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




Kinds of Celibates

Q. How many kinds of celibates are there?

A. There are five kinds of celibates:

(i) Upnaya - Donning the sacred threads

(ii) Avalumh - Sub-ordinate or dependent

(iii) Adiksha - Non-initiated

(iv) Goodh - Fully devoted

(v) Naishthik - Dedicated or having perfect faith

Q. (i) Who are called 'upney' (sacred threads donned) celibates?

A. The persons (apostles) who wear on their body the sacred threads in a manner ordained by the holy teachers and study the Jain scriptures; and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'God' (sacred threads donned) celibates.


(ii) Who are called avlamb celibates?

A. The persons, who assume the appearance of ascetics; donne clothes ordained for them by the holy teachers; study and follow the Jain scriptures in practical life and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'Avalumb' (sub-ordinate or dependent) celibates.


(iii) Who are called 'Adiksha (non-initiated) celibates?

A. The persons who neither assume the appearance nor donne clothes ordained for celibates, but study and follow the Jain scriptures in practical life and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'ago' (non-initiated) celibates.


(iv) Who are called 'gurh' (fully devoted) celibates?

A. Persons, who get initiated to monkshood in adolescence, study and follow Jain scriptures. But on the insistence of their kith and kin, or being incapable in bearing severe tortures, or forced by some special royal decree, or by their own sweet will, discard the nude state as that of Lord Jinendra and still observe the vows meant for the house-holders, are called 'by' (fully devoted) celibates.


(v) Who are called the 'neshtik' (dedicated or having perfect faith in the omniscient lord, the scriptures and the holy teachers) celibates?

A. The persons, who can be distinguished by the tuft of hair on their head at the time of meditation. Their chest is adorned with the sacred threads. Their loincloth of red or white color is always tied round their waist. They always subsist on alms; which are learned in scriptures and observe all vows of ascetics; and who are always engaged in prayer and worship of Lord Jinendra, are called 'neshtik' (dedicated) celibates.

     Sukh Deva was a life long celibate by birth. It is said that as soon as he grew young he went away to the forest to perform penance. At the time of his departure, his father Vyas Deva gave him counsel and spoke, "My son! The name and fame of our grandfather has survived as a result of the noble deeds of our father, and our father's glory has survived due to our good deeds. Likewise, our fame and glory will remain immortal in the world owing to your virtuous deeds. But alas! The name of our family will be extinct on your becoming an ascetic. If you are bent upon doing penance, first enter into wed-lock like your ancestors and then perform penance in the company of your spouse."

     But Sukh Deva turned a deaf ear to his father's appeal and spoke, "Dear father! You are mistaken to think that a son makes his father's name immortal. The name and fame of a person depends on his or her virtuous deeds. The fame and glory of the truthful, religious minded persons and celibates alone shines in the world for ever like that of the sun and the moon, even if they do not have sons and grandsons."

     Saying so Sukh Deva set out for the forest. The great sage Viase followed him to bring him back. On the way the queens, princesses and ladies of the royal family of the historic city were bathing in the river Narmada. These ladies did not put on veils and go in seclusion on seeing the young Sukh Deva. But later on when the old sage Viase passed by that side, all these ladies at once put on veils out of the feeling of shame. Seeing this sage Viase was amazed and he asked the ladies, "My daughters! What is the reason that on seeing me you covered yourselves, but went on bathing unperturbed naked in the river despite seeing the nude young Sukh Deva passing from here?" In reply the females said, "O great sage! You are fully aware of all secrets of a woman and you yourself were a victim to sexual desires. That is why on seeing you we covered ourselves. But Sukh Deva is totally ignorant about sexology. Therefore, we did not deem it proper to put on veils on seeing the innocent nude Sukh Deva." On hearing this eye opening word, sage Viase returned to his hermitage.

     Bhartrahari writes about celibacy in the following lines:

     Krishna kanr khaj shrawanrahit puchvikli

     Vrinr puti kiln krimikul shteravritnu

     Koshuha Kshama jinro ptharjakpalarpit gala

     Shunimanvaiti shva hatmapi ch hastaiv bhavan

                             - Bharatrihari

     A very old lean and thin dog, starving for two days; whose wounded body was bleeding and covered with pus; who was blind of one eye; who was lame and crippled; whose ugly face with fattened throat was hanging down, lay in the road in this miserable plight. The pedestrians in the road suspecting an immediate end of the dog, which was in the last stage of life, thought if the dog died in the mid-road, the environment would be filled with pestilence (foul smell). Therefore, the dog must be shifted elsewhere, before it breathed its last. Meanwhile a bitch passed by that side. On seeing her, the almost dead dog got up overpowered with a passionate desire of lust and began to chase her.

     In fact, celibacy is the only superb vow in all the three worlds. He who observes this vow attains a sacred state of existence. It has been said:

     Samudra tarnai yadvad, upao no pakirtit

     Sansar tarne tadvat, brahmcharne prakittat

     I.e., Just as a boat or ship proves a helpful means in going across the sea, likewise celibacy is a very fine and easy means to cross the ocean of the world. The lustful desire for sex exists in the heart of a living being only so long as he/she does not realize the real motif of life and does not understand his/her real self, or does not grasp the real nature of the soul. The day when one begins to see one's own soul face to face, one gives up one's lustful desires for sex and sensual pleasures and observes celibacy.