Acharanga Bhasyam: Verses 1-23 : The Rambles Of Bhagavan Mahāvῑra

Published: 29.06.2011
Updated: 06.07.2015

9.1.1 ahāsnyaṃ vadissāmi, jahā se samaṇe bhagavaṃ uṭṭhāya.
saṃkhāe taṃsi hemaṃte, ahuṇā pavvaie rīyatthā..

Sudharma speaks to Jambu "I shall relate as I have heard about the practise of discipline by Lord Mahāvīra, the great ascetic." In the autumn the self-awakened Lord, knowing the truth, set about wandering, just after renouncing the world and initiating himself into ascetic discipline.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 1

'Penance' means austerity. The austerity that was practised by Lord Mahāvīra is described here. The Lord did not only preach but practised the discipline. This is the great combination of faith with practice. Faith without practice and practice without faith do not carry any meaning. This combination, therefore, is commendable.

The Noble Sudharma says to Jambuswami—"Whatever I have heard from the Lord about his austerities, I shall relate you." The great ascetic Lord initiated himself on the tenth day of the first fortnight of the lunar month of 'Mārgaśīra' (December). He had awakening and comprehension before initiation. 'Comprehension', means confident apprehension that there is soul, there is emancipation. The Lord left for ascetic wanderings, immediately after getting initiation.

9.1.2 ṇo cevimeṇa vattheṇa, pihissāmi taṃsi hemaṃte.
se pārae āvakahāe, eyaṃ khu aṇudhammiyaṃ tassa..

At the time of self-initiation the Lord had only one piece of cloth on his shoulder. The Lord resolved 'I shall not cover my body with this piece of cloth in the autumn'. He had already resolved to endure the hardships of cold life. This was his adherence to the tradition of the religion.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 2

The piece of cloth that was on his shoulders was strictly according to the prescription in the tradition of the ascetic life with one robe. The monk with one robe observes such tradition. In this way, endurance of hardships is also a part of the adherence to the tradition of the religion, as has been said in the Sūtṛakrtāṅga - One should initiate himself in non-violence, this is the tradition of the religion declared by the Jina.[1]

In the present Āgama, three traditions about robes are mentioned. Some monks renounce the world with three robes, some with two, and others with one only.[2] In all these three traditions, there is the prescription of robes only in the autumn; and on the advent of summer, there is the prescription of one robe only or nudity.[3] In this verse, the special feature propounded is - the Lord did not use the robe to protect himself against cold even in the autumn. It seems probable that in the dispensation of Lord Pārśva, all these three systems concerning robe were prevalent. Among those three, the Lord Mahāvīra adopted the system of one piece of cloth.

9. 1.3 cattāri sāhie māse, baheva pāṇa-jāiyā āgamma.
abbhirujjha kāyaṃ vihariṃsu, ārusiyāṇaṃ tattha hiṃsiṃsu..

For more then four months, living beings of many varieties gathered on his body. They climbed and crawled over the body and wounded him stinging in anger.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 3

The body of the Jina is possessed of wonderful fragrance. This extraordinary condition of his body is innate. Besides, fragrant ointment, besmeared on his body, also had extra-ordinary fragrance. Creatures like bees, being fond of fragrance, circled round his body in expectation of pollens of flowers.[4]

For similar description see 8.9.1.

9.1.4 saṃvaccharaṃ sāhiyaṃ māsaṃ, jaṃ ṇa rikkāsi vatthagaṃ bhagavaṃ.
acelae tato cāī, taṃ vosajja vatthamaṇagāre..

For a year and a month the Lord did not leave off the piece of cloth. Thereafter, the houseless ascetic gave up the cloth, became naked and relinquisher of the world.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 4

In the aforesaid tradition, there is the prescription of nudity in the summer season. But the Lord adopted nudity at the end of thirteen months.[5]

9.1.5 adu porisiṃ tiriyaṃ bhitiṃ, cakkhu māsajja aṃtaso jhāi.
aha cakkhu-bhīyā sahiyā, taṃ "haṃtā haṃtā" baheve kaṃdiṃsu..

The Lord meditated internally fixing his eye on the wall in front, for a quarterly period of the day. Sometimes, seeing him in meditation with his eyes wide-open and, unblinking, the frightened children shouted and called other children, crying aloud.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 5

In the present verse, there is indication of Lord's practice of trāṭaka which is called perceptive meditation with un-winking eyes. The Lord fixed his eyes[6] on the slanting wall for quarterly periods (about 3 hours), meditating internally. The implication is - his gaze was fixed on the slanting wall, while his meditation was concentrated on the inner self. Thus an objectless ecstasy is achieved by perceptive meditation with un-winking eyes while concentration on the internal self. In the Cūrṇi and the Vṛtti, this is explained as un-winking meditation while walking to and fro.[7]

9.1.6 sayaṇehiṃ vitimissehiṃ, itthῑo tattha se pariṇṇāya.
sāgāriyaṃ ṇa seve, iti se sayaṃ pavesiyā jhāti..

Bhagavān Mahāvīra did not (usually) stay in crowded places. (Sometime he managed to find a secluded area and stayed there). But this seclusion was often invaded by womenfolk who happened to pass that way (in search of solitude). (Although solicited by women for carnal enjoyment), the Bhagavān would spurn their advances, for he was all the time morally alert. Penetrating into the depths of his soul, he would go in meditation on such an occasion.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 6

The mind of the wise is not perturbed, even when confronted with the objects that could excite sensual sentiments. He is wisest of the wise. There is, therefore, no cause of surprise for his unperturbed state of mind, as has been said by Acharya Manatunga in his hymn to Ṛṣabha, the first Jina -

"There is nothing to be astonished, if your mind was not the least excited by the gestures and postures of celestial nymphs.
Can the peak of the Mandara (Meru) mountain be ever moved by the wind at the period of universal destruction - the wind which shakes the other mountains?"[8]

The Lord practised thus, and, therefore, it was propounded. For similar description see 2.36, 5.10, 5.112.

9.1.7 je ke ime agāratthā, mīsībhāvaṃ pahāya se jhāti.
puṭṭho vi ṇābhibhāsiṃsu, gacchati ṇāivattaī aṃju..

Bhagavān Mahāvīra meditated with deep concentration even in the midst of places crowded with householders. He would not speak even when spoken to. If someone compelled him to speak, he would quietly move to some other place. He would not let his concentration be disturbed in any way and would remain equipoised in all situations.[9]

9.1.8 ṇo sugarametamegesiṃ ṇābhibhāse abhivāyamāṇe.
hayapuvvo tattha daṃḍehiṃ, lūsiyapuvvo appapuṇṇehiṃ..

He did not bless in response to those who were greeting him. Nor did he curse the sinful people who beat him by sticks or injured him or broke his limbs. Such state of equanimity is not easy to maintain for all.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verses 7,8

It is self-evident.

9.1.9 pharusāiṃ duttitikkhāiṃ, atiacca muṇī parakkamamāṇe.
āghāya-ṇaṭṭa-gītāiṃ, daṃḍajuddhāiṃ muṭṭhijuddāiṃ..

He tolerated harsh and unbearable sounds. His whole energy was devoted to self-realization. He was not attracted by stories, pentomimes, songs, fights with quarter-staff, boxing matches.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 9

For similar description see 2.162, 3.32,47,61.

9.1.10 gaḍhie miho-kahāsu, samayaṃmi ṇāyasue visoge adakkhu.
etāiṃ so urālāiṃ, gacchai ṇāyaputte asaraṇāe..

Free from pleasure and sorrow, the Lord (Nāyasuya) looked equani-mously at people indulging in confidential talks and secret conversations. Sinking into oblivion, the Lord was unmindful of the unbearable hardships, favourable and unfavourable, and this is the reason why he could get rid of them.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 10

For similar description see 2.160, 3.7-61.

9.1.11 avisāhie duve vāse, sītodaṃ abhoccā ṇikkhaṃte.
egattagae pihiyacce, se ahiṇṇāyadaṃsaṇe saṃte..

The Lord did not take live-water for more then two years prior to his renunciation. He realised his singleness, even though living with the family. His body, speech and mind were well-guarded. He realized the truth and was calm and tranquil.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 11

Even during his householder's life, the Lord was possessed of excellent faith, that is, he was endowed with right faith due to the destruction of the faith-covering-karma.[10] Even though living in the society, he was imbued in he reflection of singleness. The Lord was well-guarded, as he had mostly inhibited his physical activities.

For similar description see 8.97, 6.38 and 35.,

9.1.12 puḍhaviṃ ca āukāyaṃ, teukāyaṃ ca vāukāyaṃ ca.
paṇagāiṃ bīya-hariyāiṃ, tasakāyam ca savvaso ṇaccā..

Having completely known the earth-bodied, water-bodied, fire-bodied and air-bodied beings and also lichens, seeds and sprouts; and also having known the living beings that were mobile—

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 12

In the first chapter, the order of the six classes of living beings was somewhat differently described. Lichens, seeds and sprouts are the varieties of vegetation.

9.1.13 eyāiṃ saṃti paḍilehe, cittamaṃtāim se abhiṇṇāya.
parivajjiyāṇa viharitthā, iti saṃkhāe se mahāvīre.

Comprehending their existence and knowing that they are endowed with life, the Lord avoided injuring them. He lived the life of a mendicant.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 13

These are the six-classes of living beings. Marking that they had existence and knowing that they are alive, the great Lord avoided injury to them. The Lord had a clear understanding of what is going to be described about these existent objects.

For similar description, see 3.3. Also, see 1.15-177.

9.1.14 adu thāvarā tasattāe, tasajīvāya thāvarattāe.
adu savvajoṇiyā sattā, kammuṇā kappiyā puḍho bālā..

The mobile beings are re-born as immobiles and also the immobiles as mobiles. The living beings could be re-born in any species whatsoever. The ignorants are re-born in different species due to their respective karma.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 14

A living being can have any matrix. The immobile being may take re-birth among the mobile and the mobile among the immobile. The ignorant beings produce karma on account of their ignorance, and are re-born in regions according to their karma.[11]

9.1.15 bhagavaṃ ca evaṃ mannesiṃ, sovahie hu luppati bāle,
kammaṃ ca savvaso ṇaccā, taṃ paḍiyāikkhe pāvagaṃ bhagavaṃ..

'The ignorant person clinging to his possession perishes'.—Reflecting thus, and knowing karma in its entirety, the Lord renounced all kinds of sinful activities.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 15

The Lord believed thus—Because of his possession the ignorant person, perishes, that is, he is kidnapped or robbed[12] in the journey by thieves and the like. 'Possession' means clothes etc. 'Karma' means activity. 'In all its ways' means the three types of activities, viz. physical, vocal and mental. Knowing[13] them, the Lord undertook abstinance from all sinful actions. 'Sinful actions' means violence, etc.[14]

For similar description see 8.33. -

9.1.16 duvihaṃ samicca mehāvī, kiriyamakkhāyaṇelisiṃ ṇāṇī.
āyāṇa-soyamativāyasoyaṃ, jogaṃ ca savvaso ṇaccā..

The omniscient Lord distinguished between the doctrines of action (doctrine of soul and karma) and non-action (rejection of soul and karma). The Lord realized in its entirety the karmic inflow due to the senses, due to violence and due to action (of mind, speech and body). Thus distinguishing and knowing, the Lord proclaimed an unique doctrine of karma and inflow, not propounded by others.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 16

The omniscient Lord, having properly understood the doctrine of inaction, accorded respect to such action as was supremely commendable, being conducive to destruction of karma[15] and propounded by the first Jina - Ṛṣabha, of Kaśyapa lineage. Having completely known the sources of inflow, violence and evil indulgences, he avoided them.[16]

9.1.17 aivātiyaṃ aṇāuṭṭe, sayamaṇṇesiṃ akaraṇayāe.
jassitthio pariṇṇāyā, savvakamm āvahāo se adakkhū..

The Lord did not indulge himself in any kind of violence, nor did he cause others to do so. The Lord realized that the women are the causes of the attraction of all kinds of karma, so he avoided them.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 17

'Aivātiyaṃ' means violence.'Aṇauṭṭe' means not to indulge in.[17] For similar description, see 8.18, 2.48 & 133.

9.1.18 ahākaḍaṃ ṇa se seve, savvaso kammuṇā ya adakkhū.
jaṃ kiṃci pāvagaṃ bhagavaṃ, taṃ akuvvaṃ viyaḍaṃ bhuṃjitthā..

The Lord found that there was all kinds of karmic bondage if the food prepared for a monk was accepted, and so he did not accept such food. The Lord did not incur any kind of sin related to acceptance of food. He always took food that was free from all kinds of blemishes concerning begging.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 18

Now it's about the mode of begging alms. Ahākaḍaṃ in Prakrit and its Sanskrit rendering is ādhākṛtaṃ which means the food prepared with the monk in mind. The Lord did not accept such food. He found all kinds of karmic bondage in accepting such food. 'Sin' means impurity. Whatever kinds of impurity were there were avoided by the Lord. [18]

For similar description, see 2.107 & 108.

9.1.19 ṇo sevatī ya paravatthaṃ, parapāe vi se ṇa bhumjitthā.
parivajjiyāṇa omāṇaṃ, gacchati saṃkhaḍim asaraṇāe..

He did not use anothers robe nor did he eat out of anothers bowl. He avoided 'inadequate feast'. He did not remind himself of delicious food.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 19

Now comes the topic of begging of outfit and food. At the time of initiation, the Lord had one piece of cloth. This has been propounded in the fourth verse. Here it has been said that he did not wear the robe belonging to others. 'Others' means householders. He did not also eat in the bowl belonging to others. He did not possess any bowl himself.[19] The feast where the quantity of food was limited is called 'inadequate feast'.[20] The Lord avoided such feast. He did not even think of delicious food.

9.1.20 māyaṇṇe asaṇa-pāṇassa, ṇāṇugiddhe rasesu apaḍiṇṇe.
acchiṃpi ṇo pamajjiyā, ṇovi ya kaṃdūyaye muṇī gāyaṃ..

The Lord knew the quantity of food and drink. He had no lust for delicious food nor he had preferential resolve for any kind of food. He did not wipe his eyes nor did he scratch his body.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 20

The Lord ate and drank knowing quite well the requisite quantity of food and drink. He had no lust for any delicacies, and, therefore, he knew the proper measure of diet and had no preferential resolve for any kind of food. He had no such discriminative thinking about the choice of food.[21] This describes the Lord's practice of austerity called abstinence from delicacies.

Now the penance called physical hardship is being described. The Lord did not wipe his eyes even when any particle or dust fall into them.[22] He did not scratch his body by mosquito-bite and the like. For similar description see 2.110, 113 & 8.101.[23]

9.1.21 appaṃ tiriyaṃ pehāe, appaṃ piṭṭhāo upehāe.
appaṃ vuie'paḍibhāṇī, paṃthapehi care jayamāṇe..

While walking, the Lord did not look sideways, nor backwards. He kept silence and spoke little, when interrogated. Carefully looking on the path, he kept walking.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 21

In this verse, the Lord's way of walking is described. The two maxims of the right deportment of walking are: fixing the eyes in front and keeping silence. The Lord did not respond when interrogated. For similar description, see 5.69.1.

9.1.22 sisiraṃsi addhapaḍivanne, taṃ vosajja vatthamaṇagāre.
pasārittu bhāhuṃ prakkame, ṇo avalaṃbiyāṇa kaṃdhaṃsi..

In winter half-advanced, the ascetic Lord, giving up the cloth, exerted himself, streching out his arms, never clasping the shoulders by them.

9.1.23 esa vihī aṇukkaṃto, māhaṇeṇa maīmayā.
apaḍiṇṇeṇa vīreṇa, kāsaveṇa mahesiṇā. - Iti bemi..

This course indeed was followed by the wise Lord Mahāvīra, the great sage and hero of the Kāśyapa lineage, free from all resolves. Thus do I say.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verses 22,23

These are obvious.[24]


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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,
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Printed by:
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Manatunga
  3. Anger
  4. Bhagavatī Sūtra
  5. Body
  6. Brahmin
  7. Concentration
  8. Cūrṇi
  9. Dhammo
  10. Discipline
  11. Equanimity
  12. Hiṃsā
  13. Jacobi
  14. Jina
  15. Karma
  16. Karmic matter
  17. Mahāvīra
  18. Manatunga
  19. Meditation
  20. Meru
  21. Muni
  22. Non-violence
  23. Omniscient
  24. Pauruṣī
  25. Prakrit
  26. Prākāra
  27. Pārśva
  28. Sanskrit
  29. Sattā
  30. Soul
  31. Sādhanā
  32. Sūtra
  33. Violence
  34. Vṛtti
  35. Ācārāṅga
  36. Āgama
  37. Āyāro
  38. Ṛṣabha
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