Virtue (Sheel)

Ashta Pahuda

Acharya Kund kund

Courtesy of Jain Mission Information

VIII. Virtue (Sheel)

1. Prostrating myself before Vira of large eyes and soft feet like a red lotus I speak of the attribute of virtue.

2. The Enlightened ones have said there is no difference between virtue and knowledge; only, without virtue the temptation of the senses kills knowledge.

3. It is difficult to acquire knowledge, after acquiring knowledge, right mental attitude is difficult for the soul with right mental attitude (also), it is difficult to renounce sense- gratification.

4. So long as the soul remains under the influence of the senses it does not acquire (true) knowledge, nor can mere aversion from sense-gratification destroy Karmas already accumulated.

5. Knowledge without conduct, adoption of insignia without faith and austerity if performed without self-control, are all useless.

6. Knowledge purified by conduct, insignia sanctified by faith and austerity informed by self-control, even to a small extent bear a large fruit.

7. Some men acquiring knowledge are overcome by the temptation of the senses and the fools infatuated by the senses, wander about in the four states of existence.

8. Whereas those indifferent to the senses acquiring knowledge with mental purity and performing austerities with virtue undoubtedly get rid of the four states of existence.

9. As gold is purified and burnished by smearing with borax and salt, so is the soul purified by the pellucid water of knowledge.

10. It is not fault of knowledge that bad dullwitted men becoming proud of their learning are engrossed in sense- gratification.

11. Knowledge, faith, austerity and conduct (all) inspired by realisation, such souls functioning in purity will attain Nirvana.

12. Virtue secure, faith pure, character strong, verily Nirvana is for (such persons) averse from sense gratification.

13. Persons liable to temptation by the senses are said to be on the path if they show what is good (to others); for those who show the wrong path [to others] even [true] knowledge is useless.

14. Those who praise false religion and false scripture, (even) if learned in multifarious holy books, lack virtue, vow, and knowledge, surely not cherish them.

15. One endowed with youth & beauty and proud of his looks is devoid of virtue; birth as a human being is useless for him.

16. [Even] for one learned in grammar, poetry, philosophy, convention, logic and scripture, virtue represents highest learning. [The term vaiseska seems to have been used here in a general sense].

17. Good people adorned with virtue are dear to the gods; among many persons possessed of thorough grasp of the scripture few in the world would be lacking virtue.

18. One many lack all, may be ugly and past the prime of life; if virtuous in conduct, one’s life as a human being is praise-worthy.

19. Mercy to living beings, subjugation of the senses, truth, honesty, chastity, contentment, right faith, knowledge and austerity [constitute] the family of virtue.

20. Virtue is pure austerity, virtue is pure faith and knowledge, virtue is the enemy of the senses, virtue is the stair-case for emancipation.

21. As one greedy of sense indulgence is poisoned [by his own senses] so also are killed dangerous creatures, motionless or moving [which are not affected by the ordinary poison in them]; the poison of the senses is strong.

22. Poison kills a living being only once in a life time [but] one who succumbs to sense indulgence wanders about in the wilderness of mundane existence [so facing death many times].

23. Souls engrossed in the senses suffer the torments of hell, the sufferings of human or a lower form of life, or the misfortunes of a divinity [of a lower order].

24. As men do not sustain material loss by winnowing away chaff, those endowed with austerity and virtue discard sense gratification like dregs.

25. [Even] for those who develop round, semi-round, beautiful and large bodily limbs virtue stands higher than all.

26. Men befooled by false religion and engrossed in the senses go round and round in the world like a persian wheel.

27. The self has the know of Karma tied to it by the senses, attachment and delusion; that is cut by good people by means of austerity, self-control and virtue.

28. The man possessed of austerity, reverence, virtue and charity is adorned by virtue as the sea full of gems [by water].

29. Has any one seen dogs, donkeys cows and other cattle or women attain Nirvana? Every body has seen only such people [doing so] as cultivate the fourth objective [i.e. moksa or liberation]. [The four objectives are religion, living, pleasure and liberation].

30. If a man learning engrossed in the senses, could attain emancipation, why did the son of Satyaki [Rudra] learned in the ten purvas go to hell?

31. If, [as some] wise people say knowledge can purity without virtue, why did not [knowledge of] the ten purvas produce purity of mind [in Rudra]?

32. One indifferent to the senses makes little of the many torments of hell and then attains the rank of an arhat, so has the Jina Vardhamana spoken.

33. Thus has the Jina, possessed of direct [supra- sensorial] knowledge embracing the whole world described in many ways the supersensorial stage of emancipation attained through virtue.

34. Realisation, knowledge, faith, austerity and energy burn the old Karmas associated with the self like fire helped by wind.

35. Those who have burnt the eight kinds of Karmas, are indifferent to sense-objects and have subjugated the senses, are gifted with austerity, reverence and virtue, they attain the perfect state and become Siddhas.

36. The recluse whose life-tree is blessed with beauty [of character] and chastity is [really] virtuous and a great soul; his virtue permeates the world.

37. Knowledge, meditation, concentration and purity of faith depend on one’s stamina; by right faith one attains enlightenment according to the Jaina scripture.

38. Those who have assimilated the essence of the Jina’s word, are indifferent to the senses, have the wealth of austerity, are calm and bathed in the water of virtue, attain the bliss of the abode of the perfect.

39. When the Karmas have been crippled by possession of all the attributes [of a saint’s life], feelings of pleasure and paid overcome, mind purified and the dust of Karma shaken off, realisation makes its appearance.

40. Sincere devotion to the arhata, right faith purified by realisation, virtue free from attachment to sense objects, what else can knowledge be said to be like?