "It is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the
kingdom of God." (Mathew)
(ii) Desavakasika - This vow is to be taken for further
lessening the sphere of Digvrata and Bhogopabhoga-parimana-vrata for a
(iii) Prosadha - During this vrata the Sadha accepts
all restrictions of a Monk by retiring for a day or two or for more time
in the common prayer hall and passes most of his time in meditation and
(iv) Atithi-Samvibhaga - Giving gifts and donations to
needy persons including Sadhus (saints).