JAINA CODE OF CONDUCT
In the householder's ethical discipline
the mula-gunas can be said to have been allied, in a way, with samyaktva
in the sense that if samyaktva is preliminarily essential to the
householder on the eve of undertaking his vows, the mula- gunas-- basic
virtues too have to be acquired by him as his prerequisite equipment. In
the svetambara tradition the term mula-Guna stands for the five anu-vratas,
while the guna-vratas and siksa-vratas make up the uttara-gunas
subsequently required virtues. In the Digambara tradition, however. it is
used to mean a category of interdictions to be necessarily observed before
one commences to trod the householder's path; and such interdictions are
generally known as asta-mula-guna-- eight basic virtues.62 But
there is no unanimity among the various Acaryas or writers, dealing with
the householder's code of conduct, as regards the enumeration or
constituents of this so called category. Some Acaryas like Kundakunda and
Umasvami do not even refer to the mula-gunas in their respective works at
the concerned context. Others like Somadeva, Devasena and Padmanandi give
in their treatises the following as the asta-mula-gunas:
udumbara-pancaka-virati abstention from
five milky fruits like fig etc.
mamsa-virati abstention from meat
madya-virati abstention from wine
Amrtacandra clearly mentions all these,
but does not call them asta-mula-gunas. Amitagati adds to this list a
ninth element, aratri-bhojana-- abstention from taking food at night,
without employing the term mula-gunas. Asadhara gives three variant
enumerations,64 but prefers that of Amrtacandra. In the list of
the asta-mula-gunas found in the earliest available treatise on the
householder's conduct Viz., the Ratna-karandaka of Samantabhadra,65
the five anu-vratas stand in place of the five milky fruits of the
list of the eight elements given above. Moreover, the list given by
Jinasena66 is almost the same as that of Samantabhadra, with
dyuta-gambling occupying the place of madhu- honey.67
Pt. K. C. Shastri68 thinks
that the tradition of the five anu-vratas could not continue owing to the
weak-mindedness of the common householders from Amrtacandra onwards, when
they were replaced by the five milky fruits. But a question arises as to
how could such householder's further undertake the guna-vratas and
siksa-vratas, for which too considerable amount of samyama---self-restraint
is needed ?
Pt. H. L. Jain69 thinks that
the wide practice of consuming milky fruits during certain period of time
may have obliged the contemporary Acaryas to assert the need of their
interdiction by such replacement. But here too, a problem arises as to how
could Jina-sena and Somadeva, who belonged more or less to the same region
and age, give altogether two different lists of the asta-mula-gunas ?
R. Williams, who has given considerable
thought to the mula-gunas as meant in the Digambara tradition that has no
canonical authority, and to their probable original enumeration, observes70
that the lists of Samantabhadra and Jinasena, who are generally
marked as innovators, could have been refurbished in respect of the five
anu-vratas and dyuta respectively; and that in early Jainism, under
missionary spirit, it was with a view to rejecting the rival cult of
ancestors viz., pitr-tarpana, sraddha etc., with which the five milky
fruits and the three makaras were associated, these eight elements were
brought under the astamula-gunas making their observance as the first step
before a layman could assume his vows. But, as I think, the objective
behind the concept of the mulagunas in the days of early Jainism appears
to have been, training one with a pious bent of mind in abstaining from
minimum himsa caused by the consumption of certain element like meat,
wine, honey, the milky fruits etc., that generally were then found in
rampant usage in the day to day life among the common members of the
society, so that he could be able to place himself smoothly on the path of
the householder's ethical discipline. The nomenclature of this category,
for parallelism too, could have been suggested by the mula-gunas of the
monk prescribed in the canonical works. The selected number eight also was
certainly one of the favourite ones among the Jainacaryas.
It is rather enigmatic that the Kannada
Vaddaradhane (C. 925 A.D.), belonging almost to the same age and region as
Somadevasuri's Upasakadhyayana 959 A. D.), defines Samyaktva and names and
enumerates almost all of its categories,72 but does not
anywhere refer to the term asta-mula-guna as such. However it mentions the
five milky fruits and the three makaras, adding to them (household) hemp-
flower (sanambina puvu), mushroom (alambe) and milk of a cow or buffalo
that has lately calved (ginnu) as forbidden elements, and further warning
that persons consuming them would be born in hells. We know that
hemp-flower or any flower (an abhaksya) contains minute living beings and
mushroom (an ananta-kaya) has innumerable living organisms.73
But why ginnu is included in this list ? Could it be a vikrti ? Or could
it be that the denial of the mother's milk to the newly born calf is
treated as a sort of himsa here ? It is very interesting to note that in
none of the relevant works, either by the Digambara or the Svetambara
writers are hemp-flower and milk of cow or buffalo that has lately calved,
found mentioned under the mula-gunas, vikrtis or abhaksyas.74
A close consideration of this part of
the contents of the Vaddaradhane indicates that the Jaina Acaryas of a
particular age and region used to forbid the rampant consumption of such
elements that caused himsa, by adding them to the already existing list
known to the contemporary members of the society and, thus, to act as the
custodians of the Sacred Law.
62. The term gupa in Jainism covers
several categories and, hence, its translation here as 'virtue' is
naturally rather arbitrary.
63. (i) It may be noted that the five
milky fruits come under the abhaksyas--those elements that are not fit to
be eaten; and the three makarus-- meat, wine and honey come under vikrtis--
articles of food that have changed their nature owing to cooking or
bacteriological effect; or those that 'pervert the tongue and mind",
according to Asadhara. Thus all these eight cause himsa. (ii) Though the
asta-mula-gunas are not found, in this sense, in the svetambara tradition,
these eight elements, along with some others, are forbidden under the
second guna-vrata, as found in some of their treatises on the
64. One of them contains the following
additional ones: apta- nuti--adoration of the Jina, daya - compassion,
jala - galana--filtering of water and aratri- bhojana--not taking food at
65. As given in V. 66.
66. Mahapurana, Ch. 39.8.
67. For detailed and comparative study
of the asta-mula gunas, vide R. Williams, Op. Cit., pp. 50-55.
68. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, p. 64.
69. Op. cit., Introduction, p. 36.
70, Op. cit., pp. 51-53.
71. The Jina has prescribed twenty-eight
mula gunas for the monk. Vide Mulacara, gaha No. 5.
72. St. No. 13, p. 127-128.
73 (i) St. No. 13, p. 126 and St. No.
14, pp. 150-151. (ii) Even today in Karnatak, green leaves of hemp plant,
at times together with its buds, are widely used to prepare a vegetable
dish, which is very popular particularly among the farmers of North
Karnataka, who eat it with great relish with jawar-roti.
74. (i) Amitagati, however, mentions
drona flower and kalinga flower among the obhaksyas, but strangely enough,
under the anartha-danda--vrata, Vide R. Williams op.cit. p.112 ii)
Nemicandra's Pravacana-saroddhara, a Svetambar treatise (c. 1100),
however, mentions bhumi-rasa mushrooms or other edible fungi, as one of
the thirty-two ananta-kavas--plants which are inhabited by an infinite
number of living organisms. Vide R. Williams, Op. cit., pp. 114 115. (iii)
The Ratna Karandaka Sra. (v. 86) enlists nimba-kusuma (neem flower) as one
of the abhaksyas, (iv) The Kannada Commentator (Candrakirti ?) on Acarya
Maghanandis Sastrasara Samuccaya, under bhoga-pabhega parimana-vrata,
however, mentions ginnu--milk of lately calved cow, milky fruits, honey
etc., should be given up till the end of life. Vide Sastrasara Smuccaya.
Hindi edition, by Acarya Deshabhushanaji, Delhi 1957, p. 198. This I could