DOCTRINES OF MAHAVIRA
1. The Philosophical Doctrines:
Tirthankara Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara in the uniterrupted succession of
Tirthankaras of the Jaina tradition beginning from the lst Tirthankara
Rishabhadeva, he preached the doctrines which were already propounded by his 23
predecessors. Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara flourished 250 years before
Tirthankara Mahavira and during his life-time Parshvanatha did propagate the
basic doctrines of Jainism to the benefit of mankind. But after Parshvanath the conditions of life considerably
changed and common people were found
holding various beliefs and observing several practices which were completely
opposed to the beliefs and practices laid down by Jaina religion. Hence there was a dire necessity to bring back
the common masses to the right path advocated by the Jaina Tirthankaras. This urgent need was met by Tirthankara Mahavira during the sixth century
B. C. by emphasising the age-old principles of Jainism to all categories of persons scattered over different parts of
The basic principle in the philosophical doctrines of Tirthankara Mahavira is that ‘Sat’ i. e. reality is uncreated and eternal and that it is characterised by ‘Utpada’ i. e. origination or appearance, ‘Vyaya’ i. e. destruction or disappearance and ‘dhrauv.ya’ i. e. permanence. Further, every object of reality is found possessed of infinite characters, both with respect to what it is and what it is not. It has its ‘paryayas’, i.e. modes and ‘gunas’, i. e. qualities, through which persists the essential substratum through all the times. The basic substance with its qualities is something that is permanent, while the modes or accidental characters appear and disappear. In this way both change and permanence are facts of experience. For example, the soul or spirit is eternal with its inseparable character of consciousness, but at the same time it is subjected to accidental characters like pleasure and pain and super-imposed modes such as body, etc. both of which are changing constantly. The gold, for instance, with its colour and density is something that is permanent though it is subjected to different shapes at different times.
Further, the philosophical doctrines assert that in this world ‘dravyas’ i. e. the substances, are real as they are characterized by existence. The substances are six in number and they can be broadly divided into two major categories viz. ‘Jiva’, i. e. living and ‘ajiva’, i. e. non-living.
(A) The ‘Jiva Dravya : The jiva means Atman i. e. soul or spirit. The jiva is essentially a unit of consciousness and there is an infinity of them. The whole world is literally filled with them. The souls are substances and as such they are eternal. Their characteristic mark is intelligence, which can never be destroyed. The soul is ever all perfect and all powerful. But by ignorance it identifies itself with matter and hence all its troubles and degradations start.
The souls are of two kinds, viz. (a) ‘samsarin’, i. e. mundane or ‘baddha’, i.e. those in bondage, and (b) ‘siddha’, i.e. liberated or ‘mukta’ i.e. those that are free. Mundane souls are the embodied souls of living beings in the world and are still subject to the cycle of Birth. On the other hand, the liberated souls are those who have reached Nirvana or ‘Mukti’ i. e. freedom from being embodied. It means that the liberated souls will be embodied no more. Such liberated souls dwell in the state of perfection at the top of the universe and they have no more to do with worldly affairs. The liberated souls also accomplish absolute purity and in their pure condition they possess four attributes known as ‘Ananta-Chatushtaya’, Infinite Quaternary, viz.
‘ananta-darshana’ i.e. infinite perception,
‘ananta-Jnana’, i. e. infinite knowledge,
‘ ananta-virya’, i.e. infinite power and
‘ananta-sukha’, i.e. infinite bliss.
Thus the most significant difference between the mundane and the liberated soul consists in the fact that the former is permeated with subtle matter known as ‘Karma’; while the latter is absolutely pure and free from any material alloy.
The mundane souls are of two kinds, viz. (l) Sthavara, i.e. the immobile or one-sensed souls, that is, having only the sense of touch; and (2) Trasa, i.e. the mobiles or many-sensed souls, that is, having bodies with more than one sense organ. The former are associated with earth, water, fire, wind and plants, and the latter differ among themselves according to the number of sense-organs.
(B) The Ajiva Drayas : The non-living substances are of five kinds, namely,
(i) Pudgala, i.e. matter,
(ii) Dharma, i.e. medium of motion,
(iii) Adharma. i.e. medium of rest,
(IV) Akasha, i.e. space and
(V) Kala, i.e. time.
Though all these are characterized by existence, the constitution of time is slightly different : it has no existence in space, but is made up of partite units. The matter is the non-living stuff possessed of sense-qualities with varied functions and forms; the principles of motion and rest facilitate all movements and static states in this physical universe; all these substances are accommodated in space; and it is the principle of time that marks continuity or change.
The doctrines of Jainism emphasise that these six jiva and ajiva dravyas, i.e. living and non-living substances, are externally existing, uncreated and with no beginning in time. As substances they are eternal and unchanging, but their modifications are passing through a flux of changes. Their mutual co-operation and interaction explain all that we imply by the term ‘creation’. Hence the doctrines of Jainism do not admit any intelligent ‘Creator’ who can be credited with the making of this universe.
Further, the doctrines of Jainism not only state that the whole universe can be divided into jiva and ajiva dravyas, i.e. the living and the non-living substances, but also explain the nature and interaction of these two elements. It is asserted, in short, that the living and the non-living, by coming into contact with each other, forge certain energies which bring about birth, death and various experiences of life; this process could be stopped, and the energies already forged destroyed, by a course of discipline leading to salvation. A close analysis of this brief statement shows that it involves the following seven propositions :
(i) that there is something called the living;
(ii) that there is something called the non-living;
(iii)that the two come into contact with each other;
(iv) that the contact leads to the production of some energies;
(v) that the process of contact could be stopped;
(vi) that the existing energies could also be exhausted; and
(vii) that the salvation could be achieved.
These seven propositions are called the seven tattvas or realities in Jaina philosophy. These tattvas are termed as follows :-
(i) Jiva, i.e. living substance.
(ii) Ajiva, i.e. matter or non-living substance,
(iii) Ashrava, i.e. the influx of Karmic matter into the soul,
(iv) Bandha, i. e. bondage of soul by Karmic matter,
(v) Samvara, i. e. the stopping of Ashrava,
(vi) Nirjara, i.e the gradual removal of Karmic matter, and
(vii) Moksha, i.e. the attainment of perfect freedom.
(i) and (ii) Jiva and Ajiva :-Out of these seven tattvas, the first two deal with the nature and enumeration of the eternal substance of nature, and the remaining five with the interaction between these two substances, viz. soul and matter. (iii) Ashrava: The third principle Ashrava signifies the influx of Karmic matter, into the constitution of the soul. Combination of Karmic matter with Jiva is due to Yoga. Yoga is the activity of mind, speech and body. Thus Yoga is the channel of Ashrava. The physical matter which is actually drawn to the soul cannot be perceived by the senses as it is very fine. (iv) Bandha : When the Karmic matter enters the soul, both get imperceptibly mixed with each other. Bandha or bondage is the assimilation of matter which is fit to form Karmas by the soul as it is associated with passions. The union of spirit and matter does not imply a complete annihilation of their natural properties, but only a suspension of their functions, in varying degree, according to the quality and quantity of the material absorbed. Thus, the effect of the fusion of the soul and matter is manifested in the form of a compound personality which partakes of the nature of the both, without actually destroying either. The causes of Bandha are five, viz.,
(a) Mithyādarshana, i.e. wrong belief or faith,
(b) Avirati, i.e. vowlessness or non-renunciation,
(c) Pramada, i.e. carelessness
(d) Kashaya, i.e. passions, and
(e) Yoga, i.e. vibrations in the soul through mind, speech and body.
(v) Samvara : Effective states of desire and aversion, and activity of thought, speech or body are the conditions that attract Karmas, good and bad, towards the soul. When those conditions are removed, there will be no Karmas approaching the Jiva, that is complete Samvara- a sort of protective wall shutting out all the Karmas is established round the self. Thus Samvara is the stoppage of inflow of Karmic matter into the soul. There are several ways through which the stoppage could be effected. (vi) Nirjara : Nirjara means the falling away of Karmic matter from the soul. The soul will be rendered free by the automatic falling out of the Karmas when they become ripe. But this is a lengthy process. The falling away may be deliberately brought through the practice of austerities. Thus Nirjara is of two kinds. The natural maturing of a Karma and its separation from the soul is called Savipaka Nirjara and inducing a Karma to leave the soul, before it gets ripened by means of ascetic practices, is called Avipaka Nirjara. (vii) Moksha : Moksha or liberation is the freedom from all Karmic matter, owing to the non-existence of the cause of bondage and the shedding of all the Karmas. Thus complete freedom of the soul from Karmic matter is called Moksha. It is attained when the soul and matter are separated from each other. The separation is effected when all the Karmas have left the soul, and no more Karmic matter can be attracted towards it.
2. The Doctrine of Karma :
The fundamental principles of Jaina Philosophy entail the doctrine of Karma. These principles assert that mudane souls exist in this world from time eternal in association with matter. Of course, the character of this association or bondage is freely and constantly being changed; but the fact and condition of the bondage of the soul by matter persists through all these changes. This association leads to further contact and so the cycle goes on till the association is severed in such a manner as to avoid any fresh contact.
This contact of soul with matter takes place in this manner. The soul is surrounded by a large volume of fine and subtle matter called Karma. When the soul tries to do anything, then instantly the surrounding particles of matter cling to it just as the particles of dust stick to the body besmeared with oil. Like water in milk these particles of matter get completely assimilated with soul and remain in this condition throughout life as well as in its migrations from one body to another. The connection of soul and matter is real; otherwise in a pure state the soul would have flown to the highest point in the universe as the soul is the lightest of all substances. As this connection or bondage is effected by the Karma or deed or activity of the soul, the subtle matter which combines the soul is termed as Karma.
Thus the Karma is something material and it produces in the soul certain conditions, just as a medical pill, when introduced into the body, produces therein manifold effects. The Karmic matter remains with the soul and binds it in the circuit of births as gods, men, denizens of hell and sub-human beings. Since the presence of Karmic matter in the soul is the cause of cycle of births and deaths and of all conditions of life, the soul must be made free from the Karmic matter. For this the influx of Karmic matter must be stopped by cultivating pure thoughts and actions; and the stock of existing Karmic matter must be consumed by the practice of religious austerities. In this way when the Karmas are completely destroyed. the soul becomes liberated with all its potential qualities fully developed. This liberated and perfect soul is an embodiment of infinite bliss and other qualities. It should, therefore, be the aim of every individual to achieve this perfect and natural condition of soul by one's own efforts. In this regard the Jaina philosophy clearly asserts that the attainment of the freedom of the soul from the Karmic matter entirely depends on one's own proper deeds or actions and not on the favours of human or divine beings. Just as the interacting eternal substances (viz. Dravyas) postulated in Jainism admit no Creator, so also the inviolable law of Karma makes man the master of his destiny and dispenses away with the favourite theistic idea that some divinity bestows on man favours and frowns.
3. The Doctrines of Nayavada and Syadvada :
According to Jaina philosophy, as noted above, the object of knowledge is a huge complexity constituted of substances, qualities and modifications, extended over past, present and future times and infinite space, and simultaneously subjected to origination, destruction and permanence. Such an object can be fully comprehended only in omniscience, which is not manifested in the case of worldly beings who perceive through their organs of senses. But the senses are the indirect means of knowledge, and whatever they apprehend is partial like the proverbial perception of an elephant by seven blind persons; each one touches only a part of the animal and concludes that the animal is like a log of wood, like a fan, like a wall, etc. The ordinary human being, therefore, cannot rise above the limitations of his senses; so his apprehension of reality is partial and it is valid only from a particular point of view known as ‘Naya’. Thus as Nayas are modes of expressing things, there can be number of Nayas through which reality could be expressed. For example, when different kinds of gold ornaments are described from the point of view of the modes or modifications of gold, it is termed the Paryayarthika-naya or the Paryaya-naya, i.e. the modal point of view, and when gold ornaments are described with regard to their substance, i.e. gold, and its inherent qualities, it is termed the dravyarthika-naya or the dravya-naya, i.e. the substantial point of view. On the same lines, in spiritual discussions, the things could be described from vyavahara-naya, i.e. the common-sense of practical point of view and also from nishchaya-naya, i.e. the realistic point of view. In this way the system of describing reality from different points of view is known as Nayavada.
it is not enough if various problems about reality are merely understood from different points of view. What one knows must be able to state truly and accurately. This need is met by the doctrine of Syadvada or anekantavada, i.e. many-sided view-point. The object of knowledge is a huge complexity covering infinite modes ; human mind is of limited understanding; and human speech has its imperfections in expressing the whole range of experience. Under these circumstances all our statements are conditionally or relatively true. Hence every statement must be qualified with the term ‘Syat’, i.e. ‘somehow’, or in a way, with a view to emphasise its conditional or relative character. In this way on the basis of anekanta-vada or Syadvada, while describing a thing seven assertions, seemingly contradictory but perfectly true, can be made in a following manner:
(i) Syadasti, i.e. showhow it is,
(ii) Syannasti, i.e. somehow it is not,
(iii) Syadasti-nasti, i.e. somehow it is and it is not,
(IV) Syadavaktavyam, i.e., somehow it is indescribable,
(v) Syadasti cha avaktavyam Cha, i.e. somehow it is and is indescribable,
(vi) Syannasti cha avaktavyam cha, i.e. somehow it is not and is indescribable, and
(vii) Syadasti nasti cha avaktavyam cha, i.e. somehow it is, is not and is indescribable.
For example, a man is the father, and is not the father and is both—are perfectly intelligible statements, if one understands the point of view from which they are made. In relation to a particular boy he is the father ; in relation to another boy he is not the father; in relation to both the boys taken together he is the father and is not the father. Since both the ideas cannot be conveyed in words at the same time, he may be called indescribable : still he is the father and is indescribable ; and so on. Thus, this doctrine of Anekantavada is neither self-contradictory nor vague or indefinite ; on the contrary, it represents a very sensible view of things in a systematized form.
Further, this doctrine of anekantavada is also called the doctrines of Sapta-bhangi, i.e. the doctrine of sevenfold predication, because these seven possible modes of expression can be used while describing a thing.
4. The Doctrine of Path to Liberation :
From the basic principles of Jaina philosophy, it is evident that the inherent powers of the soul are crippled by its association with karmic matter and that is why every person is found in an imperfect state. The Jaina philosophy also asserts that real and everlasting happiness will be obtained by a person only when the Karmas are completely removed from the soul and that eventhough man is imperfect at present, it is quite possible for him to rid himself of the Karmas by his own personal efforts without any help from an outside agency. The highest happiness is to escape from the Cycle of Births and Deaths and be a liberated soul, that is, to obtain Moksha. This word is full of sorrow and trouble and it is quite necessary to achieve the aim of transcendental bliss by a sure method. When the goal has been fixed the next question arises regarding the way how to achieve that objective. To this question Jainism has a definite answer. It emphatically states that Samyag-darshana, i.e. right belief, Samyag jnana, i.e. right knowledge, and Samyag-Charitra, i.e. right conduct, together constitute the path to liberation. Right belief, right knowledge and right conduct are called Ratnatraya, or the three jewels, in Jaina philosophy. These three are not different paths but form together a single path. These three must be present together to constitute the path of liberation. Since all the three are emphasised equally, and since the Mokshamarga, i.e. the path of liberation, is impossible without the comprehension of all the three, it is obvious that the Jaina philosophy is not prepared to admit any one of these three in isolation as means of salvation. That is why it is emphatically laid down that for attaining liberation all the three must be simultaneously pursued. It is contended that just as to effect a cure of a malady, faith in the efficacy of a medicine, knowledge of its use, and actual taking of it, constitute the three essential things together, so also to secure emancipation of the soul, faith in the efficacy of Jainism, its knowledge and its actual observance, from the three quite indispensable things together. The path of liberation is at times compared to a ladder with its two side poles and the central rungs forming the steps. The side poles are right belief and right knowledge and the rungs or steps are the gradual stages of right conduct. It is possible to ascend the ladder only when all the three are sound. The absence of one makes the ascent impossible. Thus a simultaneous pursuit of right belief, right knowledge and right conduct is enjoined upon the people. The ethical doctrines of Jainism, both for the householders and the monks, are based on this path of liberation comprising (I) right belief, (TI) right knowledge and (III) right conduct.
(I) Right Belief :
Of the three jewels, right belief comes first and forms the basis upon which the other two jewels rest. It is laid down that one must, by all possible means, first attain right belief or the basic conviction on the fundamentals; because only on its acquisition, knowledge and conduct become right. Right Belief means true and firm conviction in the seven tattvas, i.e. principles of Jainism as they are and without any perverse notion. The belief that the Jaina Tirthankaras are the true Gods, the Jaina Sastras, i.e. the sacred books, the true scripture, and the Jaina Saints the true Preceptors, is called Right Belief.
The possession of Right Belief or faith by a person is always considered most essential in his efforts to achieve liberation. It is specifically asserted that asceticism without faith is definitely inferior to faith without asceticism and that even a low caste man possessing right faith can be considered as divine being. In this way the right belief is given procedence over right knowledge and right conduct because it acts as a pilot guiding the soul towards Moksha i.e. liberation.
(II) Right Knowledge :
On attaining right belief it is considered desirable to strive after right knowledge. Although right belief and right knowledge are contemporaneous, there is yet a clear relation of cause and effect between them, just as there is between a lamp and its light. Right knowledge is that knowledge which reveals the nature of things neither insufficiently, nor with exaggeration, nor falsely, but exactly as it is and that too with certainty. Such knowledge must be free from doubt, perversity and vagueness. Jainism insists that right knowledge cannot be attained, unless belief of any kind in its opposite, i.e. in wrong knowledge, is banished.
(III) Right Conduct :
Right Conduct includes the rules of discipline which restrain all censurable movements of speech, body and mind, weaken and destroy all passionate activity and lead to non-attachment and purity. Right conduct presupposes the presence of right knowledge which presupposes right belief. Therefore it is enjoined upon the persons who have secured right belief and right knowledge to observe the rules of right conduct as the destruction of Karmic matter can be accomplished only through the right conduct. Right Conduct is of two kinds, viz. SakalaCharitra, i.e. perfect or unqualified conduct and Vikala-Charitra, i.e. imperfect and qualified conduct, and of these two kinds the unqualified one is observed by ascetics who have renounced worldly ties and the qualified by laymen still entangled in the world.
5. The :Ethical Doctrines:
Along with laying down the path to liberation, Jainism has also prescribed the definite rules of conduct to be followed both by the householders and the ascetics. All these rules are directed towards the main aim of achieving freedom of the soul from the Karmic matter, i.e. attaining liberation. The rules of conduct have been so designed that all persons would be in a position to follow them. Accordingly the rules of conduct have been divided into two categories, viz.
(I) Sagara-dharma, i.e. those prescribed for laymen, and
(II) Anagara-dharma, i.e. those prescribed for ascetics.
It is obvious that the rules for the laity are less rigid than those for the saints because the laymen have not renounced worldly activities for eking out their livelihood.
(I) Rules of Conduct for Laymen :
The householders are expected to observe twelve vratas, i.e. vows, consisting of (A) five Anuvratas, i.e. small vows and (B) seven Shilavratas, i.e. supplementary vows. These vows form the central part of the ethical code and by their observance laymen can maintain constant progress in their spiritual career aimed at the attainment of final liberation.
(A) Anuvratas :
The five main vratas, i.e. vows, to be observed by all are :-
(i) Ahimsa, i.e. abstention from violence or injury to living beings,
(ii) Satya, i.e. abstention from false speech,
(iii) Asteya. i.e. abstention from theft,
(iv) Brahmacharya, i.e. abstention from sexuality or unchastity, and
(v) Aparigraha, i.e. abstention from greed for worldly possessions.
If these vows are very strictly observed they are known as Mahavratas, i.e., great vows and naturally these are meant for the ascetics. Laymen, however, cannot observe the vows so strictly and therefore they are allowed to practise them so far as their conditions permit. Therefore, the same vratas, i.e. vows, when partially observed are termed as Anuvratas, i.e. small vows. For the fixing of these five vows in the mind, there are five kinds of Bhavanas i.e., attendant meditations, for each of the vows and every person is expected to think over them again and again. Further, every person must meditate that the five faults meant to be avoided in the vows are pain personified and are of dangerous and censurable character in this world. Moreover, every person must meditate upon the following four virtues which are based upon the observance of these five vows :
(i) Maitri, i.e. friendship with all living beings,
(ii) Pramoda, i.e., delight at the sight of beings better qualified or more advanced than ourselves on the path of liberation,
(iii) Karunya, i.e., compassion for the afflicted, and
(iv) Madhyastha, i.e., tolerance or indifference to those who are uncivil or illbehaved.
The observance of the five anuvratas and refraining from the use of wine, flesh and honey are regarded as eight Mulagunas, i.e., the basic or primary virtues of a house-holder. For minimizing injury to living beings, complete abstinence of wine, flesh and honey is advocated and every householder must necessarily possess these eight primary or fundamental virtues.
These five vows form the basis of Jaina ethics. They give a definite outlook on life and create a particular type of mental attitude. The very essence of Jaina philosophy is transformed into action in the shape of observance of these five vows. Though the vows on their face appear to be mere abstentions from injury, falsehood, theft, sexuality and greed for worldly attachments, their implications are really extensive and they permeate the entire social life of the followers of Jainism.
Further, three things are enjoined in the matter of avoidance of the five faults of injury, falsehood, theft, etc. In the first place, a person should not commit any fault personally, secondly, he should not incite others to commit such an act, and, thirdly, he should not even approve of it subsequent to its commission by others. (i) Himsa, i.e. injury, has been defined as hurting of the vitalities caused through want of proper care and caution. But the meaning is not limited to this definition alone. Piercing, binding, causing pain, overloading and starving or not feeding at proper times, are forms of himsa and as such must be avoided. (ii) Asatya, i.e. falsehood, in simple terms, is to speak hurtful words. But spreading false doctrines, revealing the secrets and deformities of others, backbiting, making false documents, and breach of trust are all forms of falsehood and should be abstained from. (iii) Chaurya, i.e. theft, is to take anything which is not given. Imparting instructions on the method of committing theft, receiving stolen property, evading the injunction of the law (for example, by selling things at inordinate prices), adultaration, and keeping false weights and measures are all forms of theft and one must guard oneself against them. (iv) Abrahma, i.e. sexuality, is also of several forms. Match making (i.e. bringing about marriages, as a hobby), unnatural gratification, indulging in voluptuous speech, and visiting immoral married and unmarried women are all forms of unchastity or sexuality and should be avoided. (v) Parigraha, i.e. greed for worldly possessions, consists in desiring more than what is needed by an individual. Accumulating even necessary articles in large numbers, expressing wonder at the prosperity of another, excessive greed, and changing the proportions of existing possessions are all forms of parigraha and should be discarded. This vow of aparigraha or parigrahaparimana recommends that a householder should fix, beforehand, the limit of his maximum belongings, and should, in no case, exceed it. If he ever happens to earn more than that, he must spend it away in charities, the best and recognized forms of which are distribution of medicince, spread of knowledge, provision for saving the lives of people in danger, and feeding the hungry and the poor.
Among these five main vows the utmost importance is given to Ahimsa, i.e., avoidance of injury. This noble principle of Ahimsa has been recognized by practically all religions but Jainism alone preaches the full significance of Ahimsa to such an extent that Jainism and Ahimsa have become synonymous terms. Jainism emphatically asserts that “Ahimsa Parmo Dharmah”, i.e. Ahimsa is the highest religion. The philosophy of Jainism and its rules of conduct are based on the foundations of Ahimsa which has been consistently followed to its logical
conclusion. That is why among the five main vows first place has been given to the observance of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is regarded as the principal vow and the other four vows are considered to be merely details of the first vow. It is emphasised that Himsa, i.e. injury, is included in falsehood, theft, sexual impurity and possession of goods. Thus all the main five vows are based on the principle of Ahimsa. That is why it is enjoined upon every person to avoid Himsa under any pretexts. Himsa, i.e. violence or injury, is considered of three kinds: (a) physical violence, which covers killing, wounding and causing any physical pain; (b) violence in words consists in using harsh words; and (c) mental violence implies bearing ill-feeling towards others. Further, Himsa may be committed, commissioned or consented to. A householder is unable to avoid all these in an ideal manner; so he is expected to cause minimal injury to others. In view of the routine life of the people, injury is classified under four heads: (i) first, there is Grharambhi Himsa, accidental injury in digging, pounding, cooking and such other activities essential to daily living; (ii) secondly, there is Udyami Himsa, i.e., occupational injury when a soldier fights, an agriculturist tills the land, etc., (iii) thirdly, there is Virodhi Himsa, i.e. protective injury, when one protects one's or other's life and honour against wild beasts and enemies; and (iv) fourthly, there is Samkalpi Himsa, i.e. intentional injury, when one kills beings simply for killing them as in hunting or butchery. A householder is expected to abstain fully from intentional injury and as far as possible from the rest. It is the intention or the mental attitude that matters more than the act. So one has to take utmost care in keeping one's intentions pure and pious and abstain from intentional injury.
(B) Shilavratas :
Along with the five Anuvratas, i.e. small vows, there are seven Shilavratas, i.e. supplementary vows. Just as the encircling walls guard towns, so do supplementary vows protect Anuvratas. Therefore in order to practise the main Anuvratas, the Shilavratas also must be practised by the householders.
The seven supplementary vows are as follows :-
(i) Digvrata, i.e. taking a lifelong vow to limit his worldly activity to fixed points in all directions,
(ii) Deshavrata, i.e. taking a vow to limit the above also for a limited area,
(iii)Anarthadanda-vrata, i.e. taking a vow not to commit purposeless sins, or to abstain from wanton sinful activities,
(iv) Samayika, i.e. taking a vow to devote particular time everyday to contemplation or meditation of the self for spiritual advancement,
(v) Proshadhopavasa, i.e. taking a vow to fast on four days of the month, namely, the two eighth and the two fourteenth days of the fortnight,
(vi) Upabhoga-Paribhoga-Parimana, i.e. taking a vow everyday limiting one's enjoyment of consumable and non-consumable things, and
(vii) Atithi-Samvibhaga, i.e. taking a vow to take one's food only after feeding the ascetics. or, in their absence the pious householders.
Out of these seven Shilavratas, the first three are called Gunavratas, i.e. multiplicative vows, because they raise the value of the five main Anuvratas; and the remaining four are called Shikshavratas, i.e. disciplinary vows, because they are preparatory for the discipline of an ascetic life. Thus the five Anuvratas, the three Gunavratas and the four Shikshavratas constitute the twelve vows of a laymen. There are five aticharas, i.e. defects or partial transgressions, for each of these twelve vows and they are to be avoided by the observers of these vows.
The most significant feature of these twelve vows is that by practising these vows a layman virtually participates, to a limited extent and for a limited period of time, in the routine of an ascetic without actually renouncing the world. It is obvious that such practices maintain a close tie between the laymen and the ascetics as both are actuated by the same motive and are moved by the same religious ideals.
In addition to the above twelve vows a house-holder is expected to practise in the last moment of his life the process of Sallekhana, i.e. peaceful or voluntary death. A layman is expected not only to live a disciplined life but also to die bravely a detached death. This voluntary death is to be distinguished from suicide which is considered by Jainism as a cowardly sin. It is laid down that when faced by calamity, famine, old age and disease against which there is no remedy, a pious householder should peacefully relinquish his body, being inspired by a higher religious ideal. It is with a quiet and detached mood he should face death bravely and voluntarily. This Sallekhana is added to as an extra vow to the existing twelve vows of a house-holder. Like other vows, Sallekhana has also got five aticharas, i.e. partial transgressions, which are to be avoided by a householder.
These rules of right conduct prescribed for laymen have been conveniently divided into eleven Pratimas, i.e. stages or steps. These Pratimas form a series of duties and performances, the standard and duration of which rises periodically and which finally culminates in an attitude resembling monkhood. Thus the pratimas rise by degrees and every stage includes all the virtues practised in those preceding it. The conception of eleven Pratimas reveals in the best manner the rules of conduct prescribed for the laymen. The eleven Pratimas are as follows:
(i) Darshana Pratima, i.e. possessing the perfect, intelligent and well-reasoned faith in Jainism, that is, having a sound knowledge of its doctrines and their applications in life.
(ii) Vrata Pratima. i.e. keeping up the twelve vows and the extra vow of Sallekhana.
(iii) Samayika Pratima, i.e. worshipping regularly, in general for forty-two minutes, three times daily. Worship means self-contemplation and purifying one's ideas and emotions.
(iv) Proshadhopavasa Pratima, i.e. fasting regularly, as a rule, twice a fortnight in each lunar month.
(v) Sachitta-tyaga pratima, i.e. refraining from eating uncooked vegetables, plucking fruits from a tree and the like.
(vi) Ratri-bhukta-tyaga Pratima, i.e. abstaining from food
(vii) Brahmacharya Pratima,i.e. maintaining sexual purity now assuming the strict aspect of celibacy and also not decorating one's person.
(viii) Arambha-tyaga Pratima, i.e. abandonment of merely worldly engagements and occupations.
(ix) Parigraha-tyaga pratima, i.e. divesting oneself of Wealth by dividing one's property among one’s heirs and training one-self generally to bear the hardships incidental to a life of asceticism.
(x) Anumati-tyaga pratima, i.e. increasing the rigour of living in the direction of asceticism and refraining even from giving advice on matters relating to family honour, business and the like.
(xi) Uddishta-tyaga pratima, i.e. after renunciation of the householder’s life, retiring into forest and adopting the rules laid down for the guidance of ascetics.
A householder is advised that according to his ability and environment he should proceed stage by stage and once he reaches the eleventh stage, he is fully prepared for practising the severe course of ascetic life.
(II) Rules of Conduct for Ascetics.
When a layman consistently observes the rules of conduct prescribed for the householders and especially attains all pratimas, he is qualified to become an ascetic. In this way there is a close link between the two social orders of laity and and ascetics. The order of laymen (including laywomen) is preliminary and, in many cases, preparatory to the order of monks (including nuns). Because of this intimate relationship we find that the rules prescribed for laymen and ascetics do not differ in kind but in degree. The same rules of conduct observed by laymen are to be followed by ascetics with the only difference that while laymen have to practise them partially or less rigorously, ascetics have to observe them fully and more rigorously. Thus the Anuvratas, i.e small vows, of the householders become Mahavratas, i.e. great vows, when practised by ascetics. This is obvious because the ascetic stage signifies absolute renunciation of the world and the only objective in this stage is to concentrate energy on the attainment of Moksha, i.e. liberation. Asceticism is a higher course in spiritual training and it is in this stage real efforts are made for the stoppage of influx of Karmas and the shedding of existing Karmas with a view to attain liberation. Therefore very minute rules of conduct are prescribed for the ascetics and the latter have to observe them without any fault or transgression.
The stoppage of influx of fresh Karmic matter into the Atman or soul is known as Samvara and it is effected by following,
(a) three kinds of Gupti, i.e. control,
(b) five kinds of Samiti, i.e. carefulness,
(c) ten kinks of Dharma, i.e. virtues,
(d) twelve kinds of Anupreksha, i.e. meditations or reflections,
(e) twenty-two kinds of Parishaha-Jaya, i.e. subdual of sufferings, and
(f) five kinds of Charitra, i.e. conduct.
(a) The Guptis : The flow of Karmas into the Atman or soul is caused by the activities of body, speech and mind; so it is quite necessary for the ascetics to keep these channels of influx under strict control, i.e. to observe the Guptis. The three guptis are regulations with reference to controlling one’s inner nature, that is, they are dictated by the principles of self-control, (i) The first of them is Mano-Gupti, i.e. regulation of mind in such a way as to give room only to pure thoughts. (ii) The second Vag-gupti, i.e. regulations of speech and it consists in observing silence for a particular period or in speaking only as much as is absolutely necessary. (iii) The third is Kaya-gupti, i.e. regulation of one's bodily activity.
(b) The Samitis : It is just possible that even in performing the duties of an ascetic, the vows might be transgressed out of inadvertence. Hence as a precautionery measure the Samitis, i.e. acts of carefulness are prescribed. The Samitis are designed with a view to cultivate the habit of carefulness in accordance with the principle of Ahimsa, i.e. non-injury. The Samitis are prescriptions for the regulation of the movements of the body and are as follows :-
(i) The Irya Samiti aims at regulation of walking, so as not to injure any living being.
(ii) The Bhasha Samiti regulates the mode of speech with a view to avoid the hurting of other's feelings by use of offensive words.
(iii) The Eshana Samiti regulates seeking or eating food so , as not to cause any injury to any living being.
(iv) The Adana-Nikshepa Samiti regulates the actions of taking or using, and of putting away, anything whatsoever.
(v) The Utsarga Samiti regulates the movements connected with the answering of call of nature, etc.
Both the three Guptis and five Samitis are sometimes grouped together under the name of “Ashta-Pravachana-Mata”, i.e. “The Eight mothers of the Creed”, on account of their fundamental character.
(c) The Dharmas : It is mainly due to the Kashayas, i.e. passions, that the soul assimilates Karmas, hence the four passions of Krodha, i.e. angar, Mana, i.e. pride, Maya, i.e. deceptions and Lobha, i.e. greed, must be counteracted by cultivating ten Uttama Dharmas, i.e. Supreme virtues, as follows :
(i) Uttama-Kshama, i.e. supreme forgiveness,
(ii) Uttama-Mardava, i.e. Supreme tenderness or humility,
(iii) Uttama-Arjava,i.e. Supreme straightforwardness or honesty,
(iv) Uttam-Shaucha, i.e. Supreme contentment or purity,
(v) Uttama-Satya i.e. Supreme truthfulness.
(vi) Uttama-Samyama, i.e. Supreme Self-restraint,
(vii) Uttama-Tapa, i.e. Supreme austerities,
(viii) Uttama-Tyaga, i.e. Supreme renunciation,
(ix) Uttama-Akinchanya, i.e. Supreme non-attachment, and
(x)Uttama-Brahmacharya, i.e. Supreme chastity.
These ten virtues together are termed as Dashalakshana Dharma, i.e. the ten observances.
(a) Anuprekshas :With a view to cultivate the necessary religious attitude, it is enjoined on the ascetics to constantly reflect on twelve religious topics know as Anuprekshas, i.e. meditations. It is laid down that these Anuprekshas should be meditated upon again and again. The tweleve Anuprekshas are as follows :
(i) Anitya anuprekshas, i.e. everything is subject to change or is transitory.
(ii)Asharana anupreksha, i.e. unprotectiveness or help- lessness. The feeling that soul is unprotected from fruition of Karmas, for example, death etc.
(iii) Samsara anupreksha, i.e. mundaneness. Soul moves in the cycle of existences and cannot attain true happiness till it is cut off.
(iv) Ekatva anuprelcsha, i.e. loneliness. I am alone, the doer of my actions and the enjoyer of the fruits of them.
(v) Anyatva anupreksha, i.e. separatness. The world, my relation and friends, my body and mind, they are all distinct and separate from my real self.
(vi) Ashuchi anupreksha, i.e. impurity. The body is impure and dirty.
(vii) Ashrava anupreksha, i.e. inflow. The inflow of Karmas is the cause of my mundane existence and it is the product of passions.
(viii) Samvara anupreksha, i.e. stoppage. The inflow of Karma must be stopped by cultivating necessary virtues.
(ix) Nirjara anuprelcsha, i.e. shedding. Karmic matter should be destroyed or shaken out of the soul by the practice of penances.
(x) Loka anupreksha, i.e. universe. The nature of the, universe and its constituent elements in all their vast variety proving the insignificance and miserable nothingness of man in time and space.
(xi) Bodhi-durlabha anupreksha i.e. rarity of religious, knowledge. It is difficult to attain right faith, knowledge and conduct.
(xii) Dharma anupreksha, i.e. reflection on the true nature of religion and especially on the threefold path of liberation as preached by the conquerors.
Sometimes these Anuprekshas, are termed as Bhavanas, i.e.. contemplations.
(e) The Parishaha-Jaya : With a view to remain steady on the path of liberation and to destroy the Karmic matter, ascetics should bear cheerfully all the troubles that might cause them distraction or pain. These troubles or hardships through which the ascetics have to pass are called the Parishahas, i.e. sufferings. There are twenty-two Parishahas which monks are expected to face unflinchingly. They are :
(i) Kshut, i.e. hunger,
(ii) Pipasa, i.e. thirst,
(iii) Shita, i.e. cold,
(iv) Ushna, i.e. heat,
(v) Damshamashaka,, i.e. insect-bite,
(vi) Nagnya, i.e. nakedness,
(vii) Arati, i.e. ennui, or disagreeable surroundings,
(viii) Stri, i.e. sex-passion,
(ix) Charya, i.e. walking too much,
(x) Nishadya, i.e. continuous sitting in one posture,
(xi) Shayva, i.e. resting on hard earth,
(xii) Akrosha, i.e, abuse,
(xiii) Vadha, i.e. beating,
(xiv) Yachana,i.e begging,
(xv) Alabha, i.e. disappointment from getting no food,
(xvi) Roga, i.e. disease,
(xvii) Trnasparsha,, i.e. thorn-pricks,
(xviii) Mala, i.e. body dirt and impurities,
(xix) Satlcarapuraskara, i.e. disrespect shown by men,
(xx) Prajna, i.e. non-appreciation of learning,
(xxi) Ajnana, i.e, persistence of ignorance, and
(xxii) Adarshana, i,e, slack belief, for example, on failure to obtain supe-rnatural powers even after great piety and austerities begin to doubt the truth of Jainism and its teachings.
These Parishahas should be ever endured without any feeling of vexation, by the ascetics who desire to get rid of all cause for pain.
(f) The Charitra : The ascetics are also expected to strive to observe five kinds of conduct as follows :
(i) Samayika, i.e. equanimity,
(ii) : Chhedopasthapana, i.e. recovery of, equanimity after a fall from it, -
(iii) Parihara-Vishuddhi, i.e. pure and absolute non-injury,
(iv) Sukshma-Samparaya, i.e. all but entire freedom from passion, and
(v) Yathakyata, i.e. ideal and passionless conduct.
These five kinds of conduct help to maintain the spiritual discipline of the ascetics,
Along with Samvara, i.e. the stoppage of the influx of Karmic matter into the soul, the ascetics have to strive to effect Nirjara, i.e. the gradual removal of Karmic matter from the soul if they have to proceed further on their path of liberation. The main way to Nirjara i.e. shedding of the Karmas, is the observance of Tapa, i.e. penance or austerities, which is included in the right conduct. Tapa, i.e. penance is twofold, viz. (a) Bahya Tapa, i.e. external austerities, referring to food and physical activities and (b) Abhyantara Tapa, i.e. internal austerities, referring to spiritual discipline. Each of these 2 types of Tapas is of six kinds.
(a) The Bahya Tapa :The six external austerities are as follows :-
(i) Anashana, i.e. fasting,
(ii) Avamodarya, i.e. eating less than one’s fill, or less ,than one has appetite for,
(iii) Vritti-Parisamkhyana, i.e. taking a mental vow to accept food from a householder only if certain conditions are fulfilled without letting any one know about the vow,
(iv) Rasa-Parityaga, i.e. daily renunciation of one or more of six kinds of delicacies namely, ghee (i.e. clarified butter), milk, curds, sugar, salt and oil.
(v) Vivikta-Shayyasana, i.e. sitting and sleeping in a secluded place, devoid of animate beings, and
(vi ) Kayaklesha, i. e. mortification of the body so long as the mind is not disturbed.
( b) The Abhyantara Tapa : The six kinds of internal austerities are :
(i) Prayashchitta, i.e. expiation or confession and repentance of sins,
(ii) Vinaya, i.e. reverence or modest behaviour,
(iii) Vaiyavrtya, rendering service to other saints,
(iv) Svadhyaya, i.e. study of scriptures,
(v) Vyutsarga, i.e. giving up attachment to the body, and
(vi) Dhyana, i.e. concentration of mind.
These external and internal penances show what a rigorous life of self-denial the ascetics have to lead. The ascetic is to sustain the body with minimum feeding and to take maximum work from it in the attainment of his spiritual ideal. In Jainism an elaborate technique of fasting has been evolved and the ascetic is trained all along his career so efficiently that when the hour of death comes, he accepts voluntary fasting and gives up the body as easily as one would throw off the old garment. The ascetic has always to take exercise in fasting by observing series of fasts differently arranged.
Among the internal penances special significance is attached to Dhyana, i.e. meditation, because it is considered as the most important spiritual exercise whereby alone the soul can make progress on the path to liberation and can destroy all the Karmas. Attachment for beneficial and aversion from harmful objects have to be given up to attain concentration of mind, which is the prerequisite of successful meditation. It is always emphasised that the Shukla Dhyana i.e. pure meditation, ultimately leads the soul to liberation because in Shukla Dhyana, an attempt is made for complete cessation of physical, verbal and mental activities. When the entire stock of Karmas is exhausted by following the rules of conduct laid down by Jaina ethics, the soul shoots up to the top of the universe where the liberated souls stay for ever.