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Jain Vidya (2): Ashatana

Published: 21.01.2018

(Disrespect towards Spiritual Teachers)

Both the brothers Vimal and Nirmal went to pay obei-sance to monks. Vimal was familiar with the norms and practices followed in their religious tradition. Nirmal was only seven years old. In the room ahead a rajoharana (a broom of woolen threads which a Jain monk or nun carries with him or her to sweep away ants and other creatures on the way) was placed across the door. Nirmal wanted to go further by stepping across it. As soon as Vimal saw him, he said, "Nirmal! Stop there. Do not move further." Nirmal- Why?

Vimal- This rajoharan belongs to monks and it has been placed to prevent the people from entering the room. If we cross it, we become guilty of ashatana.

Nirmal- What is ashatana?

Vimal- Behaving disrespectfully towards monks and nuns is called ashatana.

Nirmal- Then, is entering the room disrespect and undesirable? Vimal- No, but it is improper to enter by crossing over rajoharana. Nirmal- In addition to it, are there any other forms of ashatana? Vimal- Yes, there are many.

Nirmal- What are they? Please explain.

Vimal- Sitting with your back towards monks or nuns, sitting very close to them, sitting with them at equal position, stand very close to them, interrupting a conversation without asking, talking while the sermons are being delivered, leaving a discourse in the middle etc. are many forms of ashatana. Dear brother, I cannot count them. We ourselves ought to be mindful of these things. For example, when we bow before a monk, we also touch his feet but while doing so if we sometimes smear his feet with the dust of our hands. This is also an ashatana. Nirmal- Why should we not do ashatana?

Vimal- We incur karmic bondage by doing ashatana. It also appears unpleasant and is a violation of spiritual decorum. Nirmal- It's O.K. but if we happen to do ashatana unintentionally, what should we do?

Vimal- If ashatana is done unintentionally, we should apologize to the monk or nun politely.

Questions:

  1. Why did Vimal stop Nirmal, when he wanted to move further by stepping over rajoharan?
  2. What is ashatana?
  3. Why should we not commit ashatana?
  4. If ashatana is done what should we do?

Sources
Title: Jain Vidya (2)
Editor: Muni Sumermal (Sudarshan)
Translation: Dr. Samani Shashi Pragya
Publisher: Samana Sanskriti Sankaya, Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
20th Edition: 2013
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  1. Rajoharan
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