Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods




There have been conflicting opinions as to how the ascetic practice and the monastic vows originated. Buehler held that most of the special directions for the discipline of the Jaina ascetic are copies, and often exaggerated copies, of the Brahminical rules for penitents. The outward marks of the order closely resemble those of a Sanyasin'.[19] Jacobi seems to support this view when he said 'Monastic order of the Jainas and the Buddhists though copied from Brahmana were chiefly and originally intended for Kshatriyas."[20] This view was presented in the early stages of Indological research but it is difficult to be accepted. What we call Indian philosophy is a synthesis of the Sramana and the Brahmana currents of thoughts. The sramana cult which was primarily ascetic in nature was pre-Aryan. And we should no more assess the Samkhya Jaina, Buddhist and Ajivaka tenets as mere perverted continuation of stray thoughts selected at random from the Upanisadic bed of Aryan thought currents". [21] Dr.  Upadhye calls this Pre-Aryan current of thought as 'Magadhan religion.'


All cannot renounce the world, nor is it desirable. Most men have to live in this world and work for their spiritual salvation while engaged in daily routine of empirical life. They are the, householders (sravakas). They cannot practice rigorous discipline of an ascetic. They have to practice the vows with less rigour, as far as possible, still without sacrificing the fundamental spirit of the Vratas. The ethical code for the layman is twelve fold consisting of 1) five Vratas which are common for the ascetic and the householder, except for the fact they have to be practiced with less rigour without sacrificing the spirit of righteousness and the main goal of self-realization. Great physical and moral advantages accrue from the observation of vows. It keeps the body and mind healthy and leads one in the direction of maintaining moral strength ultimately to lead to moksa. The vows practiced by the layman are the anuvratas (lesser vows). In addition to 1) five anuvratas he has to practice 2) three gunavratas and 3) four siksavratas.


We may mention some of the aticaras (infractions) of the anuvratas. Some of the aticaras of vrata are:


1. Ahimsa: i) bandha tying up. keeping in captivity men and beasts. However the restraining of cattle by means of ropes and restriction on our children for corrections may be permitted.[22] So may a thief be bound. ii) vadha (beating): It refers to wanton and merciless whipping of animals out of anger and aroused by other passions, although some exceptions like mild beating, pulling the ears or slapping for correction are permissible. iii) chavi-ccheda: This applies to acts of injury to the body with sword or sharp instrument. Operations by a physician would be exceptions.[23] iv) atibhararopana: It refers to heavy and merciless loading of beasts by a burden greater than they can bear. Certain types of occupations have been tabooed for a Jaina layman. v) bhakta-pana-vyavaccheda: It refers to making the animal suffer from hunger and thirst for no reason out of anger or negligence. The context and the implication;, of ahimsa vrata are much wider than the aticaras indicate. We have, therefore, added in the end a critique of ahimsa in the light of its philosophical justification.


2. Satya vrata (truth-speaking) has also a wide connotation. It  has been interpreted as abstention from untruth spoken out of passion, and even from truth if it leads to the destruction of the living being.[24] We may mention some of the infraction of this Vrata . i) Sahasabhyakhyana: It consists in casually or intentionally imputing false charges against a person as: `he is a thief, or an adulterer'. Friends of Othello committed this grievous crime and sin against Desdemona even if it were in jest. ii) Svadara mantra bheda: It consists in divulging to others what has been said by one's wife in confidence under special circumstances.[25]  iii) Mrsopadesa . It refers to perverse teaching and advice leading to evil consequences. iv) Kutalekhakarana is preparing a false document like forgery etc.


3. Asteyavrata forbids us to commit theft or even to take others' articles not specifically meant for us. It forbids us from i) accepting stolen articles at cheaper rates, ii) instigating other to steal, iii) acquiring property in a country which is hostile to our own. Even grass or wood obtained under such circumstances must be regarded as stolen.[26] Even transgressing the frontiers forbidden  by the State is an infraction of this vow.[27] Black market is covert under this aticara. iv) kuta-tula-kuta mana: using false weights and measures and taking exorbitant interest on loans is an infraction of this vow.


These Aticaras are mainly concerned as a warning to the community in which individuals and groups are likely to violate the five vows here and there. Similar infractions of this Vrata have been mentioned with reference to officials as well in the State Corrupt officials are also to be considered as thieves.[4]


4. Brahma-vrata is important in Jaina ethics. It has been considered from the points of view of personal efforts for salvation and of social health. Detailed classification of the vows and the infractions have been worked out. In their analysis we find psychological acumen. The Vrata has negative and positive aspects. In the negative aspect a householder has to abstain from sexual contact with other's wife (aparadara-gamana), and positively he has to be satisfied with his own wife. He cannot even arrange marriages of other women, except in the case of his own children. He should avoid sex literature and sex brooding. The aticara of this Vrata cover most aspects of sexual deviation including that with the lower animals and even with inanimate objects like the figures of women. From the earliest days of Jainism, the horror of incest has been constantly felt, as described by Haribhadra,[29] while mentioning the disastrous consequences of the violation of this.


5. Aparigraha-vrata (the vow of non-possession) is perhaps the most important of the Vratas in the present context of society. As a Mahavrata it is required of a Muni to give up every thing that leads to attachment except perhaps in some cases, a piece of cloth, a kamandalu and a bunch of feathers. He must, avoid both external (bahya) and internal (antara) possession (parigraha). As an Anuvrata, it emphasises nonattachment.  One who accumulates property more than required for him, transgresses this Vrata. Parigraha (possession) is something explained as a sort of the fascination for material possession. It is  the expression of acquisitive instinct which needs to be curbed or else it feeds in what it gets. A son's greed for material possession will lead to ignore his father; and countless evil consequences follow.[30] If only we know the importance of this Vrata, in the  Socratic sense of the word 'know', we would solve most  of the problems of social evil. The Gunavratas and the giksavr been mentioned with variations. The Gunavratas are

 ii) bhogopaohogoparimona and iii) anarthadandavrata. Digvrata restricts the movements in different directions. The purpose is to reduce the possibility of committing violence, and this is to be achieved by circumscribing the area in which injury to the living can be committed.  For example, one is forbidden to climb a  mountain or a top of a tree, descend into a well or underground storage of a village to travel beyond a stipulated limit by the Acaryas, and to move at random.  There would be infractions of the vow. In the Ratnakarandaka, Digvrata is  defined as the resolve to desist from injury by circumscribing one' range of  movement. As to the limits of time, it is to be practiced until death.[31] The Bhogopabhoga-parimana-vrata forbids or limits one in the use of 'consumable' goods like food and durable goods like furniture in the house. The Anarthadanda vrata restricts an individual from certain activities, from harmful professions and trades because they would lead to harmful activities which serve no purpose. Four types of Anarthadanda are mentioned in the svetambara texts, while Digambaras have five. We have tried to avoid the discrepancies in the presentation of the svetambara and the Digambara writers on the different problems as they are largely concerned with minor details.  The five types of Anarthadanda are: i)apadhyana (evil concentration like arta-dhyana and raudra dhyana; ii) pramadacaritra (negligent mischief or addiction to vices like alcoholism and gambling). It also includes witnessing dancing. sex displays, cock-fighting and other combats of animals. It may include many others bringing about incitement of excessive instinctive activity; iii) himsapradana (encouraging injury to life in any form). It forbids us from supplying poison, weapon: fire, rope,  swords and other articles for destruction of life.[32] iv) papopadesa (sinful advice) like instruction in evil trade.  It is also mentioned that sometimes such advice, like giving instructions to the farmer to plough when the rains are on, cannot be avoided when a question of being helpful is involved but it should never be given mere out of garrulity. v) duh-sruti (bad reading); it consists in reading kamasastra, sex and spicy literature including yellow journalism and listening to the faults of others. It is the study of works that disturb and spoil the minds with harmful thoughts, worldly attachments, perverse attitude and excitement of passions.[34]


Coming to the siksavratas the sravaka has to practice four of them: i) samayika, ii) dcsavakasika iii) prosadhopavasa, and iv) atithi-.samvi-bhaga. Samayika is one of the important practices for the layman; and it is one of the six avasyakas (necessities) for the layman and also for the ascetic for whom it has to be practiced lifelong. It consists in the attainment of equanimity and tranquility of mind.[35] It is a process of becoming one (ekatvagamana), of fusion of body and mind and speech with the Atman.[36] Samayika may be performed in one's own house or in a temple, in the presence of Guru or in a specially built hall, according to the needs of the time and individual.  Sometimes a distinction is made between the ordinary laymen, affluent men, and men of official status. Special procedure for Sarnayika is laid down with the intention of increasing the prestige of the Jaina community by emphasizing the fact that he has adhered to the sacred doctrine .[37] In performing the Samayika one should observe the five samitis and three Guptis and avoid all harmful speech.  He should recite pratyakhyana avoiding harmful actions and pratikramana expressing remorse for past deeds and pray(alocana) that whatever acts in speech, mind and body made by him in the past may be atoned for. It is to seek forgiveness for what has been done so far. During the period of samayika the layman becomes like an ascetic. Samantabhadra shows that a layman performing samayika is like an ascetic draped in clothes,[39] although this likeness is only apparent like the description of a woman as candramukhi.[40] Samayika has to be performed at regular intervals of the day. The object of this practice is to gain mental equanimity surcharged with righteousness. Desavakasikavrata is a modified version of Digvrata.  It restricts the movement of an individual to a house or village or a part thereof for a period varying from a muhurta (about 45 minutes) to a few days or even a couple of months. The basic idea in such restriction of movement seems to be that it would create mental preparedness for the practice of Vratas more rigorously almost leading to the Mahavrata temporarily in the state of an ascetic.  Prosadhopavasa-vrata enjoins one to fast at regular intervals in the month, say on the eighth (astami) and fourteenth day (caturdasi)[42]. One should avoid adornment of the body including use of garlands, perfumes etc.  One should abstain from engaging one self in worldly duties. This is an important step in the direction of mental purification.


Danavrata covers the most important sing]e element in the practice of religion, for without alms-giving by the laity, there could be no ascetics; and Dharma could not easily be preserved and continued.[43] It is also termed as atithisamvibhaga-vrata or paying due respects to the guest. Specific injunctions have been given regarding the qualifications of an atithi and the mode of giving alms.[44] Varied interpretations have been possible, the Sadhu or monk being, accepted as the best atithi as he is charged with imparting, religious instruction. ln giving alms one should consider the following, five factors: i) patra (the recepient), ii) datr .(giver), iii) datavya (the object given), iv) dana-vidhi (the manner of giving and v) danaphala (the result of giving alms.,[2].  We should consider the place and time while giving alms. Due respect should be given to the recepient and the giver should be free from any taints of passions. He should give with full faith in the act of giving. Act of charity has no ethical value, if it is to be done with questionable motives. If it is to be done out of anger or filled with maudlin sentiments of pity, it should not be considered to be of usual significance. Nor is it possible to justify the act of charity if it were not to produce any tangible welcome result.  Thus the ends and means must justify each other. The Jainas present a synthetic picture of the problem of motive and intention in the act of righteousness. The spirit of Anekanta forbids us to take a partial view emphasising either the motive of action or merely the consequences. However, in early days, dana to ascetics formed an important duty of laymen. Food and shelter and books are to be supplied to tbe monks, so that they can devote themselves to study and meditation.  Concentration (dhyana) is not possible without the minimum necessary physical comfort. In addition to dana to the ascetics it is good to do charity to the distressed, strangers from other lands, to the lowliest and the lost. This is karuna-dana. Above all dana nullifies greed and acquisitiveness, and acquisitiveness is a manifestation of himsa. And dana gives its unfailing fruits. Paradoxically enough the layman charges himself with restrictions exceeding in number than those accepted by the monk. This is due to the large diversity of the evil life in which the layman still stands.[45]


So far, we have briefly mentioned the twelve conditions of a layman if he is to be a pious sravaka and a good citizen. To these twelve may be added Samlekhana as Vrata which is sometimes included as one of the siksavratas. It is not restricted to the ascetics only. The lay followers of religion may take Samlekhana in the higher stages of their spiritual development. In fact it is regarded as the normal conclusion of one's life except where death makes it impossible to take this vow.[46] With a view to giving a philosophical justification of Samlekhana we add in the end a note on Samlekhana.