Literally, Samvar means blocking. Samvar, in the theory of karma, means blockage
or stoppage of the inflow of karmas to the soul. It is the opposite of asrav,
which means the inflow of karmas. In the discussion of asrav, we gave the
boating example which also explains how samvar works. Let us pretend as if we
went boating. We were having a good time and suddenly noticed water rising on
the floor of the boat. We immediately felt that the boat had a hole and if the
leak was not fixed the boat would sink. So, the first thing we did was to find
the hole and seal it so that new water would stop coming in. This stoppage of
water coming in is called samvar. A similar situation is that of our soul which
is wandering in worldly affairs. We have so many holes (activities) through
which karmas are flowing in at all the times. We talked about these holes when
discussing asrav: wrong beliefs, vowlessness, passions, indolence, and
psychophysical activities. These activities allow karmas to become attached to
the soul. Once we have realized the effects of such activities, we need to work
towards overcoming them so that we can stop new karmas coming in before they
further sink the soul.
Samvar can be described in two types:
Physical or Objective,
Psychic or Subjective.
The physical refers to the actual shutting of
our activities which leads to stoppage of the inflow of karma particles. The
psychic means consciously striving to stop our passions which prevents direct
inflow of karmas by mental activities as weel leading us to stop physical and
Samvar is of 6 kinds, namely:
Yati-dharma (dharma of a sadhu)
Bhavanas (mental reflections)
These 6 types of Samvar will be effective and
real only if they are carried out with a firm faith in the commands of the Jina.
Therefore, Samyaktva is deeply and intimately connected with Samvar. Through
Samyaktva, the asrav called wrong belief or mithyatva are completely blocked and
stopped. By means of Samyak charitra and yati-dharma, the asrav called
vowlessness is blocked. By means of gupti, bhavanas, and yati-dharma the Asrav
called Passions are blocked. By means of Samiti, Gupti, Parisaha, etc.,
physical, verbal and mental activities and Pramad are blocked. By means of
Charitra, the Asrav called vowlessness, passions, psychophysical activities can
Samiti actually means Sam + iti = Samiti or
the right use. Examples include, having the right objective, spiritual
awareness, the proper discipline, and spiritual vigilance and caution. In this
manner, there are 5 subtypes of samiti:
Irya Samiti: (Careful movements): This means
to move cautiously and carefully, and looking closely on the ground so that no
jiva might be harmed or killed. A sadhu observes this more carefully and that is
why he does not walk around unnecessarily. He walks on the path which minimizes
the violence to the least. Rather than walking on the grass or insects a sadhu
would take an alternate route in order to minimize the violence caused by him,
even if the alternate route was longer. A layman should also keep this in mind
and should be careful while walking. They donít wer shoes so that there is less
injury to the organism on the ground.
Bhasha Samiti: (Careful speech): One should
limit or completely avoid speaking anything which may provoke violence,
flattery, condemnation, gossip, etc., or use words that may cause harm to
others. One should not inflict pain by using words which are filthy or abusive.
One should also limit or deter uttering unpleasant and thoughtless ideas which
are contrary to the principles taught by the Jina or speech that can provoke
wrong belief. One's words or speech must be kind and gentle. If anyone has
confessed to a sadhu about his wrong activities or sins, then the sadhu must not
speak about this to others. This samiti also reminds us that one must not
frighten anyone by speech or words, make a mockery of anyone, or preach a false
Eshana Samiti: (Careful about taking food):
Caution must also be paid about all matters relating to food. Sadhus should go
for alms to various houses and should take a small portion of allowable food
from each place so that the layman, from which the food is taken, does not have
to cook again. Also sadhus should not take any raw vegetables, raw seeds or any
food which has been in contact with living beings, including those taken from a
burning stove, oven, or even a refrigerator. A sadhu should not go for alms if
it is raining and should not accept any food brought to him. There are forty-two
faults which sadhus must avoid while accepting alms. A layman should also
refrain from committing a sin in the offering of food to sadhus. All intoxicated
and forbidden foods are not to be taken by either sadhus or laymen.
Adan Bhand Matta Nikshepna Samiti: (Careful
about putting cloths and other things on) A sadhu should take the utmost care,
before using clothes, to make sure that there are no insects in the folds which
may be crushed, hurt, or killed. Care must be taken before taking and putting
away vessels, books, or sitting down, etc. Similar precautions should also be
taken by laymen.
Parishtapanika Samiti: (Careful about disposal
of excreta): One should be very careful about how, and where one disposes of
trash, refuse, or excretions so that no harm is done to even the minute insects
or bugs. A monk must never keep either food or water overnight, but must rather
dispose off them carefully as mentioned above.
Gupti means restraint. Samiti helps us to
regulate our physical and verbal activities, while gupti helps us to further
restrain or curb activities of mind, speech, and body. There are 3 types of
Mano Gupti. (Restraint of the activities of
the Mind): One must restrain extreme grief, anger, joy, and anxiety (Asatkalpanaviyogi).
One must restrain oneself from the effects of love and hate, and pain and
pleasure (samatabhavini). One must be restrained and think steadily, not of
external things, but of one's own soul.
Vachan Gupti. (Restraint of speech): One must
restrain speech by observing a vow of silence (Maunavalambi) for a certain
number of days or by speaking as little as possible and only when absolutely
Kaya Gupti. (Restraint of physical
activities): One must be careful and should restrain one's physical activities
as per rules laid down in the scriptures (Yathasutracestaniyami).
The 22 parisahas pertain to the enduring of
hardship and while doing so remaining in a state of serenity and equanimity so
that all karmas may be destroyed. These are more prominently followed by sadhus
and sadhvis. There are 22 types:
Hunger. A monk must not accept food which is
blemished and prepared with any one of the forty-two faults, even if he has to
Thirst. A monk should not take unboiled water,
even if he has to go thirsty.
Cold. Even when it is cold a monk should not
wish for heater.
Heat. Even when it is hot a monk should not
wish for fan or aircondition.
Insect bites. If a monk is bitten by an insect
while he is meditating, he should not brush it away or become irritated, but
should bare it calmly.
Clothes. A monk must accept whatever clothes
he may receive.
A monk must bare evil words told to him.
A monk must bare kicking and beating.
A monk must bare diseases.
A monk must sleep on a wooden flat bed or
A monk must not take a bath.
A monk must wear torn clothes but should not
ask for new clothes.
A monk should not experience shame or
helplessness while going for alms from door to door.
If a monk does not get alms, then he should
not become worried and, on the contrary, should think as though he has been
given a chance to perform austerity.
A monk should not become attracted towards the
beauty of women.
A monk should not become disturbed by hardship
while meditating in a cemetery.
A monk should not become agitated even when
there is the suffering or grief.
A monk should not become proud while being
A monk should not become irritated when
getting pricked by thorns, etc.
A monk must should not feel sorry for not
attaining knowledge even after good efforts.
If a monk is ignorant and can not read, he
should not become depressed. He must think of karmodaya and must keep his
pursuit of knowledge alive.
A monk must try to understand the message of
the Jina and should never doubt it.
Ten Duties of Sadhus
Sadhus observe the following great duties to
the fullest extent, while householders follow them from a lesser degree to
Namrata (politeness) and Laghutha (meekness)
Nirlobha (absence of Avarice)
Tap (internal and external austerities)
Samyama (controlling senses)
Satya (avoiding condemnable speech)
Shaucha (mental purity)
The Twelve Bhavanas Or Contemplation:
Bhavana means the contemplation, through which
you motivate your soul to carry out lofty reflections. There are 12 types:
All external substances including the body are
transitory (Anitya). They are perishable and therefore, we should not have
attachment for them.
Human beings are experiencing tremendous
agitation. When death occurs and the soul has to leave the body there is no one
who can save a jiva who is helpless. Wealth, family etc. have to be given up at
such a time. No worldly things can provide refuge so why should we depend upon
In the cycle of samsar, i.e. births and
deaths, mother can become wife; wife can become mother; and an enemy can become
a friend; etc. How futile is samsar ? We should not have attachment for it.
"I am alone, I was born alone, I will die
alone, I am sick alone, I have to suffer alone, I have to experience the karmas
which I have earned, alone." Therefore, one should be cautious and keep away
from the attachment and hatred.
"This body is transitory and it is different
from me. I am the soul which is not perishable. While body is perishable. Even
wealth, family etc., are not mine. They are different from me, therefore, I
discard attachment for all these things."
"This body is made up of impure substances. It
is being nourished by impure substances. I will discard my attachments for this
body and engage myself in self-discipline, renunciation, and spiritual
Thinking on inflow of karmas. All causes that
create the inflow of karmas should be discarded.
Samvar means blocking of the inflow of karmas.
One must contemplate on Samiti, Gupti, Yati-dharma etc. One must carry out these
activities and try to reduce or stop the new bondage of karma.
Nirjara means to shed off whatever karmas we
have. One must think of the benefits that accrue from each of the 12 kinds of
Tapas or the austerities which cause nirjara. One must contemplate on these
austerities in order to destroy sins.
Lokasvabhava means one must contemplate on the
three Lokas, namely: 1) the upper world, 2) the middle world, 3) the lower
world, and also the whole universe filled with souls and pudgals.
One must contemplate on how difficult it is
for the souls that are wandering aimlessly in four stages of existence in the
Samsar to attain the Jin dharma. There should not be even the slightest
negligence in observing the religion propagated by the Jina."
"Oh: Arihant Bhagwan, the omniscient, has
expounded an excellent Shruta Dharma and Charitra Dharma. I will engage myself
in these Dharma." One should carry out this contemplation again and again.