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




(Uttama Mardava Dhama)

Compassion or supreme tenderness (Uttam Mardav) gets the second place amidst the ten tenets of Jainism. In the book �Sarvartha Siddhi� the reverend Acharya Pujya Pad Swamy tells the meaning of compassion (Mardav);

     �Mridorbhavi mardvam�

The feeling of humility or tenderness is compassion. In the sixth verse of the ninth chapter of this book compassion (Mardav) is explained to mean:

�Jatyadimadaveshadbhimanabhavo mardavam�

I.e., Absence of pride, born out of the arrogant feeling or boast of ancestry, clan and tribe etc.

     Compassion (Mardava) means to put an end to vanity or egotism. The foundation of compassion is tenderness or humility. It is an inherent trait of the soul. Telling humility the root of religion in �Bodh Pahud� Acharya Shri Kundkund Swamy states� dhamo dyavisidho� i.e. �Religion means to be adorned with pity�. In �Rayansar� the same has been stated thus; �Dyai sadhamo� i.e., Mercy is the true religion�. Just as the construction of a building in the absence of a foundation, the existence of a tree in the absence of roots, the rainfall in the absence of clouds is impossible. Likewise birth of the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma) and Right Belief (Samyak Darshan) is impossible for want of humility. The attainment of salvation (Moksha) lies in humility or compassion.

     Where there are no gentle thoughts, no polite temperament, no humility; it is all futile to go on a pilgrimage, observing vows, taking holy pledges and performing meditation; for these cannot remain stable in a being lacking in compassion i.e., in one who is not free from pride and prejudice. In order to achieve the superb virtue of compassion, it is essential for us to root out pride and prejudice from our heart. Its easiest way is not to be vain.

     Once some children were playing �Gulli-Danda� on the seashore. In this game the players of one team throw the �Gulli� from a cavity in the ground using a small wooden rod �Danda� as distant as possible, and the players in the opposite team try to catch hold of the �Gulli�. The �gulli� throwing team let off the gulli. When a child, player of the opposite team tried to catch hold of the gulli by jumping; instead he caught hold a crow flying very low in the sky. The children felt very happy on catching the crow. All the children flocked at a place leaving their game. They picked up a sparkling conch shell (seepi) from the seashore. They drilled a hole in it, threaded it and put it around the neck of the crow. The children felt very happy on adorning the crow. The crow also began to think, �Oh! There is no bird to match me in the world.� The crow said this very thing to the children as well. A child said, �Oh! You are puffed up with vanity at this petty adoration. Can you match the bird swan?� Overtaken by false pride the crow spoke, �Why not? Certainly I can.� A swan sat a little afar. The children said to it, �Oh Swan! So far you alone are the bird famous for flying across the sea, but see our this black crow can also fly across the sea.� The swan said, �Don�t be proud in vain.� But the children persisted. The swan said, �Well! It is all right. Get your crow ready to take a flight with me.� They both became ready and the two set on the flight. The swan fluttered its wings to take the flight and covered a long distance, whereas the crow was tired of fluttering its wings but could not overtake the swan. The swan said to the crow, �Why are you tired?� The crow replied with vanity, �No, how can I get tired so soon?� After flying some more distance, the swan again asked, �Have you got tired?� Out of pride the crow replied, �No, not in the least.� But in reality the crow was dead tired out of flying. No end of seashore was visible. Still he had to travel a long distance. The crow was finding it difficult to flutter its wings due to fatigue. It began to roll down. The swan questioned again, �Have you got tired now?� Even then the crow replied, �No, not tired as yet?� The crow began to drown in the seawater; only its beak was visible out of water. The swan understood that the crow was about to die due to false vanity. Hence, an ocean of mercy, the swan lifted it up and brought it on the seashore. The crow would have lost its life due to its false pride or vanity. We should always remember - �Society has this good at least, that it lessens our conceit, by teaching us our insignificance and making us acquainted with our betters.�

     In this world many kings, emperors and Chakarvartis have lost their lives simply in order to safeguard their vanity. A man should possess self-esteem, not false pride in life. False pride leads a man to downfall, while self-esteem raises him to lofty heights. Rightly has it been said:


Pride goeth on horse back grand and gay

     But cometh back on foot, begging its way.

     Ravan was a mighty king and a great devotee of Lord Jinendra. In order to worship God, the great Ravan used to play on the lyre (Veena) manufactured by the veins carved out of his own body. Ravan was known as an �Ardh-chakari on this earth. Even such a renowned Ravan kidnapped Sita out of false vanity and brought her to Lanka. Overpowered with egotism he used to say, �No man like me has ever existed on this earth, nor ever will be.�

Na bhuto na bhavishayati

Ravan had to go to hell due to this false vanity. Then what can be said of an ordinary living being?

     Hitler was arrogant and given to false ride. Consequently he got innumerable people killed and also suffered his own downfall and ruin. Lord Bahubali failed to obtain enlightenment (Keval Gyan) due to being possessed with little vanity born out of Sanjivalan; and had to perform penance for many years. If someone boasts, �I have gone through so many scriptures (Shastras); I am very affluent and powerful; I have numerous weapons, a huge army and no body can cause me harm,� he is arrogant. Thus if someone prides in his vanity, he falls down into a deep well of ruin by his vanity. Remember, �Vanity is an inborn vice in man; it is often fed and fostered by his own fellow beings. It is therefore almost impossible for him to eradicate it. Though it is not infrequent that a man�s vanity is wounded, crushed or even smashed, but it grows again like the Phoenix from its own ashes.�

     Some ideas must be remembered, pondered and ruminated again and again in order to practice compassion (Uttama Mardav). One has taken birth in this world, times without number in a low state. High births and low births both are not everlasting. Ultimately, even on taking birth in a higher state of being it is ruined again and we may get birth in a lower state. This world abounds in persons of so many special castes, clans and creeds. So it is useless for a person to be proud or vain. Secondly, man has passed through these castes and clans etc., many times in his previous lives in the past. Is it then worthwhile to be puffed up with pride in these? The man, who acts in an innocent manner discarding the faults causing disgrace, is the truly self-esteemed. But no body can be termed as self esteemed for being proud even when he is wanting in virtues. This pride and egotism gives rise to many evils in this birth and in the next births. Realizing this the gentle persons get rid of vanity. A man with false pride suffers disgrace everywhere. He can never cherish noble ideas. So, as long as the poisonous snake in the guise of pride and egotism remains hidden in the heart of a person, none can be friendly with him. He generates enmity with all wherever he goes.

Seth lived poor man named Viney Kumar, who earned his bread and butter by making baskets. Viney Kumar was polite and diligent by nature. He had become very popular due to his humility. All praised him. Despite being poor Viney Kumar was content and happy. Seth Maan Mal had grown jealous of Viney Kumar at heart on seeing his happiness and popularity. The jealousy of Maan Mal assumed a furious shape. Out of jealousy he got the cottage of Viney Kumar set on fire. As a result Viney Kumar was totally ruined. The implements and raw materials like bamboo and twigs etc., used for making the baskets were also burnt to ashes along with the cottage. However, the life of Viney Kumar was saved. He appealed to the judge in the court for justice. In order to affirm whether Seth Maan Mal was really jealous of Viney Kumar, the judge sent them both to a far off unknown island.