Philosophy In Jain Agams ► 06 ►ĀCĀRĀ MIMĀNSĀ [Ethics - A Critical Probe]] ► Types of Conduct ► Viryācāra: (Conduct qua Spiritual Energy) ► Primacy of Shunning off of Karma

Posted: 18.07.2019

Attachment towards body and outfits is natural. This sense of attachment becomes a cause of worldliness. Indeed, to give up the sense of attachment is essentially the motive of the dhuta practice. Pride and arrogance make a person intoxicated. Knowledge of self is destroyed by these vices. A spiritual practitioner becomes intoxicated with supernatural powers, pleasurable and comfortable feelings. He starts disobeying the Acharya (spiritual guru), absorbed in self exaltation. The person enticed with relishing the tasty food, does not observe the purity of alms begging. Such person does not even hesitate in breaking off his self accepted vows. The person, intoxicated with the pride of Sātā (physical beauty and pleasure), occupies himself in decorating his body. His goal of self-realization or the search of the ultimate truth starts blurring. The karma's shaking off is the main abondonment among all the other abandonments. So the abandonment of relatives, outfits, body etc. are accomplished through the shaking off of karma. A spiritual practitioner is expected to practice the shaking off of karma as it is the main kind of shaking off. There are many practices of shaking off of karma. Among them one is- Ekatva Anuprekā (contemplation of solitariness). Shaking off of karma is accomplished with it. Revealing this fact, the Ācārāga says that an aspirant, renouncing the attachment in all respects, one should contemplate ' I have none, so I am alone'.

aaiacca savvato sangaṁṇa maha atthi tti egohamansi.[1]'

Practice of Restraint over Food

The practitioner interested in controlling the lust and sexual desires, is expected to keep restraint over enticing food. One should not take tasty and rich food in abundance. It stimulates the minerals of the body and this agitates the sexual desire that troubles the spiritual practitioner.[2] Any extra amount of intake of rich food increases the attachment towards the body and also hinders the path of salvation. The attachment towards body can be controlled with the practice of austerities. Austerities develop continual tolerance power and along with that conduct, ecstasy and enlightenment also flourishes. Ācārāga says- endowed with perfect knowledge, the monks have lean body muscles, burn the fat deposited in the flesh and decrease the level of blood in the body. As this happens, enlightenment flourishes[3], which results in developing the feeling of detachment in a spiritual aspirant. This helps a spiritual practitioner to defeat his disinterest in spiritual activities.

viraya bhikkhu yanta, chirarātosiya, arati tattha ki vidhārae?[3]

It means that is it possible that arati (disinterest in spiritual activity) may overpower a monk of long standing, progressing in the practice of self-restraint and get detached from the worldly things?

A similar description of above- mentioned practice has also been given in the Buddhist practices. The Buddha while addressing 'māra', says 'As blood, bile and phlegm gets dry, the mind becomes happier by the lessening of flesh. This means manifestation of faith takes place, which strengthens the memory, ecstasy, enlightenment, total victory over sexual desire and the soul attains the most purified state.[5]

The aim of a spiritual practitioner is to awaken enlightenment. Manifestation of enlightenment occurs through the medium of penance. Penance is not a goal, but a means to achieve that goal. 'Dhuta' is a mode of practice. The highest situation of dhuta is Mahāparijñā. Strong feeling of detachment is Mahāparijñā. Mahāparijñā is the great shaking off of karma. It is also a means but not the goal. It results in the accomplishment of salvation, which is also the subject matter of the eighth chapter of 'Ācārāga'. The spiritual practices from comprehension and abandonment of weapons of injury (śastra parijña) to liberation have been followed by Lord Mahavira as described in the ninth, the last chapter of Ācārāga i.e. 'Vāhana'. The complete description of 'dhuta' is available in the Ācārāga. However, apart from Ācārāga, none of the other Jain scriptures mentions it. Different means of spiritual practice are available else where but not with the name of 'dhuta'. Why this is so is a matter of research.

Practice of Celibacy

Practice of celibacy is very important in the field of spiritual practice. One of the meanings of celibacy is- to be engrossed in the Brahma. In this present context the meaning of celibacy is the detachment from sensuous objects and refraining from sexual indulgence. The word 'Gramyadharma[6]' (sexual desire) is used for sex in Ācārāga. How to remove the sufferings of a spiritual practitioner who is suffering from this gramyadharma, is a question? Solutions are available in the agama scriptures.

Sexual excitement is two fold: with cause and spontaneous. The sexual desire which is due to external objects is called caused and that which is due to the internal state of the mind is called spontaneous.

The caused sexual excitement has three varieties:

  1. due to hearing a sound
  2. due to seeing a form (of beauty) and
  3. due to the memory of the pleasure (just etc.) enjoyed in the past. The internal excitement also has three varieties:
  1. due to the rising of karma
  2. due to the effect of food
  3. due to the nourishment of the body.[7]

In the Sthanaga, the four causes of sexual excitement are mentioned.[8]

  1. Nourishment of flesh and blood.
  2. Rising of the deluding karmas
  3. Hearing a sexual conversation
  4. Continuous thinking of sex

Sexual excitement is related to the accumulation of semen, and the accumulation of semen is related to food. Therefore, in connection with subjugating sex, the instructions related to food are available. In the agamic literature, there has been a description on the ways of overcoming the sexual desire which are as follows:

  1. Taking light food (Sūtra 79)
  2. Reducing diet (Sūtra 80)
  3. Headstand posture (Sūtra 81)
  4. Wandering from village to village (Sūtra 82)
  5. Fasting (Sūtra 83).[9]
  6. Mortify flesh and blood.[10]

There is an elaborate explanation of these ways in the Ācārāga. In the head-stand posture, the eyes are to be firmly fixed on the tip of the nose or the brows. The act of firmly fixing is to be repeated. By such practice the (Apana vāyu) is weakened and the Prāa Vāyu is strengthened. On the strengthening of the Apana vāyu, the sexual propensity is augmented. On the strengthening of the Praa vāyu, this propensity is made inactive.

For the person with predominance of the passion of hatred, the sitting posture is beneficial, but for one with the predominance of the passion of attachment, standing and walking are beneficial. Therefore, a journey on foot, from village to village is a way of practising celibacy. The above Brahmacarya related explanation is available in the Ācārāga commentary. which has been presented here.[11]

The practice of contemplation is also important for the practice of Brahmacarya. It has been said, while moving with equanimity, if sometimes our mind goes out of control, then think 'that she is not mine and I am also not hers. Mumukshus (ascetic) should refrain from such materialistic attachments.[12] Such other remedies are also available.

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