The Six Essentials
(Religious discourse is in progress in the temple. The preacher is speaking and the listeners are hearing attentively.)
Preacher – All the creatures of this world like to be happy and are afraid of grief. They try their best to save themselves from this grief, but they do not know the correct remedy of getting rid of grief and so they remain unhappy.
Listener I -Then what is the real remedy of saving oneself from grief’?
Preacher -To understand the soul and absorb ourselves therein is the real remedy and in fact that is our essential duty.
Listener II –You have begun to talk of the monks. What should we householders do to gain true happiness?
Preacher -Remedy to destroy grief and obtain real happiness is common to all. It is another thing that monks by dint of their strong determination achieve greater happiness and householders according to their background achieve partial happiness.
The householder with true faith, who treads over this path, has auspicious inclinations also along with the essentials associated with partial sublimation. These are called external essentials. They are six in kind : (1) worship of God (2) devotion towards the monk (3) self-study (4) abstinence (5) penance and (6) charity.
Listener – Please explain these in brief.
Preacher – The partial purity of the householder with true faith is real psychic worship of God and recitation of his qualities after comprehending the real nature of God is external worship. The householder worships God, offering eight substances, reflecting upon the great attributes of non-attachment, omniscience and other perfect qualities and that is called external worship.
Likewise partial purity of the householder having right faith is psychic devotion towards the monks and to reflect upon the attributes of the monks after understanding their real nature is their external devotion. You have been told before that the Arahantas and the Siddhas are called Gods, while the Acharyas, Upadhyayas and Sadhus are all monks.
Partial purity befitting the householder with faith, is psychic self-study and to study the scriptures expounding the fundamentals of Jainism and to reflect upon them is external self-study.
Listener – So 1 have known the three essentials. What are the other three?
Preacher – Partial purity of the soul befitting a householder with real faith is psychic abstinence and its accompaniments of non-violence and control of senses are external abstinence.
The partial purity of the soul of the householder i.e. the avoidance of merits and demerits is psychic penance and the consequent auspicious inclinations for fasting etc. are external penance.
The partial purity, suitable to the householder, is psychic charity i.e. giving purity to our own beings and to give money etc. to others that is for the good of the giver and those who receive these, is external charity. It is of four kinds : (i) gift of food (ii) gift of knowledge (iii) gift of medicines and (iv) gift of fearlessness.
Listener – What is the difference between the psychic essentials and the external ones?
Preacher – Psychic essentials are pure religious tendencies that remove bondage, and external essentials are causes of merit bondage. Psychic essentials are of those householders alone, who have real consciousness. Desire to worship God and perform other essentials also arise in the minds of householder, not having real consciousness. On account of mild passions and merits, such householders have merit bondage, but that is not real religion of the soul.
Listener If you preach like that, householders not having correct consciousness will discard the essentials like worship of God etc.
Preacher – Expounding religious truths is for the upliftment of the soul. If people discard essentials like worship of God and tread on wrong paths, they will face demerits. Therefore, it is not desirable to stop worship of God etc.
Dr. H.C. Bharill