(1)  Ahimsa Maharvrata :


Ahemsa, i.e., avoidance of Himsa, has been treated as the first of the five Mahavratas. I.e., great vows, predcribed by Jain religion and this Ahimsa Mahavrata has been defined in Ratnakaranda-sravakachara in following terms:-

ӓ֭ ֭֯˸ פ ֭֓:ֵ:

֍׸֭ß֐ß ־Ο ִ


that is, abstaining from the commission of five sins, himsa and the rest in their three forms, Krita, Karita and anumodana, with the mind, speech and the body constitutes the Maha-vrata of great ascetics.

It means that the Ahimsa Mahavrata involves the avoidance of Himsa, i.e., injury to sentient beings in every possible manner. The Himsa can be committed by three kinds of Yoga, i.e., modes of means viz., of mind, speech and body. In other words, injurious activity can be committed

a)    mentally, i.e., by mind , in thought,

b)    orally; i.e., by speech, and

c)     Physically, i.e., by body, by Acton.

In addition to these three Yogas, Himsa can be committed by three kinds of Karana, or, action, viz..

a)    Krita, i.e,. by doing it oneself,

b)    Karita, I,e., by getting it done through others, and

c)     Anumata of anumodana, i.e., by giving consent to others doing it.

Further, by the combination of these Yogas and Karanas it is clear that Himsa can be committed in 9 ways. i.e., by the application of 3 Karanas to each of the 3 Yogas. Thus, the Ahimsa can be observed in full in the following 9 ways:

1.     Mentally not to do injury oneself.

2.     Mentally not to get injury done by others,

3.     Mentally not to approve injury done by others.

4.     Orally not to do injury oneself,

5.     Orally not to get injury done by others.

6.     Orally not to approve injury done by others.

7.     Physically not to do injury oneself.

8.     Physically not to get injury done by others, and

9.     Physically not to approve injury done by others.

Obviously, in the Ahimsa Mahavrata, the Ahimsa is observed in a complete or

Full manner, i.e., in the above nine ways. Since this Ahimsa Mahavrata is extremely difficult to practise it is prescribed for the observance by the persons in the ascetic order.


(2)  Ahimsa-Anuvrata :


Taking into account the extreme severity involved in the observance of Ahimsa Mahavrata, the Jaina scriptures have prescribed the vow of Ahimsa with less degree of intensity for the observance by the householders and called it as Ahimsa Anuvrata. The authoritative sacred book Ratnakaranda-stravakachara has defined Ahimsa Anuvrata in following terms.

Ӎ֟ ֍׸ִִ֭֭ ֵ֡õ ָ֢֭ x

ß ֢֤: ãֲ֬֟ ׾ָ֝ ׭֯: xx 3/53


That is, Refraining from injuring living beings, having two or more senses, with a deliberate act of the mind, speech or body, in any of the three ways, Krita, Karita and mananat, is called Ahimsa Anu-vrata by the wise.

Thus, in Ahimsa Anuvrata, a layman does not intentionally injure ant form of life above the class of one-sensed beings (vegetables and the like), by an act of the mind, speech or body by Krita, i.e., by himself, by Karita, i.e., by inciting others to commit such an act, nor by mananat or anumodana i.e., by approving of it subsequent to its commission by others.


(3)  Meditations for Ahimsa-vrata :


With a view to strengthening the feelings of a person in relation to the observance of the Ahimsa-vrata, it has been laid down in Tattvartha-Sutra that a person try to practise the following five Bhavanas, i.e., Meditations:

1.     Vag-gupti, i.e., preservation of speech.

2.     Mano- gupti, i.e., preservation of mind,

3.     Irya, i.e., care in walking,

4.     Adana-nikshepana-samiti, i.e., care in lifting and laying down things and

5.     Alokitapana-bhojana, i.e., care in taking meals by thoroughly seeing to ones food and dirnk.

Obviously these Bhavanas or meditations encourage cautiousness in the actual observance of Ahimsa-vrata.


(4)  Transgressions of Ahimsa-vrata:


In addition to inculcating the above Bhavanas of meditations, a person is also advised to avoid the following five aticharas, i.e., defects or partial transgressions of Ahimsa-vrata.

1.     Bandha, i.e., Keeping in captivity (angrily or carelessly animals or human beings),

2.     Vadha, i.e., beating (angrily or carelessly animals or human beings)

3.     Chheda, i.e., mutilating (angrily or carelessly animals or human beings),

4.     Ati-bhararopana, i.e., overloading(angrily or carelessly animals or human beings), and

5.     Annapana-nirodha, I,e., with-holding food or drink (from animals and human beings angrily and carelessly).

Naturally the avoidance of these five aticharas, I,e., transgressions, would enable a person to practise ahimsa-varata without committing many faults.


(5)  Renunciation of Drinking Liquor :


For the observance of Ahimsa-Vrata it has been specifically laid down that a person should renounce drinking wine because, according to the sacred text of Purushartha siddhi-upaya.:

֪ ן ֭

ד֢ß ׾ôָן ִԴx

׾ôִ֬ ߾

ִ׾ֿӍָ֓ן xx 62


That is, wine stupefies the mind, one whose mind is stupefied forgets piety; and the person who forgets piety commits Himsa without hesitation. Again, it is impressed that drinking liquor leads to the commitment of Himsa because wing is the repository of many lives, which are generated in it. Similarly, it is brought home that many base passions like pride, fear, disgust, ridicule, grief, ennui, sex-passion, and anger arise due to drinking liquor and that these passions are nothing but the different aspects of Himsa.


(6)  Rejection of Eating Animal Food :


The observance of Ahimsa-vrata invariably means the total rejection of the practice of meat- eating on various grounds. In the first place, flesh cannot be procured without causing destruction of life, which is nothing but clear Himsa. Secondly, even if the flesh is procured from an animal which has met with a natural death, still Himsa is caused by due to the crushing of tiny creatures spontaneously born in that flesh. Thirdly, the pieces of flesh which are raw, or cooked, or are in the process of being cooked, are found constantly generating spontaneously- born creatures of the same genus. Hence, for these valid reasons a person must completely renounce meat eating which definitely involves Himsa.

(7)  Abandonment of use of Honey :


Along with the renunciation of wine drinking and meat eating, the giving up of use of honey is also included in the observance of Ahimsa-vrata because the use of honey in the world represents the death of bees. It is also made clear that even if a person uses honey which has been obtained by some trick from honeycomb, or which has itself dropped down from it, there is Himsa in that case also, because there is destruction to the lives spontaneously born therein.


(8)  Giving up eating of certain fruits :


As a part of the observance of Ahimsa-vrata it is enjoined that a person should give up the use for dietetic and other purposes of five kinds of fruits known as Umara, Kathumara, Pakara, Bada and Pipala as they are the breeding grounds of various living organisms. Again, if these five fruits were dry and free from mobile beings on account of passage of time, their use will cause Himsa because of the existence of an excessive desire for them.


(9)  Avoidance of killing Animals :


It is also specifically stressed that in the observance of the Ahimsa-vrata, killing of animals under various pretexts should be strictly avoided as it does involve destruction of living beings in one way or another. In the first place, a person should not sacrifice animals or birds or embodied beings with a view to please Gods by such offerings and to seek in return his desired objectives. It is emphatically stated that it is a perverse notion to think of himsa as having religious sanction and to consider that the Gods are pleased at sacrifices of living beings offered in their name. In fact it is asserted that religion is peace giving and can never encourage or sanction what gives pain to living beings.

Secondly, a person should not kill animals for pleasing the guests in the belief that there is no harm in killing goats, etc., for the sake of persons deserving respect. Such a desire is obviously not good as it involves the abominable Himsa in the form of wanton destruction of living beings.

Thirdly, a person should not kill animals like snakes, scorpions, lions, tigers etc., on the ground that by so doing a large number of lives will be saved. Such a type of killing has to be avoided because it engenders the feelings of enmity, hostility and revenge, which go against the principle of Ahimsa. Again, it is stated that as these animals always strike man in self-defence, they will not do harm to man of they are not attacked by man.

Fourthly, a person should not kill animals which are leading a severely painful life due to onslaught of certain incurable sufferings or disease on the ground that by the act of killing these animal would soon be relieved from its unbearable anguish and agony. But this kind of killing is considered not as an act of mercy but definitely as an act of Himsa.


(10)        Renouncement of Night-eating :


With a view to making the observance of Ahimsa-vrata more complete a strict injection to restrict the eating activity during the daytime only is levied. It has been laid down in the sacred Jaina text of Purusharthasiddhi-upaya that


֡ ӕ֭֭ ô֤׭־׸ ־ן x

׾ָßô֟ ֌־ סֳیָׯ 129


That is, those who take their meals at night cannot avoid Himsa. Hence, abstainers from Himsa should give up nighteating also.

It is argued that day-time is the natural time for work and for taking food. Again, food is prepared more easily, with greater care and with less probability of injury to living beings during day than at night. Further, the light of the sun makes it easy to pick out, to separate unwholesome stuff, and to remove the worms and small insects, which find place in the material for food. There are many insects which are not even visible in the strongest artificial light at night and there are also many small insects, which have a strong affinity for food stuffs, appear only during night-time. that is why it is concluded in the same sacred text as follows

؍ ϻׯ֟׸ן ֬ ֭֭֓֍ֵ : x

׸ָן סֳ܌ ִ֟֟ ֵֻן x x 134


that is, why discuss further? It is established that he who has renounced night-eating, through mind, speech or body, always observes Ahimsa . As utmost importance is attached to the practice of eating during day-time from the point of view of observance of Ahimsa, certain sacred texts like Charitra-sara consider Ratri-bhukti-tyaga, i.e., giving up eating at night, as the sixth Anuvrata, i.e., small vow, added to the prevalent set of five Anuvratas.





Along with various restrictions laid down as necessary elements in the observance of the vow of Ahimsa, certain specific virtues, reflections and controls or sufferings are also prescribed by sacred Jaina texts as supplements to the practice of Ahimsa-vrata. These supplements are.

1)    Ten kinds of Dharma,

2)    Twelve kinds of Anupreksha, and

3)    Twenty-two kinds of Parishaha-jaya,

And these are considered specifically useful in achieving Samvara, i.e., stoppage of influx of Karmic matter into the soul, which is a necessary condition to the attainment of Moksha or salvation. These supplements constitute a part of the rules of conduct prescribed for the saints. But it has been particularly mentioned that these should be followed by householders also to the best of their capacity.


(1)  Dasalakshana Dharma :

The ten noble virtues, known as Dasalakshana Dharma, are expected to be assiduously cultivated and put into actual practice during their normal life by the followers of Jainism. Since the emphasis has been laid on the translation of the virtues into practice, these ten virtues are known as ten observances also. The ten noble virtues are:

1.     Uttama-Kshama, i.e., Supreme Forgiveness of Forbearance,

2.     Uttama-Mardava, i.e., Supreme humility or tenderness,

3.     Uttama-Arjava, i.e., supreme honesty or straight forwardness,

4.     Uttama-Saucha, i.e., Supreme contentment or purity of thought and freedom from greed,

5.     Uttama-Satya, i.e. supreme truth,

6.     Uttama-Samyama, i.e., Supreme self-control or self-restraint,

7.     Uttama-Tapa, i.e., Supreme austerities,

8.     Uttama-tyaga , i.e., Supreme renunciation,

9.     Uttama-Akinchama, i.e., Supreme non-attachment or not taking the non-self for ones own self, and

10.            Uttama-Brahmacharya, i.e., Supreme chastity.


(2)  Anuprekshas :

In addition to ten noble virtues, every pious person is expected to contemplate on the following twelve Anuprekshas i.e., the ideas which must be kept at the focus of thoughts constantly.

1 Anitya Anupreksha, i.e., impermanence or in other words everything is subject to change or is transitory,

2. Asarana anupreksha, meaning without refuge or unprotectiveness or helplessness. The feelings that soul is unprotected from fruition of Karmas, for example, death, etc.

3. Samsara anupreksha, i.e., mundaneness or cycle of births and deaths. Soul moves in the cycle of existences and cannot attain true happiness till it is cut off.

4. Ekatva anupreksha, i.e., loneliness. I am alone, the doer of my actions and the enjoyer of the fruits of them.

5.Anyatva anupreksha, i.e., separateness of difference in nature. The world, my relations and friends, my body and mind, they are all-distinct and separate from my real self.

6.     Asuchi anupreksha, i.e., impurity. The body is impure and dirty.

7. Asrava anupreksha, i.e., inflow. The inflow of Karmas is the cause of my mundane existence and is the product of passions.

8. Samvara anupreksha, i.e., stoppage. The inflow of Karma must be stopped.

9. Nirijara anupreksha, i.e., shedding. The old karmic matter must be shed from or shaken out of the soul.

10. Loka anupreksha, i.e., the world or the 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.

11. Bodhi-durlabha rnupreksha, i.e., variety of religious knowledge. It is difficult to attain right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.

12. Dharma anupreksh, i.e., reflection on the nature of religious path as preached by the conquerors, namely the true nature of the three-fold path of liberation.

These twelve Anuprekshas are meditations or reflections and have to be meditated upon again and again. Sometimes these Anuprekshas are termed as Bhavanas also.

(3)  Parishaha-Jaya :


Along with the inculcation of the noble virtues and meditation of twelve reflections, every pious person must attempt at Parishaha-Jaya, i.e., the coquering of various types of Parishahas i.e., sufferings or inconveniences and pains. The parishahas are the hardships or sufferings which have to be undergone by a conscientious person for the sake of non-falling off from the path of Moksha, i.e., liberation, and for the shedding of Karmic matter from the soul. Hence Parishaha-Jaya means victory over the consciousness of pain or suffering. Such sufferings are of following 22 kinds:

1.     Kshut, i.e., Hunger,

2.     Pipasa, i.e, Thirst,

3.     Sita, i.e., Cold.

4.     Ushna, i.e., Heat,

5.     Damsamasaka, i.e., Insect-bite,

6.     Nagnya, i.e, Nakedness,

7.     Arati, i.e., Ennui or disagreeable surroundings,

8.     Stri, i.e., Sex-passion,

9.     Charya, i.e., Walking too much,

10.            Nishadya, i.e., Continuous sittings in one posture,

11.            Sayya, i.e., Resting on hard earth.

12.            Akrosa, i.e., Abuse or unpleasant and insulting language,

13.            Vadha, i.e., Beating or violence inflicted by cruel persons,

14.            Yachana, i.e., Begging or desire to beg for food, medicine, etc.,

15.            Alabha, i.e., Disappointment from not getting what one wants, e,g. food,

16.            Roga, i.e., Diseases and infirmities in the body,

17.            Tmasparsa, i.e., Thorn- pricks or pricks from the sharp grass,

18.            Mala, i.e., Dirt and impurity all over the body,

19.            Satkara-purashara, i.e., Remaining uninfluenced by praise or reward,

20.            Prajna, i.e., Pride of knowledge,

21.            Ajnana, i.e., feeling of ignorance or non-possession of knowledge, and

22.            Adarsana, i.e., slack-belief or temporary lack of faith.

For exmaple, on failure to attain supernatural powers even after great piety and austerities, to begin to doubt the faith of Jainism and its teachings.

It is laid down that these 22 sufferings should be ever endured without any feeling of vexation, by one who desires to get rid of all causes for pain.

Apart from these three types of supplements to Ahimsa-vrata which are considered useful in achieving Samvara, i.e., stoppage of influx of Karmic matter into the soul, there is one more important supplement to Ahimsa-vrata known as the Practice of Tapa, i.e., observance of austerities. These austerities are regarded as essential things for achieving Jirjara, i.e., the schedding of Karmic matter from the soul, which is a necessary condition to the attainment of Moksha, i.e., salvation. The Jaina scriptures distinguish twelve kinds os austerities, as the expedients of Nirjara, grouped together under the two headings of Bahya Tapa, i.e., external austerities, and Abhyanatara Tapa, i.e., internal austerities.


(i)               Bahya Tapa :

The six external austerities are:

1.     Anasana, i.e., periodical fasting,

2.     Avamodarya, i.e., eating less than the capacity of the stomach,

3.Vrtti-parisankhyana, i.e., putting restrictions in regard to food, for example, to accept food only if a certain condition is fulfilled,

4. Rasa-parityaga, i.e., daily renunciation of one or more of six kinds of delicacies, viz, ghee, milk, curds, sugar, salt and oil,

5. Vivika-sayyasana, i.e., sitting or sleeping in a lonely or isolated place, devoid of animate beings, and

7.     Kayaklesa, i.e., mortification of the body so long as the mind is not disturbed.


(ii)             Abhyantara Tapa :

The six internal austerities are

1.     Prayaschitta, i.e., expiation,

2. Vinaya, i.e., reverence,

3. Vaiyavrtya, i.e., service of the saints or worthy people,

4. Svadhyaya, i.e., study.

5. Vyutsarga, i.e., giving up attachment to the body, etc., and

6.     Dhyana, i.e., concentration of mind.

All these external and internal kinds of austerities are practised with the object of burning or shedding out all karmic impurities from the soul. These austerities are meant mainly for the ascetics, but it has also been injoined upon the householders to practise them to the best of their abilities.




The Ahimsa-vrata, i.e., the vow of Ahimsa, has not only been elaborated in theory in Jaina scriptures, as outlined above, but it has also been implemented in practice to a very large extent by the followers of Jainism both ascetics and householders. It has been enjoined upon the ascetics to observe the Ahimsa-vrata as a Mahavrata, I, e., a great vow, and this religious injunction has been very meticulously observed from ancient times to the present day by the Jaina Sadhus and Sadhvis, i.e., monks and nuns. However, the Jaina scriptures, from the practical point of view, allowed the Sravakas and the Sravikas, i.e., the male and female sections of the laity, viz., the householders, to observe the Ahimsa-vrata as an Anuvrata, i.e., a small vow. As such , the householders were required to observe the Ahimsa-vrata with comparatively less severity but at the same time without transgressing the basic tenets of Ahimsa. Naturally this fundamental requirement made it necessary for the householders to put a number of restrictions on their economic, social, cultural and other activities connected with their livlihood and maintenance. This kind of specific implementation of Ahimsa-vrata can be very clearly noticed from the practical restrictions and conventions actually followed by the Jaina householders in their activities like occupations and professions, food and drink, and dress and decoration.


(1)   Occupations and Professions.

From the present state of Jainas it appears that a predominantly large majority of them is engaged in some kind of business. They are known as Baniyas or Vaniyas and are included under the Vaisyas. The predominance of Vaisya is, historically speaking, a comparatively recent development because in ancient times Jainas were found in all classes and especially among the Kshatriyas. But due to various reasons the number of Jainas in other classes gradually dwindled and in consequence we now notice that the followers of Jainism are mainly Vaisyas.

The rules of conduct for laymen lay down that a person should follow some kind of business or profession in a just and honest wqay for the maintenance of his avocation is that it must not be of an ignoble or degrading nature in the sense that it must not be of and ignoble or degrading nature in the sense that it should not involve wholesale destruction of life. The prohibited businesses are those of butchers, fishermen, brewers, wine-merchants, gun-makers and the like. The Jaina Scriptures mention fifteen varieties of business enterprises which involve great injury to living beings and hence the Jaina laymen are required to avoid them. They are such as those involving great use of fire, cutting of trees or plants, castrating bullocks, clearing of jungles by employment of fire, drying up lakes, rivers, etc.

It is generally believed that the main principle of Jainism, namely, Ahimsa or not hurting any living being, bars the Jainas from becoming the agriculturists or soldiers. But this is not the case. The first Tirthankara, Lord Rshbhadeva asked the people to follow six kinds of professions for their maintenance and both the professions of an agriculturist and of a soldier were included in them. Apart from this, we come across numerous reference pertaining to agriculture was not forbidden to Jainas. At present the main occupation of the Jainas in Karnataka is that of agriculture. In regard to them it is stated that except some of the larger landholders who keep farm-servants the Jaina land holders, with the help of their women, do all parts of field work with their own hands. They are considered as the hardest working husbandmen who make use of every advantage of soil and situation. Even in Gujaratha where the Jainas are mainly traders and industrialists, there are some Jainas whose occupation is only agriculture. From the fact that even in the days of Lord Rshabha, the first Tirthankara, rules were made, among other things, regarding politics, warfare and archery show that the Jainas were not averse to fighting as such. In the past many Jainas were in the fighting forces of the state as can be seen from a large number of Jaina generals and warriors, and even now some are employed in the defence forces of India, and are occupying responsible positions.

The Jainas follow practically all sorts of avocations but they are mainly money- lenders, bankers, jewellers, cloth-merchants, grocers and recently industrialists. As they hold the key positions in all these occupations, it is no wonder that a large proportion of mercantile wealth of India passes through their hands. Apart from occupations, Jainas have taken to professions also. They are found mainly in legal, medical, engineering and teaching profession and nowadays many Jainas are holding important responsible positions in various departments of the Central and State Government.

(2)   Food and Drink.

The Janis are very particular regarding their food and drink. Since the ethical code of the Jainas is based on the main principle of Ahimsa, we find its thorough application in the matters of food and drink also. It has already been noticed that every householder is required to posses Ashta Mulagunas or eight fundamental virtues, which are the observance of the five anuvratas and abstinence from the use of flesh, wine and honey. The injunction against eating flesh of any living being is quite obvious. The Jainas do not take food, which involves the slaughter of animals, fishes, birds, or anything that has five or less sense organs. That is why they have to abstain from eating Kandamulas, that is, underground stems and roots like potatoes. Onions, garlic, reddish, turnip, carrot, beet-roots etc. which are supposed to contain a multitude of small insects. Similarly, they must not eat fruits of Gular, Anjeer, Pipal, Pakar and Banyan which are the birth place of mobile beings. Further, it necessary for a Jaina to take his meals during daytime because Himsa is in enevitable when food is prepared or taken in the absence of sunlight. Therefore the Jainas have to renounce night-eating throughout the year and those who cannot do so all the time, at least do it during the Chaturmasa or the four months of rainy season when there is a large growth of insect. Again, the for food, with a view to exclude as tenderly as possible any of the tiny living creatures which might be found in or on it. In the same way as a Jainas have been enjoined to strain or filter water, milk, juice, or any liquid drink before use. It must be said to the credit of the Jainas that they do observe very scrupulously all these rules regarding food. It is the outstanding feature of Jainsa throughout India that they are strictly vegetarians, never eat at night, and always use strained water. It is said that when a Jaina traveller wishes to quench his thirst at a tank or stream, he covers his mouth with cloth, stoops down, and thus drinks by suction. This cleanly custom is highly recommended for use everywhere.


Along with flesh, wine and all kinds of intoxicants, or even stimulants, are prohibited. They are not considered necessary for the life and well-being of the body. Wine is the birth place of many beings which are generated in liquor and hence those who are addicted to wine, necessarily commit Himsa. Further, it is stated that wine sutpifies the mind, one whose mind is stupified forgets piety, and the person who forgets piety commits Himsa without hesitation. Similarly, pride, fear, disgust, ridicule, ennui, grief, sex-passion, anger etc. are all forms of Himsa and all these are concomitants of wine. Like wine, honey is also prohibited because it is considered that even the smallest drop of honey very often represents the death of bees. If one uses honey which has been obtained by some trick from honey-comb or which has itself dropped down from it, one necessarily commits Himsa in this case also, because of the destruction of creatures of spontaneous birth born there. In the same strain the Jainas have been advised not to use stale butter as after a lapse of some time the butter becomes a birth-place of small beings due to extreme fermentation.

As regards the question of food and drink one thing must be remembered. Jainism admits that only liberated souls are in a position to observe complete non-injury and that mundane souls have to commit Himsa for their maintenance as life thrives only on life. Though Himsa is unavoidable in the sustenance of life, Jainism, by rules of conduct, tries to limit it for essential purposes only. The rules of conduct never sanction injury, but they try to restrict it to the lowest possible minimum, by taking into account the gradations of injured living beings. The higher the stage of development of the injured being is, (i.e., the closer it has approached the state of perfection), the heavier the sin of the injury committed is considered to be. Thus, from the practical point of view, the sin of hurting a plant is smaller than that of hurting an animal, the sin of hurting an animal is smaller than that on hurting a human being, etc. From this standpoint, it can be understood why Jainism forbids flesh0eating, and, on the other hand, objects little to the eating of vegetables. Therefore, what is enjoined on Jainas is simply this. Do not destroy life, unless it is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a higher kind of life.


(3) Dress and Decoration:

The Jainas are required to pursue the path of Ahimsa in the matter of dress also. They have not to wear the furs and the plumes that are obtained by torturing their owners-animals and birds. For the same reason the use of silken and woollen garments is prohibited for all Jainas. Here we can mark the difference between the Hindus and the Jainas. The Hindus do not consider silk as impure and they use silken garments at the time of worshipping or taking their meals. It is necessary for Jainas to restrict the use of leather goods to the minimum. They have to avoid all leather articles meant for decoration, for example, tiger-skin, deer-skin, etc., and are required to use substitutes for leather goods wherever it is possible, for example, belts, purses, straps for watches, etc., where the use of leather goods is unavoidable they have to see that leather is procured from naturally dead animals and not from slaughtered animals.

One of the rules of conduct meant for laymen lays down that a Jaina should dress according to his means, and if he has the means to dress extravagantly, still he should not do so. This means that Jainas should not care much for their dress with a view to look more beautiful. According to them the clothes should be sobre, though not sombre, and they should not aim at displaying bodily contour, to excite the passions of the beholder.







The Ahimsa-vrata, i.e., the vow of Ahimsa, has to be implemented into actual practice, both by the ascetics and the householders, in accordance with the detailed rules laid down for these two major sections of the society because the Jaina scriptures have given maximum importance to the day to day observance of rigth conduct consisting of five main vows, three Guna-vratas, i.e., multiplicative vows, and four Siksha-vratas, i.e., disciplinary vows, with a view to achieving salvation, the aim of life of every individual, and have assigned the first position to the vow of Ahimsa. The five vows form the basis on which the superstructure of Jaina ethics has been raised. They give a definite outlook of life and create a particular type of mental attitude. The very essence of Jaina philosophy is transferred into action in the shape of observance of the five main vows. It is clear that five main vows are in the form of abstentions from or avoidance of certain bad things or faults in the following manner:

1. Ahimsa is the abstention from injury,

2. Satya is the abstention from falsehood,

3. Achaurya is the abstention from theft,

4. Bramacharya is the abstention from unchastity, and

5. Aparigraha is the abstention from worldly attachments.

Further, three things are enjoined in the matter of avoidance of these five faults. In the first place, a person should not incite others to commit such personally, secondly, a person should not even approve of it subsequent to its commission by others. Moreover, even though these five faults are metioned separately, still it can be noticed that the utmost significance has been attached to the avoidance of the first fault of Himsa, i.e., injury and that the remaining four faults of falsehood, theft, unchastity and wordly attachments are considered as mere different forms of varieties of Himsa, i.e., injury. Obviously, the concept of Ahimsa, i.e., avoidance of injury becomes very wide, inclusive and comprehensive.

(i) Ahimsa and Satya


Speaking Satya, i.e., truth, is the observance of Ahimsa because Asatya, i.e., falsehood is considered as Himsa., i.e., injury according to sacred Jaina texts. In the standard Jaina work Purusharthasiddhi-upaya, the definition and nature of falsehood are given in the following manner;


פ ϴ֤֤֤׳֭֬ ׾֬ߵ֟ ׍ׯ

ִ֤ׯ ׾֖ ֤: ۭ ָ֟ :


that is, wherever any wrong statement is made though PramadaYoga, i.e., careless activity of mind, speech or body, it is certainly known as falsehood. Further, falsehood is divided into four kinds:

1. The first kind of falsehood is making a statement by which the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time, and nature is denied, e. g., to say a particular person is not here (when he is present).

2. The second kind of falsehood is making a statement to the effect that a particular thing exists, where that thing does not exist with reference to the position, time, and nature of other objects, e.g., to say a pitcher is here (when it is not actually there).

3. The third kind of falsehood is that where an existing thing is represented as something different from what it really is, e.g., when a horse is said to be a cow.

4. The fourth kind of falsehood consists of three types of speaking viz.,

(a) Garhita, i.e., condemnable,

(b) Savadya, i.e., sinful, and

(c) Apriya, i.e., disagreeable.

The Garhita (i.e. condemnable) speech is said to be all that which is back-biting, unbecoming, ridiculous speech with the use of harsh language and violent words. Besides, useless gossiping and using language which incites unfounded beliefs and superstitions comes under this category of condemnable speech. The Savadya (i.e. sinful) speech comprises all speech that leads to destruction of life by piercing, beating, cutting, stealing, etc. The Apriya (i.e. disagreeable) speech is that which in the minds of other persons, creates feelings of uneasiness, fear, pain, hostility, grief, etc.

Thus, the Pramata-yoga, i.e., the vibrations due to the passions which agitate mind, speech or body, is invariably present in all these four kinds of falsehood. Hence, Himsa is certainly involved in falsehood because Pramatta-yoga is the cause of Himsa.

(ii) Ahimsa and Achaurya :


Like Satya, Achaurya, i.e., not committing theft, is also Ahimsa, i.e., non-injury, because every theft includes Himsa just as every kind of falsehood includes Himsa. According to the Jaina scriptures, the taking, by Pramatta-yoga, of things without they being given by the owner, is to be deemed as theft and that is invariably Himsa because it is the cause of injury. It is obvious that the person who thinks of stealing, injures the purity of his own soul, suffers pain of punishment if detected and causes pain to the others whom he deprives them of their thing. Again, in this world all transient things (or forms of property) constitute the external Pranas, i.e., vitalities of a man. Hence, depriving a person of his property is tantamount to depriving that person of his Pranas and this is nothing but Himsa.

Thus all theft insludes Himsa. In fact there is no exclusivity between Himsa and theft and it can very well be maintained that Himsa is certainly included in theft, because in taking what belongs to others, there is the presence of Pramatta yoga, which is the cause of Himsa.


(ii) Ahimsa and Brahmacharya :


In the same strain as Satya and Achaurya, the Brachmacharya is also considered as Ahimsa, because Abramha is a kind of Himsa. The term Abramha refers to the copulation arising from sexual passion and this act is Himsa in two ways. In the first place, many living beings are deprived of their vitalities in the vagina in the sexual act, just as a hot rod of iron, when it is introduced in a tube filled with sesamum seeds, burns them up. Secondly, psychical life is affected because of the emergence of sexual passion, and so also the material Pranas, i.e, vitalities, are affected owing to the lethargic condition consequent upon copulation.

Obviously, unchastity is a form of Himsa and as such persons are advised to give up their sex-desire altogether. But it is possible only for the ascetics to do so. Therefore, it is enjoined upon a householder to observe the vow of Brahmacharya to a limited extent by total abstinence from all sexual desires with reference to females other than his own wife.

(iv) Ahimsa and Aparigraha :


Aparigraga, i.e., abstention from worldly attachments, is regarded as Ahimsa, because Parigraha, i.e., attachment is a from of Himsa, i.e., injury. Broadly speaking Parigraha is of two kinds, viz.,


(a) Abhyantara Parigraha, i.e, internal attachment, and

(b) Bahya Parigraha, i.e, external attachment.


The internal attachments of possessions are recognized to be of fourteen kinds, namely, preverted belief, laughter, indulgence, ennui, sorrow, fear, disgust, anger, pride, deceit, greed and desire for sexual enjoyment with man, with woman and with both. The external attachments or possessions are of two kinds with reference to the living and the non-living objects.

Both the internal external types of Parigraha can never preclude Himsa. Internal attachment, the desire for many things, prejudicially affects the purity of the soul, and this injury to the pure nature of the soul constitutes Himsa. Similarly, external attachment or the actual possession of living and non-living objects creates attraction and love for them, which defiles purity of the soul and therefore amounts to Himsa. As a consequence, in the interest of the practice of the principle of Ahimsa, persons are advised to give up both the internal and external kinds of attachments. But it is not possible for the householders to renounce all Parigraha completely. Hence it is enjoined upon the householders to limit the extent of their Parigraha to a predetermined amount of wealth, cattle, servants, buildings, etc. That is why the Anu-vrata, i.e, the small vow of Aparigraga, i.e., non-attachment, is also termed as Parigraha-parimana Anu-vrata, i.e., the small cow of limited attachments.


(v) Ahimsa and Sila-vratas :


Along with the observance of five main vows, known as Anu-vratas, a householder is expected, according to Jaina scriptures, to follow seven Sila-vratas, i.e., supplementary vows, consisting of three guna-vratas, i.e., multiplicative vows and four Siksha-vratas, i.e., disciplinary vows. In the Jaina scriptures sufficient emphasis has also been laid even on the practice of these Sila-vratas, i.e., the supplementary vows, since these vows perform the important work of giving protection to the first Anu-vratas just as the encircling walls guard towns. Further, as the Anu-vratas are centred round the basic doctrine of Ahimsa, similarly Sila-vratas consisting of Guna-vratas and Siksha-vratas, also are purposefully devised with a view to giving necessary support to the observance of Ahimsa to the maximum extent possible. Obviously, on the lines of Anu-vratas, the Sila-vratas also help to make Ahimsa more comprehensive.


(vi) Ahimsa and Guna-vratas :


The Guna-vratas are multiplicative vows since they raise the value of five main vows or Anu-vratas. The Guna-vratas include the following three Vratas : (a) the Dig-vratas, (b) the Desa-vrata, and (c) the Anarthadanda-vrata.


(a) The Dig-vrata involves taking a life-long vow to limit ones worldly activities to fixed points in all ten directions, viz, Up, Down, North, South, East, West, North-West, South-East and South-West. A householder has to fix the limits in these directions on the basis of certain wellknown objects and then to carry out all his activities within these determined limits. Obviously, as the householders activities are confined within limited directions, his observance of Ahimsa Beyond these limits becomes complete since he does not indulge in carrying out any activity there.

(b) The Desa-vrata involves taing a life-long vow to confine ones wouldly activities to the prescribed smaller specific areas within the limits of directions already fixed in accordance with the observance of the vow of Dig-vrata. Thus, the Desa-vrata means that a householder shall, during a certain period of time, carry out his activities within a very limited area consisting of a certain village, market, street, or house and shall have nothing to do with the objects beyond this inner limit. As a consepuence, the pure-minded householder, who thus confines the inner extent of his activities, does achieve the observance of absolute Ahimsa for that time by renouncing all Himsa possible in the vast space which has been given up according to this Vrata.

(c) The Anarthadanda-Vrata involves taking a vow not to commit purposeless sins. As a part of this vow it has been laid down in the scriptures that a householder should avoid following things.


1) Apadhyana, i.e., evil thinking,

2) Papopadesa, i.e., evil instruction,

3) Pramadacharya, i.e. careless dealing,

4) Himsadana, i.e., gifts of instruments of offence,

5) Duh-sruti, hearing evil and

6) Dyuta, i.e., gambling.

In elaboration of these sinful things, the following restrictions have been placed on the behaviour of householders :


1. One should never think of hunting, victory, defeat, battle, adultery, theft, etc., because these things only lead to sin.

2. Sinful advice should never be given to persons living upon art, trade, writing, agriculture, arts, and crafts, service and industry.

3. One should not without reason dig ground, uproot trees, trample lawns, sprinkle water, and pluck leaves, fruits and flowers.

4. One should be careful not to give instruments of Himsa, such as knife, poison, fire, plough, sword, bow, etc.

5. One should not listen to, accept or teach such bad stories as increase attachments, etc., and are full of absurdities.

6. One should renounce gambling even from a distance because it is the first of all evils, the destroyer of contentment, the home of deceit, and the abode of theft and falsehood.

Obviously, it has been emphasised that he who deliberately renounces all these and other unneccessary sins, leads his Ahimsa vow ceaselessly upto admirable victory.


(vii) Ahimsa and Siksha-vratas :


The Siksha-vratas are disciplinary vows since they are aimed to prepare the householder for the discipline of an ascetic life and are meant to strengthen the five main vows or Anu-vratas. The Siksha-vratas include four Vratas, viz., (a) Samayika, (b) Proshadhopavasa, (c) Upabhoga-paribhoga-parimana, and (d) Atithi-samvibhaga.

(a) Samayika means taking a vow to devote particular time every day to contemplation of the self for spiritual advancement. It teaches a person to be equanimous, that is, to be indifferent to love or hate, pain or pleasure, loss or gain, etc. This attitude of equanimity makes the observance of Ahimsa more complete as Samayika involves the absence of all sinful activities.

(b) Proshadhopavasa means taking a vow to fast on four days of the month, namely, the two 8th and the two 14th days of the lunar fortnight. Such regular fasting helps the practice of Samayika, i.e., equanimity, Dhyana, i.e., spiritual meditation, and Svadhaya, i.e., self-study. Obviously, such observance of fasting secures the merit of Ahimsa in completeness for that period.

(c) Upabhoga-paribhoga-parimana means taking a vow to limit ones enjoyment of consumable and non-consumable things. It involves putting restrictions on or giving up the use of vegetables, fruits, food etc., containing infinite number of lives and limiting use of things like clothes, furniture, etc. It also entails giving up the sins of falsehood, sexual impurity, ect., It is also laid down that the enjoyment of things should be limited to fixed days and nights, and within these limits further limits of enjoyment for fixed hours should be made. In this way a graduated course of renunciation, progressing with rising capacity and clear knowledge is prescribed. Hence it is specifically stated in Purusharthasiddhi-upaya that


ן : ׸״ֳ֟ : ӟ™ß֕ן ָ֭ ֭

ָ׾ָ֟ õ ׾׿™ õ֟


that is, he who being thus contented with a few limited enjoyments, renounces the vast majority of them, observes Ahimsa par-excellence because of abstention from considerable Himsa. Thus, by the practice of this Siksha-vrata, the observance of Ahimsa becomes more and more extensive.

(d) Atithi-Samvibhaga means taking a vow to take ones food only after feeding proper persons like ascetics, pious householders, etc., The food offered should be such as is helpful to studies and to the due observance of austerities. Again, food is to be offered to the true believers and that too without any expectation of worldly benefits. Such a gift of food is, in fact, an act of Ahimsa, as it is an antithesis of greed which is Himsa. Thus, giving a gift amounts to Ahimsa because it is a concomitant of self-purification of the giver and helps in the spiritual advancement of the donee.










The sacred Jaina texts have not only propounded the comprehensive and all inclusive character of the doctrine of Ahimsa and revealed how the basic principle of Ahimsa is present in all the five main and seven supplementary vows prescribed for the observance of Jaina householders, but have also stressed emphatically the dire necessity of exercising utmost care by the Jaina householders in the actual observance of Ahimsa in their daily life. It has been specifically laid down that the prescribed twelve vows should be observed both in proper spirit and action. In this connection it has been recommended to avoid the mental and behavioural faults or defects in the observance of the Vratas, i.e., vows. These defects are mentioned as follows :


ן֍ ֿ֭ר׭ :

ן֍ ׾ֵ׳ֻ :

֣ןָ֓ ִֻ֟

և. ʭָ֓״ Οִ֭



that is, In the observance of vows, when there is loss of purity of mind, it is called atikrama, i.e., contravention; when there is craving for sensual pleasure, it is said to be vyatikrama, i.e., violation; when there is laxity or idleness, it is known as atichara, i.e., transgression; and when there is, in fact, a breach or break, it is termed as anachara, i.e., immorality or improper conduct.

In these categories of faults or defects, special prominence has been given to the avoidance of aticharas so as to make the observance of Ahimsa more complete and at the same time more meaningful. The main purpose of this injunction is to maintain the purity of the Ahimsa in all its aspects and phases involved in the twelve vows. It is emphasised that for the maintenance of sanctity of Ahimsa every vow should be observed with great care and zeal, since only such vows can bear desired fruits, and serve as a means to the moral and the spiritual upliftment. That is why extreme carefulness in the practice of Ahimsa has been strongly advocated and with this end in view the Jaina scriptures have particularly laid down the five kinds of aticharas, i.e., transgressions, of each of the twelve vows and have specifically enjoined upon the householders to avoid these aticharas. The most authoritative Jaina sacred text Tattvarthadhigama-sutra has given a list of five aticharas, i.e., transgressions, of each of the five main vows, i.e., Anuvratas, and seven supplementary vows, i.e., Sila-vratas.


(1) Vow of Ahimsa :

The partial transgressions of the first vow of Ahimsa Anuvrata are

(i) Bandha, i.e., keeping in captivity (angrily or carelessly animals or human beings),

(ii) Vadha, i.e., beating (angrily or carelessly animals or human beings),

(iii) Chheda, i.e., mutilating (angrily or carelessly animals or human being,)

(iv) Ati-bhararopana, i.e., with-holding food or drink (from animals and human beings angirly or carelessly.)

(2) Vow of Satya :

The partial transgressions of the second vow of Satya Anuvrata are :

(i) Mithyopadesa, i.e., preaching false doctriness,

(ii) Rahobhyakhyana i.e., divulhing the secret (actions of man and woman),

(iii) Kutalekhakriya, i.e., forgery (and perjury),

(iv) Nyasapahara, i.e, unconscientious dealing by means of speech (for example, when A deposits Rs. 1000/- with B; and later on thinking that he has deposits Rs. 900/- demands Rs. 900/-, back and on this demand when B returns Rs. 900/- only, then the transgression of Nyasapahara takes place).

(v) Sakara-mantrabheda, i.e, divulging what one guesses by seeing the behaviour ro gestures of others, who are consulting in private.


(3) Vow of Achaurya :

The partial transgressions of the third vow Achaurya Anuvrata are :

(i) Stenaprayoga, i.e, abetment of theft,

(ii) Tadahrtadana, i.e, receiving stolen property,

(iii) Viruddha-rajyatikrama, i.e, illegal traffic

(e.g., selling things to alien enemies or at inordinate prices in time or war),

(iv) Hinadhika-manonmana, i.e. false weight and measures, and

(v) Pratirupaka-vyavahara, i.e., aduteration.

(4) Vow of Brahmacharya :

The partial transgressions of the fourth vow Brahmacharya Anuvrata are :-

(i) Paravivaha-Karana i.e., bringing about the marriages of people who are not of ones family;

(ii) Itvarika-aparigrahitagamana, i.e., inter-course with a married immoral woman,

(iii) Itvarika-aparigrahitagamana, i.e., inter-course with an unmarried immoral woman,

(iv) Ananga-Krida, i.e., unnatural sexual intercourse, and

(v) Kamativrabhnivesa, i.e., intense sexual desire.


(5) Vow of Aparigraha :

The partial transgressions of the fifth vow Aparigraha Anuvrata are in the nature of violation of the limits improsed on the possession between five pairs of things, namely,

(i) Kshetta-Vastu, i.e., Land and Houses,

(ii) Hiranya-Suvarna, i.e., Silver and Gold,

(iii) Dhana-Dhanya, i.e., Cattle and Corn,

(iv) Dasi-Dasa, i.e., Female and Male servants, and

(v) Kupya-Bhanda, i.e., Clothes and Utensiles.


(6) Vow of Digvrata :

The partial transgressions of the first Silavrata, viz., Digvrata are

(i) Urdhva-vyatikrama, i.e., to go up higher than the limit in the vow,

(ii) Adh-vyatikrama, i.e., to go lower than the limit in the vow,

(iii) Tiryag-vyatikrama, i.e., to go lower the limit in the vow,

(iv) Kshetra-vrddhi, i.e., to increase the boundaries of the directions beyond the limit in the vow,

(v) Smri-antaradhana, i.e., forgetting the limit in the vow.


(7) Vow of Desavrata :

The partial transgressions of the second Silvrata, viz., Desavrata are :

(i) Anayana, i.e., ordering for things from beyond the limits,

(ii) Preshyaparayoga, i.e., sending an agent beyond the limit,

(iii) Sabdanupata, i.e., drawing attention by making sound,

(iv) Rupanupata, i.e., drawing attention by making gestures and signs, and

(v) Pudgalakshepa, i.e., throwing articles beyond the limit.


(8) Vow of Anartha-dandavrata :

The partial transgressions of the third Silavrata, viz, Anarthadandavrata are :

(i) Kandarpa, i.e., uttering obscure words,

(ii) Kautkuchya, i.e., gesticulating with obscure words,

(iii) Maukharya, i.e., gossip,

(iv) Asamikshyadhikarana, i.e., acting unthinking, and

(v) Upabhoga-paribhoganarthakya, i.e., accumulating too many consumable and non-consumable objects.


(9) Vow of Samayika :

The partial transgressions of the fourth Silavrata, viz., Samayika are :

(i) Mano-dushpranidhanam, i.e., misdirection of mind during meditation,

(ii) kaya-dushpranidhanam, i.e., misdirection of body during meditation,

(iii) Vak-dushpranidhanam, i.e., misdirection of speech during meditation,

(iv) Anadara, i.e., lack of interest, and

(v) Smrutyanupasthana, i.e., forgetting of due formalities.


(10) Vow of Proshdhopavasa :

The partial transgressions of the fifth Silavrata, viz., Proshadhopavasa, are :

(i) Apratyavekshita-apramarjita-utsarga, i.e, passing excretion on the ground without examining and sweeping it,

(ii) Apratyavekshita-apramarjita-adana, i.e. laying down things in a place without examining and sweeping it.,

(iii) Apratyavekshita-apramarjita-samstaropakramana, i.e, making bed or seat in a place without examining and sweeping it,

(iv) Anadara, i.e., showing lack of interest or enthusiasum (in the obligatory duties on account of feeling hunger), and

(v) Smrtyanupasthana, i.e., forgetting of due formalities (or lack of concentration).


(11) Vow of Upabhoga-paribhoga-parimana :

The partial transgressions of the sixth Silavrata, viz., Upabhogh-paribhoga-parimana, are:

(i) Sachitta-ahara, i.e., eating articles having life (e.g., green vegetables),

(ii) Sachitta-sambandha-ahara, i.e., eating articles in contact with those having life (e.g. using a green leaf as a plate),

(iii) Sachitta-sammisra-ahara. i.e., eating articles mixed with those having life,

(iv) Abhishava-ahara, i.e. eating aphrodisiacal articles (e.g., fermented and exciting, food), and

(v) Dhupakva-ahara, i.e., eating articles not well-cooked.


(12) Vow of Atithisamvibhaga

The partial transgressions of the seventh Silavrata, viz., Atithi-samvibhaga, are

(i) Sachitta-nikshepa, i.e., placing food on things having life (e.g., on a green plantain leaf),

(ii) Sachitta-apidhana, i.e., covering food with things having life,

(iii) Para-vyapadesa, i.e., delegation of hosts duties to another,

(iv) Matsarya, i.e., lack of respect in giving or jealousy towards another donor, and

(v) Kalatikrama, i.e., not serving meal at the proper time.

From the description of the five aticharas, i.e., transgressions, of the five main and seven supplementary vows it is quite obvious that householders have been enjoined to observe their twelve vratas or vows in such a way that they would avoid the five aticharas, i.e., the transgressions of each of these vows. Since these twelve vows are designed so as to strengthen and fortify the doctrine of Ahimsa, the avoidance of aticharas, i.e., transgressions, of these vows makes the observance of Ahimsa as faultless as possible. Thus, the necessity of giving importance to carefulness in the observance of Ahimsa has always been impressed on the minds of the householders with a view to making the actual practice of these vows as correct as possible.