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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: External Symbols And Insignia Have No Significant Validity In The Path Of Liberation

pāsaṃḍiyaliṃgāṇi ya gihiliṃgāṇi ya bahuppayārāṇi.
ghettuṃ vadaṃti mūḍhā liṃgamiṇaṃ mokkhamaggo tti..

ṇa hu hodi mokkhamaggo liṃgaṃ jaṃ dehaṇimmamā arihā.
liṃgaṃ muittu daṃsaṇaṇāṇacarittāṇi sevaṃte..

ṇa vi esa mokkhamaggo pāsaṃḍiyagihimayāṇi liṃgāṇi.
daṃsaṇaṇāṇacarittāṇi mokkhamaggaṃ jiṇa viṃti..

tamhā jahittu liṃge sāgāraṇagāriye hi vā gahide.
daṃsaṇaṇāṇacarittāṇi appāṇaṃ juñja mokkhapahe..

mokkhapahe appāṇaṃ ṭhavehi cedayahi jhāhi taṃ ceva.
tattheva vihara ṇiccaṃ mā viharasu aṇṇadavvesu..

pāsaṃḍiyaliṃgesu va gihiliṃgesu va bahuppayāresu.
kuvvaṃtije mamattaṃ tehi ṇa ṇādaṃ samayasāraṃ..

vavahārio puṇa ṇao doṇṇi vi liṃgāṇi bhaṇaṃdi mokkhapahe.
ṇicchayaṇao du ṇecchadi mokkhapahe savvaliṃgāṇi..

(Bahuppayārāṇi pāsaṃḍiya- liṃgāṇi ya gihiliṃgāṇi ya ghettuuṃ mūḍhā tti vadaṃti) The ignorant ones don various types of symbols and external insignia of pseudo-ascetics or laymen [householders], maintaining that (iṇaṃ liṃgaṃ mokkhamaggo) these paraphernalia constitute the path of liberation.

(Du liṃgaṃ mokkhomaggo ṇa hodi) But these external symbols and insignia are, undoubtedly, not the path of liberation, [and this is proved by the fact that] (jaṃ arihā dehaṇimmamā liṃgaṃ muittu daṃsaṇanāṇacarittāṇi sevaṃtte) the Arhatas themselves, discard not only the bodily symbols but the body itself, and remain absorbed only in right belief, knowledge and conduct.

(Pāsaṃḍiya-gihimayāṇi liṃgāṇi eva vi mokkhamaggo ṇa) The external insignia either of pseudo-ascetics or of the householders can never constitute the path of liberation; (daṃsaṇa-ṇāṇa-carittāṇi mokkhamaggaṃ jiṇā viṃti) and because the omniscients, themselves declare that right faith, knowledge, and conduct jointly comprise the path of liberation, (tamhā sāgāraṇagāriyehi vā gahide liṃge jahittu) abandon the symbols donned by the householders as well as the homeless ascetics (appāṇṇaṃ daṃsaṇa-ṇāṇa-caritte mokkhapahe juṃja) and concentrate fully upon the real path comprising of [three jewels] right faith, knowledge and conduct.

[Oh bhavya! listen carefully to the valuable admonition of the omniscient and] (mokkhapahe appāṇaṃ ṭhaveti) establish your Self in the path of emancipation, (cedayahi) experience only [the Self] (taṃ ceva jhāyahi) practise self-concentration [and be absorbed only in the self,] (tattheva ṇiccaṃ vihara) move in and with the self; (aṇṇadavvesu mā viharasu) do not move in and with the alien objects.

(Je bahuppayāresu pāsaṃḍiya-liṃgesu va gihiliṃgesu va mamattaṃ kuvvaṃti) Those ignorant aspirants who have affection towards various types of ascetic symbols or householders' insignia, [consider these to be essential for emancipation and falsely imagine themselves to be real ascetics,] (tehi samayasāraṃ ṇa ṇādaṃ) have not realized the real pure nature of the Self (Samayasāra).

(Vavahārio ṇao doṇṇi vi liṃgāṇi mokkhapahe bhaṇadi) It is true that from empirical aspect, both types of external symbols and insignia—ascetic's as well as householder's—are considered useful and do play a significant part in the path of liberation; (puṇa ṇicchayaṇao du savvaliṃgāṇi mokkhapahe ṇecchadi) however the transcendental aspect does neither specify nor accept any symbol or insignia necessary for the path of liberation.


In these verses, the author, again, giving importance to the transcendental standpoint, emphasizes the futility of the external insignia and symbols, which are generally given too much importance in the empirical view.

Almost in all religious traditions, majority of people are found almost absorbed in the external insignia and symbols, neglecting the genuine basis of spirituality, which lies in following the path of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. Even the priests etc. are also found exaggerating the importance of the external insignia and symbols. The fundamentalists go to the extent of regarding them as the "true religion" and would even indulge in violence etc. for the sake of maintaining them, according to their own beliefs.

Ācārya Kundakunda has very clearly shown that even though the insignia etc. have a little significance in empirical aspect, they have no significance in transcendental aspect, and therefore, an aspirant of mokṣa would be vigilant against the overvalue of insignia etc.. It does not mean that they should be neglected, but they should not be given more value than they deserve.


Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda Publishers:
Jain Vishva Bharati University First Edition: 2009

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  1. Body
  2. Kundakunda
  3. Mokṣa
  4. Omniscient
  5. Omniscients
  6. Samayasāra
  7. Violence
  8. Ācārya
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