Acharanga Bhasyam: Sūtras 75-88 : Practice Of Celibacy

Published: 28.02.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

5.75 se pabhūyadaṃsī pabhūyapariṇṇāṇe uvasaṃte samie sahite sayā jae daṭṭhaṃ vippaḍivedeti appāṇaṃ -

5.76 kimesa jaṇo karissati?

5.77 esa se paramārāmo, jāo logammi itthīo.

When a monk with fully developed insight and knowledge, calm, perfectly careful, tolerant, always restrained, perceive a woman tempting him, he should reflect within himself about what would the person (woman) do to him. The greatest temptation in this world are the women.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtras 75-77

The subjugation of the senses is practicable only with adequate spiritual practice. The following are the conditions[1] of such practice -

  1. Deep insight into the fructification of the karma.
  2. Deep comprehension of the nature of bondage and liberation from bondage.
  3. Calming down of passions and quasi-passions.
  4. Careful activity and constant application of study etc.
  5. Tolerance of hardships, especially tolerance of the emotions such as sex, anger, pride, etc.
  6. Unabating self-restraint and desisting from the objects that provocate the senses.

A monk exerting to conquer the senses by observing these conditions of spiritual practice reflects within himself on seeing a woman engaged in amorous gestures and postures: I am completely established in myself, and therefore what could such woman addicted to sex do to me.

Women in the world are the sources of utmost pleasure. They generate delusion, being the sources of worldly pleasure.[2]

5.78 muṇiṇā hu etaṃ paveditaṃ, ubbāhijjamāṇe gāmadhammehiṃ -

The Lord has declared the following antidotes for a person tormented by sex:

He should -

5.79 avi ṇibbalāsae.

Take light diet;

5.80 avi omoyariyaṃ kujjā.

Reduce his diet;

5.81 avi uḍḍhaṃṭṭhāṇaṃ ṭhāijjā.

Relax his body and do headstand posture;

5.82 avi gāmāṇugāmaṃ dūijjejjā.

Wander from village to village;

5.83 avi āhāraṃ vocchiṃdejjā.

Undertake fasting;

5.84 avi cae itthīsu maṇaṃ.

Withdraw his mind from women.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtras 78-84

The great sage Lord Mahāvῑra has said - a monk tormented by sexual desires should adopt the following measures:

The sexual excitement is twofold: caused or spontaneous. Some are due to external objects and others due to internal state of the mind.

The external sexual excitement has three varieties: due to hearing a sound, due to seeing a form (of beauty) and due to the memory of the pleasure enjoyed in the past.

The internal excitement also has three varieties: due to the rising of karma, due to the effect of food, due to the nourishment of the body.[3]

The following are the measures for their treatment:

In the Sthānāṅga, the four causes of sexual excitement are mentioned. The nourishment of flesh and blood is one of them.[4] It has, therefore, been said in the present scripture that one should abandon nourishing flesh and blood.[5] The sexual excitement is related to the accumulation of semen, and the accumulation of semen is related to food. And, therefore, in connection with subjugating the sex, instructions related to food are available. In the Niśītha Bhāṣya and the Cūrṇi, this topic has been lucidly dealt with.

The ways are:

  1. Taking light food (Sūtra 79)
  2. Reducing the diet (Sūtra 80)
  3. Headstand posture (Sūtra 81)
    In headstand 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 downward movement of respiration is weakened and the upward one is strengthened. On the strengthening of the downward respiration, the sexual propensity is augmented. On the strengthening the upward respiration, the propensity is made inactive.[6]
    The sexual propensity is also calmed down by repeating the perception of the balanced inhaling and exhaling accompanied by citation of approved mantra twenty five times.
  4. He should wander from village to village (sūtra 82) For the person with predominace 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 journey on foot from village to village is the way for practising the celibacy.
  5. Fasting (Sūtra 83)
    The enduring monk and nun should stop taking food for these six reasons in order to avoid the transgression of their vow of self-restraint:
    1. When they suffer from any disease;
    2. When they face troubles and tribulations;
    3. For observing celibacy;
    4. Out of compassion to avoid injuring living beings;
    5. To practise austerity and penance;
    6. To practise fasting unto death.[7]

The following traditional meaning of the Sūtra 83 is found in the Cūrṇi (p. 186): the aspirant living on light food in order to control his sexual desire should repeat the practise of reduced diet. If he fails to control his sexual desire, he should practise attenuation of the body and passions by fasting and prepare for finally fasting unto death.

This is the way for the unlearned aspirant to control his sexual desire. For the learned monk, engagement in study etc. is the way.

(6)To stop thinking about sexual desires (Sūtra 84)

"Even while leading the life of equanimity, sometimes, due to sexual desires, the monk's mind may go astray, from self-restraint. In such moments, he should reflect that 'neither she is mine, nor I am hers'. In this way, he should get rid of the sexual inclination towards her.

"Mortify yourself with austerity, abandon easy life; overcome sexual desires; you will then be easily capable of getting rid of the passion of hatred and eliminating your attachment. Thus you will become happy in this world."[8]

'Light diet' means black pulse, butter-milk etc. or the low-coloried food that weakens the body. 'Reduced diet' means only one-cereal diet or meagre food. Headstand means relaxation lasting for one to four quarters.

The sexual desire is calmed down on account of lack of association with stimulants.

In the opinion of yogis, conversant with the centres of consciousness, the, centres of power, health and fire are respectively activated by the instincts of sex, alimentary nourishment and desire for fame. The centre of bliss becomes inactive in such circumstances, and as a result the wisdom for personal welfare does not wake up nor does the desire for wearing off the karma grow up. It is for this reason that the path for strengthening and nourishing the state of celibacy, controlling diet and calming down the hankering for fame,[9] has been pointed out. On the activation of the centre of bliss, all these three instincts are uprooted.[10]

5.85 puvvaṃ daṃḍā pacchā phāsā, puvvaṃ phāsā pacchā daṃḍā.

First pain then pleasure, first pleasure then pain.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 85

Now the two supporting Sūtras (85,86) are given here. 'Pleasure' means sensual pleasure. There is concomitance between pain and pleasure.

The pleasure generates heat in him who hankers after it and thereby causes pain in advance. It has, therefore, been said: the pain preceded the pleasure. When there is accidentally pleasure, there is consequential pain which destroys the power of enjoyment by producing discontent. This is corroborated in the following verse:
'The desires produce torture at the outset, and cause discontent when satisfied; and at the end they are difficult to get rid of. How then can a wise man succumb to sexual desires?'[11]

5.86 iccette kalahāsamgakarā bhavamti. padilehāe āgamettā ānavejjā anāse-vanāe tti bemi.

The sexual desires generate dispute and attachment. Following the injuctions of the scripture, the preceptor should instruct the disciple to desist from those desires - thus do I say.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 86

The sexual desires are sources of quarrel and affectionate bond.[12] The respective merits and demerits accruing from indulgence in and abstinence from the desires should be ascertained by the preceptor by investigating of the scriptural injunctions in order to prohibit the disciples from taking resort to them.

5.87 se ṇo kāhie ṇo pāsaṇie ṇo saṃpasarae ṇo samāe ṇo kayakirie vaigutte ajjhappa-saṃvuḍe parivajjae sadā pāvaṃ.

The celibate should not indulge in sexy talks nor should he look at women amorously, nor should he communicate lustful ideas, nor claim them as his own, nor embellish his body; he should observe silence, withdraw his mind from desires and avoid evil indulgence.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 87

The celibate should not engage in gossiping about caste, family, costume, cosmetic etc. of women. He should not be a visitor to the exhibition[13] of articles that excite desires. He should not have a communication with women, that is, he should not dwell near women, nor should he talk or discuss with them in a lonely place. He should not cultivate affection through relationship md acquaintance. He should not resort to external beautification, that is, embellishment by cosmetic and the like. He should not answer any query about amorous matter, but should control his speech, that is, observe silence. When engaged in the studying sūtras or their meaning, he should direct his mind exclusively to them, controlling himself, that is, his mind. Thus he should give up all evil indulgences, that is, attachment to desires forever by means of restraining his speech and controlling his mind.

5.88 etaṃ moṇaṃ samaṇuvāsijjāsi. - tti bemi.

You should meticulously follow this discipline of monkhood.—Thus do I say.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 88

There are many kinds of abstinence prescribed for the practice of monkhood. Out of them, the abstinence from violence has been prescribed in detail in the first chapter and at many other places in the scripture under study are given. The abstinence from falsehood, from what is not given, from carnal desires and possessions. Particularly the abstinence from the carnal desires is enjoined in this chapter. In the present Sūtra in this context, the monkhood as abstinence of carnal desires is prescribed to be followed.


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Jain Vishwa Bharati

Ladnun- 341 306 (Raj.) India © Jain Vishva Bharti

ISBNS 1-7195-74-4

First Edition:2001

Courtesy :
Shree Chhotulal Sethia Charitable Trust Sethia House, 23/24,
Radha Bazar Street, Kolkata-700 001 (INDIA)

Printed by:
Shree Vardhaman Press
Delhi (INDIA)

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Bhāṣya
  3. Body
  4. Celibacy
  5. Centre of Bliss
  6. Consciousness
  7. Cūrṇi
  8. Discipline
  9. Equanimity
  10. Fasting
  11. Karma
  12. Kundakunda
  13. Lord Mahāvῑra
  14. Mantra
  15. Niśītha
  16. Pride
  17. Sūtra
  18. Tolerance
  19. Violence
  20. Vṛtti
  21. Yoga
  22. Ācārya
  23. Ācārāṅga
  24. Āyāro
  25. śloka
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