Spiritual Teacher and Religion

Teacher: Payal, can you tell me some of the characteristics of our spiritual teachers?

Payal: I have heard that spiritual teachers are different from our regular school teachers. Is this true?

Teacher: Yes, you are right. Though both of them teach us, spiritual teachers are different from school teachers.

Shila: Can you tell me more about our spiritual teachers?

Teacher: Yes, though our spiritual teachers live among us, they are different from us in many ways.

1) They have voluntarily given up all their worldly

pleasures. This means they have given up wearing fashionable clothes, going to the movies, watching television, sleeping on soft beds, staying in an air- conditioned room, going out to eat ice cream or pizza, and going out in cars, airplane, or any other vehicle.

2) They have given up all worldly aspects and renounced their worldly life. This means that they no longer take interest in any personal matters, social functions, or economic aspects.

3) They have voluntarily taken following five vows and they will observe them for the rest of their lives.

i) Not to hurt or kill anyone (love all),

ii) Not to lie (tell the truth),

iii) Not to steal (be honest),

iv) Not to engage in any type of sexual activities (celibacy),

v) Not to accept more than their bare needs (giving up of all possessions).

When situations arise where their vows are at stake, not only do they stick to their vows, but they do not ask anyone else or encourage anyone else to do something that is contrary to their vows.)

4) Some wear plain white clothes and have Muhapati (mouth cover to protect fine living beings, some hold it in hand), and Rajoharan (little soft broom to sweep the ground to protect insects, it is also called ogho) as a symbol of being a Jain monk or nun Svetamber). There are also some monks who do not wear any clothes at all (Digambar) any carry water pot and small broom made of peacock feathers.

5) When spiritual teachers teach, they do not teach subjects like math or science, they teach us how we can be free from our unhappiness and miseries, be helpful to others, and be compassionate. In short, they help us become better human beings.

So, now you can see that our spiritual teachers are different from our school teachers.

Kavita: Sir, can you tell us about our religion and who built the foundation of it?

Teacher: Our religion was laid down by Arihant Bhagwans. They are also called Jinas or Tirthankars. Our religion is one of India’s oldest and most independent religions. Our religion teaches us to love everybody, and help those who are miserable and unhappy. We should not hurt, trouble, or kill anyone. We should be kind and friendly to everybody, and should have no hate towards anyone. We should be truthful and should not lie at anytime. Without the permission of the owner we should not take anything that does not belong to us. We should not steal. We should care more for our soul than for our body. We should learn to restrain ourselves. We should not get mad or greedy, and should not show off or deceive, others. We should tolerate other people’s views. We should learn to forgive everyone including those who have caused us pain or suffering.


1) Who are the spiritual teachers?

2) What do they teach us about Jainism?

3) What do they give up when they renounce the world?

4) What kind of vows do they take?

5) Do our monks and nuns do social work?

6) Do they keep any money?