Abstract Thinking: [20.10] - Anupreksha Of Truth - The Anuvrat of Truth

Published: 23.04.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

According to certain thinkers, there can be no anuvrat (small vow) of truth, for truth is indivisible - it cannot be divided into parts. Violence constitutes one of the inevitabilities of life - some violence is involved in the very process of living. So one might take a small pledge for observing non-violence. But falsehood is not inevitable in life. Therefore there can be no anuvrat of truth-it can only be a mahavrat (a great vow).

The division into anuvrat and mahavrat is not based upon alone; remissness is also a principal factor therein. It is not possible for every man to be eternally vigilant. He, who cannot be constantly awake, cannot be wholly truthful. Wherever there is remissness, untruthfulness is bound to be there. A man tells a lie in jest. The intention here is not to indulge in untruth. All the same, a lie is a lie.

The second reason for indulgence in untruth is the infeasibility of speaking the truth. Every person cannot develop such capacity as to stop telling untruths all at once. Those who do not possess such capacity try togive up telling untruth gradually. At first they refrain from telling lies of a particular kind; later they abstain from subtle-most. Thus through gradual practice, they finally become wholly truthful. This process of gradual practice in itself constitutes anuvrat. This marks the beginning of our progress from a state of unawareness to that of full awareness. It leads us from impracticability to feasibility. As a matter of fact, it involves no division of truth, but a gradual development and practice of it.

It is desirable for the undertaker of the pledge of truth, to take the great vow. But he, who is not able to do so, should take definite pledges to renounce certain kinds of untruths. Later, he should gradually give up telling lies originating from negligence and incapacity. Thus it becomes easier to move from untruth to truth.

Truth and simplicity go together. Without the development of simplicity and sincerity, truth cannot flower. And simplicity and sincerity are not things to be got in a moment through mere will­power. These come after long and regular spiritual endeavour. Training for simplicity and straightforwardness is in fact training for truth. Keeping this fact in mind, Lord Mahavira propounded the anuvrat of truth.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anuvrat
  2. Mahavira
  3. Non-violence
  4. Violence
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