Significance of Sravakacara


Significance of Sravakacara


Ethical Discipline in Jainism The Lay Doctrine

In the introductory part of this Series of Lectures we have noted that Jainism is a significant religion among those born and cradled in India and outside too. As Svami Samantabhadra stated some fifteen hundred years ago, ‘it is a way of progressive life for all’: sarvodayam tirth-amidam,25l its goal being the realisation of perfection, liberation or salvation. The course of such life is chalked out with two- fold ethical discipline: one for monks, known as yatyacara and the other for householders, known as Sravakacara. And we have had, so far, a critical view of the latter consisting of certain select individual and social virtues, moral commandments and spiritual precepts termed as samyaktva–the right faith, the asta-mula-gunas eight basic virtues, the twelve vratas–vows or rules of conduct and the supplementary sallekhana voluntary termination of life by abstaining from food. Now let us glean the significant elements and implications from the constituents of this ethical discipline or the lay doctrine, which happens to be unique with values of varied kinds and magnitudes–religious, spiritual, social, economic, political and humanistic.

Jaina Sangha–an Ideal Social Organization

At the outset it is very important to note that the Jina’s (T1rthankara’s) making the ford (tirtha) or laying down the path of progressive life was con-commitant and coextensive with his social organization viz, the formation of the four-fold Jaina Sangha with the sadhu — monk, the sadhvi — nun, the sravaka — layman and the sravaki — lay woman, who were enjoined with certain respective duties, responsibilities and previleges, which could fuse the two polaristic patterns of life i e., the monastic life and the lay life, with interdependence and complementarity at all levels–religious, spiritual, social and economic. To elucidate the point once again, there could be no sustenance of monastic life without the laity and no continuation of the Sacred Law with-out the monks. Thus the lay section, along with the socio-economic responsibility, was also entrusted with religio-spiritual previlege. This phenomenon gave the system strength and solidarity, not admitting fundamental changes from within and dangers from without; and it also assured continuity and survival till today, unlike in the case of other unorthodox sect viz., Buddhism that disappeared from the land of its birth 252

Samyagdristi– The Right Faith

The next significant element that draws our attention is regarding “samyaktva or samyag-drsti–the right faith in the seven principles that constitute the dogmas of Jainism, or faith in the truths enunciated by the Jina. Such faith is not only the first and the pilot (karnadhara) of the trio of jewels (ratnatraya), it is also the foundation or basic requirement (mula vatthu) of the twelve-fold code of conduct (dvadasa vidha-dharma) of the householder. The term sraddha- one who has faith in the words of the Jina as preached by the teacher used in the svetambara tradition (for Sravaka or upasaka), also indicates the implication of samyaktva.

In the day-to-day practical life, faith means persuasion or conviction of mind in respect of an object or ideal to be acquired through one’s efforts. Even modern psychology has shown with experiments and results that faith helps to build a strong will and serves as an incentive to action. Hence it has in it the key to success in any undertaken work, to the solution of personal and social problems and to any cure of malady in general.

Recognizing such far reaching value of faith in general, the Jaina Seers, giving it a specific connotation, have made it a preliminary essential on the eve of the householder’s starting of his journey on the path of perfection; or rather they have raised it to the status of a vow, with its qualities, defects and transgressions duly defined and explained at length in numerous treatises on the lay life.

Some of the constituent qualities or excellences of samyaktva, like anukampa — compassion, vatsalya — loving kindness, nisanka — freedom from fear, sthairya — firmness, prabhavana — doing good work etc., go to build not only a righteous personality of the layman, but also make him a worthy member of a healthy society. Under the category of defects of Samyaktva, the mudha-drsti–stupid angle of vision is worthy of note. Through interesting explanations and interpretations of the three mudhatas253— stupid ideas beliefs etc. viz., deva-mudhata,254 pasandi-mudhatla 255 and loka-mudhata,256 the Acaryas critically point out strange superstitions, blind beliefs and hollow customs prevailing in the society, which is almost an attempt at social education, signifying a kind of silent social reformation. For example, the exposition of the loka-mudhata brings out the hollow-ness and hypocrisy of taking purificatory bath in rivers and oceans by one not trying any way to build his own character or to improve conduct.

Asta-mula-gunas— The Eight Basic Virtues

The mula-gunas, generally known as the asta-mula-gunas — eight virtues in the Digambara tradition, represent a category of interdictions of certain objects (viz., the five milky fruits, honey, wine and meat), to be necessarily observed before one steps on the house-holder’s path, and, hence in a way, are allied with samyaktva.257 This concept has no canonical authority. The svetambara tradition, however, recognizes the abstention of these objects, along with a few others, under the second guna – vrata. In the Digambara tradition too the enumeration of these objects varies Some Acaryas present different lists; some others add ultra-category prescriptions like jala-galana (straining of water), aratri-bhojana (not eating at night) etc. The medieval Jaina story literature viz, the Vaddaradhane, mentions hemp-flower, mushroom and milk of lately calved cow or buffalo as forbidden items along with the five milky fruits and the three ma-karas.

All these factors cumulatively hint at the following two implications that shed light on the historical aspect of the growth of the lay doctrine:

  1. A considerably big section of the Acaryas felt and met the need of preliminary training for the householder in the minimum observance of ahimsa, by generally forbidding the consumption of the five milky fruits, honey, wine and meat, which was then commonly prevalent in the society round about.

  2. As the vigilant custodians of the Sacred Law, with ahimsa at its crest, some Acaryas of particular age and region, added fresh items of rampant consumption (like hemp- flower, mushroom etc.,) to the existing list of forbidden objects or replaced a needful item in the same and, thus, took timely action as well as special care of the laity.

The twelve Vows, the Five Smaller Ones and the Principle of Ahimsa–Non violence

The general significance of our so far attempted exposition of the householder’s twelve vows could be epitomised as follows:

The lay doctrine or the householder’s ethical discipline is constituted mainly with twelve carefully thought out rules of conduct, which are meticulously divided in three groups: (1) the five anu-vratas, (2) the three guna-vratas and (3) the four siksa-vratas. The five anu-vratas form the principal body of the code, and amongst these five, ahimsanu-vrata is the fundamental one the rest four being the means of its subsistence.258 The guna-vratas and the siksa-vratas together play the protective role for the anu-vratas.259 Further, the guna-vratas, being special forms of the anu-vrata, strengthen them; and the siksa-vratas, being of instructive nature, provide special exercises in the gradual preparation for the life of renunciation. Thus all the cohesive scheme amounts to saying that every other of the twelve rules of conduct for the householder is a particular form of the principle of ahimsa.260 In other words, ahimsa holds the key position in the whole scheme of the householders conduct. Moreover all these rules of conduct are concepted with due regard for man’s primary instincts, his basic needs, his family responsibilities, his religio spiritual duties, his social obligations and the common good of all. Lastly, the aticara pentads and their interpretations, attached to these vows, are a sort of miniguides of cautions, representing the possible transgressions of the rules of conduct on the part of the layman, which are culled through actual observations of human weakness and mis adventures appearing on the ethical plane of the society. They also reflect our Acaryas’ relevant re actions to the exigencies of time and place.

The householder’s or Layman’s Ahimsa

Now coming to ahirnsa, the layman’s vow of ahimsa, which many people have not properly under-stood,261 or, at times, misunderstood, we should remember that it is a partial or abated form of that complete or severe one, which is meant for the monk. It has been given by the great seers a mould and spirit that could work normally in practical life. All this is based on the following significant concepts of himsa and ahmisa: 262


  1. pramatta-yogat prana-vyaparopanarn – himsa– severence of vitalities of living beings through careless activities is himsa. Such definition is rare elsewhere .

  2. (i) suksma-himsa (subtle or severe form of himsa)— causing injury or taking life of any living being. This is meant for the monk. (ii) sthula-himsa (gross form of himsa) causing injury or taking life of mobile living beings (with two or more senses). This is meant for the householder.

  3. Then sthula-himsa is of two types: (i) arambhi-himsa— injury involved in an occupation is general, which is further divided in three categories: (a) udyami himsa injury involved in one’s ccupation chosen for livelihood, (b) grharambht-himsa injury involved in domestic activities, like cooking, washing etc., (c) virodhi-himsa injury involved in self-defence and portection of one’s own people and their property. These three cannot be avoided by the layman, and, hence, admissible in his case. (ii) anarambhnja–himsa (himsa unrelated to occupation i.e., intentional) or arikalpaja-himsa (himsa committed intentionally). This is categorically forbidden for the layman.

  4. dravya-hirmsa– injury actually caused to a living being. (ii) bhava-himsa–having intention for causing injury to a living. Jainism regards that commission of himsa does not depend merely on the act, but also on the intention for such an act. Hence the need of such distinction, which concept perhaps has no parallel in any other religious system.

The implications of bhava-himsa can be explained with the following illustrations: If a person, while going to the temple with all carefulness, trample a suddenly jumped up frog and injures or kills it, he is not said to have committed himsa. On the other hand, if a person, burning with jealously and hatred for another person, entertains in his mind an intention to kill or injure him, he is said to have committed himsa, though he has not acted so. Pt. K.C.Shastri presents an interesting illustration in this Connection :263

A person sees a child drowning in a lake and rushes towards it with the intention of saving it. Some how in his sincere attempt to do so, he him-self rather becomes the cause of the child’s being drowned and its consequent death. On the other hand, another person sees a drowning child of his enemy and entertains ample pleasure in his mind; but outwardly and pretendingly he creates alarm for help to save the child. Here, good intention (sad-bhava) being the deciding factor, the first person can not be called himsaka (injurer), whereas the second one with bad intention (durbhava), has to be called himsaka.

In the light of all these concepts, the householder is enjoined to abstain only from intentional himsa in its gross form. Hence runs the definition:264 Abstention from intentionally killing or hurting mobile living beings in mind, word or deed, by oneself (directly), through an agent or by consent is ahimsanu-vrata.

Now a question arises as to why himsa involved in an occupation (arambhi himsa), with its three categories is not considered as himsa to be avoided by the householder? It is so because the householder has to bear several personal and family responsibilities. He is also the backbone of the society at large. Hence he has to indulge in manifold activities: To run his house he has to accept some profession, some means of livelihood. He has to feed and protect his family members. One has to cultivate land, another to join the Judiciary, the third to work for the defense of his country, so on and so forth. Otherwise social and national life will come to stand-still. With due knowledge of all this, himsa involved in such inevitable and relevant activities has been brought under arambhi-himsa, with its three categories. This is nothing but giving the layman’s ahims a mould and spirit that could work normally in practical life. And we know that time has witnessed its smooth working for centuries.

Pages of history tell us that the Jainacaryas have often defended the admissibility of occupational, himsa in the case of the householder. I may, in respect of udyami and virodhi himsa (grharambhi himsa requiring no comments), cite here the words of advice extended by Acarya Simhanandi to the Ganga kings, Dadiga and Madhava, preserved in a famous inscription of Karnatak, which is considered to have contained elements of sravakacara :266 “If they failed in what they promised, if they did not approve of the Jaina sasana, if they seized the wives of others if they ate honey or flesh, if they formed relationship with the low, if they gave not of their wealth to the needy, and if they fled from the battle field, their race would go to ruin.” Our relevant point here is that the Acarya urges the two pious kings not to shirk from their responsibility of defending their country and protecting their subjects by fleeing from the battlefield.

Even Gandhiji, a great modern champion of ahimsa during the days of his Non-cooperation movement against the British Regime, once openly condemned some Congress workers, who, out of fear had run away from the responsibility of protecting their own wives, children and property from the hands of manipulated robbers, on the pretext of avoiding the would be himsa in case of their standing in strong resistance. He called such timidity a kind of himsa itself. He stated that ahimsa is not a means or medium for hiding one’s timidity, but it is an important quality of the brave.267

Administering or catering of justice is also an aramba -occupational activity. If a householder, occupying the seat of Justice, punishes a criminal with a death sentence it can hardly be considered as an act of himsa. A present day eminent jurist, Shri Mangilal Jain, who held several positions in the Indian Judicial Service for about forty years and retired as a Judge of the Delhi High Court, considers Our Penal Code as a dimension of ahimsa on the social and national plane,268 because it helps to protect or save in future a number of persons from being injured or killed by criminals.

Perhaps keeping in view all such points obtaining in the householder’s life and activities, Asadhara, at some other context, expresses269 the inevitability of arambhi hirmsa in the following words: The laity cannot exist without activity and there could be no activity without injuring or taking life; hence it is to be avoided, with all awareness, in its gross (sthula form; but the implicit part of it is difficult to avoid.270

One more significant point about ahimsa, In general, to be noted is that though this term is found in negative phraseology, it has its positive aspect too (J.R. Williams points out) 271 that the negative formulation of this creed (Jainism) has been overstressed in most descriptions, and further observes: 272 “In the last resort every moral code rests, like the Christian decalogue, on prohibitions; but even in Jainism each anu-vrata has its positive as well as negative aspect; ahimsa can be reformulated as daya, active compassion for all living beings.” But we need not go for reformulation, for daya–compassion means ahimsa. We can just recall the maxim-like utterances of the great Acarya in this regard: (i) so dhammo jattha daya (ii)jivanam rakkhanam dhammo (iii) daya mulu dhammamgivah273 etc. It is also worth noting in this context that the Prasnaa-vyakarana-sutra274 gives sixty synonyms (sarthaka nama) of ahimsa. They are daya – compassion, raksa – protection, samyama – self-restraint etc., that are positive in form and spirit. At the basis of the usage of all these terms, positive or negative, the cardinal principle is that of equality, that one should treat every other being like his own self. In a non-technical set up, in a simple language and for the day to day practice of the common man, this can be explained as follows in the words of the Savaya dhamma doha275 What is the use of talking much? What is not liked by you, don’t inflict it on others. This is the basis of dharma–the righteous way of life. This is ahisma.

Peculiarities of the vows of Satya–Truthfulness, Acaurya–non-stealing and Brahmacarya– Sexual Morality

Satya–truthfulness, acaurya–non stealing and brahmacarya sexual morality are excellent human qualities that are regarded as precious virtues by all religious systems of the world. But Jainism has given them wider connotation, has infused in them additional meaning, has enriched them with constructive interpretations, as it made them constituent elements of its ethical discipline, in which the lait systematically trained for individual welfare as well as the common good of all.276

Here satya is speaking what is commendable, what does not cause injury or suffering to living beings. Wrong advice, slander, disclosing others’ secrets, forgery, breach of trust etc., are transgressions of this virtue that are to be carefully avoided. acaurya is not to misappropriate for oneself, nor give away to others another’s property. Seizing another’s objects or property is as good as depriving him of his external vitalities (belongings). Several anti-social practices like receiving stolen property, adulteration of goods, evasion of the injunctions of the law of the State etc., are brought under the transgressions of this virtue. The layman’s brahmacarya has been processed with double formulation, one positive and the other negative: One has to be contented with one’s own wife and one has to abstain from keeping immoral relation with another’s wife. Except his own wife, all other women are to be considered as his mother, sister or daughter. Even excessive desire for sex pleasures is a transgression of this virtue. We should remember that all these virtues are to be practiced in three ways– in mind. word and deed.

Lastly, among the anuvratas the parigraha-parimana putting limitation to one’s material possessions bears special significance of socio-economic nature As the householder is enjoined to effect self- imposed limits on his property and wealth, economic imbalance among the members of the society is avoided paving the path for social peace and stability. Through the inclusion of ati-sangraha–excessive hoarding of commodities, ati-lobha–excessive greed for profit and accumulation of wealth etc., as transgressions, a note of warning is struck against antisocial trends.

Guna-vratas–The Strengthening Rules of Conduct

The guna-vratas signify s pecial application or particularised extension of the anu-vratas for helping to strengthen them. The dig-vrata– putting limitation to one’s activities carried within fixed boundaries, further curtails the already limited parigraha–attachrnent to possessions; and the desavakasika-vrata provides still further limited sphere, within the limitations already set by the dig-vrata, and, thus, detachment from parigraha is facilitated to be achieved through an intensive course of restrained life.

The anartha-danda-vrata– abstention from harmful activities that do not serve useful purpose, however bears a wider scope and deeper implications. Avoidance of the five anartha- dandas– typical representatives of wanton or purposeless activities (papopadesa, apadhyana etc.,) and that of the transgressions thereunder (kandarpa, kautkucy etc.,) would train the individual in avoiding minor vices, in acquiring good personal habits and social manner,277 in learning correct way of thinking and in acting with a righteous purpose for the good of others as well as of his own self, besides being conducive to the observance of the anu-vratas, particularly the fundamental one viz., ahimsa. It will not be exaggeration if we say that the contents of this vow represent lessons of training the individual in the art of correct thinking, purposeful acting, righteous behavior and meaningful life.

Siksa-vratas–The Disciplinary Rules of conduct and the Role of Dana—Charity

If the guna-vratas strengthen the anu-vratas, the main body of the code of conduct for the house-holder, the siksa-vratas bring perfection in their observance through a disciplinary process. The samayika is a procedure of spiritual discipline, passing through which the householder acquires equanimity and builds in himself an attitude of equality towards all living beings. The additional provision therein of religious practices like worship (puja), adoration (vandana), meditation (dhyana) and devotion (bhakti, etc-, further stabilize such discipline. The samayika also implies an effective training in the development of the householder’s capacity for renunciation, with which he requires to be equipped for his further journey on the path leading to salvation. The prosadhopavasa being an austerity (tapa), periodically imparts to the samayika an intensive phase, and, thus, strengthens it. The bhogopabhoga-parimana, however, is an exercise for renunciation of objects of pleasures of senses on an increasing scale. It enhances the layman’s capacity for restraint and will power. Thus all these three vows signify different ranges of samyama–self-restraint, which plays a vital role all along the course of moulding the lay conduct, and which is but a synonym, in positive terminology,278 of ahimsa, the fundamental one among the small vows. .

The dana vrata principally implies rather an objective of socio-economic discipline than the spiritual one as found in case of the other three siksa-vratas holds a significant position in the Jaina social organization. Its other designations like atithi-samvibhaga (sharing with the atithi) and atithi-dana, in fact, imply that the monastic life, in respect of food and other bare necessities, hinges on the lay-men’s practicing this vow. But one can see that in later days its scope has been widened to any needy or deserving individual or institution. In still later days, a new aspect viz, dana-pramana (the quantity or measure of dana in proportion to one’s income) came to be added as is evident in Devasena’s Six point Scheme and Hemacandra’s Seven-field Plan.

Besides as a vow, dana also holds the status of one of the four duties of the layman in the initial stage (caturvidha- sravaka-dharma) and that of one of his six daily necessary rounds (sat-karma).

The real importance and outcome of the triple role of dana can be known from some of the examples profusely obtaining all along the course of the history of Jainism itself:

The benevolent practice of dana prevailing among the Jaina laity considerably helped for the spread and flourishing of Jainism particularly round about the medieval period: Dr. Saletore observes :279 But the most practical means the Jaina teachers adopted to win for themselves the allegiance and devotion of the masses was that relating to the four gifts of learning: food, medicine and shelter, the primary needs of humanity. He,280 and also Prof. S. R. Sharma281 and Dr. P. B. Desai,282 point out a number of inscriptions available in Karnatak that eloquently speak of liberal grants in the form of lands, money, corn etc., made by householders from royal families, feudatory chiefs, middle class of the society etc., for the construction of temples, for provision of their maintenance etc. There are also copper-plate charters, some of them with clear dates, regarding the construction of the Jinalayas, grants for observing periodical festivals, and feeding ascetics of Nirgrantha, yapaniya and Kurcaka Orders during the rainy re-treat. Endowments of villages in favour of shrines are not in small number. The instance of offering a hundred sheep as a price, as a perpetual endowment, for burning a lamp in a Jaina temple, rather reflects a movefrom a non-Jaina–a Jaina sympathiser, inspired by the spirit of dana ardently practiced by the sravaka. Even during its downward days, when Jainism took refuge in the Tulu Nadu (South Canara), this benevolent practice of dana among the Jaina laity made great impression on the people there and helped them to earn the sympathy and good-will of the majority community for peaceful coexistence. About 180 grand Jaina temples, with excellent architecture, built in the area of Moodabidire, Karkal, Venur etc., in this small district, speak of the working of the spirit of dana among the devout laity. Dr.Gururaj Bhatt observes:283 It is a historical truth that there was a remarkable meaningful understanding between the Jains and the Hindus, and a high sense of participation in the affairs of the state, both secular and religious, seemed to have prevailed. Even today in this region Jainism continues to be a distinct living religion with absolute harmony with Hinduism.

The practice of dana among the Jaina laity, particularly on jina-bimba– the images of the Jina, jinalaya – Jaina temples and jinagama – the Jaina scriptural works etc., carried on for centuries together has had a cumulative effect of a worthy contribution by Jainism to Indian culture — art, architecture, literature and education being of our concern here among several other fields: Jaina iconography and temple architecture, as can be witnessed even to this day in Karnatak, Gujarat, Rajasthan and a few other regions, have a unique place in Indian art and architecture in general. Dana happens to be a very potent motif, with which numerous narratives of didactic religio-moral values, were composed in different languages, as can be noted in those excellent literary works, like Jniesvara-suri’s Kathakosa-prakarana (Prakrit), the Punyasravu-Kathakosa (Sanskrit) title Vaddaradhane (Kannada) etc. Innumerable manuscripts of ancient and medieval precious works were prepared and preserved intact in the form of the Sastrabhandaras– Manuscript Libraries under the custody of the Jaina temples. The idea of Public Library in India is said to have originated from such first attempts made in the Jaina centers in Rajasthan.284 Even to this day such libraries at Jaisalmer, Patan, Arrah, Moodbidri and Kolhapur etc.) have earned the value of a national asset and attract scholars from abroad too. The Jaina temples and the Bhattaraka shrines also served as the early centers of primary education in India, which fact is echoed from the well known salutary line “onamasidham — a corrupt form of the Prakrit “Om namo Siddhanam”, that was available till the 20th century in numerous schools of Northern India.285 The worth and strength of the sastra-dana is seen even today among numerous well-to-do members of the Jaina laity liberally extending a helping hand towards publication of worthy books, encouragement to scholars in their pursuits, institution of endowments for higher studies and research, liberal donations to educational institutions, and recognition of outstanding contribution to literature etc.

The Role of Puja— Worshipping

Some Acaryas like Svami Samantabhadra consider the puja as an aspect of the dana; but most of them associate it with the samayika, whereinto it appears to have made its headway and in the long run practically replaced it. It cannot be denied that as the samayika being inlaid with a tough procedure, for the layman, unlike the monk, it is difficult to practice. The svetambara tradition, which had from the beginning given much importance to it, though maintained its separate identity for a considerably long time, later felt the need of simplifying measures and gradually admitted, possibly through vandanaka, some elements of the puja as a part of the samayika; later even the puja began to be thought of as an alternate resort at home, when one found difficulty in going out to the temple. By about 1500 A.D., the practice of the samayika rather came to be restricted to the period of leisure of the rainy reason Ratnasekhara, the author of the sraddha-vidhi (1450 A. D.) very well brings out the implications of this phenomenon in the following words: ‘The acceptance of the samayika is difficult for a rich man while the puja is easy’.286

The Digambara Acaryas however, had reacted to the toughness of the procedure of the samayika for the laity far earlier by gradually affecting in it some simplifying changes, among which the puja came to be its prominent constituent element in later days; and by 1000 A. D. it covered dhyana–meditation and puja-worship, both dravya-puja-worship by offering material objects and bhava-puja-worship by mental concentration or contemplation.287 Acaryas like Vasunandi interpreted the samayika as adoration of jina-vani (sastra)–scriptures, jina-dharma–Jaina religion, jina-bimba– image of the Jina and Para-meshis–the (five) venerable ones.288

But still earlier puja formed one of the house-holder’s four duties (dharma) viz., dana, puja, sila and tapa, as mentioned in the Caritra-prabhrta, the Varanga-carita and Harivamsa- purana and perhaps later termed as the Caturvidha-sravaka- dharma– Four-fold Code of Conduct for Householders, on the model of the (davadasavidha- sravaka-dharma.289 Twelve-fold Code of conduct for Householders. Jinasena, and other Acaryas following his line, held the sad-avasyakas–six necessary duties290 as belonging to the monastic life, which then were virtually replaced by the six karmas–routine duties. In his Adipurana Jinasena prescribed the practice of puja (ijya), varta, dana, svadhyaya, samyama and tapa as a the kula-dharma–family customs or duties to be practiced by those who have accepted the householder’s vows, wherein the puja covered the samayika, the caturvimsati-stava and the uandanaka; the former sila (a constituent of the caturvidha – sravaka-dharma) was split into varta, svadhyaya and samyama; and still later, varta was replaced by guru seva; and, finally, deva-puja, gurupasti svadhyaya, samyama, tapa and dana came to be designated as the layman’s sat-karmas–six daily routine duties as mentioned by Somadeva in his Upasaka-dhyayana. 291

R. Williams points out that the puja not being discussed in canonical works is an extraneous element and forms a major element of the householder’s religion.292 We see that it has entered into the householder’s religio-spiritual life rather imperceptibly at different stages and in different garbs– as a layman’s dharma-duty in the initial stage of his career, as a constituent of his samayika, as his daily necessary karma-routine duty etc. But by the time of Jina-sena, the puja emerged with large amount of ritual, considerably imitated from Hinduism, partly adopted from it and partly adapted to its own needs. Along with puja and its ritualistic formalities, several Hindu social customs, practices and ceremonies too entered into the Jaina way of life. Jinasena’s list of 53 kriya which is said to be a blue print for the layman’s whole span of life— from cradle to death, stands as witness to this phenomenon. This phenomenon occurred as per the natural need of the time and region- Somadeva, defending all this, called it vyavahara-dharma– practical righteous path. He declared

Sarva eva hi Jainanam pramanam loukiko vidhi

Yatra samyaktva hanih nayatra na vrata-dusanam 293

All Jainas can accept such contemporary social customs and practices, which do not harm the right faith nor infringe their vows. Moreover Somadeva’s detailed description of the puja and its ritual presented in his Upasakadhyayana has no parallel in any other work. Pt. K. C. Shastri observes in this regard :294 Had not the able and foresighted Jainacaryas, among whom Jinasenacarya happens to be prominent and outshining, done like this, the flood of the Hindu influence that had been rushing from the Gupta period probably could have washed away Jainism from the Indian soil.

I may point out here that the yaksi-cu1t in Karnataka and the iyakki-cu1t in the Tamil country came into existence along the line of such thought and need. It was a practical endeavour on the part of Jainism to accomodate itself to the age and region in which it had to live and grow. Actually it was in a move, in early days, to protest against the violent modes of worship, the heads of Yaksas and Nagas ere made Chiefs of guardian angels, (sasana-devata) of the Tirthankaras and accomodated them in the Jaina temples.295 But later in the mediaeval period, when the need of female God, i. e., goddess (for giving various kinds of blessings including issues to barren women) and that: of ceremonial aspects of religious rites was felt, Padmavati, Jyalamalini etc., were raised to the required status. Dr. P. B. Desai observes 296 The popularity of religion is based on its ceremonial which has a direct appeal to the common man. This fact was realized by the protagonists of the Jaina religion, who, reared their religious rites and practices in ceremonius surroundings. And, lastly, I would say that this kind of vyavahara-dharma–practical path set along the by life has played a prominent role for the survival and flourishing of Jainism in South India to its golden eight, to the extent that nearly one third of South India once was covered by the adherents of the Jaina faith. This also implies some degree of changefulness or dynamism of some aspects of the lay doctrine.297 Such trend, it may be noted, took some other turn between C. 1650 and 1800 A.D. in Northern India, when the followers of the Terapanthi (Dig ) and Sthanakavasi (Svet.) subsects discarded tke puja as idolatry in favour of svadhyaya or acquiring scriptural knowledge. 298

Sallekhana–Willing Submission to the Inevitable Death:

Lastly, the sallekhana being of voluntary nature and supplementary status in the layman’s code of conduct, implies that one should face the inevitable death with all willingness, by not entertaining any kind of passion, by abstaining from food and absorbed in meditation.



251 Yuktyanusasana, p . 21.

252. (i) Vide, in this regard, the observation of Prof. Hermann Jacobi: “It cannot be doubted that this close union between laymen and monks brought about by similarity of their religious duties, differing not in kind but in degree, has enabled Jainism to avoid fundamental changes within and to resist changes from without for more than two thousand years, while Buddhism, being less exacting as regards the laymen, underwent the most extraordinary evolutions and finally disappeared from the country of its origin.” Op cit., p. 31. ii) Vide also the observation of Prof. A. L. Basham: “The Jaina monks perhaps paid greater attention to the laymen than did the Buddhists, and in Jainism the layman was a definite member of the Order, encouraged to undertake periodical retreats and to live as far as possible the life of the monk for specified periods.”: The Wonder that was India, pp. 292- 93. (iii) We must also remember here Svami Samanta-bhadra’s significant remark made at some other context (Ratnakarandaka Sra. V. 26):…… na dharmo dharmikaihvina, Religion has no separate entity without the religionists– without those who practice it. (iv) Dr. G. C. Pande holds that the self-imposed limitation of the Jaina tradition on proselytism also enabled it to continue as it was, without seeking to disturb others from being what they were. The Jaina Ethical Tradition and lts Relevance, R. K. Jain Memorial Lectures on Jainism, p. 2.

253. Enumerated in Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 22-24.

254. Worshipping gods imposing on them strange qualities in order to obtain boons, etc.

255. Praising untrue or pretending ascetics, etc.

256. This represents numerous popular beliefs and Superstitions .

257. That is, both samyaktva and the mula-gunas are prerequisites of adoption of the twelve vows by the householder.

258. Just as the quadrangular fence serves a field of corn .

259. Just as the rampart protects the town.

260. As Amrtacandra has proved so at length.

261. I have heard people criticising Jainism and the Jaina laity in respect of observance of ahimsa. without knowing the true and distinct nature of the vow of ahimsa enjoined to be practiced by the layman.

262. These have been already discussed at length under the topic of the ahithsanu-vrata. Now I would just recount and highlight them with some observations and illustrations classical, historical and modern.

263. Bharatiya Dharma Evam Ahimsa, pp. 85-86.

264. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 53 .

265. (i) Thus the intention (sankalpa) implied here is of nine kinds. (ii) Later Acaryas, however, for practical purpose, reduced it to six kinds by proposing omission of the commission of himsa by consent.

266. ( i ) The Kallura-gudda Stone Inscription, dated 1122 A.D. (ii) Vide Medieval Jainism, by B. A. Saletore, p. 12. (iii) Vide also Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. VIII, Sb 261

267. (i) For details vide, Pt. K. C. Shastri’s Bharatiya Dharma Evam Ahimsa, pp. 183-184. (ii) It may be noted that fear itself is a kind of himsa according to Jaina Ethics. A real Jaina cannot be touched by the seven kinds of fear. Vide Ibid.. p 135

268. From thoughts on Ahimsa, from the Presidential Chair, R. K. Jain Memorial Lecture Series, Delhi University, 1983; Vide Bharatiya Dharma Evemn Ahimsa, pp. 186-87.

269. Sagara-Dharmamrta, IV-12.

270. R. Williams considers this line of thought as the eternal dilemma of Jainism in laying down an ethos for the layman. Op. cit., p. 121.

271. Op. cit., Intro., p. XIX.

272. Ibid.

273. These have been already noted with their sources.

274. Ch. VI-21,

275. (i) V. 104. ii) And in these words one can discern an echo of Lord Mahavira’s message to mankind preserved in the Acdranga–sutra, II-3.-: savvc pana piyauya suha saya etc.

276. Besides the householder’s code of conduct, for centuries together, and even to this day to some extent, the regular and periodical sermons of monks and the specially composed narratives based on the theory of retribution have helped the laity to imbibe such virtues and build charaoter towards a healthy society.

277. I may recall here Dr. Annie Besant’s impresslons of the Jaina householder coming under her curious observation by the close of the 1sth century: “The Jain a householder is found quiet, self-controlled, dignified rather silent, rather reserved…” Jainism, p. 29.

278. Other such ones being karuna, daya, raksa etc., we must remember.

279. Medieval Jainism, p. 173.

280. Ibid.

281. Juinism and Karnatak Culture.

282. Jainism in South India and Some Jaina Epigraphs.

283. Studies in Tuluva History and Culture p 441.

284. As held by Dr. K. C. Jain in his Jainism in Rajasthan, p. 231.

285 (i) As noted by Dr. Jyoti Prasad Jain in his Jaina Sources of the History of India, 141. (ii) For further details on this point, vide the monograph Onamasidham, by Dr. Prem Sagar Jain, Kundakunda Bharati, New Delhi, 1989.

286. For details vide R. Wiliiams, Op. cit., pp. 138-39.

287. Vide Ibid., pp. 137-138.

288. Kasunandi-sravakacara, V. 275.

289. (i) The Vaddaradhane mentions both of these more than once in St. No. 13, which is almost a mini-sravakacara treatise. (ii) Following Prof. Schubring (Op. cit, p. 308) we can render ‘caturvidha-sravaka-dharma’ as lay morality, treating it in parallel with ‘dasa vidha -muni dharma’ -the monastic morality. (iii) As I have already suggested the caturvidha-sravaka dhatma concerns the early or initial stage of the layman’s life. This suggestion is based on the contextual evidence in St. No. 13 of the Vaddarndhane.

290 They are samayika — spiritual discipline, catur-vimsati sravaka–adoration of the twenty-four Jains, vanda-naka- worship or adoration of a monk or a community of monks, prati-kramana–confession of past faults, pratyakhyana — forfending of future faults (in respect of food, drinks and comforts) and kayotsarga — adandonment of attachment to one’s body for a limited time (the minimum being one muhurta – 48 minutes).

291. Vide Pt. K. C. Shastri’s discussion in his Intro. to Upasakadhyana, pp. 66-67.

292. Op. cit., p. 216.

293. Upasakadhyana. V. 480.

294. Intro. to Upasakadhyaana, pp. 39-40.

295. As noted by Dr. H.L. Jain, Bharatiya Sanskrtimc Jaina Dharmika Yogadanu p. 157

296. Op cit., p. 72.

297. (i) “The changelessness of Jainism is no more than a myth.” So remarks R. Williams, Op cit., Intro. p. XIX. (ii) He also observes that Jainism at one time, was on the path of becoming a majority religion in South India, something akin to a Digambara Mahayna, Ibid.

298. For details vide Jaina Community by Dr V A Sangave, pp. 56-58.