Compendium of Jainism ► XIII ►Jaina Ethics And Way of Life or Being

Posted: 02.11.2015

All great religions of the world have laid great stress on morality as a vital factor regulating the conduct of an individual for his own good as also for the well-being of the society of which he is a member. The goal of a society is maintenance of moral values of brotherhood, justice and peace. Devotion to ethical ideals is the hall-mark of all modern civilizations. Ancient thinkers considered ethics as part of metaphysical and theological speculations and therefore made moral principles as part of their religion. In doing so, they have tried to indicate the relationship between man and the universe, and his goal in life. Though man's conduct in society is the normal field of ethics, the Jaina thinkers have linked ethics with metaphysical ideas and ideals.

Jaina ethics is the most glorious part of Jainism and it is simplicity itself. That is how some authors have described Jainism as Ethical Realism. There is no conflict between man's duty to himself and to society. The highest good of society is the highest good of the individual. The soul has to be evolved to the best of its present capacity, and one means to this evolution is the duty of helping that of others by example, advice, encouragement and help.[1]

The first precept to a follower of Jainism is that he should possess and cultivate an intelligent and reasoned faith in that religion. It must be of right type and should be free from false notions about God, scriptures and the precepts. Such right faith works as an inspiration for acquisition of Right Knowledge which ought to be reflected in conduct in daily life. As Jacob! says, Jaina ethics has for its end the realization of Nirvana or Mokṣa. To effect this end, the rules of conduct must be observed and corresponding virtues must be acquired.[2]

Conduct is reflection in action of inner faith in religion or moral values cherished by an individual. His degree of self- control and attitude of mind are evident from his behaviour. The difference in the conduct of two individuals towards a matter or other persons is largely due to the difference in their cultural and religious upbringing modified by the values of life which themselves might have developed during the period of their growth.

From the religious point of view, Jainism has prescribed rules of conduct separately for the

  1. the householder (Śrāvaka) and
  2. the ascetic (muni).

The rules of conduct prescribed for them are called Śrāvaka-dharma and muni-dharma, respectively. Some of the vows and austerities which are common to both are intended to be observed by the ascetics with greater rigour and diligence than by the householder. The reason is that a householder has to look after his family and adjust himself to the social and political conditions in which he lives. An ascetic has no such limitations as he abandons all of them with the sole aim of pursuing a spiritual path. He can observe the vows fully as he is in full control of his senses and is in a position to curb his passions quite easily due to his religious learning and spiritual discipline.

Since the aim of the rules of conduct and vows prescibed for the Śrāvakas is self-purification, it is but natural that they should be classified on the basis of their faith and capacity. A Śrāvaka is one who listens (sṛṇoti) or who has faith. Tt is common experience that men and women differ everywhere in their capacity for intellectual grasp and firmness of will. The Jaina thinkers have accordingly adopted a three-fold division:

  1. pākṣika is a layman who has inclination (pakṣa) towards Ahiṁsā, He posse­sses samyaktva and practises the mūla-guṇas and the aṇuvratas and is assiduous in performing the puja;
  2. Naiṣṭhika is one who pursues his path upwards through the pratimās till he reaches the eleventh stage. At the culminating point (niṣṭhā), he quits the household life and practises the ten-fold dharma of the ascetic. It would seem that if he backslides, he is downgraded to the state of a pākṣika;
  3. sādhaka is one who concludes (sādhayati) his human incarnation in a final purification of the self by carrying out ṣallekhanā[3] it may be added that naiṣṭika also means one who is devoted and is possessed of full faith in the tenets. The classification is inherent in the weaknesses of human nature and expects the layman or laywoman to follow the rules of conduct and the vows to the best of his or her capacity and understanding.

It was during the time of Bhagavān Māhavīra that the society came to be divided into four groups: sadhu (ascetic), Sādhvi (female ascetic), Śrāvaka (house-holder), Śrāvakā (female house-holder). The rules of conduct described for the first two classes were almost identical; similar rules were enjoined upon the last two classes. The conduct of each class was regulated by vows which every member was required to observe in his or her daily life.

What is a vow? It is a solemn resolve made after delibera­tion to observe a particular rule of conduct; it is made before a saint on his advice or voluntarily to protect oneself against possible lapses of conduct. The object is to control the mind and mould one's conduct along the spiritual path. The rules are such as intended to protect the society from harm by protecting oneself in the righteous path. A vow affords stability to the will and guards its votary from the evils of temptations or of unregulated life; it gives purpose to life and a healthy direction to our thoughts and actions. It helps the growth of self-control and protects against the pitfalls of free life.

Every individual has some weakness or the other. It is difficult to enumerate them and provide anti-dotes against each of them. The rules of conduct or of ethics are therefore based on the fundamentals.


It may be unnecessary to repeat that the foundation of Jaina ethics is emancipation. The hallmark of Right Conduct is right conviction in thought and action, freedom from infatuation or delu­sion and passions like anger, hatred etc. Samantabhadra defines conduct as the abstinence of a man (with right knowledge) from hiṁsā (injury) anṛta (falsehood), caurya (stealing), maithuna (sexual intercourse) and parigraha (attachment).[4] From the popular point of view, cāritra (conduct) consists in the pursuit of what is good and beneficial and the avoidance of what is harmful to oneself as well as to others.

These are the five vows which are prescribed both for the house-holders as also for the ascetics. Observance of the vows in a limited way is aṇuvrata (small vow) while complete observance is mahāvrata (great vow). The practice of these vows with vigilance dispels sufferings, just as an excellent specific medicine removes a disease. The great vows are for ascetics.

Since all writers have formulated these vows in a negative phraseology, critics have characterised the philosophy underlying them as of negative creeds. This is not correct since each vow has its negative aspect in the form of moral prohibitions and positive aspect in the form of a moral duty. Negative terms are effective injunctions. In the last resort every moral code rests, like the Christian Decalogue (or the ten commandments) on prohibitions; but even in Jainism each aṇuvrata has its positive as well as its negative aspect. Ahiṁsā can be formulated as dayā, active compassion for all living beings. If Jainism has never challenged the constituted order of society, it has essayed to permeate it with the spirit of compassion but because human beings are actuated by self-interest it has pointed out to them the lower motives for doing good.[5]

Each of these vows has a two-fold purpose. The first is spiritual in that the observance of each of these vows will prevent the influx of new Karmas. The thought of injury, theft, or falsehood is the cause of demerit or sin. The thoughts in action will be punished by the state. The other purpose is social. By observance of each of the vows, an individual will be discharging his social obligation. To desist from violence or theft is to preserve peace and safety in society. While the spiritual fruit of observance of the vows is self-control and stoppage of the evil propensities of the mind, the mundane fruit is mental peace and the good of the society at-large.

Samantabhadra has stated that the conduct of a house-holder (gṛhastha) consists in the observance of five aṇuvratas, three guṇavratas and four śikṣāvratas.[6] 1 shall follow the same order in dealing with the subject.


The first of the five vows is Ahiṁsā. Ahiṁsā means not- hurting; he who abstains from causing any hurt or harm to any trasa-jīva or a living being with two or more senses either intentionally, or through others or by consenting to another to do so, observes the vow of Ahiṁsā. Ahiṁsā is the highest form of religion, say the Jaina thinkers. Surely non-appearance of attachment and passions is Ahiṁsā, says Amritacandra Suri.[7] When a person is overcome by passions, he causes hiṁsā or injury to his own self, though there may not be injury to any living being. When, however, there is injury to the vitalities of a living being when one is free from passions and has conducted one-self with sufficient care, there is no hiṁsā. There is certainly hiṁsā in such a case when one is careless and under the influence of passions. Everything depends upon the state of mind and intention to abstain from hiṁsā or to commit hiṁsā even where actual hurt or injury is not caused.

Umāsvāmi has defined hiṁsā to mean the severance of any of the vitalities by one actuated by passion. Jainism holds that the immobile beings possess four vitalities viz., touch, energy, respiration and life-duration. The mobile beings possess besides the above, any two or more of the senses viz., senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing and speech. Those endowed with the mind have in all ten vitalities. Thus injury is caused by severance of any of the vitalities in a mobile or immobile being. Such injury causes pain and suffering to life. He who causes injury with passion or through carelessness is guilty of hiṁsā. Himsā may be either bhava-hiṁsā under the influence of passions, or dravya- hiṁsā where there is physical injury.

Umāsvāmi has prescribed five rules of restraint for being firm in the observance of the vow of non-injury. Control of speech, control of thought, regulation of movement, care in lifting and placing things or objects and examination of food and drink before taking in, are the five observances.[8] Self-control is of vital importance. Since one is required to refrain from hurting the feelings of others to observe the vow of Ahiṁsā, control of speech and thought are quite essential. Everyone ought to be careful in his movements for fear of causing hurt or harm to a living being through carelessness. Similarly one ought to be careful while placing down things or objects lest they should hurt some tiny being. Such precaution has also to be taken even while lifting up any object. Similarly it is necessary to examine minutely one's own food or drink before taking it in, making sure that there is no tiny being in it.

Jainism makes a distinction between bhava-hiṁsā (intention to hurt) and dravya-hiṁsā or the actual causing of hurt. That is why five kinds of restraints have been expressly mentioned above as the cautions to be observed by one who wants to desist from causing hurt. Similarly, a distinction is made between sūkṣma- hiṁsā and sthūla-hiṁsā. The former requires abstention from causing hurt to life in any form while the latter requires abstention from hurting forms of life possessing two or more senses. It is not possible for a house-holder to refrain from causing hurt to forms of life with one sense like plants, trees, crops etc. He must however refrain causing unnecessary harm to Ekendriya and sthāvara jīvas, but it is ordained that a monk should desist from causing hiṁsā to any form of life.

As a practical religion, Jainism has considered what is normally possible for an average person. Hiṁsā is of two kinds: saṁkalpi (intentional) and ārambhi (occupational). Hunting, offering animal sacrifice, killing for food or sport are instances of intentional hiṁsā. Abstinence from them is possible with no harm to anybody. Ārambhi hiṁsā is hiṁsā committed by a house-holder in the ordinary course of his living. It is of three kinds:

  1. Udyamī,
  2. Grahārambhi and
  3. Virodhī.

1) Udyamī: A house-holder has to follow some occupation or the other in order maintain himself and his family. Jainism regards six occupations as permissible:

  1. asi or sword. It is open to a person to become a soldier or some other officer who has to use a sword or weapon in the discharge of his duties;
  2. masi or ink. One can follow the occupation of a writer or work in any office or business where writing is required to be done;
  3. kṛṣi or agriculture. A person can engage himself in agricultural or horticultural operations by cultivation of lands;
  4. vāṇijva or trade. A house-holder can follow such trade as does not involve intentional hiṁsā. He cannot follow the trade of a butcher, wine -merchant etc.
  5. śilpa or sculpture. He can follow any industry for production of consumer goods,
  6. vidyā. He can follow the learned professions like literature, teaching, art etc. It is not possible to avoid hiṁsā involved in carrying out the obligations of these occupations (udyami).

So far as the

2) Grahārambhi hiṁsā is concerned some kind of hiṁsā is involved in carrying out the domestic duties and obligations. Himsā is involved in constructing a house, in the preparation of food, use of water in bathing, washing etc. keeping of cattle, maintenance of gardens and growing or using vegetables, digging of wells, cutting of crops and fruits. In short, whatever hiṁsā is involved in the discharge of obligations necessary as a house-holder is permissible as otherwise normal life becomes impossible.

3) Yirodhī hiṁsā is committed in self-defence or defence of person or property of members of the family or relatives and friends. One has to defend against thieves, robbers, decoits or enemies in battles. Jainism does not preach cowardice. Defence of country is one of the obligations as a soldier in the army. The only restriction is that unnecessary hiṁsā must not be indulged in as a matter of hostility or revenge.[9]

In order to guard oneself against hiṁsā, one must completely renounce wine, flesh, honey and the five udumbar fruits: that is fruits belonging to the fig variety or of the genus ficus in which tiny beings are born in numbers: gular, anjīr (fig), banyan, 'peepal and pākar. In eating any of these kinds of fruits, not only is there hiṁsā of innumerable tiny insects and invisible organisms but also of countless seeds with which such a fruit is full. Wine is the birth-place of many organisms, like the flesh which is secured by killing an animal or from a dead animal. Every destruction of life involves destruction of compassion too. Honey is to be avoided not only because its collection involves hiṁsā but also because it contains a large number of tiny invisible eggs. Wine intoxicates the mind of the drinker and its preparation by fermentation involves inevitable hiṁsā of jīvas.

Those who are non-vegetarians often argue that since taking vegetables, fruits, milk and cereals also involves hiṁsā there could be no objection to meat-eating. It should be remembered that taking vegetarian diet involves injury to one-sensed beings. There is no injury to mobile beings. It is from this practical need Jaina authors have classified living beings according to their grades with reference to dense-organs and development. The argument ignores the fact that the body of an animal contains innumerable mobile and immobile beings. Microscopic examination will disclose the presence of a vast number of living organisms. In killing an animal or even in eating the flesh of a dead animal, one cannot escape from causing injury to a large number of vitalities. That is not so in eating vegetable food where hiṁsā involved is the minimum and that too to beings of one sense which are immobile.

Jainism prohibits killing either in the name of gods by way of sacrifice or for guests as a mark of respect. One should not kill animals like lions, tigers, snakes etc., on the ground that they harm others. It has to be conceded that these animals do not harm those who do not put them in fear or hold out threats of harm. In the world of animals there is no wanton killing. In fact, as compared with men, animals behave more kindly and live together. Killing horrifies because all beings wish to live and not to be slain. It is now found that even wild birds and animals have a purpose to serve and that is why a movement for protection of wild life is being undertaken by Governments and humanitarian organizations. Killing beings in misery or suffering, on the ground that they will be free from pain and agony is violence. In such cases, one should give medical assistance or nursing. Happiness and misery are the fruits of one's own Karmas previously acquired. Acts of killing are positively harmful as they cause greater pain to the animals concerned than mere suffering due to disease or injury. There will be greater bondage of evil Karmas to the killer. Killing is a great sin because all beings wish to live and never wish to be slain. Compassion is the beneficent mother of all beings.

Samantabhadra has laid down that there are five transgressions (aticāras) of the vow of Ahiṁsā. They are: chedana, bandhana, pīḍana, atibhārārūpaṇa and āhāravāraṇā.[10] These affect the purity of the vow in as much as each of these five acts brings suffering to the beings like servants and animals. Chedana means cutting of ear, nose or any other limb with any sharp instrument like a sword, axe or sickle, it is applied to purposeless cutting of trees or barks of trees. This is a merciless act due to carelessness or as a matter of punishment. Bandhana is keeping men or beasts in captivity, the tying of cattle, horses, dogs 'and other beasts of domestic use. The principle to be followed is that tying should be with consideration (sāpekṣa). It applies to keeping birds like parrots, pet birds etc. in cages. Keeping persons accused of offences in chains or tied hands and foot by ropes more than what is necessary to prevent them from running away is a transgression. Pīḍana is the transgression which consists in thrashing men or animals with ropes, whips, rods or sticks. Kicking servants etc. will be included in this transgression of the vow. The aticāra will be there when the act is cruel or merciless. Avoidance of vital spots and due consideration for age are necessary if the act is to free from cruelty. Atibhārārūpaṇa means overloading bullocks, horses, or in vehicles drawn by them. Even compelling servants to carry more load in excess of their capacity is a trans­gression. Loading more than is warranted by their capacity on men or animals is the gist of this transgression. Āhāravāraṇā consists in preventing men or beasts from taking food or drink. There is no transgression if the restriction is due to medical grounds. Starving men or animals by denying food or drink when they need it amounts to transgression.

It would be well to stress here that Ahiṁsā is not something negative; it is another aspect of dayā-compassion which is, in Hemachandra's words, 'the beneficent mother of all beings,' the elixir for those who wander in suffering through the ocean of re-incarnation. This positive Ahiṁsā is expressed in the form of karaṇa-dana or abhaya-dana, the giving of protection to all living creatures.[11] Samantabhara says that Ahiṁsā is the highest bliss known to beings in this world. (Ahiṁsā-bhūtānāṃ jagati viditam brahma paramāṃ).

The consequences of violence (hiṁsā) are calamity and reproach in this world and the next. He who commits violence is always agitated and afflicted, being actuated by animosity. He suffers pain and suffering, sometimes imprisonment also. Therefore everyone should avoid violence and practise benevolence towards, all living beings, feel joy at the sight of the virtuous, show compassion and sympathy towards the afflicted and adopt an attitude of tolerance towards the insolent and ill-behaved. He who conducts himself in life in this way is able to practice non­violence and other vows to perfection.[12] Thus the positive virtues which a votary of non-violence must possess are maitrl (love or friendship), pramoda (joy and respect), kāruṇya (compassion), mādhyastha (tolerance) towards living beings as stated by Umāsvāmi.[13] Compassion towards all beings is as invaluble and miraculous in its effects, as a Cintāmaṇi gem, says Somadeva.[14]

Satya (Truthfulness)

It is difficult to define truth, though its nature is understa­ndable. Umāsvāmi says that speaking what is not commendable is falsehood.[15] Commenting on this Sutra, Pūjyapāda says that which causes pain and suffering to a living being is not commendable, whether it refers to actual facts or not. The words that lead to injury constitute falsehood, Samantabhadra says that he who does not speak gross (sthūla) falsehood, does not cause others to speak and does not speak even the truth if it is likely to bring danger (vipadā) to himself or to anybody else, can be said to desist from gross falsehood.[16] Amṛt candra has given negative views of truth. According to him, it is falsehood to make a wrong statement through careless activity of body, mind or speech (pramāda-yoga). Falsehood is of four kinds:

  1. denying the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature when it actually exists;
  2. assertion of the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature when it does not exist;
  3. where a thing is represented to be something different from what it is actually, as when a horse is said to be a cow;
  4. when a speech is ordinarily condemnable (garhita), sinful (sāvadya) and disagreeable (apriya).

Any speech which is actuated by passion (pramatta-yoga) is false. Back biting, harsh, unbecoming, non-sensical or unethical speech is condemnable (garhita). That speech which provokes another to engage in piercing, cutting beating etc., or likely to lead to destruction of life is sinful (sāvadya). All disagreeable speech (apriya) causes uneasiness, pain, hostility, grief, anguish etc., to another person. Falsehood involves hiṁsā or injury of some kind or other. The material point is the intention behind the speech. Where a saint or a preceptor gives sound advice against vices or questionable habit of life, he cannot be said to indulge in false speech, even though the person affected may feel ashamed or uncomfortable.

Umāsvāmi has advised that a person who wants to be truthful ought to give up anger, greed, cowardice fearfulness, jest and blameless words (anuvīcibhāṣaṇam). There should be no effort to avoid deliberately the use of blameless words if the occasion or the context needs.[17] Somadeva makes distinction between degrees of truth mixed and falsehood as we find sometimes truth with falsehood. He mentions divulging of secrets, slander, back­biting, forgery and perjury as obstacles to truth. He cautions against exaggeration, fault-finding and indecent speech and advises that one should always speak what is "noble, beneficial and concise." One must avoid boasting and jealousy about the merits of others and that would draw one unconsciously into falsehood.[18]

There are five transgressions of truth against which Samanta-bhadra has cautioned all those who want to observe the vow of truthfulness. Giving false or wrong advice (parivāda) about any matter or rules of good conduct is the first kind of aticāra. Misleading people in matters of belief or conduct is very objec­tionable and must therefore be avoided. Divulging the secrets (rahobhyākhyāna) of others or breaking the promise of secrecy involves untruth. Disclosure of confidential talks which one may have overheard is similarly objectionable. Slandering (paiśūnya) others or talking about the weaknesses of other people should not be indulged in as it will damage the prestige of the people concerned. Committing perjury or forgery (kūṭalekha-karaṇa) to which Somadeva has referred is the fourth kind of aticāra. This includes keeping or maintenance of false accounts and carrying on false propaganda about others. Committing breach of trust or misappropriation (nyāsāpahāra) of what is entrusted to an individual in confidence is the fifth transgression of the vow of truthfulness. There are many occasions when people entrust their ornaments or cash to others under various circumstances believing that they would be returned when needed. Denying such deposit wholly or partially is an act of falsehood.

R. Williams has referred to some of the scriptures acceptable both to the Digambaras and Śvetāmbaras and categorised the forms of untruth:

  1. denial of what is,
  2. assertion of what is not,
  3. representation of something in a form other than its real form and
  4. reprehensible speech which is tactlessly hurtful, insulting, or encouraging harmful actions like advice to steal or kill.[19]

He has discussed other aticāras, mentioned by Haribhadra, Siddhaśena Gaṇin and others, which may be briefly indicated: imputing someone without due reflection a non-existent fault, allegations made by way of jibes, divulging to others what has been said by one's wife in confidence under special circumstances, uttering words that may cause distress to others, counterfeiting of seals of others or attributing some statement to another though he has in fact not made it and divulging from jealousy or other motive of the secret intention of another inferred from his gestures or facial expressions.[20]

Jaihism regards asatya as a form of hiṁsā. Falsehood brings in endless miseries here and in the next birth. A liar becomes a traitor to himself. Truth always triumphs and everyone should therefore adhere to that ideal. Falsehood may some­times land its author in prison or bring in disgrace and damage to property also.

Acaurya (Non-stealing)

Umāsvāmi defines stealing as taking what is not given (adattādānaṃ steyaṃ). Taking anything that is not given amounts - to theft, if the activity is actuated by impure thought. Samanta- bhadra has given a comprehensive definition of what is not theft. The vow of abstinence from theft consists in not taking anything which is not given, whether such thing has been deposited underground has been dropped by oversight or has been forgotten. In other words, the gross vow of non-stealing can be observed by desisting from taking away property which is not actually given by the owner.

Amṛtacandra clearly says that theft also involves hiṁsā as taking of property which is not given not only injures the purity of thought but also pains the person who is deprived of his property- Theft, if detected, may lead to punishment by imprisonment. In taking what belongs to another, there is pramatta-yoga or operation of activity aroused by some passion. The desire to possess some other's property without his consent or knowledge involves spiritual denigration of the self. A house­holder should not take water from private wells unless the permission of the owner is taken. No such difficulty arises in the case of public wells and roads which are dedicated to the public for use.[21] Somadeva adds that those who take the vow of non- stealing must not take anything belonging to others whether in a house or in the street or on water or in the woods or on the hills. Mines and hidden treasures belong to the king, though they may be of unknown ownership.[22] This view is consistent with modem law in our country.

As in the case of other vows, there are five kinds of trans­gressions (aticāras) in the case of theft also. One may not himself commit theft but if he instigates another to commit theft or shows him the way of committing theft, when he is guilty of abetment of theft (cauraprayoga). Receiving stolen property is another kind of transgression (caurārthadāna). The third kind of transgression known as Vilopa is when a person resorts to under-hand dealings for getting a thing in contravention of rules of control and restrictions which the state might have imposed. Adulteration (sadṛśasammiśra) is mixing of material of lower value with other material of higher value identical in colour or substance for sale with the motive of unlawful gain like mixing dālda with ghee or fat with butter etc. The fifth kind of aticāra refers to the use of false weights and measures (hīnādhikavinimāna), as for example using heavier weight for purchasing articles from others and using lighter weights for sale of one's own commodities.[23]

The vow of acaurya would not be perfect or honest unless a dealer studiously refrains from resorting to such dubious tactics. Now a days, adulteration has become so common that it is not possible to get any article of food or medicine without aduiteration with inferior stuff. Adulteration and use of false weights and measures have become cammon practices of trade.

Brahmacarya (Celibacy)[24]

The fourth vow is brahmacarya or celibacy. Samantabhadra has stated that the vow consists in desisting from having sexual contact with other women and from abetting others to have such contact, for fear of incurring sin. A person ought to be content with a woman whom he has married in the presence of his preceptor and others. He should have no sexual desire, or sensual look at other women.[25] This vow differs from all others in its double formulation: positive in the sense of contentment with one's own wife (sva-dāra-santoṣa) and nagtive as avoidance of contact with the wives of others (a-para-dāra-gamana).[26]

Amritacandra is definitely of the view that sexual intercourse involves all round hiṁsā. He likens the act to the insertion of a hot iron rod in a tube which is tilled with sesamum seeds and which burns all the seeds; in the same way every intercourse kills a large number of living organisms which are constantly and continuously born in a vagina. Every indulgence of sex-passion due to lust brings about hiṁsā.[27] [t is conceded by all writers that a house-holder should be content with his own wife, if he wants to observe this vow and abstain from even entertaining sexual desires with reference to other women.

Enjoyment of women betakes of the nature of affliction because like fever it brings on craving and delirium, and exhaustion of the body. The' passionate pleasure of the encounter can give no real satisfaction. Two reasons are assigned for condemnation of all carnal contact; that in moral sense the calm of the soul is disturbed by the increase of the passions of love and hate; and that in a physical sense the sexual act is always accompanied by hiṁsā.[28] Hemachandra has quoted from Vatsyayana's Kamasutra to support the latter view. From the earliest days of Jainism there is evidence for an almost obsessional horror of incest.[29]

There are five (aticāras) transgressions of this vow noted by Samantabhadra;

  1. A house holder should abstain from bringing about the marriages of other's children (anyavivāha-karaṇa). It is the duty of a house-holder to arrange for the marriage of his children. There is no fault if one regards such marriage as ceremonies and not as arrangements of copulation,
  2. Toying or caressing with the parts of the body like the breasts, arm-pits of the female (anaṅgakrīḍā)
  3. Finding pleasure in the sensual activities of eunuchs dressed in female attire;
  4. Excessive inclination for enjoyment of sensual pleasures (vipulatṛṣāticāra);
  5. Frequently visiting or having conversation or dealings with, or observing bodily attractions of, a prostitute. He who wants to observe this vow both in letter and in spirit must studiously avoid all occasions of meeting women in privacy and talking of matters which are likely to stir feelings of sexual or sensual contact.

Siddhaśena Gaṇin has been more precise in classifying sexua intercourse (maithuna) as animate (sacetana) and inanimate (acetana). The first has reference to

  1. intercourse of a man with a woman (celestial, human or animal);
  2. of man with another man; it includes masturbation as well as homosexuality:
  3. masturbation by a woman with some artificial phallus.

The latter one (acetana) refers to acts of man satisfying his sexual desires with the statue of woman (celestial, human, or animal) fashioned in plaster, wood, stone, or leather, or in the form of a painting.[30]

All Jaina philosophers have been unanimous in condemning breach of the vow of celibacy as leading to commission of various kinds of sins. It is a sin against one's self not only because it results in loss of bodily strength but also leads to various other sins. It is a sin against the society as it disturbs code of common ethics so essential for peace in domestic life and mutual trust. A man or woman given to adultery involves himself or herself in various kinds of deceitful acts which result in the destruction of all other virtues.

In the realm of Dharma men are by nature temperate in their sexual desires, and one should therefore remain content with one's married wife, and leave alone the wives of others, female relations, and nuns. Study, meditation and practice of virtue are out of question so long as the lire of sexual desire burns in the mind.[31]


Parigraha is infatuate attachment to possessions (mūrcchā parigrahaḥ).[32] The desire to acquire and possess a number of worldly things like lands, house, heads of cattle, gold, silver and cash is natural to men and women. This desire should not become insensible. When attachment to such objects of possession becomes uncontrollable or unreasonable, the mind becomes affected by passions of greed and delusion; such mind becomes oblivious to right faith, knowledge and conduct. Infatuation or attachment of any kind becomes a source of evil. In safeguarding property, one is likely to resort to violence and falsehood.

The desire to possess becomes an evil when it is uncontrolled To be free from such evil, one should voluntarily decide upon the extent of property and wealth that one should acquire and refrain from all activities of acquisition after the target is reached; this is called īcchāpariṇāma-vrata.

Amritacandra Suri defines parigraha as attachment; it is the result of delusion or operation of the moha Karma. Complete renunciation of all sense of attachment is aparigraha. Parigraha or attachment to possession of property is either external (bahiraṅga) or internal (antaraṅga). The former has reference to actual possession of goods or living beings like slaves, servants, heads of cattle etc. Internal parigraha is of fourteen kinds

  1. wrong belief (Mithyātva),
  2. urge for sexual enjoyment with a woman (strīveda),
  3. with a man (pum-veda),
  4. with eunuchs (napuṁsaka-veda),
  5. laughter or cutting jokes (hāsya),
  6. indulgence (rati),
  7. ennui, indifference or displeasure (arati),
  8. sorrow (śoka),
  9. fear (bhaya),
  10. disgust or hatred (jugupsā),
  11. anger (krodha),
  12. pride (mana),
  13. delusion or deceipt (māyā) and
  14. greed (lobha).

Though R. Williams considers that "they are in fact largely irrelevant to the consi­deration of the vrata,"[33] I consider that they are relevant in emphasising how the purity of the soul becomes affected in various ways in acquisition, possession, enjoyment and protection of property consisting of both animate and inanimate objects. Attachment which is the source of parigraha will be of various kinds and intensity. Possession of female servants and slaves may lead to arousing of sexual passions and consequent desires of indulgence, laughter, sorry. Other mental states referred to as internal attachments are attributable to acquisition or protection of various kinds of objects. While greed, deceit and pride are involved in the uncontrollable thirst for accumulation, fear, anger or sorrow are aroused when one has to part with the objects.

The external objects of parigraha consist of immovable proper­ties like houses and lands, movable properties like gold, silver, coins, jewellery, clothes, beds, items of furniture and food-grains and animate objects like the livestock and servants, both male and female. Distinction in the nature of the objects is made on the basis of their being sacitta (animate) and acitta (inanimate).

The object of the vow is that every householder should impose upon himself restrictions as to the nature and extent of objects (animate and inanimate) of possession so that there could be a check on his greed. Renunciation is the true way of life but it is not possible for everyone to follow it. Hence there is need for self-imposed limits on acquisitions.

Even after one imposes limitations on oneself, the vow could be transgressed in five ways. The aticaras have been enumerated by Samantabhadra in his "Ratnakaraṇḍa Srāvakācāra" in verse 62. They are ati-vāhana, ati-saṅgraha, ati-vismaya, ati-lobha and ati-bhāravāhana.

Ati-vāhana consists in driving beasts of burden like bullocks, horses etc. for a distance longer than they could go comfortably and in accordance with their capacity. This is resorted to out of greed to save money or time. The second one is ati-sarigraha which consists in excessive hoarding of food-grains and other commodities with the expectation of making more profits. This is also an act of greed as the intention is to take advantage of conditions of scarcity. Ati-vismaya relates to feeling or entertaining a great sense of disappointment at the huge accumulations of wealth by other people either in our own country or in foreign countries. This is merely a feeling of surprise or disappointment either due to one's own thoughts or due to thoughts expressed by other people, Ati-lobha consists in entertaining excessive greed in regard to different transactions. Obtaining high price when commodities are available elsewhere for lower price falls under this category of transgression. The last one is ati-bhāra vahāna. Tt consists in overloading blasts of burden to earn higher profits by way of freight charges. Most of these transgressions cover cases of acts of the tradesmen who carry on their business with the sole motive of profit. These moral codes are like cautions to persons who have taken the vow of parigraha-parimāṇa,

Acarya Sri Tuḷsī has been the modern exponent of three doctrines under the Aṇuvrata Movement. He has emphasised that the vow of Non-violence can solve not only the personal problems but also international problems of war and peace. All the vices of modern life like lying, black-marketing, adulteration, profiteering and permissiveness can be solved by observing the five vows which form the tenets of the Religion of Humanity. He has published books and pamphlets to prove that one could find a solution for every problem of human life or for national and inter­national problems by raising the ethical standard of individuals. The problems of capitalism versus communism can be solved by effective pursuit of the vow of aparigraha while the proper understanding and practice of Ahiṁsā can exterminate wickedness and hatred from the hearts of men as they contain the seeds of war. Mahatma Gandhi has already proved to the world that Non­violence and Truth can achieve even against the most formidable powers of the world.


Samantabhadra has stated that the eight primary virtues of a Śrāvaka or a house-holder consist of the five aṇuvratas and abstinence from wine, meat and honey.[34] I have already explained the five aṇuvratas and their significance in the mainte­nance of purity of mind, thought and action.

Some authors have stated that the eight mūlaguṇas consist of abstinence from the five audumbara fruits and from meat, wine and honey. While discussing the vow of Ahiṁsā, mention has been made of the need to abstain from all the eight things. The five kinds of fruits of the genus ficus viz. gular, anjūr, banyan, pīpal and pākar are often found filled with living organisms which are quite visible; at times such organisms are found dead, and what is more, there are a large number of seeds of very tiny variety almost indistinguishable from the tiny organisms-

Wine is prohibited as it intoxicates the individual who drinks and has a pernicious effect on his health. In the very act of fermentation, innumerable organisms are transformed into alcohol. Drinking is condemned as the root of all evils; it deludes the mind and affects the sense of discrimination. When a man is fully drunk, he becomes oblivious to all sins committed by him. Somadeva points out that wine was the cause of the ruin of Yādavas just as gambling was the cause of ruin of the Pāṇḍavas. The number of sentient beings transformed into a single drop of wine is large enough to fill the universe.[35]

I have already discussed the grounds on which meat-eating is prohibited. Somadeva wonders how people who seek their own welfare hope to increase their own flesh with the flesh of others. Just as one's life is dear to oneself, the birds and beasts have love

for their own Jives. Everyone should therefore refrain from destroying animal life.[36]

The objection to honey is based on the ground that innume­rable tiny eggs and organisms are killed in the act of pressing honey from the comb. Some writers have included butter as one among the prohibited articles of food as being abhakṣya due to the presence of invisible organisms.


The three guṇavratas mentioned by Samantabhadra are digvrata, anarthadaṇḍavrata and bhogopabhoga parimāṇa. These are intended to impose restraints of long duration on the activities of a house-holder so that the chances of his committing transgressions of other vows is considerably, if not totally, reduced. They are supplementary vows which aid the individual in his observance of the aṇuvratas.

i) Digvrata

There are ten directions: East, West, North, South, North-East, South-East, North-West, South-West, Up and Down. One should fix the limit with reference to well-known objects in each of the directions and decide for himself that he would not transgress that limit. He who thus limits his activities to the prescribed limits is sure of observing the vow of non-injury fully as regards the area lying beyond the limits fixed by him. He would be able to exercise self-restraint in all matters in relation to the area beyond the limits. There would be no occasion for breach of any of the vows. The limitations thus fixed may be for the entire life-time or for limited period of life. In fixing the directions, he may take into account the nature of his occupations and his business requirements. In such an event there would be a limit on greed also.

There are five ways in which the transgressions of the vow can occur:

  1. Moving in the upward direction beyond the limits set by oneself (ūrdhva-dikpramāṇātikrama> If a person has taken the vow of not moving upward, he cannot climb a tree or mountain. He cannot travel by air also. Any upward movement beyond his own limit will amount to transgression,
  2. Going deeper into the ground than the determined limits (adho-dik-pramāṇātikrama). If one has set the limits to the surface of the ground, he can neither descend into a well nor into a grain pit or mines,
  3. Travelling in any of the eight directions beyond the limits (tiryag-dig-pramāṇātikrama). The limits may be fixed by well-known boundaries like rivers and mountains or by distances in terms of yojanas or miles or other measure. If the transgression is deliberate, it is called a breach of the vow (bhaṅga); if it is through forgetfulness or ignorance, it is only a transgression,
  4. The fourth kind of transgression consists in extending the limits (kṣetra-vṛddhi). This refers to any attempt to evade or cross the limits either as a matter of convenience or forgetfulness. Crossing the limits through forgetfulness (smṛti-antardhāna).

ii) Anartba-daṇḍa Vrata

This is the second vow amongst the guṇavratas. It means abstinence from commission of any sin in mind, by speech or conduct within the limits of the directions set up by oneself without any justification. Having once determined the limits under the dig-vrata, it is not correct to commit any act that is sinful. One should abstain from all such acts that will not advance the cause of religion. It prohibits accumulation of all accessories of violence and means of injury. One should neither keep birds and animals like cocks, hawks, cats, vicious elephants, nor means of injury like poisons, spears, arms etc. One should desist from sinful gossips, evil thoughts and sports involving injury or loss of life.

Samantabhadra says that there are five kinds of Anartha-daṇḍa:

  1. pāpopadeśa consists in giving such advice as will result in sinful activities such as will cause pain or suffering to animals and birds, or in carrying on their trade. Advice to beat animals or birds, or tie them down to a particular place or overload them or cut this limbs or engage the birds will amount to this sin. No, advice which stimulates others to pursue harmful activities leading to violence, theft or falsehood should be given;
  2. hiṁsādana means giving away or gifting weapons which are likely to be used for causing hiṁsā, like axe, sword, bow, arrow spear, shackles, poison, fire, explosives, whip and gun etc. It also includes sale or lending of such Weapons or articles of violence,
  3. apadhyāna means cherishing ideas "of evil against others such as death, misery, calamity befalling other persons or their family members. This presupposes hatred or spite against other people which in itself is a sin. It also includes entertaining lustful thoughts about other women, covering other's riches and indulging in scandalous thought about other people;
  4. duḥśruti means listening to or expounding matters relating to various occupations like learning, trade, sculpture, riches, scriptures etc. which arouse false faith, avarice, anger, hatred and lust- Hearing stories relating to violence, superstition or lust which will arouse false beliefs or throw doubts on one's own right beliefs are all cases falling under this category of anartha daṇḍa;
  5. pramādacaryā consists in indulging in unnecessary activities like digging of the ground or stone, throwing away water or enkindling fire, cutting vegetation, causing obstruction to wind or purposeless activities. Even unnecessary travelling is required to be avoided. R. Williams has noted that Hemachandra has added other purposeless activities which ought to be avoided. ''Watching dancing, displays, or theatrical representations, or listening to concerts out of curiosity... study of the "Kāmasūtras"; dicing games played in pools and -watercourses (jalakrīḍā): gathering flowers; watching cock-fights" etc.

There are five aticaras or transgressions of anarthadaṇḍa-vrata as noted by Samantabhadra:

  1. kandarpa means indulging in indecent language which will provoke lust or infatuation in oneself or others. One should desist from laughter mixed with derision or disgust or course language;
  2. kautkucya refers to commission of hateful acts actuated by vulgar thoughts and speech, or by anger;
  3. maukharya means indulging in vulgar, non-sensica and useless talk due to self-conceit or vanity;
  4. atiprasādhana is accumulation of more things than are needed. According to Śvetāmbara texts, this aticāra is called saṁyuktādhikaraṇa which means keeping together implements or parts thereof needed for daily activities like agriculture etc.
  5. asamīkṣādhikaraṇa relates to useless mental or physical activities like reading or reciting verses which incite anger or spite; or telling such stories as will spoil the mental equilibrium and making unnecessary movements like lifting or throwing articles, or running etc.

iii) Bhogopabhoga-parimāṇa

This vow consists in the curtailment of the use of articles of luxury including those which might have been already limited. Excessive use of oils, soaps, flowers, betel nuts and leaves, unguents, articles of food and drink is prohibited.

There are two kinds of this vow:

  1. One is called niyama according to which one is required to set down a time limit for the use or renunciation of particular articles of drink or food,
  2. The other is called yama which requires abstinence from use are enjoyment of the articles for life. Under this vow, a devotee can vow to avoid the use of one or more things of daily use on specified days of the week. For example, one may avoid the use of sweet dishes or conveyances on specified days. This will increase the will-power and self-restraint.

There are five kinds of transgressions (aticaras):

  1. Viṣaya-viśato-anupekṣā means failure to check one's love for the poison of sensual pleasure. Enjoyment of sensual pleasures increases one's thirst for it and results in the deterioration of bodily strength and purity of mind. One should therefore develop hatred for it.
  2. Anu-smṛti refers to recalling to one's mind the past experiences of sensual enjoyment frequently
  3. Atilaulya means indulging in sensual pleasures with zest or in excess,
  4. Atitṛṣṇā means cherishing a strong thrist for enjoyment in future,
  5. Anubhava refers to a mental condition in which one emotionally entertains thoughts of sensual enjoyment, when there is none in fact.

According to Somadeva, the three vows discussed above constitute a scheme of preliminary self-restraint designed to secure moral purity and establish equilibrium, of the mind with regard to the worldly objects. They require a devotee to regulate his food and enjoyment. They supplement the great vow of Ahiṁsā and enable the devotee to devolop love and affection towards all living beings.


The regulation of work, food and enjoyment which is the object of the guṇavratas to secure would not by themselves be sufficient to purify the mind and contribute to the spiritual adva­ncement of the individual. If life were to be meaningful, it must be a constant exercise in righteousness and renunciation. Unless the moral and spiritual excellence of an individual are progressive both in spirit and action, there cannot be advancement in right knowledge and right conduct. While the five aṇuvratas provide a solution for the evils of daily life and endow it with purity in - thought and action, the three guṇavratas teach lessons of restraints in work, food and enjoyment in daily life, The śikṣāvratas broaden the mind and provide a regular opportunity for growth of scriptural knowledge. The practice of the vows is a lesson in spiritual training and experience; it affirms our conviction in the in the efficacy of right faith and knowledge. It inspires the votary to a life of piety and renunciation, as a preparation for a rigorous life of an ascetic.

Samantbhadra has mentioned the four Śikṣāvratas in this order:

  1. deśāvakāśika,
  2. sāmāyika,
  3. proṣadhopavāsa and
  4. vaiyāvṛtya[37]

It appears from the Jaina Yoga that sāmāyika is mentioned as the first Śikṣāvratas by all the Ācāryas except Samantabhadra and Asadhara.

1) Deśāvakāśika

From the nature of this vow, it appears to me to be another aspect of digvrata. In fact, Umāsvāmi and Vasunandi regard it as a guṇavratas. This vow requires an individual to determine and limit his movements to a house, to a part of it, to a village or a town. The, period for the observance of this vow may vary from a day to a few days, month, a few months or a year. The basic idea underlying both the dig-vrata and the deśāvakāśika-vrata is that if a man reduces his freedom of movement to a restricted area, small or large, his absence from all the area, his absence from all the area not comprised within the self-imposed limits will mean that he can be said to be keeping the Mahāvratas, the rigid vows of an ascetic, in that wider area; whilst at the same time constant awareness of these spatial limits will result in added vigilance in the observation of the aṇuvratas within them.[38] According to Amritacandra, this vow may be observed during a particular point of time when one shall not go beyond a certain village, market, street or house.[39]

Samantabhadra says that one who wants to observe the aṇuvratas should not only go on reducing the period of movement during each day but also of the limits of areas as determined by himself. He also agrees that by such reduction of time and area, a votary of the aṇuvratas will have the benefit of having observed the great vratas. He mentions five aticaras of this vow:

  1. preṣaṇa means sending a servant, friend or son to do something beyond the self-imposed limits. Such an act violates the vow by asking somebody else-to move outside the limits causing harm to living organisms;
  2. Sabda consists in attracting the attention of people outside the limits by making sounds with the hope of getting done what is wanted,
  3. ānayana relates to getting some things brought through any person from outside the limits;
  4. rūpābhivyakti is employing signs and gestures to communicate with others who are outside the limits;
  5. pudgala-kṣepa consists in throwing some tangible objects like stone, bricks, clod of earth in order to attract attention of the person beyond the limits.

2) Sāmāyika

The observance of this vow has been emphasised both by the Digambaras and by the Śvetāmbaras as an exercise for securing equanimity of mind and concentration on the contempla­tion of the nature of the real self. Samantabhadra defines it as complete abstinence from the commission of the five sins in mind, thought and action dining fixed time without reference to limits of space.[40] According to him it can be observed in a temple, house, garden or other quiet place when the mind is peaceful and happy, either by standing in a kāyōtsarga posture or sitting in a padmāsana porture. The observance of this vow endows the practice of the five vows (aṇuvratas) with perfection, as the house­holder is then free from all activities, occupational or physical.

Amritarandra says that the practice of the vow, with a mind purged from love and hatred towards all beings and with complete equanimity by contemplating on the true principles, leads to self- realisation^ it should be practiced in the morning and evening, though the practice of it at other times is also beneficial. Attainment of equanimity by practice of the vow will result in abstinence from sinful activities. Sāmāyika, if practised regularly, brings about equanimity of mind and mental concentration on the atman.

The individual intending to perform the vrata must not be in fear of any one or in dispute with any one or indebted to any one, nor should there be any other cause of anxiety to sway his mind in any direction. He must, like a sadhu, observe the five samitis and the three guptis and avoid all harmful (sāvadya) speech; and before picking up or setting down any object, he must not neglect pratilekhana (i. e. scanning of the ground) and pramārjana (cleaning of the ground by a soft broom carefully). He should try to avoid spitting or blowing his nose; and if he cannot help doing so, he must find out a bare patch of ground, scan it and softly clean it as aforesaid[41] A layman engaged in the practice of Sāmāyika looks like an ascetic but for his clothes.

Somadeva has broadened the concept of Sāmāyika as including worship of the Arhat with or without the idol, worship of the sacred scriptures by singing in praise of Sarasvati and medi­tation. The aspirant should sing in praise of the Jina and absorb himself in meditation of Self. Both Samantabhadra and Amrita- candra have pointed out that Sāmāyika should be practised when the aspirant is observing full or partial fast. He should think of the causes of transmigration and medicate on the pathway to salvation.

The five aticaras of this vow as mentioned by Samantabhadra are common to both the Digambara and Śvetāmbara traditions,

  1. vāg-duṣ-praṇidhāna consists in engaging in talks about family matters when performing Sāmāyika;
  2. kāya-duṣpraṇidhāna refers to making such movements of the body as will affect self- restraint. Haribhadra says that transgression of the vow occurs when the aspirant fails to scrutinize the ground and clean it softly before sitting thereon;
  3. mano-duṣpraṇidhāna occurs when the mind is swayed by anger, deceit, pride, avarice, and envy due to anxieties of mundane affairs;
  4. anādara is lack of zeal or proper enthusiasm in the practice of Sāmāyika. It is also called anavasthita-karaṇa as meaning failure to observe the proper formalities in the practice of the vow;
  5. asmaraṇa is forgetfulness of the verses to be recited or lack of concentration.

The object of this vow is to snatch moments of detachment from worldly affairs, its cares and worries, love and hatred and above all the attainment of equanimity of mind and concentration at the time of meditation. Some writers have associated puja and other rituals with it.

3) Proṣadhopavāsa

Among the austerities prescribed by Jainism, fasting is the most conspicuous; the Jainas have developed it to a kind of art and reached a remarkable proficiency in it.[42] Fasting has to be observed on the 8th (aṣṭamī) day and 14th day (caturdaśī) of each half of the lunar month. The Digambara texts require that the fast should commence from the noon preceding the date of fast and continue till the mid-day following the fasting day, that is for a total period of 48 hours. Most of the Śvetāmbara writers mention a period of twenty-four hours only as the period of fast on the aforesaid days. The fast may be observed in one's own home, a temple, or the, place where an ascetic is putting up. During the period of fast, there should be not only a relinquish­ment of all kinds of pleasures of the senses but also of participation in the house-hold affairs including trade and business. The day should be spent in worship and meditation including the reading of scriptures. The evenings and nights should be spent in Sāmāyika and reading of scriptures. Samantabhadra says that fasting means abstinence from food, drink, tasting and licking (of some juice). There are three modes of fasting. The best mode (uttama) is complete fast or abstinence as aforesaid. The middle course (madhyama) is one in which drinking water is permitted. The least satisfactory (jaghanya) course is that of taking one meal only during the day. The Śvetāmbara texts have laid down that on fasting days, āhāraka (taking of food), deha-satkāra (bodily care), maithuna (sexual intercourse) and vyāpāra (trades or occupations) may be observed fully or partially according to the capacity of the layman.[43]

Samantabhadra has mentioned five kinds of breaches of this vow:

  1. grahaṇāticāra is acceptance of articles of worship without examining and handling them carefully;
  2. visargāticāra consists in keeping articles or spreading one's body on the ground without scrutiny;
  3. astaraṇāticāra refers to spreading one's bed without carefully examining and softly sweeping the place;
  4. anādarāticāra consists in showing no enthusiasm in the observance of fast; and
  5. asmaraṇāticāra relates to forgetting due observance of scriptural study and concentration etc.

4) Vaiyāvṛtya

This vow which is also known as atithi-samvibhaga vrata consists in offering alms to an ascetic on his alms-round; it also includes massaging his feet and removal of his ailments, as also rendering such service as is necessary to remove obstacles in his path of penance and renunciation. The vow is to be practised as a matter of religious duty (dharmya).

The points which are required to be considered in determining whether the vow is properly observed or not, are:

  1. pātra or the recipient should be an ascetic who has been leading a life of renunciation and evokes veneration from all;
  2. dātr or the donor must be a house-holder pursuing the twelve vows and advancing progressively in reaching the highest of the eleven rungs of the ladder (pratimās);
  3. dātavya or dravya refers to pure food, medicine, books and protection (abhaya);
  4. dānavidhi consists, according to the Digambaras, of nine elements: pratigraha or welcoming an ascetic on seeing him at a distance with the words;

salutations to thee, kindly stop (namo stu tiṣṭha); then offering him a seat of honour (ucca –sthāna); washing his feet with reverence (caraṇa kṣālana); then worshipping him with flowers, waving of lamp and other articles of worship (arcana); and then making him salutations (praṇāma). The offering of food should then be made with purity of mind, speech and body (tri- yoga- śuddhi). The giver must be possessed of faith, devotion, contentment, zeal, discrimination, disinterestedness and forbearance.[44]

The Śvetāmbaras regard dana as conditioned by live factors: deśa or place, meaning whether the place produces rice or wheat or other cereals or pulses; kala, that is whether it is a period of famine or abundance; śraddhā; the giver must have purity of mind and faith: satkāra receiving the guest with due respect and attention; and Krama refers to serving of food in due order, rice or rice gruel is offered first.[45] Apart from the four kinds of offerings in vogue with the Digambara, the Śvetāmbaras recognise the offer of clothes, blankets, alms bowl, jugs etc. by approaching the ascetic at his lodging, inviting him to his house, offering him a respectable seat and giving him food and drink.

Samantabhadra mentions that the fruits of dana to an ascetic consist in the purging of the karmas and birth in a noble family with wealth, beauty and prestige. The Śvetāmbaras do not seem to regard this kind of reincarnation as having any special connection with dana.[46] Amṛtacandra is of opinion that gift of food brings about curtailment of greed and renunciation of hiṁsā as greed itself is a form of hiṁsā.

How much of one's property should be devoted to dana has been discussed by Devasena. According to him, the property should divided into six parts, each part being appropriated for the dhama, upkeep of the family, for bhoga (luxuries), for maintenance of servants, and two parts for performance of puja. According to Hemacandra, a mahāśrāvaka or an ideal house­holder should sow his wealth in seven fields (kṣetras) with cm passion for those in misery. The seven fields are;

  1. the installation of Jaina images for the performance of puja;
  2. construction of or repairs to Jaina temples;
  3. copying of the sacred texts and their distribution to learned monks;
  4. giving alms to monks;
  5. alms to nuns;
  6. charity to the laymen like construction of rest-houses, hospitals etc., and
  7. charity to lay women as above[47]

It is Worthy of note that monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen form the four pillars of the Jaina community.

The five aticāras or breaches of the vow of vaiyāvṛtya as noted by Samantabhadra are:

  1. haritapidhāna is covering the food to be offered with green leaves, flowers or other sacitta things;
  2. harita-nidhāna refers to offering of food in sacitta leaves;
  3. anādarāticāra consists in showing disrespect or absence of respect at the time of offering food;
  4. asmaraṇāticāra is forgetting the method of offering or getting lost in one's own work just in lime; and
  5. mātsarya is feeling envy when others are offering food etc. to ascetics.

It will be seen that the Jaina ethics are founded on the principle of Ahimsa and love for all living beings. While a layman ought to have a rational faith in Jainism, his daily conduct must exhibit the true ideals of non-violence and truth. In his dealings, he must be upright to the core and practise charity not only by giving but also by cultivation of non-attachment towards worldly possessions. Me must be constantly- aware of his duties towards himself and to the society. His life as a layman should pave the way to the ultimate goal of self-realisation. Possession of perfect faith and knowledge should not be a matter of mere theory but should be constantly reflected in daily conduct.

Share this page on: