FIRST STEPS TO JAINISM

(Illustrated)

 

with

Thirty two Plates

(PART ONE)

 

 

Five Basic Steps

 

 

By

SANCHETI  ASOO  LAL

                   M.Com., LL.B.,I.R.A.S.

BHANDARI  MANAK  MAL

                                               B.Com.

 

Published by

M. SUJAN  MAL  UGAM  KANWAR  SANCHETI  TRUST

(SUMCHETI TRUST)

JODHPUR (India)

 

 

Published by

SUMCHETI TRUST

Alka, D-121, Shastri Nagar,

Jodhpur-342003(India)

Tel.:33865/30366

 

First Edition, 1984

1000 Copies

Second Edition 1989

1000 Copies

Third Edition 1995

1000 Copies

 

Price : Rs.100.00

 

Catalogued by

Library of U.S. Congress, Washington

Card No. 90-232383

 

Printed at:

Printing House

Inside Jalori Gate,

Jodhpur.Ph.627708

Preface

 

Need has been felt for a small book in simple English containing elementary knowledge of Jainism. Not only in the West, where lately interest in Jainism has increased considerably, but also amongst the younger generation of Indians knowing English, inquiry is frequently heard about some such book-‘‘Can you suggest some small book on Jainism in simple English?’’

 

No doubt, there are a number of books in English on Jainism specially by German indologists and other western scholars. Also some Indian authors like J. L. Jaini (Outline of Jainism, published in 1916), C. R. Jain (Fundamentals of Jainism, 1916) and others have written some good books on Jainism. However, such books are of a level too high to be easily intelligible to a layman. These are learned treatises following Jain sacred texts. These books assume that readers have familiarity with and have considerable basic knowledge of the subject of Jainism. This makes those books heavy reading for the beginners.

 

Similarly the language used in most of such books contains more than a sprinkling of Prakrit or Sanskrit terms relating to Jainism, the reason for which is not far to seek. It is obviously difficult to find the exact equivalents of a number of Prakrit or Sanskrit terms in English language. Thus Tirthankar, siddha, Dravya, dracaena, karma, etc. are very difficult words to be exactly translated into equivalent English terms. The result is that reading of such books with heavy dosage of oriental terms becomes all the more difficult for a layman.

 

Such books, no doubt, are very useful as books of reference but do not attract the readership and these do not meet the demand mentioned in the beginning of this preface.

 

The reader is further discouraged by frequent references to ancient geography and mythology, which like elsewhere, contain material that might appear simple hyperbole to the unfamiliar and uninitiated reader. Further a mere collection and presentation of facts, without relating them to context and without indicating their place in the system, leaves the reader confused with a hazy and superficial knowledge of Jainism, where grain is mixed with chaff.

 

We have therefore, attempted to describe all the important aspects of Jainism in simple language in brief self-contained chapters, to provide elementary knowledge of the principles of Jainism. Since the chapters are self-contained, some items may have been repeated. The compilation has, therefore, been called First Steps to Jainism, each chapter being called a step. Care has been taken to avoid the shortcomings mentioned above, so as to satisfy rational inquiries about the Jain view of life and to encourage further studies in Jain set of beliefs and Jain way of life.

 

The plan of this effort is to cover the significant features of Jainism-the metaphysical, ethical, theological, philosophical-in two parts. First one, dealing with the preliminary and essential features, is before you. This first part begins with Groundwork-the first chapter, which as the name suggests-prepares the ground for the study by giving a general idea for introducing the subject of Jain religion to familiarize the reader. It gives a bird’s eyeview of Jain tradition, its main tenets and teachings.

 

The subsequent five chapters called five steps deal with the following aspects-

(i)      Step One-Universe-The Six substances(the Dravya)- This chapter contains a brief description of the universe and its constituents according to Jain metaphysics. The subject has been of considerable interest to all humanity in all ages, and we propose to deal with this initially and show the simple and logical approach of Jainism to the subject of the Universe and its dimensions in time and space. The main constituents of the beginningless universe according to Jainism, i.e., (1) the living beings, (2) time, (3) space, (4) medium of motion, (5) medium of rest and (6) matter are dealt with in this chapter. Attempt has been made to exhibit that this Universe is a sort of stage on which the living beings (the souls) and the non-living matter interact with each other with the help of other four constituents.

(ii)    Step Two-The Seven fundamentals (The Tattva)-We take off from the last chapter and in this chapter try to depict the detailed process by which the interaction between the living (the soul) and the non-living (matter) takes place and its different phases and aspects. The subject forms the core or the fundamental sector of the Jain thought indicating the path that should be followed so that the soul comes out victorious from its struggle with matter, which is the ultimate aim and destiny of the human soul. The procedure of interaction between the soul and the matter includes influx of matter into soul, bondage of the soul, stoppage of influx, destruction of the bondage and final liberation.

(iii)   Step Three-The Three Jewels(The Ratna)-For achieving the liberation of the soul from perennial bondage and to enable it to discover its full power and glory Jainism prescribes three fold noble path also known as Three Jewels of Jainism: Right Vision, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. This three fold approach is described in this chapter. It has been rightly observed that right vision is the foundation on which the whole structure of right knowledge and right conduct is built. Similarly, right knowledge guides the conduct of human beings on the right lines.

(iv)  Step Four-The Three Hallmarks(The Lakshan)-The ethical part of Jainism is as simple, as logical and as dignified as the metaphysical part. Actually it shows the highest stage of civilization reached by man. In day to day life Jainism prescribes adoption of non-violence, self-control and penance for the sake of happiness in this life and in the next. The scope of these hallmarks, the practicability thereof and their importance in day to day life of individuals and the society is attempted to be explained in this chapter. Indeed, these hallmarks of Jainism and the emphasis thereupon have attracted much attention lately of all thinking world due to the practical use to which Mahatma Gandhi put the concept of non-violence in the solution of the problems in human affairs.

(v)    Step Five-The five worships(The Panch Parmeshthi)-The Jain prayer to the five supreme beings is another example of its catholicity and universality. This prayer is elaborated in this chapter to throw light on the qualities of the worshipped beings.

 

 

In part II we propose to deal with more elaborate and advanced aspects of Jainism like Theory of Non-absolutism(Ane-kantvad), Theory of causation(Karamvad), stages of Evolution (Gunsthan)etc. Both parts when ready will be issued with notes, authorities, references and bibliography in one Volume.

 

Before closing we request that this endeavor should be viewed as an attempt at introduction of the subject only with a view to encourage further study of this ancient religion. No scholarship or authoritative approach is claimed by the authors, who are beginners, and shall feel obliged to those who read this book and give their suggestions to improve it. All this effort is built on the inspiration and blessings of Gurudev who has initiated us on this noble path. If there are any shortcomings that are noticed we shall be grateful to be advised of the same and we tender profound apologies in advance with folded hands(Michamidukaram).

 

Asoo Lal Sancheti

M.Com., LL.B.,I.R.A.S.

Retd.Financial Advisor & Chief Accounts Officer,

Indian Railways

Former Member, Accounts & Finance,

Rajasthan State Electricity Board

 

Jodhpur                                                        Manak Mal Bhandari

July 31,1984                                                                         B.Com.

 

 

 

 

Preface to Second Edition

 

Before Part II of the Book could be ready, first edition of Part I has exhausted. There being demand for the Book, a second edition is being published in hard cover.

Jodhpur                                                                     A.L. Sancheti

July 31, 1989                                                          M.M. Bhandari

 

 

 

Preface to Third Edition

 

The third edition of the book is before the readers after five years since the second edition was published. In the meantime Part II of the Book has been published in Nov. 1994-Divali. In this edition an additional feature has been included in the form of thirty-two Plates giving a glimpse of Jain art-calligraphy, painting, statutory, architecture and structures.

 

Our grateful thanks are due to Shriman Shanti Chandji Sahib Bhandari from whose photographs and collection of paintings, we have borrowed heavily for the plates' section. We are thankful to other collectors and publishers from whom we have taken material for some of the plates.

Jodhpur                                                                     A.L. Sancheti

Oct.1995-Divali                                                       M.M. Bhandari

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

Preface                                                                               

 

1.        Ground Work                                                                  

 

2.      Step One-The Universe-Six Substances(The Dravya)

 

3.        Step Two-The Seven Fundamentals(The Tatva)               

 

4.        Step Three-The Three Jewels(The Ratna)                         

 

5.        Step Four-The Hallmarks(The Lakshana)                        

 

6.        Step Five-Five Worships(The Panch Parmeshthi)            

 

                                          

 

 

Some Comments on the Book

 

1.      Prof.J.W. de Jong

Faculty of Asian Studies

The Australian National University,

CANBERA

Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your book,Frist Steps to Jainism. It is a very intersting and most useful publication.

2.      Prof. Juan Miguel De Mora

Vice President,

Philological Research Institute

National Autonomous University of Mexico.

I am in receipt of your book First Steps to Jainism, which reached me just yesterday, and am very grateful to you for sending it.

Books on Jainism are very hard to come by here in Mexico, so information thereon is extremely scarce. I shall therefore read your book with great interest and hope to use it in my courses at the National University of Mexico.

3.      Prof.G. Chemparathy

Universty of Utrecht,

Utrecht, HOLLAND.

What I want to say is that your book came as a welcome present to increase my knowledge of Jainism. I had a rapid glance at the contents and I find that the book gives a very good summary of the Jaina thought. Let me wish the book every success.

4.      Dr. Oscar Botto, President,

Centro Piemontese Di Studi

Sul Medio Ed Estremo Oriente,

TORINO, ITALY.

I am deeply obliged to you for your kind gift of First Steps to Jainism by Sancheti Asoo Lal-Bhandari Manak Mal. I have very much appreciated this work that I deem one of the most enlightening and useful contribution to the knowledge of Jainism.

 

Groundwork

 

Jainism, as the name indicates, is the religion preached by the Jinas. The word religion means a creed or a set of beliefs. Literally the word Jina means a conqueror, but Jinas who prescribed the set of beliefs known as Jainism were no ordinary conquerors. In ordinary sense the word conquerors means “victory of territory by force”. However, the Jinas were conquerors of their own selves. They were victors over their senses, and their passions and desires. Jinas achieved Godhood-became perfect beings blessed with perfect faith, perfect wisdom and eternal bliss. They became free from worldly miseries and bondage for all times to come.

 

The way of life(and set of beliefs)these Jinas prescribed was the same as they had practiced-the path of nonviolence, self control and penance - and thereby reached the stage of perfection. They preached the same religion for the benefit of tormented beings of the universe for their salvation from miseries - a panacea for which humanity has been and is clamoring and which every religion claims to provide in its own way.

 

The Jinas were also described as Jainas in ancient literature and, therefore, the religion may have been called Jainism. Again the followers of Jinas are known as Jains. The religion practiced by these Jains may have been given its name as Jainism.

 

In the present cycle of time (we shall know more about Jain division of time subsequently) there have been numerous Jinas out of which 24 became Tirthankars or prophets or enlightened beings as they created institutions for propagating right faith, right knowledge and right conduct for salvation of humanity. The first of these Jinas was Lord Rishabh also known as Adi Natha (the first Lord) who started the Jain tradition in the present time cycle. The last one of these prophets was Lord Mahaveera who lived about 2500 years ago and who is erroneously considered the originator of Jainism.

 

The institutions set up by the Jain prophets consisted of four groups that is, (i) monks, (ii) nuns, (iii) laity (males) and (iv) laity (females). These institutions known as Tirtha or centers of worship, are still continuing and this shows that Jainism is a living religion flourishing throughout India. There are numerous monks and nuns and millions of followers or Jain laity who are continuing the institutions created in hoary past and these are following virtually the same path as prescribed by Jinas. Jain monks and nuns still move about on foot from Kashmir to Kerala and from Gujarat to Bengal. They carry minimum of equipment having renounced even the clothes in some cases. Jain laity still practice complete vegetarianism, abstaining from any type of meat or flesh. They practice austerities and penance - fasting for days and in some cases without water. At the same time Jain community is richly endowed educationally and economically. They lead in the fields of industry, business, education and politics.

 

The contribution of Jainism to the Indian thought and life has been very significant. Actually vegetarianism as a habit prevailing throughout the Indian continent, practiced by a large majority, is an evidence of Jain influence. Indian literature, sculpture, architecture and painting as also all other aspects of life have been so significantly influenced by Jainism that to do justice to the same will require a separate book. Suffice, it to say that every student of Indian culture or a visitor to the Indian sub-continent has been considerably impressed by the sculpture and art of Jain temples, Jain painting and “inexhaustible stock of Jain literature”.

 

Geographically Jainism has flourished in India and except for Indian Jains working outside India, there are hardly any Jains or Jain institutions in the countries outside India. All the 24 prophets or Tirthankars of Jains were born in different parts of India, preaching and attaining salvation in this country. There has been a catholicity and lack of dogmatic approach in Jain belief in as much as any one, who preached and practiced the hallmarks of Jainism i.e. non-violence, self control and penance coupled with the three jewels i.e. right belief, right knowledge and right action, is considered and worshipped as Jain leader of thought. Similarly, the followers of this path irrespective of caste, color or creed can rightfully be considered Jain. It is indeed mentioned in Jain scriptures that in other lands, in other galaxies there are Jinas at present preaching the principles of Jainism in all their purity and glory.

 

Historically it has been established, as a result of research that Lord Mahaveera was not the founder of Jainism, but the 24th and the last prophet of Jainism in the current epoch of time. Actually there have been 23 prophets earlier to Lord Mahaveera who practiced and preached the same religion. The first prophet Lord Rishabh is mentioned frequently in Vedic Literature. The Bhagwat Puran has described his life - penance and liberation in detail. The historicity of 22nd and 23rd prophets called Nemi and Parshva respectively has been established by research. While Lord Nemi was contemporary to Lord Krishna being his cousin, Parshva lived in 700 B.C. in Varanasi. Some of the discoveries in Mohenjodaro and Harappa made recently indicate that Jainism might have been prevalent in India in those days. However, if we again glance at the Jain mythology, which may contain seeds of truth, such prophets are born in every epoch of time and  will continue to be born and preach the same holy precepts from time to time. Thus as the universe is beginningless and endless so are the Jain precepts and practices, which have flourished in all ages and will continue to do so in  future.                  

 

We have touched upon the catholicity and broadmindedness in approach as evident in Jain thought. Similarly, other significant attributes of Jainism are its harmonious and peaceful approach to life and optimistic and healthy outlook about the future of humanity and the principle of non-absolutism.

 

Non-violence is the foundation stone of Jain religion. It teaches the principle of live and let live and believes that life is too sacred to be injured even in the minutest form. It is prohibited to destroy even the grass and trees and there are injunctions against wasteful use of water and other resources. Thus the environment and ecology of which one hears so much now-a-days, is automatically preserved under the aegis of Jain practices.

 

The principle of non-absolutism tries to find out the unity out of diverse points of view and admits that there is an element of truth in all religions which are but different approaches to the problems of humanity from different points of view. These help to resolve unnecessary controversies so much so that it is considered the principle of intellectual non-violence.

 

Though Jainism has been called spiritual mathematics there is essential simplicity and naturalness in its basic approach. The golden rule ‘‘treat thy neighbor as thou would like to be treated”, is extended to the entire creation and taken to its logical conclusion in the principle of non-violence. Actually this golden rule is the genesis of the principle of non-violence which  in turn requires self control and to practice self-control one has to practice penance. These are the hallmarks of the entire Jain philosophy.

 

Indian sub-continent has been the birth place of number of schools of thought like Jainism, Buddhism, Vedantism, Sankhya, Nyaya, Memansa, etc., all broadly known as the Indian tradition. These can be divided into two distinct groups known as the Vedic tradition and Shramanic tradition. These traditions have run parallel over ages and naturally so influenced each other that the dividing line has become very indistinguishable. The Vedic tradition is still continuing as the religion of the majority of the people in India. This group includes Sankhya Vedant et. In Shramanic tradition, we find Jainism, Buddhism, Ajivika, etc. Somehow out of these later only Jainism survives in India as a living religion, Buddhism and others having been almost completely obliterated from India though Buddhism flourishes in the other parts of the world.

 

The Vedic school of thought accepts one supreme God as the creator of the world and preaches devotion to it and other lesser gods through rituals like sacrifice, etc., as one of the paths of liberation of man. In day to day life Vedic tradition divided the span of life in four parts meant for study, raising of family, religious pursuits and complete renunciation. It has also divided humanity into four classes, i.e., warriors (kshtriyas), the religious ones (Brahmins), professionals (vaishyas), and the menials (sudras), importance being given to Brahmins so much so that the tradition was called the Brahmin tradition.

 

In Jainism and other shramanic schools, generally God is not accepted as creator of the world. Similarly, emphasis is laid on one’s action and not devotion for one’s liberation from miseries of the world. They also considered the division of life span and distinction between different classes of humanity as artificial. Jainism clearly propounded that man should not be condemned because of his birth in a group, but his actions should rightly determine his status in the society. Similarly it was preached that life is too transitory and uncertain and one need not wait for old age to devote oneself to religious pursuits.

 

Like all philosophies Jain philosophy answers the fundamental questions about the universe, its creation, man’s origin, his duties and his destiny. It also deals with the question of Godhood at length and shows how an individual soul can achieve Godhood by practicing the three fold path of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct and by practicing non-violence, self control and penance.

 

It must be denied emphatically that Jainism preaches atheism. On the contrary Jainism believes in the potential power of every soul to attain Godhood.

 

Incidentally the same path if followed, leads to happiness of an individual and of the society in this world. Jainism says that there is no essential conflict between man and man, man and society and man and the state. Actually they are inter-dependent, not only is there inter-dependence between man and man but also there is inter-dependence between humanity and the animal world as well as nature.

 

It will be clear that Jain thought proves the world to be a beautiful place to live in and man has a higher aim in life. There is no pessimism, but an optimistic approach that with appropriate efforts human destiny could achieve not only super-natural powers but also Godhood.

 

Before closing this chapter a few words about historical evolution of Jain culture

since Pashva and Mahaveera will be appropriate. While Parshva prescribed less rigid path permitting colored clothes for the monks Mahaveera made the conduct more strict and prescribed nudity for male monks as also white clothes to a limited extent. This with other minor distinctions led to the division of Jain Church into two main branches, i.e., sky-clad (Digamber) and white-clad (Swetamber). These two sects were further divided and sub-divided into idol worshipper, non-idol worshipper and so on. However, in essential beliefs Jain church as well as Jain laity remains singularly united even after 2500 years since Mahaveera. In metaphysical, ethical and theological details there is complete unanimity amongst all the Jains. There may be minor differences in emphasis on details or in rituals to be followed by one sect and discarded by the others. These only emphasize the essential soundness of the set of beliefs prescribed by the great prophets from time immemorial.

 

The Universe-Six Substances (The Dravya)

(Step One)

 

Since the dawn of civilization men, in different times and different climes, have tried to solve the riddle of the Universe. They have tried to find out what the Universe was, what was its origin and destiny, its size and shape, who created it, why, how and when? The result of these deliberations has given rise to number of theories that have taken the form of different philosophical schools. The answers given by the different schools of thought are at considerable variance from each other, sometimes even contradictory, and the mystery has only deepened rather than getting resolved.

 

Similarly all the scientific research and developments have been unable to unravel completely this mystery, that is the universe, and the questions about why and when and how of it remain unanswered. The advances in nuclear research and the entry into the space age by man have left him more mystified-even ignorant-about the Universe. Actually, today the scientists feel that the more they know, they realize that, they know less and less about the great cosmic phenomena. The scientists find themselves rapidly discarding their old theories that were accepted as  gospel truths. Perforce one has to return to the realm of religion and philosophy-which though giving varying interpretations of the problems surrounding the cosmos are at least consistent and logical in their own way.

 

Amongst this multitude of philosophies Jain philosophy provides answers to these questions that appear simple yet logical and convincing. According to Jain metaphysics the universe is an uncreated entity that has always been in existence and shall always be there. There was neither any beginning of the universe nor is there going to be any end. In other words neither the universe was created at any time nor will it be destroyed, there being no origin in the past nor any end in the future. Since the universe was never created, the questions of creation or a creator do not arise.

 

This resolves the numerous questions that arise when the concept of a supreme creator of the universe is advocated, e.g., who created the creator? Again since there is no process of creation there is no need to delve into the justification for the creation of universe or the moment of its coming into existence. The universe is according to Jain thought, a self evident and self-existent phenomena not needing any vindication. The concept is at once so simple yet so sublime that initially it comes as a shock and there is resistance against easy acceptance. However, more one thinks and contemplates on these lines the concept is not only satisfying to the intellect but also to heart and the soul.

 

The universe possesses according to the Jain thought, the quality of timelessness. It goes back in the past to eternity and in future also it has got infinite time before it. From another point of view it can be said that the universe has before it almost as much amount of time (in future) as it has already passed through (in the past).

 

An elucidation of the work infinite can bear mention. The quantum denoted by infinite is such that even if infinite quantity were taken out of it what will remain behind will yet be infinite. No wonder this word is also used to connote God or the Absolute being.

 

We have seen that the universe according to Jain belief is an infinite entity so far as the time dimension is concerned. However so far as the space dimension is concerned the universe though colossal in size is not infinite. It is a finite mass of different (six) constituents, which have been having their interplay, but restricted, to the finite area of the universe, since times immemorial. However this huge colossus (the universe) is enclosed or contained in space that is infinite. There is symbiotic relationship between infinite space and the finite universe, the former completely surrounding and also pervading through the universe as we shall see presently. In passing, it may be mentioned that even the infinite space that is called non-universe, containing the universe, can be comprehended by the perfect beings through their perfect knowledge like a fruit on one’s palm.

 

In Jain thought the shape of the universe has been described as that of the figure 8 or a man standing akimbo which is tapering at the bottom, middle and top with bulges in between. The dimension from the top to bottom has been described as 14 Rajjus. Now this Rajju has got incalculable yet finite dimension as mentioned in the subsequent paragraph.

 

If a measurement equal to 1,00,000 yojans (one yojan is equal to 2500 miles) is doubled in geometrical progression (i.e. 200,000,400,000,800,000 and so on) innumerable times it will be one Rajju (The innumerable times have been illustrated to be equal to the number of minutest pieces of hair which will fill up billions (million million) pits (each 8 miles wide, 8 miles long and 8 miles deep). The universe is stated to be measuring such fourteen Rajjus from tip to toe as mentioned earlier. At the middle point the universe is one Rajju wide but the width of the bulges varies from five to eight Rajju. At the top the width again tapers off to one Rajju.

 

The main differentiating feature between the universe and the non-universe is that while the latter is only space the former has got five more elements sharing in the eternity-in addition to space-which are (i) the living or animates (souls) (ii) matter (iii) time (iv) medium of motion and (v) medium of rest. Wherever these six elements exist that is the limit up to which the universe extends and beyond, where only space exists, it is non-universe. Any effort to envision the universe and non-universe, with its dimensions in space and time, boggles the mind. However, its contemplation is also mind elevating and has been recommended as one that leads to sublimation of the soul. Complete comprehension of the universe and non-universe is possible only for perfect beings blessed with perfect faith and perfect knowledge. It is by the kindness of such perfect beings that lesser mortals are enabled a glimpse of the great vision.

 

Coming to the six substances-the six Dravya-which constitute the universe we shall deal with them one by one as under:

 

1.      The animate beings (Jeeva)-The most important, rather, central element or substance of the universe is the animate living substance also called the soul or Jeeva. There are infinite number of souls each of which has a separate and self sufficient entity. They have been coexistent with the universe and thus they are also beginningless and endless. At the same time number of souls in the universe like all other substances can neither be increased nor can it be decreased. The soul neither dies nor takes birth, as is apparent when a body dies or takes birth. Soul only changes the body expanding or contracting to suit the body it occupies like the light of a candle.

 

While a soul defies complete description it has been mentioned as a formless entity the central quality of which is consciousness (Gyan). This attribute distinguishes the soul or the animate being from the other five constituents of the universe which have no consciousness. The other attributes of the soul or animate being are its potentiality of possessing complete happiness, complete knowledge and infinite power. Actually in pure state the soul is perfect consciousness, perfect happiness and omnipotent. Due to association of the soul with matter, which association is again beginningless but which is not endless, the purity of the soul and its real powers have become over-shadowed and diminished. Efforts of the soul to realize its true glory is the destiny of man which Jainism describes as the ultimate aim. The souls which have realized their true nature, i.e., infinite knowledge, happiness, bliss, etc. are the liberated souls. In the second category are mundane souls which are circulating in the universe and which may be trying to achieve perfection or liberation.

 

Mundane souls are of different classes according to the level of consciousness outwardly manifested by their sense. Thus at the bottom of the scale are immovable bodies that have only one sense, i.e., sense of touch. These are souls inhabiting mineral bodies, water, fire, air and vegetables. The last category of the living beings, i.e., those of the vegetable kingdom have now been accepted by the scientific experiments though these were denied earlier. Jainism has all along been advocating existence of life in trees, plants and other vegetables and even in earth, water, fire and air. These have sense of touch only.

 

The second category of the souls is of those which have two senses, i.e., sense of touch and sense of taste. They are found in elementary forms of life, which show movement, like bacteria, shells, etc.

 

The third category encompasses souls living in bodies having four senses, i.e., sense of touch, taste, smell and sight, e.g., files, bees, etc.

 

Lastly, there are souls inhabiting bodies with five sense like human beings and animals that have all the senses, i.e., sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. As mentioned earlier the soul or animate being does not end with apparent death of the body it occupies, but changes the bodies like changing of clothes. Thus Jainism exposes the hollowness of death and firmly believes in transmigration of soul which has been continuing since hoary past and will continue till it achieves liberation or perfecthood by shedding all the bondage. The reason for this transmigration of soul is its association with matter which overpowers the inherent qualities of the soul (by assuming microscopic forms like waves which are known as Karmas). Again this association of the soul and the karma is beginningless so much so that under the influence of karma the soul has forgotten its real powers. Subject of this struggle between the souls and the karma matter will be dealt with separately but suffice it to say that this interaction is the cause of worldly existence which has been continuing without any beginning and which will so continue without any end.

 

2.      Matter-(Pudgal)-The second important element of the universe is matter or the Pudgalstikaya. Non-living, inanimate and non-conscious matter has form and can be touched, tasted, seen and smelled. Actually this is the only element with form out of the six substances constituting the universe. The smallest particle of matter is described in Jain philosophy to be so fine that we have to adopt its oriental name, i.e., the Parmanu compared to which an infinitesimal atom is what a mountain is to a mole hill. Modern scientists have already realized that atom itself consists of number of neutrons and protons which are also not indivisible. Parmanu, however, is the indivisible minutest particle of the matter and number of parmanus when combined form a Pudgal. While the qualities of soul are consciousness, knowledge, perfection, peace and bliss as also formlessness, the characteristics of matter are lifelessness (inanimateness) and form consisting of touch, shape, sound, taste, smell and color. Though the smallest particles, the parmanus, are very minute, they can combine with each other thus forming different combinations of huge proportions. Jainism recognizes these six combinations of matter which vary from (1) fine-fine (parmanu pudgal itself), (2) Fine (Waves which cannot be perceived by senses) (3) fine gross (sound) (4) gross fine (visible things like sun shine) (5) gross (liquids) and (6) gross gross (solids).

 

Everything that is visible in the universe is one form or another of parmanus in any one of the six combinations mentioned. Though the parmanus may change form they are essentially permanent entities without any beginning or end. The number of pudgals in the universe is infinite but again the number can neither be added to nor reduced.

 

The association of matter with a soul is beginningless but once they are divorced it is a final separation. There can be no further association of matter with a liberated soul. However, the parmanus or matter should not be considered as the villains of the piece. It is the soul itself which attracts the pudgals which bind it. It is again for the soul to free itself from the bondage of pudgals by its activity, the parmanus cannot associate with the soul suo moto.

 

3.      Time (Kaal)-The next substance constituting the universe is time, there being no time in non-universe. The distinctive mark of time is its passage and by this quality time causes modification in other substances viz., soul, matter, etc. Time is nonmaterial and has no color, smell, touch or taste. Time is eternal but consists of units. The smallest unit being a ‘samaya’ which is the time taken by one pudgal to travel from one unit of space to the next unit of space. The next bigger unit is nimisha which is equal to innumerable samayas-in practical terms it is the time taken in raising an eyelid. The Jain measures of time are as under:

 

1)      Samaya                 The smallest unit as explained above.

2)      Nimisha                 Innumerable samaya as explained above.

3)      Kashtha                 15 nimisha.

4)      Kala                      20 Kashtha.

5)      Ghati                     20 Calais and a little over.

6)      Muhurta                2 Ghatis.

7)      Day & Night         30 Muhurta.

8)      Month                   30 days and nights.

9)      Year                      12 months.

 

The above measures are known as calculable measures. Since time is eternal Jainism has measures of time before which the concept of billion years is insignificant. One such measure is sagaropam which is described below:

 

A tank eight miles long, eight miles wide and eight miles deep is filled with minute pieces of hair. Each piece of hair is taken out after 100 years. The time required to completely empty the tank of the hair will be equal to one palyopam. Innumerable such palyopams will make a sagaropam. These measures of time are known as non-calculable.

 

It may be mentioned in passing that since the universe is beginningless, time equivalent to innumerable sagaropams has already passed and will continue adinfinitum.

 

However, there are time cycles manifesting themselves which divide the age of the universe in different parts of time. Of this one time cycle consists of two kalas- avasarpani and upsarpani which are further divided into six aras or epochs each. Needless to add that millions of such aras and kalas have passed and will continue to do so.

 

4.      Space (Akash)-The next substance constituting the universe is space. The characteristic of space is to give room to or accommodate the other substances. The special feature of space is that it is not restricted to the universe like other substances but extends beyond the universe to the non-universe. Actually in non-universe there is nothing but space.

 

5.      Mediums of motion and rest-Lastly we come to the outstanding features of Jainism which are the two substances called the medium of motion (dharamastikaya) and medium of rest (adharamastikaya). There is no other philosophy which has anything corresponding to these substances. The function of the substance called medium of motion is to help the soul and the matter to move about just as water helps the fish to move about. The substance of medium of rest enables them to remain stationary at one place, just as the shade enables the traveler to take rest.

 

These substances are also non-material and they are extending throughout the universe as one mass. Actually it is the extent of these elements that determines the limit of the universe. Since the absence of these substances does not permit the other substances to move, the universe ends where these substances end.

 

Before concluding we may summarize the characteristics of the different substances of the universe by stating that-

1)      Out of the six substance only one is living substance i.e. the animate soul and the other five are non-living.

2)      Only one i.e. matter has form and is material and the other five are non-material and have no form.

3)      Three elements viz., medium of motion, medium of rest and space are single entities while time, matter and soul are numerous.

 

All these substances are eternal, noninterchangeable and they can neither be added to nor reduced. While they are independent of each other they are assisting and accommodating each other in action and re-action. Thus while there is struggle going on between the soul and the matter, time causes the modifications, the space provides the arena, medium of motion helps them to move about and the medium of rest assists them to take rest. This is the evolution and destiny of the universe which cannot be changed and cannot be stopped.

 

However, it must have been observed that the central and the most important substance is the soul which is all powerful. Matter only obstructs the realization of the full powers of the soul. Jain prophets have prescribed the path and methodology which if followed help the soul to shed the bondage of matter and thus realize its full power of omniscience, eternal bliss and glory.

 

 

The Seven Fundamentals (The Tattva)

(Step two)

 

The causes leading to manifestation of life in variety of forms have taxed the imagination of all thinking men, just as the universe. If all souls or the animate living-beings are in essence alike, being formless and conscious entities, why this extreme divergence from living beings with one sense (like the stationary trees and plants) to the five-sensed human beings. Again the heterogeneousness of humanity manifesting itself in differing capacities, behaviour, material adjuncts and feelings of pain and pleasure has defied logical or convincing explanation.

 

Then why is the world full of suffering? ‘‘Birth is suffering, death is suffering, separation from what is pleasing is suffering and association with what is displeasing is suffering.” Thus concluded Buddha and renounced the throne. Similarly men’s helplessness vis-à-vis his lot, destiny or nature sent many a prophet and leaders to the caves or mountains to find solutions to these problems.

 

Buddha preached the middle path, Moses propagated the Ten Commandments and other prophets and leaders of men suggested their own panacea for the ills of the world. Broadly speaking, some schools of thought have accepted a personal God, as not only creator of the universe, but also that of life in all its varieties and as arbiter of its destiny. At the other extreme are those who suggest that the entire process of life, death and creation in all its manifestation is nothing but modification of matter and the part of a natural process.

 

Jainism does not accept a personal God as the creator of the variety of life and dispenser of pleasure and pain. Similarly matter alone is considered as dead and inert and cannot be held responsible for the creation and its variation. These are at best escapist approaches that are alien to Jainism. It holds the individual soul responsible for its actions, its destiny, its pleasure and its pain.

 

Jain metaphysics prescribes a seven fold approach that not only provides a satisfactory solution to the riddle of the creation, birth, death, pleasure and pain but also lays down the path of liberation of the soul from sufferings and for realization of its full   powers. These seven are, therefore, rightly known as tattvas or the fundamentals or truths which are the subject matter of this chapter These form the core of the Jain religion and have been universally preached and practiced in all ages by successive prophets, last of them being Lord Mahaveera.

 

Before dealing with the seven fundamentals it may be recapitulated that Jainism believes that the universe consists of two distinct major constituents i.e. (1) living-conscious substance i.e. soul and (2) non-living element (group of five substances called matter, space, time, medium of motion and medium of rest). These two divisions (1) living and (2) non-living are the most important fundamentals out of the seven. These may be called the core of the core. The belief and knowledge of these two is the basis on which the structure of the seven fundamentals is built. Actually, the seven fundamentals are nothing but permutations and combinations of these two.

 

Out of the non-living substances we have seen that the four formless substances play a secondary role in the drama of life. To recapitulate, the space provides accommodation, time ensures modification and medium of rest and motion help in stopping and movement respectively to the living soul and the non-living matter. It may be clarified that out of the last two only the soul is the active and conscious agent, matter being inert and non-conscious.

 

The attachment of matter with soul is beginningless, just as the universe is beginningless, and it is under the influence of matter that the soul undergoes the cycle of life and death with concomitant pain and pleasure, changing the bodies through transmigration of soul in which Jainism, like the most oriental schools, firmly believes.

 

This interplay of soul (living) and matter (non-living) is in the form of (1) influx of matter into soul (known as asrava) (2) attachment or bondage of matter with soul (known as bundh) (3) prevention of influx (known as sanwar) (4) separation of this bondage (nirajara) and (5) complete liberation of soul from the matter (moksha). These are five fundamentals in addition to the living and non-living mentioned earlier which make the total of seven fundamentals.

 

It may be reiterated that out of the five nonliving substances, it is matter alone that has form, which limits and obscures the power of soul. But in so acting to overpower the soul which is formless, pudgals of matter-indivisible minutest particles-take invisible form of bodies known as karma. This brings us to the karma theory of Jainism-the theory of inevitable consequences of one’s action-to which passing reference is necessary at this stage. No doubt we shall deal with this at greater length in a separate chapter.

 

It has been admitted by the medical science that every intense mood of a man of joy or sorrow or anger or tension-causes chemical secretions from glands in human bodies which result in sickness (like blood pressure) or physical well being. Jainism goes a step further and holds that every activity of every being-through thought word and deed (mental, verbal or physical), result in vibrations in the soul which attract waves of matter from the surrounding area that enter the soul by becoming the karmic body. These obstruct the soul’s progress towards realization of its four-fold greatness (perfect perception, perfect knowledge, perfect prowess and perfect bliss). These karmic bodies may appear in person’s present life or life after death as they determine the destination of human soul after death. Thus the word karma not only implies actions or deeds as loosely interpreted but also material bodies consisting of force or energy or waves too fine to be discernible to senses but all the same real and powerful.

 

Thus when we talk of influx or bondage (asrava or bundh) of matter into or with the soul we refer to the matter in a restricted sense i.e. to its karmic form. These karmas can be harmful or beneficial to the degree they result in physical or mental pain or pleasure which depends upon the nature of one’s own actions. If the actions are good e.g. charity, or bad e.g. violence, they result in pleasure and pain respectively. Some even recognize these two also in the list of fundamentals calling them merit (punya) and sin (pap) to take the total number of fundamentals to nine. However, generally these are considered as part and parcel of influx and bondage. It may be clarified, however, that sin and merit are both fetters of the soul, may be  fetters of gold or fetters of iron, and for complete liberation of the soul it is essential to get rid of both these types.

 

With the above background we now take up the description of the seven fundamentals which may be repeated as (i) Living soul (ii) Non-living matter (iii) Influx (iv) Bondage (v) Prevention  (vi)Separation and (vii) Liberation.

 

1)      The Living soul-the first fundamental :

While volumes have been and can be written on the subject of the living soul, it has been briefly dealt with already in the chapter of The Universe. Living soul being the center of the entire Jain philosophy, we may recapitulate in brief that it is non-material, eternal, conscious substance with perfect perception, knowledge, bliss and power. It is responsible for its actions and reaps the fruits thereof. It is numberless, the whole entity filling the entire body it occupies and tends to arise upward. The broad translation of a poem by Dr. Bharil of Jaipur, summarizes the attributes of the living soul which is given below. In this the soul describes itself in the following terms:

 

I am self sufficient,

without trace of anything else,

Tasteless, formless,

I have no truck with anything else.

Without colour, without attachment,

without hatred, I am unique,

I am indivisible body of consciousness, happy in my own physique,

I am responsible for my success or failure and none else,

I reside in me, needing no rest in anything else.

I am pure, omniscience, one, unaffected by other’s act.

I realise myself through me, I am knowledge and bliss perfect.

 

2)      Non-living matter-the second fundamental:

This subject has also been dealt with earlier. Though the entire group of matter, time, space etc. forms nonliving fundamental, they are widely divergent from each other as mentioned earlier. The role played by matter is predominant and it is with the matter that we are primarily concerned in the present discussion. It may be added that karma matter has beginningless association with soul. Though with form, it is so subtle and fine that nothing can check it. It passes through all and it does not stand in way of anything else. Thus it travels with the soul from one body to another with its transmigration after death.

 

3)      Influx-Third fundamental:

All worldly creatures are constantly engaged in some form of activity-mental, verbal or physical. All such activities create turbulence in the soul and attract corresponding amount of matter in the form of karma bodies into the soul. This flow of matter-Karma bodies into the soul is called influx-asrava the third fundamental. The activity of creatures that attracts is subjective influx (bhav asrava).  While the actual flow of matter into the soul is material influx (dravya asrava). True to its arithmetical approach, in Jain scriptures the activities, causing influx, have been divided and sub-divided into numerous minute sub-divisions, a broad description of which is as under:

I.        False vision-like wrong belief, skepticism, ignorance of true path and is of five types.

II.     Un-disciplined life- This implies indulgence in violence, untruth, theft, unchastity and undue accumulation (of wealth).

III.   Negligence-This includes non-vigilance, gossip, undue sleep and is of fifteen types.

IV.  Indiscretion-in-use-of mind, body and speech by attachment, aversion and infatuation and lastly.

V.     Passions-anger, pride, greed and deceit.

 

                                                            The Seven Fundamentals    21

 
The above list is not exhaustive specially when only darker side of human nature has been taken into consideration. For obvious reasons these types of activities have to shunned. Similarly, the good and brighter side of human nature such as kindness, also result in activities which are of nine types i.e. charity, service etc. However, these also result in influx of favorable type of karma pudgals as elaborated later.

 

4)      Bondage-the fourth fundamental:

Along with influx and depending upon the intensity of the activity of mind, speech and body, matter (karma) gets attached or mixed up with soul like water with milk. This is called bondage, subjective bondage being condition of soul and objective being the actual attachment of the matter.

 

In the advanced stage of spiritual development bondage occurs for a very minute duration time. Otherwise the soul is bound by karma matter depending upon the extent of involvement of mind, body or word in the activity. Thus stronger the passion like anger, or greed the stronger the bondage. This intensity determines the nature, duration, character and magnitude of karma bondage which in turn determines the future course of the soul in this world, and hereafter. The nature of karma, has been dealt with exhaustively in Jain scriptures and a separate chapter will be devoted to the same in the present series.

 

For the present it will be sufficient to explain briefly as under the nature, duration, character and magnitude of bondage:

I.        Nature of Bondage (of karma) implies good or evil results that will be reaped by the soul from the said bondage.

II.     Duration of Bondage will determine the time the said karma will take to expiate.

III.   Character of Bondage will determine the intensity of the results of the particular karma.

IV.  Magnitude of Bondage implies the quantum of karma bodies absorbed by the soul.

 

It may be clarified that, as mentioned under influx, influx and bondage need not necessarily be painful or sinful. These may result in pleasure also as those arising out of meritorious activity e.g. charity, humility, service rendered through mind, speech and body etc. Such meritorious activity contrary to sinful one, results in influx or bondage which provides wealth and respect in this life or hereafter. However, this also does bind the soul and has to be got rid of for complete liberation of the soul.

 

Question may arise that how should one act or behave so as not to attract influx and bondage when both good deeds and bad actions result in bondage-and one cannot help activity of one sort or another as long as one lives. This question has been clearly answered in Jain scriptures that one should act with utmost vigilance without involving oneself too much in the activity or its result. Again the result of one’s action, should be accepted with equanimity and indifference. The simple formula for living in the world without attracting influx or bondage, thus hastening self realization or liberation of self is:

While acting exercise utmost vigilance;

When accepting results show indifference.

 

5)      Prevention-The fifth fundamental:

The fifth fundamental implies that soul being a free agent should cease from such activities which invite influx. For this two fold action is required-firstly non-indulgence in all such acts which result in influx and secondly exercising positive restraint on mind, speech and conduct through constant practice, so as to avoid or minimize the influx.

 

There are five major divisions of prevention which are the counter-parts of those resulting in influx and are stated below in juxta-position:

Items responsible for Influx       Items responsible for Prevention

I.        False faith                                       Right faith

II.     Undisciplined life                            Disciplined life

III.   Negligence                                                 Vigilance

IV.  In-discretion                                               Discretion

V.     Passions                                                     Control over Passions.

 

 

On the positive side the purpose of prevention is automatically achieved by following the code of daily conduct for monks and laymen prescribed in great detail which is summarized in brief as under :

 

A.     Five Vows-i.e. the vows of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, chastity and non-accumulation should be practiced.

B.     Control of mind, speech and body.

C.     Vigilance in movement, speaking, eating, handling things and evacuation.

D.     Observance of ten commandments of Jainism i.e. forgiveness, humility, honesty, truthfulness, purity of mind, mercy, penance, renunciation avoidance of greed and chastity.

E.      Meditation of twelve subjects e.g. contemplation of the Universe, religion, transitoriness of existence etc.

F.      Toleration of suffering of twenty two types i.e. tolerance of hunger, thirst, cold, heat, insect bite, sickness, thorns, dirt, etc.

 

It will be seen that all the above discussion leads to Jain ethics which has described the duties of monks and laymen in the greatest detail. It is the most glorious part of Jainism. At the same time it is simple and practicable leading to the greatest good of greatest number. To summarize it is stated that just as one, who wants to empty a tank full of water, has to stop the inflow, while throwing out the accumulated water, to achieve the purpose in hand, similarly those desirous of liberation of soul from the accumulated karmas, by practicing the methods of prevention described, stop the inflow of matter (karma bodies into soul) and pave the way for segregation or separation of accumulated karma bodies from the soul which is the subject of the next item.

 

6)      Separation-Sixth fundamental:

Ceaseless activities of the soul can be voluntary as a free agent and these result in influx and/or bondage with matter (karma bodies) as described above. However, the soul is not always a free agent. It is rather a slave of the karmas which it has already acquired through influx and bondage due to its past activities. Such past bondage makes the soul behave in a certain fashion and suffer consequent pain and pleasure in the bargain. This is the secret of human destiny and the cause of variation between man and man, even brother and brother. Such variation because of its un-clear origin is wrongly ascribed to luck, chance or God or nature.

 

Indeed it is very difficult to precisely allocate the activities of the animate being (the soul) to its past karma or to its fresh voluntary efforts, resulting in further influx or bondage. This can be done precisely by perfect beings with perfect knowledge only. However, as a result of some of the activities of the soul, karma bodies having given results (good or bad) are separated from the soul automatically. This is the process of separation or Nirjara and is known as separation by fruition.

 

However, Jainism lays emphasis on efforts of soul and suggests way to separate matter from the soul by deliberate efforts to relieve its burden and to hasten the process of liberation. This is the way of penance and called separation without fruition.

 

This path of penance need not frighten any body though some methods are severe. However, simple good conduct and humility are also parts of penance. There are twelve types of penance-six pertaining to body and six pertaining to mind.

 

Detailed procedure of these has been prescribed in the learned treatises but we shall have to content with listing the twelve as under:

A.     Pertaining to Body (Exterior-Bahiya)

I.        Fasting (Anshan)

II.     Eating less than one’s appetite (Anodari)

III.   Eating what is received through begging (Bhikshachari)

IV.  Tastelessness (Ras Parityag)

V.     Toleration of body pain (Kaya Klesha)

VI.  Withdrawal from bodily pursuits (Sallinta)

 

B.     Pertaining to mind (Interior or Abhyantar)

I.        Repentance (Prayaschit)

II.     Humility (Vinaya)

III.   Service (Vaiya vrata)

IV.  Study (Swadhyaya)

V.     Meditation (Dhyan)

VI.  Indifference (to body and its needs) (Vyutsarga)

 

By these processes karma bondage of the soul gets loosened and separated slowly in addition to the natural process of fruition of karma described earlier. As an example we can consider the damp or wet apparel which if thrown in a heap may take its own time to dry. However, if it is spread in sun or waved in the breeze it dries up much more quickly.

 

With the separation of matter from the soul its genuine inherent powers begin to manifest themselves and the soul shines in its true glory of perfection of knowledge, belief, power and bliss which is the last and the most important of the seven fundamentals.

 

7)      Liberation or Moksh-the Seventh fundamental:

Complete separation of the soul from the matter (Karma pudgal) is liberation or salvation. This is the aim of every living being (soul) to obtain emancipation from perpetual slavery of foreign element i.e. matter. Once this is attained there is no suffering of any type, no birth, no death and no transmigration. As soon as a soul becomes completely separated from the matter, no further Karma can pollute it any more because the soul and the matter are entirely distinct substances-original pollution being due to beginningless contamination of soul by matter which attracted further defilement.

 

Though liberation is a very difficult and laborious process taking millenniums yet the path of liberation is not desolate or uninhabited. Millions and millions, actually infinite number of souls have attained liberation and will continue to do so in time to come. Those, who may be harboring some concern that due to this one way traffic the Universe may become devoid of worldly souls, need not worry on that account. Because if this phenomena were to occur it would have already become devoid of worldly souls. Since this has not occurred in the past it will never happen in future, because number of souls eligible for emancipation is infinite and infinity never comes to an end.

 

It needs mention that even the process of separation (of bondage of Karma) is full of beatitude. While the subject will be dealt with separately it may be stated that even partial liberation of the souls leads to intellectual development, physical well-being and general material happiness, prosperity of the individual. Thus one need not wait for complete liberation of soul which is the ultimate end; the blessings start on the road to liberation itself.

 

Similarly attaining liberation is nothing unusual for a soul because actually it is realizing its true self and should be considered as a natural process. It is like the wolf boy being taught to behave like a human being, which he actually is. Due to past association with the foreign matter the soul has forgotten its genuine original form powers and attributes. With the liberation it is established on its original pedestal.

 

Since all liberated souls are alike there is no distinction between one liberated soul and another. All of them possess all the attributes of complete consciousness, bliss, knowledge and faith. There is no sex, no caste, no color and no form. They being formless, like light of a candle, occupy no space. Just as light of one candle can pervade a room or light of 100 candles pervades the same room simultaneously, a large number of souls can occupy and live in the limited area. Though there is no place earmarked where liberated souls reside but by their very nature of rising above, the souls when free from the bondage of karma rise and in one samaya reach the top of the Universe just on the border of non-universe. These cannot go beyond since there is no gravitational Mediums of motion and rest beyond this point.

 

To conclude this part it will be appropriate to quote a Sanskrit couplet translated into English which describes the quality of a liberated soul:

Omniscience, boundless vision, illimitable righteousness, infinite strength, perfect bliss, indestructibility, existence without form, a body that is neither light nor heavy-such are the characteristics of liberated souls.

 

Conclusion-Before closing this chapter it may be recapitulated that just as the first fundamental is soul, the seventh fundamental is also soul. Though the first described the worldly as well as the liberated souls the last one deals with only liberated souls. Actually apart from the second fundamental i.e. non-living matter entire chapter and all the fundamentals describe different stages and process of evolution of soul in relation to karma pudgals. In this process the entire secret of existence, birth and death, pain and pleasure, difference between different individuals, mystery of chance and luck become resolved in the orderly pattern of behaviour of the soul. Also the pathway to solve the problem of human suffering is clearly demarcated and defined. Indeed the whole arrangement of the soul’s association with matter, attachment between the two, prevention of attachment and separation are all dependent upon the soul’s voluntary and involuntary efforts. It is elementary, simple and automatic that it does not require any intermediary like God or a Supreme Being. Jainism introduces an element of directness in the law of compensation or the rule of cause and effect and applies it to the spiritual world.

 

Simplicity and orderliness of Jain theory of the seven fundamentals is apparent and it is in tune with the theory of beginning-less Universe and animistic belief which are essentially simple and direct in approach. These are all in accordance with natural laws which are also simple in essence and direct in approach-as nature itself abhors complication.

 

The Three Jewels (The Ratna)

(Step Three)

 

“Then to the rolling Heaven itself I cried,

Asking “What lamp had destiny to guide

Her little children stumbling in the dark?”

And-“A blind understanding” Heaven replied.

 

Indeed old Omar of Naishapur must have been disappointed with the answer he got from the “rolling heaven”. He had asked for a lamp to guide the humanity stumbling in darkness of the world. What he got as an answer was “a blind understanding.”

 

Not so with Jainism, which provides rational, objective and logical guidance to the “children stumbling in the dark.” Having analyzed the eternal cosmic phenomena and the two main constituents of the Universe i.e. the living (Jiva) and non-living (Ajiva) elements (matter etc.) with their interplay by way of Influx (Arson) and Bondage (Bundh), Prevention (Sanwar) and Separation (Nirjara), Jainism provides three luminous lamps to guide “the little children” to steer clear of the dangers on the path of life to reach the destination of final liberation. These are correctly termed as Three Jewels of Jainism and are Right Vision (Samayag Darshan), Right Knowledge (Samayag Gyan) and Right Conduct (Samayag Charitra). In these three are contained the entire Jain philosophy as well as the Jain ethics-nay, the entire Jain religion. No wonder, monumental volumes have been written in elaborating and explaining the importance of the Three Jewels. Umaswati, the great commentator of early Christian era, has termed these three as highway to liberation (Moksha) in the opening sutra of his classic work Tattvarth Sutra “Samayag-Darshan-Gyan-Charitrani Moksh marg”. Right Vision, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (together) constitute the highway to liberation.

 

It implies that the soul which proceeds on this royal road automatically stops Influx by Prevention, over-comes Bondage by Separation and thus achieves Liberation (as explained in the previous chapter). Thus while the Seven Fundamentals provide the theoretical background, the Three Jewels provide the practical path to realize the destiny of the soul.

 

For the sake of comparative information it may be mentioned that some important religious systems have also summarized their beliefs in three groups e.g. three jewels of Buddha are “The Buddha (Buddham), The Law (Dhammam) and The Order (Sangam). Parsi trio is Holy Mind, Holy Speech and Holy Deed. Mohammedan triad is Happiness, Mercy and Prayer. Christian jewels are Faith, Hope and Love (with reference to a personal redeemer).

 

The three jewels are described one by one in the succeeding paragraphs. However, it may be clarified that Right Conduct includes Right Penance, though some treat it separately and call it a four-fold path.

 

Right Vision (Samayag Darshan)

This has been defined and described by various authorities in different terms. Most acceptable, broad and general definition is that Right Vision means to hold truth as truth and untruth as untruth. Elsewhere Right Vision is described as inclination towards validly determining the true nature of things aimed at spiritual development.

 

To make it more circumspect and practicable Right Vision has been described in a restricted way as:

1.      belief in two-fold division of the universe in the distinctive living and non-living elements.

2.      belief in the interplay of soul and matter through the process of seven fundamentals; and

3.      belief in True Prophets (like Jain Tirthankars) True Scriptures (like Jain Shastras) and True Preceptors (like Jain saints).

 

The above describes the positive side of the Right Vision. On the negative side, which is equally important, Right Vision requires rejection of untruth and skepticism. One should also not believe in false deities, false books and false teachers.

 

The importance of Right Vision cannot be emphasized too much. It has been given the first place out of the three jewels because unless one believes in what one knows how will one follow it. It is like digit 1, which, standing before the ciphers following it, gives them value. Without vision, knowledge and conduct are worthless like the ciphers without digit 1 standing before them. Just as one cannot have a tree without seed it is not possible to have Right Knowledge and Right Conduct without Right Vision. It is Right Vision which transforms knowledge into the Right Knowledge and conduct into Right Conduct. The faithful proceeds ipso-facto in the direction of self-restraint in conduct and equanimity in thought, by developing a sense of detachment i.e. freedom from infatuation and aversion to things worldly.

 

The soul may experience Right Vision as a natural process suo moto due to its qualitative transformation on account of spiritual evolution. In another case it requires the aid of some external agency. This is just like one man learning the art like sculpture with the help of an instructor while another man does the same by himself. These external means leading to Right Vision may be reading spiritual texts or hearing a preceptor or right type of company.

 

There are five distinctive marks of one who possesses the Right Vision noted below:

1.      Spiritual calmness (Prasanna),

2.      Desire for liberation (Samvega),

3.      Non-attachment to the world (Nirveda),

4.      Kindness (Anukampa), and

5.      Belief in the fundamentals (Astikya).

 

Similarly, the person with Right Vision is free from the following eight types of pride:

1.      Pride of family,

2.      Pride of strength,

3.      Pride of beauty,

4.      Pride of knowledge,

5.      Pride of wealth,

6.      Pride of authority,

7.      Pride of worldly connections, and

8.      Pride of spiritual advancement.

 

He should also satisfy the eight requirements by striving to ensure:

1.      freedom from doubt,

2.      freedom from desire for worldly comforts,

3.      respect for true believers,

4.      freedom from infatuation or aversion,

5.      freedom from inclination towards wrong path,

6.      redemption of non-believers,

7.      establishment of right faith, and

8.      propagation of true doctrine.

 

Right Knowledge (Samyag Gyan)

The soul is a conscious being and as such is always in possession of some knowledge. But all knowledge is not Right Knowledge. That knowledge which the soul blessed with Right Vision possesses and which reveals with certainty (without exaggeration or inadequacy) exact nature of things and which leads to its spiritual developments is termed as Right Knowledge. Thus Right Knowledge should satisfy the following criteria:

1.      It should be necessarily preceded by Right Vision (if the vision is false the knowledge would also be false),

2.      It should reveal completely the true nature of things, e.g. knowledge of substances comprising the universe, fundamentals describing the process of liberation etc., and

3.      It should lead towards the spiritual development of the soul.

 

As mentioned above the soul is never without knowledge as the soul’s essential quality is consciousness. however, as soon as the soul acquires Right Vision by any of the two processes mentioned earlier the knowledge becomes Right Knowledge. Alternatively, it can be said that with the separation of the soul from bondage of karma matter (obstructing Right Knowledge), partially or fully it manifests itself.

 

Right Knowledge is broadly divided into five categories depending upon the progressive development of the soul or increasing manifestation of its power in respect of knowledge or consciousness. These are

1.      Sensory (mati)

2.      Study (Sruta)

3.      Clairvoyance (Avadhi)

4.      Telepathy (Man Prayaya) and

5.      Omniscience (Kewalya).

 

The progress of the soul to realize these powers is possible by separating the shadow cast by the karmas on the soul, just as a mirror, which is covered with dust, starts shining and giving clear image when the dust is removed.

 

These five varieties are divided into two groups viz. direct or indirect or Pratyaksha and Paroksha respectively. The first two i.e. sensory (mati) and study (sruta) are indirect as these are acquired through the medium of senses or mind, while the remaining three are considered direct, as these are acquired by soul directly without any intermediary.

 

Though it must have become obvious the distinction between non-knowledge- agyan, false knowledge-mithya gyan and Right Knowledge-samyag gyan may be clarified by the example of a pitch dark room, a room with colored light and one with natural bright light. The dark room is like agyan where nothing can be known. In the colored room every thing appears in false color different from what it is, and therefore, is like false knowledge. However, the room with natural bright light shows things in their true form as they are and therefore, is like Right Knowledge.

 

Now we take up the discussion of five varieties of knowledge one by one.

 

Sensory knowledge (Mati Gyan)

This is the knowledge derived through the sense organs like eyes, ears etc. and the mind. It can be false or right depending on the truth of the perception and rightness of vision. There are four stages by which sensory knowledge or Mati Gyan is acquired:

1.      Avgraha or apprehension-When the object comes in contact with the sense or mind and consciousness is stirred without exactness of the subjects.

2.      Iha or speculation-Is the second stage when effort is made by the mind to determine the object specifically.

3.      Apaya or Judgment-Is the cognition or knowledge of the true nature of the object.

4.      Dharna or retention-Is retention of the knowledge acquired.

 

On the basis of this four-fold division and applying it to senses and mind and other criteria there are no less than 336 sub-divisions of sensory knowledge. It is also known as Smriti (remembrance) Sangya (recognition) chinta (induction) and abhinbodh (deduction) according to Tatvarth Sutra.

 

Study Knowledge (Srut Gyan)

Stands for verbal or scriptural knowledge and is derived from ‘sru’ which means ‘hear’ and Gyan which means knowledge. It is of two types e.g. anga knowledge and non-anga knowledge. Of the former there are twelve varieties linked with twelve anga like Acharanga etc. and the latter is of many varieties.

 

Study Knowledge is always preceded by sensory knowledge. Study knowledge is also called a collection of the best product of sensory knowledge when the latter becomes converted in words, which makes the distinction between sensory and study almost negligible. In Tatvarth Sutra it is stated that if sensory knowledge is milk study knowledge is milk product e.g. butter.

 

Remote Knowledge (Avadhi Gyan or Clairvoyance)

It is the determinate knowledge of remote physical objects derived directly without instrumentality of senses or mind. It is of two types (i) Bhav Pratyaya i.e. one owing to birth which is manifest in creatures of Narakas and Devas and (ii) Guna Pratyaya which is acquired by destroying karmas.

 

Mind Reading knowledge (Telepathy or Man Prayaya Gyan)

All living beings with mind or manas when engaged in thinking give different shapes to the mind according to objects thought of. The knowledge which can apprehend these shapes of other minds or thoughts of others is telepathy. If the general form of the thought is known it is called Rijumati and if particular features are apprehended it is called Vipulmati telepathy-the latter being purer than the former.

 

There are four points of distinction between remote (clairvoyance) and mind reading (telepathy) i.e.

1.      the former is less pure than the latter

2.      former extends to the entire universe, the latter has limited area of operation

3.      former can be acquired by all classes of creatures, the latter can be acquired by some human beings and lastly

4.      former can visualize substances and their numerous forms but the latter can visualize only the thoughts of mind.

 

Omniscience (Kewal Gyan)

This is unlimited knowledge of the whole of reality which the individual soul acquires directly. It extends to all substances and all their modes. It is described as perfect, complete, unique, absolute, pure, comprehensive and infinite. It is the logical conclusion of the theory of progressive removal of knowledge obstructing karmas from the soul completely. Thus when major karmas are completely destroyed the soul shines in full splendor and attains omniscience which perceives all substances with all their modes after which nothing remains unknown.

 

Much can be said about omniscience but only a few observations will be made. As soon as omniscience appears all other types of knowledge disappear much in the same way as stars of the sky disappear as soon as the sun starts shining. The reason for this is that while omniscience appears when there is total destruction of knowledge obstructing karmas the other four require only a partial destruction thereof.

 

Once omniscience appears the soul is all set for liberation. It is either Sayoga Kewali as a Tirthankar with only some minor karmas which sustain the body and they preach the truth or Ayoga Kewali which is the last stage on the path is followed by soul’s ascent to Nirvana to become siddha.

 

Thus omniscience is the culmination point of not only Jain epistemology but also of Jain ethics and Jain metaphysics. In Jainism all the sciences strive forward and meet in omniscience without any contradiction or confusion.

 

Soul can have at one, and the same time one, two, three or four kinds of knowledge. If one, it is perfect knowledge because having acquired this, nothing remains to be known. If two kinds, it is sense knowledge and study knowledge. If three, it is sense, study and remote knowledge or mind reading knowledge. If four, the soul acquires all types of knowledge except the perfect knowledge.

 

True to its approach Jainism divides each of these types of knowledge, into numerous divisions and sub-divisions. However, it may be reiterated that essentially all types of knowledge are manifestation of the powers inherent in the soul. These powers have become clouded or over shadowed by matter i.e. karma, due to the soul’s acts of omission and commission since time immemorial. To the extent to which the soul is able to shed the bondage of particular karma, to that extent the particular type of knowledge manifests itself in the soul. This explains why some people are less intelligent than others. Even in the same family-even out of twins-one may be an idiot and another may be a genius. Some people have superior powers of reading others minds and some can visualize things remote or happenings in the past or likely in the future. It is all a manifestation of the extent of bondage of karma accompanying the soul from life to life and world to world.

 

However, the pilgrim on the path of spiritual development should strive for expanding his knowledge in the light of Right Vision acquired. He should apply his mind and senses to acquaint himself with the true nature of things like soul, non-soul (matter), their interplay and make use of such knowledge for following the path of right conduct including Right Penance. Through right conduct or penance he should try to tear the bondage of karma and thereby gain the higher types of remote and mind reading knowledge and ultimately perfect knowledge after which nothing remains to be known or done. This brings us to the subject of Right Conduct.

 

Right Conduct-including Right Penance (Samyag Charitra including Samyag Tap)

As stated above having acquired Right Vision and Right Knowledge the spiritual seeker must proceed on the path of Right Conduct by practicing what has been learnt through the former to achieve success in obtaining self-realization and liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Just as a sick person, who has faith in his medicine as well as full knowledge thereof, will not be cured of the disease unless he takes the medicine according to the prescribed procedure, similarly, an individual possessing right vision and right knowledge shall not be successful in his efforts unless he necessarily practices Right Conduct.

 

Broadly speaking, Right Conduct implies a life of self discipline through self restraint as against life of self indulgence. It requires control over one’s desires (which is generally the message of all the religions), since human desires are insatiable. In other words leading a restrained and disciplined life by disciplining one’s mind, one’s speech and one’s body is the way of Right Conduct.

 

From another angle Right Conduct is related to the state of mind. If there is equanimity in adversity as well as prosperity, and if one is free from attachment (raga), infatuation (moha) and aversion (dvesh) or hatred (ghrina) all the conduct of such a person will be Right Conduct. It is here that Right vision and knowledge come into play. Vision gives confidence and knowledge clears the mind thus helping in attainment of equanimity, non-attachment and self-restraint.

 

At the same time positive steps have to be taken to move forward on the road of Right Conduct. These steps are in three groups i.e. practicing (i) non-violence (ii) self-restraint and (iii) penance. These require effort and practice, which has been made easy by prescribing precise rules of conduct in the form of vows (vratas). These lay down the doe’s and don’ts for the day to day life. These rules and vows are not only intelligible but simple, logical and practicable for all types of people. Ultimately the aim is to lead life in such a way that no fresh karma bondage occurs, the past karmas are separated from the soul and at the same time one can live comfortably.

 

Before proceeding further it may be reiterated that Right Conduct also includes, within its fold Right Penance (Samyag Tap) which is a very important part of Jain ethics and which some schools consider important enough to mention separately, thus declaring the path of liberation being four fold i.e., Right Faith; Right Knowledge; Right Conduct and Right Penance.

 

The interesting aspect of Right Conduct is that on this path there is a place for every one i.e. for a beginner called the path-follower (Marganusari) to the most advanced seeker-the saints. Further, this disciplined approach encompasses all the aspects of human life, social, personal, economic and of course, spiritual leading to integrated development of the individual.

 

Again, this high way is open to all irrespective of caste, creed or class, for Jains and non-Jains alike. It has been rightly remarked by the Missionary author Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson that “even Europeans and Americans, although they may never have heard of Jainism, if they follow though unconsciously, the rules and conduct, of necessity, destroy their Karma and so are sped to Moksha like an arrow from the bow.”

 

To begin with let us mention the rules of conduct prescribed for a beginner called the path follower (marganusari), which are thirty five in number, which form the path-way of Right Conduct for a beginner.

 

A path follower (Marganusari):

1.      Gains his livelihood by honesty.

2.      Admires excellence of conduct and follows it.

3.      Has marriage connection with equal and well behaved folk.

4.      Is afraid of committing sin.

5.      Follows the customs of the time and place.

6.      Does not talk ill of others.

7.      Lives in good locality in a secure residence.

8.      Keeps good company.

9.      Worships parents.

10.  Abandons in-secure place or place of evil reputation.

11.  Abjures evil deeds.

12.  Lives within means.

13.  Dresses according to status and custom.

14.  Develops intellect and learning.

15.  Listens to religious discourses daily.

16.  Eats at proper time.

17.  Avoids food when suffering from indigestion.

18.  Gains the three objects-Religion, wealth and pleasure without one interfering with another.

19.  Gives alms to saints and needy.

20.  Is free from obstinacy.

21.  Is partial to good qualities.

22.  Does not visit prohibited territory.

23.  Acts according to his capacity.

24.  Worships the wise

25.  Looks after his dependents.

26.  Is far sighted.

27.  Specializes in his field.

28.  Is grateful to the helpers.

29.  Is popular.

30.  Is modest.

31.  Is merciful.

32.  Has a serene disposition.

33.  Is benevolent.

34.  Fights six internal enemies-passion (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobh), pride (mana), exultation (harsha), envy (matsara).

35.  Controls the five senses.

 

As stated, this is a beginners approach and prepares one for further advancement. For further progress on the path one should adhere to five major vows or twelve minor vows (mahavrata or anuvrata) ,exercise three types of control (Gupti): observe five types of vigilance (Samiti), obey ten commandments (Dharma), and meditate on twelve subjects (Bhavna), mentioned in the previous chapter as means of prevention and separation of karma from soul. All these are different faces of the same coin or different parts of one whole i.e. Right Conduct.

 

There are, however, two broad divisions of the pilgrimage on this noble path depending upon the pilgrims capacity to persevere on the high way of right conduct wholly or partly. The first group is that of saints (male or female) and the second consists of laymen or laywomen, the four constituting the four centers of worship (tirthas) of Jain religion. This fourfold set up has been considered as an organizational miracle, each part supporting, guiding correcting and helping the other which has preserved the Jain religious institutions in almost their pristine glory as preached by lord Mahaveera. At the same time this arrangement permitted the individual followers to practice Right Conduct according to his or her capacity, saints and nuns going to full extent by renouncing the world and leading completely spiritual life but laymen and laywomen following the path to a limited extent according to his or her capacity. This brings us to the discussion of three methods and three medias which deals with the range of activity and consequent range of control of such activities.

 

Medias (Yoga) and Methods (karna)-All living beings are always engaged in some activity depending on their capacity (e.g. trees cannot speak). Such activity takes place through the mind which does the thinking, through speech by uttering sound or words, and through the body which performs the deeds. These are the three medias (yoga) of action viz., mind, speech and body (thoughts, words and deeds) which have to be controlled. Similarly, any person may do the act of thinking, speaking or performing himself, or get others to do so or approve such activity by others. These are the three methods (karna) by which any act is performed and these also require watch and regulation for self discipline.

 

To illustrate bodily activity one may take the case of a man committing violence with his own hand or asking some one else to do so by giving an indication like raising of hand, or approving of some violence being committed by indication like clapping. These are examples of bodily performance by oneself, by getting done through others and approval of such activity respectively. Similar illustrations can be given for activities of mind and speech.

 

For practicing Right Conduct the saints who have renounced worldly life abjure all types of sinful activity through the three medias (yoga) as well as three methods (karmas) for all times to come.

 

However, the laity can withdraw from sinful activity by renouncing such activity to a limited extent e.g. by abjuring violence through one media (say body) and one method (say activity by oneself). This can also be done for a limited time and one can progress in stages.

 

Though it may make this discussions a bit lengthy, it will be of interest to record the forty-nine combinations of these three methods and three medias, which in turn will show the wide range in which self control can be exercised. This will also show the detailed scrutiny of the subject which is a common feature of Jainism-also known as spiritual mathematics.

 

There can be seven combination of the three methods and three medias as given below-since we are talking of restricting activity the methods have been prefixed with “not”.

Methods                                                         Medias

1.      Not do                                                             By mind

2.      Not get done                                                    By speech

3.      Not approve                                                     By body

4.      Not do and not get done                                   By mind and speech

5.      Not do and not approve                                   By mind and body

6.      Not get done and not approve                          By speech and body

7.      Not do, not get done and not approve   By mind, speech and body

   

Each of the above seven methods when combined with each of the seven medias will give us forty-nine combinations as given in the statement below, to make which readily intelligible examples has been taken of abjuration of killing

 

METHODS

.

M  E  D  I  A  S

 

Methods

 

By mind

By speech

By body

By mind & speech

By mind &

body

By speech & body

     By mind,

speech & body

1.

Not kill

Not kill

by mind

 

1 : 1

Not kill

by speech

 

1 : 1

Not kill

by body

 

1 : 1

Not kill

by mind

& speech

1 : 2

Not kill

by mind

& body

1 : 2

Not kill

by speech

& body

1 : 2

Not kill

by mind,

speech & body

1 : 3 = 7

 

2.

Not get

killed

Not get

killed by

mind

 

1 : 1

Not get

killed by

speech

 

1 : 1

Not get

killed by

body

 

1 : 1

Not get

killed by

mind &

speech

1 : 2

Not get

killed by

mind &

body

1 : 2

Not get

killed by

speech &

body

1 : 2

Not get killed

by mind.

speech &

body

1 : 3 = 7

 

3.

Not

approve

of killing

Not

approve

of killing

by mind

 

1 : 1

Not

approve

of killing

by speech

 

1 : 1

Not

approve

of killing

by body

 

1 : 1

Not

approve

of killing

by mind

& speech

1 : 2

Not

approve

of killing

by mind

& body

1 : 2

Not

approve

of killing

by speech

& body

1 : 2

Not

approve of

killing by

mind, speech

& body

1 : 3 = 7

 

4.

Not kill

& not

get killed

Not kill

& not get

killed by

mind

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not get

killed by

speech

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not get

killed by

body

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not get

killed by

mind &

speech

2 : 2

Not kill

& not get

killed by

mind &

body

2 : 2

Not kill

& not get

killed by

speech &

body

2 : 2

Not kill &

not get killed

by mind, body

& speech

 

2 : 3 = 7

 

5.

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by mind

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by speech

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by body

 

2 : 1

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by mind

& speech

2 : 2

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by mind

& body

2 : 2

Not kill

& not

approve

of killing

by speech

& body

2 : 2

Not kill &

not approve

of killing by mind, speech

& body

 

2 : 3 = 7

 

6.

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

 

2 : 1

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by speech

 

2 : 1

Not get

killed &

 not

approve

of killing

by body

 

2 : 1

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

& speech

2 : 2

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

& body

2 : 2

Not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by speech

& body

2 : 2

Not get killed

& not approve

of killing

by mind,

speech & body

 

 

2 : 3 = 7

 

7.

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

 

3 : 1

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by speech

 

3 : 1

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by body

 

3 : 1

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

& speech

3 : 2

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by mind

& body

3 : 2

Not kill

not get

killed &

not

approve

of killing

by speech

& body

3 : 2

Not kill

not get

killed &

not approve

of killing

by mind,

speech &

body

3 : 3 = 7

 

The forty-nine combinations can also be classified according to the medias and methods which is usually done. There are:

I.        combinations of one method and one media marked                         1 : 1

II.     combinations of one method and two medias marked                            1 : 2

III.   combinations of one method and three medias marked                           1 : 3

IV.  combinations of two methods and one medias marked                           2 : 1

V.     combinations of two methods and two medias marked                           2 : 2

VI.  combinations of two methods and three medias marked                         2 : 3

VII.combinations of three methods and one media marked                          3 : 1

VIII.combinations of three methods and two medias marked                       3 : 2

IX.  combination of three methods and three medias marked                         3 : 3

-------

49

-------

The above should not be considered as idle jugglery but as an exhaustive analysis throwing light on the subject from all angles on the range of activities possible. Thereby it permits a judicious application of mind and energy to regulate one’s thoughts , words and deeds to practice self -restraint to steer clear of all sinful acts.

 

It must have been clear that the 49th combination of restrain on three-fold methods as well media is applicable to saints. Laity is free to select any of the 49 combinations, even beginning with one method and one media, for abjuring sins to proceed on the path of Right conduct.

 

It may be clarified that the 49 combinations are not mutually exclusive. for example the 49th combinations embraces all the 48 others. Similarly 1:1 combinations are covered automatically by 1 : 2 combinations and so on.

 

The analysis also shows the simple nature of the path of Right Conduct which has place for everyone a beginner, a follower of middle path and a perfectionist.

 

We now give below the important steps prescribed in the form of vows of the saints and the laity separately in a tabulated form:

Unqualified Right Conduct                                      Qualified Right Conduct for

I.        for Saint (Angar Dharma)                                  laity (Agar Dharma)

II.     Obeys five major vows (Mahavrata)                 Obeys five minor vows (Anu vrata)

III.   Exercises three controls (Gupti)                         Follows three types of qualitative                                   vows (Gunvrata)

IV.  Exercises five types of vigilance (Samiti)            Follows four types of educational                                  vows (Siksha Vrata)

V.     Follows ten commandments (Dharma)

Common to both

A.     Practising twelve types of Penance (Tap)

B.     Tweleve types of Reflection (Bhavna)

C.     discarding the body (Sallekhana)

 

The operative or the most important part of the above steps of Right Conduct is the five vows-major or minor, other steps being intended to reinforce one’s resolve, supplement one’s efforts and strengthen one’s steps on this pilgrimage.

 

The five vows are essentially the same for all, the distinction between minor vows and major vows depending upon the extent to which they are practiced which has been explained earlier. The five vows are refrainment from:

1.      Violence (hinsa),

2.      Untruth (asatya),

3.      Theft (chorya),

4.      Unchastity (abrahama), and

5.      Covetiveness (parigrah)

 

Jainism believes that these five are the channels of sin which are the source of all troubles in this world, and which also cause influx of karmas into the soul. The five vows are intended to plug these channels of sin.

 

Though the five vows explicitly prescribe refrainment from five channels of sin, yet these also include within their scope positive aspects of virtuous activity and are not to be interpreted as inactivity only. Hence observance of vows can also be described as practicing of:

1.      Non-violence (ahinsa),

2.      Truthfulness (satya),

3.      Non-theft (achorya),

4.      Chastity (brahamacharya), and

5.      Non-covetiveness (aparigrah).

 

These are, however, two sides of the same vows and to fulfill the requirements of these vows one has not only to refrain from the evils but also positively engage in the virtuous activities. These will be clarified while elucidating each one of the five vows which is attempted in the subsequent paragraphs.

 

                                                                        The Three Jewels    47

 

 
first vow-Refrainment from violence or practicing Non-violence (Ahimsa)

Violence has been described as causing injury to any living being due to nonvigilant conduct. To undertake to refrain from the violence wholly and for all times or partly even for a limited period is to take the major vow or minor vow of non-violence respectively. On the positive side to help the needy, save the dying, charity, kindness to the deserving etc. are means to actively pursue the vow of non-violence.

 

Non-violence is the sheet anchor of Jainism. In its wide spectrum it includes all other vows i.e. truth, non-theft, chastity and non-attachment say, the entire Jain ethics. It is synonymous with Right Conduct. It is the main hallmark of Jainism to be discussed in the next chapter. Without non-violence Jainism is like a body without the soul. It is also the main contribution of Jainism to humanity and living beings. It is manifested in the entire Indian continent in the form of vegetarian habit of eating of millions of people of all castes and all creeds, Jains or non-Jains, who never taste or think of tasting flesh, fish or even eggs. It is wider in scope than the first commandment “Thou shall not kill” and it is extension of the golden rule to all living beings.

 

To pierce, to bind, to over-load, to cause pain and to starve are five faults (atichar) pertaining to the vow of non-violence and have to be guarded against by the laity.

 

Second vow of Refrainment from falsehood or practicing truthfulness (Satya vrata)

To deliberately or negligently transmit what is false or improper is untruthfulness. Refrainment from such transmission is practicing vow of truthfulness which on the positive side also requires refraining from truth which may cause affliction to others. To wholly adopt this vow is the major vow. The distinction of the wholesale adoption of vow or partly practicing of the vow has been explained earlier in this chapter which will be applicable to all vows.

 

There are five transgressions (atichar) of this vow which are spreading false doctrine, backbiting, forgery, disclosing secrets and non-honoring the promises. These are to be avoided by the laity.

 

Third vow-Refrainment from theft also known as vow of nonstealing (Asteya vrata

To intentionally take what has not been given has been defined as theft by Vachak Umaswati and to refrain from such action is the third vow. On the positive side, it will extend to avoid taking or giving to some one else the property not belonging to oneself or belonging to another, placed, dropped, forgotten or deposited with one.

 

There are five possible infringements of this vow which have to be guarded against by the laity (a) suggest methods of stealing (b) receiving stolen property (e) smuggling or evading law (d) adulteration and (e) use of false weights and measures. These also suggest the vast scope of the vow of non-stealing.

 

Fourth vow of Refraining from Incontinence or practicing chastity (Brahamcharya vrata)

Any act mental, verbal or physical impelled by sexual passion on the part of a couple or an individual is called incontinence. To refrain from the same in the fourth vow of chastity. The importance of this vow is obvious and it has been emphasized not only in Jainism but by all religions more or less. Adherence to this vow requires that saints observe it wholly and the laity (men or women) observe it partly by contenting with sexual relations with one’s spouse only.

 

The five faults peculiar to this vow are (a) sex out of wedlock; (b) unnatural sexual gratification; (c) lewd behaviour; (d) excessive passion for one’s spouse and (e) association with immoral persons. These have to be guarded against for proper observance of this vow by the laity.

 

Fifth vow of non-attachment to property (Aparigraha)

Non-attachment or non-attraction towards possessions is the real criteria behind the vow of non-attachment to property. Saints try to over-come all attachment or involvement with any type of property while the laity prescribe limits to their property of different types which they do not exceed under this vow.

 

Laity can limit their possessions in three ways (a) By providing limit at the level higher than what one possesses. This is inferior type of non-attachment. (b) By providing limit at a level what one actually possesses, this is medium type and (c) By fixing limit at a level lower than what one possesses, this is the best type.

 

The concept of major and minor vows of Jainism which are synonymous with right conduct has already been clarified. To recapitulate, in brief, five major vows prescribed for ascetics require complete renunciation of violence, untruth, theft, non-chastity and attachment to possessions or complete adherence to non-violence, truth, non-theft, chastity and non-attachment to possessions. By complete renunciation is implied abjuration of all the five sins for all times to come through three medias i.e. thought, word and action as also through three methods i.e. neither one should himself commit a sin, nor get others to do it, nor approbate when another does it, as detailed earlier.

 

So far as minor vows are concerned, the laity should refrain from five sins in any way out of forty-nine ways described earlier even for a limited duration of time. The vows can be even microscopic as indicated in the case of thirty-five qualities of a beginner. Jain vows once taken are sacrosanct and sanctity attached to them is well known. It may be recalled that the mother of Mahatma Gandhi, apostle of non-violence in modern times, persuaded her son before his departure to England to take a vow in front of Pujya Becharji, Jain saint, that he would abstain from flesh, wine and women.

 

To strengthen the process of abiding with the vows-major or minor-number of other steps are prescribed separately for the saints and laity.

 

So far as saints are concerned they have to exercise three types of control called gupties are mentioned below:

1.      Control over one’s mind (Mano gupti)

2.      Control over one’s speech (Vachan gupti)

3.      Control over one’s body (Kaya gupti)

 

Saints should also exercise five types of vigilance (Samities) as under:

1.      Vigilance in walking Saints should look ahead, for 10½ ft. before proceeding further (Irya samiti).

2.      Vigilance in talking (bhasa samiti)-A saint should speak relevantly and in accordance with the scriptures.

3.      Vigilance in eating (esna samiti)-A saint should take pure food which is permitted by rules.

4.      Vigilance in handling equipment (adan bhand samiti)-A saint should handle the items permitted like bowl or brush carefully.

5.      Vigilance in evacuation (vyutsarg samiti)-A saint should carefully dispose of human excreta and other things which he does not require.

 

Saints should also follow the ten pious duties (dharma) mentioned below:

1.      Highest forgiveness (uttam kshama)

2.      Humility (mardava)

3.      Straightforwardness (arjava)

4.      Truth (satya)

5.      Purity (souch)

6.      Self-control (sanyam)

7.      Penance (tap)

8.      Renunciation (tyag)

9.      Non-attachment (akinchanya)

10.  Chastity (brahamcharya)

 

Coming to the additional requirements prescribed for laity besides the minor vows we find that there are seven more vows-three known as qualitative vows (gun vratas) and four known as educational vows (shiksha vrata) briefly mentioned in the succeeding paragraphs.

 

Qualitative vows (Gun Vrata)

1.      Direction limiting vow (dig vrata)-Under this vow a layman sets the boundaries in ten directions beyond which he or she will not travel.

2.     

                                                                        The Three Jewels    51

 

 
Usage limiting Vow-(upbhog pariman vrata)-Under this a layman prescribed limits of items that he or she will use.

3.      Unnecessary evils limiting Vow (anartha dand vrata)-This vow prescribes restriction on purposeless activity by thought, word or deed.

 

Educational Vows (Shiksha Vrata)

1.      Samayak Vrata-This requires refrainment from all un-virtuous acts whatsoever and engagement in meditation, prayer, reading scriptures etc. for a limited period of time not less than forty-eight minutes.

2.      Deshavakasik Vrata-To contract boundaries of one’s movement further the layman prescribes limits beyond which he will not travel during the course of one day or during any prescribed period of time.

3.      Paushad Vrata-This vow brings a layman very near the saints. Under this he undertakes to go without food and or even without drink for twenty-four hours forgoing all other activities except spiritual pursuits.

4.      Atithi Sambhag Vrata-According to this vow a layman shall provide food, drink, cloth, medicines, accommodation etc. to the saints.

 

These seven vows together with the five minor vows make twelve vows for the laity who are known as Sravakas. These are intended to enable leading a peaceful, and disciplined life as already explained. These are practicable and with their practice the householder can proceed on the path of Right Conduct.

 

Common duties for saints and laity

Then we come to some duties commonly prescribed for the saints as well as laity. Here again there is a difference of degree depending upon the capacity as well as level of the individual proceeding on the path. The foremost amongst these is Right Penance which is as important as Right Knowledge, Right Vision and Right Conduct to justify separate place along with three jewels. However, as already mentioned we have included this as a part of Right Conduct.

 

Right Penance

Right Penance is of twelve types as mentioned in the previous chapter. As mentioned earlier to become Right Penance it should be combined with Right Vision and Right Knowledge. Twelve types of Right Penance are only named below again. However, these will defined in detail in the next chapter.

External Penance (Bahiya Tap)

1.      Fasting (anshan)

2.      Reduced consumption (of food etc.)(unodari)

3.      Begging for living (bhikshachari)

4.      Tastelessness (ras parityag)

5.      Tolerance of body pain (kaya klesh)

6.      Withdrawal from external pursuits (Sallinata)

Internal Penance (Abhiyantra Tap)

1.      Repentance (prayschita)

2.      Humility (vinaya)

3.      Service (vaiya vritya)

4.      Study (swadhyay)

5.      Meditation (dhyan)

6.      Renunciation (viyuut-sarga)

 

Right Contemplation-Twelve Reflections-Just like right penance Right Contemplation is also the duty prescribed for the saints and laity to control the mind or thoughts on the one hand and to direct them into the right channel on the other. Twelve subjects have, therefore, been prescribed for reflection (bhavna) which uplift the soul to take its ship to the shore beyond misery, which are as under:

1.      Reflection of Transitoriness (Anitya Bhavna)-This means that worldly existence is not permanent.

2.      Reflection of helplessness (Asaran Bhavna)-This implies that except true religion there is no shelter, help or protection for soul.

3.      Reflection of world cycle (Sansar Bhavna)-This requires reflection on the cycle of birth and death the soul is undergoing since times immemorial.

4.      Reflection of singleness (Ektva Bhavna)-This means that the soul is to find its way all alone. Nothing accompanies it.

5.      Reflection of separateness (Anyatva Bhavna)-This means that the soul is separate from body.

6.      Reflection of Un-cleanliness (Asuchi Bhavna)-Human body is nothing to be proud of. It is always dirty in-spite of all efforts to clean it. It is full of blood, bones and prone to sickness.

7.      Reflection of Influx (Asrava Bhavna)-This is third fundamentals discussed in the previous chapter involving entry of karma into the soul. 

8.      Reflection of prevention (Sanvar Bhavna)-This is fifth fundamental discussed earlier.

9.      Reflection of Separation (Nirjara)-This is the sixth fundamental discussed in the previous chapter.

10.  Reflection of Universe (Lok Bhavna)-To contemplate upon the nature of the Universe with its different constituents as discussed in Chapter One.

11.  Reflection of difficulty in Right Path (Bodhi Durlabh Bhavna)-This requires one to reflect on the difficulty with which one acquires Right Knowledge, Right Vision and Right Conduct.

12.  Reflection of Right Path (Dharm Bhavna)-To reflect on the true nature of religion of nonviolence, self-control and penance.

 

Discarding the body (Sallekhana or Samadhi death)-Lastly, Jain religion prescribed that the saints or laity should meet death boldly and bravely. Indeed, considerable importance is attached to the way one dies and it has been prescribed that having led the life of Right Conduct, a true follower should welcome death. This is done through observance of Sallekhana or vow of Samadhi death, and this is something distinctive about Jain way of dying.

 

When the body is no longer able to perform its duties, when death is imminent and certain due to inescapable calamity or disease, to relinquish the body willingly is Samadhi death or Sallekhana vow. This is to be distinguished from suicide which is done out of despair and fear of life and leads to fruitless death (akam maran) leading to further bondage of the soul. Sallekhana is to be practiced with complete composure without attachment or aversion, with pure mind, renouncing all sins and asking and giving forgiveness to all. Such death is called fruitful death (Sakam maran) and reduces the bondage of soul.

 

Even today, 2500 years after Lord Mahaveera, Sallekhana is practiced by number of saints and laymen and it is the heartfelt desire of every true Jain to welcome death in this manner by discarding the body as one throws away old clothes. The latest example well known is that of Saint Vinoba Bhave who gave up the body in this manner.

 

Prohibition on eating after sunset-This chapter cannot be closed without a mention of prohibition on eating after sunset which though not found in the original vows, has been given importance equal to other vows, to be known as Refrainment from eating after sunset (Ratri Bhojan Virman Vrata). Advantages of eating during day light hours only are so obvious, even for physical well being, that even today numberless people, Jains or otherwise, adhere to this practice.

 

To the seekers, whom Right Conduct may appear too elaborate, complicated, impracticable or difficult Lord Mahaveera has given the famous answer mentioned in the Dashve Kalik Sutra. Since the whole universe is full of life and living beings, a question was raised how one should walk, sit, stand or lie down and how one should eat and talk so that one may avoid getting involved in violence and consequent karma. The answer is contained in just one word that one should eat and sleep and stand with Jayna which means vigilance, circumspection, prudence and care all taken together. Thus if one were to act with Jayna even one may get involved in violence one shall not acquire karma bondage.

 

Thus we conclude this discussion on Right Knowledge, Right Vision and Right Conduct. All the three together form the Jain code of conduct. The relationship between the three jewels is one of complementariness. They are incomplete and ineffective individually as a means of salvation but form the three parts of one whole. It has rightly been remarked that without vision, knowledge and conduct are sterile, without knowledge, vision and conduct are blind and without conduct, vision and knowledge are lame.

 

                                                                        The Three Jewels    55

 

 
On the other hand the three are inseparable. Steadfast Right Vision results in Right Knowledge and Right Conduct, similarly true illumination of Right Knowledge brings Right Vision and Right Conduct, and strict observance of Right Conduct ensures Right Vision and Right Knowledge sooner or later.

 

True vision results in equanimity of the mind and detachment from the world. It frees the soul from infatuation (raga) and aversion (dhvesh) which bind the soul with karma. Consequently every action of the faithful is free from the taint of karma. Similarly true knowledge imparts to one a clarity of vision which shows all his actions in their true light. He is, therefore, full of self-restraint, vigilant, prudent and circumspect which again keep the karma away.

 

The distinctive aspect of this approach is its essential simplicity and logic. It combines interests of the individual with those of the society. Indeed it has been mentioned that incidence of criminality in Jain community is comparatively less as compared to others. At the same time following this path does not in any way obstruct the development of the individual in worldly affairs. Actually, Jains have not lagged behind in the field of education, business, politics, professions etc.

 

Lastly, the Three Jewels show complete unity of approach between Jain metaphysics and Jain ethics. There is no conflict or contradiction between the two.

 

The chapter has become rather long, though a number of aspects have been touched upon only in passing in a very brief manner and some items have been left out. However, if the reader is interested to learn more about this subject volumes and volumes of “inexhaustible stock of Jain literature” is available on the subject. It can only be assured that any effort to further probe this subject will be amply rewarded. If such interest is aroused in the readers, the present writers will also feel amply rewarded and grateful, the whole aim and object of the present effort being to create interest in this magnificent subject and its study.

 

The Three Hallmarks (The Lakshan)

(Step Four)

 

Dhammo Mangal Mukkitham

Ahimsa Sanjamo Tavo,

Deva Vi Tan Namasanti

Jass Dhamme Saya Mano.

 

Religion Beneficient Best (Is)

Non-Violence, Self-Control, Penance;

 

Even Gods Worship Him,

Whose Mind Always (Engages in) Religion.

 

This is the first couplet (gatha) of the famous Dashvaikalik Sutra compiled by Shyambhavacharya, the fourth head of Jain Sect after Lord Mahaveera, hardly after 100 years of the later’s salvation. One cannot fail to notice the catholicity of the definition of the best religion in this couplet. It only gives the three criteria viz., non-violence, self-control and penance and any religion which prescribes this threefold way of life is considered as the best religion though it may bear any name. The couplet does not even mention Jainism or Nigrantha (Knotless) the name by which it was known at that time.

 

However, it does declare the three hall-marks or distinctive features of Jainism and Jain way of life in simple language and these have been so understood and accepted by all and sundry. These hall-marks only summarize the principles of right conduct under the three heads of non-violence, self control and penance and place them in bold relief. Just as a tree is recognized by its trunk, branches and leaves though the ground it stands on and the invisible roots are equally important; similarly, the tree of Jainism is recognized by the trunk and branches consisting of Right Conduct(in the form of non-violence, self control and penance)while Right Vision forms the solid ground in which it is imbedded and Right Knowledge forms its roots.

 

It needs to be clarified that in its broader scope non-violence includes self-control as well as penance and, therefore, all the vows, controls constituting Right Conduct as shall be discussed presently. A question can legitimately arise as to when Right Conduct has already been stated and dealt with as means of salvation, why and what for the need for the three hallmarks? The answer is that a layman may not be interested in the philosophical discussion of the seven fundamentals or the three jewels, he may find it difficult to absorb such fine details. If such a one wants to know what is Jainism, what distinguished it from other faiths or religions, the three hallmarks provide a ready answer that Jainism is the religion teaching non-violence, self-control and penance or these three constitute Jain religion. The statement may not be wrong from practical point of view since these three constitute right conduct (Charitra)and it has been rightly said that Charito Khalu Dhamo conduct is the supreme religion.

 

Further, if one were to look for one single hallmark of Jainism, one outstanding feature, it is non-violence and non-violence alone. It has been said rightly that Ahimsa Parmo Dharma-non violence is the highest religion. From this point of view all other aspects of religion including self-control and penance are but parts of the broader spectrum of non-violence. Indeed, one cannot practice non-violence properly if one did not control one’s thought, speech and action. Thus even any un-restricted movement while walking may cause violence to living beings. This necessitates control over one’s limbs implying self-control.

 

Similarly, if in-spite of all efforts one is not able to exercise self-control specially control over one’s mind and senses, penance is the means to achieve the same. By practicing penance not only the body, but the speech and the mind can be effectively controlled leading to a non-violent way of life. Thus self-control and penance are but steps to non-violence.

 

However, the functions and application of these hallmarks are distinct and marked. In non-violence the main aim is to avoid injury to all living beings. In self-control the operative part is control over body, mind and speech. penance devotes itself to control the senses and the desires by practicing austerities. The first two concern themselves mainly with stoppage of influx(Sanwar) of Karma into the soul and the last i.e. penance with separation (Nirjara)of Karmas from the soul primarily. As such though they are closely related to one another each has got a distinct function and identity to deserve mention as a separate hallmark. Now we can deal with each of these separately.

 

Non-violence Ahimsa-The first hallmark-No doubt brief mention of non-violence has been made in earlier chapters on Seven Fundamentals and Three Jewels which only underlines its importance and inescapability from every discussion of (any aspect of)Jainism. And why Jainism alone? Every religion or creed or spiritual leader has preached non-violence in some form or other, or under some other nomenclature. First commandment that Moses got on Sinai was “Thou shall not kill”. Christ preached Love and Mohammed taught Equality. The Buddha spread the message of kindness.(Karuna). The same current of thought can be traced to the present day when all thoughtful people(e.g. Mahatma Gandhi) have been thinking in terms of non-violence, as the only real solution of world conflicts.

 

However, the importance given to non-violence by Jain prophets is incomparable anywhere else. While other systems made exceptions and permitted violence in the garb of religious pursuits or considering man as a favored creature for whom other animals have to be treated as food, Jainism made no such concessions. Actually, one of the earlier Prophets-22nd Prophet Nemi renounced his wife and the world on knowing that animals were going to be slaughtered for his wedding.

 

The principle of non-violence in Jainism embraces not only humanity or the animal kingdom but also trees and vegetables, earth, air and water, as all these are considered as living beings with souls. As such they also feel pain when injured or destroyed and one commits violence when indulging in such acts e.g. cutting of trees, excavating the earth recklessly. Incidentally, all ecologists, environmentalists and preservationists are coming to the same conclusion as a result of the latest advance of science. There is a movement for preservation of animals, realizing that every creature-tiniest or wildest-has its place in the scheme of nature. Tree cutting, pollution of water of rivers and oceans and needless unplanned excavation of earth is raising protests. The world is coming to the same path as preached by Jainism millenniums ago.

 

The rationale behind the principle of non-violence, according to Jain thought, is equality of all living beings-all souls with one sense or five senses being essentially alike. As such none has the right or justification to treat another one in a manner different from how it would like to be treated, which is the golden rule. Again no one likes pain or bondage or death-every body wants to live and live without pain or fear. If so, what right has one being to cause pain or death to another when it does not want it for itself?

 

According to the theory of causation(Karma)violence leads to bondage and defilement of the soul thus delaying its liberation. The injurer soul suffers from the passions accompanying the act of causing injury and the injured one forms a sense of enmity and hatred towards the injurer. This perpetuates the cycle of birth and death by defilement of both the souls.

 

In more simple and direct terms one cannot visualize a world full of violence or without non-violence. Indeed in-spite of age long emphasis on non-violence, love and kindness by all spiritual leaders the world is a difficult and miserable place to live. One shudders at the prospects of a world where only violence prevails. There are some who hold the view that life survives by destroying life. But what is forgotten is that life survives more with the help of life. It is the mutual help, love, kindness, charity shown by one living being for another that makes the world a fit place to live. Non-violence is, therefore, a practical necessity and an obvious essential needing no penumbra of justification.

 

The general observations show the wide sweep of non-violence in Jain thought about which we shall know more when we come to the in-depth study of the subject from various angles where also Jainism excels all other systems.

 

Non-violence is negation of violence(though there is a positive and equally important aspect of it as we shall see presently). To understand non-violence one must first grasp the meaning of violence. Jain thinkers have delved deep into the subject and the universally accepted definition of violence is injuring vitalities(Prana)by reckless or passionate activity(Pramatt Yoga). This simple yet profound definition of violence is full of meaning and it contains the result of insight of the perfect beings and their successors-Acharyas and will need some elucidation.

 

                                                                 The Three  Hallmarks    61

 

 
There are two constituents of violence according to the above definition viz.

1.      injuring vitalities

2.      reckless or passionate activity leading to it.

First let us elucidate the vitalities and injury to them. There are in all ten vitalities (prana) with which living beings are blessed, the number varying with the development from class to class of living bodies depending upon the evolution of the souls due to their karmas. These are (1 to 5) five senses (of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing) (6)respiration (7)life duration (8)energy or body (9)organ of speech and (10)Mind. The number of the vitalities vary from class to class e.g. one sensed beings have four vitalities while the five sensed beings with mind have all the ten vitalities. This will be more clear from the statement below:

 

Vitality

One

sensed

beings

like

trees

 

Two

sensed

beings

like

bacteria

Three

sensed

beings

like lice

 

Four

sensed

beings

like

flies

Five sensed

beings without

mind like mindless animals

Five sensed

being with

mind like

man

1. Sense  of

     touch

1

1

1

1

1

1

2. Sense of

     taste

-

1

1

1

1

1

3. Sense of

    smell

-

-

1

1

1

1

4. Sense of

    sight

-

-

-

1

1

1

5. Sense of

    hearing

-

-

-

-

1

1

6. Respiration

1

1

1

1

1

1

7. Life duration

1

1

1

1

1

1

8. Body power

1

1

1

1

1

1

9. Power of

    speech

-

1

1

1

1

1

10. Mind power

-

-

-

-

-

1

s        Total No.

        of vitalities

4

6

7

8

9

10

 

It shall follow from the above classification of living beings that with the increase in the number of vitalities from class of living beings the consciousness also increases, with increase in the capacity to feel pain and pleasure. In the same manner the quantum of violence involved in causing pain or injury to different classes of creatures varies with the so called more advanced forms of creation with more vitalities. This becomes manifest in two ways. Firstly, the amount of passion generated in the killer(or injurer)of say animals like goats or cows is more than what is in the case when cutting a tree-because more effort, more determination and preparation is required. Secondly,(which is the cause of the first) an animal feels more pain or makes more efforts to escape death or injury than a tree. Thus the infringement of non-violence and defilement of the soul is much more in killing an animal like goat than cutting a tree. (This however, does not give a license for injuring beings with lesser vitalities).

 

Every living being whether a man, an animal, a worm, or a tree wants to have free experience of all its vitalities and any possible prevention from such enjoyment causes pain to that living being. Such a prevention or deprivation by another can be in the form of (i)physical injury in respect of a particular vitality e.g. cutting of the nose (ii)by binding or confining the body (iii)by over-loading or over-straining (iv)by deprivation of food(v)by causing pain in any other manner. Such activity is one part of violence. However, this alone will not constitute violence specially so when the motives behind causing injury are good e.g. when a doctor gives an injection he may seemingly cause pain but it will not be termed violence. This bring us to the second constituent of violence i.e. recklessness or passionate activity. Recklessness or Pramad results from the influence of fifteen causes:

1. Intoxication.

2. Sleepiness.

3-6. Four passions(anger, pride, deceit and greed).

7-11. Five senses(of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing)-misuse of.

12-15. Gossip about food, sex, politics and administration. 

 

The activities (yoga) are also of three types-(1) activity of mind i.e. thinking (ii) activity of speech i.e., words, and (iii) activity of the body i.e. physical action. Thus the second constituent of violence is the activity of any of these types i.e., mind, speech and body, accompanied by recklessness and if such activity results in injuring any of the ten vitalities of living beings it will be violence.

 

Thus we return to the practical meaning of violence which is causing injury to any vitality of any living being by reckless activity-at some place it is called only passionate activity. Abjuring such activity is observation of non-violence. This discussion leads to the following four combinations of the two constituents:

1.      Neither there is recklessness nor injury to vitalities of a living being.

2.      There is no recklessness but there is injury to vitalities of a living being.

3.      There is recklessness but no injury to vitalities.

4.      There is recklessness as well as injury to vitalities.

 

The first combination is a perfect example of non-violence as there is neither negligence nor passion nor injury. In the second case though there is injury caused, but there is no recklessness. It is, therefore, a case of apparent violence known as Dravya Hinsa but it does not cause defilement of the person causing the injury. In the third case there is no injury or damage to any vitality of the victim the person engaged is full of recklessness. It will be a case of violence called Bhav Hinsa and nonviolence will be infringed causing defilement of the person engaged. The last or fourth category is the worst example of violence.

 

As an offshoot of this discussion it may be argued that strictly speaking reckless (Pramatt) conduct should tantamount to violence and careful (Apramatt) conduct should constitute non violence. From the intrinsic point of view this the correct position as injury to vitalities can not be avoided by a living being because there is no place in the world which is free from life and any movement of body, mind or speech is bound to injure some life or other. Also suffering injury or death by any living being is dependent upon a number of factors. The essence, therefore, lies in avoiding reckless behaviour in day to day conduct. This is, however, very subtle and invisible path and, therefore, more difficult to practice. The gross or the visible part is avoidance of injury to other beings or their vitalities. It is relevant to reproduce here the reconciliation established between the two by pt. Sukhlaji in his commentary on Tatvarth Sutra:

 

Certainly it is an act of negligence that is cause of violence, but its renunciation on the part of people at large is not possible suddenly and for the most part. On the contrary, a mere deprivation of life even if it is a gross act its renunciation is desirable for the sake of balanced maintenance of popular life. Besides, such a renunciation is possible for the most part. Thus even if there has been no renunciation of all acts of negligence but if the tendency towards gross deprivation of life has been reduced then too there often arises happiness and peace in popular life. Certainly, in virtue of the stagewise evolution of the tendency to non violence it becomes possible that among the people at large there takes place first the renunciation of gross deprivation of life and gradually the renunciation of all acts of negligence. Hence even though the renunciation of violence of the form of act of negligence is recommended to be adopted as an instrument of high spiritual evolution, yet from the point of view of popular life the gross deprivation of life too is treated as a case of violence and its renunciation as a case of non-violence.”

 

Having analyzed the nature of violence (and its opposite non-violence) we take-up the various divisions and sub divisions of violence. There are three stages of any activity i.e. (a) planning (b) preparation, and(c) execution. Similarly, in respect of a violent act there are three stages of any activity viz.,(a) planning known as Sarambh, (b) preparation known as Samarambh and (c) execution known as Arambh. Each of these three types may be performed due to any one of the four passions viz., anger pride, deceit and greed, which gives us twelve types of violence. Each of these twelve types may be done by any of the three types of media i.e., mind, speech or body e.g. a man motivated by greed may plan mentally to kill and so no. This gives 12 X 3=36 categories of violence. Again, we know that an act can be committed by oneself or it can be got done by another or one may approve of some one else doing the same which are the three methods. Applying these three methods to the 36 categories mentioned we get 108 varieties of violence.

 

Perfect practice of non -violence is to shun each one of the 108 types of violence mentioned in the previous paragraph which is the bounden duty of Jain saints or Shramanas. Thus a Jain monk shall not or plan or prepare or execute with anger or pride or deceit or greed by mind or body or word either himself or through another or approve committing any act which injure any of the ten vitalities of any living being. This is complete non-violence.

 

However, for the laity the injunction of non-violence is not so rigid. He can undertake to abjure the commitment of violence to the extent possible and may progress from stage to stage according to his capacity, the ideal being complete renunciation of violence as mentioned above.

 

From another angle violence has been classified in following four categories:

1.      Sankalpi - involving deliberately  and purposelessly  injuring the living being like organizing cock fights etc.

2.      Arambhi-involving unintentional but indirect injury to living beings from acts necessary for normal life e.g. cooking or cleaning.

3.      Udyogi - resulting  from  industrial   or  agricultural activity of the individuals for earning livelihood.

4.      Virodhi-resulting from opposing attack on one’s life, property or country.

 

The saints or monks abjure all the four types but the layman can renounce only the first type, while, he has to indulge in the other three categories, but after observing vigilance and carefulness.

 

There are other divisions and sub divisions of violence and non-violence from different angles -discussion of which can be seen in the scriptures which are full of condemnation of violence and praise of non-violence. Among sixty names by which non-violence is described in Prashna Vyakarna Sutra there are names like pity (daya), peace (shanti), joy (rati), contentment (tripti) etc. This brings us to the positive side of non-violence.

 

The positive side of non-violence is as important as the negative side. This side sometimes is not fully appreciated and people are misguided by the negative mentioned in the name non-violence, that it implies only not doing violence. However, Jainism always emphasizes a positive course of conduct. While it prohibits sinful thoughts, words or deeds it praises pious thoughts, words or deeds, for the obvious reasons that it is death that is completely stand-still life must mean some activity.

 

The positive aspect of non-violence implies forgiveness, kindness, pity, charity, service etc. This requires providing food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and  shelter to the roofless-in short providing service to the needy. It also implies saving animals from torture or death.

 

Jainism provides complete guidance for observation of non-violence in day to day life. The practicing of the major and minor vows mentioned in previous chapter like truthfulness, non-theft ,continence, non-accumulation etc.-make it easy to observe non-violence. Again there are five observations which strengthens the conduct of non-violence viz., (control of speech, (ii) control of thoughts, (iii) regulation of movement, (iv) care in talking and planning things and (v) examining food and drink.

 

The non-violence person should be full of benevolence towards all living beings, show joy at the sight of the virtuous, be comforting to the afflicted and show tolerance towards the ill-behaved. For sustenance it is necessary to avoid food and clothing  and other requirements which involve the slaughter of living being like animals, fish, birds etc. All kinds of intoxicating intake are to be avoided. Similarly, for earning a living it is necessary to avoid trades like brewing, fishing or butchering.

 

Above all the origin of non-violence is in the attitude of the mind, as explained earlier. The mind should be constantly vigilant, careful and considerate. This would help in eschewing the four passions - anger, greed, deceit and pride. All acts performed by such a man will be free from violence. This has been authoritatively stated in the Dashvaikalik Sutra (with which we started this chapter). Realizing that no space is free from life and any movement in the form of thought, speech or physical action involves some injury to some form of life (and living means some movement) the question  was asked :

Kahan Chare? Kahan Chitte? Kahan Ase? Kahan Saye?

Kahan Bhujanto Bhasanto,  Pavv Kamman na Bandhai.

How should one walk, stand, sit, sleep, eat and speak so the sinful karma bondage may not accrue (to the soul).

 

The answer given is :

 

Jayan Chare, Jayan Chithe, Jayan Ase, Jayan Saye,

Jayan Bhujanto Bhasanto, Pavv Kamma na Bandhai.

 

With vigilance should one walk, stand, sit, sleep, eat and talk (thus) sinful karma bondage shall not accrue (to the soul).

 

Such a vigilant conduct avoids defilement of the soul by karmas or sins leading ultimately to freedom from bondage and salvation. Apart from the future life or the hereafter practice of non-violence makes for a better existence in this life itself. It can ensure peace between nature and man, between man and society or state and between state and state. All the conflicts are solved in non-violent conduct once its principles are put into practice at different levels.

 

Need for non-violence in the conduct of man and society or state is the greatest in the present times. Faced with the danger of ecological disaster and nuclear holocaust on the one hand, and unrestrained materialistic pursuit on the other, humanity is groping in the dark for a ray of light which can save its very existence. Such light is provided by shunning violence at all levels by practicing non-violence. No wonder Lord Mahaveera called non-violence as Goddess - Ahimsa Bhagwati.

 

Self control (Sanyam)second hallmark- The Prakrit term in the shloka, with which this chapter opens, the equivalent of which in English has been adopted as self control, is SANJAM the Sanskrit equivalent being SANYAM. This term has very wide and varied connotations. On the one hand, in day to day language, when any person becomes a Jain monk he is declared to have taken sanyam. Sanyam would then mean renouncement of the world and adoption of a life of monkshood with austerities, vows and other restraints accompanying sainthood-described in the previous chapters as right conduct for monks. It may be recalled that Right conduct for monk is the highest type of discipline involving obedience to the five major vows (non-violence, truthfulness, non-theft, celibacy and non-accumulation), three controls (guptis), five vigilances (Samities) Ten Commandments (Dharmas) etc. Accordingly from Sanyam or self-control in this context is understood the highest type of Right Conduct which is also the Jain scheme of an ideal ethical life.

 

In a narrower context sanyam is one of ten commandments(dharmas) along with forgiveness (Kshama), humility (mardav) purity (sauch) etc. which are means to prevention (sanvar) of bondage of Karmas. Here sanyam has been defined as “suppression of passions (Kashyas) and regulation of the yogas (three medias i. e. mind, speech and body)”. It should follow that any steps towards suppression of anger, greed, pride or deceit as well as any action to regulate one’s thought, speech or action in the right direction is a step towards sanyam. Thus even a beginner described in the previous chapter, or one who follows one of the forty-nine combinations towards abjuring any sinful activity is on the path of self-control and henceforth towards prevention of bondage and influx.

 

At the other end of scale is the form of Sanyam involving complete suppression of passions and medias (or Yoga) which is characterized by supreme purity and supreme steadiness which is followed by attainment of salvation(nirvana).

 

Between these two ends of the scale there are numberless types known as different disciplinary stages (sanyamsthan). In the earlier or lower stages passions are the greater vitiating agents. In the  latter or higher stages passions tend to disappear but the yoga or medias vitiate the soul. When yoga or medias are also suppressed, passions having been controlled already, supreme, pure and steady stage is attained followed by Nirvan. It needs emphasis that in these numberless disciplinary stages the purity of an immediately later (following) disciplinary stage is infinite times greater than that of an immediately earlier (preceding) one.

 

Greater light on the Jain concept of self-control is thrown by its numerous divisions and sub-divisions, which is the standard Jain method of scrutiny. Before this it needs mention that the analysis of word sanyam is SAM i.e. samyak which means judicious or right-YAM which means regulation or control. Thus sanyam means right regulation or judicious control (over one-self).

 

At first we find two divisions of Sanyam or control viz.. control of senses (indriya sanyam) and control towards living beings (pran sanyam).This means one should control the five senses and also abjure violence towards all kinds of living beings.

 

Elsewhere we find four-fold divisions of sanyam (I) control of mind, (ii) control of speech, (iii) control of body and (iv) control of equipment.

 

There are two sets of seventeen divisions of self-control which are commonly accepted and which throw light on the vast scope of self-control or sanyam in Jain thought. These are tabulated below:

First set of seventeen divisions of self-control

Restraint in relation to five types of static being

1.      Not to hurt-earth beings.

2.      Not to hurt-water beings.

3.      Not to hurt-fire beings.

4.      Not to hurt-air beings.

5.      Not to hurt-vegetable beings.

 

Restraint in relation to four typs of mobile beings

6.      Not to hurt-two sensed beinges.

7.      Not to hurt-three sensed beings.

8.      Not to hurt- four sensed beings.

9.      Not to hurt-five sensed beings.

10.  Avoiding nonliving things which are valuable avoid attraction towards them.

11.  Be careful in sitting, walking, sleeping etc.

12.  Indifference towards worldly activity.

13.  Careful disposal of excreta.

14.  Careful maintenance of clothes & equipment.

15.  Control over mind.

16.  Control over speech.

17.  Control over body.

 

Second set of Seventeen divisions of self-control

Control over five senses (indriyas)

1.      Control over sense of touch

2.      Control over sense of taste             

3.      Control over sense of smell            

4.      Control over sense of sight             

5.      Control of sense of hearing

 

Renunciation of five sins or means of influx (ashrava)

6.      Renunciation of violence                 

7.      Renunciation of non-truth                

8.      Renunciation of theft                       

9.      Renunciation of non-chastity           

10.  Renunciation of accumulation          

 

Victory over four passions (kashaya)

11.  Victory over anger                           

12.  Victory over pride                            

13.  Victory over deceit                           

14.  Victory over greed                            

 

Control over three medias (yoga)

15.  Control over mind                             

16.  Control over speech                          

17.  Control over body                             

 

The above analytical classification of self-control only highlights the wide coverage accorded to it in Jain ethics. Virtually no aspect of spiritual or material life is left out of its scope. E.g. earlier it was stated that self-control is necessary for abjuring violence, but in the above analysis it is seen that non-violence is essential for proper exercise of self-control. Thus all aspects of spiritual conduct are inter-related-one supporting the other and in turn being supported by the other. The main emphasis all through for practice of the self-control is upon regulation and disciplining of the senses, the speech, the body and the mind and to control desires. However, it is an arduous task and the seers realizing the difficulty of the practitioners of sanyam-the senses and the mind defying restraint in-spite of all efforts-have provided recourse to penance which is the third and the last hallmark of Jainism.

 

Penance (Tap)-the third hallmark (Lakshan of Jainism)- As a means of self control penance is recommended by all religious systems-oriental or occidental. As an example in Islam we find the observation of roza during the month of Ramzan when no food, water or any other intake is permitted during daylight hours. In Indian religious system a monk is known as Tapasvi meaning one who practices penance being an essential ingredient of the life discipline of very monk. However. in Jainism penance-like non-violence and self-control-has been taken to the highest pinnacle of glory. All Jain prophets practiced penance of the severe type- going without food or water for weeks and months. Lord Mahaveera’s fast for six months is described in details in the scriptures.

 

                                                                 The Three  Hallmarks    73

 

 
The reasons for glorification of Penance are that, according to Jainism, penance, apart from ensuring self-control and exterminating attachments and desires, ensures not only stoppage (sanwar) but also separation of karmas from the soul(nirjara) thus freeing the soul from the bondage and hastening liberation(moksha). Thus penance is an essential ingredient of Right Conduct as mentioned earlier.

 

Penance can either be for reward or result e.g. fasting for obtaining wealth or progeny or other favors. This is well known that penance can also bestow super-natural power on the practitioners like flying in air etc. These are called glories (labdhies) and have been listed in details in the scriptures. However, such penance is called immature penance (Bal tap) and has been condemned universally. The reason is that penance is practiced for control of desires and not for perpetuating them. An attempt to use penance for fulfillment of mundane desires is, therefore, a waste and counter-productive.

 

Real penance(desireless penance)-is without expecting any reward or result except realization of soul on liberation. Actually destruction of all worldly desires is the purpose of penance. This again brings us to the need for correct mental attitude behind penance which requires freedom from the four passions, anger, pride, deceit and greed. This will make for penance becoming Right Penance and  a part of Right Conduct, which along with Right Vision and Right Knowledge leads towards salvation.

 

Penance has been divided into two categories-external (bahiya) and internal (abhyantar) each of which are further divided into six sub-divisions. The penance which primarily concerns the body is external and that which primarily concerns the mind is the internal. The former is more apparent and visible to others than the latter. However, this division is not hard and fast as each of the two types supplements the other one being   incomplete without the other. Both are aimed at purification of the soul and both must be supported by absence of passions and be accompanied by Right Vision and Right Knowledge.

 

The six sub-divisions of external (bahiya) penance are discussed below

1.      Fasting (anshan)-Willfully giving up all types of food or drink or both and desire therefor is fasting. It is a very difficult form of penance and when done without passion it purifies the body, the mind and the soul. It can be (a)for a fixed time (etvarik) or till death (yavatkalik). The first can be for a minimum period of 48 minutes (one muhart) and for a maximum of months in these times (according to pattern laid by Lord Mahaveer who fasted for six months). There are numerous types of fasts for fixed period like fasting for one day, two days, on alternate days and various combinations thereof. Fasting till death known as santhara is giving up the body willfully, when the circumstances so require-briefly mentioned in previous chapter. This is the highest form of renunciation and penance whereby the performer facing death bravely, willingly discards the body like old clothes realizing that the soul and body are separate.

 

2.      Reduced consumption (of food etc.)-or Unodari-This involves taking of food less than one’s appetite. In broader scope it is applied to take minimum of equipment and clothes as also to minimize the four passions by deliberate effort. One may go without food or drink, but to give up food and drink lying available, in-spite of appetite, requires lot of self discipline-physical and mental. The main purpose is to reduce one’s necessities to the minimum at the same time maintaining the body as a medium of salvation. It also helps control over sleep as also meditation and self-study.

 

3.     

                                                                 The Three  Hallmarks    75

 

 
Begging for living (Bhikshachari)-Taking food and equipment available by begging only is the third form of external penance. Such begging is not out of poverty or for shirking from labor but for further controlling the desire for food. Begging is also done subject to number of conditions, main theme being that the food should be untainted and should not hurt any body. The term used for begging in Jainism is madhukari-eating by the bumble bee. Just as a bee takes juice from different flowers without discrimination and without hurting them, similarly the Jain monk takes food from different households in small quantities and without discrimination between rich or poor household or the quality of food offered. It is not unusual to put voluntary restriction on the type of food one will accept or the person from whom it will be accepted. If such condition is not satisfied the monk is prepared to go without food.

 

4.      Tastelessness(Rasparityag)-According to the broader view of this type of penance the practitioner gives up food which is tasteful or attractive to the sense of touch, taste, sight, smell etc. The reason being that one should eat to live and not live to eat. Specially speaking any or all of the six types of rasas i.e., milk, curds, ghee, oil, sugar and salt are to be avoided since these give rise to attachment to food, (Meat, wine, honey and butter are in any case to be avoided completely).

 

5.      Tolerance of body pain(Kaya Klesh)-To discipline and train the body and to have no attachment to body and bodily comforts, the disciple adopts diverse postures, bears heat or cold, plucks the hair, sleeps without lying down and so on. All these form part of this category of penance. However, under this penance the body is not to be destroyed or harmed-as there is no enmity towards the body. The body has to be maintained as a medium for practicing religion. However, it has to be kept under control. Also the disciple does not feel any pain as a part of these practices. If at all he gets pleasure and satisfaction from these efforts, just like a mountaineer gets satisfaction from the hard labor and difficulties he encounters while conquering a peak.

 

6.      Withdrawal(Sallinata)-Withdrawal of the soul from external matters or worldly pursuits and devoting it towards its own upliftment is this kind of penance. In other words it involves efforts to make soul introvert, stopping it from becoming extrovert. This needs constant endeavor to watch the activity of the media(mind, speech and body) and to divert them inward, which requires continuous watch upon the senses, control of passion etc. Special mention may be made of the residence to be used by the disciples which should be free from disturbance through sound, smell, touch and sight.

 

The six sub-divisions of internal(abhyantar)penance are described as under

1.      Repentance or Expiation(Prayaschit)-To admit one’s faults in observance of Right Conduct and sins under the influence of negligence or passions, to make efforts to reduce the same and to avoid repetition of sinful activity is expiation or Prayaschit. There are numerous sub-divisions of this like confession, repentance, punishment, reinstatement etc.

 

2.      Humility or reverence(Vinaya)-To show veneration towards the superiors in knowledge, faith and conduct and to hold them in esteem is this type of penance. It involves practice of self-control, discipline and humility. Veneration should be practiced through all the three media of body, speech as well as mind. Also humility is as important in worldly conduct of day to day life as for matters spiritual.

 

3.      Service(Vaiya Vratya)-Service is the help rendered to the deserving needy by bodily activity or by material things without selfish motive. Service is given priority even over acquisition of knowledge. Service can be in the form of providing food, drink, accommodation, medicines, nursing etc. Service should not only be without any selfish interest but also with equanimity e.g. without revulsion while serving a sick person.

 

4.      Study or Swadhyaya-To study respectfully and according to prescribed procedure the scriptures falls under this category and is considered a high type of penance because it helps to acquire right knowledge and destroys Karmas pertaining to knowledge. It has been divided into (a)taking lessons (from the teacher), (b) inquiring, (c) repeating, (d) reflecting and (e) preaching.

 

5.      Meditation or concentration (Dhyan)-Turning mind away from several objects and fixing it on one object is concentration. Concentration can be of four types:

I.        Sorrowful (Aart) concentration is to think of getting rid of disagreeable objects and acquiring agreeable ones.

II.     Cruel (Roudra)concentration is to think of violence, untruth, theft and pleasures (of the senses).

III.   Virtuous (Dharma) concentration is to think of the instructions of the Jinas, the channels of sin and methods of stopping them, the Karmas and the universe. The best kind of Dharma meditation is to concentrate one’s mind upon the self, renouncing all other thoughts.

IV.  Prime or Shukla concentration is the highest type of concentration when all desires have vanished and passions extinguished and the mind attains absolute purity without any trace of worldly thoughts.

 

The first two types leads to bondage and are to be shunned and the latter two types lead to salvation.

 

6.      Renunciation or Vyutsarga means giving up and is of two types (a)giving up of external attachment like house, wealth etc. (b) giving up of internal attachment like the passions, even the body, This type of penance is intended to encourage fearlessness and non-attachment.

 

Before closing this discussion of Jain Penance, the wide scope of its practice may by reiterated, if it has not become clear already-for the reasons that generally Jain penance is condemned as very harsh and difficult to practice. Actually, even simple acts like study of scriptures or eating one morsel less than one’s appetite tantamounts to practicing very high type of penance. Thus there is scope for every one to select any practice suitable to his talent and power. Of course, what is universally necessary behind such a practice is freedom from worldly desires and passions. From small beginnings one can rise to the greatest heights as was done by many a seer. However, examples are not wanting where practice of minor and easy types of penance have lightened the burden of the soul and embarked it on the way of salvation. In the bargain such practices have resulted in a contented and peaceful existence in this world which is no small gain.

 

Conclusion

This brings us to the end of description of three hallmarks of Jainism-non-violence, self-control and penance which cover the entire range of right conduct, therefore Jain ethics. In fact these three are so inter-related that strict practice of one ensures and embraces the other two e.g. if non-violence is to be practiced, self-control and penance have to be adopted. Similarly, exercise of self-control will ensure a non-violent conduct in life and also penance. Again practice of penance will not be possible without non-violence and self-control. All the three together provide for a way of life which is full of happiness, contentment and joy in this world and hereafter. Even if one were not to believe in the hereafter a happy, contented and peaceful life itself is the greatest reward for such a conduct, which is to be cherished. Actually, happy and contented individuals make a happy and peaceful society and the world a utopia, dreamt of and prayed for by all philosophers, statesmen and prophets alike. Here is, therefore, the panacea for the ills of the world-simple in content and easy in practice. May the world arise, awake and proceed on this noble path.

 

 

The Five Worships (The Panch Parmeshthi)

(Step Five)

 

From the rudimentary knowledge of Jainism culled in the previous discussions one thing must have become obvious that Jainism is a religion of self-help : without any outside agency-even God- coming to the rescue of the soul. The soul is its own destroyer or liberator. It is the wish fulfilling tree (Kalp Vriksha) and it is also the poisonous (shalimli) plant. The Soul has to acquire right vision and knowledge and follow the path of right conduct. Thereby it can become God itself, but no other God can help it (nor can it help any one else)except blazing a trail which has to be followed by one’s own effort and volition. It is a case of pure and simple rationalism- cut and dry, shorn of any sentimentality which is too evident elsewhere, where God is not only held as the creator, but also the destroyer and maintainer of life and therefore, responsible for all that is good or evil in the world.

 

Jainism should, therefore, have no place for worship, only knowledge and conduct holding sway. However, we do find Jain temples, statutes, stupas and caves built over the last two thousand five hundred years being worshipped devoutly. Also there are hymns and prayers galore in Jain literature. Every Jain prays morning and evening as a part of his religious routine, worships in his temples much like his other brethren-Christians in churches, Mohammedans in mosques, Sikhs in Gurudwaras and Hindus in their temples.

 

                                                                      The Five Worships    81

 

 
Much of this praying by Jains is imitating others, due to the mutual influence between Jainism and other faiths. Even some Jains bathe in Ganges to expiate the sins. Then there is the practical approch-vyavhar-due to which Jains, forgetting the intrinsic beliefs, fall in line and pray like others for boons, after all this is the easier way than the harder path of right conduct with its vows and penance. Then the concept of an all powerful creator, preserver, and destroyer responsible for all  that is good and bad is more appealing. As, thus one can shrink from his responsibility and leave everything to the will and mercy of such a creator rather than accept full responsibility for one’s past, present and future.

 

However, there is a place for worship and prayer in Jainism and the reason and justification for the same is admirably summarized by Pujayapadacharya while beginning his commentary Sarvarth Siddhi on Tatvarth in the following terms:

Moksamargasya netaram, bhettaram

karam bhu bhratham

Gyataram vishvatattavanam,vande tadgun labdhye.

To the leaders on the path of liberation,

Destroyers of mountains of Karmas,

Knowers of the whole of reality,

I bow to acquire their qualities.

 

Accordingly, worship and prayer is offered by the Jains to the qualities of the leaders on the path-the quality of right   knowledge and right conduct by which they have destroyed the bondage of the Karma. The purpose is that such qualities may be acquired by the worshipper by following in the footsteps of the leaders-after all one learns by example. Nowhere it is intended, however, that the leader will carry the follower, or even hold his hand.

 

Further there is an important place given to veneration or reverence under penance-as indicated in the previous chapter-as a means of destroying the bondage of Karma besides teaching humility and modesty. Thus we find that the Jains offer, a five fold worship which is universally practiced by all sects of Jains and is given the name of Namaskar mantra credited with many a miraculous quality. This Mantra is supposed to contain the cream of all scriptures of the Jains and is as under :

1.      Namo Arihantanam-               I bow to the Arihants - the omniscient personages.

2.      Namo Siddhanam-                  I bow to the Siddhas- the bodiless liberated souls.

3.      Namo Ayariyanam-                I bow to the Acharyas- the Heads of  the order.

4.      Namo Uvazzayanam-             I bow to the Upadhyays-the head teacher saints

5.      Namo loye Sav Sahunam -     I bow to all the saints in the universe.

 

One cannot fail to be struck by the catholicity or universality and the impersonal tone of the above incantation or Mantra. The worship is given to all souls worthy of veneration throughout the universe- the Loka. It is irrespective of any distinction of caste or creed or time or clime. Only the aggregate of the qualities is worshipped rather than any individual A or B. Whosoever satisfies the qualifications to be a saint (or any of the five worships)is worshipped whether he is a Christian or a Buddhist, an Indian or Chinese (or even belonging to any of the galaxies in outer space).

 

We can briefly describe each of these five worships as under:

1.      Arihants-Literally the word ari means enemies and hant means destroyer, and therefore, Arihant is destroyer of enemies. but these enemies are not external enemies, but the internal enemies of the soul- the four passions-anger, pride, deceit and greed which give rise to Karma bondage. Those living beings who have destroyed these internal enemies completely and are free from the Karma bondage of the major types are called Arihants. This is the highest stage a living being can reach with body. These Arihants possess perfect vision, perfect knowledge and perfect conduct. Their very presence spreads peace and prosperity all round. They inspire veneration in all living beings. They preach and convert by their words one and all to the noble path of non-violence, self control and penance, which they propagate. Due to destruction of Karmas bondage like knowledge obstructing Karmas etc. they possess infinite knowledge (which enables a perfect knowledge of the past present and future as also of the entire universe and non-universe)infinite vision, infinite prowess and infinite bliss.

2.      Siddhas-These are liberated souls who have attained salvation having completely destroyed all the Karmas. They have as such no encumbrance including that of a body. Besides, possessing perfect knowledge, vision, bliss and prowess these are neither heavy nor light, have penetrability and are beyond sense perception as they are non-material. They are free from cycle of births and deaths. They have thus attained Goodhood, but they maintain their individual identity, though they all being alike, are indistinguishable like different rays of pure light.

 

This is the ideal for which every living being strives ,the Arihants also become Siddhas after leaving their body (on expiation of minor Karmas).Actually arihanthood is a stage on the way to siddhahood. Thus strictly speaking Siddhas should get precedent over Arihants in the order of worship but the first place is given to Arihants. The reason is that it is the Arihants who having learnt the whole truth, preach the same to the toiling creatures to enable them to proceed on the noble path, to the destination of Siddhahood.

3.      Acharyas-They are Jain monks or saints who are heads of the order or the group of not only saints but also of the four fold organization of Jains-monks, nuns, laymen and lay women. They not only follow the rules of conduct for the monks strictly but also ensure that the monks under them do so-as also the entire lay community follows the rules framed for them .They teach the right conduct and punish the delinquents to bring them on the right path. They are the spiritual heads of Jains and are responsible for the preservation and propagation of the noble path.

4.      Upadhyays-They are monks who are responsible for the study of scriptures and dissemination of their knowledge, amongst the monks and the laity. While the acharyas are the heads who administer and maintain discipline in the Sangha, the Upadhyays look after the teaching of the scriptures. They are thus the spiritual teachers.

5.      Saints or Monks-Those who have renounced the world for spiritual search are monks. Under right conduct we have seen the duties prescribed for monks. These are briefly the observance of five major vows (Mahavrata) three controls (guptis), five types of vigilance (Samitis), ten commandments (dharma), twelve penances (tap) etc. The monks are required to observe these rules strictly.

 

Actually the last three worships-acharya, upaddhyays and saints are all Jain monks and follow the rules for monks apart from other duties prescribed. They are also on the path of spiritual liberation and though worthy of worship by laymen, they worship the Siddhas and Arihants, who are in the category of Gods as they are realized souls. Thus this fivefold worship can be narrowed down to three-fold worship-Arihants, Siddhas and sadhus. From this angle Arihants and Siddhas fall in the category of gods and the remaining three are teachers (guru).

 

                                                                      The Five Worships    85

 

 
Coming back to the incantation it is seen that it begins with namo which means to bow or to venerate. This veneration is of two types-physical and mental. The former involves folding of hands, bowing of head and touching the ground. By mental veneration is meant withdrawing the mind from other attractions and concentrating it upon the particular worship represented by its qualities. For complete veneration both the body and mind should participate in it.

 

This Namaskar mantra or veneration is also known as Panch Parmeshthi mantra, as the five most esteemed beings are worshipped by it. Another name given is Navkar meaning nine sentences. We have stated above the five sentences. The remaining four are:-

6.      Eso Panch Namokaro

7.      Sav Pava Ppnasno

8.      Manglanancha Savesin

9.      Padhman Hawai Manglam

 

[This five-fold worship(6),destroyer of all sins (7), amongst all beneficents (8), this is the best beneficent(9)]

 

Another tradition adds four  more worships to the five mentioned earlier to make

them nine as under-

6.      Namo Nannassa -        I bow to knowledge.

7.      Namo Dassanassa -      I bow to vision.

8.      Namo Charitassa -       I bow to conduct.

9.      Namo Tavassa -           I bow to penance.

 

It needs no mention that knowledge, vision, conduct and penance mean right knowledge, right vision, right conduct and right penance dealt with under the chapter “Three Jewels” and there is no need of repetition of their importance However, it should again be clear that these also involve worship of the qualities  and not individuals which only reiterates the catholicity of the prayer.

 

As an abbreviated from this mantra is recited as “A” “Si” “AA” “U” “SA” and still further as Om, which is claimed to be the Navkar Mantra in the shortest from as explained in next paragraph.

 

The first letter of the five worships is given below-

           A                            B                                      C

                                         One form                          Second form

Arihanta                             A                                      A

(ii) Siddha                         Si (Also known as              A

                                               Ashariri-Bodyless)

(iii)Acharyayas                    AA                                  AA

(iv) Upadhyaya                   U                                      U

(v) Sadhu or Muni             Sa                                    M for muni

 

The short form emerging from column B is A , Si, AA, U, SA i.e. ASIAA USA. From column C we find A-A-AA-U-M means Om, the crescent and star on top indicating the liberated soul. Both these abbreviated forms are called beeja mantra and are frequently used for meditation.

 

As stated earlier, recitation of this mantra is a must for every Jain, morning and evening. He may not know anything else but a Jain will know the Namokar Mantra. Elaborated this mantra contains not only the Jain theology but also the Jain metaphysics and ethics. It is, therefore, rightly claimed that Namaskar mantra contains the gist of all the Jain scriptures. Its regular timely meditation in the prescribed procedure with proper posture, dress, diet, concentration and faith brings numerous benefits, it is claimed. These are like curing sickness and thwarting dangers, apart from bringing peace, prosperity and happiness. However, the mantra should be practiced under proper guidance of a teacher and the aim should be to uplift the soul, destroy the karma bondage and to follow in the foot-prints of the five worships on the noble path.