The God, The
Scripture And The Monk
The life story of Swami Samantbhadra,
who always remained away from worldly fame is practically unknown. It has
been a characteristic of the Jain Acharyas that though they wrote splendid
works, they did not write anything about their own lives. Whatever little
is available, is not sufficient.
He was a prince of the Kadamb dynasty of
kings. He was named Shanti Verma in his childhood. He was born in Uragpur
town on the bank of the river Kaveri in the Deccan. He was alive till
Vikram Samvat 138.
Nothing is known about his family life.
He was initiated into the order of Digamber Jain saints at an early age.
Then he passed through hard penances and obtained a very deep knowledge of
God and Soul.
Besides being a great scholar of Jain
Philosophy, he was an incomparable master of Logic, Grammar, Prosody,
Poetry and Lexicography. He was possessed of a matchless power of
exposition of the holy texts. He shattered the pride of perverted orators
of religious thought. He writes :
"I roam about like a lion for exposition
of the religious Truth."
The latter Acharyas have remembered him
with great respect. He is known as the first writer of verses of
adoration. He has imparted strength to lyric poetry. His verses of
adoration are full of great logic.
He wrote Apta Mimansa. Tattvanushasan,
Yuktanushasn Swaymbhu Stotra,, Jinstuti Shatak, Ratnakarand Shrawkachar
Prakrit Vyakaran, Praman Padartha, Karma Prabhrit Tika an Gandh Hasti
Mahabhasya (not available).
The present lesson has been written on
the basis of the first chapter of Ratnakarand Shrawakachar.
The God, The
Scripture And The Monk
- Where are
you going in this garb of a recluse, so early in the morning ?
- I am going to the temple to worship God Jinendra. It is the
fourteenth day of the month. I offer my homage to the Lord on all the
eighth and fourteenth days of the month.
- Whom do you thus adore ?
- I pay homage to the Gods, the scriptures and the saints.
- What God?
- In Jainism a person is not important. It believes in the worship
of qualities rather than persons.
- So what attributes should be there in the God ?
- True God is one who is free from worldly attachments, omniscient
and a preceptor of the welfare of all. One who has no like or dislike for
anybody is unattached. He does not possess the eighteen blemishes of
birth, death etc. He does not feel hungry or thirsty. In fact, He is one
who has conquered all desires.
- I have followed what is being free from worldly attachments. But
what is omniscience ?
- One who knows all, is omniscient. One whose consciousness has
developed to the full, one who knows everything - things that happened in
the past, are happening and will happen in the future - at one and the
same time, is omniscient.
- So one who is without attachment and aversion and is possessed of
perfect knowledge of the universe is a God.
- Yes, it is alright. Whatever the precepts of such a person, will
always be true and good to all. Since his preachings are beneficial to all
he is called the preceptor of welfare of all.
are his teachings true and good ?
One tells a lie due to ignorance. When one is possessed of perfect
knowledge, whatever he says must be correct. When he has no attachment or
aversion, why should he utter anything not conducive to the welfare of
beings. His teachings as such are true and good.
I have known the attributes of true God. What are the scriptures?
The teachings of that God are scriptures. Since he is not attached to
worldly affairs, his teachings are also conducive to detachment. The
precept that religion lies in attachments is not the teaching of one who
is detached. The nature of the fundamental elements has been explained in
his teachings. Above all his teachings have no contradictions.
- What do we gain by reading all this ?
- A person is saved from treading wrong paths and gets right
- This is alright. I have known the nature of God and the
scriptures. Guru (monk) is our own teacher. Is it not ?
Our teacher is our pedagog. We should give him due respect, but the monk
we worship is the Digamber Jain saint only.
- So why don't you say that a Digamber Jain monk is the real guru ?
It is very simple. One who is naked is called a monk.
- You have not followed the whole thing. Monks are all naked, this
is true, but nobody becomes a monk by viture of nakedness alone. They
possess so many other attributes. They understand the mysteries of the
preachings of God.
What other attributes belong to them?
- They are always busy in contemplation and the study of the self.
They have no worldly belongings. As such they are without their worries.
They have no desire for sensual joys. Such ascetics are called monks.
- They must also be very learned.
- Of course. None can really adopt asceticism without the knowledge
of the self.
- Do you mean to say that without self-consciousness all the
external conduct and observances are useless ?
- The root of the matter is to understand the soul and rest in it.
Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct and external mode of life
according to the scriptures, are the qualities of a true monk.
- So you are going to offer your homage to these. I shall also
accompany you. But tell me what we shall gain therefrom.
- You are again talking nonsense. We worship them in order to
become like them. They renounced all worldly possessions. How is it proper
to beg worldly things from them ?
Dr. H.C. Bharill