Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Ten Universal Virtues

Munishri 108 Kam Kumar Nandi
Message, Foreword, Preface
Hymn To Five Divinties
  Paryushan Parva
  Supreme Forgiveness
  Supreme Tenderness or Humility
  Supreme Uprightness or Honesty
  Supreme Contentment or Purity
  Supreme Truthfulness
  Supreme Self-Restraint
  Supreme Austerities or Penance
  Supreme Renunciation
  Supreme Non-Attachment
  Supreme Chastity
  Kshamavani Parva




(Uttam Sanyam Dharma)

      'Self-restraint is the key to eternal happiness'

     The word 'Sanyam' is derived from the root 'yam' with preposition 'sam' by the addition of suffix 'ap'.

     The word 'Sanyam' has various meanings like check, restraint, control, prevention and mental concentration. Uttama Sanyam i.e., Supreme self-restraint is one of the ten virtues to be cultivated by a man to counteract the four passions (Kashayas) i.e., anger, pride, deceit and greed.

     Therefore, an aspirant for happiness is advised, "Fight with your (own) self: what is good in fighting the external foe? By conquering one's 'self' by means of one's own self, one obtains true happiness."

      It has been rightly said, "The sensual temptations of life do not attract a monk's mind. He is firmly convinced that the pleasures secured by satisfying the senses are not only transitory but also futile. He, therefore, comes to the conclusion that man should aspire to attain the pleasure of eternal nature and for this purpose man should make strenuous efforts towards self-restraint or control of one's senses."

     The self alone should be subdued, for it is very difficult to subdue it. It is far better that a man should subdue his self-control and austerities; rather than be subdued by others with fetters and suffer corporal punishment.

     Self-restraint is the rudder of life. Just as for want of rudder a boat cannot sail across the river from one bank to the other safely and punctually. Likewise in the absence of self-restraint the boat of human life cannot sail across the ocean of the world from one seacoast to the other i.e., attain liberation or salvation. The following metaphoric statement also conveys similar ideas:

     "The body is said to be the boat and the soul is said to be the sailor. The samsara i.e., the worldly existence, is said to be the ocean which is crossed only by great sages."

     A man without self-restraint has been compared to an animal:

     Sanyamain bina pranri, pashuraiv na sanshay

     Yogayogayam Na janati, bhaidastra kuto bhavait

     Man devoid of self-restraint has been called an animal because without self-restraint a man cannot distinguish between right and wrong, just and unjust. So long as this living creature does not attend the school of self-restraint, he cannot develop a grand and lustrous personality. A great scholar says; 'Good nature can fulfill the lack of beauty, but beauty cannot fulfill the lack of good nature.'

     In the grand and illustrious book 'Dhawal' an absolute control or check on self has been termed sanyam (self- restraint) 'samyak yamo sanyam'. The holy soul Shraman, who observes five kinds of samitis - five regulations of walking; the mode of speech; the manner of eating food; actions of taking or using and of putting away anything. He answering the call of nature - practices Samvara - stops the inflow of karmic matter into the soul by keeping the five senses under control or moving about in the world with all his senses properly controlled. He follows the three guptis - regulations of mind, speech and bodily activity for self- control with reference to controlling one's inner nature. Finally he subdues the passions and is endowed Right Belief and Right Knowledge, is called self-restrained.

     To discard the external Parigrah - greed of worldly possessions, and internal Parigrah - freedom from evil actions in mind, speech and body; aversion for sensuous pleasures and destruction of passions have been proclaimed in general as the characteristics of a self-restrained person. Almost all scriptures define self-restraint as mentioned above.

     Two kinds of self-restraint viz. 'sagar' (with possessions) and niragar (without possession) have been stated in 'Charit Pahud':

     Diviham sanjamcharanram sayaram teh havai nrirayaram

     Sayaram saganthai parigaha rahiy khalu nrirayaram

     A householder, who feels attachment towards his own possessions, is gifted with 'sagar' (self-restraint with possessions). A monk who is gifted with supreme non- attachment is endowed with 'niragar' (non-possession self- restraint). Acharya Samant Bhadra Swamy has also stated the same thing in 'Ratankarand Shravakachar':

Saklam vikalam chararam, tatsaklam sarvsangviratanam

Angaranram viklam, sagaranram sasanganam

     Self-restraint is of two kinds based on 'sakal charitra� Absolute in character, and 'vikal charitra' Partial in character. The monks, who are free from all types of attachments practice absolute self-restraint; and the house- holders, who are attached to worldly possessions practice partial self-restraint.

     In the sacred book entitled 'Rajvartika' Acharya Aklank Dev has put self-restraint in two categories with respect to aphrit (restricted) and upaiksha (detached). A monk who understands the logic of Time and Space; who is by nature averse towards the body; who observes the three Guptis - regulations for self-control; and who is free from the mental attitude of attachment or aversion, is holder of upeksha (detached self-restraint). 'Aphrit� (restricted self- restraint) is of three kinds - superb, medium and lower type.

     The self-defense of a monk - that has independent external means viz. neat and clean shelter place, and carefully cooked restrained poor food; knowledge and character are whose main stay - from the outward beasts is superb 'Apharat' (restricted self-restraint). The scriptures describe the characteristics of a monk thus: 'A monk is without any possessions, without egotism, without attachment, without vanity or conceit; he is impartial towards all living beings whether mobile or immobile.'