Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 81 ►Reducing Violence

Published: 12.07.2020

Words have multiple shades of meaning. Some of their meanings have wide applications. The words used in the Jain Agam texts are also not an exception A word ‘Dand’ (punishment) has been use there. The literal meaning of the word “Dand” is atonement. The tradition of atonement for violation of rules has always been preva in the sphere of religion, social and political. Where there is a description of three fold atonement in Agam texts, the atonement of mind, speech and body has been depicted there. In the following context there are five kinds of atonement dedicated in ‘Sthanang Sutra’.

  1. Arthadand
  2. Anaithadand
  3. Hinsadand
  4. Akasmadand
  5. Drishtibiparyasdand

1. Arthadand

To help oneself or others in killing movable or immovable creatures is ‘Arthadand’. The favours are of two kinds—spiritual favour and social favour. In spiritual favour violence of any kind is not acceptable. To make someone wise or a devotee the question of violence doesn’t oneself becomes irrelevant there. There is a scope of violence to fulfil one’s physical needs but from social perspective it is not considered acceptable which is why it has been put in the category of Aethadand.

2. Anarthadand

The literal meaning of the word ‘Artha’ means purpose or necessity. The violence caused unnecessarily is known as ‘Anarthadand’. The root cause of violence lies in ulterior or dishonest tendencies. Generally man’s action is governed by ulterior tendencies. In gross sense killing living creatures influenced by ulterior tendencies is associated with violence but the point of view of scriptures is very subtle. According to it indulging in negative thoughts, delivering evil speech and negative actions cause violence. Even if someone fails to grasp the subtleties of violence and non-violence but at least he must deliberately try to save him from causing violence governed by any ulterior motive. One who remains aware of it he can save himself from ‘Anarthadand’.

A saint takes food. It is not a negative trait of his because he is a self-restrained man. Even then a saint can take food for six reasons. In the absence of any of these reasons taking food is not allowed. The six reasons behind a saint taking food are—

  1. Pang of hunger: To satiate the pang of hunger it is essential to take food.
  2. Vaijabritya: It is essential to offer service to the other members of the commune. Without food service is not possible. Therefore it is essential to have food.
  3. Iryashuddhi: Not taking food leads one to have blurred vision. As a result one cannot remain alert in Iryasamiti (to walk with alertness lest any time creature gets trodden under one’s feet). Therefore to remain alert while walking it is essential to have food.
  4. Restrain: It is essential to have food to lead a long life of restraint because without food many mistakes are caused in performing essential activities.
  5. Sustenance of life: To sustain life one needs to have food.
  6. Contemplation of religion: To contemplate over religion, to meditate and to offer discourses it is essential to have food.

These are a few specific reasons for a saint to have food. In a similar way a family person also has some specific reasons to cause violence. Causing violence without any specific cause or reason comes under ‘Anarthadand’.

3. Hinsadand

A certain creature hits us at present or may hit us in future, to cause pain to someone. Keeping such possibilities in mind is 'Hinsadand' For example a snake comes out then some people kill it beacuse it causes fear. This way stricken by the fear of harm enemies are being attacked.

4. Akasmatdand

Where there is no specific reason to kill someone but violence is caused suddenly without any intentions, that is Akasmatdand driver of a car doesn’t want to cause accident but still sometimes mistake happens. Getting drunk, drowsiness, laziness, fog and so on are some reasons that become the cause of an accident. Sometimes without any apparent reason also accident is caused. It is neither ‘Arthadand’ nor ‘Anarthadand’ because such incidents take place suddenly. There is no trait of violence in it. After such an incident one repents as well. Through repentance the layers of sins also do not get intense whether someone kills someone intentionally or by mistake, but annihilation of life.takes place in both such cases. When someone causes violence led by specific intentions then he abides himself by karmas. To full one’s indispensable needs reluctantly a person who gets involved in violence also abides himself by karmas but the layer of it is not very intense. The main cause of fastening is person’s own attachment and passion. If there is lessening of attachment, passion is reduced then the violence caused by ‘Akasmatdand’ will not bind a-person so much.

5. Drishtibiparyasdand

Where a person wants to take life of someone but one whom he wishes to kill doesn’t die rather on the contrary someone else dies in the process is called ‘Drishtibiparyasdand’. It happens due to blurred vision or missing the target. Due to optical illusion one sometimes has to bear a heavy loss. A dealer of precious stones also sells a price less stone at a much less price due to this optical illusion.

A family person can easily save himself from 'Anarthadand’ out of these five 'dandas'. Even to save oneself from one “dand” is not a matter of joke. One needs conscience and alertness in this as well.  Among twelve vows a shravaka’s vow is-—not to cause violence to any mobile creature. One who abides by this vow saves himself from violence to a certain extent that opens a way before him of spiritual development. To refrain from causing violence absolutely is not possible for any family person. A person refraining from unnecessary violence or Sankalpja violence can play a pivotal role in being non- violent and thus establish himself as an ideal family person.


Title: Ocean Of Problems
Author: Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agam
  2. Artha
  3. Body
  4. Contemplation
  5. Fear
  6. Karmas
  7. Non-violence
  8. Sutra
  9. Violence
  10. shravaka
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