A Short History Of The Terapanthi Sect Of The Swetamber Jains And Its Tenets: 02.3.3 Three Guptis or the Control of Mind, Body and Speech

Published: 01.09.2010

Three Guptis or the Control of Mind, Body and Speech

  1. Control of mind

    A Sadhu must never direct his mind to any sinful act.

  2. Control of speech

    A Sadhu must so control his speech as not to commit any sin by hurting the feelings of others by his, injudicious words or causing injury to any being by his speech.

  3. Control of body

    A Sadhu must not direct his physical activities in such a way as to cause injury to others.

The Terapanthi Sadhus and Sadhwis have also to strictly adhere to the following rules and regulate their lives accordingly

  1. For the performance of their daily routine of work they do not take the assistance or help even of their own Sravaks (lay followers) or of any layman or animal. They travel on foot and do not use any sort of conveyance. They carry their own load and do not allow any of their articles to be carried by any one but a Sadhu.

  2. They hold no correspondence with any body and do not take the help of the Post Office or the Telegraph Office or any other agency for transmitting or publishing their news.

  3. They usually stay for not more than one month at any one place, except during the rainy season when they stay for four months at one place. After the residence of one month, or one rainy season of four months, at one place they are not to return to the same place for the next two months or two rainy seasons respectively, unless they happen to pass through the same place on their way to other places. In such a case they may stop there for one day only.

  4. They carry all their books and articles on their own shoulders and do not leave behind any of their articles to the care of any layman.

  5. They wear white clothes and they are to use a fixed yard limit of cloth only. They are not to use costly cloth. They do not cause any articles of food, water, clothing receptacle etc. to be prepared, procured and bought or brought for them by any layman.

  6. They do not use razors or scissors for shaving or clipping their hair. They pluck off their hair on the head, bread and moustaches at least twice every year, either them­selves, or get them plucked by other Sadhus. They do not use spectacles.

  7. They wear no shoes and go bare-footed even in the hottest sun or the severest winter on the rocky and sandy paths.

  8. In case of serious illness necessitating an opera­tion they do not take any direct aid from any physician, and it is the Sadhus only who can in such cases perform the operation with the help of instruments temporarily begged. They do not take medicine from charitable dispensaries or free institutions. If they require any medicine they can accept the same from a private practitioner or layman if freely offered.

  9. Jainism enjoins complete non-injury to sentient beings and the Jain Swetambar Terapanthi Sadhus strictly observe this Sastric injunction and preach the same to others. Even in scorching heat, they not use fans, as that causes injury to the air lives; even in shivering cold, they do not warm themselves at a fire side, as that injures fire lives; they do not touch green vegetables, plants, and grass etc., as that causes injury to the vegetable lives; they do not drink water from a river, pool or well, as that is injuring the water-lives. They drink boiled or inanimate water only and beg the same from house­holders. Their faith prohibits them from countenancing or supporting any act, whereby any sentient being is hurt, injured or killed.

  10. They do not take part in any social, political, or legal affairs of the world. They pass their time in religious studies and spiritual and philosophical discourse only. They make no complaints to any officer even in case of any per­sonal violence and do not appear and give evidence in any case or before any officer or court as they have cut off all connection? with secular affairs. They cannot even employ any one to set for them in any court.

  11. They have no Mathas or shrines dedicated to or owned by them. They stay in houses of laymen with their permission. They do not use light or fans and do not kindle fire.

  12. Every Sadhu while following and practising his reli­gion, is to submit to the orders of the King or the ruler of the land, if it does not in any way interfere with his, religi­ous vows. Sadhus have generally to remain at one place dur­ing Chaturmasa. If the owner or ruler of the land, where he stays, orders him to leave the place, he would not stay there and would quit the place inspite of Chaturmasa.

    But where an order of the king or ruler is against his vows, as for instance, during wartime, if a Sadhu is ordered to join the army, he would have to disobey the order and to suffer all consequences, because it is directly opposed to his vow of non-injury. Similarly, if summoned by a court he would not give evidence but would remain silent, as it is against his vow of not taking part in any worldly affairs. During the course of 180 Years of the foundation of this Sect, there has not been any case where a Terapanthi Sadhu took part in any legal proceedings, as, plaintiff, defendant, complainant, or accused or even as a witness.

  13. Terapanthi do not worship idols or images, nor consider such worship as leading to salvation. They medi­tate upon and mentally worship those highly developed souls who have attained emancipation or salvation (moksa) and they never and worship the Sadhus, i.e. those living beings who have renounced the world absolutely and who lead the life of ascetics and observe the five great vows.

  14. They draw a sharp distinction between worldly benefit pertaining to the transitory things of this life and spiritual benefits which accrue by following and causing others to follow the true way of life leading to salvation.

    The Terapanthi Sadhus have absolutely no connection with and also do not reach about worldly benefits at all. They dedicate their lives and pass their time in preaching about spiritual benefits only.

  15. Under religious injunctions and as a necessary corollary to the strict observance of the five MAHA VRATAS, they do not cook any food for themselves nor do they accept any food, prepared, brought or bought for them. They cannot keep any food stored over night. They have to procure the prescribed articles of livelihood from various householders, so that no unnecessary burden is felt by any one. They can beg only at prescribed time. They usually go out for begging in the second quarter of the day and very rarely in the afternoon. They beg only such food and drink as is sufficient for daily consumption. They never beg nor keep money or other valuables nor do they beg by opening the doors of a closed house or from a house occupied by a lonely lady. If any one refuses to give any alms they at once return from that house. They do not eulogise any one for securing alms. It is only from willing laymen that they beg their articles of necessity. They are strictly forbidden to beg alms by any objectionable means such as fortune telling, singing, and dancing. They never insist or implore for alms. They never smoke or take any intoxicant. They do not keep metal utensils but use wooden receptacles and each Sadhu can keep only 3 such wooden receptacles. They are so particular about not wounding the feelings of others that they would not enter a house where any other beggar is al­ready present to receive alms. They are strictly vegetarians and beg food from a vegetarian kitchen only.

Any deviation from these and other rules of conduct enjoined in the Sastras for observance by the Sadhus is strictly scrutinised and any Sadhu who fails to live up to the standard, loses his position as such.


5th Edition, 1946
Sri Jain Swetambar Terapanthi Sabha, Calcutta, India

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  1. Body
  2. Chaturmasa
  3. Guptis
  4. Jainism
  5. Mathas
  6. Moksa
  7. Sadhu
  8. Sadhus
  9. Sadhwis
  10. Sastras
  11. Sastric
  12. Sravaks
  13. Swetambar
  14. Terapanthi
  15. The Telegraph
  16. Violence
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