JAINA CODE OF CONDUCT
The Guna-Vratas &
We have already discussed about the
nature of the guna-vratas in general and their classifications by the
various Acaryas. For our purpose here we shall follow any one
classification, say A-l noted under the topic The Vratas.
The dig-vrata is the first of the three
guna-vratas. Swami Samantabhadra decribes it as follows 161 'I
shall not travel beyond these limits of the ten directions', determining
like this with a view to avoiding anu-papa--minor sin for the rest of
one's life, is known as the dig-vrata. The ten directions are: East, West,
North, South, North-East, South-East, South- West, North-West, Up and
Down. While putting limitations to one's movements in these ten
directions, prominent oceans, mountains, rivers, countries and yojana-marks
(measure of distance) should be considered as boundaries. One who limits
his activities to the fixed boundaries, can observe the vow of non-injury
absolutely in respect of the area lying beyond the fixed limits or
boundaries. For want of activity there could be no breach of any of the
anu-vratas too; and, thus, for that period he can also afford to lead the
life of complete renunciation wherein the anu-vratas can be said to have
matured as maha-vratas. The Savaya-paannatti162 explains that
since the householder is like a heated iron ball, his movements, wherever
they are made, bring in himsa. If the area of his movements is fixed, he
would be restrained from committing himsa out-side that area. Kartikeyal63
states that by fixing the limits on all the ten directions, one's
greed, which is at the root of parigraha, is curtailed. Hemacandra
164 tells almost the same thing in other words. Hence the dig-vrata
appears like a particularised extension of the last anu-vrata viz., the
parigraha-parimana-vrata. Thus the primary objective of this vow is to
help the householder curtail his activities on all sides, so that his
internal passions, particularly lotha--greed, could be commensurately
Following are the five aticaras of the
dig-vrata, the designations of which are almost the same as given by both
the Digambara and svetambara Acaryas
urdhva-dik-pramanatikrama - moving in
the upward direction beyond the limits set by oneself.
adho-dik-pramanatikrama - going deeper
into the ground than the determined limits.
tiryag-dik-pramanatikrama - travelling
in any of the eight directions beyond the fixed limits.
ksetra-vrddhi - extending the already
set limits to movement.
smrti-antardhana - crossing the set
limits through forgetfulness.
THE DESA VRATA
Owing to approach to the desa- vrata or
desavakasika vrata from different points of view by different Acaryas,l65
Digambara and Svetambara, it has found place both among the
guna-vratas and the siksa vratas and also in different sequence. Several
of the Digambara Acaryas, like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Somadeva etc.,
include it in the guna-vratas and place it next to the dig-vrata.l66
But Samantabhadra and Asadhara etc. present it as the first, and
Kartikeya as the last, of the siksa vratas. Generally the svetambara
Acaryas consider this vow, which is an abridged form of the dig-vrata in
respect of time and space to be the second of the siksa- vratas. Lastly,
some Acaryas like Kundakunda, Devasena and Vasunand1 somehow totally omit
it. R. Williams thinksl67 that perhaps because of being
considered to be basically identical with the dig-vrata, the desavakasika
vrata is omitted by those Acaryas who make sallekhna the subject of the
last siksa-vrata. But I would pose a question, how is it that Jinasena
does not do so in his Adipurana ? He presents desa- vrata as the second
guna-vrata and sallekhana, too, as the last siksa-vrata (but omits
bhogopabhoga-parimana-vrata).168 Hence we have to explain this
phenomenon as just an approach to this vrata by an individual Acarya with
his own point of view.
Now coming to this vrata itself,
Samantabhadra defines it169 as limiting (the sphere of one's
activity) still further, day after day, and for fixed periods within the
longer limits (already fixed in the dig-vrata). The Savaya-pannatti
definesl70 it in a similar way and further states17l
that it should be carefully observed on the line of 'the maxim of the
poison of the serpent's eye and its curtailment': sappavisa- nayao
paleyavvam Haribhadra in his commentary explains this illustration as
follows: In olden days the serpent's poisonous eye could kill beings at
the radius of twelve yojanas; but later a skilled magician cut down its
range to one yojana. Similarly the house-holder should cut down his
activities and reduce the danger caused by them by putting narrower limits
on his own poisonous eye, i. e., those movements that destroy living
Amrtacandra describesl72 this
vow in rather a lucid style: One should again fix a limit (of course,
within those limits of the dig-vrata) for a fixed time, to a village,
market, street, house etc. and thus observe the desa-vrata. He should not,
during a certain period of time, go beyond a certain vil1age, market,
street or house, or have any thing to do with objects lying beyond that
limit Then he possessing pure mind, thus, confines his activities and
observes absolute ahimsa for that time by renouncing all possible himsa in
the vast space which has been excluded.
With all different views on the approach
to this vow held by the various Acaryas, its aticaras are the same, some
of which though expressed in different synonymous terms. Umasvami
enumeratesl79 them as follows:
anayana--sending for some one from
beyond the fixed limit.
presya-prayoga -- sending some one out
beyond the limit.
sabdanupata--effecting one's voice out
beyond the limit.
rupanupata making signs or gestures
for persons beyond the limit.
pudgala-ksepa communicating by
throwing out objects beyond the limit.
The anartha-danda-vrata is unanimously
acknowledged as a guna-vrata by Acaryas of both the traditions. The
svetambara Acaryas consider it as the third guna-vrata and so also do some
Digambara acaryas like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Somadeva Vasunandi etc.,
whereas Samantabhadra, Kartikeya, Asadhara etc. consider it as the second
and Padma-nandi as the first guna-vrata. According to the classification
we are following i.e., A-1 is the third one.
This vow generally enjoins the
householder to abstain from harmful activities that do not serve any
useful purpose. It covers several dissimilar topics and also partly
touches the contents of some other vows and transgressions. Samantabhadra
defines it174 as abstaining from wanton or purposeless activity
which is likely to cause injury to others, within the determined limits.
It is of five kinds 175
papopadesa - - harmful advice
ahimsadana (-pradana) -- helping
towards destruction or violence
duh-sruti--faulty reading, listening
to bad reading
Though the definitions and the general
nature of this vow are more or less the same, the interpretations and
explanations of its four or five kinds of anartha dandas--harmful and
useless or purposeless activities presented by the various Acaryas, are
varied .and vast with several individual additions, elucidations
expansions and widening of the field of applicability. For example, if
Samantabhadra views'; apadhyana-anartha-danda as 'wishing, from motives of
love and hatred, of destruction, captivity, injuries etc. to another's
wife and the like', Kartikeya considers it177 as 'talking of
the faults of others, coveting the wealth of others, lusting for the wives
of others and watching the disputes of others'; and Amrta candra178
as 'thinking about battles; conquests, hunting, adultery and theft'.
If himsa-dana (-pradana)- anartha-danda is interpreted by Samantabhadra179
as 'giving the means of himsa like a battle-axe, a sword, an
instrument for digging, fire-weapons, or a chain' Hemacandra elaborates180
by stating that carts, ploughs, swords, bows, pestles, mortars,
bellows or other similar objects should not be supplied to another person
unless a question of their being helpful is solved, because himsa-pradana
to a son or other relative is almost unavoidable. And if Camundaraya views181
it as 'supplying of poison, weapons, fire, ropes whips, stares and
other similar objects', Kartikeya adds182 to such lists
'keeping of destructive animals like cats and all kinds of trade in such
materials, as iron or lac'. Then if the duh-sruti-anartha-danda is
described by Samantabhadral83 as 'reading of works full of
worldly undertakings, ghastly crimes, false doctrines, and the tales of
riches, hatred, love, pride, passionate sex etc. that disturb the mind',
Kartikeya considers184 it as 'reading kama-sastra works and
listening to others faults' and Amrtacandra advises185 that one
should not listen to or teach such bad stories that increase attachment
etc., and are full of absurdities.
Some authorities like Amrtacandra
186 present the generalised implications of this whole vow, which
also include some categories of the sapta-vyasanas--seven vices: one
should never think of hunting (papardhi), of getting victory over or
defeating (others), of quarrel or battle, of visiting other's wives or
prostitutes, or theft etc., which only lead to sin. He very seriously
strikes a caution particularly against gambling.l87 Gambling
should be renounced from far distance. It is the topmost evil, the
disturber (churner) of contentment, the home of deceit and the abode of
theft and false-hood. Thus the vow of anartha-danda covers a vast field of
worthless or evil activities from which the householder has to abstain
with all carefulness in avoiding the binding of karma or commitment of
The following are the five
transgressions of this vow
kandarpa--poking fun at another.
gesticulating or buffoonery.
asamlksyadhikarana--over doing things,
or acting unthinkingly.
indulging in superfluous luxuries.
We have already discussed the nature of
the siksa-vratas in general and their classification. The samayika-vrata
is acknowledged as the first siksa-vrata-- disciplinary vow by all Acaryas,
except some like samantabhadra and Asadhara to whom it is the second one;
and it is the third specific pratima for those like Vasunandi. It is also
the first of the six daily avasyakas--necessary duties of the householder
as well as of the ascetic). Such multi-sided position of this vow in the
Code of Conduct for the House-holder, which is mainly a spiritual one,
rather indicates its own significance. According to our list of the
siksa-vratas i.e., B-I, it is the first one.
Samayika generally means engaging
oneself in the attainment (aya) of equanimity or tranquility of mind (sama).
Pujyapada explainsl89 samaya as ekatva-gamana--the process of
becoming one, the process of fusion of the activities of body, mind and
speech with the atman--soul and the method of practice meant for achieving
this objective is the samayika. Akalanka holds190 that the
samayika is a positive way of submerging the activities of one's body,
mind and speech in the atman. Haribhadra explains 191 sama as
the state of freedom from attachment and aversion (rag-dvesa) formulating
an attitude of looking at all objects the alike of one's own self and aya
as accomplishment or attainment; and samayika is the practice for
accomplishing the state of freedom from attachment and aversion,
formulating an attitude of looking at all objects the alike of one's own
self. Moreover it is an exertion, to be put day and night, to avoid
harmful activities and also to indulge in harmless activities.
Samantabhadra definesl92 this vow as abstaining from the
commission of the five kinds of sin in all respects and altogether for a
specified period of time (daily). He further states 193 the
samayika should be performed with a cheerful heart in an undisturbed
solitude, in forests, temples or houses. The samayika is the cause of
perfection in the observance of the five vows, and it should be practiced
daily according to the prescribed method with a resolute mind, casting off
laziness. During the period of practice of the samayika all kinds of
attachment and undertaking are absent; and therefore the house-holder,
then, assumes the state of ascetism and, thus looks like an ascetic (yati)
on whom a piece of cloth has been thrown. Those who intend to perfect
themselves in the samayika vow, should calmly bear the hardships of cold,
heat, mosquito-bite, insect-stings, and other troubles (caused by
enemies), maintaining perfect silence and control over the activities of
body, mind and speech. They should also meditate upon the transitory
nature of the world, the true nature of the self and liberation etc.
As regards time, place, posture etc.,
for the-samayika, the Acaryas hold different views. The minimum time
prescribed is one muhurta- 48 minutes, twice or thrice or even more times
a day which is beneficial. The place could be a forest, a temple, a house
or a hall for fasting etc The posture could be padmasana, paryankasana,
seated or standing kayotsarga etc.194. For strengthening the
daily practice of the samayik discipline, one should observe fast twice
each fortnight i.e.,the 8th and 14th day of each lunar fortnight 195
Haribhadra, however, describes196 two methods of performance of the
samayika enjoined to the householder: one for iddhipatta--the affluent and
the other for aniddhipatta-- the ordinary, with separate ritual details
for each. In this connection R. Williams notes :197 The
Svetambara texts give a ritual for the samayika based on the
Avasyaka-curni, a distinction being made between the ordinary and the
affluent layman. For a man of great wealth or invested with the authority
of a ruler, special rules are laid down in order to increase the prestige
of theJaina community by emphasizing the fact that he has adhered to the
sacred doctrine." Though such two separate methods of the samayika ritual
did not continue in later days, the svetambara tradition maintained the
separate identity of the samayika-vrata to a considerable extent, whereas
the later Digambara Acaryas seem to have simplified it by adopting vandana--adoration,
puja--worship and its rituals etc., which were also the needs of the age
and region. This phenomenon is lucidly reflected in the definition and
description of this vow by Vasunandi198 under the
samayika-pratima and also in the long treatment of this vow by Somadeva in
the Upasakadhyayana199 wherein puja -- worship, bhakti --
devotion, dhyan -meditation etc., are described at great length. According
to Vasunandi200 the .samayika is adoring the Jaina scripture,
the Jina-dharma, the Jina-image, the five paramesthis and the adode of the
Jina regularly three times a day. And Somadeva states 201 Instruction in
the adoration of (or service to) the apta-- Jina is called samaya and a
host of duties enjoined to the adorer is known as samayika. Even in tbe
Svetambara tradition, this vow gradually met with similar simpli-fying
trends, which fact is noted, with a textual evidence, by R. Williams :202
"The diminishing importance of the samayika in the lay life is manifest in
the fifteenth century Sraddha-- vidhi, where it figures among the
practices which are possible only during the leisure of the rainy season.
In that connection (the author of this treatise) Ratnasekhara comments
significantly that the acceptance of the samayika is difficult for a rich
man while the puja is easy."
Following are the five transgressions of
the samayika vow203 which are alike in both the traditions. the
Digambara and the svetambara:
vag-duspranidana --misdirection of
anadara--lack of interest.
smrtyanupasthana--forgetting of the
Leaving aside the trends of the
historical line of the practice of this vow, one can easily make out its
importance in playing the role of training the house-holder towards
acquiring the necessary spiritual equipment for trodding the further path
leading to salvation.
All the Acaryas accept the
prosadhopavasa as a siksa-vrata The svetambara Acaryas generally present
it as the third, whereas among the Digambaras, some Acaryas like
Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Amitagati, Somadeva etc. present it as the
second and others like Samantabhadra, Asadhara Medhavin etc, as the third
siksa-vrata. It is also the fourth pratima. Moreover it is regarded as a
tapa--austerity204 and is closely connected with the samavika
vow. According to our list i e., B-I, it is the second disciplinary vow.
The Prakrit term posaha (corresponding
to the Sanskrit upavastha) which has come down from the canonical
literature, including the Uvasaga-dasao, Ovavaiya-dasao etc, was later
subjected to the Sanskrit back formations like pausadha, posadha and
prosadha etc., of which posadha and prosadha gained wide currency. Posadha
is generally meant the parvan, the 8th and the 14th day of the lunar
fortnight and posadho- pavasa the fast on the parvan day, is thus a
tautological expression. In usual course of practice posadha or prosadha
stands as a synonym of posadhopavasa or prosadhopavasa. Pujyapada explains
205 prosadasabdah parva-paryaya-vaci prosadhe upavasah
prosadao-pavasah-- the word prosadha is synonymous with parva. The fast
(to be observed) on the parvan day is prosadhopavasa.
As regards the observance of the
prosadhopavasa, the Digambara and the svetambara Acaryas hold two major
different views: The Digambara Acaryas generally state that the fast
should commence from the noon on the day preceding the prosadha (the 8th
and the 14th day of each lunar fortnight) and it should end at noon on the
day following it, covering, thus, a period of 48 hours. The svetambara
authorities prescribe for such fast a period of 24 hours of the parvan
day. The place for observance of the fast could be one's home, forest,
temple, monastery or the prosadha-sala---hall for the prosadha.
Amrtacandra's depiction206 of
this disciplinary vow is worth noting: For strengthening the practice of
the samayika discipline, one must observe fast twice each fortnight. Being
free from all worldly activities and casting off attachment to the body
etc, one should commence fasting at mid-day preceding the prosadhal day,
retire to a secluded place, renounce all harmful activities, abstain from
entertaining all objects of senses and remain in restraint of body, mind
and speech. He should pass the day submerged in righteous contemplation,
perform the samayika at the sunset, subdue sleep by svadhiyaya--study of
scriptural works and, thus, spend the night on a pure mat. Rising at dawn,
he should attend to the necessary duties of the time, engage himself in
the adoration of the Jina as per prescription with the prasuka (pure)
objects. Thus in the above stated manner, he should pass the day, the
second night and the half of the third day. One who frees himself from all
harmful activities and passes 16 yamas (48 hours) in tbe manner stated
above, certainly observes the vow of ahimsa thoroughly. Vasunandi
describes207 the ritua1 of this vow (pasaha-vihim) at still
greater length, mentioning its three types: uttama, mudhyama, lnd jaghanya.
In the course of describing this vow Somadeva remarks 208 In
the case of one, who observes this fast and yet engages himself in worldly
affairs, such fasting would just be tormenting of one's body like the
gaja-snana-- elephant-bath: (The elephant after duly bathing in water,
fills its trunk with dust; and sprinkles it all over its body, making,
thus, the earlier bath futile).
however, mentions four categories of application of the prosadha, which
could be partial or complete in each case:
ahara-posah--in respect of food
sarira-sakkara-posaha--in respect of
bambha-posah--in respect of celibacy
vavara-posaha -- in respect of worldly
occupations or activities.
R. Williams notes210 that the
prosadha ritual is given in considerable details in the later svetambara
texts and presents as an example of a long passage211 covering
the relevant description of the same found in Yasovijaya's Dharma-sangraha.
Following are the five transgressions of
the prosadhopavasa-vrota,2l2 which, except in the usage of different
terminology in respect of some, are virtually the same in both the
grahanaticara -- acceptance of
articles of adoration or worship without examining and handling them
visargaticara --placing objects or
spreading one's body on the ground without scrutinizing it.
astaranaticara--preparing one's bed
without carefully examining and harmlessly sweeping the place.
anadaraticara -- showing no interest
or enthusiasm in the observance of the fast.
asmaranaticara--forgetting the due
procedure of the fast.
Owing to the dual nature of this vow,
which possesses characteristics of the guna-vrata as well as the
siksa-vrata, it is given place in both of these groups of the vratas. The
svetambara Acaryas generally present it as the second guna-vrata, whereas
among the Digambara authorities, Samantabhadra, Kartikeya, Asadhara etc.
present it as the third guna-vrata and others like Camundaraya,
Amitagati etc. include it as the third
siksa-vra, According to our list, i.e., B-l, it is the third disciplinary
This vow enjoins the householder to put
limitations to the use of objects of senses categorised as those for bhoga
and upabhoga, with a view to curtailing his sense of attachment to them
and, thus, increase his capacity for self-restraint and will-power
Samantabhadra delineates it as follows:213 Putting limitations,
even within the already accepted limits, on the use of objects of senses
for the day, or according to one's requirements, and with a view to
reducing the sense of attachment to them, is the
bhogolul-bhoga-parimana-vrata. Food, clothing, and other objects of the
five senses, which can be enjoyed only once, come under bhoga; and those
which can be enjoyed more than once pertain to upabhoga. Renunciation of
bhogas and upabhogas is of two kinds: niyama and yama. That which has a
time limit is niyama and the other, which is undertaken for life, is yama.
Limitation of time could be for an hour, a day, a night, a fortnight, a
month, a season or half a year and renunciation could be from food,
conveyances beds, bathing, betel-leaves, clothes, ornaments, cohabitation
or music etc. Honey, flesh, wine, green ginger, roots, butter, buds and
flowers etc. should not be consumed to avoid injury to living beings and
to escape from pramada. It is not enough if one gives up what is
undesirable, he should also give up even what is desirable, for a vrata
implies this two-fold Objective. Amrtacandra states 214
Considering his Own strength, the wise should renounce even those objects
of senses which are not prohibited; and in respect of those which he
cannot renounce, he should limit their usage by day or night. Again having
regard to one's capacity at the time, a further limit to the already set
limits, should be put every day. He who being thus contented with limited
objects of senses, renounces a majority of them observes ahimsa because of
his abstaining from considerable part of himsa.
The older svetambara texts like the
Savaya-pannati use215 the terms upabhoga and paribhoga to mean,
by and large, the same bhoga and upabhoga respectively. R. William notes :216
"Two basic divisions of this vrata are recognized by the svetambaras:
it may refer to food eaten or occupations pursued. The second- aspect,
expressed in a ban on the pursuit of fifteen cruel trades, is unknown to
the Digambaras, except Asadhara, who for this theme, is heavily indebted
to Hemacandra. Other topics included at least by the svetambaras under the
bhogopabhoga-vrata are the anantakayas, the abhaksyas and ratribhojana."
As regards the aticaras of this vow,
though the general concepts are more or less the same, the svetambara list
slightly differs from the one given by the majority of the Digambara
authors, from which differs Samantabhadra's list, that bears scope for
wider interpretations.217 The following is the one given by
sacittahara--eating living objects i.
e., green vegetable
sacitta-sambandhahara-- taking any
thing connected with things possessing life i. e., using green leaf as a
sacitta-sammirahara-- taking a mixture
of living and non- living things i. e., hot water with fresh water
abhisavahara taking aphrodisiacs or
duhpakvahara--taking badly cooked food
This vow is acknowledged as the fourth
or the last siksa- vrata--disciplinary vow by all the svetambara Acaryas
and by most of the Digambara Acaryas except some like Kundakunda,
Kartikeya and Vasu nandi, who present it as the third one. According to
our list, B-I, it is the fourth one. Though generally known as dana, this
vow is also designated as atithi- samvibhaga (sharing with the atithi) by
some Acaryas like Umasvami; as vaiyavrtya (rendering service to monks by
householders) by Samantabhadra; Vasunandi etc., as atithi- dana (giving
alms etc., to the atithi) by Amrtacandra and as atithi-puja (adoring the
atithi) by a few others Here the word atithi carries a special Jaina
meaning viz., the ascetic or sadhu. This vow holds a significant position
in the Jaina Doctrine and in the Jaina social organization (the Jaina
Sangha) in the sense that on dana (giving gifts) or samvibhaga (sharing
with) alone the atithis-- ascetics or sadhus can lead their life--the
ethico- religious life, and protect, interpret and transmit the sacred
law. Moreover, dana is one of the householder's satkarmas--six duties to
be carried out daily, besides its being a constituent element of the
four-fold dharma--the lay morality, consisting of dana-- charity, sila--
virtuous life, puja--adoration and upavasa- -fasting, which seems to have
been enjoined to the householder at the initial stage.
The essential nature and scope of the
dana-vrata depicted by the various Digambara and the svetambara Acaryas is
more or less the same; but the details are worked out on different
patterns in some of its aspects. So we can afford here just to follow the
depiction of one of the Acaryas, say Vasunandi, who treats219
this vow at considerable length covering well its principaI aspects, and
then to note differences in respect of the details of a few needful ones
On the authority of the Upasakadhyayana-sutra
says Vasunandi,220 atithi-samvibhaga is to be considered as
divided into the following five aspects 221
datr -- the giver
datavya--the object to be given
dana-vidhann --- the manner of giving
dana-phala-- the fruit of giving.
The patras--recipients are of three
uttama-patra--the best recipient, the
Jaina ascetic equipped with all vows and self-restraint.
madhyama-patra -- the mediocre
recipient, the Jaina layman who has placed himself in the eleven
jaghanya-patra--- the least
satisfactory recipient, the one on the householder's path who acquired
the right faith.
There are also two kinds of unfit or
kupatra--a poor or unqualified
recipient. A righteous person devoid of right belief.
2. apatra--a wrong recipient, a person
devoid of right faith, other vows and virtuous life.222
The following should be the seven
datr-gunas-- qualities of the giver of gift: 223
sattva--energy and zeal
vijnana -- capacity for discrimination
alubdhata--lack of greed or
Datavya--the objects to be given are of
abhaya-- shelter to living beings with
fear of injury or death
Vasunandi says that the charity of these
objects should not be restricted to the three kinds of recipients; but it
should be extended to the young and old, the blind, the dumb, the deaf and
also the diseased and wanderers from other lands, treating it as
karuna-dana-- the gift of compassion. He also remarks that the abhaya-dana--
the gift of shelter or fearlessness is the crest jewel among all other
gifts.224 It may be noted that the practice of the caturvidha
dana - four-fold gift among the Jaina laity has played a significant role
in the glorious history of Jainism.
Dana-vidhana (dana-vidhi)-- the manner
of giving gifts consists of the following nine elements, which are also
called the nine punyas--meritorious acts:
ucca-sthana--offering a high seat
padodaka--respectfully washing the
manah-suddhi--purity of mind
vacana-suddhi--purity of speech
kaya-suddhi purity of body
esana-suddhi--purity of food.
This list of the nine punyas can be
called the general list developed by the Digambara Acaryas. The list
presented by the svetambara Acaryas contains almost the same nine
elements, which are brought under the term satkara. They depict the ritual
of dana as given in the Avasyaha curni.225 Vasunandi describes
the ritual of dana in about six verses.226
Regarding the dana-phala-- the fruit of
giving gift, Vasunandi states: Just as the seed sown in a good soil bears
good fruit, similarly gifts given to the three kinds of recipients bring
in proportionately beneficial result.227 This the wise can
understand. But the ordinary or ignorant people will not do any thing if
they are not to get material benefits in return. Hence he describes those
benefits like birth and enjoyment of different kinds of happiness in the
heavenly regions. Samantabhadra228 says that giving, alms with
devotion to ascetics wipes away the karma stored up by the activities of
household life, just as water washes away blood. Amrtacandra holds229
that lobha--greed, which is a form of himsa, is over-come by dana--gift;
therefore gifts offered to worthy recipients verily amount to the stoppage
Following are the five transgressions of
the dana-vrata,230 which are the same for the Acaryas of both
sacitta-niksepa -- placing food on a
living thing (like the green leaf)
sacitta-pidhana--covering food with a
para-vyupadesa--delegation of host's
duties to another,
matsarya--lack of respect in giving or
being envious of another donor.
kalatikrama--not giving at the proper
The earlier Acaryas are silent about the
question of dana- pramana, or, to be accurate, the proportion of dana to
one's property: Devasena (C. 1000 A. D.) thinks that a wise house-holder
should divide his property into six parts: the first for dharma--religio-spiritual
activities, the second for the maintenance of his family, the third for
bhoga-- luxuries, the fourth for employing servants, the fifth and sixth
for puja (dana). Hemacandra's concept of the seven fields (ksetra)232
on which the great or illustrious sravaka (maha--sravaka) liberally
practices dana, is also worthy of note in this context The seven ksetras
jina-bimha --- Jina-images
Hemacandra also urges that a maha -
sravaka should freely use his wealth to help all those found in misery,
who are blind, deaf, lame or sick whether hey are proper patras---recipients
or not. We should note that such advices by the Jainacaryas, recorded in
their writings and expressed in their sermons, may have certainly helped
to enrich the sense of charity among the laity all along the course of the
history of jainism .
THE SALLEKHANA -VRATA
Sallekhana means emaciation, which is
kasaya-sallekhana -- emaciation of
passions to be accomplished by internal austerities (tapa) like subduing
anger by forgiveness etc., and
sarira-sallekhana-- emaciation of body
to be accomplished by external austerities (tapa) like fasting etc.233
The sallekhana-vrata is thus a spiritual
process of emaciating one's passions and body by internal and external
austerities. And Umasvami states that the householder, after duly
practicing the twelve vows, should observe such spiritual process
culminating to death. 234 According to Pujyapada235
this vow implies the emaciation of internal passions and external body in
a willful way by the gradual removal of the causes of their nourishment (i.
e., inequanimity and food respectively), so that one may peacefully
abandon the present body Formerly belonging to the monastic discipline,
sallekhana appears to have been later extended to the lay discipline with
lesser vigour and on voluntary basis.236 Hence it is generally
treated as supplementary to the householder's twelve vows. Yet some
Acaryas like Kundakunda, Devasena, Padmanandi and Vasunandi have included
it as the fourth siksa-vrata.
Leaving aside the canonical and exegetic
sections, among the svetambara treatises on the lay life, the
Navapadaprakarana of Devagupta Vs. 129-135) is the only work to treat
sallekhana in some detail. Other ones just touch it and the later ones are
silent over it. On the other hand, the Digambara Acaryas have given
considerable importance to this vow in their treatises. Asadhara, who has
also commented on the Mularadhana in the form of his Sanskrit darpana
(mirror), has naturally given a fairly comprehensive exposition of the
sallekhana-vrata.237 For us here, however. Samantabhadra's
succinct depiction of this vow is worthy of note 238
The abandonment of the body on being
confronted with unavoidable calamity, famine, senility and disease for the
sustenance of religio-spiritual practices (dharmaya) is regarded as
sallekhana. According to almost all philosophical systems, one's being
able to restrain conduct at the moment of death is the fruit of
austerities. Hence one should, as per one's capacity, try to attain
samadhi-marana239 death with equanimity. Giving up love,
enemity, attachment to possessions etc., and with pure mind, One should
forgive with pleasant words one's kinsmen and others and be forgiven by
them too. Casting aside grief, fear, anguish, wickedness etc., with all
sincerity and zeal, one should allay the innermost passions by scriptural
words. Reflecting on the sins committed in the three ways, one should
adopt the maha- vrata for the rest of life. Abstaining from solid food One
should take milk and whey and then, give them up too for just warm water.
And abstaining from warm water too and observing fast with all
determination, and fixing the mind on the sacred five-fold invocation,
pamca-namokkara-mantra, he should peacefully abandon the body.
Following are the five transgressions of
the sallekhana- vrata as enumerated by Umasvami :240
jivitasamsa--desire to prolong life
maranasamsa--desire to die soon
mitranuraga--attachment to friends
sukhanubandha--remembrance of past
nidana-- desire for pleasure in the
It is worth considering, in this
context, that some foreign scholars, like Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, have
called this kind of religio-spiritual conclusion of life (i. e, sallekhana
or samadhi-marana) "a terrible vow." 241 Even R. Williams has
translated it as "ritual suicide by fasting.242 Several
authors, both in India and outside, have called it suicide. Pt.
Sukhalalaji Sanghavi has presented convincing critical observations on
this point in his article 'Samthara aur Ahimsa243 some thirty
years ago. He points out that the term 'suicide' for the Jaina way of
death, rather implies some sort of contempt. Scriptures have laid down
methods of samadhi-marana that do not admit of any air of suicide therein.
Dr. T. G. Kalghatgi notes that this doctrine has been misunderstood and
observes: "It would be inconsistent to believe that those who considered
life as sacred and those who condemned himsa of any type, should have so
little regard for human life as to preach self destruction.244
Justice T. K. Tukol writes 245 There is difference between
suicide, and sallekhna as regards intention, situation, means adopted and
consequences of death. Jaina thinkers have addressed themselves to this
question and have given cogent reasons for saying that sallekhana is not
suicide. Amrtacandra has defined suicide with such precision that his
definition can stand the scrutiny of any modern jurist: "He, who actuated
by passion, puts an end to his life by stopping breath or by water, fire,
poison or weapons is certainly guilty of suicide.246
Thus it is quite probable that the
misunderstanding of this mode of death by some is due to the imperfect
knowledge of the meaning and connotation of ahimsa as taught by the Jinas.
We must not forget whatthe Tattvartha-sutra lucidly states 247-Hurting
the vitalities out of passions is himsa (injury). But in the case of one
who voluntarily submits himself to this mode of death, no passion of any
kind can be traced. Moreover the Jainacaryas have often condemned suicide.
To substantiate this, I would now illustrate an event in a Jaina story: in
the story of 'Asokadatta and his son Sripati' in the Kathakosa,248
Sripati, out of utter disappointment due to the loss of his entire
wealth, goes to a mountain and is about to throw himself from its top. A
Jaina sage in Kayotsarga, sees him and cries out, Sripati do not act
rashly; by such a death you will attain the condition (gati) of a demon;
do not die an evil death, for--
In taking the halter, and in swallowing
poison, in fire, and in entering water,
Wearied by hunger and thirst, they slay
themselves, and become demons.
Therefore do not inflict death on
yourselves. The Mulacara which also exposes the pandita-marana--the wise
man's death in short, expressly condemns suicide and states that one, who
commits suicide is tied to the cycle of birth and death.249
Lastly I would recall Munisri Nathmalji
(now Yuvacarya Mahaprajnaji), who, coming out for a moment from the
canonico-technical or religio- spiritual atmosphere around sallekhana or
samadhi-marana thinks 250 Birth and death are two significant
points of rest on the course of the journey of life. If life is an art,
death also is not a lesser art. Those who know the art of living and are
ignorant of the art of, death, they permanently leave polluted atmosphere
behind them. Hence one should have the right idea as to what kind of death
one should not die. Jaina Seers have provided it in sermons such as
Akama-maranijjam, Ch. V in the Uttarajjhayana-sutta.
161. Ratnakarandaka Sra. Vs. 68-70.
162, V. 281.
163. Kartikeyanupreksa, v. 341.
164. Yoga-sastra. III-3.
165. This point has been already
discussed under the topic 'The Vratas".
166. R. Williams (Op. cit, p. 99)
considers phenomenon among the Digambara Acaryas as according an exact
pedant to the dig-vrata But I think that objective of these Acaryas in
this regard could possibly be carrying on the curbing of passions,
particularly greed, to the minimum with continued effectivity.
167. Op. cit., p. 139.
168. Vs. 67 and 91.
169. Ratnakaratldaka Sra., V. 62.
170. V. 318.
171. V. 319.
172. Purusartha-siddhyupaya. Vs.
173. Tattvartha-sutra, Vl1-31.
174. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 74.
l75. (i) The svetambara Acaryas,
following the Uvasagadasao (I-40), give only the first of these. (ii) R.
Williams (Op. cit, p. 123) notes that Siddhansenagani and Siddhasenasuri
are exceptions to this. He also thinks that the fifth kind is an addition
by the Digambara Acaryas.
176. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 78.
177. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 344.
178. Purusartha-Siddhyulpaya, V. 141.
179. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 77.
180. Yoga-sastra, III-81.
181. Caritrasara, p. 10.
182. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 347.
183 Ratnakarandaka sra, V. 79.
184. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 348.
185, Purusartha-siddhyupaya, 145.
186. Ibid., 141.
187 . Ibid., 146.
188. (i) Tattvartha-sutra, VII-32, (ii)
Samantabhadra's list contains the term ati-prasadhana- surrounding oneself
with object of sensual pleasure for the fourth transgression (Ratnakaranduka
sra, V. 81 and the Svetambara version of it is Sarhyuktadhikarna bringing
together harmful implements(Savaya pannatti. V. 291).
189. Sarvartha-siddhi. VII-21.
190. Rajavartika, VII-21/7.
191. Savaya-pannatti, Comm. on V. 292.
192. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 97.
193. Ibid., Vs. 99-105.
191. kayotsarga-- abandonment of body is
nothing but mamatva-tyaga--renunciation of mineness, i. e., perfect
contemplation or concentration on one's own self.
195. Purusartha-siddhyupaya, V. 149.
196. Savaya-pannati, Comm. on V. 292.
197 Op. cit., p. 132.
198 Vasunandi-Sravakacara, Vs. 274-278
199 (i) Verses 460 to 749, (ii) It may
be noted, at this context, that Jina sena has already almost replaced the
six daily avasakas by the six daily karmas of the householder, wherein
puja (covering the samayika, caturvimsati stava and vandanaka takes the
place of the samayika in the former. Vide Mahapurana, Ch. 38-24
200 Vasunandi-sravakacara, V 275
201 Upasukadhyayana, v. 460
202 Op . cit. , pp. 138- 139
203, Tattvarthasutra, VIII-33.
204. (i) From this austerity possibly
may have stemmed several other austerities like Caritra-siddhi- vrata. the
Jina-guna-sampatti vrata, the Srutojnanopovasa- vrata etc., which were
composed, in later days, small treatises in Prakrit, Sanskrit and Kannada.
(ii) For further details in this regard vide section on 'Vrata-vidhana' in
the Kannada Prantiya Tadapatriya Granthasuci.
205. Sarvartha-siddhi, VII-220
206. Purusartha-siddhyupaya, Vs.
207. Vasunandi-Sravakacara, Vs. 280-294.
208. Upasukadhyayuna, V. 755.
209. V. 321.
210. Op.cit., pp. 144-145.
211. Op.cit., p. 145.
212. Enumerated by Samantabhadra,
Ratnakaranuka Sra, V. 110.
213. Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 82-89.
214.Purusartha-siddhyupaya, Vc. 164-166.
215. V. 284 and Comm. On it.
216. (I) Op. Cit., p. 102. (ii)
Nemicandra's Pravacana-saroddhara enumerates 22 abhaksyas--objects not fit
to be eaten and 32 a nanta-kayas-- consumable plants which are inhabited
by an infinite number of living organisms. Vide R. Williams, Op. Cit., pp.
110 and 114-15 respectively.
217. R. Williams compares all these
lists, op. cit., p. 103.
218. Tattvartha-sutra, VII-35.
219. Vasunandi Sravakacara Vs. 219-270.
220. Ibid, 219.
221. (i) The Tattvartha-sutra (VII-39)
mentions the first four only. (ii) The svetambara texts consider dana as
conditioned by the following five elements: desa,place, kala time, sraddha-faith,
sutkara- regard and krama-the right order. vide Savaya-pannatti, V. 325
222. (i) Somadeva gives his own list of
five kinds of recipients, wherein he accomodates astrologers, orators,
erudites, literary personages etc., in the fifth category. Vide his
Upasakadhyayana, V. 808. (ii) He also tells if no sadhu is available dana--charity
may be extended to any coreligionist. op cit., Vs. 821-822.
223. Some svetambara texts enumerate six
and others eight such qualities of the datr. Vide Jaina Yoga, pp. I53-154.
224. (i) The concept of datavya--what is
to be given varies from tradition to tradition and, at times, from one
Acaryas to another. Hema-candra (Yoga-sastro III-87) points out some
earlier view that there is no canonical authority for dana in any form
other than food and drink, but the later texts permitted the gift of
clothes, blankets, and other requisite accessories to the ascetics. (ii)
Camundaraya's four-fold classification oi datavya is restricted to
alms-giving to ascetics. Vide Caritra-sara, p. 14. (iii) The
Savaya-pannatti (V. 325) lays down that the gift of food etc., should be
justifiably acquired (nayagaya) and pure or suitable (kappanijja) one.
(iv) Samantabhadra's concept of vaiyavrtya includes rendering of physical
services to ascetics: Ratnakarandaka Sra,V. 112.
225. Vide Jaina Yoga, pp. 158-159.
226. Vasunandi-Sravakacara Vs. 226-231.
227. lbid.. V. 240.
228. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 114.
229. Purusartha-siddhyupaya, V. 172.
230. Tattvartha-sutra, VII. 36.
231. Samantabhadra, however, gives
anadara in place of kalatikrama, Op. cit., V. 121.
232.Noted by R. Williams with some
comments, Op.cit., pp. 164-165.
233. (i) For details vide the
Mularadhana of Sivarya gaha Nos. 205, 206, 210 and 260, and also the
Commentary thereon. (ii) lt may be noted that Sallekhana forms the 11th of
the 40 adhikaras (Chapters) in this reputed precanonical bulky Prakrit
text of the Digambaras that comprehensively describes the bhakta
pratyakhyana-marana-- courting death by absolute abstinence from ,all
kinds of food, a spiritual gate-way for the soul for liberation to eternal
234. Tattvartha-sutra, VII-22
maranantakim sallekhanam josita.
235. Sarvartha-siddhi, VII-22.
236. There could also be some
controversial period in the early days of Jainism, which phenomenon is
indicatedwell by the .Savava-pannatti (V. 382) stating that sallekhana is
not restricted to the monastic discipline alone as some Acaryas say.
237. Sagara-dharmamrta, Ch. VIll.
238. Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 122-129.
239. (i) In Jaina inscriptions and story
literature besides sallekhana, the terms samadhi- marana and
sanyasa-marana (or sanyasana in Kannada are often found used
synonymously). (ii) The term sanyasana appears to have been first set in
currency only in the case of house-holders who adopted the maha- vrata or
who were given the samastra- diksa, which was immediately followed by the
bhakta-pratya khyana--courting death by abstinence from all kinds of food.
For details vide 'The Vow of Samadhimaraqa in Early Karnatak" by B. K.
Khadabadi, Studies in Indian History and Culture, (Prof. P. B. Desai
Felicitation Volume) .
240. Samantabhadra replaces
sukhanubandha by bhaya --fear. The list presented by the svetambara
Acaryas is, by and large, similar to this one, with some differences in
the usage of terms.
241. The Heart of Jainism, p. 221.
242 Op. cit., p. 166.
243. Darsana aur Cintana, pp. 533-36.
244. The voice of Ahimhsa, (Feb. 1962
245. Compendium of Jainism, p. 280.
246. Purusartha-siddhyupaya V. 178.
248. Edited by C. H. Tawney, pp. 7-8.
249. Gaha. 74.
250. Preface (amukha) to Ch. V.,
Uttaradhyayana-sutra Part I, p. 57.