Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Ten Universal Virtues

Munishri 108 Kam Kumar Nandi
Manglacharanam
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

SUPREME RENUNCIATION

 

 

     But God knows how one-day good sense prevailed on him. When all the blemishes of his soul were washed away by the shower of religious hymns. What good effect of the pious deeds of his previous births prompted him? At the end of the sermon when all the devotees had made their offerings to the holy priest, the rich miser took out a bundle wrapped in a piece of dirty cloth from under his armpit and offered several dazzling silver coins to the priest as gift. The whole gathering and the priest himself were taken aback by his action. Voices poured from all directions that no one knows when the almighty may bring a change in outlook and a staunch miser may become extremely generous. When the miser began to return to his former seat devoid of all sense of vanity and with bowed head, the priest holding him by the hand gave him an honorable seat on the costly carpet. No sooner did the rich man take his seat, than he spoke, "O Holy Priest! Money enjoys a great value and wins prestige in the world. Till yesterday I was a neglected person and you gave me a lower seat at a distance; but why all this honor and welcome today?" On hearing these words of praise for riches, the priest spoke, "O Seth! You are mistaken. Even yesterday you were rich, but did not enjoy social prestige. This reverence is for renunciation, not for riches." "Dhanam tygain shobhatay". Riches win glory by renouncing them. None can win fame and prestige by accumulating money like a honeybee, which collects honey in the beehive. Only when we utilize money like a bee, which collects honey in the beehive. Only when we utilize money for personal uplift or social well being by donating it to social and religious institutions like schools, hospitals, Dharamshalas and temples, that it wins us name, fame and glory. Riches, which are not utilized for noble cause, are worthless like dust. A rich man always lives in tension. Fear of thieves, robbers and income tax raids, haunts his mind forever. Riches come to a man by good luck and sincere, earnest labor and if used judiciously for a right cause, they bring him mental peace and happiness. Squandering money on trifles e.g., sensuous pleasures or vices like gambling, drinking and prostitution is the misappropriation of riches and it is a heinous crime as well as a sin.

     The supreme virtue of renunciation is a part and parcel of religion. The two are indivisible. We cannot separate renunciation from religion and soul. One should renounce worldly possessions devotedly within one's power, "shaktistyaga". Trees renounce fruits and keep us alive. The mountains cast away stones and pebbles, which we use for construction works; and from which statues and idols are carved out. Renunciation is regarded as a superb type of virtue. It is helpful in the attainment of liberation or salvation i.e., it is a cause and means to liberation.

     The Jain prophets endowed with a humanitarian outlook recommend that if a person ever happens to earn more than his requirements, he must give away his money in Dana (charities). The best forms of charities prescribed by religion are four:

       i) Ahara Dana - giving food to the hungry and poor;

ii) Abhaya Dana - Saving the lives of living beings in danger;

iii) Aushadha or Bhaishajya Dana - distribution of medicines;

iv) Gyana or Shastra Dana - Spreading knowledge.

     These charities are called the 'Chaturvidha Dana' - the four-fold gifts by Jain religion; and it has been enjoined on the householders that they should make special efforts to give these charities to the needy, irrespective of caste and creed. Even now, in all parts of India, the Jains have rigorously maintained the tradition by giving freely 'Chaturvidha Dana' - four fold gifts.

     Even though one has husbanded all one's wealth, one will be without support in the long run, if one has not given a part of his wealth in charity. Giving in charity is perhaps one of the commonest of moral advocacy's under any religious system; the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Christian and the Islamic along with the Jains prescribe it as one of the right ways of conduct. Renunciation provides us nothing but more and more happiness. Renunciation vanquishes all vices of a man. It spreads one's shining glory all around. Religion advocates renunciation, not indulgence in worldly allurements.

     "Gyanat tyaga, tyagat shanti"

     According to the above statement charities given wisely only after careful thought are called true renunciation. One gets peace only by such type of renunciation. Hence, before giving charities generously, it is most essential that a man should ponder well over the pros and cons of what he intends to give in charity and to whom he intends to give. Donations given after proper thought under no momentary emotional urge born out of a feeling of compassion aroused by an imposter saint or an idler i.e., a work shirking person who wants to extort money under some false pretext, are termed renunciation. Contribution of funds to political parties or giving alms to beggars, who misuse in drinks and intoxicants is in no way donation or charity; rather it is squandering of money. Beware, it is better not to be charitable at all than to give charity to an undeserving person.

     Renunciation affords peace. It is a psychological truth. Only a large- hearted and liberal-minded person can give donation. The more a donor renounces worldly possessions, the greater is the number of ripples of happiness that rise in his heart. Therefore, it is essential for the lucky affluent persons to constantly follow the practice of giving charities forever in life. If rain, water in a river goes on accumulating and there is no outlet i.e., the river does not supply water to the fields and oceans; it will be flooded. Its water overflowing both its banks will create havoc all around resulting in the ruin of crops and vast costly properties and many innocent lives will meet untimely death. The sun has been illuminating the whole world ever since the earth came into existence by casting its innumerous dazzling rays which give both light and warmth to one and all. If the sun does not shed its luminous rays, no living creature, no vegetation and no plant will survive on earth. Likewise, if out of a feeling of selfishness a man adopts the tendency of accumulating wealth, the financial disparities in the world will go on increasing and create an economic crisis, which may result in bloodshed. Hence, such a worshipper of Mammon will be called a traitor and a bloodsucker of the poor. A well known statesman has said, "sehbhogyamidam rajyam" - the amenities of the royal treasure must be enjoyed united by all through a proper division of wealth.

     When tasty fruits ripen on trees, they drop them on the ground below without greed or sense of possessions. How great is the debt of trees on man! Likewise, a man wins glory and dignity only when he distributes among the needy the huge wealth accumulated by him. So long as the clouds hold water, they look dark in appearance; but as soon as they start raining i.e., renounce water drop by drop, they begin to look snow white. Similarly, till a man accumulates worldly possessions his inner soul blackened with anger like passions seems a burden to him. But no sooner the same man starts giving in charity his vast wealth accumulated by fair means or foul, than his inner feels relieved of a burden; for it results in the purification of his thoughts.

     The message of the founder of Jainism Lord Adinath is, "Either be an ascetic or a cultivator." This axiom signifies both renunciation and indulgence. Only those who have amassed great fortunes can give charities. There can be no renunciation without possessions to be given up. Those indulged in collecting more and more material possessions should follow the ideal path of cultivators who grow more and more to feed themselves and their fellow beings; or those who have faith in true renunciation should follow suit to ascetics. No doubt out of these two paths latter type of renunciation is regarded better. Those who disdain worldly riches and cast them away without hitch are held in high veneration; those who are busy day and night in earning and spending lay waste their powers in accumulating articles of sensuous pleasures. Self-uplift is possible only through renunciation not through indulgence.