Shri R. K. Jain Memorial Lectures


University of Delhi




















Published by:

Shri Raj Krishna Jain Charitable Trust

Ahimsa Mandir, 1, Darya Ganj,

New Delhi‑110 002






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It is a matter of pride and pleasure for me to deliver this 13th Series of Shri Rajakrishna Jain Memorial Lectures at this reputed University of Delhi, under the benign auspices of the Department of Buddhist Studies.  My pride implies the fact, that these lectures happen to be on Sravakacara‑‑‑ the Jaina Code of Conduct for Householders, and the late Shri Rajakrishnaji, in whose honour they have been instituted by the R.K. Jain Charitable Trust. He was an illustrious sravaka with exemplary dedication to numerous religious, social, national and humanitarian causes, that have left a lasting impression on certain spheres of the present day society of Delhi.  Moreover his son, Shri Prem Chandraji Jain, is also a worthy sravaka, who has been treading the same righteous path with all sincerity, devotion, and charity.  My pleasure, of course, immanates from my compliance with my acceptance of the kind invitation of R.K. Jain Memorial Lectures Committee, by duly preparing and delivering this Series of Lectures, which the undertaking was quite hindered by my ill health during the month of April last year, when the scheduled program of these lectures had to be postponed indefinitely.  Fortunately, I have been now, able to travel and come over here and appear before all of you.


I have strived to present, in the course of these lectures, a succinct depiction of Sravakacara‑‑‑ the Jaina Code of Conduct for Householders (i.e., the Lay Doctrine), as based mainly on the basic texts on this subject which was composed by authors of both traditions, Digambara and Svetambara. I have also utilized, at proper contexts, some other additional sources, like the Jaina Inscriptions, Jaina story literature, Colophons of works by Jaina authors and some field work done by myself, not exhaustively but representatively.  I have tried to bring out in short, the significance of this Code of Conduct for Householders, and to establish its relevance to the present days on convincing grounds and, at times; by presenting my own views and critical observations.


Through the contents of these lectures, I believe, one would find that this Code, comprising the choicest human virtues and profound moral values, systematized with an eye on the universal good, has come down all along the ages with needful adaptations and adjustments and has remained even to this day, a proud privilege of the Jaina heritage. One would also be convinced that if heeded in time. and practiced properly, at least essentially, by all people, it holds a great promise to cure the major maladies of the present day world and bring solace to mankind.


Now, let me express my sincere gratefulness to the members of Shri Rajakrishna Jain Memorial Lectures Committee, University of Delhi, for the honour they have done by inviting me to deliver this Series of Lectures and for extending this opportunity for presenting my study on the Jaina Code of Conduct for Householders, which program the Department of Buddhist Studies has so ably organized.  My thanks are also due to Dr. K.K. Mittal, the Head, and other members of the staff of the Department.


Now, the same study has come in the form of this treatise with some additions effected in the light of the latest developments in the field; and Shri R.K. Jain Charitable Trust, Ahimsa Mandir, New Delhi, has been kind enough to publish it so promptly.


In the course of preparing these Lectures at home, in the remote town of Sankeshwar, my late lamented son was of great help in procuring some rare books and journals from different University Libraries and other basic sources. He encouraged me, as I was keeping indifferent health for a few weeks, by promising to accompany and escort me along the journey to Delhi for delivering these lectures that has been already postponed.  But unfortunately, destiny suddenly whisked him away before he could do so.  Hence, I have reconciled myself by dedicating this treatise to his Soul.  I am grateful to the Chairman of the Trust for giving his consent to this sentiment of mine.


Lastly, I must on behalf of the esteemed R.K. Jain memorial trust, thank Dr. C.S. Naiker, Reader, Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit, Karnatak College, Dharwad, for doing the arduous work of proofreading and the proprietors of the Manohar Printing Press, Dharwad, for printing the book so neatly.




Kolekar Street,                       

Sankeshwar ‑‑‑ 591313



CONTENTS of shrvakacara










The Anu‑vratas

The Guna‑vratas and Silksa‑vratas

The Aticaras


The Ahimsanu‑vrata

The Satyanu‑vrata

The Acauryanu‑vrata

The Brahmacaryanu‑vrata

The Parigraha‑parimana‑vrata



The Dig‑vrata

The Desa‑vrata

The Anartha‑danda‑vrata

The Samayika‑vrata

The Prosadhopavasa‑vrata

The Bhogopabhoga‑parimana‑vrata

The Dana‑vrata

The Sallekhana‑vrata


Ethical Discipline in Jainism‑‑‑ the lay doctrine

Jaina Sangha‑‑ an ideal social organization

Samyagdrsti‑‑ the right faith

Asta‑mula‑gunas‑‑ the eight basic virtues

The twelve vows, the five smaller ones and the principle of ahimsa

The Householder's or Layman's ahimsa: non-violence

Peculiarities of the vows of satya truthfulness, acaurya‑ non‑stealing and brahmacarya‑sexual morality

Guna‑vratas‑‑the strengthening rules of conduct

Siksa‑vratas‑‑the disciplinary rules of conduct and the role of dana‑charity

The Role of puja‑worshipping

Sallekhana‑ willing submission to the inevitable death


The present day ailing world, the lay doctrine, and a proposal for a new approach.

Our proposed new approach is not a sentimental utopianism, but the one standing on proven facts.

The three great virtues: non-violence, limited attachment to possessions and non‑absolutistic Attitude, have already stood the test at the hands of Gandhiji.

The relevance of these great virtues to the solution of the outstanding problems of the present times :

The problem of violene and unrest;

Conflicts between ethnic groups and neighboring countries, and wars between nations, and groups of nations;

Racial discrimination, casteism and exploitain of some by others;

Economic inequality, poverty, and suffering;

Prayer for preparedness for cultivation of the virtue of ahimsa, the summum bonum of the whole code.





Religion is as old as humanity and it has played a dominant role along the course of the history of human life and thought.  It has, in its primitive days, tried to explain to man some of the mysteries of the Universe,1' to reconcile him with the insecurity of his future, to unfold and interpret the relationship between his body and soul, and to guide him constantly in the redress of misery and suffering, and in the search for real happiness. It has also tried to answer outstanding questions regarding the relation of man and the Universe; man and his many sided duties, his goal of life, and a compatible path leading to the same, etc.  Great seers and sages, in different periods and in different parts of the world, have answered, in their own ways, these and such other questions; and their words, in due course of time, have saturated as the doctrines and creeds of their respective religions.  Ethical precepts, conceived and laid down for the attainment of man's goal of life, though varying in number, nature and vigor, they happen to be more or less the common constituent factors of almost all the religions of the world. However, some religions differ as regards the existence of God, his attributes and his reign or control over the Universe, and its contents at large.


Jainism, the real contribution of which to human thought is being recognized, since the time of its being brought, within the purview of western critical scholarship and research (i.e, from about the latter part of the 19th century), is a significant religion, among those born and cradled in India (and outside too), for its antiquity, as well as, its lofty philosophical and ethical doctrines, though it has today just 3.9 million followers, numerically, forming a very small segment of the total Indian population, i.  e., mere 0.48 per cent of it and, thus, ranking the 6th and the last religious group after the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Sikhs and the Buddhists.2


According to Jain tradition, twenty‑four Tirthankaras (Ford‑makers i. e., Layers of Path leading to Perfection) or Jinas (Winners of Victory over the senses) preached the Sacred Law in the present Cycle of Time. Rsabha was the first to reveal the Ahimsa_ dharma and higher values of life, to bring a good order in the society, and to lay an ideal path to perfection. Mahavira was the last to elucidate and promulgate the Law in historical times; and it is known as Jina‑dharma, Jinism in its correct form, but called, and used as Jainism in practice. In the early days of Jainological Studies, different views, some based on inadequate material, were held on some part of the history and antiquity of Jainism. But on the strength of modern researches, we can say now that Jainism is not an off‑shoot of the Vedic line of thought, as developed in the reformist school of the later Upanisadic tradition, is far older than Buddhism, and had its origin in the Pre‑Aryan period of primitive currents of religious and metaphysical speculation, as prevailing in the early Sramanic culture of North East India. The stream, of which, could be traced back to the days of the Indus Civilization3 itself.  Dr.  Jyoti Prasad Jain has recently put forth his thesis, that Jainism is the oldest living religion.4


Coming to the philosophical side of Jainism, the doctrine of Anekantavada (non‑absolutism), being upheld by the peculiar dialectical method of Syadvada as supplemented by Nayavada,5  the conception of Reality as divided into six fundamental substances (dravyas),6 and the theory of karma are the unique aspects of Jaina philosophy with their comprehensive nature and realistic approach, etc.7 It makes the individual self‑reliant who is the architect of his own fortune or misfortune. There is no place here for the priestly agency or divine intervention for seeking one's mundane welfare or final salvation. God as creator, and controller of the Universe, and distributor of favors, and punishments for worldly beings is not admitted here. At this context, Dr. G. C.  Pande's observations are worth noting: "Sramanic atheism is not a variety of irreligion but of religion. It faces the evil and suffering of life squarely, and attributes it to human failing rather than to the mysterious design of an unknown being. It stresses the inexhorableness of the moral law. No prayers and worship are of any avail against the force of karman. It emphasises self‑reliance for the quest of salvation. Man needs to improve himself by a patient training of the will, and the purification of the fee1ings.  Such purification leads to an inward illumination, of which the power is innate in the Soul or mind. This is quite different from the Vedic view where illumination comes from outside, either from the eternally revealed word or from the grace of God."8


Jaina ethical doctrines, too are of immense significance. Hence, some scholars and thinkers have envisaged Jainism as Ethical Realism.9 Jaina ethics, having its root in metaphysics, permeated with practical features and having nirvana or moksa (emancipation or liberation) as its goal, trains one to attain it, through the systematized cultivation and assimilation morality, which are known as rules of conduct. All this amounts to the Right Conduct (Samyak‑caritra), which is based on the Right Belief (Samyag‑drsti) in, and the Right Knowledge (Samyag‑jnana) of the Seven Principles (tattvas), leading to liberation (nirvana or  moksa). The corpus of rules of Right Conduct are also termed as Ethical Discipline (acara‑dharma) prescribed for the Community (Jaina‑sangha) as a whole, which is a four fold social organization consisting of sadhu (monk), sadhvi (nun), sravaka (layman) and sravaki (layman) ad sravaki (laywoman). It has two‑fold objective:

1.      It accomplishes spiritual purification and emancipation by liberating the soul from the clutches of karma.

2.      It trains the members of the community to cultivate and acquire an attitude of equality towards all the living beings, and also to nourish sanctity for each individual and his possessions.  Such ethical discipline is properly graded to suit the capacity, equipment and environment of every individual.


It is prescribed in two forms:  one is the rigorous and prefect for the monk and the other, naturally, less rigorous and partial for the householder, who has to shoulder numerous family and other social responsiblities. The first is known as yatyaca or mundharma (Ethical Discipline for the Monk), and the second, sravakacara or Sravaka dharma (Ethical Discipline for the Householder). This two‑fold Ethical Discipline can be said to have been mainly reperesented by a set of five vows‑rules of conduct (which, of course, are followed by a number of different secondary vows and virtues of protective and regulative nature).


The five vows are ahimsa (non violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non‑stealing), brahmacarya  (chastity), and oparigraha (non‑acquisition). When prescribed for the house‑holder,these are called anu‑vratas‑small or parital vows, and maha‑vratas‑ great vows, to be rigorously and perfectly prcticed by the monk. It is so very important to note at this juncture, that the conception and organization of the Jaina‑Sangha and the nature and arrangement of these vows in two forms, with their complementaty and consistent characteristics, duly serve both the socioeconomic needs, and religio‑spiritual objects of the community as a whole. Moreover, the first of these vows  viz. ahimsa (non‑violence or non_hurting), is the cardinal vow, widely known as the doctrine of ahimsa, and holds a pivotal position in the entire super structure of this Ethical Discipline.12 Not only this, but all the doctrines of Jainism are said to revolve around this doctrine of ahimsa. Hence, Jainism is often designated as Ahimsa‑dharma.


Moreover, it is now an established fact that no religion of the world has so far given such primacy for the all pervading moral precept of ahimsa as has been done by Jainism. It is also a well‑known fact that in the whole of this violence‑striken world today, the Jaina house‑holders (Sravakas and Sravakis) are the only people who give considerable importance to non‑violence or non‑hurting (ahimsa), and bring it into practice in their daily life according to their capacity. This significant phenomenon, it is heartening to note, is drawing now the attention of even the western world to the extent that recently, in June 1985, 'Jaina Community' came to be taken as an inter‑ disciplinary subject for the ' First Inter‑national Seminar on Jainas as a Community which was sponsored by the Department of Social Anthropology at the reputed University of Cambridge (U. K.), wherein, a number of Social scientists from different parts of the world participated. 13 I do not, of course, mean to profess here that every member of the Jaina community today is sravaka or sravaki in the true or technical sense of the term.13A But we can actually see that a good many of them, even to this day, practice sravakacara  (Ethical Discipline or Code of Conduct for the Householder), which could, naturally, be its latest 20th century phase, proving thereby its long, unbroken, active and purposeful existence from a hoary antiquity.  So, now, it would be interesting, as well as, enlightening to have a critical view of sravakacara (the lay doctrine) with reference to the basic texts, and bring out its significance and its relevance to the present times.



1. Of course, this realm later, came to belong to Science for the discovery of order in the phenomena of nature.

2. (i) These figures are as per the 1981 census. (ii) It may also be noted, that the Jainas have always constituted a small religious minority of Indian society throughout their historical existence. (iii) For further details on this point, vide A Demographic Analysis on Jains in India, by Shri M. K Jain, Jain Journal, Vol. XXI, No. 2. (iv) Some inquisitive persons think that the figures of the 1981 census are not correct owing to wrong entries made under the 'Dharma' column. On the ground of some private survey, they estimate that the number of followers of Jainism is still, far bigger. Vide Shri Ramanlal Sheth, Conference Sandesa (Bombay), July 1989.

3. (i) During the infancy of Jaina studies, some scholars held Jainism to be a later branch of Vedic religion, others that of Buddhism, etc. Moreover, in the Cambridge Lectures of Prof. Max Muller, delivered in 1882 and pub1ished in the book form, entitled India:  What can teach us ? (Indian edition, by K. A. Nilkantha Shastri, Longmans Green Ltd., i934), there is not a single reference to Jainism, though it was once to Buddhism. (ii) I need not discuss here all details on this point, but just refer to some of the important sources: (a) Prof.  Hermann Jacobi, Studies in Jainism, pp. 3‑4; (b) Mrs.  Gusheva N. R., Jainism, pp. 20 25; (c) Dr. A. N.  Upadhye, Preface to his Pravacanasara (d) Dr. G. C. Pande, sramana Tradition (Its History and Contribution  lo Indian Culture), particularly Lecture I, p. 2.

4. In his booklet, Jainism: The Oldest Living Religion.

5. (i) Dr. D. S. Kothari points out that the eminent scien‑tist Neils Bohr's Principle of Complementarity, which is a significant and revolutionary concept of modern physics, is philosophically very close to the concept of Syadvada. For a fund of valuable details on this subject, in his paper on Modern Physics and  Syadvada, Jeet Abhinandana Grantha, Part 11, pp. 187‑ 199.      (ii) (a) Dr. Dayanand Bhargav thinks that Syadvada has almost become a synonym for Jainism. Jaina Ethics,  Preface, p. vii.  (b) He also, observes that Jaina ethics is based on the fundamental doctrine of Anekanta‑‑non‑absolutism. Op. Cit., p. 37. He appears to have considered the doctrine of Anekanta as tbe doctrine of Ahimsa or the plane of thought.

6. Dr. M. L. Mehta writes; (i) "None of the realists tried to divide Reality exactly in the same sense as Jainism did." It may be noted that Jainism resolves the Whole of the Universe of being (Reality) into two uncreated, everlasting, co‑existing, and independent categories of ajiva and jiva.  Ajiva is further divided into pudgala (matter), dharma (principle of motion), adharma (principle of rest), akasa (space) and kala  (time). (ii) "The conception of dharma and adharma as the categories of substance is the unique contribution of Jaina Philosophy." Outlines of Jaina Philosophy, pp.  29 and 34.

7. Op. cit. p. 74.

8. Sramana Tradition, Lecture IlI, p. 73.

9. Justice T. K. Tukol remarks: "Jaina ethics is the most glorious part of Jainism and it is simply itselt." Compendium of Jainism, p. 195.

10.(i) This is wonderfully epitomized in a single Sutra (No. 1) by Umasvami in his Tattvarthsutra: Samyag-darshan-jnana-charitrani moksamargah. (ii) The seven tattvas (principles) represent an ethical classification of Reality: jiva, ajiva, asrava, bandh, samvara, nirjara, and moksha – soul, no-soul, inflow (of karmic matter into the soul), bondage, stoppage, elimination and liberation.

11. To elucidate this system at some lenght, the monk is enjoined to preserve, preach and perpatuate the Sacred Law and to guide the house-holder in his religiospiritual pursuit. The householder, on the other hand, sticking to enjoined ethical code of conduct, discharges his family and other socio-economicic duties and creates proper conditions for the monk’s rigorous course of life. Moreover, the householder, whose pious life is a kind of training in the ascetic life, later, at a certain stage, enters the monk’s life himself.

12. Dr. K. C. Sogani has recently endeavoured to show that the entire Jaina ethics tends toward the translation of the Principle of Ahimsa into practice: vide his Preface, Ethical Doctrines in Jainism, p. XI.

13. (i ) For details in this regard, vide Dr. V.A. Sangavc's Presidential Address, Jaina Sangha and Society Section, First All India Conference of Prakrit and Jaina Studies, Varanasi, Jan. 1988, Souvenir of P.V.R.I. Golden Jubilee and this Conference‑ Smarika, Varanasi, 1988. (ii) The Publication of the Volume containing the deliberations and findings of this Seminar is awaited.

13A. My close observation, and a little of field work in my home (Belgaum) District, have shown me that even to this day, there are found, here and there, such pious house‑holders who follow this code of conduct after accepting the twelve fold vow at the hands of their teachers. One Shri Dattubhai Kothadia, a land lord‑cum‑ banker, a svetambara sravaka of Nipani, observed even the vow of acamla‑Vardhamana that spread over the span of l9 years.  Shri Annasaheb Khot, an agriculturist, a Diagmbara sravaka of Shamnevadi, never allowed pesticides to be used in his farms.




In the course of our having a brief acquaintance with the salient aspects of Jainism through a few introductory words, we have noted that this dharma14 (religion) preached by the Jina, consists of Right Belief (samyag‑drsti or samyaktva),  Right Knowledge samyag‑jnana), and Right Conduct (samyakcaritra), which together,15 in proper combination, lead to liberation or emancipation. Right Belief means perfect faith in the six substances (dravyas), seven principles (tattvas), etc., that mainly go to formulate the dogmas of this religion. Right Knowledge means accurate knowledge of all these substances, principles, etc; and Right Conduct, which is based on, or which is to be practiced after the accomplishment of the first two. The ethical discipline or Code of Conduct is prescribed in two separate forms: The first, for the monk, known as yatyacara, and the other for the layman or householder, known as sravakacara.


The term sravaka is commonly used to designate a layman. Several etymologies, some quite elaborate,16 are given for this term. The quintessence of all such etymologies could be as follows: One, who sincerely and regularly listens to the teachings and preachings of the Jina through the monk for the good of one's own self, is a sravaka. Other alternate terms found in usage are: sramanopasaka, its abbreviation upasaka  (one who adores the monk and his teachings), sagara, grhin,  grhastha (one who practices the prescribed code of conduct by staying at home), desasamyamin (one who is partially self‑ restrained and indifferent to worldly attachments), sraddhal7 (one having faith in the words of the Jina as taught by the monk) etc.l8 In good old days, the Jain layman was known as Sravaka. A currupt form of this word viz., saravaga or saravagi was in wide currency in later days. Today he is called a Jaina only.l9


Similarly, sravakacara is the commonly used term for the code of conduct prescribed for the layman.  The other alternate terms found in usage are: up‑asakacara, sravaka‑dharma  (savaya‑dhamma in Prakrit), sagara‑dharma, grhastha‑dharma, etc. 20




Jainism, originating from the sramanic way of thought and life, must have had its followers in due course of time. What was the exact nature of the religio-spiritual and social life of the laity in the earliest period of its history? We have no means to ascertain. But this much is certain, that the Jina admitted the laity along with their natural inability to adopt a discipline of complete self-control and harder modes of spiritual pursuit; and, hence, the lay life was designed as a stage preparatory to the ascetic life for the realization of the highest goal, and at the same time, making it complementary to the monastic life. This is evident in the nature of the social organization, i. e., the Jaina‑Sangha2l  with its prescribed two‑fold code of conduct; one for the monastic life, and the other for the lay life, the out lines of the second of which came down in the Upasakadhyayana. the lost 7th anga according to the Digambara tradition22 and the extant Urasaga‑dasao of the Ardhamagadhi Canon of the Svetambaras, and further, given some place in the early works like the Caritra‑prabhrta of Kundakunda and the Tattvarthasutra of Umasvamin.  Thereafter, with the passage of a period, of about a thousand years after Mahavira, the code of conduct for the laity i. e., the Sravakacara, assumed a shape of separate entity in independent treatises on the subject such as the Ratna Karandaka Sravakacara and the Savaya‑pannatti. 23 Then, meeting with the expedients of marching time and expanding regions, influenced by some contents of the Puranic works, by authoritative sayings of great Acaryas, and by customs and manners prevalent among the neighboring people with other religious traditions, etc. It had several innovations, adaptations and injunctions, as reflected in the apparent flexibility of the astamula‑gunas,  and of the enumeration, interpretation and scope of some of the secondary vows, etc., about which we shall have some discussion later at relevant contexts. With all this, it attained its full growth during the medieval period of Jaina history,24 which is known as the period of the growth of the Sravakacara, and which also happens to be the golden period of Jainism, particularly in southern and western India. The plausible line of the origin and growth of the Sravakacara as a lay doctrine is well chalked out and presented by R. Williams in his book,25 which I must reproduce here for some of its details and significant observations:


"The traditional distinction between the code of behavior for the householder, the sravakacara, and that for the monk.  the yatyacara, is a fundamental one. Initially the lay estate was admitted by the Jina only in deference to human frailty, and was regarded in theory as a stage of preparation for the ascetic life.  In the early period of Jainism, the sravakacara, was therefore of minimal importance, and as it has grown progressively in significance, various expedients have had to be adopted to make up for the silence of the canonical texts. The corpus of the lay doctrine is, in fact, a creation of the medieval period. The Upasaka‑dasah supplied the frame work of the vratas, each with its five typical aticaras or infractions, and the Pratimas. Though the notion that these aticaras were intended only as examples is familiar to the older svetambara Acaryas, they soon became, in practice, the basis of a complete moral code. The Avasyaka literature gave the details of the necessary duties which are obligatory on the layman, as well as, on the monk, and doubtless because some practices belong at the same time to several categories‑ the samayika, which is both vrata, pratima and avasyaka, is a case in point, and because in some of them the ascetic is assimilated temporarily to the position of a monk, the transference to the lay life of rules originally intended for the community of monks was facilitated.  This process of adaptation developed on a wide scale and contributed notably to the building up of the vast edifice of the temple ritual. An expanding tradition of sacred legends, such as those which, under the appelation of the Puranas have been fashioned by the Digambaras into the shape of a scripture helped to lend authority to innovations in practice as when the name of Krisna Vasudeva is invoked as the originator of the dvadasavartavandanaka. A similar purpose was achieved by the conferment of a quasi‑ canonical authority on famous Purvacaryas; an example is the use of the phrase iti  Harihhadra‑suri‑matam. The Digambaras, who by not admitting the authenticity of the extant canon have to some extent rejected the servitudes of the tradition. They have not hesitated before a conscious rationalization of the texts: this is true notably of the Tattvartha‑sutra and the Ratna Kanandaka.  Local usage or customary law, the desaacara, though accorded no mandatory force, has always been admitted as a guide wherever there is no conflict with Jaina doctrine, and more particularly in the modern period has been increasingly incorporated in the sravakacara.  An extreme instance of this process would be the sanctification of the arka‑vivaha in the seventeenth century Traivarnacara. At all times the building up of the sravakacara has been assisted by the polyvalence of certain terms and by the habit, widespread among the commentators, of arbitrarily treating words or phrases as upalaksanas‑‑symbols or examples of wider categories: and again and again, the word adi is inserted by the commentators in places where the text offers no justification for it. The methods used in constructing the sravakacara have their analogies else where. It is with rather similar exiguous resources that the Christian and Moslem exegets raised their elaborate edifices of morality. " R. Williams also points out,26 a distinct aspect of the role of the Digambara Acaryas and scholars, played in the systematization of the lay doctrine: "Perhaps because they disclaim. the continuity of tradition, the Diga‑mbaras seem to have felt more keenly than the svetambaras the need to concretize and systematize the lay doctrine, and, in attempting a more logical presentation of the creed, they have effaced more than one discrepancy Ordinarily in any conflict of usage between the two sects, except in the practice of ascetic nudity. The Digambaras appear in the position of innovators, and it is precisely because they have largely jettisoned the dead_wood of an earlier age that their testimony is of greater value for the conditions of the mediaeval period."



As we just passed our cursory eye over, the line of origin and growth of the sravakacara, our attention is drawn by a fact, that the canonical sector -‑ and also some of the early works like the Caritra‑prabhrta of Kundakunda and the Tattvarthasutra of Umasvamin --has given it rather a frugal treatment, in the sense that only one text is earmarked for it viz., the lost Upasakad/hyayana or the extant Uvasagadasao, though references to its outlines and it is being practiced by the laity are found in other canonical works, like the Naya‑dhamma‑kahao and others.27 It could be so, because in early days the yatyacara was of great importance for the preservation, interpretation and continuation of the Sacred Law; and the sravakacara, on the other hand, was in the primary stage28 of development, and as it grew in importance through a few centuries a vast amount of literature grew around it. Canonical works on monastic life are, no doubt, found in big number and several of them in bulky volumes. Works on the sravakacara, too appeared later not in a small number. The greatest number of treatises on this subject have been produced during the medieval period. They continued to be composed, and compiled until the late modern period.  Thus, these treatises, on the sravakacara, happen to be the main sources of information on the nature of life of the laity. R. Williams has, perhaps for the first time, listed the names of these treatises and their authors, belonging both to the Digambara and the svetambara traditions, along with some comments on their contents as well as their authors.29 The following ones are worthy of note for us:

1.      Caritra‑prabhrta of Kundakunda, Tattvartha sutra of Umasvamin, Ratnakarandaka of Samanta bhadra, Upasakadhyayana  of Somadeva, Purusartha‑siddhyupaya of Amrtacandra, sravakacaras of Amitagati and Vasunandi, Sagara dharmamrta of Asadhara; and also Adipurana (Chs. 38, 39 and 40) of Jinasena.  (Caritrasara of Camundaraya, Savaya‑dhamma‑doha of an unknown author and Traivarnikacara of Son asena.

2.      Savaya‑pannatti attributed to Umasvati, Dharma‑bindu of Haribhadra, Uvasaga dasao with Abhayadeva's commentary, yoga‑sastra of Hemacandra, sraddha‑dina‑krtya of Devendra, Acara‑dinakara of Vardhamana and sraddha‑vidhi of Ratnasekhara.


Williams has also mentioned, that he has left out from his survey Tamil and Kannada treatises on the sravakacara,  besides the Hindi and Gujarati ones, which happen to belong to the modern period. He has also pointed out that the Jaina inscriptions and story literature would yield valuable information on the lay life.30 Dr. A. N. Upadhye and Dr. Hiralal Jain, the General Editors of Somadeva's Upasakadhyayana; however, have stressed, in their editorial note, the need of a deeper study of certain material along with that of some points of historical, comparative and critical nature that have escaped R. William's attention.31  And I would add here, two more points at this very context: (i) The Jaina‑ Grantha‑prasastis (colophons) also need to be taken into consideration for the study of the sravakacara. Some of them give valuable information on certain householders, and their way of life. In support of this, I would give one or two examples: Mahakavi Puspadanta in the Prasastis of his Fasahara‑cariu and Nayakumara‑cariu, supplies considerable information about the great SIavaka, Prime Minister Bharata under the Rastra‑kuta King KrsnaIII and also about Bharata's son, sravaka‑siromani Nanna, who too patronised him.  Apart from cases of patronizing ministers, Kings, feudal chiefs, etc., we get interesting information from such prasastis about those householders coming from the middle class of the society, too. Poet Raidhu (c. 1600 A. D.) records in the prasastis of his works about eminent householders like Harasi Sahu. Kheu Sahu, Kunthudasa Kamalasimha Sanghavi. Under the patronising regard of the last householder, the poet composed a treatise on the lay life, entitled Sammaltaguna‑nihana‑kavva, for the purpose of the svadhyaya  of the devout soul.32  (ii) Secondly, there are available a number of Sravakacara works, still lying in the manuscript from in the various Manuscript Libraries in Karnataka and also in Gujarat and Rajastan‑‑that deserve to be published and studied for additional and, possibly, rare information of regional nature on the lay life. My cursory scrutiny of the Kannada Prantiya Tadapatrya Grantha‑suci,33 drew my attention to some interesting titles of manuscripts of the sravakacara works preserved in the Kannada script in the sastra‑bhandaras of theJaina Maths at Moodbidri and Karkal.  The following are some of the titles of manuscripts in Sanskrit: Upasaka‑samskara of Padmanandi, Guna‑prakasaka by an unknown, Danasasana by Vasupujay, Sajjana‑citta‑vallabha by Mallisena, Bhavyananda Sastra by Pandyabhupati etc.  Some of these are endowed with commentaries in Kannada. Some are also found with the concerned stories added to them. The following are some of the titles of manuscripts in the Kannada language:

1.      Bhavya‑jana‑kanthabharana by Abhayacandra,

2.      Danasara by Prabhacandra,

3.      Cikka sravakacara by an unknown,

4.      Anuvriti‑antaraya by an unknown,

5.      Prayas'cilta‑vidhana by an unknown etc.34


 I hope the study of these works will throw considerable light on certain rare aspects of contemporary lay life. This is certainly true of such manuscripts preserved in Gujarati, Rajasthani and Hindi too.  Lastly, by way of elucidation, on the point of the unexploited sources like the rich Jaina Katha Literatute and inscriptions, I suggest that we have to bring out monographs like Glimpses of Householders' life as reflected in Jaina Stories and in Jaina Inscriptions found in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and else where, too. Such monographs could be language wise at the beginning. Moreover, such work could be undertaken by individual scholars, as well as, the regional University Departments and Research Institutes with long‑term plans. Then, alone the study of the sravakacara could be thorough and complete.





The householder's code of conduct is found to have been presented in these various treatises, by different authors of different periods, mainly on three patterns:


1.      With the twelve vratas (vows) and samllekhand (voluntary termination of life).

2.      With the frame‑work of eleven Pratimas (stages of ethical progress).

3.      With the division of the whole ethical discipline into paksa, carya and sadhana.


The first pattern comprises 5 anu‑vratas (small vows), 3 guna‑vratas (strengthening vows) and 4 siksa‑vratas (disciplinary vows) and samllekhana, which is of voluntary nature. In the second pattern, the word pratima is used to designate the stages of ethical progress in the householder's life. The third one divides the whole ethical discipline of the householder into three parts:

1.      paksa (beginner's course with favourable inclination towards the Sacred Law),

2.      carya  (performance of the eleven pratimas), and

3.      sadhana (the accomplishment of samllekhana).


There are, however, differences of opinion among various scholars regarding the original tradition, logical nature, antiquity, etc. of these (particularly the first two) patterns or methods of approach to the exposition of the householder's code of conduct.  Some scholars, like Pt. H. L. Jain, accept the second pattern as the ancient one, as it has been referred to in the old scriptural works like the Sat‑khandagama.35  Some others, like Dr. K. C. Sogani, think that this pattern is "though chronologically prior, the credit of logical priority comes to the first one."36 According to Prof. Schubring, "horizontally expanded as it were, the householder's duties (the twelve vratas etc.,) are projected into the vertical by the ladder of eleven uvasaga‑padima." In the plan of the successive rungs of the ethical ladder, "The idea rather implies partly a gradation of a more theoretical kind, and partly the opportunity of making selection."37  R. Williams holds that the first one is the original pattern followed both in the Digambara and the Svetambara traditions, while the Digambara Acaryas have often chosen the pratima frame for describing the householder's ethical discipline.38  Pt. K.C. Shastri also holds that the pattern of the twelve vratas is the most ancient one, and it is also duly accepted in the Svetambara tradition, too.39  I fully endorse this  view, for also an additional reason that the ladder of the householder ethical progress, with its eleven rungs, stages or pratimas, which appears to have been worked out rather on a more enlightening and analytical line by some early unknown Acaryas, has itself to stand on the original and natural ground of the ethical discipline of the twelve vratas themselves.  Pt. H. L. Jain's elucidation of the concept of the eleven pratimas making the four siksa‑vratas the very center of his discussion and elaboration, well high implies this point.  Further, the third one, which is an all inclusive and systematically conceived later pattern, was devised by Acarya Jinasena and further adopted by Pt. Asadhara in his Sagara‑dharmamrta and also by some later authors in their works.  Moreover from Hemacandra who in his Yoga‑sastra prefaces his discussion of the twelve vratas by the enumeration of 35 sravakagunas (that were worked out on the ideal layman's qualities described in the Dharma‑bindu of Haribhadra‑suri), toward the description of the Sravaka‑gunas, the important virtues of the householder, got prominence in the Svetambara treatises, which tendency later led to the matching prominence of titles of such treatises like Sraddha‑dina krtya of Devendra, Sraddha‑guna‑sreni‑  sangraha of Jinamandana, Sraddha‑vidhi of Ratnasekhara.


If we closely scrutinize these three patterns, we come to know that they do not contain any divergent aspects of rules of conduct, but they are mere methods of approach to the same subject comprising basically the same rules of conduct for the house holder prescribed by the Jina. If any treatise on the sravakacara follows any one of these patterns, it is so by way of representing the tradition as well as the age of that author. So far our deliberation was over the nature, scope, etc., of the householder's ethical discipline. We shall take up its very core which generally comprises the samyaktva  together with the mula‑gunas, the twelve vratas and some miscellaneous topics of injunctionary and recommendatory type, which cannot be brought under any particular vow.






14. (i) The meaning of the term dharma here can hardly be covered by the term religion.

(ii) Here dharma is that (righteous way of life), which destroys karma, sustains living beings from misery in the cycle of transmigration and leads them to the highest bliss.

(iii) Vide the Ratna Karandaka Sravakaaara, v.2.


15. It is known as the ratna‑traya (the trio of gems) and also the guna‑traya (the trio of excellences).


16. (i) Like the one given in tile Abhidhana Rajendra under savaya. (ii) One who listens (srnoti), the words of the Jina (Jina‑ vacanam) and through the teacher (guru)‑‑these are the fundamental factors of all the etymologies. (iii) The 5ravaka‑dharma‑pancaŁaka of Haribhadrasuiri, with the Curni by Yasodeva, in its v 2, has perhaps preserved a simple but comprehensive etymology of this term.


17. This term is found in usage among the svetambaras only .


18. Some of the terms used to designate the monk are: anagara  (the houseless), samaymin (self‑controlled), nir‑grantha (the fetterless) besides others like sramana, muni, sadhu etc.


19. Vide Pt K C. Shastri, Introduction to Upasakadhya‑yana,  p. 58.


20. Some of the terms used for the monastic code of conduct are: anagara‑dharma, yati‑dharma etc, besides others like yatyacara, muni‑dharma, sadhu‑dharma etc.


21. Attributed to Mahavira, who elucidated and promulgated the Sacred Law in historical times.


22. As mentioned in the $atkhandagama, Part I, p. 102.


23. The term sravakacara, it my be noted, is used to denote the code of conduct for the laity and also for the title of treatises on the same subject.


24 Jaina history may broadIy and conveniently be separated in three divisions: (i) The early period‑ 600 B.C. to C. 400 A D., (ii) The medieval period‑‑C. soo A.D. to C.  1300 A. D. and (iii) ‑The modern period‑‑C 1400 A. D.  onwards. For details, vide R. Williams, Op. cit., Introduction, p. xii.


25. Op. cit., Intro, pp. xvi‑xvii.


26  op. cit., Intro., p.  xviii


27. In the story of Selaka here, there is a clear reference to the 5 anuvratas, 7 siksa‑vratas and 11 upasaka‑pratimas;  and Jina‑dharma is referred to as Vinaya‑mula‑dhamma which is two‑fold: agara‑vinaya, and anogara‑vinaya, vinaya meaning ethical discipline.


28. A stage preparatory to ascetic life.


29. Op. Cit., pp I‑3l.


30. Op. Cit., Intro, p. xii.


31 (i) Pradhana Sampadakiya, p. 2.

(ii) They have also observed here that a thorough comparative study of all the extant sravakacara treatises is still a desideratum.


32. Vide Some Householders mentioned in ancient Jaina  lnscrlptions and Grantha‑prasustis (in Hindi), by Dr. Rajaram Jain, Vaishali Research Institute Bulletin, No. 3.


33. Bharatiya Jnanapitha, varanasi, 1944, Ed. Pt. Bhujabali Shastri.


34. These titles of manuscripts have no separate column of the Sravakacara. But these are included among works under the subject dharma and one has to sift them out.


35. Vide Introd. to Vasunandi‑sravakacaro, p.22


36. Vide Ethical Doctrines in Jainism, p.110


37. The Doctrine of the Jaina, pp. 285‑287


38. op.cit., Itrod., p. xxvii


39.  Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, p. 67.


40.  Op. cit., Intro.,, pp. 54‑58.






It is a common human experience that if a man has to undertake any work or scheme and be successful in it, he must have a good faith in it, and faith or belief is nothing but a firm persuasion of the mind regarding the utility and fruit, etc., of the thing or act to be believed in. Jainism has systematically worked out this common‑sense view4l in the conception of its first jewel of the trio viz., samyag‑drsti  or samyaktva‑‑Right Belief. Samyaktva is defined in various ways by different Acaryas, but the main point carried through these definitions is more or less the same.  Some Acaryas like Camundaraya define it as, "Faith in the path to liberation shown by the Jina."42 Others like Haribhadrasuri define it as, "Faith in the truths enunciated by the Tirthankara.''43 Some other Acaryas like Samantabhadra, Vasunandi etc., describe it as faith in the three articles of belief:

1.      apta (theJina)

2.      agama (the scriptures) and

3.      tattvas and padarthas44

Hemacandra calls it, "Faith in the right deva,  the right guru and the right dharma."45


The discussion of samyaktva:

Right Belief has been the essential part of any portion of the work connected with the householder's conduct or of special treatises on the same, because Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (the other two jewels of the trio) are founded on Right Belief. The Uttaradhyayana‑sutra announces that Right Knowledge cannot be attained in the absence of Right Belief; acquirement of Right Conduct is impossible without Right Knowledge; and without Right Conduct there can be no liberation.46 The Yasastilaka  of Somadevasuri explains: Right Belief "is the prime cause of Salvation, just as the foundation is of the main‑stay of the palace, good luck that of beauty, life that of bodily enjoyment, royal power that of victory, culture that of nobility and policy that of Government.47


With a view to describing samyaktva in all possible details and through different angles of vision, the Jaina Acaryas have brought it under different categories which are as follows:

1        gunas (characteristic qualities),

2        angas (limbs),

3        dosas (errors),

4        lingas (characteristics),

5        bhusanas  (excellences) and

6        aticaras (infractions).48


While guna,  anga and dosa are the Digambara concepts, linga and bhusana  are presented by Hemacandra. The category of aticara; however, is common to both the Digambara and svetambara texts.  R. Williams has systematically tabulated these categories with the following observation 49 "The subject of samyaktva is too vast and too imprecise to lend itself readily to numerical categorisation and there is considerable confusion and over‑lapping in the lists of qualities and defects conceived to describe it." I think it is natural to have been so, because the categories are conceived and laid down by different Acaryas, in different periods and with different practical needs.


Now let us pass our eyes over the various catagories of samyaktva. The following are the eight gunas ( characteristic qualities ) given by Camundaraya, Amitagati, Vasunandi etc., in their respective treatises:

1.      samvega                 spiritual craving

2.      gama, upasama       tranquility

3.      nirveda                   disgust

4.      bhakti                     devotion

5.      anukampa               compassion

6.      ninda                      remorse

7.      garha                      repentance

8.      vatsalya     loving kindness


Following are the eight angas (organs) or smayaktva  listed by Acaryas like Samantabhadra, Somadeva, Amrtacandra etc., in their respective works:


1.      nihsanka                 freedom from fear

2.      nihkandsa               desirelessness

3.      nirvicikitsa              overcommin of repugnance

4.      amudha‑drsti          unswearing orthodoxy

5.      prabhavana             good works

6.      upaguhana              edification

7.      sthiti‑karana            strengthening of faith

8.      vatsalya                  loving kindness


Following are the eight dosas (blemishes) enumerated by several Dig. authors in their works; and they are just the negations of the angas:


1.      sanka                     fear

2.      kanksa                   desire

3.      vicikitsa                  repugnance

4.      mudha‑drsti            blind orthodoxy

5.      aprabgavaba           not doing good works

6.      anupaguhana           non‑edification

7.      asthiti‑darana          not strengthening the faith

8.      avatsalya                unkindness


Following are the five aticaras (infractions) listed in all the concerned works of the Digambara as well as the Svetambara authors.  These aticaras can be equated with the first four dosas:


1.      sanka                                 doubt

2.      kanksa                               desire

3.      vicikitsa                              repulsion

4.      para‑pasandi‑prasamsa       admiration of adherenst of other creeds

5.      para‑pasandi‑samstava       praise of adherenents of other creeds


Hemacandra's list of the five lingas (characteristics) is as  follows.  These almost stand in rank with the gunas listed above:


1.      samvega    spiritual craving

2.      sama                      tranquility

3.      nirveda                   disgust

4.      astikya                    outright acceptance of jina‑mata as the veritable creed

5.      anukampa               compassion


His list of the five bhusanas (excellences) is as follows.  The last element is common with the fifth of the angas listed above:


1.      sthairya                   firmness

2.      kausala                   being well versed in the Jaina Doctrine

3.      tirtha‑seva              frequentation of the tirthas‑ holy places

4.      bhakti                     devotion

5.      prabhavana             good works


While describing samyaktva, and perhaps with a view to heightening its importance, mithyatva false belief is also described bringing it under different classifications with varied number of divisions: five, three and seven. Following is the one with three divisions:


1.      agrhita                    an inherent attitude

2.      grhita                      an acquired attitude

3.      samsayika               an attitude of doubt or indecision


Some Acaryas have envisaged samyaktva from a negative angle of vision i.e., samyaktva which is free from twenty‑five dosas (blemishes): eight kinds of madas (vanities), three mudhatas (foolish ideas or superstitious beliefs), six anayatanas (disrepects) and eight dosas (defects). The Ratnasara of Pujyapada raises the number of these blemishes to forty‑four by adding the following nineteen: seven bhayas  (fears), seven vyasanas (vices) and the five aticaras  (infractions).


Samyaktva is also classified with various number of divisions. But the classification with three divisions i.e., ksayika, aupasamika and ksayopasamika, has been found to be much in vogue in the treatises on the householder's code of conduct, particularly by the Digambara authors. It may be noted that each of the divisions indicates the extent to which the karmic matter has been eliminated from the soul or jiva.50


Some Jaina texts, both canonical and non‑canonical, have also mentioned in the course of their dealing with samyaktva, the sources through which it could be acquired, cultivated and consolidated. The Uttaradhyayana‑sutras51 mentions ten such sources: nisarga, (natural or spontaneous effort of the mind), upadesa (advice), ajna (precepts laid down in the scriptures), sutra (study of sacred texts), bija (logical inference), abhigama (comprehension of the meaning of the Sacred Law), vistara (extensive study), kriya (practice of rules of conduct), samyaktva (exposition in brief) and dharma  (righteous behavior). In his Atmanusasanas52 Gunabhadracarya too enumerates these ten sources, with rather different terminology in respect of some, in the course of his elaborate discussion on snmyaktva.


Lastly, it is worth noting that the category of the 3 salyas  (darts) is closely associated with samyaktva.  These salyas  are:


1.      maya                      doubt

2.      mithyatva                false belief

3.      nidana                    desire or longing for future worldly pleasures


These darts or 'harmful stimuli or stings'53 distract one who has acquired right belief and make him shaky in his approach to the ethical discipline. So, one has to be free from them before accepting the vows To stress this, thus runs the ancient precept; nihsalyo vrati‑‑ a vower should be dartless.54  


All these categories, classifications, sources, etc., of samyaktva very well reflect the magnitude of the width and depth of thought given by the ancient Jaina Seers and later Acaryas to this first jewel of the trio, which has been almost raised to the status of a vrata (vow), preliminarily quite essential to the householder on the eve of undertaking his vows. Some of the Acaryas have convincingly brought out the importance of samyaktva in the scheme of the householder's conduct as a whole. Svami Samantabhadra says that Right Belief acts as a pilot (karnadhara) to Right Knowledge and Right Conduct on the path leading to Liberation and hence, is entitled to precedence over the two.55 Moreover, he points out that one should acquire samyaktva in its perfect form, i.e., with all its eight angas (organs) intact. Because just as an incomplete mantra (a magical formula) is incapable of removing pain and suffering arising from venom, so belief, which is imperfect in its organs, is unable to accomplish emancipation.56 The author of the Savaya‑ pannatti tells that samyakfva is the foundation for the householder's code of conduct which is twelve‑fold: savaya‑dhamma duvalasaha eyassa mulavathu sammattam.57  Somadevasuri in his Upasakadhyayana, which comprises 46 chapters (kalpas), allots 20 of them for the discussion of samyaktva alone,58 which fact shows the extent of importance he gave to it.



In the Jaina stories also we get glimpses of the householder's ethical discipline, wherein samyaktva or samyag‑drsti too is found to have been given its due place. I can present, in support of this fact, one or two references from the Voddaradhane, a collection of stories, the earliest available Kannada prose work belonging to the first quarter of the 10th century A.D.59 (i) In story No 560 Annlkaputra, son of a merchant goes to a wandering monk staying then in the park outside the town, listens to his preaching and teaching or sermon (dharma), and (consequently) adopts the householder's rules of conduct (sravaka‑ vratas) as preceded by samyaktva (samyaktva‑purvakam). (ii) In story No. 6,61 almost all people of the town move to listen to the sermon being delivered by the Bhatara (eminent teacher)i they all listen with great adoration and (consequently) those, who were of false belief (mithya‑ drstigal) acquire samyag‑drsti and adopt the householder's vows; and those, who were (already) householders, have their samyag‑drsti made firm (drdha‑samyag‑drstigalagi) and then return home after adoring the revered one.


These two relevant references from the two stories in the Vaddaradhane clearly indicate the following points regarding samyaktva: (i) In those days, that belonged to the golden period of Jainism in Karnataka, the Jaina teacher or wandering monk infused through his instructive sermon (dhamma  or dharmu‑katha) right belief in persons with religious bent of mind like Annikaputra and, then, administered the partial vows. (ii) He eliminated false belief from some persons (possibly non‑Jains), infused in them right belief and administered to them the partial vows. (iii) He also consolidated the right belief already possessed by the regular householders attending his sermon. (iv) He was thus the principal spring and protector of right belief for the masses in general.





41. Prof. Hermann Jacobi at some other context remarks that the Jainas have always sided with common‑sense views. Vide op. cit, p. 60.


42. (i) CaritraSara, p. 2. (ii) It may be noted that this Camundaraya, a monk, is different from General Camundaraya, the author of the Camunduraya‑Purana in Kannada.


43. Sravaka‑dharma‑puncasaka, v. 3.


44. (i) Vasunandi‑5ravakacara, v. 4. (ii) Padarthas are 9, with the addition of punya (merit) and  papa (sin) to the 7 tattvas (principles) which are the categories brought under the ethical classification of Reality as follows: jiva (soul), ajiva (non‑soul), asrava  (inflow of karmic matter into the soul), bandha (bondage), samvara (stoppage), nirjara (elimination) and moksa (liberation). The householder must have perfect belief in the nature of all these as enunciated by the Jina.


45 Yogasastra, v . 2.


46. Ch. 28, gaha 30.


47. Yasastilaka and Indian Culture, by Dr. Hanqigi, p. 248.


48. All English terms used for translation here cannot, of course, cover the exact meanings of the original ones.


49 Op. cit., p. 41.


50. R. Williams, Op. cit., p. 50.


51. (i) Ch. 28, gaha 16. (ii) Some scholars interpret all these ten as divisions of  samyaktva. But the suffixed term rui (ruci ) ‑ taste, relish, close application to, to each one here (like dhamma‑rui), rather indicates that they are sources.


52  Sacred Books of the Jainas,  Vol. VII, verses 11‑14.


53. As translated by R. Williams, Op. cil. p. 50.


54. Tattvartha‑. utra, VIII‑18.


55. (i) Ratna Karandaka Sravakacaraa v. 31. (ii) Prof. Padmanabh Jaini, California University, Berkely (U. S. A.), observes that Samyaktva is the seed of perfection and "it is the single most sacred thing for the Jain. And upon this foundation he has built a very elaborate network of holy practices for the realisation of his true nature." Vide his erudite paper, Jaina Concept of the Sacred, appearing in the Ahimsa‑Voice, April‑July number, 1990.


56. Ratna Karandaka Sra, v. 21.


57. Verses 6 7. 


58. Nos. 2 to 21.


59. By so far an unknown author, a Digambara monk.


60. Op. cit, pp. 71 ‑72.


61. Op. cit., pp. 82‑83.





In the householder's ethical discipline the mula‑gunas can be said to have been allied, in a way, with samyaktva in the sense that if samyaktva is preliminarily essential to the householder on the eve of undertaking his vows, the mula‑ gunas‑‑ basic virtues too have to be acquired by him as his prerequisite equipment. In the svetambara tradition the term mula‑Guna stands for the five anu‑vratas, while the guna‑ vratas and siksa‑vratas make up the uttara‑gunas  subsequently required virtues. In the Digambara tradition, however. it is used to mean a category of interdictions to be necessarily observed before one commences to trod the householder's path; and such interdictions are generally known as asta‑mula‑guna‑‑ eight basic virtues.62 But there is no unanimity among the various Acaryas or writers, dealing with the householder's code of conduct, as regards the enumeration or constituents of this so called category. Some Acaryas like Kundakunda and Umasvami do not even refer to the mula‑gunas in their respective works at the concerned context.  Others like Somadeva, Devasena and Padmanandi give in their treatises the following as the asta‑mula‑gunas:


udumbara‑pancaka‑virati          abstension from five milky fruits like fig etc.

mamsa‑virati                             abstension from meat

madya‑virati                             abstension from meat

wine madhu‑virati                     honey63


Amrtacandra clearly mentions all these, but does not call them asta‑mula‑gunas. Amitagati adds to this list a ninth element, aratri‑bhojana‑‑ abstension from taking food at night, without employing the term mula‑gunas. Asadhara gives three variant enumerations,64 but prefers that of Amrtacandra. In the list of the asta‑mula‑gunas found in the earliest available treatise on the householder's conduct Viz., the Ratna‑karandaka of Samantabhadra,65 the five anu‑vrata.s stand in place of the five milky fruits of the list

of the eight elements given above. Moreover, the list given by Jinasena66 is almost the same as that of Samantabhadra, with dyuta‑gambling occupying the place of madhu‑ honey.67


Pt. K. C. Shastri68 thinks that the tradition of the five anu‑vratas could not continue owing to the weak‑mindedness of the common householders from Amrtacandra onwards, when they were replaced by the five milky fruits. But a question arises as to how could such householder's further undertake the guna‑vratas and siksa‑vratas, for which too considerable amount of samyama‑‑‑self‑restraint is needed ?


Pt. H. L. Jain69 thinks that the wide practice of consuming milky fruits during certain period of time may have obliged the contemporary Acaryas to assert the need of their interdiction by such replacement.  But here too, a problem arises as to how could Jina‑sena and Somadeva, who belonged more or less to the same region and age, give altogether two different lists of the asta‑mula‑gunas ?


R. Williams, who has given considerable thought to the mula‑ gunas as meant in the Digambara tradition that has no canonical authority, and to their probable original enumeration, observes70 that the lists of Samantabhadra and Jinasena, who are generally marked as innovators, could have been refurbished in respect of the five anu‑vratas and dyuta  respectively; and that in early Jainism, under missionary spirit, it was with a view to rejecting the rival cult of ancestors viz., pitr‑tarpana.  sraddha etc., with which the five milky fruits and the three makaras were associated, these eight elements were brought under the astamula‑gunas  making their observance as the first step before a layman could assume his vows.  But, as I think, the objective behind the concept of the mulagunas in the days of early Jainism appears to have been, training one with a pious bent of mind in abstaining from minimum himsa caused by the consumption of certain element like meat, wine, honey, the milky fruits etc., that generally were then found in rampant usage in the day to day life among the common members of the society, so that he could be able to place himself smoothly on the path of the bouseholder's ethical discipline.  The nomenclature of this category, for parallelism too, could have been suggested by the mula‑gunas of the monk prescribed in the canonical works.  The selected number eight also was certainly one of the favourite ones among the Jainacaryas.


It is rather enigmatic that the Kannada Vaddaradhane (C. 925 A.D.), belonging almost to the same age and region as Somadevasuri's Upasakadhyayana 959 A. D.), defines Samyaktva  and names and enumerates almost all of its categories,72 but does not anywhere refer to the term asta‑mula‑guna as such. However it mentions the five milky fruits and the three makaras, adding to them (household) hemp‑ flower (sanambina puvu), mushroom (alambe) and milk of a cow or buffalo that has lately calved (ginnu) as forbidden elements, and further warning that persons consuming them would be born in hells. We know that hemp_flower or any flower (an abhaksya) contains minute living beings and mushroom (an ananta‑kaya)  has innumerable living organisms.73 But why ginnu  is included in this list ? Could it be a vikrti ? Or could it be that the denial of the mother's milk to the newly born calf is treated as a sort of himsa here ? It is very interesting to note that in none of the relevant works, either by the Digambara or the Svetambara writers are hemp‑flower and milk of cow or buffalo that has lately calved, found mentioned under the mula‑gunas, vikrtis or abhaksyas.74  


A close consideration of this part of the contents of the Vaddaradhane indicates that the Jaina Acaryas of a particular age and region used to forbid the rampant consumption of such elements that caused himsa, by adding them to the already existing list known to the contemporary members of the society and, thus, to act as the custodians of the Sacred Law.




62. The term gupa in Jainism covers several categories and, hence, its translation here as 'virtue' is naturally rather arbitrary.


63. (i) It may be noted that the five milky fruits come under the abhaksyas‑‑those elements that are not fit to be eaten; and the three makarus‑‑ meat, wine and honey come under vikrtis‑‑ articles of food that have changed their nature owing to cooking or bacteriological effect; or those that 'pervert the tongue and mind", according to Asadhara. Thus all these eight cause hinsa. (ii) Though the asta‑mula‑gunas are not found, in this sense, in the svetambara tradition, these eight elements, along with some others, are forbidden under the second guna‑vrato, as found in some of their treatises on the householder's conduct.


64. One of them contains the following additional ones: apta‑ nuti‑‑adoration of the Jina, daya ‑ compassion, jala ‑ galana‑‑filtering of water and aratri‑ bhojana‑‑not taking food at night.


65. As given in V. 66.


66. Mahapurana, Ch. 39.8.


67. For detailed and comparative study of the asta‑mula  gunas, vide R. Williams, Op. Cit., pp. 50‑55.


68. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, p. 64.


69. Op. cit., Introduction, p. 36.


70, Op. cit., pp. 51‑53.


71.  The Jina has prescribed twenty‑eight mula gunas for the monk.  Vide Mulacara, gaha No. 5.


72. St. No. 13, p. 127‑128.


73 (i) St. No. 13, p. 126 and St. No. 14, pp. 150‑151.  (ii) Even today in Karnatak, green leaves of hemp plant, at times together with its buds, are widely used to prepare a vegetable dish, which is very popular particularly among the farmers of North Karnataka, who eat it with great relish with jawar‑rof i. 


74. (i) Amitagati, however, mentions drona flower and kalinga flower among the obhaksyas, but strangely enough, under the anartha‑danda‑‑vrata, Vide R. Williams op.cit. p.112 ii) Nemicandra's Pravacana‑saroddhara, a Svetambar treatise (c. 1100), however, mentions bhumi‑rasa mush‑rooms or other edible fungi, as one of the thirty‑two ananta‑kavas‑‑plants which are inhabited by an infinite number of living organisms. Vide R. Williams, Op. cit., pp. 114 115. (iii) The Ratna Karandaka Sra. (v. 86) enlists nimba‑kusuma  (neem flower) as one of the abhaksyas, (iv) The Kannada Commentator (Candrakirti ?) on Acarya Maghanandis Sastrasara Samuccaya, under bhoga‑pabhega  parimana‑vrata, however, mentions ginnu‑‑milk of lately calved cow, milky fruits, honey etc., should hc given up till the end of life. Vide Sastrasara S muccaya.  Hindi edition, by Acarya Deshabhushanaji, Delhi 1957, p. 198. This I could note later.





Being equipped with samykatva‑right belief along with the astumala‑gunas ‑ eight basic virtues, one can adopt the savaka vratas  householders vows or rules of conduct which are twelve divided in three groups such as:


1.      Five Anuvratas ‑ small vows.

2.      Three guna‑vratras ‑ strengthening vows

3.      Four siksa‑vrata ‑disciplinary vows and also the supplemetary and non ‑ obligatory sallekhana‑ vrata ‑vow of voluntary termination of life by fasting.




The anuvrtas are five:

(1) ahimsa ‑ non‑hurting, non‑lnjuring

(2) satya ‑ truth

(3) asteya (acaurya) _ non_stealing

(4) brahmacarya ‑ celibacy

(5) parigraha_parimana ‑  limited attachment to worldly possessions


There is no diFFerence of opinion among the Jainacaryas in the classification or enumeration of the anu_vrntas; but there are some differences in the nomenclature of some of them without disturbing the purport in each case. For instance, Kundakunda calls the fifth anu‑vrata, parigraharambha Parimana‑vrata and the forth one parapimma_parihara‑vrata, whereas Samantabhadra calls them paradara‑nivrtti and svadara‑santosa‑vrata  respectively.76 It is interesting to note that the Dharma‑rasaayana of Padmanandi (a medieaval treatise, C. 1200 A. D. of minor importance) substitutes for the first anu‑vrata, devata nimitta ajiva‑ marana‑‑ abstension from kil]ing living beings for. sacrifice to gods, and gives ahimsa‑ as the second guna‑ vrata. Moreover Camundaraya and Sakalakirti give aratribhojana ‑ not taking food at night as the sixth anu‑vrata.77 possibly to maintain parallelism with the monk's maha‑vratas‑ great vows, from which, of course, the householder's vows are derived.


Moreover we must note an important point regarding the mutual relationship of these five anu‑ vratas as stated by Pujyapada in his Sarvartha‑ siddhi (V1I‑1 Of these five vows ahimsanu‑vrata  is the fundamental one. All the rest should be regarded as rather the means for its sustenance, just as a field of corn requires adequate fencing for its protection .



Unlike in the case of the anu‑vratas, the Jainacaryas particularly the Digambaras, give various enumerations of the guna‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas,  though all are unanimous regarding their number.78  For our purpose here, we will note only two of such enumerations: (1) The one followed by broadly a large number of the Digambara teachers like Umasvami, Amrtacandra etc., and (II) the other commonly followed by the svetambara teachers:


Following are the guna‑vratas: 


                   (I)                                     (II)

(1) dig‑vrata                                         (1) dig‑vrata

(2) desavakasika‑vrata                         (2) bhogopabhoga vrata

(3) anartha‑danda‑vrata                        (3) anartha‑danda‑vrata


Following are the siksa‑vratas .


                   (I)                                     (II)

(I) samayika‑vrata                                (1) samayika‑vrata

(2) prosadhopavasa‑vraia                     2) desavakasika‑vrata

(3) bhogopabhoga‑vrata                       (3) prosadhopavasa‑vrata

(4) dana‑vrata                                      (4) dana‑vrata



A glance at these two sets, Digambara and Svetambara (1 and I1) of the two groups (A and B) of the vratas viz., the gllna‑vratas (A) and the siksa‑vratas  (B), would show that A‑I‑1 and A‑1‑3 are the same as A‑II‑ 1 and A‑II‑ 3; similarly B I‑1 and B‑I‑4 are the same as B‑II‑1 and B‑11‑4. But A‑1‑2 is found as B‑II‑2; A‑ 11‑2 is found as B‑I‑3; and B‑I‑2 is found as B‑II‑3. Thus we can note that it is a matter of variations in respect of classification and sequence of the vratas under these two sets taken for our consideration here. There could be a few more additional sets for such purpose, which would naturally indicate some more variations. Pt. K. C. Shastri presents a nine‑point analytical study of the variants in the enumerations of the guna‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas, as based on the Digambara works, and, further, brings them all under two patterns of four‑fold traditions, which can be said to have been mainly hinged on different conceptions of the desa‑vratas bhogopabhoga‑vrata and the sallekhana. He also, at this context, observes that the enumeration of Kunda‑kunda and Ravisena probably represents the ancient tradition.'' Dr. K. C. Sogani, however, notes such five Digambara traditions and two Svetambara traditions.79 Moreover R. Williams presents in two separate and distinct tables the various enumerations of these two sets of vratas as based on the svetambara list as well as those of a number of Digambara writers arranged in systematized groups and, further, critically brings out the following points: "It has been remarked that the guna‑vratas are additional vows, special cases in fact of the anu‑vratas, while the siksa‑vratas refer to spiritual exercises. The Svetambaras, even those among them who follow the Tattvartha‑sutra in some interpretations, insist on the designations guna‑vrata and siksa‑vrata and have also, as is logical, retained the sequence which leaves these two types of vows distinct. The Digambaras who follow the Tattvartha‑sutra have blurred this distinction by making the Desavakagika‑vrata follow the dig‑vrata to which it is related in content, the bhogopabhoga‑vrata being inserted immediately before the dana‑vrata probably because of the resemblances in the aticaras.  Another Digambara current stemming from Samanta‑bhadra agrees with the svetambara tradition except in one minor detail that it transposes the samayika‑and the desavakasika‑vrata (Kartikeya puts the desava‑kasika‑‑after the dana‑vrata).  Kundakunda, Deva‑sena and one or two others suppress the degavakasika‑vrata  altogeter and give sallekhana twelfth place in the list. Vasunandin, who follows the Tattvarthasutra for the order of the guna‑vratas, eliminates the samayika and prosadhopavasa‑ vratas altogether probably because the same subjects are treated as pratimas and creates in their place a bhoga‑vrata  and an upabhogavrata."81


If we closely look into the variations in the enumerations of these two groups of the vratas, we find that the apparent difference in the case of some of the vratas do not point out any divergencies of the concerned ethical or ethico‑spiritual principles, but they are rather the outcome of various attempts at approaching and interpreting particular facets of

those vratas from different standpoints, by different


Acaryas, at different periods. Dr. A. N. Upadhaye .  and Dr. Hiralal Jain, in their General Editorial to Somadeva's Upasakadhyayana, observe on this aspect of the vratas, in general, as follows: 82 The basic nature of rules of conduct for the laity has remained the same; but the classification of the vratas, technical words used for them, the modes of their observance etc., show progressive trends all along, depending on the various regions and periods.


Some of the Acaryas have also tried to explain the general nature and functional importance of these two groups of vratas. Umasvami in his Tattvartha‑sutra83 gives them a collective name Slla; and Pujyapada, the commentator, states that they function as protective vows. Amrtacandra further elucidates this figuratively as follows: Just as the ramparts guard towns, so do the sllas protect the anu‑vratas.84 The author of the Savaya Pannatti clarifies that the guna‑vratas  are observed for the whole life and the siksa‑vratas for a limited time.85 Asadhara points out that the guna‑vratas  strengthen the anu‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas provide exercises in the preparation for the life of renunciation.86  At this context indeed Prof. Schubring's remarks are worth noting: The guna‑vratas prove to be special forms of the anu‑ vrata in which the dig‑vrata equally follows the iccha‑parimana‑vrata As compared to those mentioned up to now, the siksa‑vratas are of positive nature. By them the layman temporarily comes near to the monk and his conduct of life.87 All this part of discussion also indicates that there is due  complementarity and perfect fusion among the three groups of  the twelve vows i.e, five anu‑vratas, three guna‑vratas and  four siksa‑vratas that go to constitute the ethical discipline of the householder.



In the scheme of the householder's code of conduct provision is also made for the knowledge of possible aticaras‑‑ offences, infractions or transgressions, attached to each of these vows. An aticara means transgressing a vow while it is actually being observed; and according to Amrtacandra, that which hampers the purity of the vow is aticara.88; These transgressions, carefully gleaned from the numerous possible ones and set in different groups of five each,89 are meant to show the details of the code laid down for its proper observance by the householder.  They guide the aspiring householder as to how each vow could be transgressed in the main five possible ways and help him with cautionary details in the course of regulating his conduct systematically. For instance, while observing the ahimsanu‑vrata, the householder is cautioned against causing injury to living beings in respect of the following:


(1) bandha‑‑keeping in capacity

(2) vadha‑‑beating

(3) chavi‑ccheda mutilating

(4) ati‑bhararopana‑‑overloading

(5) bhakta‑pana‑vyavaccheda‑‑depriving of food and drink


We do not find so much of variants in the enumerations of these aticaras by different Acaryas, as we do in the case of some of the groups of the vratas viz., the guna‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas, though their nomenclatures or designations are found to vary from Acarya to Acarya. One can have a complete picture of all these aticaras, with their variant enumerations (wherever existing), set in vrata_wise tables, from the pages of R. William's Jaina Yoga.90


It may be noted that the gvetambara teachers make distinction between bhanga and aticara, whereas the Digambara teachers do not do so.91 A bhanga is a complete negation of a vrata; and an aticara is an offence or transgression in which a vow is partly observed and partly infringed. For example, straight

way refusing to give alms is a bhanga of the dana‑vrata:  and giving alms with lack of respect is its aticara.92


We shall note each pentad of the aticaras under each respective vrata to be dwelt upon shortly.



75. A vrata is a rule of conduct, voluntarily and resolutely undertaken for observance. Prof. Schubring remarks that these vows of the householder paradoxically enough, exceed in number those to be accepted by the monk. This is due to the larger diversity of the civic life in which the layman still stands. The Docl rine of rhe Jainas, p. 297.


76. For further details, vide Pt. K. C. Shastri, Intro to Upasakadhyayana, p. 67.


77. Vide R. Williams, Op. cit, pp. 55‑56.


78. Among the Digambara writers, these seven vratas  are known as gila‑vratas or sapta‑gila. 


79. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, pp. 87‑88.


80. Op, cit., p. 92.


81. Op. cit., pp. 56‑57.


82. p. 2.


83. S. VI‑2.


84. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, v. 136.


85. v. 328.


86. Sagara Dharmamr ta, VI‑24.


87. 70. Op. cit, p. 299.


88. Op. cit., p. 181.


89. The number 'five', in respect of the aticaras of each of the twelve vratas. appears to have been owing to its importance drawn from that of the main vows viz., anu‑vratas  which are five.


90. pp 58‑62


91.  Except Asadhara who has borrowed here from Hemacandra.


92. For further  details vide R.  Williams,  Op.  cit., pp 63‑64





All the Jainacaryas and all the texts,93 canonical and non‑ canonical, recognize that the ahimsanu‑vrata is the first of the five small vows of the householder This is so because ahimsa holds the key position in the whole scheme of the ethical discipline of the householder, as it also does so in that prescribed for the monk, which fact is reflected in the following maxim‑like words that have echoed down the sages to the delight of the religio‑spiritual minded world and also for the good of all the living beings:


1.      jlvanam rakkhanam dhammo94 ‑ Giving protection to living beings is (true) religion.

2.      so dhammo jattha daya95 ‑ That is (true) religion which  is based on compassion.

3.      daya mulu dhammanighivaha96 ‑ Compassion is the root of the tree in the form of religion.  And Amrtacandra97 has tried to elucidate the same and to show that every other vrata is but another form of the first one restarted in different terms


The nature of the ahimsanu‑vrata has been admirably depicted by Svami Samantabhadra in a single verse and in lucid terms in his Ratna Karandaka.98


Abstaining from intentionally injuring mobile living beings, through mind, words or body, in any of the three ways‑ directly, through somebody or by consent (i. e., in nine ways) is called .sthula‑vadha‑viramana or ahimsanu‑vrata by the wise.99

For the proper understanding of the contents of this verse, it is necessary to know what is himsa as held by theJaina seers. Umasvami defines himsa as severence of any of the vitalities (pranas) by one moved by passion.l00 According to Jainism, immobile beings (sthavara jivas) possess four vitalities: touch, energy, respiration and span of life. These are also called ekendriyas. The mobile beings possess, besides the above, any two or more of the senses; sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing and speech. Those having mind possess in all ten vitalities. Injury is caused by the severence of any of these vitalities in a mobile or immobile being, which leads it to pain and suffering. One who inflicts injury to living beings, with passion  or carelessness (pramada) is guilty of himsa.


Himsa is also marked in two forms: suksma himsa‑ taking of life of any living being and sthula himsa‑ taking of life of living beings with two senses onwards, which are also known as trasa or cara jivas.  The first is obligatory for the monk and the second for the householder. It may be noted, at this context, that the householder is also expected to abstain from killing or injuring living beings even with one sense (ekendriyas) according to some Acaryas like Vasunandi,101  which move is an instance of rather hardening the vow.


Then, himsa, may be arambhaja ‑ inherent in one's occupation or anarambhaja ‑ unrelated to one's occupation which is also known as samkalpaja ‑ intentional. Hunting, offering animals in sacrifice to please the gods, killing for food, for sport etc. are some of the instances of intentional himsa. Arambhi  himsa is further elucidated by dividing it into three categories: (1) udyami, (2) grharambhi and (3) virodhi. (1)  udyam1 himsa: The householder, who has to maintain himself and his family, has necessarily to some occupation and in the course of his working he may commit himsa.  Therefore certain select occupations are regarded by some Acaryas, as permissible asi‑sword, masi‑ink, krsi‑agriculture, vanijya‑ trade, silpa‑sculpture and vidya‑art, literature or teaching (2) grharambhi himsa: This is some kind of himsa involved in the course of one's carrying out the manifold domestic duties and other obligations.  Preparation of food, use of water in bathing and washing clothes, keeping of cattle, maintenance of gardens, cutting fruits and flowers, digging of wells, construction of houses etc. are some of such instances; and whatever himsa is involved in such household obligations is permissible; otherwise normal course of life becomes impossible. (3) virodhi‑himsa: It is committed generally in self‑defence or in the protection of persons or property of members of the family, relatives or friends. In the ordinary course of life, one has to defend oneself from thieves, robbers or enemies in battles. If one is a soldier (asi‑ sword), defence of his county is a bounden duty; but he is not expected to indulge in unnecessary himsa as a matter of hostility or revenge.


Moreover commission of himsa does not depend merely on the act, but also on the will towards such act. Hence distinction is made between bhava‑himsa‑‑intention to cause injury and dravya‑himsa‑‑actual injury caused. Amrtacandra says: Because of intention, himsa is culpable sometimes before it is committed, sometimes at the time of commission, sometimes even after it has been actually committed, and sometimes for an attempt to commit it, even though it is not committed, because of the intention to commit it.l02 Thus it is the intention which makes one culpable.


For the observance of the ahimsanu‑vrata, Jainacaryas have enjoined certain injunctions. The house‑holder should avoid first (or be previously equipped with the mula‑gunas) the three makaras and the five milky fruits. He should avoid the various abhak.syas and ananta‑kayas. He should abstain from taking food at night and drinking unfiltered water.  Amrtacandra poignantly cautions against a number of stupid ideas and beliefs involving himsa which were entertained and carried out possibly in the contemporary society. Some of them are as follows one should not sacrifice animals for the adoration of gods, being carried by the perverted notion of receiving benedition in return. (2) Animals should not be killed for guests, in the belief that there is no harm in killing goats etc, for those persons deserving respect.  (3) Beings (like tigers, snakes, scorpions), which kill or severely hurt others, should not be killed in the belief that the destruction of one such being leads to the protection of others. (4) Do not kill the distressed beings with the misconception that they will get relief from agony after being killed.103


With a view to guiding the householder in avoiding himsa in the course of his day to day life, the following aticaras‑‑  transgressions are laid down:


(i) bandha‑‑keeping in captivity

(ii) vadha‑‑beating or thrashing

(iii chavi‑ccheda‑‑mutilating

(iv) atibhararopana too much of loading

(v) bhakta‑pana‑vyavaccheda‑‑denying or depriving of food and drink


The writers of treatises on the householder's code of conduct discuss each of these aticaras at length; and the interpretations and other details given by them cover a number of acts of cruelty and injury caused to animals, birds, servants, children etc., that were prevailing in the society. Some writers also present numerical calculations of the possible way of breaking the vow. Thus there could be 108 forms of himsa according to some writers, 147 to 247 according to others. All this may appear like theoretical speculation'. but the magnitude of attention given by the Jainacaryas to the consideration of the various ways of avoiding himsa is undoubtedly laudable.l04


Some of the Acaryas, after sensing certain difficulties, in the observance of the ahimsanu‑vrata by the householder, have outspokenly recorded in their works the practical method of following this vow, by proposing a minor change in respect ofthe number of ways in which sthula‑himsa could be avoided. According to Samantabhadra, the householder has to abstain from himsa in nine ways (trividha trividhena); but according to Amitagati and, later, Asadhara too, it could be done in six ways (trividha dvidhena), after omitting 'by way of consent' (anumata), which is impracticable. Amitagati holds, for the sravaka who has left home, 9 ways of abstension from himsa are possible and for the one who is still staying at home, 6 ways of the same are possible.l05 Pt. K. C.  Shastri has taken a brief critical survey of the contents of the definitions or depictions of the ahimsanuvrata as obtaining in the Digambara sravakacara works up to V. S. 1300 and summerised them in the following six points :106


1.      Severence of the vitalities of living being through pramada‑‑carelessness ic called himsa.

2.      Where there is pramada, himsa is committed; and even when the vitalities of others are severed without pramada,  himsa is not committed. Therefore himsa depends on the doer's intention.

3.      Abstaining from causing injury to trasa‑jivas (mobile beings) is called ahimsanu‑vrata. This is a single gross characteristic of this vrata, which is recognized by all. But its perfect nature is depicted by Samantabhadra as follows: Abstaining from causing injury intentionally to the trasa jlvas, through mind, words and body in any of the three ways‑‑directly, through somebody or by consent.

4.      In the later period, the nature of this vrata was interpreted or explained as follows: The sravaka staying at home can abstain fron intentional himsa only in six ways; but the one who has left home can abstain from it in all nine ways, omitting the anumata (by consent) way This explanation was given first by Amitagati.

5.      The householder practicing the anu‑ vratas can take up the occupations like agriculture; if he is a judicial administrator, he can punish the offenders; but he cannot harm any living being out of reason, revenge etc Moreover it is quite improper to take life of any living being in the name of religion or gods and for acquiring magical formula, for food or medicine etc.

6.      Himsa is of two kinds: arambhi himsa and anarambhi or samkalpi himsa. The monk has to abstain from these both; but the householder can abstain only from anarambhi himsa and not from arambhi.  This kind of division of himsa is seen in Amitagati's treatise. Later it was taken in the Sagaradharmamrta by Asadhara.


Some of the authors have given general advice to the householder for keeping himself away from himsa.  Asadhara says: "one who is contented with minimum arambhi (occupational activities) and parigraha (property and other possessions) can practice ahimsanu‑vrata."107 Similarly, Somadeva remarks: "How could there be ahimsa, where there is abundant arambha (occupational botheration) and parigraha (property and other possessions). We cannot find compassion with the cheat and immoral man." l08


Somadeva also stresses the positive aspect of ahimsa for the benefit of the householder. One should cultivate the attitude of friendship towards all living beings; he should be happy with those who are more virtuous; he should have compassion for the suffering ones; and he should be indifferent to those with wanton behaviour.109 At this context, it would be interesting to remind ourselves that the positive nature of ahimsa, which term is found in a negative form, has been shown even by early canonical texts, as has been done by the later Acaryas. The Panha‑vagarana‑sutta, the seventh Anga of the Ardha‑magadhl Canon (Ch. VI‑2t), enlists daya ‑ compassion and raksa ‑ protection as synonyms of ahimsa.  Then Hemacandra holds that daya is the beneficent mother of all beings; it is the elixir for those who wander in suffering through the ocean of reincarnations.


Some Acaryas in the course of depicting the ahimsa‑vrata have taken a critical view of meat eating and animal sacrifice rampantly prevalent then among the members of the rival creeds. Amrtacandra stressed: One should not entertain the stupid idea that religion ( religious merit ) flourishes through gods and, hence, everything may be offered to them, and with such perverted judgement, he should not kill embodied beings (and offer them to gods).ll0 Hemacandra called the Manusmrti himsa‑sastra and poignantly criticized some of its contents. I would rather reproduce the summary of the concerned versesl1l as presented by R. Williams 112 "It is a hideous distortion of reality to pretend that animals have come into existence to be offered to the divinities for the prosperity of the world and that the jivas inhabiting them will be reborn as divine beings.  Those who perform such sacrifices will go to the lowest hell, and even a wretched atheist, a Carvaka, will have a better destiny than the hypocrites who preach a dharma of cruelty. That men abandon the dharma of compassion for this repellent creed is an evidence of the evil of the age.  If sacrificial victims really went to an abode of bliss, why should not one kill one's parents in the sacrifice ?"


Lastly, coming to the Jaina story‑literature i. e., the Vaddaradhane as a representative work of the early medieval period, we get some interesting glimpses of the practical side of observance of the ahimsanu‑vrata by the lay members of the community. Several such men and women, appearing in different stories, after listening to dharma  (dharma‑katha‑‑ sermon or preaching) delivered by different Acaryas or teachers, staying in parks outside the cities, acquired samyaktva and accepted the sravaka‑vratas at their hands. In Story No. l4,ll3 we find an instance of the observance of the ahimsanu‑vrata in its positive aspect by Gomati, a lay woman (who had just accepted the vows) and wife of Garudavega, a wood‑cutter and professional hunter, in the following manner: Garudavega caught in a hunting net some wild fowls (like lavuge, gorasu etc), brought them home alive and kept them in captivity (probably for selling them the next day) and went back to the forest for hunting again.  In the meanwhile, Gomati, just accepting the sravaka‑vrata at the hands of teacher Samadhigupta, came home and saw the captive fowls, entertained compassion for them and released them out to their natural free life. Garudavega, after returning from the forest and not seeing the fowls, asked Gomati who released them off. She replied that it was herself. Garudavega decrying, in rage, that such dharma‑ seeking women was not needed in his house, thrashed her and drove her out.


In Story No. 16,1l4 there is a series of instances of transgression of the ahimsanu‑vrata viz., bhakta‑pa  vyavaccheda depriving of food and drink: Sudamaka, (possibly pretending sravaka) a minister to the King, was very much greedy and hard‑hearted too.  He used to get the mouths of his oxen tied in the course of harvesting corn‑crops in his fields He also used to get the breasts of his wet‑nurses, catering women and maid‑servants without giving them scope to feed their own of‑springs, and consequently, bound karma  leading to hell.


The depiction of these two instances each presented in just a few lines, in the two stories in the Vaddaradhane also indicates the fact that the Jaina narratives have preserved a mine of information about the religious, social and cultural life of the people of medieval India.




Anekantavada‑‑‑ the principle of non‑absolutism or the non‑ absolutistic way of thinking or approach, though belonging to the field of philosophy, is closely related to ahimsa.  Some scholars think that anekanta‑vada is, in a way, a form of the principle of ahimsa itself to be observed or thought. Instead of entering into an elaboration on this point, I would rather present here a summary of deliberation on it by an eminent scholar, like Pt.  K.C.  Shastri. ll5


Ahimsa forms the basis of the Jaina way of living and thinking. Ahimsa holds a pivotal position in respect of human conduct, and anekantavada does so in respect of human thought. Reality is complex with several attributes (aneka‑dharmatmaka). One attribute may be true from one person's point of view, but it may not be so from another's point of view. This phenomenon can be explained with the popular illustration of the five blind men and the elephant.


In such situation, anekantavada‑‑ non‑absolutistic way of approach brings about propriety or accuracy (samanjasya)  among persons who look at a particular object or phenomenon with different points of view. The concept of ahimsa itself has given rise to anekanta‑vada for calming down the storm (for alleviating the conflict) created on the plane of thought. Hence it will not be an exaggeration, if we say that anekantavada is just another name or designation for ahimsa.  We can also call it satyagraha (persistence at truth), because the practitioner of anekantavada is persistant (agrahi) for truth (satya), which is ever multi‑sided or with many attributes (aneka‑dharmatmaka). Without non absolutistic attitude (anekanta‑dristi, it is hardly possible to reach truth.




Like poetry, it is difficult to define truth though its nature can be described and understood. In the context of the householder's ethical discipline, The Jainacaryas have given it a considerably wide connotation, which R. Williams calls the Jaina interpretation of truth.


Umaswami statesll6 that speaking what is not commendable is false‑hood (anrta); and Pujyapada, the commentator, explains that what causes pain and suffering to a living being is not commendable, whether it refers to the actual fact or not. Thus the words that inflict injury to living beings is falsehood.  Almost maintaining the same purport and rather elucidating the scope, Samantabhadra defines the satyanu‑ vrata as follows :117 Abstaining from speaking oneself and from making others to speak gross false‑hood, and also from truth that causes injury to others, is called satyanu‑vrata‑‑  the minor vow of truthfulness by the saints. Vasunandi says118 One should not utter untruth out of attachment or hatred and even truth, if it causes destruction of a living being.  According to Kartikeya119 the satyanu‑vrata is abstinence from harmful, rough, cruel or secret‑revealing speech and the use of harmless, balanced language that gives satisfaction to all the living beings and that which also expresses sacred truths. The Savaya‑pannatti, however, presents the positive aspect of satya.120 One's speech should be based on the pursuit of the good for both the worlds and (also) on the avoidance of what is not at all harmful to one‑ self, to others and to both together. With a view to explaining the implications of the satyanu‑vrata, the

Jainacaryas, both the svetambara and Digambara, have given in their treatises different classifications of asatya and satya  and asatya, which are noted, with certain observations, by R. Williams.121


Lastly, Amrtacandras treatment of the Satyanu vrata is quite worth noting, though he has adopted a negative approach to truth.l22 Any sratement made through pramada‑vaga ‑ careless activity of body mind or speech is false‑hood. It is of four kinds:


1.      Denying the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature, when it actually exists. For example to say "Devadatta is not here, when he is actually present there.

2.      Asserting the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and place, when it does not exist at all.  For example, to say "the pitcher is here", when it is not there.

3.      Representation of an existing thing as some thing different from what it really is. For example, when a horse is said to be a cow.

4.      When a speech is ordinarily garhita ‑ conde‑mnable, savadya‑‑sinful or apriya‑‑‑ disagreeable.


Back‑biting, harsh, unbecoming, non‑sensical or unethical speech is condemnable. That kind of speech which provokes another to engage himself in piercing, cutting, beating etc., or which is likely to lead to destruction of life is sinful. and speecb causing uneasiness, pain, hostility, misery or anguish etc., is disagreeable.


All these kinds of speech are actuated by pramatta‑yoga‑‑ passion in the form of anger, greed, hatred or deceit etc, and, .hence, false‑hood involves himsa or injury of some kind or other. But when a sage or preceptor extends to others sound and bentficial advice regarding bad habits or vices, he cannot be said to utter false words even though the concerned persons may feel ashamed or uncomfortable (for the time being). Hence intention is always the determining factor in each case.


There are five aticaras‑‑ transgressions against which the householder is cautioned. The Acaryas, both Svetambara and Digambara, have used different designations for some of these aticaras; and even when all of these bear the same designations, divergent interpretations of them are given by the various Acaryas, 123 which phenomenon is nothing but looking at a thing from different angles of vision. Presently we have to be satisfied with any one list, say that of Amrtacandra :124


1.      mithyopadesa‑‑false preaching or advice

2.      rahasabhyakhyana‑‑disclosing secrets

3.      kutalekhakrti forgery

4.      nyasapaharana ‑‑ breach of trust

5.      sakaramantrabheda ‑‑‑divulging inferences drawn from behavior or gestures.



Umasvami defines125 stealing as taking anything which is not given; and this amounts to theft if the activity is actuated by passion. Samantabhadra gives'126 rather a comprehensive definition of what is acauray‑‑ not theft‑ He who does not appropriate to himself, nor give away to any one else, the property of another, which is placed, dropped, forgotten or deposited by him, is said to observe the house holder's vow of non‑stealing. Thus the asteyanuvrat(,‑the gross vow of non‑stealing can be observed by abstaining from taking any property which is not actually given by the owner. Amrtacandra holds :127 Taking, actuated by passion, of objects which have not been given is theft; and it is also himsa because it is the cause of injury. The person who steals causes pain to one whom he deprives of the objects and such deprivation may bring about inconvenience, trouble and even death. Seizing the property of another is like depriving him of his vitalities, for all objects belonging to one are his external vitalities Hence theft includes himsa too. Somadeva elucidates these views with certain additions :128  Excluding public water, grass etc., taking of all other objects, without their being given is theft I someone'sfamily member dies, his property can be appropriated without being given; but if somehow he becomes alive that property has to be received after being given by him.  Any kind of wealth hidden under‑ground cannot be taken by anybody because the King is its owner. If there arises any doubt to anybody as to whether an object belongs to himself or not, it should not be taken by him until the doubt becomes clear .


Siddhasenaganin's elucidation129 of adattadana‑‑theft is also worth noting: The taking with intent to steal of objects, even of such things as grass, which are in the possession of others. The svetambara writers generally present in their treatises a four‑fold classification of adatta before they commence discussion on steya‑‑stealing.  It is as follows ‑


1.      svamyyadatta‑- what is not granted by its owner.

2.      jivadatta‑‑what is not granted by a living creature.

3.      Tirathankaradatta--what is not granted by the Tlrthankara

4.      Guruvadatta-‑what is not given to the monks.


They also present a three‑fold classification of objects. that can be stolen:

1.      sacitta--animate

2.      acitta--inanimate

3.      ubhaya--partly animate and partly inanimate .


The following are the five aticaras‑‑ transgressions of the asteyanuvrata, which are almost the same among both the Digambara and the Svetambara 131


1.      cauraprayaga--instigating another to commit theft

2.      caurarthadana‑‑receiving stolen property

3.      vilopa--evading the injunction of the law of the state.

4.      sadrga‑sammis'ra‑‑adulteration of goods

5.      htnadhikavinimana‑‑ using false weights and measures .


It can be marked that these transgressions mostly apply to the members of the trading class. But according to Hemacandra and Asadhara, they may be committed by others like the Kings, ministers and other officials. 132 The interpretation of these transgressions at considerable length by the various Acaryas indicate a number of anti‑social practices prevalent in the contemporary society.



Umasvami defines abrahma‑‑ unchastity as copulation actuated by (sexual) passion. l33 And Pujyapada elucidates: Abstaining from intercourse with other woman who is grhita‑‑  having a husband or agrhita having no husband (who is dead). Samantabhadra's definition is quite lucid.134 He who neither visits nor causes any other person to visit another man's wife for fear of sin, is said to observe the anuvrata which is known as abstinence from another man's wife and contentment with one's own wife. The definition given by the Savaya‑pannattil35 is almost the same, wherein paradara‑‑ another man's wife is further shown in two categories: audatika ‑ celestial and vaikriyika‑terrestrial. Kartikeya defines136 this vrata as regarding the wife of another man as one's own sister or daughter and realising that the bodies of women are filled with impurity, and beauty and charm can only delude the mind. Vasunandi states 137 One who permanently abstains from intercourse with woman and love‑play during the parvan days, is grossly celibate. Asadhara states :138 One who does not go to another man's wife physically, mentally or verbally, nor makes another to do so, is svadara‑sontosin.  But Somadeva's definition139 is unique among all these: Except one's own wife and the vitta‑stri‑‑ the harlot or courtezan, considering all other women as mother, sister or daughter is thc‑householder's vow of celibacy.


Among the contents of the various definitions by, different writers noted above, our attention is particularly drawn by two elements: Firstly, the positive and negative aspects of the definitions (i. e., svadara‑santosa‑‑ contentment with one's own wife and paradara‑nivrtti or aparadara‑gamana‑‑‑ not visiting the wives of others) given by Samanrabhadra and the author of the Savaya‑pannatti. R. Williams, who has possibly in view the Savaya‑pannatti as well as some other svetambara texts, observes in this regard as follows :140 The brahma‑vrata differs from all other vows in its double formulation: Positive in the sense of contentment with one's own wife and negative as avoidance of the wives of others Secondly, it is only Somadeva, who in his definition of this vrata gives concession of including the harlot within the observance of the same, whereas others are unanimous on enjoining singular loyalty to one's own wife. Pt. K. C. Shastri discusses the implications of this concession as elucidated by some scholars like Asadhara and observes: 141  Such concession could be owing to the exigencies of the time. But extending such concession was also In vogue among the svetambara Acaryas in general.  R. Williams. who has taken into consideration several svetambara works, notes 142 "The concession may in the general view of the Acaryas go further than the use of one's wife and include recourse to prostitutes, but an anya‑stri (a married woman, or a married girl in the care of her parents) must always be left alone." And in support of this I would now adduce a solid evidence found in a treatise in Prakrit on the householders life composed by an eminent medieval Jainacarya of Gujarat: Jinesvara‑suri (1100 A.D.)143 in his Satsthanakrl Prakarana  or sravaka‑vaktavyata Prakrana describes six progressive qualities or virtues of the householder, devoting one chapter to each of these virtues, the last of which is Pravacana  Kausalya; and this virtue is further subdivided into the  following four: dharma, kama, artha and loka.  Discussing Kama Kausalya; the Acarya states: The householder should always keep his wife pleased.  He should be careful in intercourse with her. Before this act he should see that she had her toilet clean and pure in all respect. He should not disclose his secrets to her. Such relations also be kept by him with the vesya‑harlot. Giving these details of the concerned part of the treatise, Acarya Jina Vijaya Muni observes 144 Going through all this, the readers would be rather surprised as to what has the house‑holder to do with the harlot. But this is an indicator of the general social custom prevailing in those days.  The harlots too had their own social status at that time. Keeping contact with or visiting the harlot's house was not then considered as any condemnable part of behavior, but, on the other hand, a kind generous and gentle behavior, particularly on the part of the affluent members of the society.


The five aticaras‑‑transgressions of the brahmanu‑vrata  enumerated by the Digambara and the svetambara Acaryas are almost the same with slight changes in the designation of one or two. The following aticaras are given by Umasvami 145


1.      para‑vivaha‑karana‑‑match‑making

2.      itvarika‑parigrhita‑gamana ‑‑ intercourse with a married immoral woman

3.      itvarika ‑ aparigrhita ‑ gamana ‑‑ intercourse with unmarried woman

4.      ananga‑krida‑‑love‑play

5.      kama‑tivrabhinivesa‑‑excessive desire or longing for sex pleasure


These aticaras represent most of the possible sexual deviations against which the Acaryas have cautioned the householder in the course of his observance of this vow. In respect of some of these ati‑caras, they give various interpretations, with details of different shades of sexual deviations, possibly prevailing in the contemporary society and, thus, help the householder to maintain a high moral standard.



The parigraha‑parimana‑vrata is the fifth anuvrata of the householder. Umasvami defines parigraha as murccha‑‑  infatuation for possession;146 and Pujyapada, the commentator, explains it as hankering after possession and protection of external objects both sacitta‑‑animate and acitta‑‑inanimate, and also of internal attachment, in which all mamattva‑‑acquisitive egotism is the root‑cause. Samantabhadra defines this vow as follows 147 Putting limits to the measure of one's worldly possessions like money, grains etc., is pari, mita‑parigraha (limit to possessions) which is also known as iccha‑parimana (limit to desire). The Savaya‑pannatti definesl48 this vow in almost similar way with the following terms: sacitta‑acitta iccha‑parimana‑‑  limiting desire for animate and inanimate objects. Amrtacandra however, treats this vow rather at length l49  Attachment itself is Parigraha; and attachment is affectionate regard that arises from tile operation of moha‑ karma.  Parigraha is of two kinds abhyantara‑‑ internal and bahya‑‑external. Internal parigraha is of fourteen kinds :150


1.      mithyatva‑‑false belief

2.      krodha‑‑‑ anger

3.      mana‑‑ pride

4.      maya‑‑ deceit

5.      lobha‑‑ greed

6.      hasya‑‑laughter for joke or out of contempt

7.      rati‑‑ pleasure

8.      arat‑‑dejection

9.      bhaya‑‑fear

10.  soka‑‑sorrow

11.  jugupsa--disgust

12.  pumveda--male sex‑urge

13.  striveda‑‑female sex‑urge

14.  napumsakaveda‑‑androgyne sex‑urge


External parigraha is of two kinds, sacitta‑‑animate and acitta‑‑inanimate, which are further divided into ten kinds, as found in other works.151

1.      ksetra‑‑land or fields

2.      vastu‑‑houses

3.      hiranya‑‑gold coins

4.      suvarna‑‑gold

5.      dhana‑‑heads of cattle

6.      dhanya‑‑grains

7.      dasi‑‑maidservants

8.      dasa‑‑male servants

9.      kupya‑‑clothes

10.  sayyasana‑‑beds and furniture


Amrtacandra further states that possession of external things is not possible without internal attachment. Hence both the internal attachment and the possession of external objects come within the fold of parigraha. Moreover internal attachment varies with the nature of the external objects possessed or desired. For example attachment is weak in the young deer which lives on the green blades of grass, whereas it is strong in the cat which kills several mice‑‑even more than needed for quenching its hunger. Then, the more one possesses things, the stronger becomes the murchha‑‑ desire to possess. Hence all sorts of internal attachments should be curbed or suppressed by exerting the self and meditating upon virtues like humility, contentment etc. Again, all this parigraha never excludes himsa. The renunciation of both the kinds of parigraha is ahimsa, and the appropriation of them is himsa. Internal attachment is proved as himsa because of its being a form of himsa; and attachment to external objects naturally establishes the fact of himsa.  Lastly we can deduce from this view of Amrtacandra that for the householder absolute renunciation of parigraha is not possible; he should have the minimum of it by putting limitations to its acquisition, possession and protection.


Pt. K. C. Shastri rightly points out,152 that most of the authors of treatises on the householder's code of conduct (coming within the compass of his study) have not, except one or two, said any thing about the matter as to what extent the householder should limit the measure of his parigraha, and he also presents153 the relevant portions of two such works, along with his observations in brief, which are worth noting at this context: People generally think that if one cuts the measure of his possession so as to be the owner of the property worth a lakh or a crore rupees, he can be said to be the observer of parigrah parimana‑vrata. It is, no doubt, better to have such limitation than not to have it. for one's thirst for prOperty is curbed to that extent. But it is not the Objective of this vow that the householder should ‑put limitation to the maximum of his possessive capacity.  These points have been very well brought home by Kartikeya:


One who subdues greed and curbs the wicked thirst by the elixir of contentment, and puts limitations to money, grain, gold, land etc. considering them to be ephemeral, he is said to have observed the fifth anuvrata: (Kartikeyanupreksa, Vs.  339‑40). This means that the householder's measure of limitation to possession of property should be strictly need‑ based. Racamalla explains it in lucid terms: Whatever measure of limitation to property we adopt or decide upon, mamatva‑‑acquisitive egotism is bound to it. By far more reduction of such mamatva man becomes like a monk. Hence reduction of wealth to suit one's own self would be the best path.  Acquiring wealth more than one's needs and then reducing it is a meaningless or worthless move.  Whether you reduce or put limitation to the willed or intended wealth or not, it is like drawing pictures in the sky (Latisamhita. Vs.  86‑87). From this it can be asserted that we should reduce from what we already possess; it is futile (to decide) to reduce from what we do not possess (or we are yet to possess).  One can renounce what is present at hand and not what is not even probable to come to one's hand.


The aticaras of this vrata enumerated by most of the Digambara Acaryas and all the svetambara Acaryas of traditional view are almost the same. that fall in line with those given in the Tattvartha‑sutra.  wherein the infractions of the limitations set for the possession of nine or ten categories of property are laid down as the five aticaras, each one covering two of the categories. Yet the wording of the traditional list of the Svetambaras is interesting for its elucidatory nature155


1.      yojanena ksetra‑vastu‑pramanati‑krama ‑ exceeding the limits set for lands and houses by incorporation.

2.      pradanena hiranya‑suvarna‑pramanatikrama‑ .exceeding the limits set for gold and silver by donation

3.      bandhanena dhana‑dhanya‑pramanatikrama  exceeding the limits set for grain and other food‑stuffs by packing together.

4.      karanena dvipada‑catuspada‑pramanatikarma, exceeding the limits set for bipeds and quadruped.

5.      bhavena kupya‑pramanatikrama ‑ exceeding the limits set for household chattels by combination.


But Samantabhadra,l56 not basing his list on the ten categories of possessions, presents rather a comprehensive and unique type of series of aticaras of the fifth anuvrata


1.      ativahana ‑ driving out of greed, beasts of burden like oxen for a distance longer than their capacity could tolerate.

2.      atisangraha hoarding of foodgrains and other such commodities for high profit.

3.      ativismaya  feeling or entertaining extreme disappointment after selling some thing at a price involving much loss.

4.      atilobha   entertaining excessive greed for a  higher price when reasonably good price is obtained.

5.      atibharavahana ‑ overloading beasts of burden out of greed for more gain.


It may be noted that these aticaras are designed more particularly for the trading community, though one or two could be applicable to farmers too. The last one has been already covered by the list of the aticaras of ahimsanuvrata.



Jainacaryas hold different views on ratri ‑ bhojana‑‑taking food by night. Camundaraya taking a clue from the svetambara tradition that panca‑ maha‑vrata is followed by the sixth one, which is aratri‑bhojana‑‑avoidance of taking food by night, called it the sixth anu‑vrata; and Amrtacandra's treatment of it, immediately following the parigraha‑ parimana‑vrata, indicates that he rather gives it the same status.157 He states that one, who takes food by night, cannot avoid himsa. But somehow aratri‑bhojana did not further get recognition of the sixth vow and, hence, the five aticaras too did not at all come into existence. For some Acaryas like Samantabhadta, it is the subject of the fifthpratima; but Vasunandi thinks that it should be a prerequisite of the first pratima. Among others, like Amitagati and Asadhara, aratribhojana is considered as one of the mula‑ gunas.


Moreover, if Vasunandi says that liquids can be taken at night, the Savaya‑dhamma‑doha (v. 37) permits water, betel and medicine at night. Asadhara advises filtered water and avoidance of food and drink at night for both ahimsa and health. He, following Hemacandra (who tops the svetambara Acaryas in giving due importance to this subject), states: The best type of Jaina will eat once a day, the next best twice, like an animal, whilst the least satisfactory type comprehending nothing eats day and night making himself "a ruminant though devoid of horns and tail"158


Pt. K. C. Shastri takes a critical survey of the views held by the (Digambara) Acaryas flourishing between the 7th and l7th century A. D., and notes'159 that the essence of all such views has come down to us in the form of a single verse of Somadeva (Upasakadhyaana, v.  325), wherein he states: Of course, for the protection of the vow of ahimsa and for keeping the basic vows intact with their purity, one should avoid taking food by night, which is harmful both in this as well as the next world. However, in later days, phalahara‑‑eating of fruits and the like by night, became admissible; and when the Jainas remained as a Vaisya class only and laxity in the observance of the vows too set in, avoidance of eating by night was accepted rather as a family custom (kulacara), as is reflected in the Latisamhita. But the factual state of affair can be seen in the following words of the Savaya‑ dhamma‑doha (gaha 37):


"Of course one, who desires, after sun‑set taking food or fruit‑items besides betel, medicine or water, sets aside faith (itself)." And today we find that taking food by night is avoided, by some select Jaina families in a region or locality, and in a majority of cases, as a family custom (kulacara) only.  Some pious individuals stick to it till the end of their life.



Out of all this critical discussion on the asta‑mulagunas and the five anu vratas of the householder, we are impressed by an outstanding point that at the root of all these virtues and vows, which mainly formulate the code of conduct for the laity, lies ahimsa‑‑the principle of non‑violence or non‑ injury to living beings Pt. K C Shastri,l60 who gives expression to this view, also presents some significant observations on how the actual practice of these eight basic virtues and the five small vows by the lay section of the Jaina community, took shape in the course of the post‑ medieval days and settled down in the modern days, which, I feel, are quite worthy of note in this context:


After a comprehensive study of the asta‑mula gunas and the five anu‑vratas, we are led to the conclusion that ahimsa  forms the very heart of the Jaina Code of Conduct for Householders It is with a view to bringing ahimsa (the first small vow) into actual practice, the eight basic virtues and the remaining four small vows are laid down.  Because spoiled and putrid food, far lately cooked meals and eating of things with combination of contradictory elements, bring in the blemish of consuming meat and wine.  Hence such food and drink were forbidden and much stress was laid on such infraction. I think that in the early scheme of the asta‑ mula‑gunas, which consisted of the five anu‑vratas and the three ma‑karas, the five sins (himsa etc.,) were replaced by the five milky fruits (udumbaras), and this then changed the very direction of the Jaina Code of Conduct for Householders. Because the later scheme of asta mula‑gunas, consisting of the five milky fruits and the three ma‑karas, is related only to the sphere of food and drink, whereas the five anu‑vratas  are related tO the entire practical life of the householder Therefore the Jaina laity began to pay more attention to matters of food and drink and became indifferent  tO truthfulness, non‑stealing, celibacy and restraint on

possessions. They regarded purity of food and drink  itself as ahimsa and in still later days, this very idea was expounded to people. And our class of renunciators (the monks) too had almost the same view and are having it even to this day.  Whenever they advise or instruct any lay disciple to renounce anything it is some item or items of food, drink etc., only.  I have not seen anybody taking a vow or administering it, in respect of conducting truthful professional transactions, of not carrying on give‑and‑take business in a dishonest manner, of not charging undue interest on loan, of earning one's lively‑hood by justifiable means, of being contented with one's own wife or of not having possessions beyond one's just needs.


Moreover the aticaras‑‑transgressions of the anu‑vratas  display human weaknesses, or we can say, they keep before us the living examples of human mis‑adventures on the ethical plane; and a comparative study of these transgressions shed light on the exigencies of time as well as on the relevant reactions by our Acaryas to such exigencies.




125. Tattvartha‑sutra, VII‑15.


126. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 57.


127. Purusattha‑siddhyaupaya Vs. 102‑104.


128. Upasakadhyana, Vs. 364‑367:


129. In his commentary on the Tattvartha‑satra.


130. For more details vide R. Williams, Op cit, pp. 78‑79.


131.     Except Somadeva, who uses a clarificatory desig nation for the third given above (i.e., of Samantabhadra's list) and omits the fourth one.


132. As noted by R. Williams, Op. Cit


133. (i) Tattvartha‑sutra. VII‑16. (ii) Sarvartha‑siddhi, VII‑16.


134. Ratnakarandaka Sta, O. 59.


135. V. 270.


136. Kartikeyanupreksa, Vs. 337‑38.


137. Vasunandl‑5ravakaeara, V. 211.


138. Sagara‑dharmamrta, IV. 52 (Comm).


139. UpasakadhyaYana, V. 405.


140. Op,cit., p. 85.


141. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, p. 82.


142. op. cit p. 91.


143. (i) Jinesvarasuri is a reputed author of the Kathakosa  Prakarana, critically edited with an admirable introduction by Acarya Jina Vijaya Muni and published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1949. (ii) Besides the Kathakosa Prakarana, Jinesvarasuri has produced five more works and the Satsthanaka Prakarna or  Sravaka‑vaktavyata Prakarana is one of these, composed in 103 Prakrit gahas and endowed with two commentaries; and Acarya Jina Vijaya Muni, in his introduction to Ihe Kathakosa Prakarana  has presented a good critique on it, upon which I have drawn as relevant to my purpose.


144. Op. cit., Intro., pp. 52=53.


145. Tattvartha‑sutra.  VII.28.


146. (i) Tattvartha‑sutra, VII‑17. (ii) Sarvartha‑siddhi, VII‑17.


147. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V‑61.


148. V. 278.


149. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya. Vs. 111‑12


150. (i) R. Williams thinks that these are largely irrelevant to the consideration of this vrora; they of course, comprise the kosayas and no‑kosayas. Vide Op cit, p. 93. (ii) Justice T. K. Tukol, however, considers that they are relevant in emphasising how the purity of the soul becomes effected in various ways in acquisition, possession enjoyment and protection of property consisting of both animate and inanimate objects. for further details vide,| op. cit., p. 216


151. (i) Like the Caritrasara, p. 7 and the Upasaka‑dhyayona,  v. 433. (ii)         R. Williams notes detailed classifications of all these (nine instead of ten) kinds of possessions found in the Svetambara treatises. Vide Op.  cit, pp. 94‑96.


152. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, p. 84.


153. Ibid, pp. 84‑85.


154. VII‑29.


155.     For the translation of these aticaras. I have followed R.  Williams, Op. cit., pp. 96‑97.


156. Ratnukarandaka Sra. V. 62.


157. (i) Camundaraya, Caritra‑saro, p. 7. (ii) Amrtacandra, Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, Vs. 129‑ 36


158. For details, vide R. Williams, OP cit.. pp. l08‑9


159.  Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, pp. 74‑76.


160. Intro. to Upasukadhyana p. 86.




The Guna‑Vratas


We have already discussed about the nature of the guna‑vratas  in general and their classifications by the various Acaryas. For our purpose here we shall follow any one classification, say A‑l noted under the topic The Vratas.


The dig‑vrata is the first of the three guna‑vratas.  Swami Samantabhadra describes it as follows 161 'I shall not travel beyond these limits of the ten directions', determining like this with a view to avoiding anu‑papa‑‑minor sin for the rest of one's life, is known as the dig‑vrata.  The ten directions are: East, West, North, South, North‑East, South‑East, South‑ West, North‑West, Up and Down. While putting limitations to one's movements in these ten directions, prominent oceans, mountains, rivers, countries and yojana‑marks (measure of distance) should be considered as boundaries. One who limits his activities to the fixed boundaries, can observe the vow of non‑injury absolutely in respect of the area lying beyond the fixed limits or boundaries. For want of activity there could be no breach of any of the anu‑vratas too; and, thus, for that period he can also afford to lead the life of complete renunciation wherein the anu‑vratas can be said to have matured as maha‑vratas. The Savaya‑paannatti162 explains that since the householder is like a heated iron ball, his movements, wherever they are made, bring in himsa. If the area of his movements is fixed, he would be restrained from committing himsa out‑side that area. Kartikeyal63 states that  by fixing the limits on all the ten directions, one's greed, which is at the root of parigraha, is curtailed. Hemacandra 164 tells almost the same thing in other words.  Hence the dig‑vrata appears like a particularised extension of the last  anu‑vrata viz., the parigraha‑parimana‑vrata.  Thus the primary objective of this vow is to help the householder curtail his activities on all sides, so that his internal passions, particularly  lotha‑‑greed, could be commensurately curbed.


Following are the five aticaras of the dig‑vrata, the designations of which are almost the same as given by both the Digambara and svetambara Acaryas


1.      urdhva‑dik‑pramanatikrama ‑ moving in the upward direction beyond the limits set by oneself.

2.      adho‑dik‑pramanatikrama ‑ going deeper into the ground than the determined limits.

3.      tiryag‑dik‑pramanatikrama ‑ travelling in any of the eight directions beyond the fixed limits.

4.      ksetra‑vrddhi ‑ extending the already set limits to movement.

5.      smrti‑antardhana ‑ crossing the set limits through forgetfulness.



Owing to approach to the desa‑ vrata or desavakasika vrata  from different points of view by different Acaryas,l65  Digambara and Svetambara, it has found place both among the guna‑vratas and the siksa vratas and also in different sequence. Several of the Digambara Acaryas, like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Somadeva etc., include it in the guna‑vratas and place it next to the dig‑vrata.l66 But Samantabhadra and Asadhara etc. present it as the first, and Kartikeya as the last, of the siksa vratas. Generally the svetambara Acaryas consider this vow, which is an abridged form of the dig‑vrata  in respect of time and space to be the second of the siksa‑ vratas. Lastly, some Acaryas like Kundakunda, Devasena and Vasunand1 somehow totally omit it. R. Williams thinksl67 that perhaps because of being considered to be basically identical with the dig‑vrata, the desavakasika vrata is omitted by those Acaryas who make sallekhna the subject of the last siksa‑vrata. But I would pose a question, how is it that Jinasena does not do so in his Adipurana ? He presents desa‑ vrata as the second guna‑vrata and sallekhana, too, as the last siksa‑vrata (but omits bhogopabhoga‑parimana‑vrata) 168  Hence we have to explain this phenomenon as just an approach to this vrata by an individual Acarya with his own point of view.


Now coming to this vrata itself, Samantabhadra defines it169  as limiting (the sphere of one's activity) still further, day after day, and for fixed periods within the longer limits (already fixed in the dig‑vrata).  The Savaya‑pannatti  definesl70 it in a similar way and further states17l that it should be carefully observed on the line of 'the maxim of the poison of the serpent's eye and its curtailment': sappavisa‑ nayao paleyavvam Haribhadra in his commentary explains this illustration as follows: In olden days the serpent's poisonous eye could kill beings at the radius of twelve yojanas; but later a skilled magician cut down its range to oneyojana. Similarly the house‑holder should cut down his activities and reduce the danger caused by them by putting narrower limits on his own poisonous eye, i. e., those movements that destroy living beings.

Amrtacandra describesl72 this vow in rather a lucid style: One should again fix a limit (of course, within those limits of the dig‑vrata) for a fixed time, to a village, market, street, house etc. and thus observe the desa‑vrata. He should not, during a certain period of time, go beyond a certain vil1age, market, street or house, or have any thing to do with objects lying beyond that limit Then he possessing pure mind, thus, confines his activities and observes absolute ahinsa for that time by renouncing all possible himsa in the vast space which has been excluded.


With all different views on the approach to this vow held by the various Acaryas, its aticaras are the same, some of which though expressed in different synonymous terms. Umasvami enumeratesl79 them as follows:


1.      anayana‑‑sending for some one from beyond the fixed limit.

2.      presya‑prayoga ‑‑ sending some one out beyond the limit.

3.      sabdanupata‑‑effecting one's voice out beyond the limit.

4.      rupanupata  making signs or gestures for persons beyond the limit.

5.      pudgala‑ksepa  communicating by throwing out objects beyond the limit‑



The anartha‑danda‑vrata is unanimously acknowledged as a guna‑vrata by Acaryas of both the traditions. The svetambara Acaryas consider it as the third guna‑vrata and so also do some Digambara acaryas like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Somadeva Vasunandi etc., whereas Samantabhadra, Kartikeya, Asadhara etc. consider it as the second and Padma‑nandi asthe first guna‑vrata. According to the classification we are following i.e., A‑1 is the third one.


This vow generally enjoins the householder to abstain from harmful activities that do not serve any useful purpose. It covers several dissimilar topics and also partly touches the contents of some other vows and transgressions. Samantabhadra defines it174 as abstaining from wanton or purposeless activity which is likely to cause injury to others, within the determined limits. It is of five kinds 175  

1.      papopadesa ‑ ‑ harmful advice

2.      ahimsadana (‑pradana) ‑‑ helping towards destruction or violence

3.      apadhyana‑‑evil brooding

4.      pramadacarya‑‑purposeless activity, mischief

5.      duh‑sruti‑‑faulty reading, listening to bad reading


Though the definitions and the general nature of this vow are more or less the same, the interpretations and explanations of its four or five kinds of anartha dandas‑‑harmful and useless or purposeless activities presented by the various Acaryas, are varied .and vast with several individual additions, elucidations expansions and widening of the field of applicability. For example, if Samantabhadra views'; apadhyana‑anartha‑danda as 'wishing, from motives of love and hatred, of destruction, captivity, injuries etc. to another's wife and the like', Kartikeya considers it177 as 'talking of the faults of others, coveting the wealth of others, lusting for the wives of others and watching the disputes of others'; and Amrta candra178 as 'thinking about battles; conquests, hunting, adultery and theft'. If himsa‑dana (‑pradana)‑ anartha‑danda is interpreted by Samantabhadra179 as 'giving the means of himsa like a battle_axe, a sword, an instrument for digging, fire‑weapons, or a chain' Hemacandra elaborates180 by stating that carts, ploughs, swords, bows, pestles, mortars, bellows or other similar objects should not be supplied to another person unless a question of their being helpful is solved, because himsa‑pradana to a son or other relative is almost unavoidable. And if Camundaraya views181 it as 'supplying of poison, weapons, fire, ropes whips, stares and other similar objects', Kartikeya adds182  to such lists 'keeping of destructive animals like cats and all kinds of trade in such materials, as iron or lac'. Then if the duh‑sruti‑anartha‑danda is described by Samantabhadral83 as 'reading of works full of worldly undertakings, ghastly crimes, false doctrines, and the tales of riches, hatred, love, pride, passionate sex etc. that disturb the mind', Kartikeya considers184 it as 'reading kama‑sastra works and listening to others faults' and Amrtacandra advises185 that one should not listen to or teach such bad stories that increase attachment etc., and are full of absurdities.


Some authorities like Amrtacandra 186 present the generalised implications of this whole vow, which also include some categories of the sapta‑vyasanas‑‑seven vices: one should never think of hunting (papardhi), of getting victory over or defeating (others), of quarrel or battle, of visiting other's wives or prostitutes, or theft etc., which only lead to sin. He very seriously strikes a caution particularly against gambling.l87 Gambling should be renounced from far distance. It is the topmost evil, the disturber (churner) of contentment, the home of deceit and the abode of theft and false‑hood. Thus the vow of anartha‑danda covers a vast field of worthless or evil activities from which the householder has to abstain with all carefulness in avoiding the binding of karma or commitment of sin.


The following are the five transgressions of this vow

1.      kandarpa‑‑poking fun at another

2.      kautkucya‑‑ mischievously gesticulating or buffoonery

3.      moukharya‑‑garrulity, gossip

4.      asamlksyadhikarana‑‑over doing things, or acting unthinkingly

5.      upabhoga‑parihhoganarthakya ‑‑ indulging in superfluous luxuries


The Siksa‑Vratas


We have already discussed the nature of the siksa‑vratas in general and their classification. The samayika‑vrata is acknowledged as the first siksa‑vrata‑‑  disciplinary vow by all Acaryas, except some like samantabhadra and Asadhara to whom it is the second one; and it is the third specific pratima for those like Vasunandi. It is also the first of the six daily avasyakas‑‑necessary duties of the householder as well as of the ascetic). Such multi‑sided position of this vow in the Code of Conduct for the House‑holder, which is mainly a spiritual one, rather indicates its own significance. According to our list of the siksa‑vratas i.e., B‑I, it is the first one.


Samayika generally means engaging oneself in the attainment (aya) of equanimity or tranquility of mind (sama). Pujyapada explainsl89 samaya as ekatva‑gamana‑‑the process of becoming one, the process of fusion of the activities of body, mind and speech with the atman‑‑soul and the method of practice meant for achieving this objective is the samayika.  Akalanka holds190 that the samayika is a positive way of submerging the activities of one's body. mind and speech in the atman.  Haribhadra explains 191 sama as the state of freedom from attachment and aversion (rag‑dvesa) formulating an attitude of looking at all objects the alike of one's own self and aya  as accomplishment or attainment; and samayika is the practice for accomplishing the state of freedom from attachment and aversion, formulating an attitude of looking at all objects the alike of one's own self. Moreover it is an exertion, to be put day and night, to avoid harmful activities and also to indulge in harmless activities.  Samantabhadra definesl92  this vow as abstaining from the commission of the five kinds of sin in all respects and altogether for a specified period of time (daily). He further states 193 the samayika  should be performed with a cheerful heart in an undisturbed solitude, in forests, temples or houses.  The samayika is the cause of perfection in the observance of the five vows, and it should be practiced daily according to the prescribed method with a resolute mind, casting off laziness. During the period of practice of the samayika all kinds of attachment and undertaking are absent; and therefore the house‑holder, then, assumes the state of ascetism and, thus  looks like an ascetic (yati) on whom a piece of cloth has been thrown. Those who intend to perfect themselves in the samayika vow,  should calmly bear the hardships of cold, heat, mosquito‑ bite, insect‑stings, and other troubles (caused by enemies), maintaining perfect silence and control over the activities of body, mind and speech. They should also meditate upon the transitory nature of the world, the true nature of the self and liberation etc.


As regards time, place, posture etc., for the‑samayika, the Acaryas hold different views. The minimum time prescribed is one muhurta‑ 48 minutes, twice or thrice or even more times a day which is beneficial.  The place could be a forest, a temple, a house or a hall for fasting etc The posture could be padmasana, paryankasana, seated or standing kayotsarga  etc.194. For strengthening the daily practice of the samayik discipline, one should observe fast twice each fortnight i.e.,the 8th and 14th day of each lunar fortnight 195 Haribhadra, however, describes196 two methods of performance of the samayika enjoined to the householder: one for iddhipatta‑‑the affluent and the other for aniddhipatta‑‑  the ordinary, with separate ritual details for each. In this connection R. Williams notes :197 The Svetambara texts give a ritual for the samayika based on the Avasyaka‑curni, a distinction being made between the ordinary and the affluent layman. For a man of great wealth or invested with the authority of a ruler, special rules are laid down in order to increase the prestige of theJaina community by emphasizing the fact that he has adhered to the sacred doctrine." Though such two separate methods of the samayika ritual did not continue in later days, the svetambara tradition maintained the separate identity of the samayika‑vrata to a considerable extent, whereas the later Digambara Acaryas seem to have simplified it by adopting vandana‑‑adoration, puja‑‑worship and its rituals etc., which were also the needs of the age and region. This phenomenon is lucidly reflected in the definition and description of this vow by Vasunandi198 under the samayika‑pratima and also in the long treatment of this vow by Somadeva in the Upasakadhyayana199 wherein puja‑‑  worship, bhakti‑‑ devotion, dhyan ‑meditation etc., are described at great length. According to Vasunandi200 the .samayika is adoring the Jaina scripture, the Jina‑dharma, the Jina‑image, the five paramesthis and the adode of the Jina regularly three times a day. And Somadeva states 201 Instruction in the adoration of (or service to) the apta‑‑  Jina is called samaya and a host of duties enjoined to the adorer is known as samayika. Even in tbe Svetambara tradition, this vow gradually met with similar simpli‑fying trends, which fact is noted, with a textual evidence, by R. Williams :202 "The diminishing importance of the samayika in the lay life is manifest in the fifteenth century Sraddha‑‑ vidhi, where it figures among the practices which are possible only during the leisure of the rainy season. In that connection (the author of this treatise) Ratnasekhara comments significantly that the acceptance of the samayika is  difficult for a rich man while the puja is easy."


Following are the five transgressions of the samayika vow203  which are alike in both the traditions. the Digambara and the svetambara:

1.      mano‑duspranidana‑‑misdirection of mind

2.      vag‑duspranidana ‑‑misdirection of speech

3.      kaya‑duspranidhana‑‑misdirection of body

4.      anadara‑‑lack of interest

5.      smrtyanupasthana‑‑forgetting of the required formalities


Leaving aside the trends of the historical line of the practice of this vow, one can easily make out its importance in playing the role of training the house‑holder towards acquiring the necessary spiritual equipment for trodding the further path leading to salvation.



All the Acaryas accept the prosadhopavasa as a siksa‑vrata  The svetambara Acaryas generally present it as the third, whereas among the Digambaras, some Acaryas like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra, Amitagati, Somadeva etc. present it as the second and others like Samantabhadra, Asadhara Medhavin etc, as the third siksa‑vrata. It is also the fourth pratima. Moreover it is regarded as a tapa‑‑austerity204 and is closely connected with the samavika vow.  According to our list i e., B‑I, it is the second disciplinary vow.


The Prakrit term posaha (corresponding to the Sanskrit upavastha) which has come down from the canonical literature, including the Uvasaga‑dasao, Ovavaiya‑dasao etc, was later subjected to the Sanskrit back formations like pausadha,  posadha and prosadha etc., of which posadha and prosadha  gained wide currency. posadha is generally meant the parvan,  the 8th and the 14th day of the lunar fortnight and posadho‑   pavasa the fast on the parvan day, is thus a tautological expression. In usual course of practice posadha or prosadha  stands as a synonym of posadhopavasa or prosadhopavasa.  Pujyapada explains 205 prosadasabdah parva‑paryaya‑vaci  prosadhe upavasah prosadao‑pavasah‑‑ the word prosadha is  synonymous with parva... The fast (to be observed) on the parvan day is prosadhopavasa.


As regards the observance of the prosadhopavasa, the Digambara and the svetambara Acaryas hold two major different views: The Digambara Acaryas generally state that the fast should commence from the noon on the day preceding the prosadha (the 8th and the 14th day of each lunar fortnight) and it should end at noon on the day following it, covering, thus, a period of 48 hours. The svetambara authorities prescribe for such fast a period of 24 hours of the parvan day. The place for observance of the fast could be one's home, forest, temple, monastery or the prosadha‑sala‑‑‑hall for the prosadha.


Amrtacandra's depiction206 of this disciplinary vow is worth noting: For strengthening the practice of the .samayika  discipline, one must observe fast twice each fortnight. Being free from all worldly activities and casting off attachment to the body etc, one should commence fasting at mid‑day preceding the prosadhal day, retire to a secluded place, renounce all harmful activities, abstain from entertaining all objects of senses and remain in restraint of body, mind and speech. He should pass the day submerged in righteous contemplation, perform the samayika at the sunset, subdue sleep by svadhiyaya‑‑study of scriptural works and, thus, spend the night on a pure mat. Rising at dawn, he should attend to the necessary duties of the time, engage himself in the adoration of the Jina as per prescription with the prasuka (pure) objects. Thus in the above stated manner, he should pass the day, the second night and the half of the third day. One who frees himself from all harmful activities and passes 16 yamas (48 hours) in tbe manner stated above, certainly observes the vow of ahimsa thoroughly. Vasunandi describes207 the ritua1 of this vow (pasaha‑vihim) at still greater length, mentioning its three types: uttama,  mudhyama,lnd jaghanya. In the course of describing this vow Somadeva remarks 208 In the case of one, who observes  this fast and yet engages himself in worldly affairs, such fasting would just be tormenting of one's body like the gaja‑snana‑‑  elephant‑bath: (The elephant after duly bathing in water, fills its trunk with dust; and sprinkles it all over its body, making, thus, the earlier bath futile).


The Savaya‑pannatti,209 however, mentions four categories of application of the prosadha, which could be partial or complete in each case:

1.      ahara‑posah‑‑in respect of food

2.      sarira‑sakkara‑posaha‑‑in respect of bodily care

3.      bambha‑posah‑‑in respect of celibacy

4.      vavara‑posaha ‑‑ in respect of worldly occupations or activities.


R. Williams notes210 that the prosadha ritual is given in considerable details in the later svetambara texts and presents as an example of a long passage211 covering the relevant description of the same found in Yasovijaya's Dharma‑sangraha.


Following are the five transgressions of the


prosadhopavasa‑vrota,2l2 which, except in the usage of different terminology in respect of some, are virtually the same in both the traditions:

1.      grahanaticara ‑‑ acceptance of articles of adoration or worship without examining and handling them carefully

2.      visargaticara ‑‑placing objects or spreading one's body on the ground without scrutinizing it

3.      astaranaticara‑‑preparing one's bed without carefully examining and harmlessly sweeping the place

4.      anadaraticara ‑‑ showing no interest or enthusiasm in the observance of the fast

5.      asmaranaticara‑‑forgetting the due procedure of the fast.




Owing to the dual nature of this vow, which possesses characteristics of the guna‑vrata as well as the siksa‑vrata, it is given place in both of these groups of the vratas. The svetambara Acaryas generally present it as the second guna‑ vrata, whereas among the Digambara authorities, Samantabhadra, Kartikeya, Asadhara etc. present it as the third guna‑vrata and others like Camundaraya, Amrtacandra.


Amitagati etc. include it as the third siksa‑vra,, According to our list, i.e., B‑l, it is the third disciplinary vow.


This vow enjoins the householder to put limitations to the use of objects of senses categorised as those for bhoga and upabhoga, with a view to curtailing his sense of attachment to them and, thus, increase his capacity for self‑restraint and will‑power Samantabhadra delineates it as follows:213  Putting limitations, even within the already accepted limits, on the use of objects of senses for the day, or according to one's requirements, and with a view to reducing the sense of attachment to them, is the bhogolul‑bhoga‑parimana‑vrata.  Food, clothing, and other objects of the five senses, which can be enjoyed only once come under bhoga; and those which can be enjoyed more than once pertain to upabhoga. Renunciation of bhogas and upabhogas is of two kinds: niyama and yama. That which has a time limit is niyama and the other, which is undertaken for life, is yama. Limitation of time could be for an hour, a day, a night, a fortnight, a month, a season or half a year and renunciation could be from food, conveyances beds, bathing, betel‑leaves, clothes, ornaments, cohabitation or music etc Honey, flesh, wine, green ginger, roots, butter, buds and flowers etc. should not be consumed to avoid injury to living beings and to escape from pramada. It is not enough if one gives up what is undesirable, he should also give up even what is desirable, for a vrata implies this two‑fold Objective. Amrtacandra states 214 Considering his Own strength, the wise should renounce even those objects of senses which are not prohibited; and in respect of those which he cannot renounce, he should limit their usage by day or night. Again having regard to one's capacity at the time, a further limit to the already set limits, should be put every day. He who being thus contented with limited objects of senses, renounces a majority of them. observes ahimsa because of his abstaining from considerable part of himsa.


The older svetambara texts like the Savaya‑pannati use215 the terms upabhoga and paribhoga to mean, by and large, the same bhoga and upabhoga respectively. R. William notes :216 "Two basic divisions of this vrata are recognized by the svetambaras: it may refer to food eaten or occupations pursued.  The second‑ aspect, expressed in a ban on the pursuit of fifteen cruel trades, is unknown to the Digambaras, except Asadhara, who for this theme, is heavily indebted to Hemacandra. Other topics included at least by the svetambaras under the bhogopabhoga‑vrata are the anantakayas, the abhaksyas and ratribhojana."


As regards the aticaras of this vow, though the general concepts are more or less the same, the svetambara list slightly differs from the one given by the majority of the Digambara authors, from which differs Samantabhadra's list, that bears scope for wider interpretations.217 The following is the one given by Umasvami :218


1.      sacittahara‑‑eating living objects i. e., green vegetable

2.      sacitta‑sambandhahara‑‑ taking any thing connected with things possessing life i. e., using green leaf as a plate

3.      sacitta‑sammirahara‑‑ taking a mixture of living and non‑ living things i. e., hot water with fresh water

4.      abhisavahara taking aphrodisiacs or exciting

5.      duhpakvahara‑‑taking badly cooked food



This vow is acknowledged as the fourth or the last siksa‑ vrata‑‑disciplinary vow by all the svetambara Acaryas and by most of the Digambara Acaryas except some like Kundakunda, Kartikeya and Vasu nandi, who present it as the third one. According to our list, B‑I, it is the fourth one. Though gene rally known as dana, this vow is also designated as atithi‑ samvibhaga (sharing with the atithi) by some Acaryas like Umasvami; as vaiyavrtya (rendering service to monks by householders) by Samantabhadra; Vasunandi etc., as atithi‑ dana (giving alms etc., to the atithi) by Amrtacandra and as atithi‑puja (adoring the atithi) by a few others Here the word atithi carries a special Jaina meaning viz., the ascetic or sadhu. This vow holds a significant position in the Jaina Doctrine and in the Jaina social organization (the Jaina Sangha) in the sense that on dana (giving gifts) or samvibhaga (sharing with) alone the atithis‑‑ ascetics or sadhus can lead their life‑‑the ethico‑ religious life, and protect, interpret and transmit the sacred law. Moreover, dana is one of the householder's satkarmas‑‑six duties to be carried out daily, besides its being a constituent element of the four‑fold dharma‑‑the lay morality, consisting of dana‑‑  charity, sila‑‑ virtuous life, puja‑‑adoration and upavasa‑  ‑fasting, which seems to have been enjoined to the householder at the initial stage.


The essential nature and scope of the dana‑vrata depicted by the various Digambara and the svetambara Acaryas is more or less the same; but the details are worked out on different patterns in some of its aspects. So we can afford here just to follow the depiction of one of the Acaryas, say Vasunandi, who treats219 this vow at considerable length covering well its principaI aspects, and then to note differences in respect of the details of a few needful ones only.


On the authority of the Upasakadhyayana‑sutra says Vasunandi,220 atithi‑samvibhaga is to be considered as divided into the following five aspects 221


1.      patra‑‑the recipient

2.      datr ‑‑ the giver

3.      datavya‑‑the object to be given

4.      dana‑vidhann ‑‑‑ the manner of giving

5.      dana‑phala‑‑ the fruit of giving.


The patras‑‑recipients are of three kinds:

1.      uttama‑patra‑‑the best recipient, the Jaina ascetic equipped with all vows and self‑restraint

2.      madhyama‑patra ‑‑ the mediocre recipient, the Jaina layman who has placed himself in the eleven ,pratimas

3.      jaghanya‑patra‑‑‑ the least satisfactory recipient, the one on the householder's path who acquired the right faith


There are also two kinds of unfit or unsuitable recipients:

1.      kupatra‑‑a poor or unqualified recipient. a righteous person devoid of right belief

2.      apatra‑‑a wrong recipient, a person devoid of right faith, other vows and virtuous life222


The following should be the seven datr‑gunas‑‑ qualities of the giver of gift: 223

1.      sraddha ‑‑faith

2.      bhakti‑‑devotion

3.      tusti‑‑contentment

4.      sattva‑‑energy and zeal

5.      vijnana ‑‑ capacity for discrimination

6.      alubdhata‑‑lack of greed or self‑interest

7.      ksama‑‑forbearance


Datavya‑‑the objects to be given are of four kinds:

1.      ahara‑‑food

2.      ausadha‑‑medicine

3.      sastra‑‑knowledge

4.      abhaya‑‑ shelter to living beings with fear of injury or death


Vasunandi says that the charity of these objects should not be restricted to the three kinds of recipients; but it should be extended to the young and old, the blind, the dumb, the deaf and also the diseased and wanderers from other lands, treating it as karuna‑dana‑‑ the gift of compassion. He also remarks that the abhaya‑dana‑‑ the gift of shelter or fearlessness is the crest jewel among all other gifts.224 It may be noted that the practice of the caturvidha dana ‑ four‑fold gift among the Jaina laity has played a significant role in the glorious history of Jainism.


Dana‑vidhana (dana‑vidhi)‑‑ the manner of giving  gifts consists of the following nine elements, which are also called the nine punyas‑‑meritorious acts:

1.      pratigraha‑‑reception

2.      ucca‑sthana‑‑offering a high seat

3.      padodaka‑‑respectfully washing the feet

4.      arcana‑‑adoration, worship

5.      pranama‑‑obeisance

6.      manah‑suddhi‑‑purity of mind

7.      vacana‑suddhi‑‑purity of speech

8.      kaya‑suddhi purity of body

9.      esana‑suddhi‑‑purity of food.


This list of the nine punyas can be called the general list developed by the Digambara Acaryas. The list presented by the svetambara Acaryas contains almost the same nine elements, which are brought under the term satkara. They depict the ritual of dana as given in the Avasyaha curni.225 Vasunandi describes the ritual of dana in about six verses.226


Regarding the dana‑phala‑‑ the fruit of giving gift, Vasunandi states: Just as the seed sown in a good soil bears good fruit, similarly gifts given to the three kinds of recipients bring in proportionately beneficial result.227  This the wise can understand.  But the ordinary or ignorant people will not do any thing if they are not to get material benefits in return.  Hence he describes those benefits like birth and enjoyment of different kinds of happiness in the heavenly regions. Samantabhadra228 says that giving, alms with devotion to ascetics wipes away the karma stored up by the activities of household life, just as water washes away b]ood. Amrtacandra holds229 that lobha‑‑greed, which is a form of himsa, is over‑come by dana‑‑gift; therefore gifts offered to worthy recipients verily amount to the stoppage of himsa.


Following are the five transgressions of the dana‑vrata,230  which are the same for the Acaryas of both the tradition:231  

1.      sacitta‑niksepa ‑‑ placing food on a living thing (like the green leaf)

2.      sacitta‑pidhana‑‑covering food with a living thing.

3.      para‑vyupadesa‑‑delegation of host's duties to another,

4.      matsarya‑‑lack of respect in giving or being envious of another donor.

5.      kalatikrama‑‑not giving at the proper time


The earlier Acaryas are silent about the question of dana‑ pramana, or, to be accurate, the proportion of dana to one's property: Devasena (C. 1000 A. D.) thinks that a wise householder should divide his property into six parts: the first for dharma‑‑religio‑spiritual activities, the second for the maintenance of his family, the third for bhoga‑‑ luxuries, the fourth for employing servants, the fifth and sixth for puja (dana). Hemacandra's concept of the seven fields (ksetra)232 on which the great or illustrious sravaka (maha‑‑sravaka) liberally practices dana, is also worthy of note in this context The seven ksetras are:

1.      jina‑bimha ‑‑‑ Jina‑images

2.      Jina‑bhavana‑‑    Jina‑temples

3.      jinagama‑‑Jaina scriptures

4.      sadhu‑‑monks

5.      sadhvi‑‑  nuns

6.      sravaka‑‑layman

7.      sravika‑‑laywoman


Hemacandra also urges that a maha ‑ sravaka should freely use his wealth to help all those found in misery, who are blind, deaf, lame or sick whether hey are proper patras‑‑‑recipients or not. We should note that such advices by the Jainacaryas, recorded in their writings and expressed in their sermons, may have certainly helped to enrich the sense of charity among the laity all along the course of the history of jainism .



Sallekhana means emaciation, which is two‑fold:

1.      kasaya‑sallekhana ‑‑ emaciation of passions to be accomplished by internal austerities (tapa) like subduing anger by forgiveness etc., and

2.        sarira‑sallekhana‑‑  emaciation of body to be accomplished by external austerities (tapa) like fasting etc.233


The sallekhana‑vrata is thus a spiritual process of emaciating one's passions and body by internal and external austerities. And Umasvami states that the house holder, after duly practicing the twelve vows, should observe such spiritual process culminating to death. 234 According to Pujyapada235 this vow implies the emaciation of internal passions and external body in a willful way by the gradual removal of the causes of their nourishment (i. e., inequanimity and food respectively), so that one may peacefully abandon the present body Formerly belonging to the monastic discipline, sallekhana appears to have been later extended to the lay discipline with lesser vigour and on voluntary basis.236 Hence it is generally treated as supplementary to the householder's twelve vows.  Yet some Acaryas like Kundakunda, Devasena, Padmanandi and Vasunandi have included it as the fourth siksa‑vrata.


Leaving aside the canonical and exegetic sections, among the svetambara treatises on the lay life, the Navapadaprakarana  of Devagupta Vs. 129‑135) is the only work to treat sallekhana in some detail.  Other ones just touch it and the later ones are silent over it. On the other hand, the Digambara Acaryas have given considerable importance to this vow in their treatises. Asadhara, who has also commented on the Mularadhana in the form of his Sanskrit darpana (mirror), has naturally given a fairly comprehensive exposition of the sallekhana‑vrata.237 For us here, however.  Samantabhadra's succinct depiction of this vow is worthy of note 238


The abandonment of the body on being confronted with unavoidable calamity, famine, senility and disease for the sustenance of religio‑spiritual practices (dharmaya) is  regarded as sallekhana. According to almost all philosophical systems, one's being able to restrain conduct at the moment of death is the fruit of austerities. Hence one should, as per one's capacity, try to attain samadhi‑marana239 deathwith equanimity. Giving up love, enemity, attachment to possessions etc., and with pure mind, One should forgive with pleasant words one's kinsmen and others and be forgiven by them too. Casting aside grief, fear, anguish, wickedness etc., with all sincerity and zeal, one should allay the innermost passions by scriptural words.  Reflecting on the sins committed in the three ways, one should adopt the maha‑ vrata for the rest of life.  Abstaining from solid food One should take milk and whey and then, Give up them too for just warm water. And abstaining from warm water too and observing fast with all determination, and fixing the mind on the sacred five‑fold invocation, pamca‑namokkara‑mantra, he should peacefully abandon the body.


Following are the five transgressions of the sallekhana‑ vrata as enumerated by Umasvami :240

1.      jivitasamsa‑‑desire to prolong life

2.      maranasamsa‑‑desire to die soon

3.      mitranuraga‑‑attachment to friends

4.      sukhanubandha‑‑remembrance of past enjoyments

5.      nidana‑‑ desire for pleasure in the next life


It is worth considering, in this context, that some foreign scholars, like Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, have called this kind of religio‑spiritual conclusion of life (i. e, sallekhana or samadhi‑marana) "a terrible vow." 241 Even R. Williams has translated it as "ritual suicide by fasting.242 Several authors, both in India and outside, have called it suicide. Pt.  Sukhalalaji Sanghavi has presented convincing critical observations on this point in his article 'Samthara aur Ahimsa243 some thirty years ago. He points out that the term 'suicide' for the Jaina way of death, rather implies some sort of contempt. Scriptures have laid down methods of samadhi‑marana that do not admit of any air of suicide therein. Dr. T. G.  Kalghatgi notes that this doctrine has been misunderstood and observes: "It would be inconsistent to believe that those who considered life as sacred and those who condemned himsa of any type, should have so little regard for human life as to preach self destruction.244 Justice T. K. Tukol writes 245 There is difference between suicide, and sallekhna as regards intention, situation, means adopted and consequences of death. Jaina thinkers have addressed themselves to this question and have given cogent reasons for saying that sallekhana is not suicide.  Amrtacandra has defined suicide with such precision that his definition can stand the scrutiny of any modern jurist: "He, who actuated by passion, puts an end to his life by stopping breath or by water, fire, poison or weapons is certainly guilty of suicide.246


Thus it is quite probable that the misunderstanding of this mode of death by some is due to the imperfect knowledge of the meaning and connotation of ahimsa as taught by the Jinas. We must not forget whatthe Tattvartha‑sutra lucidly states 247‑Hurting the vitalities out of passions is himsa (injury). But in the case of one who voluntarily submits himself to this mode of death, no passion of any kind can be traced . Moreover the Jainacaryas have often condemned suicide. To substantiate this, I would now illustrate an event in a Jaina story: in the story of 'Asokadatta and his son Sripati' in the Kathakosa,248 Sripati, out of utter disappointment due to the loss 0f his entire wealth, goes to a mountain and is about to throw himself from its top. A Jaina sage in Kayotsarga, sees him and cries out, Sripati do not act rashly; by such a death you will attain the condition (gati) of a demon; do not die an evil death, for‑‑


In taking the halter, and in swallowing poison, in fire, and in entering water,

Wearied by hunger and thirst, they slay themselves, and become demons.


Therefore do not inflict death on yourselves. The Mulacara which also exposes the pandita‑marana‑‑the wise man's death in short, expressly condemns suicide and states that one, who commits suicide is tied to the cycle of birth and death.249


Lastly I would recall Munisri Nathmalji (now Yuvacarya Mahaprajnaji), who, coming out for a moment from the canonico‑technical or religio‑ spiritual atmosphere around sallekhana or samadhi‑marana thinks 250 Birth and death are two significant points of rest on the course of the journey of life. If life is an art, death also is not a lesser art. Those who know the art of living and are ignorant of the art of, death, they permanently leave polluted atmosphere behind them. Hence one should have the right idea as to what kind of death one should not die. Jaina Seers have provided it in sermons such as Akama‑maranijjam, Ch. V in the Uttarajjhayana‑sutta.





161. Ratnakarandaka Sra. Vs. 68‑70.


162, V. 281.


163. Kartikeyanupreksa, v. 341.


164. Yoga‑sastra. III‑3.


165. This point has been already discussed under the topic 'The Vratas .


166. R. Williams (Op. cit, p. 99) considers , ; phenomenon among the Digambara Acaryas as according an exact pedant to the dig‑vrata But I think that .  objective of these Acaryas in this regard could possibly be carrying on the curbing of passions, particularly greed, to the minimum with continued effectivity.


167. Op. cit., p. 139.


168. Vs. 67 and 91.


169. Ratnakaratldaka Sra., V. 62.


170. V. 318.


171. V. 319.


172. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya. Vs. 139‑140.


173. Tattvartha‑sutra, Vl1‑31.


174. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 74.


l75. (i) The svetambara Acaryas, following the Uvasagadasao (I‑40), give only the first of these. (ii) R. Williams (Op. cit, p. 123) notes that Siddhansenagani and Siddhasenasuri are exccptions to this. He also thinks that the fifth kind is an addition by the Digambara Acaryas.


176. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 78.


177. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 344.


178. Purusartha‑Siddhyulpaya, V. 141.


179. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 77.


180. Yoga‑sastra, III‑81.


181. Caritrasara, p. 10.


182. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 347.


183 Ratnakarandaka sra, V. 79.


184. Kartikeyanupreksa, V. 348.


185, Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, 145.


186. Ibid., 141.


187 . Ibid., 146.


188. (i) Tattvartha‑sutra, VII‑32, (ii) Samantabhadra's list contains the term ati‑prasadhana‑ surrounding oneself with object of sensual pleasure for the fourth transgression (Ratnakaranduka sra, V. 81 and the Svetambara version of it is Sarhyuktadhikarna bringing together harmful implements(Savaya pannatti. V.  291).


189. Sarvartha‑siddhi. VII‑21.


190. Rajavartika, VII‑21/7.


191. Savaya‑pannatti, Comm. on V. 292.


192. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 97.


193. Ibid., Vs. 99‑105.


191. kayotsarga‑‑ abandonment of body is nothing but mamatva‑tyaga‑‑renunciation of mineness, i. e., perfect contemplation or concentration on one's own self.


195. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, V. 149.


196. Savaya‑pannati, Comm. on V. 292.


197 Op. cit., p. 132.


198 Vasunandi‑Sravakacara, Vs. 274‑278


199 (i) Verses 460 to 749, (ii) It may be noted, at this context, that Jina sena has already almost replaced the six daily avasakas by the six daily karmas of the householder, wherein puja (covering the samayika, caturvimsati stava and vandanaka takes the place of the samaYika in the former. Vide Mahapurana, Ch. 38‑24


200 Vasunandi‑sravakacara, V 275


201 Upasukadhyayana, v. 460


202  Op .  cit.  ,  pp.  138‑ 139


203, Tattvarthasutra, VIII‑33.


204. (i) From this austerity possibly may have stemmed several other austerities like Caritra‑siddhi‑ vrata. the Jina‑guna‑sampatti vrata, the Srutojnanopovasa‑ vrta etc., which were composed, in later days, small  treatises in Prakrit, Sanskrit and Kannada. (ii) For further details in this regard vide section on 'Vrata‑vidhana' in the Kannada Prantiya Tadapatriya Granthasuci.


205. Sarvartha‑siddhi, VII‑220


206. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, Vs. 151‑157.


207. Vasunandi‑Sravakacara, Vs. 280‑294.

208. Upasukadhyayuna, V. 755.


209. V. 321.


210. Op.cit., pp. 144‑145.


211. Op.cit., p. 145.


212. Enumerated by Samantabhadra, Ratnakaranuka Sra, V. 110.


213. Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 82‑89.


214      Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, Vc. 164‑166.


215. V. 284 and Comm. on it.


216. (i) Op. cit., p. 102. (ii) Nemicandra's Pravacana‑saroddhara enumerates 22 abhaksyas‑‑objects not fit to be eaten and 32 a nanta‑kayas‑‑ consumable plants

which are inhabited by an infinite number of living organisms. Vide R. Williams, Op. Cit.,   pp. 110 and 114‑15 respectively.


217. R. Williams compares all these lists, op. cit., p. 103.


218. Tattvartha‑sutra, VII‑35.


219.  Vasunandi Sravakacara Vs. 219‑270.


220. Ibid, 219.


221. (i) The Tattvartha‑sutra (VII‑39) mentions the first four only. (ii) The svetambara texts consider dana as conditioned by the following five elements: desa,place, kala time, sraddha‑faith, sutkara‑ regard and krama‑the right order.  vide Savaya‑pannatti, V. 325


222. (i) Somadeva gives his own list of five kinds of recipients, wherein he accomodates astrologers, orators, erudites, literary personages etc., in the fifth category. Vide his Upasakadhyayana, V. 808. (ii) He also tells if no sadhu is available dana‑‑charity may be extended to any coreligionist.  op cit., Vs. 821‑822.


223. Some svetambara texts enumerate six and others eight such qualities of the datr. Vide Jaina Yoga, pp.  I53‑154.


224. (i) The concept of datavya‑‑what is to be given varies from tradition to tradition and, at times, from one Acaryas to another. Hema‑candra (Yoga‑sastro III‑87) points out some earlier view that there is no canonical authority for dana in any form other than food and drink, but the later texts permitted the gift of clothes, blankets, and other requisite accessories to the ascetics. (ii) Camundaraya's four‑fold classification oi datavya is restricted to alms‑giving to ascetics.  Vide Caritra‑sara,  p.  14. (iii) The Savaya‑pannatti (V. 325) lays down that the gift of food etc., should be justifiably acquired (nayagaya) and pure or suitable (kappanijja) one. (iv) Samantabhadra's concept of vaiyavrtya includes rendering of physical services to ascetics: Ratnakarandaka Sra,V.  112.


225. Vide Jaina Yoga, pp. 158‑159.


226. Vasunandi‑Sravakacara Vs. 226‑231.


227. lbid.. V. 240.


228. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 114.


229. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya, V. 172.


230. Tattvartha‑sutra, VII. 36.


231. Samantabhadra, however, gives anadara in place of kalatikrama, Op. cit., V.  121.


232.     Noted by R. Williams with some comments, Op.cit., pp. 164‑165.


233. (i) For details vide the Mularadhana of Sivarya gaha Nos. 205, 206, 210 and 260, and also the Commentary thereon. (ii) lt may be noted that Sallekhana forms the 11th of the 40 adhikaras (Chapters) in this reputed precanonical bulky Prakrit text of the Digambaras that comprehensively describes the bhakta pratyakhyana‑marana‑‑ courting death by absolute abstinence from ,all kinds of food, a spiritual gate‑way for the soul for liberation to eternal bliss.


234.     Tattvartha‑sutra, VII‑22 maranantakim sallekhanam  josita.


235. .Sarvartha‑siddhi, VII‑22.


236. There could also be some controversial period in the early days of Jainism, which phenomenon is indicatedwell by the .Savava‑pannatti (V. 382) stating that sallekhana  is not restricted to the monastic discipline alone as some Acaryas say.


237. Sagara‑dharmamrta, Ch. VIll.


238. Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 122‑129.


239. (i) In Jaina inscriptions and story literature besides sallekhana, the terms samadhi‑marana and sanyasa‑marana (or sanyasana in Kannada are often found used synonymously. (ii) The term sanyasana appears to have been first set in currency only in the case of house‑holders who adopted the maha‑ vrata or who were given the samastra‑diksa, which was immediately followed by the bhakta‑pratya khyana‑‑courting death by abstinence from all kinds of food. For details vide 'The Vow of Samadhimaraqa in Early Karnatak by B. K. Khadabadi, Studles in lndian History and Culture, (Prof.  P. B. Desai Felicitation Volume) .


240. Samantabhadra replaces sukhanubandha by bhaya ‑‑fear. . the list presented by the svetambara Acaryas is, by and large, similar to this one, with some differences in the usage of terms.


241. The Heart of Jainism, p. 221.


242 Op. cit., p. 166.


243. Darsana aur Cintana, pp. 533‑36.


244. The voice of Ahimhsa, (Feb. 1962 Issue).


245. Compendium of Jainism, p. 280.


246. Purusartha‑siddhyupaya V. 178.


247. VII‑13.


248. Edited by C. H. Tawney, pp. 7‑8.


249. gaha. 74.


250.     Preface (amukha) to Ch. V., Uttaradhyayana‑sutra Part I, p. 57.




Ethical Discipline in Jainism The Lay Doctrine

In the introductory part of this Series of Lectures we have noted that Jainism is a significant religion among those born and cradled in India and outside too. As Svami Samantabhadra stated some fifteen hundred years ago, 'it is a way of progressive life for all': sarvodayam tlrth‑amidam,25l its goal being the realisation of perfection, liberation or salvation. The course of such life is chalked out with two‑ fold ethical discipline: one for monks, known as yatyacara  and the other for householders, known as Sravakacara.  And we have had, so far, a critical view of the latter consisting of certain select individual and social virtues, moral commandments and spiritual precepts termed as samyaktva‑‑the right faith, the asta‑mula‑gunas eight basic virtues, the twelve vratas‑‑vows or rules of conduct and the supplementary sallekhana voluntary termination of life by abstaining from food. Now let us glean the significant elements and implications from the constituents of this ethical discipline or the lay doctrine, which happens to be unique with values of varied kinds and magnitudes‑‑religious, spiritual, social, economic, political and humanistic.


Jaina Sangha‑‑an Ideal Social Organization

At the outset it is very important to note that the Jina's (T1rthankara's) making the ford (tirtha) or laying down the path of progressive life was con‑commitant and coextensive with his social organization viz, the formation of the four‑fold Jaina Sangha with the sadhu‑‑ monk, the sadhvl‑‑ nun, the sravaka‑‑ layman and the sravaki‑ lay woman, who were enjoined with certain respective duties, responsibilities and previleges, which could fuse the two polaristic patterns of life i e., the monastic life and the lay life, with interdependence and complementarity at all levels‑‑religious, spiritual, social and economic To elucidate the point once again, there could be no sustenance of monastic life without the laity and no continuation of the Sacred Law with‑out the monks. Thus the lay section, along with the socio‑economic responsibility, was also entrusted with religio ‑ spiritual previlege. This phenomenon gave the system strength and solidarity, not admitting fundamental changes from within and dangers from without; and it also assured continuity and survival till today, unlike in the case of other unorthodox sect viz., Buddhism that disappeared from the land of its birth 252


Samyagdristi‑‑ The Right Failh

The next significant element that draws our attention is regarding "samyaktva or samyag‑drsti‑‑the right faith in the seven principles that constitute the dogmas of Jainism, or faith in the truths enunciated by the Jina.  Such faith is not only the first and the pilot (karnadhara) of the trio of jewels (ratnatrayaJ, it is also the foundation or basic requirement (mula vatthu) of the twelve‑fold code of conduct (dvadasa vidha‑dharma) of the householder. The term sraddha‑ one who has faith in the words of the Jina as preached by the teacher. used in the svetambara tradition (for Sravaka or upasaka), also indicates the implication of samyaktva.


In the day‑to‑day practical life, faith means persuasion or conviction of mind in respect of an object or ideal to be acquired through one's efforts. Even modern psychology has shown with experiments and results that faith helps to build a strong will and serves as an incentive to action. Hence it has in it the key to success in any undertaken work, to the solution of personal and social problems and to any cure of malady in general.


Recognizing such far reaching value of faith in general, the Jaina Seers, giving it a specific connotation, have made it a preliminary essential on the eve of the householder's starting of his journey on the path of perfection; or rather they have raised it to the status of a vow, with its qualities, defects and transgressions duly defined and explained at length in numerous treatises on the lay life.


Some of the constituent qualities or excellences of samyaktva, like anukampa‑‑compassion, vatsalya‑loving kindness, nisanka‑‑ freedom from fear.  sthairya‑‑ firmness, prabhavana‑‑ doing good work etc., go to build not only a righteous personality of the layman, but also make him a worthy member of a healthy society. Under the category of defects of $amyaktva, the mudha‑drsti‑‑stupid angle of vision is worthy of note.  Through interesting explanations and interpretations of the three mudhatas253‑‑stupid ideas beliefs etc. viz., deva‑mudhata,254 pasandi‑mudhatla 255 and loka‑mudhata,256 the Acaryas critically point out strange superstitions, blind beliefs and hoIIow customs prevailing in the society, which is almost an attempt at social education, signifying a kind of silent social reformation.  For example, the exposition of the loka‑mudhata brings out the hollow‑ness and hypocrisy of taking purificatory bath in rivers and oceans by one not trying any way to build his own character or to improve conduct.


Asta‑mula‑gunas‑‑‑ The Eight Basic Virtues

The mula‑gunas, generally known as the asta‑mula‑gunas‑‑ eight virtues in the Digambara tradition, represent a category of interdictions of certain objects (viz., the five milky fruits, honey, wine and meat), to be necessarily observed before one steps on the house‑holder's path, and, hence in a way, are allied with samyaktva.257 This concept has no canonical authority. The svetambara tradition, however, recognizes the abstention of these objects, along with a few others, under the second guna ‑ vrata. In the Digambara tradition too the enumeration of these objects varies Some Acaryas present different lists; some others add ultra‑category prescriptions like jala‑galana (straining of water), aratri‑bhojana (not eating at night) etc. The medieval Jaina story literature viz, the Vaddaradhane,  mentions hemp‑flower, mushroom and milk of lately calved cow or buffalo as forbidden items along with the five milky fruits and the three ma‑karas.


All these factors cumulatively hint at the following two implications that shed light on the historical aspect of the growth of the lay doctrine:


1.      A considerably big section of the Acaryas felt and met the need of preliminary training for the householder in the minimum observance of ahimsa, by generally forbidding the consumption of the five milky fruits, honey, wine and meat, which was then commonly prevalent in the society round about.

2.      As the vigilant custodians of the Sacred Law, with ahimsa at its crest, some Acaryas of particular age and region, added fresh items of rampant consumption (like hemp‑ flower, mushroom etc.,) to the existing list of forbidden objects or replaced a needful item in the same and, thus, took timely action as well as special care of the laity.


The twelve Vows, the Five Smaller Ones and the

Principle of Ahimsa‑‑ Non violence


The general significance of our so far attempted exposition of the householder's twelve vows could be epitomised as follows:


The lay doctrine or the householder's ethical discipline is constituted mainly with twelve carefully thought out rules of conduct, which are meticulously divided in three groups: (1) the five anu‑vratas, (2) the three guna‑vratas and (3) the four siksa‑vratas.  The five anu‑vratas form the principal body of the code. and amongst these five, ahimsanu‑vrata is  the fundamental one the rest four being the means of its subsistence.258 The guna‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas together play the protective role for the anu‑vratas,259 Further, the guna‑vratas, being special forms of the anu‑vrata, strengthen them; and the siksa‑vratas, being of instructive nature, provide special exercises in the gradual preparation for the life of renunciation. Thus all the cohesive scheme amounts to saying that every other of the twelve rules of conduct for the householder is a particular form of the principle of ahimsa.260 In other words, ahimsa holds the key position in the whole scheme of the householders conduct. Moreover all these rules of conduct are concepted with due regard for man's primary instincts, his basic needs, his family responsibilities, his religio spiritual duties, his social obligations and the common good of all.  Lastly, the aticara  pentads and their interpretations, attached to these vows, are a sort of miniguides of cautions, representing the possible transgressions of the rules of conduct on the part of the layman, which are culled through actual observations of human weakness and mis adventures appearing on the ethical plane of the society. They also reflect our Acaryas' relevant re actions to the exigencies of time and place.


The householder's or Layman's Ahimsa

Now coming to ahirnsa, the layman's vow of ahimsa, which many people have not properly under‑stood,261 or, at times, misunderstood, we should remember that it is a partial or abated form of that complete or severe one, which is meant for the monk.  It has been given by the great seers a mould and spirit that could work normally in practical life. All this is based on the following significant concepts of himsa and ahmisa: 262



1.      pramatta‑yogat prana‑vyaparopanarn_ himsa‑‑  severence of vitalities of living beings through careless activities is himsa. Such definition is rare elsewhere .

2.      (i) suksma‑himsa (subtle or severe form of himsa)‑‑‑ causing injury or taking life of any living being. This is meant for the monk. (ii) sthula‑himsa (gross form of himsa) causing injury or taking life of mobile living beings (with two or more senses). This is meant for the householder.

3.      Then sthula‑himsa is of two types: (i) arambhi‑himsa‑‑‑ injury involved in an occupation is general, which is further divided in three categories: (a) udyaml himsa injury involved in one's ccupation chosen for livelihood, (b) grharambht‑himsa injury involved in domestic activities, like cooking, washing etc., (c) virodhi‑himsa injury involved in self‑defence and portection of one's own people and their property. These three cannot be avoided by the layman, and, hence, admissible in his case. (ii) anarambhnja‑‑himsa (hirnsa unrelated to occupation i.e., intentional) or arikalpaja‑himsa (himsa committed intentionally).  This is categorically forbidden for the layman.

4.      dravya‑hirmsa‑‑ injury actually caused to a living being. (ii) bhava‑himsa‑‑having intention for causing injury to a living. Jainism regards that commission of himsa does not depend merely on the act, but also on the intention for such an act. Hence the need of such distinction, which concept perhaps has no parallel in any other religious system.


The implications of bhava‑himsa can be explained with the following illustrations: If a person, while going to the temple with all carefulness, trample a suddenly jumped up frog and injures or kills it, he is not said to have committed himsa. On the other hand, if a person, burning with jealously and hatred for another person, entertains in his mind an intention to kill or injure him, he is said to have committed himsa, though he has not acted so. Pt. K.C.Shastri presents an interesting illustration in this Connection :263


A person sees a child drowning in a lake and rushes towards it with the intention of saving it.  Some how in his sincere attempt to do so, he him‑self rather becomes the cause of the child's being drowned and its consequent death. On the other hand, another person sees a drowning child of his enemy and entertains ample pleasure in his mind; but outwardly and pretendingly he creates alarm for help to save the child. Here, good intention (sad‑bhava) being the deciding factor, the first person can not be called himsaka (injurer), whereas the second one with bad intention (durbhava), has to be called himsaka.


In the light of all these concepts, the house‑holder is enjoined to abstain only from intentional himsa in its gross form. Hence runs the definition:264  Abstention from intentionally killing or hurting mobile living beings in mind, word or deed, by oneself (directly), through an agent or by consent is ahimsanu‑vrata.


Now a question arises as to why himsa involved in an occupation (arambhi himsa), with its three categories is not considered as himsa to be avoided by the householder ? It is so because the householder has to bear several personal and family responsibilities. He is also the backbone of the society at large.  Hence he has to indulge in manifold activities: To run his house he has to accept some profession, some means of livelihood. He has to feed and protect his family members. One has to cultivate land, another to join the Judiciary, the third to work for the defense of his country, so on and so forth.  Otherwise social and national life will come to stand‑still. With due knowledge of all this, himsa involved in such inevitable and relevant activities has been brought under arambhi‑himsa,  with its three categories. This is nothing but giving the layman's ahims a mould and spirit that could work normally in practical life. And we know that time has witnessed its smooth working for centuries.


Pages of history tell us that the Jainacaryas have often defended the admissibility of occupational, himsa in the case of the householder. I may, in respect of udyami and virodhl  himsa (grharambhi himsa requiring no comments), cite here the words of advice extended by Acarya Simhanandi to the Ganga kings, Dadiga and Madhava, preserved in a famous inscription of Karnatak, which is considered to have contained elements of sravakacara :266 "If they failed in what they promised, if they did not approve of the Jaina sasana, if they seized the wives of others if they ate honey or flesh, if they formed relationship with the low, if they gave not of their wealth to the needy, and if they fled from the battle field, their race would go to ruin." Our relevant point here is that the Acarya urges the two pious kings not to shirk from their responsibility of defending their country and protecting their subjects by fleeing from the battlefield.


Even Gandhiji, a great modern champion of ahimsa during the days of his Non-cooperation movement against the British Regime, once openly condemned some Congress workers, who, out of fear had run away from the responsibility of protecting their own wives, children and property from the hands of manipulated robbers, on the pretext of avoiding the would be himsa in case of their standing in strong resistance. He called such timidity a kind of himsa itself. He stated that ahimsa is not a means or medium for hiding one's timidity, but it is an important quality of the brave.267


Administering or catering of justice is also an aramba ‑occupational activity. If a householder, occupying the seat of Justice, punishes a criminal with a death sentence it can hardly be considered as an act of himsa. A present day eminent jurist, Shri Mangilal Jain, who held several positions in the lndian Judicial Service for about forty years and retired as a Judge of the Delhi High Court, considers Our Penal Code as a dimension of ahimsa on the social and national plane,268 because it helps to protect or save in future a number of persons from being injured or killed by criminals.


Perhaps keeping in view all such points obtaining in the householder's life and activities, Asadhara, at some other context, expresses269 the inevitability of arambhi hirmsa in the following words: The laity cannot exist without activity and there could be no activity without injuring or taking life; hence it is to be avoided, with all awareness, in its gross (sthula form; but the implicit part of it is difficult to avoid.270


One more significant point about ahimsa, In general, to be noted is that though this term is found in negative phraseology, it has its positive aspect too (J.  R. Williams points out271 that the negative formulation of this creed (Jainism) has been overstressed in most descriptions, and further observes: 272 "In the last resort every moral code rests, like the Christian decalogue, on prohibitions; but even in Jainism each anu‑vrata has its positive as well as negative aspect; ahimsa can be reformulated as daya, active compassion for all living beings." But we need not go for reformulation, for daya‑‑compassion means ahimsa. We can just recall the maxim‑like utterances of the great Acarya in this regard: (i) so dhammo jattha daya (ii)jivanam rakkhanam dhammo (iii) daya mulu dhammamgivah273 etc. It is also worth noting in this context that the Prasnaa‑vyakarana‑sutra274 gives sixty synonyms (sarthaka nama) of ahimsa. They are daya - compassion, raksa ‑ protection, samyama ‑ self‑restraint etc., that are positive in form and spirit. At the basis of the usage of all these terms, positive or negative, the cardinal principle is that of equality, that one should treat every other being like his own self. In a non‑technical set up, in a simple language and for the day to day practice of the common man, this can be explained as follows in the words of the Savaya dhamma doha275 What is the use of talking much? What is not liked by you, don't inflict it on others. This is the basis of dharma‑‑the righteous way of life. This is ahisma.


Peculiarities of the vows of Satya‑‑Truthfulness,

Acaurya‑‑ non‑stealing and Brahmacarya‑‑ Sexual Morality


Satya‑‑truthfulness, acaurya‑‑non stealing and brahmacarya sexual morality are excellent human qualities that are regarded as precious virtues by all religious systems of the world. But Jainism has given them wider connotation, has infused in them additional meaning, has enriched them with constructive interpretations, as it made them constituent elements of its ethical discipline, in which the lait systematically trained for individual welfare as well as the common good of all.276


Here satya is speaking what is commendable, what does not cause injury or suffering to living beings. Wrong advice, slander, disclosing others' secrets, forgery, breach of trust etc., are transgressions of this virtue that are to be carefully avoided. acaurya is not to misappropriate for oneself, nor give away to others another's property. Seizing another's objects or property is as good as depriving him of his external vitalities (belongings). Several anti‑social practices like receiving stolen property, adulteration of goods, evasion of the injunctions of the law of the State etc., are brought under the transgressions of this virtue. The layman's brahmacarya has been processed with double formulation, one positive and the other negative: One has to be contented with one's own wife and one has to abstain from keeping immoral relation with another's wife. Except his own wife, all other women are to be considered as his mother, sister or daughter. Even excessive desire for sex pleasures is a transgression of this virtue. We should remember that all these virtues are to be practiced in three ways‑‑ in mind. word and deed.


Lastly, among the anuvratas the parigraha‑parimana putting limitation to one's material possessions bears special significance of socio‑economic nature As the householder is enjoined to effect self‑ imposed limits on his property and wealth, economic imbalance among the members of the society is avoided paving the path for social peace and stability. Through the inclusion of ati‑sangraha‑‑excessive hoarding of commodities, ati‑lobha‑‑excessive greed for profit and accumulation of wealth etc., as transgressions, a note of warning is struck against antisocial trends.


Guna‑vratas‑‑The Strengthening Rules of Conduct

The guna‑vratas signify s pecial application or particularised extension of the anu‑vratas for helping to strengthen them. The dig‑vrata‑‑ putting limitation to one's activities carried within fixed boundaries, further curtails the already limited parigraha‑‑attachrnent to possessions; and the desavakasika‑vrata provides still further limited sphere, within the limitations already set by the dig‑vrata,  and, thus, detachment from parigraha is facilitated to be achieved through an intensive course of restrained life.


The anartha‑danda‑vrata‑‑ abstention from harmful activities that do not serve useful purpose, however bears a wider scope and deeper implications.  Avoidance of the five anartha‑ dandas‑‑ typical representatives of wanton or purposeless activities (papopadesa, apadhyana etc.,) and that of the transgressions thereunder (kandarpa, kautkucy etc.,) would train the individual in avoiding minor vices, in acquiring good personal habits and social manner,277 in learning correct way of thinking and in acting with a righteous purpose for the good of others as well as of his own self, besides being conducive to the observance of the anu‑vratas,  particularly the fundamental one viz., ahimsa.  It will not be exaggeration if we say that the contents of this vow represent lessons of training the  individual in the art of correct thinking, purposeful acting, righteous behavior and meaningful life.


Siksa‑vratas‑‑ The Disciplinary Rules of conduct and the Role of Dana‑‑‑Charity

If the guna‑vratas strengthen the anu‑vratas, the main body of the code of conduct for the house‑holder, the siksa‑vratas  bring perfection in their observance through a disciplinary process. The samayika is a procedure of spiritual discipline, passing through which the householder acquires equanimity and builds in himself an attitude of equality towards all living beings. The additional provision therein of religious practices like worship (puja), adoration (vandana),  meditation (dhyana) and devotion (bhakti, etc‑, further stabilize such discipline. The samayika also implies an effective training in the development of the householder's capacity for renunciation, with which he requires to be equipped for his further journey on the path leading to salvation. The prosadhopavasa being an austerity (tapa),  periodically imparts to the samayika an intensive phase, and, thus, strengthens it. The bhogopabhoga‑parimana, however, is an exercise for renunciation of objects of pleasures of senses on an increasing scale. It enhances the layman's capacity for restraint and will power. Thus all these three vows signify different ranges of samyama‑‑self‑restraint, which p]ays a vital role all along the course of moulding the lay conduct, and which is but a synonym, in positive terminology,278 of ahimsa, the fundamental one among the small vows. .


The dana vrata principally implies rather an objective of socio‑economic discipline than the spiritual one as found in case of the other three siksa‑vratas holds a significant position in the Jaina social organization. Its other designations like atithi‑samvibhaga (sharing with the atithi)  and atithi‑dana, in fact, imply that the monastic life, in respect of food and other bare necessities, hinges on the lay‑men's practicing this vow. But one can see that in later days its scope has been widened to any needy or deserving individual or institution. In still later days, a new aspect viz, dana‑pramana (the quantity or measure of dana in proportion to one's income) came to be added as is evident in Devasena's Six point Scheme and Hemacandra's Seven‑field Plan.


Besides as a vow, dana also holds the status of one of the four duties of the layman in the initial stage (caturvidha‑ sravaka‑dharma) and that of one of his six daily necessary rounds (sat‑karma).


The real importance and outcome of the triple role of dana  can be known from some of the examples profusely obtaining all along the course of the history of Jainism itself:


The benevolent practice of dana prevailing among the Jaina laity considerably helped for the spread and flourishing of Jainism particularly round about the medieval period: Dr. Saletore observes :279 But the most practical means the Jaina teachers adopted to win for themselves the allegiance and devotion of the masses was that relating to the four gifts of learning.  food, medicine and shelter, the primary needs of humanity. He,280 and also Prof. S. R. Sharma281 and Dr. P. B.  Desai,282 point out a number of inscriptions available in Karnatak that eloquently speak of liberal grants in the form of lands, money, corn etc., made by householders from royal families, feudatory chiefs, middle class of the society etc., for the Construction of temples, for provision of their maintenance etc. There are also copper‑plate charters, some of them with clear dates, regarding the construction of the Jinalayas, grants for observing periodical festivals, and feeding ascetics of Nirgrantha, yapaniya and Kurcaka Orders during the rainy re‑treat. Endowments of villages in favour of shrines are not in small number. The instance of offering a hundred sheep as a price, as a perpetual endowment, for burning a lamp in a Jaina temple, rather reflects a movefrom a non‑Jaina‑‑a Jaina sympathiser, inspired by the spirit of dana ardently practiced by the sravaka. Even during its downward days, when Jainism took refuge in the Tulu Nadu (South Canara), this benevolent practice of dana among the Jaina laity made great impression on the people there and helped them to earn the sympathy and good‑will of the majority community for peaceful coexistence.  About 180 grand  Jaina temples, with excellent architecture, built in the  area of Moodabidire, Karkal, Venur etc., in this small district, speak of the working of the spirit of dana among the devout laity. Dr.  Gururaj Bhatt observes :283 It is a historical truth that there was a remarkable meaningful understanding between the Jains and the Hindus, and a high sense of participation in the affairs of the state, both secular and religious, seemed to have prevailed. Even today in this region Jainism continues to be a distinct living religion with absolute harmony with Hinduism.


The practice of dana among the Jaina laity, particularly on jina‑bimba‑‑ the images of the Jina, jinalaya ‑ Jaina temples and jinagama ‑ the Jaina scriptural works etc., carried on for centuries together has had a cumulative effect of a worthy contribution by Jainism to Indian culture‑‑ art, architecture, literature and education being of our concern here among several other fields: Jaina iconography and temple architecture, as can be witnessed even to this day in Karnatak, Gujarat, Rajasthan and a few other regions, have a unique place in Indian art and architecture in general. Dana  happens to be a very potent motif, with which numerous narratives of didactic religio‑moral values, were composed in different languages, as can be noted in those excellent literary works, like Jniesvara‑suri's Kathakosa‑prakarana  (Prakrit), the Punyasravu‑Kathakosa (Sanskrit) title Vaddaradhane (Kannada) etc.  Innumerable manuscripts of ancient and medieval precious works were prepared and preserved intact in the form of the Sastrabhandaras‑‑  Manuscript Libraries under the custody of the Jaina temples. The idea of Public Library in India is said to have originated from such first attempts made in the Jaina centers in Rajasthan.284  Even to this day such libraries at Jaisalmer, Patan, Arrah, Moodbidri and Kolhapur etc.) have earned the value of a national asset and attract scholars from abroad too. The Jaina temples and the Bhattaraka shrines also served as the early centers of primary education in India, which fact is echoed from the well known salutary line "onamasidham‑‑‑ a corrupt form of the Prakrit "Om namo  Siddhanam", that was available till the 20th century in numerous schools of Northern India.285 The worth and strength of the sastra‑dana is seen even today among numerous well‑to‑do members of the Jaina laity liberally extending a helping hand towards publication of worthy books,

encouragement to scholars in their pursuits, institution of endowments for higher studies and research, liberal donations to educational institutions, and recognition of outstanding contribution to literature etc.


The Role of Puja‑‑‑ Worshipping

Some Acaryas like Svami Samantabhadra consider the puja as an aspect of the dana; but most of them associate it with the samayika, whereinto it appears to have made its headway and in the long run practically replaced it. It cannot be denied that as the samayika being inlaid with a tough procedure, for the layman, unlike the monk, it is difficult to practice. The svetambara tradition, which had from the beginning given much importance to it, though maintained its separate identity for a considerably long time, later felt the need of simplifying measures and gradually admitted, possibly through vandanaka, some elements of the puja as a part of the samayika; later even the puja began to be thought of as an alternate resort at home, when one found difficulty in going out to the temple. By about 1500 A.D.  the practice of the samayika rather came to be restricted to the period of leisure of the rainy reason Ratnasekhara, the author of the sraddha‑vidhi (1450 A. D.) very well brings out the implications of this phenomenon in the following words: 'The acceptance of the samayika is difficult for a rich man while the puja is easy'.286


The Digambara Acaryas however, had reacted to the toughness of the procedure of the samayika for the laity far earlier by gradually affecting in it some simplifying changes, among which the puja came to be its prominent constituent element in later days; and by 1000 A. D. it covered dhyana‑‑meditation and puja‑worship, both dravya‑puja‑worship by offering material objects and bhava‑puja‑worship by mental concentration or contemplation.287 Acaryas like Vasunandi interpreted the samayika as adoration of jina‑vani (sastra)‑  ‑scriptures, jina‑dharma‑‑Jaina religion, jina‑bimba‑‑ image of the Jina and Para‑meshis‑‑the (five) venerable ones.288


But still earlier puja formed one of the house‑holder's four duties (dharma) viz., dana, puja, sila and tapa, as mentioned in the Caritra‑prabhrta, the Varanga‑carita and Harivamsa‑ purana and perhaps later termed as the Caturvidha‑sravaka‑ dharma‑‑ Four‑fold Code of Conduct for Householders, on the model of the (davadasavidha‑sravaka‑dharma_289 Twelve‑fold Code of conduct for Householders. Jinasena, and other Acaryas following his line, held the sad‑avasyakas‑‑six necessary duties290 as belonging to the monastic life, which then were virtually replaced by the six karmas‑‑routine duties. In his Adipurana Jinasena prescribed the practice of puja (ijya), varta, dana, svadhyaya .  samyama and tapa as a the kula‑dharma‑‑family customs or duties to be practiced by those who have accepted the householder's vows, wherein the puja covered the samayika, the caturvimsati‑stava and the uandanaka; the former .sila (a constituent of the caturvidha  ‑ sravaka‑dharma) was split into varta, svadhyaya and samyama; and still later, varta was replaced by guru seva;  and, finally, deva‑puja, gurupasti svadhyaya, samyama, tapa  and dana came to be designated as the layman's sat‑karmas‑‑  six daily routine duties as mentioned by Somadeva in his Upasaka‑dhyayana. 291


R. Williams points out that the puja not being discussed in canonical works is an extraneous element and forms a major element of the householder's religion 292 We see that it has entered into the house‑holder's religio‑spiritual life rather imperceptibly at different stages and in different garbs‑‑ as a layman's dharma‑duty in the initial stage of his career, as a constituent of his samayika, as his daily necessary karma‑  ‑routine duty etc. But by the time of Jina‑sena, the puja  emerged with large amount of ritual.  considerably imitated from Hinduism, partly adopted from it and partly adapted to its own needs. Along with puja and its ritualistic formalities, several Hindu social customs, practices and ceremonies too entered into the Jaina way of life. Jinasena's list of 53 kriya which is said to be a blue print for the layman's whole span of life‑‑‑ from cradle to death, stands as witness to this phenomenon. This phenomenon occurred as per the natural need of the time and region‑ Somadeva, defending all this, called it vyavahara‑dharma‑‑ practical righteous path. He declared


Sarva eva hi Jainanam pramanam loukiko vidhi |

Yatra samyaktva hanih nayatra na vrata‑dusanam|293


All Jainas can accept such contemporary social customs and practices, which do not harm the right faith nor infringe their vows. Moreover Somadeva's detailed description of the puja and its ritual presented in his Upasakadhyayana has no parallel in any other work. Pt. K. C. Shastri observes in this regard :294 Had not the able and foresighted Jainacaryas, among whom Jinasenacarya happens to be prominent and outshining, done like this, the flood of the Hindu influence that had been rushing from the Gupta period probably could have washed away Jainism from the Indian soil.


I may point out here that the yaksi‑cu1t in Karnataka and the iyakki‑cu1t in the Tamil country came into existence along the line of such thought and need. It was a practical endeavour on the part of Jainism to accomodate itself to the age and region in which it had to live and grow. Actually it was in a move, in early days, to protest against the violent modes of worship, the heads of Yaksas and Nagas ere made Chiefs of guardian angels, (sasana‑devata) of the T1rthankaras and accomodated them in the Jaina temples.295  But later in the mediaeval period, when the need of female God, i. e., goddess (for giving various kinds of blessings including issues to barren women) and that: of ceremonial aspects of religious rites was felt, Padmavati, Jvalamalin1 etc., were raised to the required status. Dr. P.  B. Desai observes 296 The popularity of religion is based on its ceremonial which has a direct appeal to the common man.  This fact was realized by the protagonists of the Jaina religion, who, reared their religious rites and practices .in ceremonius surroundings.  And, lastly, I would say that this klnd of vyavahara‑dharma‑‑practical path set along the by life has played a pro‑minent role for the survival and flourishing of Jainism in South India to its golden eight, to the extent that nearly one third of South India once was covered by the adherents of the Jaina faith. This also implies some degree of changefulness or dynamism of some aspects of the lay doctrine.297 Such trend, it may be noted, took some other turn between C. 1650 and 1800 A.D. in Northern India, when the followers of the Terapanthi (Dig ) and Sthanakavasi (Svet.) subsects discarded tke puja as  idolatry in favour of svadhyaya or acquiring scriptural knowledge. 298


Sallekhana‑‑Willing Submission to the Inevitable Death:

Lastly, the sallekhana being of voluntary nature and supplementary status in the layman's code of conduct, implies that one should face the inevitable death with all willingness, by not entertaining any kind of passion, bY abstaining from food and absorbed in meditation.





251 Yuktyanusasana, p . 21.


252. (i) Vide, in this regard, the observation of Prof. Hermann Jacobi: "It cannot be doubted that this close union between laymen and monks brought about by similarity of their religious duties, differing not in kind but in degree, has enabled Jainism to avoid fundamental changes within and to resist changes from without for more than two thousand years, while Buddhism, being less exacting as regards the laymen, underwent the most extraordinary evolutions and finally disappeared from the country of its origin." Op cit., p. 31. ii) Vide also the observation of Prof. A. L.  Basham: "The Jaina monks perhaps paid greater attention to the laymen than did the Buddhists, and in Jainism the layman was a definite member of the Order, encouraged to undertake periodical retreats and to live as far as possible the life of the monk for specified periods.": The Wonder that was India, pp.  292‑ 93. (iii) We must also remember here Svami Samanta‑bhadra's significant remark made at some other context (Ratnakarandaka Sra. V. 26):......  na dharmo dharmikaihvina, Religion has no separate entity without the religionists‑‑ without those who practice it. (iv) Dr. G. C. Pande holds that the self‑imposed limitation of the Jaina tradition on proselytism also enabled it to continue as it was, without seeking to disturb others from being what they were. The Jaina Ethical Tradition and lts Relevance, R. K. Jain Memorial Lectures on Jainism, p. 2.


253. Enumerated in Ratnakarandaka Sra, Vs. 22‑24.


254. Worshipping gods imposing on them strange qualities in order to obtain boons, etc.


255. Ppraising untrue or pretending ascetics, etc.


256. This represents numerous popular beliefs and Superstitions .


257. That is, both samyaktva and the mula‑gunas are prerequisites of adoption of the twelve vows by the house‑bolder.


258. Just as the quadrangular fence serves a field of corn .


259. Just as the rampart protects the town.


260. As Amrtacandra has proved so at length.


261. I have heard people criticising Jainism and the Jaina laity in respect of observance of ahimsa. without knowing the true and distinct nature of the vow of ahilhsa enjoined to be practiced by the layman.


262. These have been already discussed at length under the topic of the ahithsanu‑vrata. Now I would just recount and highlight them with some observations and illustrations classical, historical and modern


263. Bharatiya Dharma Evam Ahimsa, pp. 85‑86.


264. Ratnakarandaka Sra, V. 53 .


265. (i) Thus the intention (sankalpa) implied here is of nine kinds. (ii) Later Acaryas, however, for practical purpose, reduced it to six kinds by proposing omission of the commission of himsa by consent.


266. ( i ) The Kallura‑gudda Stone Inscription, dated 1122 A.D. (ii) Vide Medieval Jainism, by B. A. Saletore, p. 12. (iii) Vide also Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. VIII, Sb 261


267. (i) For details vide, Pt. K. C. Shastri's Bharatiya  Dharma Evam Ahimsa, pp. 183‑184. (ii) It may be noted that fear itself is a kind of himsa  according to Jaina Ethics. A real Jaina cannot be touched by the seven kinds of fear.  Vide Ibid.. p 135


268. From thoughts on Ahimsa, from the Presidential Chair, R. K. Jain Memorial Lecture Series, Delhi University, 1983; Vide Bharatiya Dharma Evemn Ahimsa, pp. 186‑87.


269. Sagara‑Dharmamrta, IV‑12.


270. R. Williams considers this line of thought as the eternal dialemma of Jainism in laying down an ethos for the layman. Op. cit., p. 121.


271. Op. cit., Intro., p. XIX.


272. Ibid.


273. These have been already noted with their sources.


274. Ch. VI‑21, 


275.  (i) V. 104. ii) And in these words one can discern an echo of Lord Mahavira's message to mankind preserved in the Acdranga‑‑sutra, II‑3.‑: savvc pana piyauya suha saya etc. 


276. Besides the householder's code of conduct, for centuries together, and even to this day to some extent, the regular and periodical sermons of monks and the specially composed narratives based on the theory of retribution have helped the laity to imbibe such virtues and build charaoter towards a healthy society.


277. I may recall here Dr. Annie Besant's impresslons of the Jaina householder coming under her curious observation by the close of the 1sth century: "The Jain a householder is found quiet, self‑controlled, dignified rather silent, rather reserved..." Jainism, p. 29.


278. Other such ones being karuna, daya, raksa etc., we must remember.


279. Medieval Jainism, p. 173.


280. Ibid.


281. Juinism and Karnatak Culture.


282. Jainism in South India and Some Jaina Epigraphs.


283 .Studies in Tuluva History and Culture  p 441.


284.     As held by Dr. K. C. Jain in his Jainism in Rajasthan,  p.  231.


285 (i) As noted by Dr. Jyoti Prasad Jain in his Jaina Sources of the History of India, 141. (ii) For further details on this point, vide the monograph Onamasidham, by Dr. Prem Sagar Jain, Kundakunda Bharati, New Delhi, 1989.


286. For details vide R. Wiliiams, Op. cit., pp. 138‑39.


287. Vide Ibid., pp. 137‑138.


288. Kasunandi‑sravakacara, V. 275.


289. (i) The Vaddaradhane mentions both of these more than once in St. No. 13, which is almost a mini‑sravakacara treatise. (ii) Following Prof. Schubring (Op. cit, p. 308) we can render 'caturvidha-sravaka‑dharma' as lay morality, treating it in parallel with 'dasa vidha ‑muni dharma'‑‑ the monastic morality. (iii) As I have already suggested the caturvidha‑sravaka  dhatma concerns the early or initial stage of the layman's life. This suggestion is based on the contextual evidence in St. No. 13 of the Vaddarndhane.


290 They are samayika‑‑ spiritual discipline, catur‑vimsati   sravaka‑‑adoration ofthe twenty‑four Jains, vanda‑naka‑ worship or adoration of a monk or a community of monks,  prati‑kramana‑‑confession of past faults, pratyakhyana -- forfending of future faults (in respect of food, drinks and comforts) and kayotsarga‑‑ adandonment of attachment to one's body for a limited time (the minimum being one muhurta ‑ 48 minutes).


291. Vide Pt. K. C. Shastri's discussion in his Intro.  to Upasakadhyana, pp. 66‑67.


292. Op. cit., p. 216.


293. Upasakadhyana. V. 480.


294. Intro. to Upasakadhyaana, pp. 39‑40.


295. As noted by Dr. H.L. Jain, Bharatiya Sanskrtimc Jaina  Dharmika Yogadanu p. 157


296. Op cit., p. 72.


297. (i) "The changelessness of Jainism is no more than a myth." So remarks R. Williams, Op cit., Intro. p. XIX. (ii) He also observes that Jainism at one time, was on the path of becoming a majority religion in South India, something akin to a Digambara Mahayna, Ibid.


298. For details vide Jaina Community by Dr V A Sangave, pp. 56‑58.




The present Day ailing World, the LAY Doctrine and a Proposal for a New Approach

So far we have taken a fairly comprehensive critical view of the Householder's Ethical Discipline or Code of Conduct (the Lay Doctrine), which was expounded by the Jina in the hoary past, which later got a tangible shape at the hands of the early Acaryas and which, having its full growth and glorious days in the mediaeval period, settled down in its present form and spirit. We have also brought out its significance.  It has had down the ages considerable impact on Indian life and thought and drawn attention, sympathy, good will and appreciation of great thinkers from different parts of the world. Now it would be quite pertinent on our part to see how far its principles and practices could be relevant to the present times, to the present world.


The world today has become highly complex.  Scientific and technological advancement has made it compact as well as complicated. Industrial revolution no doubt has given rise to enormous production of wealth, but has also brought in unceasing waves of unrest and misery. Overgrowth of population in some parts of it has created numerous problems that almost defy solution. Both, the industrial revolution and overgrowth of population, have led man to undue encroachment on nature's certain zones and reserves and upset ecological equilibrium. Man's values of life have changed and, more particularly, his ethical values have been deplorably damaged.  Compassion, truth, honesty, charity, regard for anothers life and property, neighbourly brother‑hood, selfless service, sense of mutuality etc., have been paralysed within the boundaries of one's own country as well as at inter‑state level By way of illustration, the following items can be said to form a digest‑list of the various incidents, conditions and situations occurring or prevailing in the day to day life in different parts of the world, as known through the mass‑media of communication like the press, the radio and the T. V.


Arms race between the great powers and also between some of the neighbouring countries and ethnic groups, arising from lust for power and supremacy, or from fear, hatred and defense measures, has kept our planet in perpetual anxiety; terrorism involving, killings of even innocent people including women and children, has struck at the very root of carefree and peaceful living; smuggling, robbery, hijacking, sabotage etc., take place almost with professional skills; ecological imbalance caused by man for selfish ends has led to permanent annihilation of some species of animals and birds, to creation of peculiar health‑hazards and also to provocation of natures wrath in the form of drought, storm, earth‑quake etc.; an undue permissiveness and strange life‑ styles among members of some sections of society have given rise to pernicious vices like drug‑addiction and formidable diseases; there occur here and there deaths and deadly conditions owing to hunger, exploitation, oppression, adulteration, hoarding, scarcity etc.; if in some sections of the society individuals as well as groups can squander money and material at will, in others individuals and groups go on begging or linger on under acute poverty and suffering throughout life. Years ago, Dr.  S.  Radhakrishnan reflected299 "The shape of the future gives US much concern. With all the resources at our command, with all the gifts with which we have been endowed, with all the plans we have developed, we are unable to live in peace and safety.  We have grown in knowledge and intelligence, but not in wisdom and value.  For lack of the latter, things are interlocked in perpetual strife. No center holds the world together


The social pathos of the age is exploited by countless individuals in different parts of the world, who pose as leaders and proclaim their foolishness as wisdom.  We are sowing grain and weeds at random." The shape of the future, the great philosopher‑statesman was worried about years ago, has actually now turned out to be still grimmer causing much more concern for all. A deep and unbiased thinking over all this state of affairs of the acting world today, would rather illuminate us that all these maladies, and many other ones also, sprang up from the crisis of moral values, from the crisis of character in the present human society;300 and there seems to be no cure by any outside hand or a centrally organized agency. So a change, a change of heart, or a moral conversion, has to come from within and, hence, remedies have to be necessarily directed at building healthy human character or at developing in him healthy moral values.301'


This can be done by adopting some remedial of morals and assimilating it in our day to day life. The Jaina pattern of such code prescribed for the laity, upon which we have so far dwelt, which comprises the quintessence of profound human ideals of individual and social morality and which has for ages fruitfully stood for universal good (sarvo.  daya),  could certainly be of considerable use in this regard and serve the cause of the welfare of mankind But a question arises here as to how far and to what degree of vigour this Code of Conduct could be adopted today for this purpose. We know that it could not, in later days, be practiced by the laity in the same manner as was done in the early and mediaeval period. We cannot afford to forget the poignant statement of the author of the Savaya‑dhamma‑doha (C. 1300 to 1400 A. D.):


majju mamsu mahu pariharai sampai savau hoi |

nirukkhai eranda‑vani kim na bhavai hoi ||302


Nowadays he, who but abstains from wine meat and honey, himself becomes the householder (sravaka). Could there be no shadow in the castor‑grove which is devoid of big trees ? Nor can we set aside Pt. K. C Shastri s observations303 on the mode of the present day practice of the same by the laityand on the attitude of the teachers in guiding them in this respect. We cannot also ignore the representative thoughts of the duly enlightened householder on the practical aspects of the Lay Doctrine today. Dr. Nemicandra Jain, Editor of the Tirthankara, while deliberating on the possible phase of Jainism in e ensuing 21st century, implicitly states 304 We can roughly estimate as to what type of householder could there be by the beginning of the 21st century on the strength of the factual difference Iying between the householder of 1901 and that of 1950, and also between the householder of 1951 and that of l986. It is uncontroversially clear that the house‑holder of 2001 would again be a little different, who would be adjusting himself to the increased living facilities and also to the enhanced complexity of life itself caused by further more advancement in science and technology.


In the light of such observations and views that are based on reasonable grounds, one has to strike a balance between the prescribed rigour and extent of this code of conduct and its tangible practicability in the present times. But how ?  I, for one, honestly think that this can be done by designing a new approach on the following line: We know that the anu‑vratas form the main body of the layman's conduct and the sila‑vratas (viz., the guna‑vratas and the siksa‑vratas) play a secondary role of strengthening and protecting this main body, which comprises the gross observance of non‑violence, truth, honesty (non‑stealing), restrainingly regulated sex‑life and limited attachment to worldly possessions. The present day complex life of man naturally would not make it possible for the practice of the secondary rules of conduct like the dik, the desavakasika  and the samayika with that procedure and rigour. Hence their objectives can be grasped and their spirit he imbibed for the individual development of personality. On the other hand, the anartha‑danda, the bhogopabhoga‑parimana, the upavasa  (prosadhopavasa) and the dana can be practiced fairly well according to one's capacity and reasonable convenience. But the five anu‑vratas,305 predominated by the great virtue of ahimsa a ‑ non‑violence, being the cardinal human virtues of great merit and catholic nature306 and being, capable of remaining valid for all peoples of all times and climes, are potent enough to offer cure to the aforesaid maladies of this ailing world to a great extent. Moreover we know that non‑ violence (ahimsa is the fundamental of all these virtues and the proper cultivation of it involves the cultivation of all other ones. The virtue of limited attachment to worldly possession (parigraha‑parimana) is but a specialized application of non‑violence to man's socio‑economic field of life. We also know that the anekanta drsti (non‑absolutistic approach to an object, idea or phenomenon) is a wisely made extension of ahimsa to the sphere of human thought, deliberation and discussion, though it is not a direct constituent of this code of conduct. Therefore the practice of the virtues of non‑violence (ahimsa, limited attachment to possessions (parigraha‑parimana) and non‑absolutistic attitude (anekanta‑drsti) have to be marked with distinctive emphasis as relevant to the present times, as relevant to the alleviation and elimination of the manifold maladies of today's world.


Our Proposed New Approach is not a Sentimental Utopianism, but the one Standing on Proven Facts.

This approach or formula need not be taken as sentimental utopianism, for the significance and efficacy of these virtues have been proved all along time and again. The key virtue of non‑violence, as explained and taught by the great tradition of Jain acaryas through their sermons and writings, and as practiced by the laity for centuries together, has imperceptibly percolated in Indian thought and permeated the Indian social order. R. Williams observes307 that Jainism has strived for centuries to permeate the Indian social order, without challenging it, with the spirit of compassion.  The striking features of Indian culture, particularly with its humanity, higher level of kindliness and gentleness",308  could be, to a considerable‑extent, owing to the Jaina contribution through its professed virtues of ahimsa‑‑non‑ violence and anekanta drsti (non‑absolutistic attitude) etc. The annals of Indian History, particularly those of the History of Karnatak, Gujarat and Rajasthan, are eloquent about the mode and magnitude of such contribution.309 Vegetarianism, attitude of   charity, sense of accomodation and tolerance, which  are prominently found among the peoples of these regions even to this day, hold evidence to this fact Taking an inquisitive peep into the way of living of the present day Jaina laity, would very well encourage our approach or formula. Behind Dr. Annie Besant's impression of the Jaina householder as "quiet, self‑controlled, dignified, rather silent, rather reserved''310 etc., lies the effect of these virtues. What could be the reason behind the findings of Dr. V. A. Sangave31l that comparatively there is found a very small number of criminals among the Jainas and that the habitual criminals are not at all found among them ? Moreover drinking habits, I myself have observed, are found to the minimum degree among them. It is also interesting to note that recently in 1985, the Department of Social Anthropology at the university of Cambridge organized an International Seminar on the Jainas as a Community, on a major consideration that Jaina community is the only community in the world today that practiced non‑violence, to which there was an excellent response from social scientists, social anthropologists and social historians from all over the world.3l2 When we look at the Jaina householder from the point of view of the virtue of limited attachment to worldly possessions, we meet with a criticism from some quarters that the Jainas, being merchants, are ever after earning money and money only Firstly such criticism is an exaggerated one. Secondly it is based on a wrong assumption that the Jainas mean only merchants. But all Jainas are not merchants, but most of them happen to be merchants  Vaisya community by age‑ long tradition.  There could, of course, be exceptions of cases, as found elsewhere too, of too much of money‑mindedness or of acquisitive egotism. But some of the Jaina sterling qualities and business and trade ethics have no parallels in other business quarters in India. It is interesting to note that some of these qualities, like naya‑ sampanna‑vibhava (possessed of honestlyearned wealth), papa‑ bhiru (apprehensive of sin), sadacaraih krita sanga(attached to good moral standards), vyayam‑alocitam kurvan (spending after properly thinking) etc., are laid down as the constituent qualities of an illustrious householder,313 which must have influenced these merchants all along centuries of years. More over the Lay Doctrine, besides through the virtue of parigraha‑parimana‑‑ limited attachment to possessions, has also kept a fair amount of check on the layman's acquisitive infatuation through the virtue of dana‑‑gift or charity;314 and the virtue of charity, as obtaining even today among the members of the Jaina community, needs no further elucidation.  I may point out that through centuries the Jainacaryas have been almost and often imperative3l5 on the practice of charity by the laity. This is reflected in the following gaha3l6 of the Savaya‑dhamma‑doha, it‑self, which, as we have noted earlier, is rather critical of the contemporary descendent trend of the practice of the lay conduct in general:


jai gihattllu danena vinu jagi pabhanijjai koi |

ta gihatthu pamkhi vi havai jem gharu tahavi hoi ||


In this world, if anybody without dana could be called a grhastha‑‑householder, then even a bird can be called so, for it too has a house (a nest to live in)


This treatise also holds (p. 78) that among all the constituents of the four‑fold morality of the house‑holder, dana (charity or gift) is said to be the supreme one:


Savaya‑dhammaham sayalaham mi danu pahanu suvuttu |


The Three Great Virtues‑‑Non violence, Limited Attach‑ ment to Possessions and Non‑absolutistic Attitude, have  Already stood the test at the Hands of Gandhiji 


Moreover our approach or formula gathers additional strength from the fact that the significance and efficacy of these three great virtues have stood a crucial test even in modern days at the hands of as great a thinker and personage as Gandhiji, who was considerably influenced in the early part of his life by the family religio‑ethical atmosphere of his ancestors and elders that had a deep impact of the Jaina traditions in Gujarat, and who was equally impressed later by the great religious philosopher Leo Tolstoy's exalted evaluation of profound morality and positive love. Gandhiji successfully experimented with these virtues in the form of non‑violence and truth, towards the solution of important socio‑political problems on the national level, which were bewilderingly conditioned by internal circumstances and exploited by external forces. It is through Gandhiji that for the first time the value of the virtue of non‑violence came to be known all over the world on a large scale. According to Gandhiji, not physical injury alone is violence. Evil thoughts, sentiments of revenge and l brutality, verbal pugnacity and even accumulation Of unnecessary things represent examples of violence.317  


Gandhiji's practice of the virtue of non‑violence in the social context had the following ground: "For me, non‑ violence is the life‑breath of the community (samaj). It is a social conduct, which cannot end with the individual. This makes difference between the animal and the man. The animal has no thinking power and man has it. Therefore non‑violence has great significance for him. This should be easy for the community too. The community has survived on its strength.  In some communities it is in a developed form, in others it is dwarf. But without it, no community can survive even for a short time.3l8


Gandhiji successfully used the technique of non‑violence, as built on strong moral values and infused in the minds of millions of people, for political ends, prominently for his Freedom Movement and elimination of the British regime. Moreover "as a spiritual and ethical idealist, he believed in the moralization of public administration to make it patterned, more and more, on the basis of non‑violence. He wanted to reform the structure of modern political life. If Svaraj could be achieved by non‑violence, then the Svaraj polity had to be increasingly based on the principle of ahimsa. Hence he emphasized the application of honesty, integrity and beneficent purpose in public administration."3]9 Gandhiji also held that there should be spiritualization and moralization of the basis of politics as a counter‑poise to power politics. He was also not happy with the view of some liberal thinkers in the West, who prescribed political and institutional solution of the malady of the world through some arrangement like a World Parliament or a World System of Republics, so that humanity would have an era of freedom, progress and happiness. He was not happy with a mere institutional formula. He felt that humanity was passing through the crisis of a whole civilization and it could be cured only by a restoration of the moral vows of truth and non‑violence."320


Gandhiji practiced the virtue of limited attachment to possessions (parimita‑parigraha) without coining any special term for it, but under the benign strength and scope of the virtue of non‑violence it‑self. We have already noted that he called unnecessary accumulation of things violence.  He himself lead an austere life and expected the same from his colleagues,321' particularly during the Freedom Movement, to observe austerity at all levels keeping in view the poor conditions of the Indian farmers, who formed the bulk of the nation. For Gandhiji, the carakha symbolized freedom, self‑ dependence, distribution of employment to the needy millions instead of concentration of money at the hands of a few through the textile mills. His own austere and frugal dress‑‑ a short dhoti to wrap, and a piece of long cloth to cover, was symbolic of his morally and economically sharing a common life with the Indian farmers and other poor sections of the society. Further the financial aspect of his Freedom Movement was looked after by the curtailment of greed, through social charity, on the part of numerous patriotic wealthy merchants and landlords. The Sarvodaya scheme and the Bhudana Movement, started by his colleagues and followers, implied a veritable lesson in the practice of the virtue of limited attachment to possessions itself. Prof.  Ramji Simha, Center of Gandhian Studies, Bhagalpur University, Bihar, holds that the Jaina concept of aparigraha was placed before the public by Gandhiji in the form of 'trusteeship.'322


Gandhiji's experiments with non‑violence and truth, also comprised the application of non‑absolutistic view (anekanta‑drsti), for without it, it is hardly possible to reach truth, which is always non‑absolute or many‑sided. He did apply it at relevant contexts.  He often accepted offers of dialogues and deliberations with the authorities of the British regime with the purpose of knowing their points of view and with that of giving them chances to reconsider his earlier assertions on particular issues. He had the same attitude towards his colleagues and leaders of other political organizations in India. On reasonable grounds he even did not hesitate to step back a little and strike a compromise with the opposite person or group on certain questions. We get such examples of his broad‑sighted or non‑ absolutistic view having been displayed in some of his dealings with the British regime and the Moslem League on certain issues.


Lastly, I may point out that Gandhiji's favorite and known multi‑religious prayer is a unique symbol of his non‑ absolutistic view being put into practice, which has remained for us all as a source of eternal spirituality, fostering universal outlook and cherishing universal good.


The Relevance of These Great Virtues to the Solution of the Outstanding Problems of the Present Times:

Vindicating our present approach or formula and knowing the proven or tested importance and efficacy of these great virtues of abiding value, viz., non‑‑violence, limited attachment to possessions and non‑absolutistic view, let us now look into their exact relevance to the redress of the prominent maladies or to the solution of the outstanding problems of the present times.


The Problem of Violence and Unrest:

The problem of violence in the form of eating meat or food has been a typical one and is more so in the present day world. Those who are born in the families in which vegetarianism is not the traditional food habit, take to meat eating as a normal part of the course of their life.  Several others begin to eat meat supposing that it has greater nutritive values.  There are others who support meat eating on the ground that the vegetarian food produced in the world is not sufficient for all or for the continuously growing population and, hence, argue that non‑vegetarian food is inevitable. But we know that from amongst habitual meat eaters numerous pious minded and rational thinkers, have stood up both from the eastern and western part of the globe, and have protested and condemned meat eating on moral, rational and health grounds; and it is gratifying to note that recently the movement for vegetarianism and prevention of cruelty to animals and birds is gradually taking deeper roots. The avowed cultivation of the virtue of non‑violence, which fosters in man equality, sanctity and compassion for the life of other beings, we can hope, would give tremendous momentum to such movements and ultimately eliminate the injurious habit of meat eating from all over the world.


Meat eating is quite harmful to man on the moral ground. As we think, so we are. Similarly as we eat, so we become. Meat eating moulds the mental attitude of man so as to disturb the natural law of his own being‑‑the law of the sameness of life, the law of "Live and let live". It affects man's social behaviour too. A glimpse of the extreme effects and implications of meat eating can be had from the words of Dr. Annie Besant addressed to the World Vegetarian Congress Years ago: "The constant use of meat in utter disregard of the sting of the conscience‑ hardens the heart and the man becomes bereft of the feeling of mercy. The butcher uses his knife upon the bewailing mute creatures, which are but images of fear and horror, without the least worry. For this reason, in the United States no butcher is permitted to sit on the jury in a murder trial. He is not permitted to take part in such a trial simply because his continuous contact with slaughter is held to somewhat blunt his susceptibilities in this connection, so that all through the States no man of this trade is permitted to take part as a juryman in a trial for murder."323


Moreover for reasons of human physiology and health too, meat eating is not at all good. Nature has created man as a herbivorous being as against the carnivorous ones. Hence vegetarian food itself is relevant and conducive to his normal way of life and maintenance of health. Dr. Dhananjay Gunde, presenting an analytical study of this subject, observes: "Nature has prescribed a particular type of food for a particular animal considering its aim of life, the type of work it has to do etc. And, accordingly, nature has created its anatomical arrangement, the physiological function of its body and its mental set up So if one has to take a maximum benefit from one's human machine i. e., from one's body, one has to choose the right fuel (food) for one's body Considering all (the above seven point) basic scientific facts, namely, anatomical and physiological features, one realizes that the human engine needs herbivorous fuel i. e., vegetarian food. Purer the fuel we use, the better will be the function of the engine. 324


Even the argument in support of meat eating, made on the ground of the ratio of population and supply of vegetarian food, does not stand on a firm footing.  There has been, owing to new revolutionary methods of seed‑processing, agricultural operations, manuring etc., an enormous growth in the production of foodgrains and vegetables and considerable advancement in its preservation have taken place.  Shortage of them is but owing to mal‑distribution caused by several other reasons of socio‑economic and other nature. Dr. John R. A.  Mayer, while dealing with non‑violence and its implications to diet and animal husbandry, observes: 325  "lnsensitivity to animal rights is one dimension of a fading contact with the fundamental principle of non‑injury. A further beneficial side‑effect of the vegetarian approach to life is the fact that by not cycling edible grain through unnaturally kept animals, there will simply be more food to feed the many undernourished people in the world, for it takes approximately 5 kg. of edible grain to produce 1 kg. of meat. Thus the observance of Jaina precept on a larger scale will directly reduce hunger in the world." Thus on all these grounds, moral, health and economic, meat eating is perniciously harmful to man leading to far reaching effects and consequences. Hence the cultivation of the virtue of non‑ violence, I believe, by every member of the society becomes imperative.


Conflicts between Ethnic Groups and Neighbouring  countries, and War between Nations and Groups of Nations:

Solution of issues between ethnic groups, between neighbouring countries, between blocks of countries wedded to different ideologies through violent conflicts and war, has been one of the most aching maladies of mankind. Even the 'cold war', in anticipation of 'hot war', has often caused horror and misery not only among the people of the countries of conflict‑mongers, but also among those of the peace‑loving innocent ones to a considerable extent. Such conflicting or war‑‑minded peoples, countries, or blocks of countries, being blind with their passions like power, pride of strength and wealth, hatred, revenge etc., do not have any regard for the sanctity, equality and dignity of human life, let alone be for that of other living beings at large.  Hence thousands of fighting men lose their lives and more of the innocent people are killed.326 People in every country of the world, hearing about the nuclear arms‑race between bigpowers and remembering the incalculable loss of life and inhuman atrocities caused by the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II, are found in constant dread of the nuclear holo‑caust that may befall this planet any day.327


Nor have the conflicting parties the patience to consider calmly and regard the cause of the issue as thought by others on the opposite side,328 for both parties hold one‑sided view and, hence, go on charging one another. Inculcation of virtues of non‑violence (ahimsa) and non‑absolutistic view (anekanta drsti), with the law of universal love and with regard for the other man's view through dialogue and discussion, in the respective national life of all peoples, would cut at the very root of this malady of conflict and war.  At this context we must remember what Gandhiji years ago said :329 "So long as big powers do not decide to set aside their arms, there can be no peace. I think that such powers should understand this fact after the present (World War Il) experiences. After fifty years of experiments and experiences there is a feeling in my heart that the welfare and progress of humanity is hinged on ahimsa alone.


Racial Discrimination, casteism and Exploitation of some  by Others:

Though the days of imperial exploitation and colonization are counted, some of man's ugly doings like racial discrimination and untouchability still linger on, denying equality of status and rights to some sections of the people of the modern world.  Justice Tukol sketches330 the prevailing picture of these social evils in the following lines: "Every religion lays down that all human beings are born equal; but yet equality in social status and equality of rights have been denied to different sections of the population in different countries. Though Jafferson has stated in his Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; yet the Negroes are denied these rights. The capitalistic system of society still maintains slavery, serfdom and racial discrimination. In our own country, Article 17 of the Constitution of India has abolished untouchability and declared that the enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offensive punishable in accordance with law. But the social evil still persists and the social disabilities imposed on that class of persons by reason of their birth still continue to be practiced.  There is no religious or moral sanction in one making another a slave or treating him as a negro or an untouchable. "


Such discriminations made and prejudices displayed by some towards others on the basis of race, colour, nationality, caste, creed etc., have now and then given rise to social unrest marked by suffering, irritation, retaliation and even violent revenge.  Gandhiji, we know, fought against such social evils in Africa and India with his potent remedy of non‑violence and truth with a remarkable degree of success and showed to the world that moral strength is more powerful than constitutional provision or legal steps.  Even today the virtue of non‑violence, if assimilated properly, would infuse in man a sense of equality and universal brotherhood.


Economic Inequality, Poverty and Suffering:

Economic inequality has been the most intricate and deep rooted problem of the human society of the present day world Though every state tries to solve it in its own possible way, things everywhere are not found satisfactory. Moreover if the capitalist countries, with their free enterprising system of production and distribution of wealth, go to one extreme, the communist ones, with that of state ownership of the same, go to another extreme. But nowhere a self‑evolving system, based on sound moral principles, to be observed by every member of the society and aimed at common welfare or universal good, is seen to have come into existence. Hence lies, beyond doubt, the relevance of the virtue of self‑imposed limited attachment to one's possessions to this queer situation First and foremost, for properly practicing this virtue, truthfulness and honesty have to be accomplished as prerequisites. Every member of the society has to earn an honest living.  Then he has to see, by curtailing his acquisitive desire, that wealth does not accumulate in his hands so as to keep his fellowmen in want, in poverty.33l  This would avoid class‑conflicts, confrontation between the haves and the have‑nots between the rich and the poor, giving no scope for irritant feelings, ill will and unrest and, thus, maintain the economic health of the society.


Social charity also plays an important role in the practice of this virtue. As we have already noted Gandhiji kept this aspect of the virtue before the public in the form of 'trusteeship'. For the realisation of all this, every member of the society has to live a contented life with the rational amount of happiness. Referring to Gandhiji's idea of 'trusteeship', Dr. Ramji Simha observes 332 "At this context, the Jaina concept of aparigraha seems to be the only remedy which can save us from the violence (himsa) born of accumulation of wealth (sampatti‑sangraha). We may designate this (virtue) as selfrestraint or we may call it voluntary proverty (svaic chika‑daridrata). The uncontrolled flow of greed (lobha) itself has been the root‑cause of internal unrest and international conflicts; and such greed needs to be checked by parimita parigraha alone, by self‑imposed limited attachment to one's possessions.


Upadhyaya Amaramuniji presents a popular explanation of economic inequality and its redress through an interesting illustration :333 Poverty by itself implies no problem. But the unlimited lofty heights of mountains have created on this earth numerous hollow grounds and pits of various sizes.  If such mountains disintegrate, such hollow grounds and pits would automatically disappear. And now I would say, it requires little elucidation that such dis‑integration can be caused by the integration of self‑imposed limited attachment to one's possessions in the conduct of every individual, in the attitude of every society and in the policy of every State.


Prayer for Preparedness for Cultivation of the Virtue of  Ahimsa, the Summum Bonum of the whole Code:

Lastly, I may close this Series of Lectures on sravakacara, the Ethical Discipline or Code of Conduct for Householders, with the following lines of prayer, comprising ardent longing for great human values, which, I believe, can provide every one with the requisite mental foundation for the beginning of the cultivation of the Virtue of non‑violence, the virtue of Universal Love (ahimsa), which is the Summum Bonum of the whole code, so much significant and so much relevant to the present times, to the present day world:


sattvesu maitrim gunisu pramodam

klistesu jivesu daya‑paratvam |

madhyastha‑bhavam viparita‑vrttau

sada mamatma vidadhatu deva ||


I would translate this verse as follows:


O God, (the Victorious One),

Let my soul ever diffuse

Good‑will for all living beings,

Delight for those that are virtuous,

Compassion for the afflicted ones,

And indifference  towards the ill‑behaved !







299. Recovery of Faith, Hind Pocket Books Ltd., Delhi, p. 22.


300. It is important to note at this context that we can develop in ourselves healthy moral values, or we can build our character "as surely as a mason can build wall" working with and through the law‑‑ through a moral system. For further details, vide Dr. Annie Besant, Ihe Riddle of Life, p. 21.


301. (i) Dr. D.S. Kothari, a distinguished scientist of our times observes: The advancement of science and technology and its use for human welfare will be in jeopardy unless there is a moral advancement of men i. e., strengthening of the human spirit with self‑control and himsa For details, vide Some thoughts on Scienee and Religion, p. 35.

(ii) I should also recall here a few lines from the reflections of a present day Russian journalist: No problem of our time, internal or external, can be treated without regard to moral principles. Morality is an essential element of all human activities from family and intimate matters to global problems, such as the struggle for peace, social justice, the efforts to combat poverty." Editorial Note, The Youth Review, Vol. XXIV‑2, Feb. 1988.


302. Gaha No. 77. 


303. As presented in his Intro. to Upasakadhyayana p. 86, and as already noted by us earlier.


304. (i) In an article in Hindi entitled, Jaina Dharma:  Ikkisavi sadi mem appearing in the Jita Abhi‑nandana  Grantha, Section II. (ii) He also points out some recent adjustments in the monastic mode of life, like traveling by air by some monks on utter need and for reasonable purpose. (iii) I too remember an information of a similar adjustment, that a young nun, a few years ago, doing her Ph. D. in Pune, was reasonably permitted to use havai chappals for covering a long distance on the tar‑road during the hot season. (iv) Perhaps keeping such examples also in view, Dr. Dayanand Bhargav observes that Jaina ethical principles could be revised in their natural and easy  course; but instead of putting them forth in the new garb, the change should be openly accepted. For details vide his Adhunika Sandarbha  men Jaina Acara‑mimansa.


305. (i) Let us hereafter call them virtues instead of vows. This would make them much more palatable for the modern man in the society at large. (ii) It is interesting to note in this context that Acarya Tulasi is the modern protagonist and leader of the Anu‑vrata Movement for the welfare of the suffering humanity, which he set with the back‑ground that samyag drsti‑‑ the right faith in its technical sense, is not absolutely necessary for accepting the anu‑ vratas. For details, vide his Anu‑vrara ke aloka mem. 


306 (i) That the Householder's Code of Conduct itself is catholic in nature, has been often stressed by the Jainacaryas in relevant con‑texts . The author of the Savaya‑dhamma‑doha says (in verse 76): whosoever practices this code of conduct, may he be a Brahmin, sudra or anybody, is sravaka. Or else could there be a jewel on the fore‑head of the sravaka? (ii) And it is mainly on this ground that Acarya Sri Vidyanandaji often argues, in his sermons and writings, that Jainism is duly qualified  to be called Visva‑dharma‑‑World Religion


307. Op. cit., Intro,, p. XIX.


308. As marked by Prof. A. L. Basham, The Wonder that was  India, p. 9.


309. Vide The Jaina Sources of the History of India, Dr. J. P. Jain, Bharariya Samskriti me Jaina‑dharma ka yogadana, by Dr. H. L. Jain; Jainism and Karnatak Culture, Prof. S. R. Sharma; Medieval Jainism, by Dr. B. A. SaIetore etc.; and Gujarat kT Samskrti men Ahimsa Bhavana, Dr. Kumarpal Desai, Souvenir, Third International Jaina Conference, Delhi, 1985.


310. As expressed in her book Jainism, p. 29.


311. Jaina Community, pp. 340‑341.


312. (i) As mentioned by Dr. V. A. Sangave in his Presidential Address, All lndia Conference of Prakrit and  Jaina Studies, Varanasi, Jan. 1988. (ii) It may also be noted that in the whole world it is only Jainism that gives highest importance to vegetarianism, extending due protection to all living beings in nature and, thus, helping maintenance of ecology. This point, among a few others, has been very well stressed in the Memorandum recently submitted ( on 23‑10‑90 ) by a twenty-one member representative body of the Jain Community as a whole to Prince Philip of England, the architect of the "World Wide Fund for Nature", organized in 1961. For details in this regard, vide Sakal (Marathi Daily) dated 2‑12‑199o.


313. (i) Hemacandra gives a list of thirty‑five such qualities (gravaka‑gunas) in his Yoga‑ gastra,  I .47‑56. (ii) In other such treatises, though the number varies the enumeration covers these qualities mentioned in different terms, (iii) Pt. Kailas Chandra Shastri gives a nice Pen Picture of the Jaina Householder (Jaina grhastha ), generally called sravaka. as reflected in the Jaina scriptures and other works as,on the Householder's Ethical Discipline (sravaka Dharma). He alone is a true Jaina Householder, who earns his living honestly, respects the virtuous, speaks in sweet words   and enjoys artha and kama in such a way so as not to disturb others' way of life. He is modest, whose food and routine of life are proper, who always moves in the company of the gentle, who is duly literate, of grateful nature, kind, afraid of sins and who has control over his senses.  The Pandit further hopes that if all people adopt such a way of life our earth can be more than heaven itself. Vide his Jaina Dharma, Chaurasi Mathura, 1985, p. 192.


314. We must remember that the layman is enjoined to practice this virtue through the four‑fold channel viz .  food, medicine, knowledge and shelter.


315. Even today.


316. No. 87.


317. (i) As per a study based on the concerned contents of the Young India. the Harijan etc., presented by Dr. v. P. Varma in his Social and  political Implications of Non‑violence, Vaisali Institute Research Bulletin No. 3, p. 4. (ii) All these elements almost represent the five vices against which stand the five anu‑vratas,  the main body of the householder's ethical discipline.


318. The Sarvodaya, July 1940.


319. Dr. V. P. Varma, loc. cit., pp. 12‑13.


320. Ibid, pp. 29‑30.


321. A visit to the Sabarmati Asrama at Ahmedabad  would give some glimpses of this fact even to this day.


322. Vide his paper, Adhunika Yug men Jaina Darsana ki  Prasangikata, appearing in the Souvenir of the Third  International Jain Conference, Delhi, 1985.


323. For further details, vide Religion and Peace, Diwakar S. C., All India Digambara Jaina Sangha, Mathura, P. 199.


324. (i) For details vide his paper, Food, Health and Jainism  appearing in the Souvenir of the Third International Jain  Conference, Delhi, pp. 39‑42. (ii) For some other interesting details in this regard, vide the article Why Vegetarianism ? Dr. S. S.  Jhaveri, Ahimsa‑ Voice, April‑July number 1990.


325.(i) For details, vide his paper, The Role of Jaina  Heritage in today's World in the Souvenir of The Third  International Jaina Conference, pp. 118‑119. Dr. Mayer, it may be noted, is from Brock University, Ontario, Canada. (ii) Dr. S. S. Jhaveri states, loc. cit., that at pre‑sent more than 70% of agricultural land in Western countries is used to grow feed for farm animals instead of humans.


326. It is a paradox of human psychology that man, the thinking man, does not hesitate to kill man, whereas in the case of all beings created by nature, no individual animal or bird kills another in its own species out of enmity, but just injures it to submission in occasional conflicts.


327. About two years ago I happened to read an interesting caricature on the news-item regarding a move by a big power to launch laser: Touched by this news all the inhabitants of mountains, woods, and see hels a conference and unanimously decided to save man by enlisting him in the Endangered Species Book. Youth Review, Aug. 1987


328. It is gratifying to note that the leaders of the two big power blocks, recently held summit-talks in their capitals, tried to understand each other’s side and brought out the Moscow treaty, which promises to eliminate the medium range nuclear weapons for the present.


329. The Harijnaa Sevaka, 14-1-1939


330. Op. cit, p. 325.


331. lt may be noted that this principle is further applicable to productive organizations, to distributing organs and to the country as a whole in relation to other Countries too.


332. Loc. Cit, p. 63.


333. Jaina Prakasa, April 8, 1989, p. 11, as quoted by Dr. Sagarmal Jain in his article, Jaina Darsana ki Samajika Sathakata, Vaishali lnstllute Research Bulletin No. 3, p. 34.





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