TEN UNIVERSAL VIRTUES
Munishri Ram Kumar Nandi
English Rendering by:
Naresh Chandra Garg (Jain)
M.A. (English & Hindi)
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Monkshood Name Muni Kam Kumar Nandi
Birth Place Village Khawat Kappa, Distt. Belgaum (Karnataka)
Father’s Name Late Shri Bhimappa
Mother’s Name Shrimati Ratnva
Brothers Four brothers
Sisters Three sisters
Real Name Shri Bhramappa (fourth child of the family)
Date of birth 6th June, 1967
Renunciation year November, 1988
Place of Celibacy Vow Ankloose (Maharastra)
Celibacy Vow & Gandhar Acharya Shri Kunthu Sagarji
Initiation ceremony by
Place of Initiation Ceremony Holy mount Shri Sammed Shikher ji
Teachers of Jain thought 1. Acharya Shri Vidhya Nand ji
2. Upadhaya Shri Kanak Nand ji
Study of Languages Kannad, Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Marathi
and Brahami script
Daily Routine Constant meditation, incessant study (reading, writing, learning of sacred books), delivering sermons and religious discourse
Up-to-date Chaturmas Under the supervision of Gandhar (Four-month rainy season Acharya Shri Kunthu Sagarji at Aara stay) (Bihar), Baraut (U.P.),
Muzaffarnagar (U.P.), Rohtak Haryana)
Under the supervision of Acarya Vidya Nand ji at Kundkund Bharati, New Delhi.
Independent at Baraut (U.P.) second time Saharanpur
‘Mokshmargsya netaram bhataram karambhubhritam
Gyataram vishvtatvanam bande tadgunlabhde’
“I bow to the Lord, the promulgator of the path of liberation the destroyer of 'Karma' and the knower of the whole reality, so that I may realize these qualities.”
· from ‘Sarvartha Siddhi’
Written by Acharya Pujyapadaswamy
The Enlightened Souls who attained soul’s ultimate goal -
Salvation i.e. to the 24 Tirthankaras
It gives me genuine pleasure to learn that my talented and worthy submissive disciple Munishri Kam Kumar Nandi is marching ahead on the thorny path of nude Jain monkshood devotedly and undauntedly by the challenges of ‘Mithya Dristi’ i.e., mundane souls with evil perception. Although he has seen only twenty seven springs of his life so far and he is too young both in his physical age and spiritual age to fully grasp the deep Jain philosophy, which has come to perfection by and by, starting from the 1st Tirthankara Aadi Nath ji (Rishabh Deva) and culminating to lofty heights by the time of the last 24th Tirthankara, Lord Mahavir. Yet he is doing miracles in his spiritual attainments. I initiated him to the holy tradition of nude Jain monkshood in February 1989 at the holy Jain place of pilgrimage of Shri Sammed Shikherji also known as Parshwa Nath hills. He is only twenty-seven years old now and his spiritual age is only six years as yet; still he carries an old head on his young shoulder. His devotees are bringing out this first English edition of his Hindi sermons on Ten Universal Virtuous (Dash Lakshan Dharma) specially dear to the Jains. This noble soul delivers sermons, which are both instructive and inspiring.
I wish him every success in his sincere endeavor in conveying the superb message of Jainism to the entire humanity.
Gandhar Acharya Kunthu Sagar
Self is self, and Matter is matter,
The twain can never meet in one.
Ever since I renounced home in November, 1988 and took celibacy vow at Ankloose in Maharashtra state; and thereafter Gandhar Acharya Shri Kunthu Sagar ji Maharaj initiated me as a nude Jain monk in February, 1989 at the holy mount Sri Sammed Sikharji, I always aspired to kindle the flame of eternal truth in man by creating a stir in his thought-realm. It is my confirmed belief that by gradual change in ‘outlook’ on life i.e., the tendency of looking to the needs of external body alone, the blessed souls, who ‘in-look’ i.e., look to the inner soul ultimately attain salvation one day. Because so long as their inner soul slumbers and the body or the outer man awakes, they rejoice in material pursuits and sensuous pleasures. But when their inner soul awakens their bodily requirements go in deep slumber. In that state the soul alone exists but the physical body perishes. In the absence of the body they get rid of the cycle of births and deaths; for when they become ‘independent’ i.e., depend on the inner or their real self, they become truly independent from carnal desires and physical objects and their spiritual existence alone subsists.
This book describes in detail the Ten Universal Virtues enumerated differently by renowned scholars in Jain scriptures. The ten virtues are:
‘Dharma, Seva, Kshanti, Mridutvmrijuta, ch Shotmath, Satyam
Akinchanyam, Brahm, tyagshch, tapashch, sanyamshcheti’
(Acharya Amritchandra, Sloka 208)
1. Uttama Kshama - Supreme Forgiveness (To observe tolerance whole-heartedly, shunning anger.)
2. Mardava - Tenderness or Humility (To observe the virtue of humility subduing vanity and passions.)
3. Arjaya - Straight-forwardness or Honesty (To practice a deceit-free conduct in life by vanquishing the passion of deception.)
4. Shaucha - Contentment or Purity (To keep the body, mind and speech pure by discarding greed.
5. Satya - Truthfulness (To speak affectionate and just words with a holy intention causing no injury to any living being.)
6. Sanyam - Self-restraint (To defend all living beings with utmost power in a cosmopolitan spirit abstaining from all the pleasures provided by the five senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing; and the sixth - mind.)
7. Tapa - Penance or Austerities (To practice austerities putting a check on all worldly allurements.)
8. Tyaga - Renunciation (To give four fold charities - Ahara (food), Abhaya (fearlessness), Aushadha (medicine), and Shastra Dana (distribution of Holy Scriptures), and to patronize social and religious institutions for self and other uplifts.)
9. Akinchanya - Non-attachment (To enhance faith in the real self as against non-self i.e., material objects; and to discard internal Parigraha viz. anger and pride; and external Parigraha viz. accumulation of gold, diamonds, and royal treasures.)
10. Brahmacarya - Chastity or celibacy (To observe the great vow of celibacy; to have devotion for the inner soul and the omniscient Lord; to discard the carnal desires, vulgar fashions, child and old-age marriages, dowry dominated marriages, polygamy, criminal assault on ladies, use of foul and vulgar language.)
These ten virtues have been divided in two parts on the basis of ‘Paryaya-Naya’ i.e., the model point of view, and ‘Dravya-Naya’ i.e., the substantial point of view; or in spiritual terminology ‘Vyavahara-Naya’ i.e., the practical point of view and ‘Nishchaya-Naya’ i.e., the realistic point of view. The householders are ordained for partial observation and the ascetics for absolute observation of these virtues. From the above view points these ten virtues have been further classified into forty categories. The adjective ‘Supreme’ has been used with these ten virtues with three viewpoints:
(i) Forgiveness given with perfect faith is called supreme forgiveness.
(ii) Forgiveness given by an ascetic who observes the great vows is known as supreme forgiveness.
(iii) Ordinarily the virtue of forgiveness has been assigned the first place among virtues and is regarded superb in the world; from this viewpoint also forgiveness is the supreme virtue.
Pertaining to the use of the adjective ‘Supreme’, the sermon of Acharya Uma Swamy is also worth remembering:
(Tattvartha Sutra: Section IX, Sutra 6)
There are other versions of ten virtues in Jain philosophy:
‘Athahimsa kasha Satyam, shuchi shradhendryasanyam,
Danmijaya tapodhyanam, dashakam dharmsadhnam’
It means religion has ten ways and means:
1. Ahimsa - Non-violence
2. Kshma - Forgiveness
3. Satya - Truthfulness
4. Shuchitva - Purity
5. Shradha - Faith
6. Indriya Sanyam - Restraint on senses
7. Dana - Charity
8. Puja - Devotion or worship
9. Tapa - Penance
10. Dhayana - Meditation
‘Sanyam sunritshoch, brahmakichanta Tapa,
Kshanti mardvmrijuta, muktishch dashdha sa tu’
It means, this religion which preaches universal well-being is of ten kinds:
1. Sanyam - Self-restraint
2. Satya - Truthfulness
3. Pavitrata - Purity
4. Brahmacarya - Chastity
5. Akinchanya - Non-attachment
6. Tapa - Penance
7. Shanty - Peace
8. Vineysheelta - Humility
9. Nishkapat Vyavhar - Deception-free conduct
10. Mukti - Liberation
‘Sevya kshantimrardvmarjvshoye ch sanyamtyago
Satyo tapo brahmakinchanyanilop dharmvidhi’
(Acharya Hemachandra: Yogashastra Prakash 4, Sloka 13)
It means religion consists of ten-fold currents:
1. Shanti - Peace
2. Narmarta - Humility
3. Arjava - Non-deceitfulness
4. Shaucha - Purity (in thought, speech and action)
5. Sanyam - Self-restraint
6. Tyaga - Renunciation
7. Satya - Truthfulness
8. Tapa - Penance
9. Brahmacarya - Chastity
10. Akinchanya - Non-attachment
I hope that by a sincere attempt to follow and practice in daily life the ten universal virtues vividly explained in this book, every aspirant for eternal bliss will undergo a vast change in his life and will realize the real meaning and purpose of man’s existence in this world.
Veer Nagar, Jain Bagh
In this modern scientific age of advanced electronic printing so many books are printed daily that even a sincere reader of literary taste cannot read all of them in his whole lifetime. This short treatise on Jain philosophy written purely in a missionary spirit throws ample light on the ten universal supreme virtues of Jainism. An honest and vigorous attempt to follow these supreme virtues in daily practical life of give and take even by a religious layman will usher in an era of peace and harmony both in individual life and social life. Consequently will relieve this war-torn world from its maddening strife for physical achievements and sensual pleasures at the cost of health, happiness, peace and morality.
In truth, Jain philosophy of non-violence, truth, renunciation, non-attachment and chastity is a panacea for this ailing humanity, which has been aspiring for eternal peace and happiness for long. This book dealing with ten universal supreme virtues of Jainism will provide mental and spiritual food to the seekers after truth and non-violence. The author, Munishri Kam Kumar Nandi, a great saint fully detached from all worldly allurements has tried to explain in a lucid style, the virtues of forgiveness, humility, honesty, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint and chastity, through simple anecdotes from every day life and by giving illustrations from various Jain and non-Jain scriptures and quoting from great renowned scholars. In truth, like ‘see-through’ a character in Gallsworthy play ‘Strife’, the young saint always carries a lantern of right knowledge in his hand ‘to show, what is there; no more, no less’ in the sacred Jain scriptures, which store the message of the twenty four Jain Tirthankaras - the same as it had its spontaneous outburst from their mouths in the times immemorial.
The learned nude monk aims at imparting the true message of Jainism to one and all ‘to kindle the flame of good ideas and restraint bad feelings in man.’ He is hurried but not worried to hand over the cultural heritage of Jainism to the present and future generations of mankind, undeterred and unhindered by all challenges of the materialistic world; for this young soul has ‘miles to go and miles to go, before he sleeps.’
I am highly grateful to His Holiness Munishri Kam Kumar Nandi. He during his Chaturmas (four months rainy season stay) at Jain Bagh, Veer Nagar, Saharanpur, in the year 1994, when I first came in contact with him, entrusted me with the pious work of giving English rendering to and enlarging his Hindi sermons on the Ten Universal Virtues ‘Dash Lakshan Dharma’. He advised me to utilize the remaining years of my transitory life in self uplift and social service. I hope this spiritual torch of Jain precepts will show light of truth and peaceful coexistence to the benighted world treading the path of bitterness, intolerance and discord.
All suggestions for the improvement of the book both in language and subject matter are most welcome.
I cannot fail to acknowledge the valuable contribution of religious minded, charitable and benevolent persons for their financial assistance in publishing this book. All those, who have rendered their services in the publication work, deserve all praise.
N. C. Garg (Jain)
8/1121, Veer Nagar, Jain Bagh
November 10, 1994
Don’t merely talk of Faith, but talk with faith;
Don’t merely talk of Meditation, but talk with meditation;
Don’t merely talk of Knowledge, but talk with knowledge;
Don’t merely talk of Self-restraint, but talk with restraint.
Manglacharan & Dedication
Hymn to five Divinities
Ten Universal Virtues
Prologue (Paryushan Parva)
1. Supreme Forgiveness
2. Supreme Tenderness or Humility
3. Supreme Uprightness or Honesty
4. Supreme Contentment or Purity
5. Supreme Truthfulness
6. Supreme Self-restraint
7. Supreme Austerities or Penance
8. Supreme Renunciation
9. Supreme Non-Attachment
10. Supreme Chastity
Epilogue (Kshamavani Parva)
Meditate upon the Supreme Deities Five,
Who grants boons to our heart’s desire...(Repeat)
Such is this miraculous hymn grand.
1. First make obeisance to the Arhanta Divine
Who banish all hurdles in no time ..........2
Lend infinite bliss and prosperity.
Such is this miraculous hymn grand.
2. Meditation of the Holy Siddhas enlightened
Makes the head, heart and soul refined ......2
Undone are the Karmas eight.
Such is this miraculous hymn grand.
3. The Acharyas endowed with thirty-six virtues main
Perform austerities and severe penance ......2
That dispels all greed, gloom and ignorance.
Such is the miraculous hymn grand.
4. The Upadhayas shower celestial mercy
And Knowledge of all scriptures impart.......2
That contributes to the well being of all
Such is the miraculous hymn grand.
5. All the saints observe the great vows
We pay our homage at their feet .............2
The whole mankind bows down to them.
Such is the miraculous hymn grand.
6. Who-so-ever dedicates himself to them
Is relieved from the pangs of birth and death..2
And is crowned with salvation - the supreme goal
Such is the miraculous hymn grand.
1. Arhants i.e., Perfect souls
2. Siddhas i.e., Liberated souls
3. Acharyas i.e., Masters - Heads of congregations
4. Upadhayas i.e., Ascetic teachers
The Festival of Self-Uplift by the Holy Observation of Ten Universal Virtues
The Jain community like other communities throughout the world celebrates many social and religious functions annually. The superb Jain festival popularly known as ‘Paryushan Parva’ organized every year in the auspicious month ‘Bhadrapad’ of the Hindu calendar extends from the fifth day to fourteenth day of the bright fortnight. The festival ordains the Jains to observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life. Besides assuring a blissful existence in this world and the other world for every living being, it aims at the attainment of salvation - the supreme ideal for mundane soul. The non-Jains also express high reverence for this Jain festival. All members of Jain community- high and low, young and old, and males and females, participate with full vigor and zeal in the various religious rituals and cultural programs. They listen with rapt attention to the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars arranged during the ten-day festival. In these celebrations lie dormant the seeds of the well being, peace and happiness of the common man. On the eve of this festival all activities, which add to social discord or bitterness are declared taboo from the temple pulpits. These celebrations harbinger social harmony and amity and preach the lofty Jain motto ‘Live and Let live’.
The ‘Paryushan Parva’ celebrated annually for self-purification and uplift is meant to adhere to the ten universal virtues in practical life; and leads us on the right path, far from the mad strife for material prosperity, which ultimately leads us to our true destination i.e., salvation. Two popular titles of this festival, viz. (i) Paryushan Parva and (ii) Dash Lakshan Parva are in vogue; but the mode of performance and aim of the festival is same. According to Sanskrit grammar the underlying idea of the festival and its interpretation is given below:
“Parismantadushayante dhante karmani yasimannasau paryushnm”
I.e., The celebration through which the karmic matter attached to the soul is totally burnt or vanquished (both internally and externally) is known Paryushan i.e., self-purification.
Various meaningful and sublime titles have been assigned to this festival in different Jain scripture; e.g.,
Parva Raj - The festival which carries a special and greater significance; its celebrations spread over a longer duration and it is more soul-stirring than any other Jain festival.
Maha Parva - It is an ancient and chief of all Jain festival.
Dash Lakshan Parva - The festival for the observance of ten universal virtues; viz., forgiveness, contentment, and celibacy, which aim at the uplift of the soul and are vividly preached and practiced during the festival.
Paryushan Parva - The festival through which an attempt is made to put an end to all vices, passions and lustful desires in thought, speech and deeds.
Paryu-Prasa - The festival in which one meditates upon the inherent virtues of the soul in thought, speech and action; or one attains peace of soul i.e., celestial peace.
Paryupshamn or Pajjusvana - The festival in which an attempt is made to obtain peace discarding all passions and lustful desires through various means; and observe harmony in the soul through the study of scriptures.
Pajjushana - This word of Prakrit language carries the same meaning as explained in Paryushan Parva.
Samvatsari Parva - The festival which is celebrated annually to subdue all passions and lustful desires. This title is popular to the Swaitamber sect of Jainism.
Paryushan Parva gives expression to the perfectly purified trait of the soul, through which one gets rid of worldly discords and allurements and one gets fully absorbed in the eternal truth on experiencing and realizing the true nature of soul. In other words we can say that the natural realization of the trio ‘the True, the Good and the Beautiful’ is fully possible only through Paryushan. In fact the other name of the Jainism, which is universal religion, is Paryushan. This festival puts an end to all evils in man; gives him realization of the eternal bliss, and spiritualism becomes alive by the celebration of this festival.
Since times immemorial the living beings have fallen prey to the bewitching worldly allurements. They are involved day and night in such a poisonous environment of lustful desires and sensuous pleasures that despite being cautioned time and again, they fail to rid themselves from the bondage of the net work of worldly illusions. Jain Acaryas have, through their sermons and ideal moral code of conduct, inspired the mundane souls to keep aloof from the blemishes of the world, which breed nothing but sorrow and misery for the mankind. But the insatiable ambition of man for sensuous pleasures, material comforts and luxurious life has always allured him since antiquity. Consequently man has bitterly failed to make distinction between self and non-self, and to understand the real nature of soul.
This festival has its own age-old history, but nothing definite can be said about its origin and since when it is being celebrated. In fact, the celebration of this festival is beyond the scope of known history. The truth is that spiritual matters like self-purification and renunciation cannot be measured by Time scale. When the auspicious month of Bhadrapad comes every year, the whole Jain community celebrates this festival unitedly without any difference of high and low, rich and poor. The Digambaras and the Swaitamberas, both sects of Jain community celebrate the self-uplifting festival with great enthusiasm. The fifth day of the bright fortnight of the holy month of ‘Bhadrapad’ is auspicious for both. The Digambaras celebrate this festival annually for ten days, from the fifth day to the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month. Whereas the Swaitamberas celebrate it only for eight days, and the fifth day is the main day of their celebrations held under the title ‘Samvatsari Parva’.
References about the celebrations of ‘Paryushan Parva’ or Dash Lakhan Parva are available here and there in ancient literary books as well; which show that it has been a popular festival since ages. The householders celebrate it jointly suspending all their business, agricultural and commercial activities for the time being. A fine description of the closing ceremony of this festival is available in the ‘Bhattarak’ era extending from 1350 AD to 1450 AD. In that age the house-holders got manuscript copies of the prominent holy books prepared by the scholars, and offered these to the ‘Bhattaraks’ and their disciples with due devotion at the end of ceremonies. Even today ‘Dash Lakshan Parva’ is the most suitable occasion for giving donations and charities; and on the last day of the festival the house-holders observe full day fast and make every attempt to donate to religious and social institutions in cash or kind some thing within their capacity. Very often the Jain scholars viz. poets and writers get their literary works initiated during the festival days and thus pay their homage to this grand festival.
‘Jin Datt Charit’ is an epic poem of Hindi language. The author of this literary work, the great poet Raj Singh finished this book on the holy day of 5th day, of the bright moon of ‘Bhadrapad’ in Samvat 1354. The learned poet Raj Singh chose this day for the initiation ceremony of his great book simply to immortalize the glory and significance of this day. The following verse of the poem throws ample light on the special significance of ‘Dash Lakshan Parva’ in the 14th century.
‘Samvat terven chauvane bhadav shudi panchami guru dine’
· Jin Datt Charit
Similar to the modern age, the Dash Lakshan Parva was celebrated with great zeal and joy thousands of years ago as well; austerities viz. self-meditation, doing penance, fasting and study of holy scriptures were performed during that period. The householders purged their soul by keeping fast on the last day of the ceremonies and celebrated the closing ceremony with great pomp and show. When the ten day celebration are over, this festival leaves behind deep impress on the mind and heart of every Jain - young and old.
All Jains - Digambers and Swaitambers, will celebrate this sacred festival forever throughout India and abroad. The former appear to have the best pretensions to antiquity and cultural heritage and to have been most widely diffused; the later have only as yet been traced as far back as 5th century AD. The former are almost certainly the same as Nirgrantha, who are referred to in numerous passages of Buddhist Pal Pitakas and must therefore be as old as 6th century B.C. rather earlier. The Swaitamberas’ idea of exclusiveness appears to be one of recent growth. In fact, Jainism is a prehistoric religion propounded by the first Tirthankara Lord Aadi Nath. Upon all these grounds we think that the celebration of Paryushan Parva is a holy tradition coming down from the ancient past to the present times.
To sum up, Paryushan Parva is a grand Jain festival of self-introspection, self-enlightenment and self-achievement, which ultimately leads to the one and only one final goal, i.e., liberation or salvation.
Do not minimize the value of ideals. They appeal to the imagination, stir the heart, stimulate the noblest springs of action, but ideal and practical must be blended into one harmonious whole. There must be no divorce between the real and ideal.
(Uttama Kshama Dharma)
The word Kshama is derived from the root by the addition of the suffix ang and tap.
The word Kshama means patience, forbearance and pardon.
‘Kshama shatro ch mitre ch yatinamev bhushanam’ - Hito
To pardon an enemy or a friend both, is the jewel of Yetis.
‘Kshama virasey bhushanam’ - Forbearance is the ornament of the brave.
An eminent English poet writes:
O Man! forgive thy mortal foe
Do not give him blow for blow
Forgive him seventy times and seven
For all the souls in Heaven
Were both forgivers and forgiven.
Uttama Kshama is the first Dharma out of the ten Dharma of Jains. Ordinarily it means not to cause misery to any living being, or not to get angry on any unpleasant and unwanted happening. Forbearance (Kshama) is the inherent virtue of soul. When the soul degrades from its real attributes to ill nature, such a soul is called attached (raagi) or full of malice - ill-will (dwaish), etc., because soul is simple and forgiving by nature. Rightly has it been said: ‘To err is human; to forgive divine’.
Anger makes a man blind and maddens him, for ‘when eyes are blood shot, vision is limited’. Overpowered by anger, a man may commit anything right or wrong, and fails to make distinction between proper and improper, truth or untruth, and good or bad. In short, the Jain Acharyas have proclaimed anger as leading to degradation.
Discarding anger and getting stable in one’s real nature, is Kshama, Kshama is soul’s inherent wealth. Being endowed with this real wealth, this living being (jeeva) is called forbearing in disposition. Narendra, Devendra and Amrendra in this world (lok) and heaven (Parlok) worship a living being crowned with forgiveness after salvation. In Baras - Anupaikkha this very Kshama has been described as below:
Kahupatis puno, bahurangam jadi havedi sakhadam, kundi kinchivi koham, tas Kshama hodi thamoti.
Krodhotpatinimita visimakroshadisambhave kalushyoparam Kshama.
Not to develop malice or ill-will despite confronting with unbearable causes of anger like defiance, chiding and bodily torture is Uttama Kshama. It has been well said; “The easiest and cheapest way of avenging an offence is to slight it, ignore it, forbear it, ‘forgive it, or, if possible, to forget it.”
While describing the true nature of Kshama in his book ‘Sarvarth Siddhi’ Acharya Pujya Pad Swamy has stated
Shrirsithitihetumargarth parkulanyugachhti bhikshordushtjnakroshprhstavgyatadn
Shrir vyapadnadinan snnidhane kalushyanutpti kshma
Even when ill-natured persons heap abuses, ridicules, disgrace and beatings on the monks, who enter other regions to discover the cause of the real state of the body and indulge in twisting and torturing their body, the non-appearance of ill-will in these monks’ minds is Kshama. This very thing has been said in this commenting remark of ‘Niam-Saar’:
Vadhe satmurtsya parambrahmrupni mamapkarhaniriti paramsamrasi vsthitirutmkshma
To remain stable in supreme equanimitous thoughts on getting threat of being killed by persons given to evil perception (Mithya-Drasthi) for no reason, considering oneself formless Parma Brahma is Uttama Kshama. The following example reveals this very thing.
There was a saint named Aek Nath. He had a vow of bathing in the Ganga daily. His ideology of forgiveness and renunciation was highly talked of in the city. One Pathan also used to live in that city. Once he thought to test the saint. His house was on that very road by which the saint used to go for bathing in the Ganga. The next day when Aek Nath was returning after having a bath in the Ganga, the Pathan chewing a betel leaf, spit down from above his rooftop. Its shower fell on the body of Aek Nath also; hence the saint went back to have a bath in the Ganga again. This process was repeated a hundred times on that one day. Ultimately when the saint was returning after his one hundred and one time bath, the Pathan came down from his house top and falling down at his feet, started weeping and begging pardon, for his mischief and ill-doing. The saint said, “I am grateful to you for your good deed, because daily I used to bathe in the Ganga only once, but today I am lucky to bathe a hundred and one times due to you.” Great men have great thoughts. They never give up their celestial virtues. Saint Aek Nath, who belonged to this noble category, took this ill deed of the Pathan as a virtuous deed and pardoned him. On this earth there is no other greater virtue than Kshama. One, who is crowned with all the virtues, Kshama has been stated the embodiment of ascetics (Tapasvi); such as -
Kokilanam swarorupam, narirupam pativrata
Vidyarupam kuruparan, Kshama rupam tapasvinam
The emblem of a nightingale is her own melody; the emblem of a lady is her chastity, the emblem of the wretched is their ignorance and the emblem of ascetics is forgiveness. The following memorable words are worth noting: “Humanity is never more beautiful than when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.”
Pt. Ashadharji has stated about Kshama:
Ya kshamyati kshamopyasu pratikatum kritagasa
Kritagasam tamichhanti kshantipyushsanjush
The persons who observe Uttama Kshama towards those, who commit crimes against them, even on being capable of quick retaliation, are regarded by saints drinking the nectar of forbearance (Kshama-amrit) to be the destroyers of sins.
Noble persons think thus: “Though I have committed no crime against him, even then this man is showering his anger over me, abusing me; I am innocent. Considering this I must pardon him. He has accused me, yet no harm comes out of it to me. On the contrary I must take pity on him, in spite of his being angry; because this poor fellow is reaping sins by falsely accusing me. This sin will bring him innumerable sufferings. He has only abused me and not beaten. Even if he had beaten me, then it must be thought that he has not wounded me; on being wounded it must be thought that he has not parted body from life; even if he had parted body, then one must understand that he has not harmed my Kshama virtue. One who thinks in this or bears the miseries befallen on him with forbearance (Kshama), no troubles and misfortunes will visit him again. ‘Just as at the time of repaying debts one has to return the money of the money lender; similarly I had committed sins in my previous birth and now I am reaping their fruits in the form of sorrow, which is proper. If I suffer it with a spirit of forbearance, I shall become happy on getting rid of the debt of my sins.’ Thinking this no anger should be displayed.
A being gifted with forbearance (Kshama) never feels the prick of sorrow. Abuse him, as much as you can, have ill will against him as much as you like, even then he does not give up his Kshama virtue. In this respect the following remark of a great scholar is noteworthy: “If you are wronged, be bravely revenged. Slight it, and the work is begun; forgive it and it is finished. He is below himself who is not above injury.”
Once it so happened that when saint Tuka Ram had distributed all his belongings amongst the poor, one day the state of starvation arose in his home. His wife said, “What are you doing sitting idle here? Go and fetch a bundle of sugarcanes from the fields. We shall be able to pass the day anyhow by sucking them. Consequently, when Tuka Ram set out for home with a bundle of sugarcanes from the field; on the way beggars enveloped him and begged for sugarcanes. ” Tuka Ram gave one sugarcane each to every beggar. When he reached home, only one sugarcane was left with him. Seeing one sugarcane the hungry wife was enraged. She snatched the sugarcane from Tuka Ram’s hands and started beating him with it. As a result, the sugarcane broke down into two equal parts. Now her anger subsided. In spite of getting beatings from his wife, the calm and forgiving Tuka Ram spoke with a smile. “What a good wife! You have divided the sugarcane in two equal pieces. You suck one and I will suck the other.”
Seeing the infinite ocean of forgiveness and love in the midst of furiously raging fire of anger, tears rolled down from the eyes of the lady. Tuka Ram wiped off her tears with the fold of his turban, fed her whole of the sugarcane after peeling it. Howsoever cruel and angry a being may be, he becomes calm in the presence of a forgiver. Jain Acharyas have termed anger as the greatest enemy of human beings. If this enemy (anger) takes possession of a living being, it ruins all his virtues. It has been rightly said:
Krodho he shatru prathamo naranam, dehsthito dehvinashnae
Yatha stith kashtgato hi vahi, sa aiv vahivardahte ch kashtam
Anger concealed in the body of a man becomes the cause of his own ruin, just as fire hidden in wood destroys itself. Likewise anger on getting enraged kills the angered one. In this universe there is no such devil as will devour his mother. But this devil anger first eats up that very heart which breeds it as a mother and later on it eats up others as well.
On suppressing anger and enriching the soul through religion in the garb of Kshama is to ensure the path of Moksha i.e., salvation. It must be the goal of every living being. It alone is blissful.
Krodhanalsmutpano mahadaha shaririram
Nirdahati tapovritam, dharm dwepaynadiwat
The heating effect of the fire of anger ruins penance. It becomes the cause of a man’s self-destruction, as that of Muni Depayan.
In Soratha land there is a famous city named Dwarka, which had been rendered highly sacred by the birth of His Holiness Lord Nemi Nath, worshipped in all the three worlds. The rulers of that city were the ninth Narayana, Shri Krishna, and Balbhadra - sons of Vasudeva and cousins of Neminatha. One day Narayana and Balbhadra visited the religious conference (Samavsharan) of Lord Nemi Nath to pay their homage to the Lord. They were overwhelmed at heart on seeing the Lord. Their voice was exalted. Their whole body was thrilled, tears of joy burst out of their eyes. They paid due homage at the lotus feet of the Lord with great reverence and listened to His holy sermon sitting in the enclosure assigned to human beings. Balbhadra asked the Lord, “O Lord! How long will this Dwarka City founded under the holy guidance of Vasudeva and its wealth exist?”
The Lord replied, “After twelve years Dwarka will be burnt to ashes. Intoxicated by drinking the Yaduvanshis will cause terrible calamity to Depayan Muni; as a result, on getting enraged Depayan Muni will become the cause for the destruction of Dwarka.” On hearing this prediction from the holy mouth of the world teacher (Jagat Guru), Balbhadra came to Dwarka and got all the wine pots thrown in the forest of the Girnar Mountain. Depayan also went away to some other place leaving Dwarka. But who can shut out fate? Despite making numerous efforts, the words of Lord Jinendra cannot be proved wrong or falsified. A little time prior to the completion of twelve years Depayan Muni had the misconception that twelve years had lapsed. Therefore, he returned to Dwarka and sat down in meditation near the Girnar Mountain. At that very time, the Yaduvanshi Princes were returning after merry-making in the Girnar Mountain. Due to scorching summer heat, rendered restless with thirst they started searching for water all around. Meanwhile, they glanced water of the rainy season collected in a pond. Seeing this, the thirsty Princes began to drink the pond water. After some time they got intoxicated and started running and frisking to and fro. for the water in the pond was mixed with wine thrown by Balbhadra. While they were strolling they caught sight of the meditating Muni. Seeing him their anger knew no bounds for any reason, as if butter had been poured into fire. They started talking among themselves, “Oh! He is that very Depayan due to whom Dwarka will be burnt to ashes one day. He is a devil.” Saying this, they started hurling stones on him. Taking it a calamity befallen on him, the holy saint sat unperturbed in a calm posture. Later on when the royal princes started causing still greater torture, the holy saint lost his temper. Sparks of anger started emitting from his eyes. When Balbhadra got this information, he at once rushed to Depayan Muni and apologized. But the anger of the Muni could not be subsided. Overpowered by unbearable anger, the Muni died with a malicious feeling and was reborn as Vayanter Deva as a result his penance. Recollecting this incident of his previous birth through ill-begotten knowledge (Ku-vadhi Gyan), he put Dwarka city aflame out of anger and due to fierce flames Dwarka city was burnt to ashes.
From the above example it is established that the person who indulges in anger destroys himself and others as well. Therefore, it is wise to keep away from anger or shun anger. Anger instigates bitterness, shatters friendship, disfigures our composure, converts wisdom into folly and destroys fame and glory. This anger is a mental excitement. As soon as one gets excited, one becomes bereft of right thoughts due to which the power of reasoning and thinking is lost. Therefore, to live as a human being, it is essential for a man to be forbearing. No enemy can win over the man who is armed with the weapon of forbearance. If someone inflicts pain to a person practicing forbearance, in the end he suffers defeat.
A wealthy person named Daya Chand used to live in Ujjain City. He was forbearing, benevolent and a very light hearted man. His wife was named Akshama, but she was Akshama by name only. There was not even a bit of forbearance (Kshama) in her heart. In truth, she was a highly callous and ill-tempered lady. Right from dawn to dusk it was her inevitable routine to quarrel with every member of her family. She used to speak ill of her parent-in-laws in presence of her husband Daya Chand, and would say, “I will not live with your mother as she abuses and insults me.” Addressing her the learned and well bread Daya Chand said, “My parents are your parents as well; serving them is your uppermost duty. The anger of elderly persons subsides on remaining humble. All become subordinate to a humble person. Everyone can be overpowered through forbearance (Kshama) and politeness. Therefore, be forgiving and justify your name Akshama.” On hearing these words of advice from her husband, the fire of anger of Akshma got all the more inflamed. She started hurling filthy abuses on her husband too. But the forgiving Seth did not utter a single word. At mid-day when Seth Daya Chand came home for meals, his wife started murmuring in anger. Daya Chand took meals calmly and then set out for his shop. As soon as he came down from his house and began to walk on the road, the wife Sethani threw garbage over him from above. Going upstairs, the Seth said to his wife with usual smile, “Oh, dear! Daily you simply thundered but today you have rained as well.” Seeing the calm and quiet nature of her husband, her anger vanished and lying down at his feet she apologized for her fault. This example shows that an angry person can be made calm, polite and full of reverence only by the weapon of forgiveness (Kshama). Therefore, one is duty bound, to try to befriend an angry man or an enemy with love rather than being angry on him.
The ornament of a man is his nature; the ornament of nature is virtue; the ornament of virtue is knowledge, the ornament of knowledge is forgiveness (Kshama). It has been said,
Narasyabharan rupam, rupasyabharan guna,
Gunrsyabharan gyanam, gyanasyabharan Kshama
Whenever the saints endowed with forbearance perform repentance (pratikraman) and meditation (Samayika), they read the following couplet:
Khamami savjivarnam, save jiva khamantu me
miti me sav bhuteshu, veram majham rn kernvi
The saints beg pardon of all living beings right from the one sensed (Aikendriya) i.e. having only one sense of touch, to the five sensed beings (Panchindriya), and pray, “All living beings may forgive me; I should cherish friendly feelings for all; I bear no ill-will for anyone.” The example of Kamatha and Marubhuti is well known in this context.
Kamatha and Marabhuti both were brothers. One day Kamatha had sexual intercourse with Marubhuti’s wife in his absence. As a result the king exiled Kamatha from his Kingdom. Kamatha reached the hermitage of a sinful ascetic and started performing vicious penance. When Marbhuti, out of love for his brother, went to bring Kamatha back, the wretched fellow hurled a stone slab on his brother Marubhuti; consequently he died then and there and was reborn as an elephant. In the long run the elephant observed Anuvratas under the influence of the preachments of a religious teacher. Meanwhile, the spirit of Kamatha after death was reborn as a dragon and bit the elephant out of ill will of his previous birth. Likewise, up to ten births Kamatha’s spirit suffered the many-fold miseries of hell (nark) by nourishing uncalled for enmity with Marubhuti and by bringing tortures on him; but the spirit (Jeeva) of Marubhuti went on forgiving the spirit of Kamatha. Therefore, due to his forgiveness (Kshama) he was blessed to become Lord Parashvnath. In the end the spirit (Jeeva) of Kamatha came to the holy feet of Lord Parashvnath and asked for his forgiveness shedding all his bitterness and ill will towards him.
While describing the virtue of supreme forgiveness, the great poet Reidhu writes:
Utam karam tili yeh sari, utam kham jammi dahitari
Utam karam ryantriya-dhari, utam kham dugayi duh hari
Utam karam gun sehyari, utam khand munhivind payari
Utam karam bahuyan chintamani, utam khand sampjan thir mani
Utam karam mhnij syal janri, utam khand michhat tamo manri
Jahim asmtham dosu khamijayi, jahim asamathahm rn u rusijayi
Jahim akosanr vayanr sahijayi, jahim par dos nrjanri bhasijyi
Jahim cheyanrgunr chitdharijayi, tahim uttamkaram jjinekehjeyi
Iye utam karam juy nrr sur karag nruy kevalnranru lehvithuru
Huye siddnrirnjnru bhavduh bhajnru aganriyrisi pundgavjchiru
1. Supreme forgiveness is pertinent in all the three worlds. It helps to sail across the ocean of birth and death; it enables us to be endowed with the three jewels i.e., Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct and safeguards us from a miserable plight.
2. Supreme forgiveness contributes to horde of virtues; it is dear to the nude Jain monks. Supreme forgiveness is like the crown jewel (Chintamani) for the learned scholars. Only persons with stable minds can acquire the virtue of supreme forgiveness.
3. Supreme forgiveness is held in high veneration by all great men. Forgiveness works like a dazzling jewel to dispel the darkness of wrong belief. The faults of the helpless persons are pardoned by a forgiver and he does not get enraged with them. Freedom from the growth of evil passions in the mind is forgiveness.
4. The persons, who without finding fault with others bear patiently the harsh words of the rogues, accepting them as the outcome of the evil actions of their previous births. They experience their own celestial virtues and are deeply engrossed in their self-realization have been termed by Lord Jinendra as gifted with supreme forgiveness.
5. Thus the persons gifted with supreme forgiveness, worshipped by Gods (Devas) and Vidyadharas (Divine beings skilled in various arts and sciences); and the innumerable holy saints who vanquish all worldly miseries on attaining the eternal omniscience and getting rid of the blemishes of karma have become enlightened souls (Siddha). I bow with reverence a thousand times at the holy feet of those supreme saints who are gifted with the virtue of forgiveness.
It has been said;
Kshama kharang kare yaseya durjana kim karishayti
Atrinre patito vahri swaymevopashamyati
What harm can an ill-natured person do to one who holds the dagger of forgiveness in his hand? For ultimately one day fire is automatically extinguished on a grassless, barren ground.
To sum up, “It is good to have a giant’s power, but bad to use it like a giant.”
Only devil mind will try to follow this rule of the jungle;
‘Shathe shatayam samacharet’
‘Tit for tat -
You killed my dog,
I killed your cat.’
There is a wise and saintly saying; ‘Revenge is a wild justice’. Hence, O Mortal Man! Pardon! Pardon! Pardon all thy oppressors and enemies.
O aspirants for mental peace! Always remember:
Mere vanity is sufficient to bring downfall,
Mere passions are sufficient for bondage of soul,
Hence I counsel you to shun these,
Forgiveness alone is enough to attain Godhood.
(Uttama Mardava Dhama)
Compassion or supreme tenderness (Uttam Mardav) gets the second place amidst the ten tenets of Jainism. In the book ‘Sarvartha Siddhi’ the reverend Acharya Pujya Pad Swamy tells the meaning of compassion (Mardav);
The feeling of humility or tenderness is compassion. In the sixth verse of the ninth chapter of this book compassion (Mardav) is explained to mean:
I.e., Absence of pride, born out of the arrogant feeling or boast of ancestry, clan and tribe etc.
Compassion (Mardava) means to put an end to vanity or egotism. The foundation of compassion is tenderness or humility. It is an inherent trait of the soul. Telling humility the root of religion in ‘Bodh Pahud’ Acharya Shri Kundkund Swamy states’ dhamo dyavisidho’ i.e. ‘Religion means to be adorned with pity’. In ‘Rayansar’ the same has been stated thus; ‘Dyai sadhamo’ i.e., Mercy is the true religion’. Just as the construction of a building in the absence of a foundation, the existence of a tree in the absence of roots, the rainfall in the absence of clouds is impossible. Likewise birth of the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma) and Right Belief (Samyak Darshan) is impossible for want of humility. The attainment of salvation (Moksha) lies in humility or compassion.
Where there are no gentle thoughts, no polite temperament, no humility; it is all futile to go on a pilgrimage, observing vows, taking holy pledges and performing meditation; for these cannot remain stable in a being lacking in compassion i.e., in one who is not free from pride and prejudice. In order to achieve the superb virtue of compassion, it is essential for us to root out pride and prejudice from our heart. Its easiest way is not to be vain.
Once some children were playing ‘Gulli-Danda’ on the seashore. In this game the players of one team throw the ‘Gulli’ from a cavity in the ground using a small wooden rod ‘Danda’ as distant as possible, and the players in the opposite team try to catch hold of the ‘Gulli’. The ‘gulli’ throwing team let off the gulli. When a child, player of the opposite team tried to catch hold of the gulli by jumping; instead he caught hold a crow flying very low in the sky. The children felt very happy on catching the crow. All the children flocked at a place leaving their game. They picked up a sparkling conch shell (seepi) from the seashore. They drilled a hole in it, threaded it and put it around the neck of the crow. The children felt very happy on adorning the crow. The crow also began to think, “Oh! There is no bird to match me in the world.” The crow said this very thing to the children as well. A child said, “Oh! You are puffed up with vanity at this petty adoration. Can you match the bird swan?” Overtaken by false pride the crow spoke, “Why not? Certainly I can.” A swan sat a little afar. The children said to it, “Oh Swan! So far you alone are the bird famous for flying across the sea, but see our this black crow can also fly across the sea.” The swan said, “Don’t be proud in vain.” But the children persisted. The swan said, “Well! It is all right. Get your crow ready to take a flight with me.” They both became ready and the two set on the flight. The swan fluttered its wings to take the flight and covered a long distance, whereas the crow was tired of fluttering its wings but could not overtake the swan. The swan said to the crow, “Why are you tired?” The crow replied with vanity, “No, how can I get tired so soon?” After flying some more distance, the swan again asked, “Have you got tired?” Out of pride the crow replied, “No, not in the least.” But in reality the crow was dead tired out of flying. No end of seashore was visible. Still he had to travel a long distance. The crow was finding it difficult to flutter its wings due to fatigue. It began to roll down. The swan questioned again, “Have you got tired now?” Even then the crow replied, “No, not tired as yet?” The crow began to drown in the seawater; only its beak was visible out of water. The swan understood that the crow was about to die due to false vanity. Hence, an ocean of mercy, the swan lifted it up and brought it on the seashore. The crow would have lost its life due to its false pride or vanity. We should always remember - “Society has this good at least, that it lessens our conceit, by teaching us our insignificance and making us acquainted with our betters.”
In this world many kings, emperors and Chakarvartis have lost their lives simply in order to safeguard their vanity. A man should possess self-esteem, not false pride in life. False pride leads a man to downfall, while self-esteem raises him to lofty heights. Rightly has it been said:
Pride goeth on horse back grand and gay
But cometh back on foot, begging its way.
Ravan was a mighty king and a great devotee of Lord Jinendra. In order to worship God, the great Ravan used to play on the lyre (Veena) manufactured by the veins carved out of his own body. Ravan was known as an ‘Ardh-chakari on this earth. Even such a renowned Ravan kidnapped Sita out of false vanity and brought her to Lanka. Overpowered with egotism he used to say, “No man like me has ever existed on this earth, nor ever will be.”
Na bhuto na bhavishayati
Ravan had to go to hell due to this false vanity. Then what can be said of an ordinary living being?
Hitler was arrogant and given to false ride. Consequently he got innumerable people killed and also suffered his own downfall and ruin. Lord Bahubali failed to obtain enlightenment (Keval Gyan) due to being possessed with little vanity born out of Sanjivalan; and had to perform penance for many years. If someone boasts, “I have gone through so many scriptures (Shastras); I am very affluent and powerful; I have numerous weapons, a huge army and no body can cause me harm,” he is arrogant. Thus if someone prides in his vanity, he falls down into a deep well of ruin by his vanity. Remember, “Vanity is an inborn vice in man; it is often fed and fostered by his own fellow beings. It is therefore almost impossible for him to eradicate it. Though it is not infrequent that a man’s vanity is wounded, crushed or even smashed, but it grows again like the Phoenix from its own ashes.”
Some ideas must be remembered, pondered and ruminated again and again in order to practice compassion (Uttama Mardav). One has taken birth in this world, times without number in a low state. High births and low births both are not everlasting. Ultimately, even on taking birth in a higher state of being it is ruined again and we may get birth in a lower state. This world abounds in persons of so many special castes, clans and creeds. So it is useless for a person to be proud or vain. Secondly, man has passed through these castes and clans etc., many times in his previous lives in the past. Is it then worthwhile to be puffed up with pride in these? The man, who acts in an innocent manner discarding the faults causing disgrace, is the truly self-esteemed. But no body can be termed as self esteemed for being proud even when he is wanting in virtues. This pride and egotism gives rise to many evils in this birth and in the next births. Realizing this the gentle persons get rid of vanity. A man with false pride suffers disgrace everywhere. He can never cherish noble ideas. So, as long as the poisonous snake in the guise of pride and egotism remains hidden in the heart of a person, none can be friendly with him. He generates enmity with all wherever he goes.
Seth lived poor man named Viney Kumar, who earned his bread and butter by making baskets. Viney Kumar was polite and diligent by nature. He had become very popular due to his humility. All praised him. Despite being poor Viney Kumar was content and happy. Seth Maan Mal had grown jealous of Viney Kumar at heart on seeing his happiness and popularity. The jealousy of Maan Mal assumed a furious shape. Out of jealousy he got the cottage of Viney Kumar set on fire. As a result Viney Kumar was totally ruined. The implements and raw materials like bamboo and twigs etc., used for making the baskets were also burnt to ashes along with the cottage. However, the life of Viney Kumar was saved. He appealed to the judge in the court for justice. In order to affirm whether Seth Maan Mal was really jealous of Viney Kumar, the judge sent them both to a far off unknown island.
On reaching the distant and new island they both set to work to arrange for means of livelihood afresh. Viney labored hard and charmed the inhabitants of the island by his service and good conduct. All began to show him honor and respect. On the contrary maddened with pride of wealth, the cruel hearted Maan Mal did not bring a change in his vain nature and behavior. Consequently Maan Mal received hatred and disgrace from the islanders.
Maan barahi karne jo dhan kharche murh
Mar kar hathi ho gye neeche latke sund
I.e., the fools who spend money to earn honor and glory will after death be born as elephants with their trunks hanging down to the earth.
Faced with loneliness, disgrace and helplessness Maan Mal became unhappy in life. He now realized that his arrogant nature and bad conduct were the cause of his misery. Being sad and ashamed Maan Mal apologized to Viney Kumar. Pleading guilty Maan Mal pledged to follow good conduct and politeness in the future. It shows that in order to become popular and get peace and happiness in life a man should follow the rules of good conduct getting rid of egotism and vanity. It has been well said, “The heat of the sun scorches the moon, but the moon smiles sweet and sheds her cool luster to delight the world. The truly noble man bears all sorts of troubles with a smiling face, and showers peace and happiness to please mankind.”
A man indulges in eight types of false pride or vanity. While stating the ways and means to attain Right Belief (Samayika Darshan), Acharya Samant Bhadra Swamy tells:
Gyanam pujam kulam jatim, balmridham tapo vapu
Ashtavashritya manitvam samymahurgrtsmya
To take pride in eight things viz. knowledge, fame, ancestry, tribe, power, affluence, penance and body is known as vanity. This vanity defiles the virtues of our soul. As soon as a living being gets rid of all these eight types of vanity, he is crowned with the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma). The same thing has been stated in ‘Bhagwati Aradhana’ also:
ko ith majh mano, bahuso nichtanam pi satas
uchate yanriche uchtide chavi nrichte
Adhigesu bahusu santesu mamadu aeth ko maham mano
Ko vibhyo vi bahuso pate puvammi uchate
Even if I am at a higher level in knowledge, ancestry, beauty, penance, riches and power, why to take pride in them because many times I have possessed a lower rank as well in these. A higher rank or a lower rank both are mortal, unstable and perishable. Many in this world are superior to me in knowledge and power etc., then why to be proud in them? Besides, I was granted this higher state of life many times in my previous births, then why to be veining glorious at achieving them? Knowing this we should give up the above mentioned forms of vanity. Therein lies the well being of a living being. All wise men say, “Humble origin is no bar to the attainment of greatness, while pride of birth is a frequent cause of humiliation.”
To take false pride in one’s mental accomplishments is knowledge pride (Gyan Mada). In the ‘Mahapurana’ of Acharya Jinsain at one place it is mentioned - “To take pride in knowledge is putting a veil on the knowledge.” Bharatra Hari writes:
Yada kinchijhoham, dwip iv madandh sambhavam
Tada sarvagyosmitybhvdvliptam mam mana
yada kinchit, budhjanskashadvgtam
tada murkhosmiti, jvar iv mado me vyapgata
I.e., When I possessed shallow knowledge, I walked puffed up with egotism like an elephant. When I came out of my home and by and by came in contact with the scholars and learned men and started acquiring more and more knowledge in their company, I began to walk like an ant. Then my pride in knowledge subsided like a fever. One who attains the real knowledge never becomes proud or vain. He walks with a bowed head and is polite to all.
It has been said: vidya vineyam ddati
I.e., knowledge brings humility. When a tree is overloaded with fruits, its branches bend down. Likewise a learned man bows down with humility on the acquisition of knowledge; he becomes devoid of vanity. In this context the poet Pump writes:
I.e., I, poet Pump, am the parrot of Acharya Kundkund’s spiritual vernal wood (Nandana Vana) ‘Samay Saar’, etc. Therefore, having tasted their fruits in original I convey them as they are.
Thus, the learned are polite towards the Acharyas and it is in the nature of the learned men to admire their talent and scholarship. Only such are the truly learned; they alone are gifted with the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma).
To take pride in one’s fame and glory, worldly dignity is known as Dignity Pride (Puja Mada). Father’s lineage is called ancestry and Mother’s lineage is called tribe. To take pride in these comes under the category ‘Ancestral Pride’ and ‘Tribe Pride’. The bodily powers are called strength. Hence to take pride in them is ‘Strength Pride’. The monetary achievements or the possession of household riches is known as affluence and pride in it is called ‘Affluence Pride’. Fasting is called penance and pride in it is known as ‘Penance Pride’. Taking pride in healthy and beautiful body is ‘body pride’. One who is aspirant for the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma) will have to discard all the above mentioned eight types of vanity; only then one will be capable of attaining unblemished compassion.
Once Sukh Deva went to King Janak at Rajgrahi to receive education. On the completion of his education he expressed his desire to offer a present (Guru dakshina) to his teacher. King Janak said, “I don’t want any present. However, if you insist, offer me something seemingly without utility.” Sukh Deva set out in search of some worthless looking thing. The soil, the leaves, all things seemed to have their own utility. No material appeared to be with no utility. He began to ponder over the whole matter. He felt that pride in body alone is of no use. He said to King Janak, “I want to offer you my pride in body.” King Janak said, “Now you are blessed. People regard bodily pride the most dear to them in the world and stick to it. You found it totally worthless; he alone who gets this vision by God’s mercy is really blessed.”
The noble minded person who is not the least proud of ancestry, beauty, tribe and clan, learning or education, penance, knowledge of scriptures and chastity is gifted with compassion or supreme tenderness (Uttama Mardava Dharma).
Kulrujadibhudhisu tvsudsilesu garvam kinchi
jo nrvi kuchdi samanro madvdhamm haave tsya
Dharma vasenmamsi yavdalam sa tabadhanta n hanturapi pashya gataith tasmin
Drishta prasparhatirjankatmajanam, raksha tatosya jagta kharlu dharm ev.
I.e., So long as this feeling of compassion or tenderness (Mardava Dharma) persists in human mind, a person does not hurt even his own persecutor; and when his mind deserts this feeling of compassion, even father and son have been seen killing each other. Hence this world can be saved only when we possess the virtue of compassion (Mardava Dharma).
A man, failing to make a distinction between right or wrong and what is worth doing or not, is enveloped by the darkness of vanity and takes recourse to the evil path leaving the wanted right path. When good luck (Punya Karma) comes into existence, he becomes highly puffed up with pride forgetting that as an outcome of this vanity he will have to suffer disgrace in the lower state of births.
A mad person stood in the middle of the road. A car came from behind and the car owner began to sound the horn. When the man did not budge from the road, the Seth cried, “O blind man! Can’t you see? Move aside from the middle of the road.” The mad man spoke, “O Seth! Sitting in this tin box, your car, you are filled with so much vanity. I stand on this earth which is full of precious jewels. Still I am not proud in the least. Go away keeping this tin box on your head.”
As a result of good actions of previous births a man gets a bit of material prosperity and worldly wealth in life. If one or two cars stand in front of his door, the man becomes so vain and proud that he begins to think that others are no matches to him. Regarding other persons insignificant and worthless due to this feeling of vanity brings ruin in his life. As a result of this sin he is thrown into the deadly hell. An easy way of escape from it is not to be proud or vain. This virtue of compassion or humility, which annihilates vanity root and branch, is really commendable.
What to speak of a man in the street, when bad luck dominates, even Kings are born as germs in the excrete, as a result of this pride and vanity. This egotism or vanity, which causes great hurt to the soul, is a deadly enemy of man. The saintly persons should always destroy vanity through this virtue of compassion or humility (Mardava); or if they have to be proud, they should take pride in their vows and holy pledges so that the enemies of religion may be annihilated. Even the mountain of vanity crumbles by compassion. Aark Kirti, the son of Emperor Bharat Chakarvarti, had to suffer so much disgrace, and the God Maya Mani Ketu burnt to ashes the sixty thousand sons of Emperor Sagar Chakarvarti in the twinkling of an eye due to this vanity. Therefore, just as king Bharat tried to uproot vanity of the royal prince, his brother Bahubali, likewise the saintly persons always try to flee the ghost of vanity from the heart of would-be enlightened souls.
The holy teachers have great affection for the persons gifted with the virtue of compassion or tenderness (Mardav). These saintly persons take them also for saints. Such persons attain Right Knowledge (Samayak Gyan) by the blessings of their spiritual teachers and thereby they enjoy pleasures of paradise.
To be vain or proud is extremely harmful for a person. When Ravan disgraced Vibhishan out of vanity, Vibhishan joined the camp of Ram accompanied with his four battalions of cavalry (char akshohany sena) and thus got his own brother Ravan killed. Hence, we should not nourish malice or ill will for any one to satisfy our feeling of vanity or egotism. Despite being an extremely mighty king, Ravan is condemned and defamed to this day only due to his egotism. In truth, true greatness is free from pride. Little carries pride to its extreme limits. It has been said:
barhe barhaii na karen, barhe na bolain bole
hira mukh se na kahe, barha hamara mole
Two trees stood side by side in a forest. One was Banyan tree and the other Cane tree. Due to being big size, wide spread and strong the Banyan tree developed vanity and egotism at heart. So it became proud. It said to the Cane tree, “What use is your life? You can provide neither shadow nor fruits nor flowers to anybody. Look at me. I provide shadow to so many creatures and even if somebody cuts me down beautiful coaches can be manufactured with my wood for sitting.” In a short while the weather took such an ugly turn that the storm and rain both started together all of a sudden. In an instant the Cane tree bent down and lay straight on the ground. But the storm saw that the Banyan tree stood erect and adamant. The storm uprooted this egotist tree and cast it away turning turtle. As a result the vanity of the tree was shattered to pieces. Therefore, we should never be vain or proud about our safety. Just as sometimes our own weapon becomes the cause of self-destruction, likewise our vanity or egotism becomes the cause of our own ruin. Nobody likes to look with reverence at a person who is self-conceited and prides in his beauty, knowledge, strength and affluence. All persons love gold because it is more soft and full of luster than iron; they wear different types of ornaments molded from it and safeguard it. But no body likes to wear ornaments of iron for they being hard and without luster. Iron lies outside in the open bearing both the winter and cold and summer heat and ultimately destroyed by rust. Likewise, all people love those who are sweet tempered and they alone are safeguarded forever; but nobody likes the hard hearted and harsh nature persons for they are of no avail. That is why they are ridiculed and condemned everywhere. A man should always be tender by nature, sweet in speech and humble in conduct. Only then a man will be termed a man in right earnest.
We should learn politeness in words and speech also. Sometimes there lies possibility of clash or bitterness due to words spoken abruptly without proper thinking.
Once an Indian gentleman went to America. He had to address a conference there. When his turn came, he stood up and started delivering his speech. Meanwhile, seeing the Indian speaker, the American members of the conference started laughing. The Indian speaker felt insulted and got a bit enraged. In anger he spoke, “Fifty percent Americans are fools.” As soon as the American members heard these words, a commotion prevailed in the conference hall and the Americans got out of control. “No, No, Sorry gentlemen, pardon me. Fifty percent Americans are wise.” On hearing these changed words, also conveying the same sense, the American members became calm again. It clearly proves harsh words cause clash and tender words result in peace. Therefore, learn by heart these sane words of advice; “Treat everybody with politeness, even those who are rude to you. For, remember that you show courtesy to others not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one.” Hence every person should speak beneficial, friendly, affectionate and sweet words. The wise seers have said, ‘Sweet words cost nothing, but buy everything’. Given below are some wise definitions of the virtue of compassion or tenderness in the words of the great poet Reidhu:
Madu bhav madnru manr nrikndnru, dya dhamhu bhool ji vimlu
Savham hiyaru gunr gunrsaru, tishun vyun sanjam sehlu
Madu manr kashay vihamhnru madu panchidiy manr danhnru
Madu dhamay karunra valli pasrayi chitr mahihin nravalli
Madu jinrvar bhati pyasi madu kumarh pasru nrinrasand
Madvenr bahu vinray pavtii madvenr janr badru uhtayi
Madvenr parinram vishudhi, madvenr thuliy ham siddhi
madvenr do vihu tau sohi, madvenr nrru tijgu vimohi
madav jinr sasnr janrijeyi, appa par saruv bhavijyi
madau dos asais nrivaryi, madu jam uahin utaryi
samdansnr angu sadu parinramu ji munrhu
iya pariyanrivichitr madu dhamu amal dhunrhu
1. This virtue of compassion or tenderness (Mardav Dharma) overcomes the world i.e., conquers everyone in the world. It subdues vanity. This compassion or humility is at the root of mercy. It is the cause of unblemished conduct and is beneficial to all. It is superb amongst all the virtues; and vows and self-control are fulfilled and exercised only with compassion or humility.
2. Compassion destroys vanity and egotism; puts a check on all the five senses and mind. By the blessing of this virtue of humility, the creeper of mercy expands on the ground of mind.
3. The virtue of compassion exhibits devotion to Lord Jinendra; compassion restraints the growth of evil thoughts. Compassion gives rise to the feeling of humility and puts an end to the feeling of bitterness.
4. Compassion brings purity in outlook; it helps in the attainment of both the worlds - the earthly and the heavenly world (ubhay lok); it glorifies both types of penances and by it a man can charm the creatures of all the three worlds.
5. The virtue of compassion makes one aware of the Jain discipline and it gives clear perception of the real shape of self and non-self (par). Humility removes all evils and it takes us across the ocean of the world.
6. The feeling of compassion or tenderness is a part and parcel of Right Belief. Knowing this, pay homage to the wonderful and unblemished virtue of compassion (mardav Dharma).
Look at a genuine nude Jain saint, who is a living image of extreme humility treading this earth. Indeed, humility is the strength of perfection; it will bring down all enemies.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be compassionate, be compassionate, and be compassionate to one and all - men, birds and beasts.
Impartiality or equanimity towards all living beings in the world, whether friends or foes, and life long abstention from injury to living beings, is a vow difficult to observe.
SUPREME UPRIGHTNESS OR HONESTY
(Uttama Arjava Dharma)
A renowned English poet writes about uprightness:
A man of life upright
Whose guiltless heart is free
From all dishonest deeds,
Or thoughts of vanity.
The Hindi word 'Arjava' is a compound word framed by the addition of the suffix 'anr' with the root 'riju' i.e., riju + anr. The word Arjava means uprightness, straight- forwardness, simplicity, frank speaking, honesty, non- hypocrisy, large-heartedness and freedom from deceit.
In 'Baras Anupekha' Acharya Shri Kundkund Swamy has defined the virtue of supreme uprightness or straight- forwardness (Uttama Arjava Dharma) as below:
Motunr kudilabhavam, nrimlhidiyenr charrdi jo samnro
ajvdhmam tyio, tas du sambhvdi nriymenr
A Jain saint (Shraman Muni) acts in life with an unblemished heart discarding crooked feelings, and follows a definite moral code of conduct; as a rule he practices uprightness (Arjava Dharma) i.e., the third virtue out of the ten supreme virtues. 'Rijorbhav aarjvam'. Simplicity in ideas is known as straight-forwardness (Arjava). Its opposite is hypocrisy or crookedness. To give up hypocrisy is the supreme virtue of uprightness (Uttama Arjava Dharma). Hypocrisy is a hindrance in life journey. So long this obstacle lurks in a devotee, he cannot fully perform his devotion. If a devotee wants to carry on his life journey in a well planned, simple and unhindered manner, it is essential for him to give up hypocrisy or crookedness. Acharya Gun Bhadra has stated the same thing in ‘Atmanushashnam’;
Yansmalina na lakshyante krodhadivishmahiya
We should dread the pit of hypocrisy, which is covered with the dense gloom of crookedness or deceitfulness and inside which are concealed fierce snakes in the guise of the evil passions of anger, vanity and deceit. Generally, a deceitful person thinks that the harm caused by his deceitful conduct remains either unknown or unseen. He is mistaken to think so. Just as the moon concealed temporarily by clouds comes to light again and thrills the world with delight by dispelling heat with its pure and cool beams. Even if Rahu swallows it deceitfully, it still becomes visible to the people - it can never be fully concealed. The deceitful conduct that a man does may or may not come to limelight then and there, but it is sure to be exposed in the long run. A fine example of it is:
Due to resembling a crow in shape, size and color, the bird cuckoo leaves her eggs in the nest of a crow. She does not hatch and safeguard her own eggs on account of herself being crooked and deceitful. When the eggs get fully hatched and young ones come out of them, they grow young and are recognized by their voice; soon after they themselves fly away from the crow's nest. Thus, as a result of deceitfulness a crow looks after the young ones of the cuckoo. Very often we see that deceitfulness is found in a great degree among the animals.
The person who indulges in excessive deceitfulness is reborn in animal state of being (Trianch Gati). Its proof is available in the sixteenth couplet of the sixth chapter of 'Tatvartha Sutra' written by Acharya Uma Swamy: "maya teryagyonasye" - By practicing hypocrisy one gets birth in animal state of being i.e., 'Trianch Gati'.
In 'Atmanushashan' Acharya Gun Bhadra Swamy has drawn a very fine picture of hypocrisy.
Yasho marichiyam kankamrigmayamlinitam, hatos hvthamoktya pranryilghurasidhmsut
Sakrishnr krishnrobhutkptbtuveshenr nitrampichhdyalpantdvishmmiv hi dugdhsya mahta.
The glory of Mareech was rendered gloomy by his deceitful role of golden deer. Yudhister lost his high honor and fell to low esteem amidst his kith and kin by the utterance of his deceitful words, "Ashwathama hata" - Ashwathama has been killed. In Vamnavtar, Lord Krishna had to assume a dark complexion due to adopting the guise of a deceitful child; and as a result he suffered the black stain of defamation on his clean character. True it is, 'Even a little deceitful conduct proves fatal like milk mixed with poison."
Most of the politicians indulge in deceit; for they believe that politics cannot be run without deceitful conduct. But it is a confirmed truth that religion cannot be practiced without giving up deceit. The two things are contradictory. Politics is the thing of the physical world. We can carry on life even without politics. But the boat of life cannot sail across the river from one bank to the other in the absence of religion.
"Yogsyavkrta aarjvam" - S.Si. 9/412/6
Not to be crooked or deceitful in mind, speech and body is straightforwardness (Arjava).
A string becomes straight on pulling it by catching hold of its two ends. Likewise, the mind becomes straightforward by uprooting deceit from it, i.e., the simplicity of mind is known as straight-forwardness (Arjava). Gentle and virtuous persons are simple hearted; they neither nourish deceitful feelings, nor practice deceitfulness in their daily deeds. It has been said:
Manasekam vachasekam karmnrekam mhatmanam
Mansyanad vachsyant karmnrynyad duratmnam
The saints are same in speech as they are in mind, and they practice what they preach. But the deceitful persons have one thing in mind and a different thing in speech, and in actual practice they are contrary to it. In 'Sarvartha Siddhi' Acharya Pujya Pad Swamy has termed the same thing as crookedness or hypocrisy (Yog Vakrta). In Kartikeyanuprekskha Acharya Kundkund Swamy tells:
Jo chintayi nr vankam nr kunrdi vankam nr jampade vankam
nrya govadi nriya dosam ajyav dhammo have tas
The monk, who neither cherishes deceitful thoughts nor does deceitful deeds, nor speaks a deceitful thing; nor conceals his faults, possesses the virtue of straight- forwardness (Arjava).
Hridi yatdhachi bahi phalti tadaivajarvam bhavatayt
Dharma nikritirdharmo dvavih sursadmnarkaptho
Whatever thoughts one sustains in one's heart, the same should find expression in speech and the same put to action in outward life i.e., the body should also conduct accordingly; it is known as uprightness or straight- forwardness. On the contrary to cheat others, is irreligious or sin. Thus, the above two characteristics - uprightness and deceitfulness - are respectively resultant factors for divinity i.e., heavenly abode, and deviled i.e., hellish abode.
Despite trying to conceal faults to your utmost power, they are sure to be exposed in the long run. Therefore, no attempt should ever be made to conceal crimes on having committed them; rather one should try to get rid of one's crimes by undergoing repentance or apologizing for them. It has been said:
"Papam kritva na guayt guhmanay vivardhatay"
On committing a sin one should not try to conceal it; a sin concealed does not subside, rather it goes on increasing day by day. In short, a guilty conscience needs no accuser, it is self evident from the face of the criminal. It has been well said:
"The spirit should not die and the time has come when we should prove by our independent work the truth of our convictions."
If a snake bites some one, poison spreads his body by and by, and a burning sensation develops in the whole body. Likewise, if the snake of hypocrisy bites somebody, the person soon begins to neglect all vows, self-restraint, penance and meditation. Thus, hypocrisy in no time destroys the blessings of good luck (Punya) earned by the good deeds of previous births.
Two saints named Gundhar and Vineydhar were staying in a garden. One of these saints Gundhar performed the penance of self-torture (aatpanadi yog). During the four months of his rainy season stay at one place 'Chaturmas' he used to remain standing, unmoved at one and the same spot in a posture of bodily torture. Once, when the prescribed period of four months stay 'Chaturmas' was over, the Gods worshipped him. The whole sky resounded with the slogan 'Victory! Victory to thee'. The smell of flowers showered by the Gods made the whole surrounding atmosphere fragrant. This news spread in the whole city like forest fire. Next morning the city people set out to visit and pay homage to the saint. But by the time the city dwellers reached the garden, the saint had left the place on the completion of his Chaturmas; and saint Vineydhar had come there instead and settled there.
The city people mistook him for the saint Gundhar who had performed his four months rainy season stay (varshanuyog) there. Worshipping him with great devotion and respect, and singing hymns and saying prayers they began to adore him, "O Holy Saint! Even long accumulated sins are washed away in on time by seeing a detached saint like you." It has been said:
Darshanain jinendranram, saddhunam vandnen cha
Na chire tishthatay papam, chidrhaste yathodkam
I.e., On seeing the holy saints and sacred images of Lord Jinendra, the sins accumulated since times immemorial are destroyed in the twinkling of an eye, just as water held between two joined palms with a gap is wasted in no time.
Saint Vineydhar thought that if he disclosed the truth to the people, they would not worship him. Thinking so, concealing the deceitful feeling in his mind, he sat motionless with closed eyes in a posture of deep meditation. Having worshipped him, the city people left for home. Holy Vineydhar's mind was polluted a bit by deceitfulness. Therefore, after death he was reborn as a semi God (Deva). Again, on the completion of his life period as semi God, he was born as an elephant named Triloke Mandan. One day Ram was frolicking in water in the company of Sita. In the meantime the elephant named Triloke Mandan, uprooting a pillar, reached the city near the same tank where these people were frolicking in water, and as soon as he saw them he had recollection of his previous birth (Jati smaran). Now he began to repent on his deceitful conduct in the previous life.
"Ah! Bharat and I had performed penance together at the same time. But on account of my deceitful conduct to entertain people's worship and homage, I am born as an elephant." Ultimately, by performing severe penance in successive births the elephant, Triloke Mandan, later on attained the superb state of man i.e., Godhood.
Thus, even a petty deceitful deed may lead to birth in an evil state of being. On being reduced to this low state of birth, a creature has to suffer untold types of tortures. One who is deceitful in conduct is fated to be born in an animal state due to his bondage of Karmas. So every living being should give up deceitful conduct.
King Pushpchu ruled over Pattanpur City. Seeing the Grey hair on his head, he became detached from the worldly enjoyments. Being initiated as a nude Jain monk, he began to perform severe penance. His queen Pushpdatta also followed suit to him. Going to a Head Nun (Aryika Pramukh) named Brahmila, she got herself initiated as a female ascetic or Nun (Aryika). But she had not the least feeling of detachment in her heart. She adorned her body day in and day out and applied perfumed oil on her body. One-day nun Brahmila said to her, "It does not befit a renounced lady like you to adorn yourself thus." Hearing this Pushpdatta said, "My body has natural fragrance. I apply no perfumed oil." Consequently, she suffered for her deceitful action. After death she was reborn as a daughter of a maidservant a Seth. Her body now gave out foul smell. Hence, all the city people looked down upon her. Right it is, "Those who are deceitful in conduct with their teachers and elders, come to such a state of affairs." Therefore, one should never do a deceitful deed in order to escape ill luck. After committing a deceitful deed, even if we try our best to conceal it, we shall utterly fail. Hence, "If you are wrong, don't be afraid to admit it. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. No one is perfect. Do not be ashamed of having erred. Be ashamed if you are so little, so lacking in broad-mindedness that you cannot own up to your mistakes. Then indeed you need pity." It has been said:
Kapt chhipate na chhipe, chhipe na mota bhag
dabi dubi na rahe, ruyi lapeti aag
I.e., Deceit can never be concealed in spite of our attempt to conceal it; nor can bad luck remain hidden. Fire wrapped in cotton cannot be kept suppressed for long.
The snare of deceit must break down one day or the other, there after when it is exposed, the deceitful person has to undergo a very miserable plight. Therefore, we should always follow the superb virtue of uprightness or honesty (Uttama Arjava) beneficial to self and others as well.
Deceit (Maya) wrong belief (Mithya) and ambition of reward for a good deed (Nidan) are the three thorns (shaliya). If any of these thorns persists in somebody's mind, the person cannot lead a happy life. Likewise, when the thorn of deceit enters a man's heart, it goes on pricking him. A deceitful person is always worried and remains suspicious, lest his deceit should be exposed. It is a well-known saying: 'A guilty conscious is always suspicious'.
One day a king began to ease himself sitting under a jack fruit tree. Ripe jackfruits had dropped ala around the tree. On seeing the jack fruits the king's mouth watered. Finding it a secluded place, he picked up a jackfruit and put it into his mouth. But soon fear overpowered his mind with the doubt lest some one should have seen him. After easing himself, the king came back to his palace. That day, while dancing in the royal court, the court dancer began to sing, " I shall disclose today's secret, O King". As soon as the king heard this, filled with his own mental doubt, he began to think, "Probably she has seen me eating the jack fruit." Doubting lest she should disclose the secret in the presence of all counselors and citizens, he took off his necklace and offered it to the court dancer. When the royal dancer sang the same song the next day as well, the king took off his earrings and presented them to her. The court dancer mistook the king's bounty. She began to sing the same song in the royal court and got one or the other present from the king daily. When the king was fed up with presenting her ornaments, one day in great rage he asked, "Why do you daily repeat the same song? Disclose everything if you want to do so. I have not done any improper act by eating a jack fruit while easing myself." Hearing this the court dancer was dumbfounded. From the above example it becomes amply clear that so long as the thorn of deceit exists in the heart of a person, he remains perturbed and loses the peace of mind.
If fire is kept wrapped in a piece of cloth, after having burnt the cloth it comes out taking a more fierce shape than before. Likewise, a deceitful deed cannot be concealed by any effort. Therefore, how does a deceitful deed benefit anybody? Not at all, if good fortune does not smile upon us, our faults are faults are but exposed despite our utmost effort to conceal them. But true it is that people do not regard a deceitful person guilty, even when his fault is exposed. It shows that there is no need for a virtuous person to be deceitful. Even wealth is obtained only by good luck and diligence. Thus, deceit gives rise to many evils in this world and spoils the charm of the other world, too.
Not only mean persons, but sometimes- even persons of high status also indulge in deceitful deeds, which result in infinite bondage and ultimately lead to the worldly cycle of births and deaths. Nobody trusts a deceitful person. Highly virtuous people, who cross the river of deceit with the boat of honesty or straight-forwardness (Arjava Dharma) become victorious in life. On cheating his teacher Dronacharya by uttering the deceitful words 'kunjro na nara': Yudhister was filled with so great remorse that he concealed himself from the saintly persons. Thus, even great persons have suffered due to deceit. Knowing this fact deceit should be given up.
When Narayan Shri Krishna and Arjun stood face to face in the battlefield, seeing his kith and kin Arjun spoke, "They are my brethren. I shall not shoot arrows at them." Saying so he dropped the bow and arrows on the ground. On hearing the words of Arjun, Shri Krishna was perturbed and spoke, "O Arjun! No body will admit that you are kind- hearted. All will say that Arjun is a coward. So he fled away from the battle field out of fear." As soon as Arjun heard these words, he picked up the bow and started fighting. A fierce battle took place between the armies. When innumerous human beings were being killed in the battle, Abhimanyu also met the same fate. Shri Krishna was dumbfounded as to how he would console Kunti that they could not safeguard Abhimanyu. Henceforth, the Pandu family would come to end.
In fact, it is very easy to give rise to a war, but very difficult to bring it to a close. Likewise, it is easy to give rise to disputes between two societies, two nations, two religious groups, two communities, two politicians, and two brothers but it is a hard nut to crack to put an end to their quarrels. Narayan Shri Krishna was much worried, as a cease-fire could not be worked out between the two war groups of Pandav and Kauravas without the use of deceit. He said to Yudhister, "O Yudhister! If you say 'Ashwathama has been killed', the Kauravas will believe your words and take for granted the death Dronacharya's son Ashwthama and instantly the battle will come to an end." To this Yudhister replied, "Even if I loose everything, I will not tell a lie." An elephant named Ashwthama was killed just then. Then Yudhister thought, "There is no harm, if I speak the truth now." No sooner Yudhister utter the words 'Ashwathama hata' 'Ashwathama killed', and he was going to add 'gaj' - elephant than Shri Krishna sounded the conch shell. Those who were present in the battlefield could not understand if it was an elephant or a man that was killed. And in no time there was complete cease-fire. Thus, deceit was applied to put an end to the battle of Mahabharat. Indeed, Shri Krishna in this case applied the axiom, 'Everything is fair in Love and War'; which is irreligious.
Likewise, men in general believe and act according to the saying, 'End justifies the means'. It is why professionals and common men use deceit in their daily routine. Some corrupt businessmen rob the consumers. Some treacherous lawyers exploit their clients. Some inhumane doctors make operation table bargains with the patients and some mean tutors mint money from their students by the use of deceit and fraud. Taking and giving bribes is also nothing but deceitful conduct and a punishable offense. Many times housewives also extort money from their husbands by deceit, or applying trick. The modern materialistic society may approve of such immoral conduct; but religion always insists on 'fair work and no foul play' under all odds.
It has been nicely said about hypocrisy: "The world is a place where humbug or hypocrisy cannot find much scope for a long time. The real nature of every man comes out prominent in due course."
The great poet Reidhu has described supreme uprightness thus:
Dhamhu varam lakhanru aju thir manru duriy vihandnru suhjanru
Tam ith ji kijeyi tampalijeyi tamnri sunrijeyi khrey janru
Jarisu nrijay chiti chintijyi tarisu anrhampunu bhasijyi
Kogyo punru tarisu suhsanchnru tan ajyu gunrmunrhu achynru
Maya salu mnrhu nrisarhu ajyu dhamu pavitru vyarhu
Chuuo tau mayaviyu nrirthu ajyu siv pur panthhu sathau
Jath kudil parimanru chijyi thim ajah dhamu ji sampajah
Dasanr nranr saruv akhandu param atindrya sukh krandu
Apim apu bhavhu tardu airisu chainr bhav pyandu
So punru ajyu dhamay namyi ajvainr beyiriy manru khumyi
Ajyu parmapu gye sankapu chimatu ji sasu abhu
Tam nriru jhayijyi sansu hijyi pavijyi jihin achal pau
1. Uprightness (Arjava) is the superb religious virtue. It makes the mind stable, annihilates evil, gives birth to happiness and puts an end to sins. Hence, O holy souls! Follow this virtue of righteousness, practice over it and give ear to it.
2. Whatever thoughts arise in your mind, speak them out to others as such; and make efforts to make a similar type of action with body i.e., be honest in mind, speech and action. This is the eternal rule to usher in happiness.
3. This virtue of uprightness is acquired by giving up deceitful ideas. It is a sign of infinite belief and knowledge and is a storehouse of extreme non-sensual (celestial) happiness.
4. By uprooting the thorn of deceit from your inner self, meditate upon the holy virtue of uprightness; because all the vows, self-restraint and observance of holy rules by a deceitful person, are futile. Only the virtue of uprightness paves the path of salvation.
5. The virtue of uprightness itself takes the soul across the ocean of the universe; intense feelings of advanced spiritual development are obtained through the virtue of uprightness. Uprightness conquers the pride or vanity of the opponents.
6. The virtue of uprightness is the symbol of the divine; it is free from any pledge (sankalp); it is a living image of the lord; it is friendly to the soul; it is eternal and sign of fearlessness. The person, who meditates upon this virtue of uprightness, attains the imperishable state of salvation (Moksha).
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be upright, be upright and be upright in all thy daily dealings; and shun all deceit and fraud, for 'Honesty is the best policy'.
Many people think that honesty and integrity cannot possibly be maintained in this mundane world; but they do not know that without these, life is nothing but chaos.
In truth, honesty is a great asset in life. Even if you become a beggar, it will be your glory to think that you are an honest beggar. A clear conscience shines far more bright than a heap of gold coins - fresh from the mint, and is far more valuable than a whole mine of diamonds.
The great poet sings:
'How happy is he born or taught
That serveth not another's will
Whose armor is his honest thought?
And simple truth his utmost skill!’
- Sir Henry Wotton
SUPREME CONTENTMENT OR PURITY
(Uttama Shaucha Dharma)
'Contentment is Happiness.'
The word 'Shauch' is a compound word derived by adding the suffix 'anr' with the word 'shuchi' to mean 'shucherbhav shauchanam'. It means sacredness, cleanliness, to be pure, to be clean, to be spotless and to be non-greedy.
The humanitarian approach to lessen the miseries of living beings is included in the abstention from greed of worldly possessions. Contentment aims at putting a limit on the worldly possessions by individuals according to their needs and desires.
Stating the characteristics of the virtue of supreme contentment in 'Sarvartha Siddhi’, Acharya Pujya Pad Swamy writes: 'lobhprkaranramuparam shaucham'- To discard different types of greed is contentment.
Kankhabhavnrivitim kicha veragbhavnrajuto
Jo vatdi parammunri tas du dhamo havai saucham
The Supreme saint who conducts himself suppressing all desires and possesses the thoughts of renunciation is endowed with the virtue of contentment. In 'Bhagwati Aradhana' the erudite Acharya Shivery expresses his invaluable thoughts:
'Dravayshu mamaidam bhavmulo vyasanopanipat sakal iti tat parityago laghvam'.
Such ambitious thoughts as 'objects like riches and wife belong to me' lead a man to numerous troubles. To do away with this feeling of attachment for worldly objects from heart is abstention or contentment. To be too greedy is disastrous. The soul becomes impure due to greed.
Once a Seth (a wealthy man) had been pondering for long that he would feed a Brahman at his home, if he could find one who ate a little food. Although the Seth was master of great property and was very wealthy, yet due to being extremely greedy and a miser of the meanest nature he went on searching for such a Brahman. As the Seth was known for harnessing such narrow ideas, the villagers knew very well that the Seth was greedy to the core of his heart.
One day the Seth chanced to come in contact with a village Brahman. During discourse the Seth asked him, "How much do you eat?" The Brahman replied about an oz. at a time." Hearing this the Seth instantly invited the Brahman to take meals at his home the next day. The Seth said to him, "O Brahman! Tomorrow I shall go out of station to make some bargains. Come to my house and take meals." The Brahman said, "Very well! May you be prosperous! We always eat your food." Going home the Seth gave this information to his wife the Sethani; and instructed her saying, "I have extended invitation for tomorrow's meals to a Brahman. As tomorrow I shall go out for business transactions, give the Brahman to eat whatever he demands." In fact, the Seth was fully convinced that the diet of the Brahman was only one oz., why will he ask for more then?
The next day the Seth went away on his business tour. The Brahman came at his home in his absence and blessed the mistress of the house (Sethani). The lady was not greedy. She was a very generous, saintly, chaste and pious lady devoted to the Brahmans. She asked, "Well Panditji! Tell me, what are your requirements?" The Pandit said, "Five quintal wheat flour, one quintal butter, two quintal vegetables, one quintal sugar, five kg. Salt and two kg. Spices are my needs for home." The Sethani arranged everything according to the demands of holy Brahman. After all these food articles were dispatched to his home, the Brahman said to the Sethani, "Now hastily serve the food to me as my growing appetite is troubling me." The lady at once served the food and fed the Brahman to his fill. After taking food Panditji spoke, "O Gentle Lady! If I get one hundred guineas (gold coins) as my dinner gift, I shall bless you and return home." The lady willingly offered him one hundred guineas. Then the Brahman blessed her and left for home.
On reaching home, the Brahman lay down in bed covering him with a sheet of cloth. He instructed his wife that if the Seth comes here, start weeping and tell him, "Panditji is laid up with serious illness ever since he has returned after taking meals at your home. The worst thing is that there is no hope of his survival. God knows, what you have fed him?" In the evening when the whole day starved Seth came home from his business tour, he asked his wife, "Did the holy Brahman come here and take his food?" The Sethani said, "Yes, he did come and asked for some food stuff for his home, which I supplied to him. Later on he ate down all the five kg. Purees prepared for him and then taking one hundred guineas as customary gift given to Brahmans after meals, he went away." Hearing this the Seth became unconscious.
After sometime when the Seth recovered, he at once reached the Brahman's house. The wife of the Brahman sat at the door. The Seth inquired of her, "Where is the Brahman?" Hearing these words of the Seth, the Brahmini began to weep bitterly and spoke, "Ever since he has returned after taking meals at your home, that he is unwell. God knows what has happened to him. He is seriously ill. There is no hope of his survival even. None can say what harmful thing you fed him along with the food?" The Seth was terrified and began to apologize to the Brahmini saying, "Don't weep. Take these two hundred rupees and get the Brahman properly treated; but do not tell any body that the Brahman had taken meals at my house." Thus the greedy Seth returned home dumbfounded. The Seth had to part with a great amount of wealth for his petty greed and had to undergo mental torture as well. Indeed, there is no lack of such greedy persons in this world. They are known as great sinners as well. Due to a little greed, sometimes they lose their precious life too. It is well said:
Makhi bethi shehd par, rahi phank phelae
Hath male aur sir dhune, lalach buri balae
I.e., A fly sat on honey, waves its wings, repents and tosses its head to and fro to come out of it, but in vain. In truth avarice is the root of all evils.
The Crown person of mankind, Lord Ram had to lose his beloved wife Sita out of her greed for the golden deer. If a wise person is possessed even with the least of greed, he also is sure to dwindle from the right path. Ram was an extraordinary superman, yet as a result of greed his wisdom was spoiled. Very often adversity and allurement for others' shake even the right persons from their noble path. Hence, Sir Edwin Arnold says:
'Give freely and receive, but take from none
By greed or force or fraud what is his own.'
It has been said:
Asambhavam haimmrigsya jnm tathapi lulubhai mrigaye
Paraye samapanvipatikale dhiopi punsan malina bhavanti
Just as color gives out its full luster only on a neat and clean sheet of canvas; likewise virtues like contentment enter only a clean, pure and upright mind. Only when the impurity of greed is washed away by way of holy living, purity may come to the forefront. From the above it becomes clear that 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. According to one view point cleanliness is of two types - external and internal; but according to another viewpoint it is of three types - bodily, mental and pertaining to speech. All these are supplementary and complementary to one another. Even in the absence of one of these, the work cannot be accomplished or perfect purity cannot be achieved.
If someone says that external i.e., bodily cleanliness is the real cleanliness, the question arises as to why the water animals like frogs and fish that always live in ponds, rivers and seas cannot acquire the virtue of purity. Water path has been assigned the fifth place among baths. There are four other baths in addition to it. The water bath accompanied by those four baths is the real bath. This is the only means of self-purification i.e., soul purification. Internal cleanliness cannot be attained by mere making the body clean through water bath or by arraying the body with ornaments and wearing neat and clean or costly costumes. In the absence of internal cleanliness, all other sources of cleanliness are futile.
One day all the five Pandav came to Narayan Lord Shri Krishna and requested him to accompany them on a pilgrimage. Shri Krishna declined to do so for some unknown reason. Then the Pandav urged him to send his some representative to keep company with them. The Lord refused for this as well. The Pandav again appealed, "At least give us something, which we may take on pilgrimage with us and bathing which we may again hand it over to you on our return." On the repeated requests of Pandav, Shri Krishna picked up a gourd lying near by and gave it to the Pandav. The Pandav placed the pieces of gourd into their mouths, they all started vomiting with signs of distress on their faces. One by one they began to complain "I am feeling stomach ache; I am feeling headache; I am feeling giddy" and so on. Seeing all this Lord Shri Krishna asked them, "Well brothers! Why this distress on your faces?" All replied, "The gourd pieces taste very bitter." Then Narayan Shri Krishna replied with a smile, "See, even after a thousand baths, the gourd has not shed its bitterness and acrid taste. Likewise, no good comes out of simply having an outward bath. Internal cleanliness is essential along with external cleanliness." It has been said in the 'Mahabharat':
Atma nadi sanyamtoypurna, satyvha shiltata dyarmi
Tatravagahm kuru Panduputra, Na varina shudhyati chantratma
I.e., O Pandav! This soul is a stream full of water of self-restraint, truth is its current, chastity is its bank and mercy and compassion are its waves. The inner self becomes clean and pure only by bathing in this stream of soul, not by bathing in water.
While laying stress on the significance of internal purity Maharishi Vyas has also said, "Be he a house-holder or a renounced soul; be he a scholar of the Vedas or the Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, internal purity is essential for all." Thus not only external cleanliness but internal purity is also a must for perfect cleanliness. They both are complementary to each other.
It has been clearly stated in the 'Niyam Saar' - 'If there exists even an atom of passions like greed, vanity and conceit in the internal soul, there can be no purity; such a
Man cannot be called endowed with Perfect Belief.' A precept is given in the 'Samaysaar':
"If there is a bit of poison equivalent even to a small mustard seed in a nectar like delicious ladoo, is the ladoo edible? No, the ladoo remains inedible, as eating it is an invitation to death. Even an atom of poison in the ladoo will also prove fatal. Likewise, even the smallest worldly possession is harmful for the virtue of purity and contentment. Therefore, it is necessary to give up both external and internal possessions to acquire the two types of purity - external and internal. Thus, perfect purity of soul is possible by discarding not only external possessions, but internal possessions also. If purity could be obtained merely by giving up external possessions, why then the birds and animals, which have no external possessions, do not obtain purity? It shows that besides renouncing external possessions, it is necessary to give up internal possessions viz. anger, vanity and greed as well. Only then the virtue of supreme purity 'Shaucha' can be obtained."
Anything kept in a clean utensil or container can be preserved fully pure for long, if all the rules of food preservation are observed. But a thing kept in a dirty or impure pot gets contaminated very quickly despite following all rules of preservation. Milk should be kept in a clean utensil to maintain its sweetness and properties. Milk kept only in such clean pot, can be preserved well, otherwise it turns sour. Likewise, a worthy person devoid of wrong belief, worldly attachments, malice, ill-will and greed is sure to be crowned with the virtue of supreme purity, or only then the virtue of supreme purity can be obtained or possessed. It is also necessary to keep the mind neat and clean i.e., perfectly pure to attain this virtue. If the mind is pure, the spiritual qualities acquired by it will also be grand, sacred and lofty. It has been said:
Untam Manama yasya, tasya bhagiam samuntam
He, whose mind is noble, pure, sublime, neat and clean, is blessed with a grand, lofty, holy and pure destiny too. In the absence of the purity of mind, one cannot enjoy good luck. Without raising the destiny to lofty heights, the mind cannot be holy. Someone has rightly said:
Man barhe, dhan barhe, dhane barhi man barhi jae
Man barte sab barhat he barhat barhat barhi jae
Man ghate dhan ghate dhan ghate man ghati jae
Man grate sab ghatat hae, ghatat ghatat ghati jae
Only when the mind is pure, a man can dedicate his mental energies to the acquisition of wealth and other worldly possessions. If the mind is impure, all our energies go on trifles. In the absence of mental purity, the holy sermons of Lord Jinendra cannot touch, appeal and influence our mind and stay there for long. Then we can neither meditate upon and cherish the memory of the omniscient Lord Jinendra cannot touch, appeal and influence our mind and stay there for long. Then we can neither meditate upon nor cherish the memory of the omniscient Lord Jinendra, nor sing hymns in praise of His celestial virtues.
A king very often visited a saint to seek his blessings. He would always pray to him only to give him some holy sermon. The saint paid no attention to his frequent requests. One day the king made a forceful appeal to the saint. At length the saint was appeased and said to the king, "Tomorrow I shall visit your royal palace and deliver my sermon there." The king was overjoyed and again insisted that the saint should oblige him by taking his meals too in the royal palace. The saint readily consented to it. The saint readily consented to it. The next day the saint reached the royal palace at the appointed time taking his begging bowl. The king had devotedly got prepared various types of delicacies and dainty dishes for the saint. At first the king wished to serve to the saint kheer, a preparation of milk and rice. The saint brought forward his begging bowl to take it. The king peeped inside the bowl and drew back his hand without serving the kheer into the bowl. At this the saint stood up and got ready to go back. The king was terrified, as the saint had neither taken meals nor delivered sermon. The perturbed king said, "O holy saint! You neither took meals nor delivered a sermon as per your promise; still you are going back home leaving us in the lurch." The saint promptly replied, "I have delivered my sermon, which you have failed to grasp." The king stood dumbfounded. Then the king asked the perplexed king, "Why did you not serve the kheer into my bowl?" The king said, "Holy Sir! Dust particles and pebbles were lying in your bowl. I did not serve the kheer into the bowl, lest my nectar like sweet and tasty kheer should get spoiled." The saint said, "I had also to teach you this lesson that your mind is full of filth and dirt in the shape of evil passions like anger, vanity, arrogance and greed. Until and unless your mind on being relieved of these evil passions becomes purified, how should I deliver my sermon to you? In the present state of mind my sermon will also be futile and go waste."
By and by as a living being goes on discarding evil passions like greed, anger and vanity he marches on ahead in the direction of uplifting his soul and attains perfect purity of soul. We should aim at achieving purity of soul. Besides discarding the evil passion of internal greed, freedom from external greed is also very essential. In 'Bhagwati Aradhana' Acharya Shivarya has also emphasized the need of discarding greed;
Lobhe keyai atho, nr hohi purisas aparhibhogasya
Akevi havdi lobhai, athi padibhogvam tas
Despite being greedy a man bereft of good luck cannot possess wealth. On the contrary a man on whom fortune smiles can have boundless wealth without craving for it. Therefore, greed for money is in no way helpful in the acquisition of wealth, rather good luck helps it. Realizing this truth we should try to get rid of greed. The question arises, 'How should we put an end to the predominating feeling of greed?' This question has been answered by Acharya Kundkund Swamy in 'Kartikeyanupreksha' thus:
Sam santosh jalainr jo dhovadi tiv loh mal punjam
Bhoynr gidhi vihinro tas saucham have vimlam
I.e., He who washes away the fifth of ambitions and greed with the water of the feeling of equanimity and contentment, does not run after worldly enjoyments attains the unblemished virtue of supreme purity.
Ambitions of man are infinite. Ambitions grow eternal in the mind of man. Even if a man goes on getting all things that he aspires for, his ambitions know no end; rather they go on multiplying. Some saintly person has rightly remarked; 'Every fulfilled desire leaves a bitter taste in the mouth before it is fully satiated.'
Itchati shatisahastram sahastri lakshmihatai
lakshadhipastha rajiyam rajyasth swargmihate
I.e., He who owns one hundred rupees aspires to obtain one thousand rupees; one who possesses one thousand rupees aspires to be a multimillionaire. A multi-millionaire cherishes the ambition to obtain a kingdom and a king desires to be the sovereign ruler of the kingdom of heaven. Thus, a man's ambitions are always on the increase. This thing has been made clear below:
"If somebody were to give the whole earth to one man, even then the man will not be satisfied; a greedy person is extremely difficult to be satisfied."
Lobhat krodh prabhavti, lobhat kam prajaytai
Lobhatmohach nashch lobh papasya karanam
I.e., Anger destroys love, pride puts an end to modesty, and deceit removes friends, while greed destroys everything.
There was a very miserly Brahman named Kankbhat. Once he went to take a holy dip in the Ganga. He was taking dips in the holy Ganga time and again. While bathing there, some persons informed him that his one-paisa coin had fallen into the river. So he started taking dips one after the other to search out the coin. That coin was counterfeit. In spit of making his best efforts, the Brahman could not find the coin. So he spoke, "Well, O mother Ganga! I offer this coin to you."
At that time the Brahman was on his way to Southern India on a business tour. There one day he received the message of his mother's sad demise. The Brahman was extremely miser. He thought that if he went back to his village to perform his mother's funeral rites, it would be very expensive. But he had great regard and affection for his mother. So he decided to buy a coconut at that very place and perform his dead mother's last rituals. With this idea in his mind he went to the market place to buy a coconut. He stepped into a shop. He inquired of the shopkeeper the price of a coconut. The shopkeeper replied that a coconut would cost him fifty paisa. Kankbhat said, "Brother! Reduce the price a little." But the shopkeeper declined to do so. Kankbhat marched ahead. Another shopkeeper demanded forty paisas as price for a similar coconut. Kankbhat did not buy the coconut from that shop, too. Thus making inquiries from shop to shop he reached a wholesale coconut store. Kankbhat asked the salesman of the store the price of one coconut. The sales man replied, "Two paisa." At this Kankbhat said, "Well, gentleman"! I hail from a far off place. Please allow me some discount and sell me a coconut for one paisa." At this the owner of the shop said, "We are traders. How can we sell you a coconut below the price we paid for it? If you want to buy a coconut for one paisa, go to a coconut field. There you will get it for one paisa."
Hence Kankbhat marched forward in search of a coconut field. After travelling a short distance, he came across a farmer. He enquired him the price of a coconut. The peasant answered, "The price is one paisa." By this time the greed of the Brahman was roused all the more and he said, "Well brother! I come from a distance place. Please give me a coconut free of cost." Being enraged the farmer spoke, "If you want to get a coconut cost free, go to the forest and pluck with your own hands as many cost-free coconuts as you like from the trees, which belong to none." Being overjoyed Kankbhat proceeded towards the forest. In the forest he saw trees overloaded with coconuts. Seeing them he was overwhelmed with joy. But he did not know how to climb a coconut tree. Anyhow he climbed upon a tree. The problem was how he should pluck coconuts now. He did not know plucking of coconuts from the tree as well. When he tried to pull the bunch of coconuts from the tree, in this process his foot slipped from the stem of the tree and he hung in the middle holding the branch in his hand. No sooner did he peep downward, than he saw a deep well nearby. He wailed, "Alas! Now I shall meet untimely death." He was greatly terrified.
A man on camel back was passing by that way just then. Kambhat prayed to the camel rider, "Brother! Save my life." It was a golden opportunity for the camel driver to fish in others' troubled waters. So he asked, "Well! Tell me what will you pay me for saving your life?" Kambhat replied, "I have five hundred rupees in my pocket, I shall give them to you." The camel rider was overjoyed. He brought the camel close to the tree and making the camel stand under it, himself he stood on the camel back. As soon as he caught hold of the legs of Kankbhat to give him support, the camel slipped away from under him and fled. Now two persons were suspended from the tree instead of one.
Meanwhile, the king's elephant driver, riding his elephant was passing from that side. Seeing the two men hanging from the tree, he began to laugh. The two persons hanging from the tree appealed to him to rescue them. The elephant driver was also overpowered by greed. He also asked "What will you pay me for saving you?" Kambhat promised to pay him five hundred rupees; and the camel driver also agreed to reward him with one thousand rupees. The elephant driver was thrilled. He made the elephant stand under the tree and hardly had he caught hold of the legs of the lower person taking right position on his elephant, the elephant also fled away being perplexed. Now three persons were swinging from one and the same twig of the tree.
By this time Kankbhat was dead tired of hanging so long. Ultimately he spoke, "My hands are fully unnerved; now my grip of the tree twig is getting loose." Being terrified the two lower persons said, "Oh brother! Do not do so; otherwise all of us will be killed." At this Kankbhat said, "Previously you had claimed money from me to save my life. Now it is my turn. Tell me, what both of you will pay me for it; otherwise I shall leave hold of the tree just now." One of them said, "I shall pay you five hundred rupees," and the second man offered him one thousand rupees. Kamkbhat rejoiced; for he thought, "How fine! I shall get cost free coconuts besides a good amount of money." Indeed, it was a gala day for him. While he was thus fully absorbed in his wishful thinking and greedy thoughts, he lost his grip of the twig and instantly all the three fell into the deep well below. The three met their doom due to excess of greed. Likewise, daily the creatures in all the three worlds are meeting their sad and untimely demise being overpowered with endless greed.
Rightly has it been said:
"Greed is the root cause of all crimes and sins." Alas! To what a miserable plight greed leads a man. The evil passion of greed degrades a man so low that he does not hesitate to take off ornaments from the dead bodies of women floating on floodwater. He steals the luggage of persons killed in a train accident or air crash; and loots the goods of earthquake victims under the pretext of doing relief work. Indeed greed knows no end. Given below are the noble words of a great scholar:
"Contentment is the cheapest, safest and surest remedy for all troubles that may possibly come upon man. Want of it, only augments, intensifies and prolongs the pain, and sometimes perpetuates it."
There lived a Seth named Sagar Dutt in Kampila city. Although the Seth, who lit the fuel of his heart's ambitions with the fire of deep rooted greed, had inherited ten million gold coins (guineas) from ancestors besides his self earned five million guineas, yet he was extremely greedy. What to speak of the preparation of dainty dishes and sweet meats like ladoos even vegetables were never cooked in his house. He always thought if vegetables were to be cooked, money would have to be spent on oil, chilies and spices, and more foodstuffs would be consumed on its getting tasty. Not only this, he also did not go to anybody's house to take meals or attend a feast. First, because he believed that the tongue becomes addicted to juicy and delicious foods on taking food at others' house; secondly, one day in exchange he will also have to invite the person for meals at his home.
He would not let even members of his family to take food to their fill. He always told his attendants that a wise man should not waste money on buying oil, ghee, butter, salt, etc., from the market. After once buying the above articles, he should return them to the shopkeeper under the pretext that these were not of the standard quality and the oil stuck to the container should serve his purpose. Besides, he professed that it was foolish to buy perfumed oil to make the body fragrant. On the contrary, one should pass one's hands over the head of the rich men's children for this purpose, so that his own body may also get perfumed with the oil applied in their hair.
Very often while roaming about he passed through the locality of the oil crushers and enter their houses in order to realize interest on the loaned money. He would pick up from there a piece of oil cake-saying that the oil cake was exhaling a very sweet smell. Therefore, on returning home he would eat boiled rice along with the spiced water and smell the oil cake in between. After taking meals he used to chew the bark of the Peepal tree for mouth wash.
Once it rained cats and dogs in the city continuously for seven days. The rivers were flooded. Water and only water was seen everywhere in the city. A cold breeze was blowing. The people did not dare to come out of their houses. But at night the greedy Seth Sagar Datt went on the riverbank putting on a loincloth. He jumped into the flooded river and started taking out the fuel wood floating on the floodwater. The king's palace stood on the riverbank. There was lightening and thunder in the sky. In the flash of lightening through the palace window the queen saw Sagar Datt gathering fuel wood and thought in her mind that undoubtedly the poor fellow must be extremely poor. She determined to urge the king to render him monetary help. Consequently, at a proper time the queen said to the king, "O King! You are the savior of your subjects and defender of the poor. An extremely poor person lives in your city. Please help him."
At the appeal of the queen the king sent for the man and spoke to him, "O distressed fellow! It seems that you are a pauper like a church mouse. Therefore, I want to help you. Tell me, what do you need?" To this Sagar Datt replied, "I need a bullock." The king said, "There are so many bullocks in my cattle-shed. Take away anyone you choose." Accordingly on going through the bullocks in the king's cattle-shed, Sagar Dutt came back and spoke, "O king! I need a bullock resembling the bullock in my home. Your cattle-shed has not even a single bullock to match the one present at my house." Then the king said, "Bring your bullock and show me its specialty." Seth Sagar Dutt said, "Your majesty! My bullock never goes out of the door." Hearing this king's astonishment knew no bounds. At length the king said, All right, I shall myself pay a visit to your house to see your bullock." These words of the king perplexed Sagar Dutt. He could not utter a word; rather his heart began to throb with the fear that the next day the king would pay a visit to his house and come to know about his boundless wealth. If out of greed the king by chance demanded a little of his vast wealth from him, what would he do then? On returning home he suffered from fever.
The next day the king went to Sagar Datt's house accompanied by his queen. Seeing his boundless wealth, elephants and horses the king was bewitched. He began to think at heart, "Alas! In spite of possessing so much of wealth, this greedy person is undergoing through so many tortures. Cursed be this greed." The wife and sons of Sagar Datt said to him, "The king and the queen have made our house pure by their presence. We should entertain them and extend them proper and grand reception according to their high status. Hence, dear father! Offer this plate full of jewels and pearls to the king."
On much insistence by his kith and kin, when Sagar Dutt picked up the plate full of pearls and diamonds, his hands began to waver. The king was also filled with remorse seeing the insatiable greed of the Seth despite possessing such a vast wealth. Therefore, he returned without accepting any present from the Seth. After sometime the greedy Seth breathed his last and after death was reborn in his own house as a snake. It sat coiling the boundless riches in the home. Seeing the snake in the treasure house, his sons sent for a snake charmer who brutally catching hold of the snake took it out of the home. Thereafter, being dead the snake took birth in hell.
Hence, one should never indulge in excessive greed for wealth and prosperity; otherwise one has to bear a miserable plight like that of Sagar Datt. Beware, "O Greed, what great crimes and sins have not been committed in thy name by persons overpowered by thee." There is another example to prove the moral debasement caused by greed:
After completing his ten years educational study course at Banaras, a Pandit returned to his home city. His father was a renowned landlord and a highly dignified person. He exerted a great influence in the locality. The city people were overjoyed at his son's return after becoming highly learned and educated. They extended proper welcome to him and put him several searching questions about life. He gave quite satisfactory replies to all the questions. His scholarship left a deep impression on all the people. But all of a sudden a man questioned him, " Panditji, please tell me who is the perpetuator of sin?" Panditji was perturbed on hearing this quite simple question. When the people received no satisfactory answer from Panditji, the man said, "Panditji, you have come back after ten year long study at Banaras, but you failed to answer my simple question. You have wasted the money of your father." The helpless Pandit stared blank in the face of the man.
Panditji returned home with a heavy heart. He could not sleep at night. He pondered deeply in his mind, "Today I have suffered great disgrace; how should I show my face in the city now. It will be proper for me to go back to Banaras and find solution to this question." Lo! At dawn Panditji left home and set out for Kashi (Banaras). While he was on his way to Banaras on foot the evening fell. He took shelter on a platform in front of a well-built house in a village. After supper he spread his bedding on the platform and lay down there. Due to great fatigue he succumbed to sound sleep as soon as he lay down. He did not wake up and lay there for a long time even after sunrise in the morning.
The house, on the platform of which Panditji slept belonged to a prostitute. When the prostitute came downstairs in the morning, she saw the hale and hearty handsome young man sleeping on the platform. She was bewitched and dumbfounded. She woke him up and asked, "Who are you? Where do you hail from? What is your destination and what for are you going there?" Panditji replied, "I come from Samtapur and am on my way to Kashi." At this the prostitute spoke, "Sir, you told me everything but I got no reply as to why you are going to Kashi? Please tell me." Panditji said, "O Gentle lady! Don't ask this question to me. I am pained at heart by this." When the prostitute again insisted, Panditji said, "Now listen, I stayed and studied at Kashi for ten years. After completing my education, I came back home. As soon as I returned to the city, the people gave me a grand reception. Unfortunately that very day during a question-answer program the people put to me a question, "What is the root cause of sin?" I failed to answer this question. My heart was filled with remorse. This is why I am returning to Kashi for further study."
The prostitute was very wise. She said, "Panditji, today I am lucky to entertain a learned guest like you at my house. Please go ahead only after taking mid-day meals at my house today. I shall prepare food for you with my own hands. Till then please take bath and say your morning prayers and perform worship." Hearing this Panditji was in a fix. After a short pause Panditji asked the prostitute, "Who are you and what is your profession?"
Prostitute - I am a human being. I earn my bread and butter through prostitution.
Panditji - Curse it. O God! What a great sinner I am! I have slept in the house of an unholy prostitute. I will have to repent for this sin.
Prostitute - O dignified Brahman! I am also a human being like you. You consider me mean and hateful only for being a prostitute. Once I was also a young damsel of a dignified family, but the oppressions of your human society have forced me to resort to this sinful life. Today you are my guest, I shall not let you go without taking meals. Panditji - O wretched lady! What do you say? I am a holy Brahman - a Pandit. How can I take meals at your house?
Prostitute - No, No, Panditji! Meals you must take at my house. See there is a well in the compound of my house. Draw the water and prepare food yourself and then take meals. You are a Brahman, so after meals I shall give you a present of five hundred rupees as well.
As soon as Panditji came to know about a present of five hundred rupees, he was overpowered with greed. He at once got ready to prepare the food himself. When the prostitute saw that the food was ready, she came down and prayed to Panditji with folded hands - "O supreme Panditji! I have committed great sins in my life. I pray to you to purify me as well."
Panditji - How is that possible?
Prostitute - If you accept two morsels of food from my hands, I shall be purified.
Panditji - Curse it. Why do you say this? How can I, a Brahman, eat two morsels from the hands of a prostitute?
Prostitute - Panditji, Please be merciful and do so. I shall offer you five hundred rupees more. At least accept one morsel from my hands and make me chaste.
Panditji agreed to take food from the hands of the prostitute out of greed for money. As soon as she brought her hand forward with a morsel to feed it to Panditji, the prostitute at once dropped the morsel on the ground and slapped the Brahman severely in the face saying, "O fool! You are going to Kashi to solve a quite simple problem. I
have answered your question. The greed with which you easily got ready to give up your religious faith and vows has overpowered you and is the root cause of all sins."
Someone has rightly observed:
"Faith is like a bird, that sings when the at dawn is still engulfed in darkness." On receiving a satisfactory solution for his problem from the prostitute, Panditji returned home.
From the above example we learn that the more greedy a person is, the more disgrace he has to suffer. To be over- greedy is a sin; greed is regarded as the root cause of sin. Hence, in order to attain the virtue of supreme contentment every living soul should discard the vicious tendency of greed and tread the path of religion.
The great poet Reidhu has described the virtue of supreme contentment or purity (Uttama Shaucha) thus:
Sauch ji dhamangu tam ji amagaun bhinrganu uvaugmu
Jarmarnr vinrasanru tijagpyasnru jhaijyi ah visi ji dhu
Dham sauchu hoi manr sudhiyai, dham sauchu venr dhanr gidhien
Dham sauchu kasaai ahavain, dham sauchu nr lippi pavain
Dham sauchu lohu vajantau dham sauchu sutab pahi jantau
Dham sauhuvanbh vay dharnri, dham sauchu meydath nrarnri
Dham sauchu jinraim manrai, dham sauchu sagunr anrumanrai
Dham sauchu sal key chae, dham sauchu ji nrimalbhae
1. The virtue of contentment is a part and parcel of religion; it is enthusiastic; it excels materialism; it gives utility to life; it relieves one from old age and death; it enlightens all the three worlds and is eternal. Pay heed to it day in and day out.
2. The virtue of contentment can be acquired through the purity of mind; it is acquired through purification by the treasure of truth speaking. This virtue is attained by subduing the evil passions and a man endowed with this virtue does not indulge in sinful deeds.
3. The virtue of contentment lays stress on abstention from greed; it leads one on the path of supreme austerity; this virtue is attained by observing celibacy; and this virtue of contentment is attained by discarding the eight types of arrogance or vanity.
4. The virtue of contentment is instilled in men by the study of holy scriptures; it is attained by getting rid of the three thorns i.e., ambitions, deception, and wrong belief; and finally this virtue is attained by maintaining purity in thoughts.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be contented, be contented and be contented throughout thy life from cradle to the grave; for according to a French saying:
'Grande fortune, grande servitude' i.e., great wealth, great slavery.
To sum up, 'The pleasure of possessing little is far more enjoyable than the prospect of getting much hereafter. The little you have, if properly used, will bring you more than you can expect or have the power to enjoy. Ambition ruins a man; contentment secures him the peace and happiness of heaven.'
In fact, all our existence and happiness in life depends on our mental attitude. Human mind is the supreme power that governs all our actions. Only a calm and contented mind will lead us to a blissful life. The great English poet Oliver Goldsmith after his long tour of five European countries in search of peace and happiness came to the conclusion:
Vain! Very Vain! My weary search to find
That bliss, which centers in the mind.
From 'Traveler' by Oliver Goldsmith
Whatever is pure is refreshing. Purity imparts freshness of vigor to both the body and the mind.
(Uttama Satya Dharma)
Truth is the speech of inward purity.
- Sir Edwin Arnold
The word 'satya' (truth) has been derived by the addition of the suffix 'yat' with the root 'sat' (satya) are prevalent in common use; e.g. truthful, real, genuine, honest, loyal, non-deceitful or truth speaking.
"Satsu prshastaishu janaishu saddhuvachnam satymituichate"
I.e., To speak saintly words with the noble souls are truth.
"Satam sadhunam hitbhashnam satyam"
- Bhg. Aara
I.e., To speak genuine words with monks and their devotees - the householders - is the virtue of truth.
To speak politely in accordance with scriptures for the uplifting of religion is called truth. Nothing on earth is as glorious as truthfulness; it brings in its wake all other virtues.
Every living soul should always speak with restraint only truthful words, which are sweet like nectar and beneficial to self and others as well. If perchance at any time a man feels hesitation in speaking truthful words, he should better keep mum.
A person who is truthful in his conduct and dealings leads a smooth and simple life. Even mere contact with truthful and good persons makes a man truthful. Sir Edwin Arnold has rightly said:
'Of all the pleasures given on earth
The company of good is best.
For weariness has no birth
In such a company sweet and blest.'
Satam prasangain nirgunropi gunri bhavait"
I.e., 'He who treads the path of truth remains happy for ever.' Lord Jinendra has also affirmed the above idea thus:
"Idam jenaishvaram vakyam satypatham sukhpradam"
The Indian Government has also assigned the highest significance to truth by adopting the eternal motto 'Satyamev Jeyatai'- 'Truth conquers all'. Indeed, Truth is the highest divine principle'. A renowned Hindi poet sings:
Satya brabar tap nhi, jhut braber pap
jiske hirday satya he, tis kai hirday aap
I.e., No austerity is equivalent to truth and no sin is equal to falsehood. God's abode is the soul who has truth in his heart.
While walking on the road a poor Brahman found a diamond, which was worth one lakh rupees. He was going casually with the diamond in his hand. A jeweler was coming from the opposite direction as if searching for something on the road. He looked confused and uneasy. Meanwhile seeing him restless at the heart the Brahman asked him, "O brother jeweler! What makes you so restless? See; I have found this diamond. If it belongs to you, please take it." Saying this he handed over the diamond to the jeweler. Then the jeweler said, "I had lost two diamonds. You have given me only one. Give me the second one also. Only then I will let you go." So the Jeweler handed over the Brahman to the police, and filed a lawsuit against him. In the court the judge interrogated the Brahman, "Tell gentleman, what is the truth?" The Brahman replied, "My Lord! While walking on the road I found a diamond lying there. I was going straight in a carefree mood. Just then this man looking vexed at heart was coming from the opposite direction making a search for something lost. I asked him, "What are you searching for?" Then he replied that he had lost his two diamonds. I then handed over one diamond and said, "See, I have found this diamond. If it belongs to you, please take it." Then he took the diamond from me. But again he said that he had lost two diamonds." At this the judge made further inquiry from the Seth. Even then the Seth said, "I had lost two diamonds which I had dropped some where on the road. The Brahman has given me only one diamond but declines to give the second one." The judge realized that if the Brahman had not been truthful, why should he have given one diamond to the Seth, despite being poor himself.
Therefore, after deep pondering he declared the judgement - "As the diamond found by the Brahman was only one, it could not belong to the Seth. So the diamond should be given to the Brahman. The Seth had dropped the two diamonds together at a time, so he might have dropped them else where." Then the Seth spoke, "Well, Your honor! Then let me have this single diamond." In reply the judge said, "Now you cannot get this one diamond as well." Right is the following statement:
The flame of truth may be put down by falsehood temporarily for a while, but it cannot be put out for ever by any attempt." Indeed:
Sataymaiv varo lokai, satyam Dharmai sadasrit
Satya sarvanri mulani, satyanasti pram padam
Truth grants happiness in this world. All living beings survive on the power of truth. The day when truth is fully annihilated or goes into oblivion, fire will leave its inherent burning property, which is impossible. Truth is eternal. Truth is God and God is truth. By sticking to truth a man becomes God; a human being becomes super human; by the force of truth an animal sheds its present state and becomes the almighty God; the soul changes into superb soul. All the great men born on this day became great by the force of truth. 'The wind blows for ever' is a universal truth. One, who adheres to truth, crosses the ocean of universe easily. He who kicks truth is also kicked in life and meets his doom. We can uplift ourselves by the help of truth. Truth alone is beautiful and good in this universe. The great poet Keats has sung:
Beauty is truth, Truth beauty
That is all ye know on earth,
And all ye need to know.
That's why truth has been exalted in the axiom 'satyam shivam sundram' - The true, the Good and the Beautiful. The person who despite being himself incapable of following the moral code of conduct laid down by the Holy Lord Jinendra, advocates the holy message of the Lord, does not contradict it and does not tell a lie in daily dealings as well, is truthful indeed.
"Truthfulness is the basis of all the virtues that form good character. One who is true to himself is true to world."
To call a spade a spade is the first requisite of truthfulness. But in the spiritual sphere due to supremacy given to nonviolence over self and non-self, beneficial and sweet words are called truth, even if there is a bit of falsehood in them. Indeed, a statement, which does well to living beings is truth. On the contrary, a statement howsoever true it may be, but if it causes harm to somebody is untruth. In short, spreading false doctrines, revealing the secrets and deformities of others is falsehood. Likewise back biting, making false documents and breach of trust are all forms of falsehood. A man should abstain from such false truths.
Jain Acharyas have divided truth into two categories on the basis of 'Anuvartas' (partial vows or small vows), 'Mahavaratas' (Absolute vows or great vows). One who does not speak hurtful, harsh and pinching words; who does not reveal the secrets of others but speaks benevolent and affectionate words; who uses pleasing and compassionate words for all living creatures; who speaks celestial words for spiritual uplift, observes 'Satyanuvarta' (partial vow of truth).
Not to speak false words being instigated by attachment, malice, greed and discord; and to avoid the use of truthful words causing anguish to others is 'Satya Mahavarta' i.e., great vow of truth. Not to utter at any time treacherous or agonizing words inspired with humor, fear, anger or greed; to avoid the use of words that cause mental injury to others in thought, speech, and action is also the great vow of truth - 'Satya Mahavarta'.
Satyavachi prtishtata sarva gunsampda. Anritbhashinram bandhvopi avmanyate, mitrani ch prityjanti, jihvachhedansarvsahrnraadivysnbhagpi bhavti
The treasure of all virtues lies inherent in a truth speaking person. A liar is condemned even by his own kith and kin. No body likes to befriend him. He has to undergo severe punishments like cutting of the tongue and deprivation of all his wealth and property.
A Brahman named Shivabhuti was reputed by the title Satyaghosh. He used to say that he would never tell a lie. If he ever told a lie, he would cut his tongue with a dagger. Being pleased and fully convinced with his honesty one day a Seth left his four precious diamonds in his custody and set out on his business errand. He had earned a huge amount of money abroad. After twelve years he was on his way back home. Unfortunately his ship sank in the sea and all his wealth was lost. The Seth came to Satyaghosh and demanded of him to return his four diamonds. At this the Brahman, known as Satyaghosh, turned the Seth out of his house declaring him to be a mad person. Now the Seth knocked the door of the king for justice. But the king paid no heed to his petition. However, the queen traced out the theft of Satyaghosh through her own spies. She recovered the diamonds from his house and placed them in front of Seth. The Seth picked up only his own diamonds out of them. Thus the king was convinced beyond doubt about the deceit of Satyaghosh.
The king sentenced Satyaghosh to undergo any one of the three punishments i.e., either he should eat three plates full of cow dung; or suffer thirty two blows of his wrestlers; or forfeit all his possessions. The sinful Satyaghosh was almost dead with humiliation. At first he preferred to eat cow dung but could not eat the whole of it. Then the king ordered a wrestler to give him hand blows. But just one stroke of the wrestler left him almost half-dead. Ultimately the helpless Satyaghosh had to surrender all his wealth to the king. In this way the wretched fellow had to suffer all the three punishments one after the other. This deep shock resulted in his death and thereafter he was reborn as a snake in the king's treasure house.
The persons who are not beset with crookedness, falsehood and deceit, alone are entitled to attain an unblemished soul.
Taisha maso birjo Brahamloko na yaishu jihmnritam na maya chaiti
Followers of all religions have applauded the virtue of truthfulness whole heartily. In 'Manu Smriti' the significance of truth has been stated as below:
Ekmaivadvitiam tu prbruvnachbudhatai
Satyam savargasya sopanam paravarsya nauriv
I.e., A truth speaking person is regarded as unique. Like a boat that peddles in the ocean and takes us ashore, truth is the ladder that leads to heaven.
The following couplet 207/67 of the Maha Vana Parva states truth thus:
Vedasyoupanishat satyam satasyopnisad dama
Damasyopnishat tyaga shishtacharaishu nityasha
The essence of the Vedas is truth; the essence of truth is self-restraint is abstinence is always present in the conduct of cultured persons. Even if we weigh thousands of horse sacrifices (Ashwamedha Yaga) on one scale, and truth on the other scale of a physical balance, we shall discover that truth is heavier i.e., superior to thousands of horse sacrifice ceremonies. This fact has been stated in the 'Adi Parva' of the 'Mahabharat'
Ashwmedhsahastram ch satyam ch tulya dhritam
Ashwmedhasahastadhi satyamev vishishtai
- Maha. Adiparv 75/10
The worldly people follow suit to the utterances of the great men who attain excellence by the acquisition of perfect speech and perfect spirituality. When the Tirthankaras attain absolute truth and all supreme virtues, human beings follow to the letter the nectar-like sweet sermon that has a spontaneous overflow from their lotus mouth. In daily routine of our practical life too we observe that people pay attention to the words of men with a lofty character, and listen with reverence to the words of ideal persons who always speak the truth as well as practice it in life. The sages and gods have acknowledged truth alone as superb. Only a truthful person attains supreme immortality in this world. 'Shukraniti' 3/257-58 states:
Ya sahayam sada kuryat prtipam na vadait vachchit
Satyam hitam vakti yati datai grihnrati mitrtam
I.e., He who is always helpful, never utters bitter and unpleasant words, talks only about truthful and beneficial things, believes in the policy of 'give and take' becomes a true friend. It has been said, "A friend in need, is a friend indeed."
Sometimes some situations come when even truth turns into untruth e.g., to call blind a 'blind'. Though it may be a fact that a man is blind by birth, it is a bitter truth to call him a blind, because such a remark hurts his feelings and causes agony to his heart. Such words as inflict pain to somebody's heart are regarded untrue despite their being true. In the 'Vana Parva' of the 'Mahabharat' this fact has been expressed thus:
Yad bhuthitmatyatam, tat satyamitidharanra
Vipryakrito Dharma, pashya Dharmasya sukhsamtam
That indeed is the real truth, which contributes to the welfare of all living beings. On the contrary that which causes harm to somebody is untruth. Therefore, always speak the truth, speak affectionate and pleasant words; but never speak unpleasant words despite their being true and do not speak a bitter truth.
Once a sage sat in a forest. Just then some people came running after a cow to kill it. The sage at once understood that these people were none else but butchers and hunters. They were on their hunting mission. Seeing these hunters the sage stood up. All these people came to the saint and spoke, "O holy saint! Has any cow passed this way?" The saint was in a fix. If he said 'yes', all these butchers would chase and kill the cow; if he said, 'No', he would be branded a liar. To escape these two adverse situations the saint at once sat down and said, "No cow has passed this side since I have sat down." If he had said so in a standing position, it would have been falsehood. Therefore, to speak whatever is true as well as non-violent i.e., to safeguard and defend a life, is truth in the real sense. Thus even a lie takes on the garb of truth, if it brings good to others.
The ascetics (Sharamans) regard truth as all-powerful. They are of the view that anyone who takes recourse to truth obtains infinite power, ineffable bliss and kindles in himself the flame of unrestricted knowledge latent in the human soul. In the absence of truth a person cannot march even a step forward. The worldly beings cannot realize the absolute truth with physical existence. Right it is: 'We can know only the partial truth, but not the absolute truth.'
The great scientist Einstein has questioned, "What is the absolute truth?" Einstein himself answers, "We can know only the relative truth i.e., partial truth. The real truth is known only to a universal observer." A universal observer in the opinion of Einstein is none else but the Almighty with infinite power of knowledge and bliss.
We worldly people are non-omniscient; hence we cannot know matter in its infinite state or nature, but we can know its partial nature. The reason is that our knowing capacity is limited. But those who are omniscient and omnipotent souls, can know simultaneously at the same moment all objects of the whole universe that exist forever in all the three ages - past, present and future - in their complete form and vivid states.
Up to the twelfth stage of spiritual advancement all creatures have imperfect knowledge. At this stage it is quite natural for a living being to commit a mistake due to his knowledge of only partial truth. Hence even by chance untrue words come out of his mouth now and then, he should get rid of this mistake by acknowledging the untruth; he should not conceal it. Just as if we wrap fire in a piece of cloth in our attempt to conceal it, burning the cloth it comes out taking a more fierce shape; likewise a lie cannot be concealed however much we may try to do so.
Astyam uktva na guhait guhmanai vivardhate
I.e., Truth is a concern not only of the mind, as the common men believe; but truth is related to the combination of all the three - mind, body and speech. Truth signifies:
'Right is might, but not might is right.'
To see things in their right perspective i.e., to understand a person whatever he is; to speak a thing as it is; and to practice what we preach is truth. It is universally acknowledged that truth is the personal possession and real nature of soul. It is peace giving and blissful. When a worldly person thinks of acting contrary to truth, at first his conscience forbids him to do so. Still a person overrules the dictates of his conscience and practices untruth getting under the control of worldly allurements, deceit, greed and indulgence in sexual pleasures. He is worried all the time lest his falsehood should come to light. His mind remains in tension forever. Hence, if you want to attain peace of mind and body, stick to truth. Infinite is the glory of truth. Therefore, always speak the truth. Do not tell a lie. A lie has no legs. A great moralist has advised saying:
"Man should never tell a lie, which is always injurious to living beings, whether for his own sake or for the sake of others, or out of anger or fear. He should also not force others to speak a lie." The scriptures instruct.
The consequences of falsehood are very disastrous. A liar is deprived of his peace of mind.
Satyam vadait masatyam, satyam Dharma sanatnam
Harishchandra charit vai divi satayn chandravat
I.e., Speak the truth forever under all odds.
Truth is the eternal virtue. The immortal glory of the well renowned truthful King Harish Chandra pervades the vast sky like that of the moon, simply due to truth.
All the great men who have existed on this earth to this day achieved greatness only due to harnessing truth to the core of their heart. Those who adhere to truth make their self-uplift. On the contrary, those who are addicted to falsehood meet a miserable lot and suffer downfall. These note worthy words deserve careful attention:
"The path of truth will lead you to your goal, if you only go straight forward, without moving this side or that."
There lived a gentle natured and profound scholar Upadhaya (a teacher) named Ksheerkadamb in Swastikawati City. Many students, chief amongst whom were his own son Parvata, the Stha's son Narad and the royal Prince Vasu, received education from him. All three had great mutual love and affection for one another. One day the simple living, learned teacher Ksheerkadamb while engaged in teaching and discourse with his three main disciples sat on a crystal clear marble slab inside a cave of Swarangiri hill. At that time he was explaining to his disciples the intricate religious axioms defining them in a very lucid style. Just then two Gods named Amitmati and his disciple Anantmati accomplished in celestial virtues descended from the sky and to him. Seeing Ksheerkadamb busy in religious discourse with his pupils in a calm and serene mood, the God Anantmati spoke, "Hurrah! All these are decidedly noble souls and are likely to attain salvation in the near future." Hearing this Amitmati said, "O disciple! Your statement is correct to some extent; but out of them two will go to hell and two will enter heaven." This conversation between the two Gods made Ksheerkadamb, who enlightened the whole universe with the light of scriptures shudder at heart with fear. He at once dispatched his disciples home, and in no time himself he reached the God Amitmati. He paid homage at his feet with full reverence and inquired, "O celestial being! Who out of us will go to hell and who will enter heaven?"
Amitmati replied, "O Ksheerkadamb! The untruthful Prince Vasu who is maddened with the pride of royal treasures and your son Parvata who misinterprets the Holy Scriptures will go to hell. The Seth's son Narad who honestly observes the vows of a householder and possesses the jewel of Right Belief, and you yourself shall enter heaven."
On hearing these words from the mouth of the divine God, Ksheerkadamb out of aversion for the world and his own body developed the feeling of renunciation. So he got himself initiated into Jain monkshood in the presence of his teacher. He uprooted with his own hands his lustrous beautiful dark hair. In the end after a noble death - the Samadhi Maran of a saint - he entered his heavenly abode i.e., Paradise.
On the other hand, Parvata succeeded his teacher father. He became a teacher and started teaching the students. One day Narad taking a present of garments paid a visit to his teacher's widowed wife - the mother like Chitravali and met his classmate Parvata as well. After making proper inquiries from his teacher's wife about her well-being and giving her the present, he reached the school run by Parvata. By chance at that time Parvata made a blunder. He explained to his students that the word 'Ajairyasthavayam' means to 'perform Yajna by sacrificing a he-goat.' Narad objected to it and said, "O learned Parvata! Do not give this wrong explanation. 'Aja' means the paddy, which has lost the power of germination. Hence the phrase 'Ajairyasthavayam' means that a Yajna should be performed for health, peace and prosperity by offering three-year-old paddy. My friend! Only thus had our highly learned proficient teacher explained this word to us. It does not befit you to give a wrong interpretation of the right word after inheriting your father's high seat of a teacher. It seems your mind has gone astray and your wisdom has become extinct." On hearing his friend's words full of wisdom, Parvata said, "O Narad! The explanation given by me is fully true and correct. If you prove it untrue and inappropriate, let me be punished by chopping off my tongue."
Narad said, "But who will decide our controversy?"
At this Parvarta said, "The justice loving king Vasu will decide our controversy and we shall come to know his decision about the truth or untruth of your explanation by attending his court tomorrow."
When Chitrawali, the widow of Ksheerkadamb and mother of Parvata heard this, she sent for Parvata and counseling him said, "My son! To give such wrong explanation is a cause of downfall and leads to hell. Therefore, give up your obstinacy in sticking to your wrong interpretation, otherwise you will have to go to hell." But Parvata declined to follow the advice of his mother. He was adamant on his own version. It has been rightly said: 'vinash kalai viprit budhi' 'A man loses his wisdom in adversity'.
Parvata's mother knew well that her own son was wrong and talking rot, and to favor him would signify moral degradation. Even then infatuated with affection for her son, she went to king Vasu to plead for him. She spoke, "O, king! Once you had promised to grant me a boon. Today I have come to you to ask for the boon."
The just and truthful king Vasu said, "Mother! Demand whatever boon you like. Your boon shall be granted at all costs. I am ready to offer you every thing that I possess." At this the lady said, "Tomorrow Parvata and Narad will come in your court to seek your decision over a controversy. Although Parvata's view point is weak, it supports sin and is a gateway to moral downfall, yet you will have to defend my son Parvata and give your decision in his favor."
Hearing this king Vasu trembled at heart. He was in a great fix. He pondered in his mind, "What should I do now? If I do not keep my word, I will have to suffer great disgrace; and if in order to fulfill my promise I favor Parvata, my fall into the pit of hell is inevitable. If there is a deep well on one side, there is a deep ditch on the other. I fail to decide what to do in such a critical situation." But he opted for hell; so at last he bid farewell to his teacher's wife with a promise to defend her son Parvarta.
The next day Narad and Parvarta appeared in the royal court. Each one of them presented his case before the king giving forceful arguments. They both waited for the king's judgement with a heavy heart. Parvata was somewhat doubtful at heart, but Narad was fully confident that the just king Vasu would certainly deliver his verdict in his favor. But the promise-bound king Vasu delivered his judgement in favor of Parvata. As soon as he declared his judgement in favor of untruth, his throne sank into the earth and there was an uproar all around. Narad burst out, "O wicked king! Why did you prefer to go to hell by favoring untruth? Take side of the truth." But the helpless king remained adamant on his decision and ultimately went to hell after death.
By the above example it becomes obvious that "Truth always conquers in the long run" 'satya maiv jeytai'. Therefore, a living being aspiring for his own spiritual welfare should never favor falsehood, otherwise he has to meet a miserable plight.
In his last sermon before his ideal death i.e. Samadhi Maran His Holiness Shri Shanti Sagar Maharaj, a prince among ascetics laid stress upon the need of truth for a believer in non-violence. By truth he meant the adoption of right perspective and correct apprehension of spiritual values.
The great poet Reidhu has defined the supreme virtue of truth as under:
De dhamhr karanru dos nribarnru ih bhavi skhrhru
Sachyu ji vynrulu bhavnri atalu oljyi visasadhru
Sachu ji savam thamaham phanru, sachu ji nhiyligreu vihanru
Sachenr ji sohi namruv jammu, sachainr pavtau punr kam
Sachnr sal gnr ganr mahanti, sachainr tias saiva vahanti
Par baha yaru bhasahuma bhabu, sachu ji tam chhandhu vigeh gachu
Sachu ji Parmapau athi so bhavun bhavtam dalanr iku
Rundhije munrinra vyanr guti, jam khanri fitaii sansar ati
sachu ji dham Phainr kaivalnranru lahair janru
Tam palhu bhi bhav bhanru ma aliyu deh venru
1. The virtue of truth is the originator of the virtue of compassion, it banishes all faults and is bestower of bliss in this world and the divine world. A truthful speech is unique in the universe, i.e., nothing in the world can match it. We should speak truth with confidence.
2. The virtue of truth is the main among all virtues. Truth is the most sacred injunction on the earth' surface. Truth is like a bridge to take us across the ocean of the world. Truth is the guiding force to bring mental happiness to all creatures.
3. Human life is glorified by truth. Truth alone diverts men from evil to do holy deeds. All virtues together achieve nobility and grandeur through truth alone, and the Gods fulfill the vow of service due to truth only.
4. The small vows and big vows are attained through truth, and truth puts an end to all human miseries. We should always speak generous and affectionate words. We should never utter such words as hurt the feelings of others.
5. O noble soul! Never speak a word, which creates obstacles for others; even if it may be true, give it up with pride. Truth is the only God. Truth is like the radiant sun to vanquish the darkness of the world. Always worship it.
6. The nude monks observe Vachan Gupti i.e., follow regulations of speech. They put an end to the worldly agony and sorrows in the twinkling of an eye.
7. A man automatically attains enlightenment as a result of the virtue of truth. O noble soul! Practice truth and do not speak unpleasant words in the world.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be truthful; and be truthful. O man! Know that truth is the fundamental principle. The wise man that always abides by the commandment of truth goes beyond death; for truth is the food of soul and falsehood cannot have a long lease of life. Know thou the truth. He, who abides by the precept of truth, attains the deathless state.
A truthful person is honored every where. Therefore, we must:
Honor to those whose words are deeds
Thus help us in our daily needs;
And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low.
The principal materials for character building are - truth and honesty, energy and devotion, patience and perseverance, but the steady foundation upon which character can stand is firm faith in the infinite mercy and wisdom of God; without this character, however high it may be, trembles down in a moment.
(Uttam Sanyam Dharma)
'Self-restraint is the key to eternal happiness'
The word 'Sanyam' is derived from the root 'yam' with preposition 'sam' by the addition of suffix 'ap'.
The word 'Sanyam' has various meanings like check, restraint, control, prevention and mental concentration. Uttama Sanyam i.e., Supreme self-restraint is one of the ten virtues to be cultivated by a man to counteract the four passions (Kashayas) i.e., anger, pride, deceit and greed.
Therefore, an aspirant for happiness is advised, "Fight with your (own) self: what is good in fighting the external foe? By conquering one's 'self' by means of one's own self, one obtains true happiness."
It has been rightly said, "The sensual temptations of life do not attract a monk's mind. He is firmly convinced that the pleasures secured by satisfying the senses are not only transitory but also futile. He, therefore, comes to the conclusion that man should aspire to attain the pleasure of eternal nature and for this purpose man should make strenuous efforts towards self-restraint or control of one's senses."
The self alone should be subdued, for it is very difficult to subdue it. It is far better that a man should subdue his self-control and austerities; rather than be subdued by others with fetters and suffer corporal punishment.
Self-restraint is the rudder of life. Just as for want of rudder a boat cannot sail across the river from one bank to the other safely and punctually. Likewise in the absence of self-restraint the boat of human life cannot sail across the ocean of the world from one seacoast to the other i.e., attain liberation or salvation. The following metaphoric statement also conveys similar ideas:
"The body is said to be the boat and the soul is said to be the sailor. The samsara i.e., the worldly existence, is said to be the ocean which is crossed only by great sages."
A man without self-restraint has been compared to an animal:
Sanyamain bina pranri, pashuraiv na sanshay
Yogayogayam Na janati, bhaidastra kuto bhavait
Man devoid of self-restraint has been called an animal because without self-restraint a man cannot distinguish between right and wrong, just and unjust. So long as this living creature does not attend the school of self-restraint, he cannot develop a grand and lustrous personality. A great scholar says; 'Good nature can fulfill the lack of beauty, but beauty cannot fulfill the lack of good nature.'
In the grand and illustrious book 'Dhawal' an absolute control or check on self has been termed sanyam (self- restraint) 'samyak yamo sanyam'. The holy soul Shraman, who observes five kinds of samitis - five regulations of walking; the mode of speech; the manner of eating food; actions of taking or using and of putting away anything. He answering the call of nature - practices Samvara - stops the inflow of karmic matter into the soul by keeping the five senses under control or moving about in the world with all his senses properly controlled. He follows the three guptis - regulations of mind, speech and bodily activity for self- control with reference to controlling one's inner nature. Finally he subdues the passions and is endowed Right Belief and Right Knowledge, is called self-restrained.
To discard the external Parigrah - greed of worldly possessions, and internal Parigrah - freedom from evil actions in mind, speech and body; aversion for sensuous pleasures and destruction of passions have been proclaimed in general as the characteristics of a self-restrained person. Almost all scriptures define self-restraint as mentioned above.
Two kinds of self-restraint viz. 'sagar' (with possessions) and niragar (without possession) have been stated in 'Charit Pahud':
Diviham sanjamcharanram sayaram teh havai nrirayaram
Sayaram saganthai parigaha rahiy khalu nrirayaram
A householder, who feels attachment towards his own possessions, is gifted with 'sagar' (self-restraint with possessions). A monk who is gifted with supreme non- attachment is endowed with 'niragar' (non-possession self- restraint). Acharya Samant Bhadra Swamy has also stated the same thing in 'Ratankarand Shravakachar':
Saklam vikalam chararam, tatsaklam sarvsangviratanam
Angaranram viklam, sagaranram sasanganam
Self-restraint is of two kinds based on 'sakal charitra’ Absolute in character, and 'vikal charitra' Partial in character. The monks, who are free from all types of attachments practice absolute self-restraint; and the house- holders, who are attached to worldly possessions practice partial self-restraint.
In the sacred book entitled 'Rajvartika' Acharya Aklank Dev has put self-restraint in two categories with respect to aphrit (restricted) and upaiksha (detached). A monk who understands the logic of Time and Space; who is by nature averse towards the body; who observes the three Guptis - regulations for self-control; and who is free from the mental attitude of attachment or aversion, is holder of upeksha (detached self-restraint). 'Aphrit’ (restricted self- restraint) is of three kinds - superb, medium and lower type.
The self-defense of a monk - that has independent external means viz. neat and clean shelter place, and carefully cooked restrained poor food; knowledge and character are whose main stay - from the outward beasts is superb 'Apharat' (restricted self-restraint). The scriptures describe the characteristics of a monk thus: 'A monk is without any possessions, without egotism, without attachment, without vanity or conceit; he is impartial towards all living beings whether mobile or immobile.'
He, who has the desire to possess delicate, soft implements to sweep away the small beings, practices the lower type of restricted self-restraint. The same fact has been stated in the holy books like 'Niyam Saar' and 'Pravachan Saar'. Only the superb type of beings practice the two types of self-restraint - 'upaiksha sanyam' (detached self- restraint) and aphrit sanyam (restricted self-restraint). These are known as Non-attached self-restraint (vitrag sanyam) - free from all passions; and attached self-restraint (sarag sanyam) as well. Furthermore 'aphrit sanyam' (restricted self-restraint) has been divided into two categories:
1. Restraint on senses (Indriya sanyam)
2. Restraint in conduct towards animates beings (pranri sanyam).
Restraint on senses - To check the five senses (sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.) and the mind from indulging in sensuous pleasures is restraint on senses.
Restraint in conduct towards animate beings - To safeguard the sthavara - one sensed souls viz. earth, water, fire, wind and plants; and the trasa - many sensed souls i.e., having bodies with more than one sense organ, is known as restraint for animates.
The sense organs are five in number. They are associated with five activities - sound, color, smell, taste and touch. From time immemorial this living being by getting indulged in these five-fold pleasant things, has forgotten the eternal bliss. He has taken the sensuous pleasures as the real happiness. Therefore, he has been undergoing the pangs of birth and death again and again since long. A sieve may be filled with water, but the thirst for sensuous pleasures can never be quenched. Even then the ignorant souls spoil their worldly existence by indulging in these sensuous pleasures, and ultimately meet their doom. It has been said:
"One must always guard one's soul from all evils, by having all the sense organs properly controlled. In case the soul is not well guarded, it takes to the wrong path leading to birth and death; while if well-controlled, it becomes free from all worldly sorrows and misery."
Kurangmatangpatdgbhringmina hata panchbhiraiv panch
Aik pramadi sa kathamna haneytai yasaivate panchbhiraiv panch
A deer, an elephant, a fire worm, a black bee and a fish - all these five types of living beings lose their lives by indulging in one sensed pleasure. Now the question arises - 'Will not then a man who remains indulged forever in five sensed pleasures lose his life likewise? He will certainly do so.'
An elephant due to its lust for temporary pleasure of the sense of touch falls down into a deep pit allured by an artificial female elephant.
A fish allured by bait is caught in the hook of a fisherman's catching rod being overpowered by the sense of taste and dies writhing and bearing untold agony.
A black bee is imprisoned amidst the lotus petals at sunset on becoming a slave to the sense of smell and loses its life.
A fire-worm (patanga) is drawn to the flame of a burning candle or an electric bulb being subservient to the sense of sight and meets its doom.
A deer becomes fully charmed by the melody of the flute or rhythm of music inspired by the sense of hearing, and is a victim to the arrow of the hunter.
Man is indulged in the sensuous pleasures provided to him by all the five senses day and night; therefore, he also cannot defend himself from the cruel clutches of death. The sensuous pleasures look extremely charming; but the life of a living being that is dependent on these transitory enjoyments is ultimately ruined. Those, who are drenched in lust, and engrossed in sensual pleasures blindly, will, for want of self-control be deluded. Therefore, the scriptures give us a wise counsel: "The five senses and the four passions - anger, pride, deception and greed, are all difficult to conquer; equally difficult it is to conquer one's own self. But one, who has conquered his self, has conquered everything else in the world."
In fact, the creeper, which takes support of the poison tree, makes a man unconscious in spite of itself being sweet in taste.
In 'Moolardhana' the two - restraint on senses, restraint in conduct towards animate beings have been described thus:
Panchras panchvanr dogandhai athphas satsara
Manrsa chaudasjiva indriyapanra ye sanjmo nraio
In this infinite universe with unknown beginning a living being has suffered sorrow and misery times without number mainly due to his tongue and the spell of the five senses. Therefore, now it is high time to subdue all of them. Even if you fail to put a check on the other sense organs, at least put reins to your tongue; because an unbridled tongue causes great sorrow or when you give a long rope to your tongue, you suffer the most.
Once a controversy arose between the tongue and the teeth. The tongue boasted saying, "O teeth! Accept my subordination; otherwise I shall vanquish you and bring all of you under my control by waging a war against you." Being highly enraged at the challenging words of the lone tongue all the thirty-two teeth spoke unitedly, "First, you are very tender; and secondly you are lone. Can you defeat us by fighting under these circumstances? It is quite impossible." The tongue at once retorted, "Nay! Today I shall give you a tough fight all alone." Ultimately a fight started between the tongue and teeth. The tongue uttered a reproachful word to a pedestrian passing by. At this the pedestrian struck such a blow of stick in the face of the ill-spoken tongued person that all his teeth cracked and fell to the ground. Therefore, if we put the tongue alone under restraint, all other senses will remain safe. During conversation we should speak with utmost restraint and care. It is good to be cautious while we speak. It is a well-known saying - 'Think before you speak'.
The acharyas have compared mind with an unharnessed horse; because for want of proper training in self-restraint, an unbridled horse is killed in the battlefield along with its master. The main reason of its death is lack of self-restraint. Likewise, if we do not train the mind in self-restraint, it will lead us to the dark well of sensual pleasures and drop us there. Then it will be very difficult for us to come out of the well. Those who want to get rid of this situation should constantly reflect on the twelve religious topics (anuprakshain) to restrain their mind. They should remain engaged in self-study and invariably keep away from the sensuous pleasures. Only such persons will be capable of subduing the mind. To attain all these things; viz., a humanitarian outlook, a noble birth, a prolonged life and learning and listening to the Jain Tirthankara' divine voice preserved in the sacred scriptures which preach the principles of Jainism to all and sundry require diligence and self-restraint. Likewise, to become adept in Right belief, Right knowledge and Right conduct is more and more difficult for a living being of this universe. All these achievements are impossible without self-restraint. In the absence of self-restraint no living being can enter the kingdom of heaven or taste the matchless fruits of salvation. Hence a human being must observe self-restraint. Rightly has it been said: "A man may conquer thousands and thousands of invincible foes, but that is of no real consequence. His greatest victory is when he conquers only his own self."
So long as all passions like a horde of wild sea animals exist in the clean and unfathomable pond of heart, the community of supreme virtues like supreme self-restraint cannot take shelter in that pond of crystal-clear heart. Therefore O Great souls! Try to subdue these passions taking help of the normal and severe methods of suppressing them, besides practicing the vows and perfect self-restraint. A learned person knows well the true nature of the self and the non-self. Therefore, he does not regard the worldly attachment, which are different from self as his real self; he renounces them from afar. This is known as the superb self- restraint of a wise man. He who meditates upon the enlightened souls, who are purified by self-restraint and gifted with Right faith, Right knowledge and Right conduct, is sure to annihilate all evil passions and thus he attains self-restraint.
Until and unless a living being practices self-restraint in life, he indulges in passions and senses. The very day he attains the bounds of self-restraint, he begins to shun the sensuous pleasures. Self-restraint originates by taking a very sensible view of things in a systematized form based on the power of discrimination. When the living being begins to comprehend the fundamental distinction between right and wrong, just and unjust, even the pleasure-giving, charming objects begin to appear to him as deadly poison.
One day the sovereign king (Chakarvarti) Vajar Dant sat in his royal court and his ministers, knights, nobles and military general stood at their proper places around him. Meanwhile the royal gardener brought a bunch of flowers and offered it to the king. No sooner did the sovereign king Vajar Dant holding the bunch of flowers in his hands begin to smell it, than he caught sight of a black bee crushed to death under the flower petals. Seeing this the king was filled with remorse. He began to ponder, "Alas! This black- bee has ruined its life overpowered by the sense of smell. Cursed be such sensuous pleasures." Thus ruminating, the king Vajar Dant developed a feeling of detachment for worldly allurements. Soon he summoned his sons and spoke, "My sons! Now take charge of the burden of the kingdom. I shall get initiated to Digamber Jain monkshood henceforth." The sons said, "O worthy father! O worthy father! Why are you discarding the pleasures of royal life so soon?" The sovereign king replied, "The administrative business of a kingdom is the root cause of sins. A king, who does not renounce the royal pomp and show and takes pride in scepter and crown goes to hell, in case he dies meanwhile." At this the sons said, "Dear father! How can we accept the kingdom which you are renouncing realizing it to be the gateway to hell? We shall also get initiated with you." The sovereign king Vajar Dant tried his utmost to change their mind, but they did not budge from their decision. At last the king got initiated into Jain monkshood together with his sons.
There was a king. He was absorbed in sensuous pleasures day in and day out. The king owned a vast and beautiful orchard cum flower garden, in which multicolored flowers and fruits of the supreme variety grew and bloomed forever. The king was so lusty and led such a luxurious life that in order to satisfy his whimsical demand innumerous flowers of different varieties were brought daily to make a flowerbed for him. The king deemed himself very happy and delighted by sleeping in this bed.
One evening, the royal gardener's wife brought flowers to adorn the king's bed. As soon as she had spread the bed with fragrant flowers, she began to think, 'how lovely the flowerbed looks! God knows what bliss the king experiences by sleeping on it.' While pondering thus in her mind, she decided to sleep for five minutes only in that charming flower bed and feel the pleasure of it. She knew that the king was likely to come into the palace after a long time. Thinking this she lay down in the bed. She was dead tired of the whole day's work. As soon as she lay in bed, she fell in sound sleep. When at nightfall the king came into his royal bedroom and found the gardener's wife sound slept in his flowerbed, his eyes became bloodshot with rage. The king instantly pulled her from the bed catching hold of her ponytail, hurled her violently on the ground and beat her black and blue with a stick. But there was no sign of pain and sorrow on her face; rather she began to laugh loudly. When the king ordered her to make clear the reason of her laughing, the lady gardener replied, "Your majesty! I am laughing at the idea that when I had to bear so many hunter strokes simply for sleeping in this flowerbed for five minutes only, what will be your fate, who sleeps in this flowerbed every night? Why not you discard all these transitory worldly enjoyments and observe self-restraint in life?"
On hearing these eye opener words from the gardener's wife, the king thought in his mind what a great lesson this poor woman had taught him. Therefore, soon after this incident the king renounced all royal grandeur and got initiated to monkshood.
A man should not wait for an appropriate time to observe self-restraint. He should not think that he would practice self-restraint at a later stage of life; because death keeps no calendar. It has been said:
Ayu katat heh rat din jiyon kront kai kath
Hit apna jaldi karo parha rahaiga thath
I.e., Life goes on cut short day and night just as wood is cut down by a big 'saw' by and by. Be hasty in your spiritual uplift; otherwise you will die repenting, leaving all your grandeur and glory here.
While describing the virtue of Supreme self-restraint the great poet Reidhu writes:
Sanjam janri dulhun tam paviluhu jo chandeyi punru mudmeyi
So bhamu bhavabali jar marnrabali kim pavaiseyi punru sugeyi
Sanjmu panchidiye dandnrainr sanjamu ji kasaye vihandnrainr
Sanjmu dudhar tav dharanrainr, sanjamu ras chaye viyarnrainr
Sanjmu upvas vijanmnrainr sanjamu mnr pasrah thambhnrainr
Sanjmu guru kaye kilaisnrainr sanjamu parigrehgah chaenrainr
Sanjamu tas thayer rakhnrainr sanjamu stath parikhnrainr
Sanjamu tanru joye nreyntnrainr sanjmu bhugamanr chyantinr
Sanjamu anrukamp kunrntainr sanjamu parmath biyarnrainr
Sanjamu poseyi dansnraham panthu sanjamu nrichhy nriru khokh panthu
Sanjamu binru nrr bhav seylu sunru sanjamu vinru dugeyi ji ubvnru
Sanjamu binru dhadeyi ma ith jau sanjamu binru vihliye athiau
Drah bhavi parbhavi sanjamu sarnru hujau jinrvanhai bhanriu
Dugeyi sar sosanr khar kirnrobam jainr bhavali visam hanriu
1. The virtue of self-restraint is very rare in the universe. The block-headed person, who gives up self-restraint on attaining once this virtue, roams in the universe in various states in this cycle of old age and death.
2. Self-restraint is achieved by subduing the five senses. Self-restraint is the outcome of freedom from passion. Self- restraint is the outcome of freedom from passions. Self- restraint is attained by performing severe penance and it is cultivated by giving up the craving for tastes and through constant meditation.
3. Self-restraint is attained by keeping long fasts; it is obtained by controlling the mind from loitering and going astray; it is achieved by self imposed bodily torture; and it is attained by renouncing home and the worldly possessions.
4. Self-restraint comes by defending the tras (five sensed living beings). Self-restraint is attained by examining carefully the seven 'tattvas' (realities). These tattvas
are termed as follows:
i) Jiva - living substance.
ii) Ajiva - matter or non-living substance.
iii) Asrava - the influx of karmic matter into the soul.
iv) Bandha - bondage of soul by karmic matter.
v) Samvara - the stopping of Asrava.
vi) Nirjara - the gradual removal of karmic matter.
vii) Moksha - the attainment of perfect liberation of soul.
Self-restraint is achieved by controlling the bodily activities, and by discarding too much walking.
5. Practicing compassion attains self-restraint; it is achieved by nourishing the desire of salvation over and again. Self-restraint paves the way to Perfect Belief or Faith. Self-restraint is the sole path to salvation.
6. Devoid of self-restraint human life is meaningless. In the absence of self-restraint this living being as a rule takes birth in a lower state of life. Do not waste even a single moment of your life for want of self-restraint.
7. 'Self-restraint can be the only shelter in this birth and the next birth' - says Lord Jinendra. It is just like the scorching rays of the sun to dry the pond of miserable existence. Self-restraint alone resolves the complex problem of migration from world to world.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Practice self-restraint, practice self-restraint and practice self-restraint to obtain true bliss; for one 'who has subdued his self becomes happy in this world as well as in the next'. Always keep in mind: 'A man might give by way of charity, thousands and thousands of cows every month; but far better than him will be a man, who may give nothing in charity, but only observes perfect self- control.'
Indeed, the self-restrained persons deserve all our reverence; for they are the torchbearers of humanity and lead mankind to pinnacle of glory.
Complexity of affairs does not perplex a man, who can keep his mind composed in all the possible combinations of untoward circumstances. The center of a wheel never moves with it; the self-centered man is always unmoved. No commotion, however violent, can stir him.
SUPREME AUSTERITIES OR PENANCE
(Uttama Tapa Dharma)
and purges the soul of all karmic matter'
The word 'tap' (Penance or Austerity) is derived from the root 'tap' by the addition of the suffix 'ach'. The word austerity conveys the sense - to vanquish the enemies of soul; heating agent to purify the real self; that which burns and annihilates the karmic matter; penance; and rigorous religious meditation.
Penance is an easy medium to lead a living being towards spiritual uplift. All the great men born in the world so far became great only by practicing austerity. Penance is an extremely significant function of life. Those who adopt austerity in life sail across the ocean of the world smoothly i.e. get rid of the cycle of birth and death. Austerity is the only path to attain liberation.
Nothing can be gain in life without austerity. The sun goes through heat and fire; that is why it supplies light and warmth to one and all. Likewise, the moon and the stars undergo austerity in their own way. No work is fulfilled in the world without penance. If the sun had not been hot, the land would not have become fertile; for in the absence of sunrays, no existence of any vegetation would have been possible on the earth. Every vegetation prepares its food itself from the soil by absorbing the sunrays. In 'Kurul Kavya' Acharya Kundkund Swami has also said, "The more heat the land gets, the more fertile it becomes. The seeds sown at that place become capable of germinating very soon and bearing fruits quickly. The sun's own heating is essential for it."
Tapa (penance) is of two folds;
(a) Bahya Tapa (external austerities), referring to food and physical activities. The 'Tattavartha Sutra' and 'Dash Bhakti' categorize the external penance thus;
Anshnavamodryvritiparisa nkhyanrsprityagviviktshyasankayklaisha bahim tapa
The Bahaya Tapa - six external austerities - are as follows;
Aikantai shyanopvaishan kriti santapnam tanvam
Sankyo vriti nibhandana manshanam vishvanr madhodarm
Tyagam chaindrya dantino madyata svado rasyanisham
Shodha bahya maham stuvay shiv gati praptyabhiyupayam tapa
- Charitra bhakti
i) Vivikta-Shayyasana - sitting and sleeping in a secluded place devoid of animate beings;
ii) Kayaklesha - mortification of the body so long as the mind is not disturbed;
iii) Vritti-Parisamkhyana - taking a mental vow to accept food from a house-holder only if certain conditions are fulfilled without letting anyone know about the vow;
iv) Anashana - fasting, to give up all the four types of food for the sake of meditation.
v) Avamodarya - eating less than one's fill or less than one has appetite for; and,
vi) Rasa-Parityaga - daily renunciation of one or more of six kinds of delicacies namely, ghee (clarified butter), milk, curd, sugar, salt and oil.
(b) Abhyantara Tapa (internal austerities); referring to spiritual discipline. The internal penance has been categorized as below-
The Abhyantara Tapa - six kinds of internal austerities are:
Svadhiyeya shubhkarmnrshchyutvata samprtyavsthapanam
Dhyanam vyapritiramyavini guro vridhay ch balai yato
Kayotsarjan satkriya vinay itayvam tapa shadvidham
- Charitra bhakti
i) Svadhyaya - study of scriptures for getting rid of the ambition for name and fame, for 'Fame is the last infirmity of noble minds.'
ii) Prayashchit - expiation or confession and repentance of sins;
iii) Dhyana - concentration of mind and not to let the mind go astray.
iv) Vaiyavrtyaya - rendering service to other saints, who have been rendered helpless due to sickness or old age.
v) Vyutsarga - giving up attachment to the body; and,
vi) Vinya - reverence or modest behavior - to practice four types of humility in conduct.
These external and internal penances form the code of conduct for the rigorous life of self-denial the ascetics have to lead.
Again, penance is of two kinds;
1. Tamasa-tapasaya (kutap) - dark penance.
The dark penance involves the ghastly and terrible practices, as to sleep on the pointed iron nails, to walk on the burning fire, to get oneself suspended from a tree, to get oneself buried in the ground.
2. Satvika-tapasya (sutap) - real or true penance.
The true penance involves the genuine or natural ways of practicing penance. This real or true penance gives prominence to the practice of ‘Dhayana’ (meditation) and 'Upavasa' (fasting). Dark penance is the cause of migration of soul in the universe. True penance results in the liberation of the soul. Penance is practiced for eternal bliss. It has been said:
"Karmkshyarth tapayat iti tap"
The penance performed to annihilate the karmic matter is the real penance. Without annihilation of the karmas, the final goal i.e., liberation cannot be attained. Therefore, penance is a must for a living being aspiring for salvation. It has been stated in 'Rajvartika'- 'karmdahnatapa': that which results in the burning or annihilation of the karmas is called penance. Acharya Padam Nandi in the holy book ‘Panchvinshati’ has stated the same thing as follows:
"Karmmlbilyahetobordhdrisha tapayatai tapa proktam"
The penance performed by a monk endowed with the vision of Right Knowledge (samyakgyanddsss) to wash off the dirt of karmas from the soul, is called true penance. He who on subjugating five senses and four passions aroused by the abundance of semen is called penance. The author of the sacred book 'Dhawal' has also defined penance as followed:
Suppression of desires to attain the three jewels - Right faith, Right knowledge, and Right conduct - is called penance. To discard all desires at heart and become absorbed in the real self in order to conquer the karmas is known as penance. The word penance means to shun the sensual pleasures. Therefore, one who desires to perform penance will have to first overcome the lust for sensual pleasures; only then penance can be called successful. The abstention of ambition for legitimate and illegitimate, right and wrong sensuous pleasures in order to attain the three jewels, viz. Right faith, Right knowledge, and Right conduct is termed penance. In Bhagwati Aradhana penance has been defined as strict observance of the rules of moral conduct:
Chranrami tasmi jo ujamo ya aunjanra ya jo hoi
So chaiv jinraihin tavo bhanrido asadam charantas
The holy Lord Jinendra has declared the dedication to the moral code of conduct and the observance of these rules of morality in practical life penance.
To suffer calmly without murmur, the good or bad results of karmas that have become effective and not to commit any type of violence towards any living being is the essence of penance. In the critical appreciation of 'Sarvartha Siddhi' it has been said:
To mortify the body as much as possible according to the rules laid for the path of salvation without letting your spiritual power lie dormant is penance. A wise thinker has said, "The path of the brave is thorny; it involves mortification of the flesh'.
The same thing has been stated in the Rajvartika as below:
"Dehsyaindryanram ch tapam karoti ityanshanadi tap ichauchaytai"
To keep fast and observe austerities by restraining man's tendency of indulging in the pleasures of the body and senses is penance. In Kartikeyanupreksha it has been said:
Ih par loye suhanram nrirvaikho jo karaidi sam bhavo
Viviham kaya kalaisham tavdhammo nrimaalo tas
The equanimity soul, who tortures his body in various ways in the hope of getting happiness in this world and the other world, performs the unblemished penance. In order to attain this virtue of austerity the monks perform penance on the riverbanks in extreme winter; on the mountain peaks in the scorching summer heat and under a tree in heavy down pour in the rainy season. So long as we don't let our body pass through severe penance well performed, this body will not prove helpful in annihilating the karmas attached to our soul. Iron has to pass through many ordeals under heating process, before it can be finally molded into different shapes and sizes to manufacture precious implements and other objects. Likewise only the living being, who mortifies his body through various types of penance and tortures, attains the invaluable and invisible three -fold jewels of Right faith, Right knowledge and Right conduct, all of which lie dormant in the human body. Rightly has it been questioned: 'Has not being purged in fire gold wrought a crown?'
Self-torture or mortification of self is undoubtedly the surest way of purging both body and soul."
"Penance vanquishes karmas and annihilates all sins. What to speak of obtaining ordinary things as royal happiness and the high rank of Indra, the mundane soul can attain even Godly hood by penance. Human life is futile without penance?" - Lokantic Deva (Vardhman Puran, pg. 68)
The penance performed in a perfect way alone is real penance. Only such penance can be helpful to the monks to attain salvation - Moksha. Any other penance contrary to it is Bal tapa (ignorant penance). This ignorant penance is the cause of migration in the world. Acharya Kundkund Swami states the characteristics of 'Bal Tapa' in Samaysaau as follows;
Parmathmimhi du athido jo kunrdi tavam band ch dharyadi
Tam sacham baltavam balvandam vinti savanrhu
Samaysar gatha 152
The omniscient lord has termed all such penance and observance of vows that a living being attached to the worldly allurements performs, as 'Bal Tapa' or Bal Vrata (ignorant vow). The bodily torture and observance of vows deceitfully for pubic show; that which cannot prove helpful in treading the path of liberation i.e., salvation due to wrong belief is Bal Tapa (ignorant penance). Because such penance does not become helpful in relieving the soul from karmas, rather it becomes the cause of the bondage of soul by karmas.
Penance has been regarded a part and parcel of self- restraint. Those who adore moral conduct i.e., self- restraint, as a rule adore penance as well; and those who worship penance inevitably get the benefit of character worship. Penance is performed by the observation of vows discarding indolence and passions; and through study of scriptures and by meditation. It has been said:
"Svadhyaya parmam tap"
On this ground also penance implies character. Hence, all the penances are included in character worship. A full and perfect dedication to the thirteen types of characters is self-restraint. This self-restraint is achieved only when one is made purified by external and internal penance, otherwise not. Therefore, on account of being purified by external and internal penance, self-restraint has been counted as part of penance. The self-restrained wise monks, after proper deliberation over all the six things, e.g. matter (dravya), age (kal), place (kshetra), thoughts (bhav), power (bal), and virility (virya), should engage themselves in penance in different posture, viz. Sarvasan, Vidhasan, and Suddhasan; in order to enjoy the bliss of perfect good health and real self. A man should not aspire for worldly rewards in exchange for the above said penances while performing them. In the performing of penances it is essential to be indifferent to their results. Indeed, to practice life long penance is as difficult as to walk on the edge of sword.
Penance has been assigned an insignificant place in this 'Pancham Kala' i.e., materialistic age. While telling the interpretation of the dreams of the sovereign king Bharat, Lord Rishabh Deva said, "The sight of a horse with bent back due to being over loaded with a burden fit to be carried by an elephant indicates that in the 'Pancham Kala' (materialistic age) the monks will not be capable to adhere to all the characteristics of penance." Due to this very reason declaring the study of scriptures as the superb type of penance, the Lord emphasized the study of scriptures both by monks and householders.
We should know that one, who does not perform penance or practice austerities in life to one's utmost power, deceives one's real self. Besides, all powers of such a man lie dormant. By being engrossed in worldly pleasures a living being is held by the shackles of severe bondage of sins due to the influx of evil karmas which bring him untold misery and bitter agonies in the several births to come.
If a living being performs penance within his power, he reaps its fruits beyond imagination. Just as the high temperature of a person's body scorched by the fierce rays of the sun subsides by a shower bath, likewise penance works as a tranquilizer for the noble souls burnt by the great worldly fire of passions. Penance possesses the infinite power of undoing of the worldly miseries. The glory of penance beggars description i.e., its significance is unlimited. He, who does not perform penance observing as much self-restraint as possible, is worthless like a straw.
The great poet Reidhu has described the supreme virtue of austerity or penance as below:
Tam tau jhin parigahu chandijyi, tam tau jhin Myrna ji
Tam tau jhin nrgtnru disei tam tau jhin gir kandri nrivsyi
Tam tau jhin uvsagg sahijyi tam tau jhin rayain jinrijyi
Tam tau bhivkhyi munrijyi savay gaih kalinrivam sijyi
Tam tau jath samidi paripalnru tam tau gutityam nrihalnru
Tam tau janhi apaparu bujhiu tam tau jhin bhav manru ji ujhayu
Tam tau jhin sasruv munrijau, tam tau jhin kamaham gnru khijyi
Tam tau jhin sur mati pyasyi, pvynrth bhaviynrham pabhasyi
Jainr tavain kaivlu upjyi sasye sukhu nrich sampjyi
Varah vihu tau viru gugyi pariharu, tam pujyi thir ganrinra
Machhru mau chhandivi karnryim dandivi, tam vi dharijyi gau ravinra
1. He who has abstained himself from greed or worldly possessions; who has got rid of mental impurities; who has adopted nude monkshood; who resides in mountain caves, observes the supreme penance.
2. Penance is that in which calamities are suffered without murmur; that in which feelings of attachment are conquered and that in which food is accepted as alms at an appropriate time from the householders.
3. Penance is that in, which the five samities - regulation of the movements of the body are observed. That in which full attention is paid to the three Guptis - regulation for self- control. That in, which a man ponders and meditates over his self and non-self; and that in, which a man sheds the feeling of vanity in his present state of birth.
4. Penance is that in, which a man ponders over the purpose of his real life; that in which the karmas are vanquished; that in which the Gods give expression to their devotion; and that in which the sermons are delivered for the well-being of mundane souls.
5. Penance is that by the performance of which, as a rule one attains salvation and obtains eternal bliss.
6. These are the twelve types of supreme penance. Penance rids one of a miserable state of existence. We should pay homage to it with a stable mind; and discarding vanity and malice with full pride, the living beings should subjugate all the five senses.
Hence, O Mortal Man! 'Mortify yourself, mortify yourself and mortify yourself. Give up the feeling of tenderness for the body. Conquer desires and then you will realize that you have conquered all sorrow and misery; cut off all types of attachments, suppress hatred, and thus you will be happy in this worldly existence and reap a rich spiritual harvest.'
'Self-torture is not a curse, but a boon and a way to eternal peace.' Indeed, sweet are the uses of penance i.e., self-torture.
To sum up, penance teaches us to surmount hardships and difficulties willingly and cheerfully. In truth, difficulties, which are part and parcel of penance, are the ladders that lead us to heaven.
Be there thorns or flowers
What difference they make for soul;
Be it a palace or a cottage
They shelter the body not soul;
Be it a clod of clay or gold
The real wealth lies in soul;
Who can excel a person?
Enlightened is whose soul?
(Uttama Tyaga Dharma)
'Renunciation of all possessions is Ahimsa; and appropriation
Of all possessions is Himsa'
The word 'tyag' is derived from the root 'tyaj' by the addition of the suffix 'gham'. The word renunciation means to cast aside, to give up, to get rid of, to discard and to leave.
Some wise men have said: 'In this world it is not what we take up but what we give up, that makes us rich.'
Renunciation has been assigned a great significance in the path of salvation propounded by the omniscient Lord Jinendra. Therefore, for householders renunciation implies charities; and for the ascetics it signifies the vow of 'Pratigraha' i.e., abstention from greed of worldly possessions and the virtue of freedom from attachments. One who cherishes the feeling of renunciation without letting one's energies lie dormant, paves the way to attainment of 'Tirthankar Prakriti' i.e., the state of final liberation or salvation. "Vyutsarjanam vyutsrgstyaga" means renunciation. To acknowledge the non-self as different from self and then to become non-attached to all worldly objects or to discard the non-self is renunciation.
Vrishtrbina kuto maigha, kav sasyam bijvartam
Jivanam ch bina tyagat, sukhmupadyate kuta
I.e., How can rainfall be possible without clouds? How can corn grow without sowing seeds? Likewise, how can the living beings attain bliss without renunciation?
Every living creature is aspirant for happiness. This happiness is an outcome of renunciation. When a thing is fully and whole-heartedly given in charity to others, it is called renunciation. If someone desires a return in exchange for a thing donated or wants to get it back after once giving it to others as charity; or donates something to others after getting his name inscribed on it, it is not called renunciation. Only that can be called as giving, which is given to the poor. All other giving is of the nature of barter.
Renunciation lends greatness to a man. Lord Bahubali followed the path of renunciation and attained his cherished goal. He conquered the kingdom of the sovereign king Bharat and returned it to him thereafter without a hitch. How great was the feeling of renunciation in his outlook on life! He was the noble soul, who laid down the foundation of this grand Indian tradition of returning a kingdom after once conquering it; which has become an immortal heritage of Indian culture to the coming generations. Lord Ram also won over Lanka after defeating Ravan, and then he renounced it by crowning Vibhishan the king of Lanka. In the modern age also we see that our worthy Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri won the war against Pakistan but soon after returned the vast territory of Pakistan conquered by our jawans. Likewise, in Bangla-Pakistan war, Bangladesh triumphed as a result of the open support and huge military aid of India; but Shrimati Indira Gandhi handed over Bangladesh to her people. First, to conquer and then to return the conquered land to her people has been the noble tradition of this land; for we are the staunch followers of the religion of renunciation. Rightly has it been said; "A generous mind never enjoys its possessions so much as when others are made partakers of them."
We can conquer the world through love, friendship and a spirit of renunciation. We cannot subdue the free spirit of nation merely by the force of arms. The military strength or power of weapons may give temporary defeat to an enemy nation but cannot vanquish her free spirit or win heart of people except with love and affection as the Holy Buddha did by preaching Buddhism in Shri Lanka, Burma and Japan. In the book 'Early History of Vaishali' an eminent historian of Europe has written that Lord Mahavira was born in a Kshatrya clan, whose people were always at war with one another fighting with swords. Lord Mahavira preached to them - 'Do not tease and torture even the smallest creature like an ant; rather give love and protection to it'. In the modern age one man is bent upon torturing and killing another man, instead of giving him fraternal love and affection. Should we call him humane? All of us have to develop the outlook of Lord Mahavira. Renunciation is a must to become great like Mahavira. In 'Baras Anupekha' Acharya Kundkund Swami has defined the supreme virtue of renunciation as below:
Nrichaigatiam bhavi, moh cheunr sachdvaishu
Jo tas havai chayago idi bhanridam jinrvarimdaihim
Lord Jinendra has stated, "A living being. who discarding attachment to things, non-self maintains an indifferent outlook for physical body and worldly pleasures, is endowed with the virtue of renunciation." A man cannot obtain peace and happiness by accumulating material things like wealth and property, nor do these things enhance his prestige; rather their renunciation adds to his prestige and honor, and he achieves peace and happiness.
There lived a very wealthy householder in a city; but he was greedy by nature. He neither took nice food nor put on nice clothes, nor gave money in charity for religious deeds and other noble causes. His chief aim in life was to accumulate money by saving every penny day and night. What to say of seeing his face, people disliked even to hear his name in the morning. The scriptures say, "namatikripanrsya cha", i.e., the name of a miser is not worth speaking. Such people are condemned and disdained wherever they go. After all who can show respect to such selfish men? In the modern times we daily come across so many affluent persons, who hesitate to donate even a penny for religious functions and for a good cause, but are forced to pay huge amount of money as taxes. They are aversive to give donation to every category of charity-seekers viz. superb, medium and lower type. On the contrary such people try to win false prestige and glory by arranging garden parties in honor of high government officers, and feeding the gentry on the eve of wedding receptions. But this greedy rich person was a perfect devil. What to speak of giving donation to social institutions, he did not give even a tip of twenty-five paisa to a peon. If sometimes a hungry beggar knocked at his door asking for food, he would shut the door in his face and make a pretext of sickness but never offered him food. The Tamil scholar Ka Naa Subramanyam rightly says:
"The fullness of the life of the house-holder is achieved when he feeds those, who come hungry to him. Indeed he, that shares his food with the hungry, will never go hungry at any time. Those who fast in penance endure hunger; to do away with hunger in others is better than fasting in penance."
Therefore, both the king and the masses showed no veneration to this greedy rich man. Still he was a God- fearing man and had high faith in prayer and worship. Turning the beads and chanting verses from the 'Ramayan', he would walk in heavy rainfall or pitch darkness even to a distant place to listen to the holy sermons of sages and priests. But the temple priest who delivered the holy sermons never extended him any welcome, and would not give him a seat of honor close by him. He used to get a back seat in a corner on the temple mat; because all knew that he would not offer even a single penny to the learned priest as gift.
But God knows how one-day good sense prevailed on him. When all the blemishes of his soul were washed away by the shower of religious hymns. What good effect of the pious deeds of his previous births prompted him? At the end of the sermon when all the devotees had made their offerings to the holy priest, the rich miser took out a bundle wrapped in a piece of dirty cloth from under his armpit and offered several dazzling silver coins to the priest as gift. The whole gathering and the priest himself were taken aback by his action. Voices poured from all directions that no one knows when the almighty may bring a change in outlook and a staunch miser may become extremely generous. When the miser began to return to his former seat devoid of all sense of vanity and with bowed head, the priest holding him by the hand gave him an honorable seat on the costly carpet. No sooner did the rich man take his seat, than he spoke, "O Holy Priest! Money enjoys a great value and wins prestige in the world. Till yesterday I was a neglected person and you gave me a lower seat at a distance; but why all this honor and welcome today?" On hearing these words of praise for riches, the priest spoke, "O Seth! You are mistaken. Even yesterday you were rich, but did not enjoy social prestige. This reverence is for renunciation, not for riches." "Dhanam tygain shobhatay". Riches win glory by renouncing them. None can win fame and prestige by accumulating money like a honeybee, which collects honey in the beehive. Only when we utilize money like a bee, which collects honey in the beehive. Only when we utilize money for personal uplift or social well being by donating it to social and religious institutions like schools, hospitals, Dharamshalas and temples, that it wins us name, fame and glory. Riches, which are not utilized for noble cause, are worthless like dust. A rich man always lives in tension. Fear of thieves, robbers and income tax raids, haunts his mind forever. Riches come to a man by good luck and sincere, earnest labor and if used judiciously for a right cause, they bring him mental peace and happiness. Squandering money on trifles e.g., sensuous pleasures or vices like gambling, drinking and prostitution is the misappropriation of riches and it is a heinous crime as well as a sin.
The supreme virtue of renunciation is a part and parcel of religion. The two are indivisible. We cannot separate renunciation from religion and soul. One should renounce worldly possessions devotedly within one's power, "shaktistyaga". Trees renounce fruits and keep us alive. The mountains cast away stones and pebbles, which we use for construction works; and from which statues and idols are carved out. Renunciation is regarded as a superb type of virtue. It is helpful in the attainment of liberation or salvation i.e., it is a cause and means to liberation.
The Jain prophets endowed with a humanitarian outlook recommend that if a person ever happens to earn more than his requirements, he must give away his money in Dana (charities). The best forms of charities prescribed by religion are four:
i) Ahara Dana - giving food to the hungry and poor;
ii) Abhaya Dana - Saving the lives of living beings in danger;
iii) Aushadha or Bhaishajya Dana - distribution of medicines;
iv) Gyana or Shastra Dana - Spreading knowledge.
These charities are called the 'Chaturvidha Dana' - the four-fold gifts by Jain religion; and it has been enjoined on the householders that they should make special efforts to give these charities to the needy, irrespective of caste and creed. Even now, in all parts of India, the Jains have rigorously maintained the tradition by giving freely 'Chaturvidha Dana' - four fold gifts.
Even though one has husbanded all one's wealth, one will be without support in the long run, if one has not given a part of his wealth in charity. Giving in charity is perhaps one of the commonest of moral advocacy's under any religious system; the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Christian and the Islamic along with the Jains prescribe it as one of the right ways of conduct. Renunciation provides us nothing but more and more happiness. Renunciation vanquishes all vices of a man. It spreads one's shining glory all around. Religion advocates renunciation, not indulgence in worldly allurements.
"Gyanat tyaga, tyagat shanti"
According to the above statement charities given wisely only after careful thought are called true renunciation. One gets peace only by such type of renunciation. Hence, before giving charities generously, it is most essential that a man should ponder well over the pros and cons of what he intends to give in charity and to whom he intends to give. Donations given after proper thought under no momentary emotional urge born out of a feeling of compassion aroused by an imposter saint or an idler i.e., a work shirking person who wants to extort money under some false pretext, are termed renunciation. Contribution of funds to political parties or giving alms to beggars, who misuse in drinks and intoxicants is in no way donation or charity; rather it is squandering of money. Beware, it is better not to be charitable at all than to give charity to an undeserving person.
Renunciation affords peace. It is a psychological truth. Only a large- hearted and liberal-minded person can give donation. The more a donor renounces worldly possessions, the greater is the number of ripples of happiness that rise in his heart. Therefore, it is essential for the lucky affluent persons to constantly follow the practice of giving charities forever in life. If rain, water in a river goes on accumulating and there is no outlet i.e., the river does not supply water to the fields and oceans; it will be flooded. Its water overflowing both its banks will create havoc all around resulting in the ruin of crops and vast costly properties and many innocent lives will meet untimely death. The sun has been illuminating the whole world ever since the earth came into existence by casting its innumerous dazzling rays which give both light and warmth to one and all. If the sun does not shed its luminous rays, no living creature, no vegetation and no plant will survive on earth. Likewise, if out of a feeling of selfishness a man adopts the tendency of accumulating wealth, the financial disparities in the world will go on increasing and create an economic crisis, which may result in bloodshed. Hence, such a worshipper of Mammon will be called a traitor and a bloodsucker of the poor. A well known statesman has said, "sehbhogyamidam rajyam" - the amenities of the royal treasure must be enjoyed united by all through a proper division of wealth.
When tasty fruits ripen on trees, they drop them on the ground below without greed or sense of possessions. How great is the debt of trees on man! Likewise, a man wins glory and dignity only when he distributes among the needy the huge wealth accumulated by him. So long as the clouds hold water, they look dark in appearance; but as soon as they start raining i.e., renounce water drop by drop, they begin to look snow white. Similarly, till a man accumulates worldly possessions his inner soul blackened with anger like passions seems a burden to him. But no sooner the same man starts giving in charity his vast wealth accumulated by fair means or foul, than his inner feels relieved of a burden; for it results in the purification of his thoughts.
The message of the founder of Jainism Lord Adinath is, "Either be an ascetic or a cultivator." This axiom signifies both renunciation and indulgence. Only those who have amassed great fortunes can give charities. There can be no renunciation without possessions to be given up. Those indulged in collecting more and more material possessions should follow the ideal path of cultivators who grow more and more to feed themselves and their fellow beings; or those who have faith in true renunciation should follow suit to ascetics. No doubt out of these two paths latter type of renunciation is regarded better. Those who disdain worldly riches and cast them away without hitch are held in high veneration; those who are busy day and night in earning and spending lay waste their powers in accumulating articles of sensuous pleasures. Self-uplift is possible only through renunciation not through indulgence.
While defining the supreme virtue of renunciation, the great poet Reidhu writes:
Chau vi dhamangau tam ji amangau nristriye bhatriye janrhu
Patham supvitham tav gunr jutham pargyi sambalu tam munrhu
Chae avgunr ganru ji uhtyi, chae nrimal kiti pavhayi
Chae veyrith panrmeyi paye, chae bhog bhomi suh jae
Chae vihijeyi nrich ji binrye, suh veynryi bhasaipinru panrai
Abhaydanru dijeyi pehilaru, jimi nrasyi parbhav dudhyaru
Sathdanru bijyu punr kijyi, nrimal nranru jainr pavijyi
Osahu dijyi roe vinrasanru, keh vinr paichyi bahi pyasanru
Aharay dhanrridhi pavthyi, chaubihu chau ji aihu pavthau
Ahva duth viapaham chae, chau ji aihu munrhu samvaen
Duhiyeh dijyi danru kijayi manru ji gunriynraham
Deh bhaviyi abhang dansanru chintijyi manrham
1. Renunciation is a part and parcel of religion. As a rule the two are inseparable. A perfectly purified soul dedicated to the virtue of penance should practice with full devotion the supreme virtue of renunciation within his capacity. That paves the way to the attainment of a superior state of existence in the next birth.
2. A horde of vices is driven away by renunciation; it spreads the shining glory and fame of a person; consequently an enemy surrenders and falls down at his feet. One gets the bliss of happy land of Eldorado through renunciation.
3. A man devoted to renunciation should regularly give charity humbly and affectionately using auspicious words. First of all he should give 'abhay daan' i.e., save the lives of all living beings in danger; doing so vanquishes the miseries related to the other world.
4. Besides, one should give 'Shastra Dana' as well i.e., he should distribute among the people sacred books and scriptures, which impart and spread religious knowledge. He should make free distribution of medicines also which cure living beings of all bodily diseases, and destroy all physical ailments root and branch.
5. Giving food to the Hungary and the poor i.e., 'ahar daan' brings peace and prosperity in its return. As a rule these are four types of charities (four-fold renunciation) practiced from times immemorial. In other words putting an end to vicious thoughts practices renunciation. In short, the virtue of renunciation consists in doing all this.
6. We should give alms to the miserable and show reverence to the talented and virtuous persons. We should cherish the sole feeling of mercy and meditate in our mind for the attainment of Perfect Faith.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Practice renunciation, practice renunciation and practice renunciation throughout your life; for wise men say: "The more you covet, the more you lose; and the more you give up, the more you merit."
Indeed, 'To renounce all sense of possession with regard to wealth is a very difficult vow."
To sum up, 'Riches have wings and they flee us leaving us in the lurch.'
Therefore, it is wise to renounce riches and all other possessions voluntarily and give charities; otherwise when misfortune robs us of all our wealth and prosperity we shall be left penniless waiting and cursing our destiny.
Various clouds overcast the vast sky
But only a few rain.
Multicolor flowers bloom in a garden
But only a few have smell.
Innumerable human beings exist on earth
But only a few are humane.
(Uttama Akinchanya Dharma)
He, who abandons the evil thought of attachment to worldly objects, can alone give up possessions.
Assuredly, the non-appearance of attachment and other passions in Ahimsa, and their appearance is 'Himsa'.
Na kinchan iti akinchana
Not to have the least (Parigraha) attachment is known as Akinchanya (non-attachment). The word 'akinchan' is derived from the word 'akinchan' by the addition of the suffix anr/shaynj. The word means to put a limit to ambitions, to put a check on desires.
Man is a social animal. Man makes many future plans while living amidst society and in the nation. These plans never come to an end; rather they go on multiplying one after the other. It has been said:
Api sankalpita kama, sambhvanti yatha yatha
Tatha mnushyanram, trishanr vishvam visarpati
As soon as the hopes or ambitions of a man are fulfilled, instantly new ambitions take birth. His desires go on increasing; there is no full stop to them. Therefore, a man should observe the virtue of non-attachment by putting a limit to his ambitions. Acharya Kundkund Swamy has written in the holy book 'Samaysaar': 'Desires are limitless. Hopes live eternal in the heart of a man. There is no end to possessions (Parigraha). Still man is running a mad race after possessions and material objects day and night. Acharya Gun Bhadra Swamy has drawn a fine picture of the unending nature of ambitions of man in his sacred book 'Atmanushashan' in the following verse:
Ashagart pratipranri, yasmin vishvmnrupamam
Ksya kim kiydayiti, vritha vo vishayeshita
- Atma A. Gunbhadra
In the heart of every living being there exists a deep pit of hopes, in which the universe appears to be equivalent to an atom. Then for whom, what and how much scope there can be left inside this pit i.e., it can contain almost nothing else but hopes. Therefore, O noble souls! Futile is your ambition for those articles of enjoyments or pleasure giving objects. It means that thirst of desires of every living being has grown to the extent that even if he attains all the wealth of the whole world, his thirst of desires can never be quenched by any means. This ignorant creature has been wasting his precious lifetime in claiming such mortal and transitory objects, which are different from self as his own. The passions and sensuous pleasures, which are the outcome of object non-self, have made him blind. This blindness is more dreadful than blindness of eyes by birth. It has been said:
Andhadyam mhanndho, vishyandhikritaikshnra
Chkshuandho na janati, vishyandho na kainchit
- Atma A. Gunbhadr
I.e., This human being, who has lost his sense of wisdom and power of discrimination due to his over indulgence in lustful desires, is blinder than a worldly blind man. For a blind fails to see with his eyes only, but a man blinded by sensuous pleasures cannot grasp the real nature of things; neither by the senses nor by the mind. Therefore he has misconceived the non-self as the real self. So long as this living being does not forsake this sense of attachment, he will not realize the virtue of non-attachment. Acharya Aklanka Swamy has also affirmed this fact in 'Rajvartika' thus:
I.e., To give up the belief that this thing belongs to me is the virtue of non-attachment.
There was a forest. Daily some cowherds led the cows to graze in that pastureland. While grazing the cows one-day, they chanced to see ripe mangoes hanging from a tree. Their mouths watered on seeing the mangoes. When one of the cowherds cast a pebble at the mangoes, two mangoes fell down. He ate them and enjoyed the delicious fruits. The mangoes were really very sweet. This made another cowherd think ‑ "Why to miss such tasty fruits? I shall also pluck a mango just now." So saying he picked up a pebble and struck at the mangoes. Instead, the stone piece struck the head of a saint meditating under the tree. His head was injured and started bleeding. This horrible sight terrified all the cowherds. Seeing tears flowing from the eyes of the saint, the cowherds approached him and spoke humbly ‑ "O saint! We are guilty. You are all merciful. Please pardon us. We have inflicted severe injury and pain to you." The saint replied calmly, "I have suffered no pain." The cowherds again questioned, "if you have felt no pain, why tears are bursting from your eyes?" At this the saint replied, "Boys! When you cast pebbles at the mango tree, it gave you sweet and tasty mangoes. But now when your stone piece struck me, I have nothing to give you in return. That is why tears are flowing from my eyes." The cowherds paid homage to the saint lying at his feet and returned home. The instant that the feeling of compassion grows in human heart, is the beginning of religion.
Attachment is of two kinds:
1. Internal Attachment ‑ The feeling of love, hatred, affection and ill will for living beings; and wrong belief are internal attachments.
2. External Attachment ‑ Greed for wealth and property is external attachment. Greed for worldly possessions (bahay parigrah) consists in desiring more than what is needed by an individual.
Accumulation of even necessary articles in large numbers, expressing wonder at the prosperity of others, excessive greed and changing the proportions of existing possessions are all forms of Parigraha (worldly attachments). The virtue of non‑attachment cannot be attained without discarding both types of Parigrahas (attachments). Only by discarding both, the soul can be made fully purified, clean and spotless. In Shraman culture merely discarding of the external attachments has got no value. Therefore, the living soul (a living being) will be called non‑attached only when he gets rid of both internal and external attachments. The Jain scriptures say that attachment equivalent even to a 'Til' (Sesum seed) brings extreme sorrow and suffering in its wake.
A man took resort in a forest renouncing all worldly attachments. At that time he owned no possessions except a cloth piece. In daytime he used to wrap it round his body to clothe it, and at night he would spread it on the ground to make a bed to sleep in. In the forest there lived many rats, which nibbled his cloth. The man thought of protecting his cloth from the rats anyhow. With this idea he tamed a cat. Milk was needed to feed the cat. So the man had to tame a cow as well. But grass (fodder) was required for the cow. Now to employ a cowherd became essential for this job. A house was then needed for the cowherd. As soon as the house was built, a maidservant was engaged to look after the house. The maidservant expressed her desire to keep her kith and kin along with her. The man built separate houses for every one of them.
Thus, in some days the forest was filled with the hustle and bustle of the city, yet his troubles went on increasing by leaps and bounds. The underlying idea is that by and by even a petty attachment assumes large dimensions in the long run. Therefore, it is most essential to get rid of attachments at the initial stage. Every man should think that he has certainly to depart from this world one day, leaving behind land, house, gold, sons, wife and relations ‑ in fact leaving even his body. Hence, why all this mad strife for worldly attachments.
A fine description about attachments has been given in the following verses:
Tinrmitu parigahu jath nrathi, akinchanru so nriymainr athi
Apapar jath biyarsati, pydijyi jahim parmaithi bhati
Chhadijyi jahim sankap duth, bhoyanru vanchhijyi jahim anrith
Akinchanru dhammu ji aim hoyi, tam jhayijyi nriru ith loyi
I.e., Where there is not the least attachment equivalent even to a straw, as a rule there lies the vow of non‑attachment. Where a man is endowed with the power to distinguish between self and non‑self; where reverence and devotion is shown to the five divinities; where evil thoughts are discarded; and where there is no ambition for tasty foods, there lies the virtue of non‑attachment. Indeed, he, who is desirous of storing, is a householder and not a monk. A man should practice the virtue of non‑attachment in this world. To obtain real knowledge is extremely essential for this purpose. It has been said:
Dhan kan kanchan raj sukh, sabhi sulabh kar jan
Durlabh hey sansar main, aik yatharath gyan
I.e. It is very easy to achieve wealth, property and royal glory; but extremely difficult to acquire real knowledge in order to attain the virtue of non attachment (Akinchanya Dharma ).
It is a hard nut to crack to be born as a man i.e., to achieve the state of a human being. It is a rare luck to be born in a high family in this Arya land; to be endowed with all organs of body in working order; to possess a hale and hearty body free from sickness and all ailments. To get good company of noble souls, to be gifted with the true deities, true scriptures and true religious teachers, and finally to be capable to attain salvation. If a living being does not recognize the value of his present human state, which is a rare gift attained with difficulty, it must be regarded his great misfortune.
A dumb man thinks ‑ "If I had speech, I would have sung great hymns in praise of the Lord." A blind man murmurs ‑ "If I had eyes and possessed eye sight, I would have seen the holy Lord again and again, and studied the scriptures." A deaf grumbles ‑ "If my ears had been in working order, I would have listened to the holy sermons, hymns and chanting of prayers." All of them are in distress for want of only one sense organ each. But if he, who is gifted with all the five senses working properly and well, does not follow the right path, he is totally in the dark and it shows his ignorance only. He is like the fool, who on obtaining a hardly available diamond from the mine again casts it there not realizing its value. His act is like fleeing crows by casting pearls at them.
There lived a learned king in a city. He used to compose a Sanskrit couplet (sloka) as soon as he got up in his bed early in the morning daily. He stepped down from the bed only after he had composed a full couplet. An extremely poor destitute Brahman also lived in that city. Although he was poor, yet he was a good scholar of Sanskrit language.
Being fed up with the sufferings of poverty, one day he thought of committing theft. He decided to enter the royal palace for the act of stealing, rather than breaking into the house of an ordinary householder; so that he might get hold of a good booty. He thought that this act would cause no suffering to the king by robbing a little out of his vast royal treasure. One night he stealthily entered the royal palace. When all the inmates of the palace had gone in deep slumber, the learned Pandit began to roam hither and thither inside the palace in search of something worth stealing. He caught sight of precious articles in the palace one after the other, with the result that he was at a loss to decide what things he should steal and take away.
While wandering he entered the king's bedroom. A lamp was illuminating the room. Therefore, all the costly objects kept there to adorn the room were clearly visible. He was so much enamored at the sight of those lovely decoration pieces that he could not make up his mind what to steal. At last he saw the gold bricks placed under the legs of the king's bed to raise it high and decided to steal away one of them. But the problem was how and from under, which leg he should take out a brick without waking the king. The night passed in this condition of indecision. As soon as the day dawned, the king woke up and started composing a Sanskrit sloka sitting in his bed. He succeeded in composing only three steps of the following sloka:
Chaitohra yuvtya suhrdinokala, sadbandhva pranryagrbhgirshch
The king repeated the three steps time and again, but could not compose the fourth step. The meaning of the three steps is:
"I am the master of several beautiful and charming young damsels as my wives. I have many true friends and brothers. Many sweet‑speaking submissive servants attend on me. Many elephants trumpet at my door and many fast racing horses are there in my stable."
On hearing the three steps of the sloka, the learned Brahman thief, who had got into the palace with the main intention of stealing, could not control himself. Then and there he instantly composed the fourth step as under and recited it to the king:
Samilitay nyaniarn hi kinchidasti
I.e., As soon as a man breathes his last, none of these horses, elephants, wives, friends, servants and attendants will accompany him to the other world.
The king was taken aback on hearing such a fine step which completed his sloka. He looked at the learned thief with surprise and asked him, "O learned scholar! Who are you? How and why have you come into my bedroom?" The Brahman related the whole tale of his wretched campaign. Being pleased, the king rewarded him handsomely and bade him farewell.
To sum up, these physical possessions belong to us so long as we breathe and survive. No sooner do we give up our ghost, than all this vast wealth is left here in this world. All our affluence and grandeur i.e., wealth and property except our immortal soul are not our own and are perishable. Therefore, the immortal soul alone is our real self. We should make incessant efforts only for its uplift forever.
Ahideva and Mahideva were two brothers. They both went abroad on a business errand. They amassed enormous wealth and bought a precious diamond with the money. The diamond proved so inauspicious in its effect that a vicious feeling to kill his partner took possession of the mind of its holder. But the two brothers had great mutual love. So any, how they put reins to their evil feeling and did not kill each other. Soon after they returned home and handed over the diamond to their mother. Instantly, on getting the diamond an evil thought flashed into her mind, "Why not kill both my sons by giving them poison in food, so that the diamond may remain in my possession for ever?"
She went on pondering thus throughout the night. In the morning her mind changed on hearing the holy sermon of a monk and she began to reproach herself:
"Cursed am I, that I plotted to assassin my own flesh and blood ‑ my dear sons ‑for this petty stone. Condemned be this devil 'Parigraha' (attachment for possessions)." On coming to her senses, she told the whole truth to her sons. She at once instructed them to cast away the inauspicious diamond into some unfathomable pond or deep sea. What to say of keeping it with her, she disdained even to look at it. The sons obeyed her and acted accordingly. Thereafter, all of them began to live with love and peace.
While describing the virtue of non‑attachment (Akinch Anya Dharma), the great poet Reidhu writes:
Akinnchnru bhavhu apyu jhavhu, daihhu bhnru nranrmu
Nrruvam gye vnru, suh sanpnru param antidiye vigybhu
Akinchnru bu sangah nriviti, akinchnru bu suhjhanr sati
Akinchnru bu biyliye bhamti, akinchnru rynrtye paviti
Akinchnru anuchiyi chitu, pasrantu indiye bnri vichitu
Akinchnru dhaihu nraih chatu akinchnru jn bhav suh vistu
Tinrmitu prighu jath nrthi, akinchnr so nriymainr athi
Apaparjath viyar sati, pydijyi jhim parmaithi bhti
Chhndijyi jhin sanklp duth, bhoynru vnchhijyi jhin anrith
Akinchnru dhamu ji aim hoyi, tn jhayijyi nriru ith loyi
Aihu ji phavain ladh shavain tithaisar siv nryri gya
Gye kam viyara punr risi sara vndnrij tay tainr sya
1. Imagine of the virtue of non‑attachment taking the soul as different from the body; soul is a storehouse of knowledge; it is unique; it is colorless; it is blissful; it is superb; it is devoid of senses and is fearless. Such evaluation of soul is 'Ahnchanya Dharma' i.e., virtue of non‑attachment.
2. To get rid of attachment from all worldly possessions is the vow of non-attachment. To be endowed with the power to meditate upon the four auspicious virtues; viz. (i) Maitri-friendship with all living beings. (ii) Pramoda ‑ delight at the sight of beings better qualified or more advanced than ourselves on the path of liberation. (iii) Karuna ‑compassion for the afflicted. (iv) Madhyastha ‑ tolerance or indifference to those, who are uncivil or ill behaved; is the vow of internal non‑attachment. To be free from the feeling of allurement for something is the vow of 'Akinchanya' (non‑attachment); and to have no feeling of possession is the vow of external non‑attachment; and to be dedicated to the three jewels ‑ Right belief, Right knowledge and Right conduct, is the vow of 'Ahnchanya'.
3. The vow of non‑attachment puts reins to the mind, which roams, in the strange forest of senses. To give up love for the body is the vow of non-attachment, and to be averse to the worldly enjoyments is also the vow of non-attachment.
4. Where there is not the least attachment equivalent even to a straw, as a rule there is the vow of non‑attachment. Where there exists the power of discrimination between self and non‑self; where devotion for the five divinities is revealed; where the evil pledges are discarded and where ambition for delicious dishes exists no more, there lies the virtue of non‑attachment. A man should meditate upon these in this world
5. The Tirthankaras have attained salvation as a result of and with the assistance of, this virtue of non‑attachment. On account of this non‑attachment virtue the saints who are devoid of the evils of vicious passions are venerated forever.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be non‑attached, be non‑attached and be non-attached to all worldly allurements in order to enjoy the true and eternal bliss available in the heavenly abode of the celestial beings i.e., enlightened souls, who became liberated as they were endowed with the supreme virtue of non-attachment.
All sadness arises from too great attachment to this world. As soon as you are free from it and consider yourself a stranger therein, you will perceive that everything you behold or taste cannot abide with you, and that you must go to another place; therefore you will no longer feel any anxiety.
(Uttama Brahmacarya Dharma)
'The ills of life are cured, if you root out lust from your heart.'
Brahmacarya is a word with a very wide scope. It means maintaining sexual purity by assuming the strict aspect of celibacy. (Brahma) means soul, which is chaste, enlightened, eternal and blissful. To become fully engrossed in soul is Brahmacarya ‑ celibacy.
The opposite of (Brahma) is (Abraham) ‑ sexuality. It is of several forms ‑match‑making (bringing about marriages as a hobby), unnatural gratification, indulging in voluptuous speech, and visiting immoral married and unmarried women, are all different forms of Unchastity or sexuality.
The vow of chastity is an ornament of a man and a woman both; it is a garland woven by auspicious virtues and is a gateway to heaven. Chastity is the most precious jewel of a lady. "The impenetrable fence which protects a woman is her virtue of celibacy; no other fence can safeguard her as well." Indeed, chastity thy name is woman.
Observance of chastity keeps the body healthy and free from sickness; and it develops the mind i.e., sharpens the intelligence. All people honor a chaste man in this world and such a man become entitled to enter heaven or attain salvation. Non‑observance of chastity makes one suffer many types of miseries in this world; also, he or she is destined to go to hell in the next births. An unchaste person always lives awe‑stricken lest his/her immoral deeds should come to limelight, and on being caught red‑handed he/she has to suffer great humiliation and undergo different types of punishments. In truth, 'Too much indulgence in sexual pleasures brings physical as well as spiritual ruin.'
The root of self‑restraint or abstention from sensual pleasures is good conduct; and both self‑restraint and good conduct are dependent on chastity. The persons who realize the need and glory of celibacy in human life come to know the significance of self‑restraint and good conduct very well. The capability of sustaining the life force in the body is celibacy. It alone generates vitality, radiance and luster in the body. The American saint Thoray has said, "Chastity is the flower of life tree; genius, purity and velour are its numerous fruits." Self‑restraint is attained only through good conduct and chastity.
A monk came to take meals at the house of a Seth. After taking meals the holy saint dwelt upon the significance of chastity in his sermon. On hearing the importance and glory of celibacy, Jin Datt, the son of the Seth, took the vow to observe celibacy during the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of every month. On the other hand, Jin Datta, the daughter of the Seth of Ujjain City, had taken a vow to observe celibacy during the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of every month. Ignorant of each other's pledges, as the chance would have it, Jin Datt and Jin Datta were tied in wedlock. The wedding ceremonies were performed on the 13th day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha). Thereafter, Jin Datt returned home with his newly wedded bride.
On the first night when all wedding ceremonies were over Jin Datta fully adorned with proper make‑up entered her bedroom in the grand palatial building. During sweet conversation Jin Datt disclosed to her, "My darling! I have taken a vow of observing celibacy during the bright fortnight of every month. Therefore, we shall be able to celebrate the honeymoon night only after four days, not before that. Don't get worried and restless. It's a matter of only three or four days." In reply to the loving words of her husband, Jin Datta said, "My lord! What a strange contradiction! I have also taken a pledge to observe celibacy during the dark fortnight. So you enter into another wedlock and marry any other damsel. I shall now get initiated as a female ascetic and try for my spiritual uplift."
At this Jin Datt said to her, "My dear! When you are so eager for your spiritual uplift despite being a lady, why should I get indulged in the mud and mire of sensuous pleasures, being a man. We both shall observe the vow of life‑long celibacy while living under one and the same roof in our home. But this decision should not leak out." Thus, taking a firm pledge of celibacy, which is as difficult to observe as walking on a sharp edged sword, they both began to live together happily and peacefully practicing rigorous celibacy.
Once a princess suffered from leprosy. All treatments to cure her failed. One day the princess chanced to see a monk. After paying homage to the monk with full reverence, the princess asked the holy sage to tell her a remedy to get rid of her incurable malady. The compassionate sage spoke, "My daughter! A happy newly wedded couple named Jin Datt and Jin Datta, who have been practicing the rigorous vow of celibacy for long, lives in your city. If you shower over your body water purified by the touch of their hands, you can get rid of your disease."
Soon after, in order to act on the advice of the saint, the princess went to Jin Datt's house. All the members of Jin Datt's family were taken aback on hearing the words of the princess. As soon as water touched with the hands of Jin Datt and Jin Datta was poured over the princess, her skin disease was cured in no time. Flowers rained from the sky at this miracle. Ultimately, the happy couple Jin Datt and his wife Jin Datta got initiated to Jain monkshood. This example shows without doubt that only practicing the vow of celibacy attains self-restraint and good conduct.
Shuchi bhumigatam toyim, shuchirnari pativrta
Shuchirdharmpro raja, brahmchari sada shuchi
I.e., The underground water is pure. A wife loyal to her husband is chaste. A king dedicated to religion is always just and merciful; above all a celibate's life is sacred forever.
Supreme chastity is the last of the ten universal virtues. Just as when a temple is built, a golden canopy is installed on the cupola at its peak; likewise the virtue of celibacy is at the pinnacle of the ten supreme virtues. Stating celibacy as the true nature of the soul, the Acharyas have said:
"Brahmans atmni charti iti brahmcharya"
I.e., One who always remains engrossed in his holy soul only; one who practices celibacy free from transgression; in truth, he alone is a celibate. A monk who avoids company, jokes and foul bodily play with mean persons, renounces ten kind of 'Abraham' ‑sexual indulgence.
Kinds of Celibates
Q. How many kinds of celibates are there?
A. There are five kinds of celibates:
(i) Upnaya ‑ Donning the sacred threads
(ii) Avalumh ‑ Sub‑ordinate or dependent
(iii) Adiksha ‑ Non‑initiated
(iv) Goodh ‑ Fully devoted
(v) Naishthik ‑ Dedicated or having perfect faith
Q. (i) Who are called 'upney' (sacred threads donned) celibates?
A. The persons (apostles) who wear on their body the sacred threads in a manner ordained by the holy teachers and study the Jain scriptures; and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house‑holders, are called 'God' (sacred threads donned) celibates.
(ii) Who are called avlamb celibates?
A. The persons, who assume the appearance of ascetics; donne clothes ordained for them by the holy teachers; study and follow the Jain scriptures in practical life and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house‑holders, are called 'Avalumb' (sub‑ordinate or dependent) celibates.
(iii) Who are called 'Adiksha (non‑initiated) celibates?
A. The persons who neither assume the appearance nor donne clothes ordained for celibates, but study and follow the Jain scriptures in practical life and thereafter observe the vows meant for the house‑holders, are called 'ago' (non‑initiated) celibates.
(iv) Who are called 'gurh' (fully devoted) celibates?
A. Persons, who get initiated to monkshood in adolescence, study and follow Jain scriptures. But on the insistence of their kith and kin, or being incapable in bearing severe tortures, or forced by some special royal decree, or by their own sweet will, discard the nude state as that of Lord Jinendra and still observe the vows meant for the house‑holders, are called 'by' (fully devoted) celibates.
(v) Who are called the 'neshtik' (dedicated or having perfect faith in the omniscient lord, the scriptures and the holy teachers) celibates?
A. The persons, who can be distinguished by the tuft of hair on their head at the time of meditation. Their chest is adorned with the sacred threads. Their loincloth of red or white color is always tied round their waist. They always subsist on alms; which are learned in scriptures and observe all vows of ascetics; and who are always engaged in prayer and worship of Lord Jinendra, are called 'neshtik' (dedicated) celibates.
Sukh Deva was a life long celibate by birth. It is said that as soon as he grew young he went away to the forest to perform penance. At the time of his departure, his father Vyas Deva gave him counsel and spoke, "My son! The name and fame of our grandfather has survived as a result of the noble deeds of our father, and our father's glory has survived due to our good deeds. Likewise, our fame and glory will remain immortal in the world owing to your virtuous deeds. But alas! The name of our family will be extinct on your becoming an ascetic. If you are bent upon doing penance, first enter into wed‑lock like your ancestors and then perform penance in the company of your spouse."
But Sukh Deva turned a deaf ear to his father's appeal and spoke, "Dear father! You are mistaken to think that a son makes his father's name immortal. The name and fame of a person depends on his or her virtuous deeds. The fame and glory of the truthful, religious minded persons and celibates alone shines in the world for ever like that of the sun and the moon, even if they do not have sons and grandsons."
Saying so Sukh Deva set out for the forest. The great sage Viase followed him to bring him back. On the way the queens, princesses and ladies of the royal family of the historic city were bathing in the river Narmada. These ladies did not put on veils and go in seclusion on seeing the young Sukh Deva. But later on when the old sage Viase passed by that side, all these ladies at once put on veils out of the feeling of shame. Seeing this sage Viase was amazed and he asked the ladies, "My daughters! What is the reason that on seeing me you covered yourselves, but went on bathing unperturbed naked in the river despite seeing the nude young Sukh Deva passing from here?" In reply the females said, "O great sage! You are fully aware of all secrets of a woman and you yourself were a victim to sexual desires. That is why on seeing you we covered ourselves. But Sukh Deva is totally ignorant about sexology. Therefore, we did not deem it proper to put on veils on seeing the innocent nude Sukh Deva." On hearing this eye opening word, sage Viase returned to his hermitage.
Bhartrahari writes about celibacy in the following lines:
Krishna kanr khaj shrawanrahit puchvikli
Vrinr puti kiln krimikul shteravritnu
Koshuha Kshama jinro ptharjakpalarpit gala
Shunimanvaiti shva hatmapi ch hastaiv bhavan
A very old lean and thin dog, starving for two days; whose wounded body was bleeding and covered with pus; who was blind of one eye; who was lame and crippled; whose ugly face with fattened throat was hanging down, lay in the road in this miserable plight. The pedestrians in the road suspecting an immediate end of the dog, which was in the last stage of life, thought if the dog died in the mid‑road, the environment would be filled with pestilence (foul smell). Therefore, the dog must be shifted elsewhere, before it breathed its last. Meanwhile a bitch passed by that side. On seeing her, the almost dead dog got up overpowered with a passionate desire of lust and began to chase her.
In fact, celibacy is the only superb vow in all the three worlds. He who observes this vow attains a sacred state of existence. It has been said:
Samudra tarnai yadvad, upao no pakirtit
Sansar tarne tadvat, brahmcharne prakittat
I.e., Just as a boat or ship proves a helpful means in going across the sea, likewise celibacy is a very fine and easy means to cross the ocean of the world. The lustful desire for sex exists in the heart of a living being only so long as he/she does not realize the real motif of life and does not understand his/her real self, or does not grasp the real nature of the soul. The day when one begins to see one's own soul face to face, one gives up one's lustful desires for sex and sensual pleasures and observes celibacy.
There is an incident of the times of Lord Ram. Two princes ‑ Mesh Bhushan and Kul Bhushan went to a Gurakul (boarding, school) for study. When they set out from home on this noble mission to receive education, no other child was left behind in the family. On completing their education, when they returned home they saw a fairy‑like, beautiful damsel also standing at the door beside their mother taking burning earthen lamps in her hands to welcome them home. At the sight of her matchless beauty, both the princes were bewitched. Instantly an idea flashed in their mind to marry her. Both the brokers gave vent to the feelings of their heart unhesitatingly.
Soon the two brothers who were anxious to marry the same girl entered into hot exchange of words. Seeing her two sons quarreling at the door, their mother who was eager to greet and welcome them inquired of them the reason behind their dispute. On knowing the reality, the mother reproached them saying, "My sons! What evil thought has entered your mind! She is your sister." Hearing this the two brothers were filled with remorse and repentance. An overwhelming feeling of self‑reproach possessed them. They determined to renounce the world then and there and turned back for the forest from their doorstep. They got initiated as nude Jain monks and performed severe penance in the hills of Kunthalgiri and attained liberation i.e., salvation from there.
Brahmcharya tapsa raja rashtram rakshti
I.e., A king defends his nation, her culture and her people only by observing the vow of self‑restraint, penance i.e., austerity and celibacy.
The mind of a person who is indulgent in lustful desires always roams in the wilderness of sensual pleasures. Just as when a forest elephant is separated from its partner ‑ a female elephant, it becomes mad with lust and the helpless and poor animal has to suffer untold miseries viz. bondage, torture and even death. Exactly same is the condition of a lustful person. Being overpowered with a passionate desire for sensual pleasures in the garb and illusion of love, he fails to distinguish between what is worth doing or not worth doing, just or unjust; and thus the poor fellow blinded by lust takes to the evil path which leads him to his doom.
One who has infatuation for ladies other than his wife and maintains illegitimate relations with them has to suffer uncalled for miseries in the world. Ever growing bitterness and enmity, chopping off his sex organ, public disgrace by being fettered and imprisoned, forfeiture of all his possessions and even the terror of murder are possible. He is humiliated and condemned to live as an outcast in society. Such an ill-fated person gets birth in an inauspicious state of being in the next world. Therefore, to subdue lust and observe celibacy by discarding sexuality ultimately proves beneficial to the human soul.
An aged man in Greece used to impart lessons in spirituality to the youngsters. He would impress upon the youth the importance of celibacy time and again'. The youngsters began to ridicule his teaching. The old teacher was in a fix as how to make the youth realize the great value of celibacy. He hit upon a plan. The next day when his young disciples assembled in a garden to receive lessons as usual, they were astonished to see a beautiful damsel sitting on the back of their teacher and making him move to and fro like a horse.
Being enraged the pupils got ready to beat the young lady rider black and blue. The teacher checked them from their hasty foul deed. He instructed them saying, "My pupils! Behold. When for want of self‑restraint, the mind of such an aged man as I am, got distracted by the amorous looks of this bewitching beauty in my extreme old age, the youth are inevitably likely to fall victims of such a calamity. If no reins are put to the mind, and it is given a long rope to loiter in the wilderness of sensual pleasures, one may have to face many such ugly situations, where one will have to suffer disgrace and humiliation."
Celibacy is of two kinds, based on 'Mahavratas' (great vows) and 'Anuoratas' (small vows). He who for fear of committing a sin neither himself indulges in sexual relationship with any other lady, nor instigates others for such immoral traffic, observes the small vow of abstention from sexual relations with other ladies but his own wife. When a house‑holder discards sexual indulgence even with his own legal wife or shuns illegitimate relationship with another's wife, he practices the fourth small vow ‑ Anavrata called 'Parstri tyaga' i.e., discarding illegitimate sex with so called beloved or illegal co‑wives.
Similarly, the house‑holder who regards the body of a lady as unholy, unchaste and foul smelling skin bag containing blood, excrete and urine, takes her physical beauty and charm, which excite evil passions in the mind as transitory illusions. He who accepts all ladies other than his own wife as mothers, sisters and daughters in thought, speech and action i.e., who believes in the axiom matrivat padraraishu ‑ 'look at other's wife as your mother'; observes the great vow of staunch celibates. Sir Edwin Arnold also counsels:
'Touch not thy neighbor’s wife; neither commit
Sins of the flesh, both unlawful and unfit.'
Long ago there lived a highly religious minded and benevolent wealthy person named Sudarshan Seth in Bharat Kshetra i.e., India. One day he went with his wife to his pleasure garden for merry making. By chance the king also happened to come there for picnic accompanied by his queen. On seeing Seth Sudarshan ‑ a living image of beauty, the queen was enamoured by him and fell in love at first sight. She began to think in her mind, "Hurrah! Who is this handsome fellow? Is he Kam Deva ‑ the god of love; or a Nag Kumar ‑ a royal prince of the Naga dynasty; or a Vidhya Dhar ‑ a celestial being endowed with divine powers? I have never seen such a handsome man in all my life so far."
The queen was overpowered with a sexual desire seeing Sudarshan's face and figure, and well built charming body. She at once summoned her trustworthy maid and questioned her, "Do you know who is this stranger in the company of the king? Where does he live?" In reply the maid asked, "O Queen! Do you not know the renowned Seth Sudarshan, the richest man of your kingdom?" Then the queen said, "Oh! Then he is the crown person of our city. Look at him. What a charming personality and attractive features he possesses! I have never come across with a matchless man like him, endowed with such charm and beauty to this day. He is more charming than even the gods in heaven. Have you ever seen a man with such a blooming face?" Hearing this the maid said, "O Queen! No human being in all the three worlds can match him."
The queen became restless to hold Seth Sudarshan in sweet embrace and make him her illegal spouse. Therefore, shedding all sense of shame and royal dignity the queen said to her maid unhesitatingly, "O sister! My life is useless without enjoying the sweet company of this jewel among men. My mind is wavering and has lost peace ever since the onslaught of his bewitching beauty on my heart. I cannot live without him. Therefore, try with all your might to fetch Sudarshan Seth by hook or crook into my chamber to meet me."
The words of the queen left the maid puzzled and amazed. She cried, "Condemned be this sexual instinct, overpowered with which a person fails to distinguish between morality and immorality, and forgets loyalty to his/her spouse."
Of all the physical and mental ailments and sicknesses, sexual desire is the worst disease. This disease ruins the life of a person. So long as a person is not a prey to this disease, he makes attempt for self-uplift through diligence; but for a mentally sick person, who is a slave to sexuality, it is impossible to get enlightenment. With this thought the maid humbly offered her pious advice to the queen, so that good sense might prevail on her. She said, "O noble Queen! This lack of chastity in you will spoil the reputation of the royal family and bring disgrace to you as well. Like fire your sexual instinct will burn the orchard of your humane virtues to ashes."
The maid tried her level best to make the queen understand the pros and cons of her action; but the queen blinded by the intense sexual urge in her heart turned a deaf ear to her wise counsel. On the contrary she commanded the maid to bring Seth Sudarshan into her palace at any cost. In obedience to the queen's command, the maid began to make every possible effort to arrange a secret meeting between Seth Sudarshan and the queen in the royal palace.
Seth Sudarshan was a highly religious minded and God‑fearing soul. He had renounced all worldly enjoyments and sensuous pleasures. He used to become deeply engrossed in self‑meditation and perform severe penance at night going into a dreadful cremation ground on the 8th and 14th day of every fortnight of the month.
The maid was well acquainted with all these characteristics and virtues of Seth Sudarshan. She thought out a plan to bring Seth Sudarshan into the royal palace at night. She got a clay image of a man made by a potter. One night clothing the clay image and putting it on her head she began to enter the palace. When the guards at the gate checked her, she intentionally shuddered and shook her whole body. As a result the clay image fell down and broke down into pieces. Instantly threatening the guards of severe consequences, she spoke in a harsh voice, "O sinful persons! You have committed a great crime. Today the queen had kept a vow of human worship. So she could take food only after worshipping this clay idol. Now I will go to the queen and complain against you. I will tell her how all of you made the clay image fall to the ground, as a result of which it broke down to pieces. The queen will award all of you severe punishment for it."
On hearing the words of the maid, the guards were badly terrified and turned almost lifeless. They apologized the maidservant in a very humble voice, "O gentle lady! You alone can save us from punishment. In future, we shall never do such behavior with you. Please pardon us this time." At this she said, "All right! In future never come in my way and create hindrance in my religious activities." So saying, she went away from there and brought the meditating Sudarshan from the cremation ground into the palace loading him on her shoulders. This time the guards did not check the maid. Thus, she succeeded to fetch Sudarshan into the queen's royal room.
On seeing Sudarshan the queen's joy knew no bounds. The lustful queen who was fully under the spell of a passionate desire to derive sexual gratification from Seth Sudarshan, made a humble appeal to him saying, "O jewel among men! You excel even Kam Deva ‑ the god of love in beauty. You have captivated my heart. Now cool down my body burning with a passionate desire of sexual gratification by holding me in your sweet embrace." But the pious hearted noble Seth Sudarshan stood there firm and unmoved by her entreaties and amorous glances. Then the queen tried to rouse his passion and distract him from his firm stand by immoral and sexual motions and gestures.
But the holy Seth who was deeply lost in the meditation of Lord Jinendra did not budge in the least. Just as the mount Sumeru does not shake by the cyclic winds and storms that invade the earth on the dooms day; likewise great men never dwindle from their firm determination at any cost. Meanwhile, Seth Sudarshan took a pledge that if he came out successfully from this great calamity and trial of his moral strength, he would get initiated into nude Jain monkshood.
The queen badly failed to degrade the noble soul Seth Sudarshan from his lofty moral character by all her insane gestures arid tricks. She was fully disappointed and perturbed. She now thought of seeking revenge on him for her disgrace. She scratched her whole body, broke down her precious jewelry and tore down her clothes with her own hands. Then she started wailing and crying loudly, "Alas! The wicked Sudarshan tried to molest me and criminally assault me. What a shame! This devil has turned me to such condition. O inmates and guards of the palace! Run quickly and save my honor. Defend me! Protect me from this brute. I had summoned him into my palace taking him for my brother. How could I presume that this lusty fellow aspired to play with my body and spoil my chastity."
On hearing the lamentation and shrieks of the queen, the attendants and guards came running to the help of the queen and rescued her. They arrested Sudarshan and presented him before the king in the royal court. The king, ignorant of the reality, believed the statement of the queen. The enraged king sentenced Seth Sudarshan to death.
At the command of the king, the hangmen took Sudarshan to the prosecution ground and struck a blow with a sword on his neck to kill him. But lo! By the touch of his body the steel sword turned into a delicate and fragrant flower garland. Flowers began to rain from the sky. The Gods descended from the sky and began to sing hymns in praise of the celibacy of Sudarshan. They spoke, "O Seth Sudarshan! You are blessed. You are a true devotee of Lord Jinendra and a perfect householder. Your celibacy is unbreakable."
The news of the miraculous incident that occurred at the prosecution ground astonished the king highly. He at once went on the spot and apologized to Sudarshan lying at his feet. All the city people began to praise the celibacy of Seth Sudarshan.
The great poet Reidhu explains the supreme virtue of celibacy or chastity as below:
Banbhcahau dudhru dharijyi varu phaidijyi visyas nriru
Tiye sukhayim ratau mnr kari matau tam ji bhav rakhaiu thiru
Chitbhumi mynru ji upjyi, tainr ji pidiu karyi akajyi
Tivahm sriryim nrindyim saivyi , nriy parnrari nr mudhu yaiyi
Nrivjyi nriryi mhaduyi bhunjyi, jo hinru ji vambhau bhanjyi
Iye janraipinru manr vye kaen, bhamchairu palhu anruragam
Tainr sahu ji labhei bhavparu banbhey vinru vautau jji asarau
Bhambau vinru kayekalaisyi , vihal sayal bhaseyi jinraisi
Bahir pharsindayi suh rakhau , param banbhu abhitari paikhau
Ainram ubaem labheyi siv haru, im ryidhu bahu bhanryi vinryru
Jinrnrah bhijyi munri panrmijyi dahlkhanru paliyinriru
Bhi khaimsinh suy bhav vinryjuy holav manr ih karhu thiru
1. A man should adopt the difficult to perform superb vow of celibacy; and discard the lustful ambitions for sexual pleasures. This living being is running amuck like an elephant whose mind is always engrossed in thoughts of sexual gratification. Therefore, O grand souls! Safeguard the vow of celibacy with a firm mind.
2. Kam Deva ‑ the god of love and sex, as a rule takes birth in the soil of the unchaste mind. By its onslaught the living beings perform improper deeds. They take delight in the embrace of the disdain bodies of the ladies, and the fools fail to make any distinction between their legally married wife and other's wife.
3. The mean fellow, who breaks the vow of celibacy ultimately goes to hell, and suffers untold miseries there. Knowing this truth, one should observe the vow of celibacy in thought, speech and action whole‑heartedly.
4. A living being is relieved from the world by celibacy. All penances and vows are worthless without it. All bodily tortures in the absence of celibacy are of no avail; such is the opinion of Lord Jinendra.
5. Defend your soul from the outward sensual pleasures derived through the sense of touch and maintain the superb virtue of celibacy in the inner self ‑ soul. The abode of celibacy is attained through this plan. Such is the humble prayer of the great poet Reidhu.
6. Observe in a noble way the ten supreme universal virtues, which have been glorified by the omniscient Lord Jinendra and to which the holy monks pay homage and bow in reverence.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Observe celibacy, observe celibacy and under all odds observe celibacy, which is the Supreme virtue, highly adulated by all religious philosophies of the world. Violation of chastity of any woman by way of criminal assault on her or otherwise, is a cognizable offence in all legal systems of the world, punishable even to the extent of severe bodily torture and hanging to death. Indeed, sweet are the fruits of celibacy.
To sum up, men of chastity are men of character; and character is the supreme and unique possession of a man. This is why the scholars assign the highest value to character in human life. The great poet writes:
If wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
If health is lost, something is lost;
If character is lost, everything is lost.
Annual Forbearance Function
The ten-day celebrations pertaining to the ten universal supreme virtues culminate in the practical observance of the Annual Forbearance function. During these celebrations every Jain daily devotes most of his time in prayer and worship getting rid of the mundane duties of practical life. The celebrations extend from the 5th day of the bright half of the holy month of 'Bhadrapad' to the 14th day, which is the last day and fast day.
On this sacred day every member of Jain community approaches his or her kith and kin, neighbor, colleague and co‑worker in office, business and industry irrespective of his/her caste, creed and clan. He/she begs pardon of them for all faults or mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly. He or she confesses his/her errors and apologizes for these to every compatriot and every follower of his own religion or other religions. Thus he/she feels relieved of the heavy burden hanging on his/her head of the sins of previous years. Henceforth the person starts social life afresh living together in love and peace with all, following the noble principle of peaceful co‑existence. In truth, on this auspicious day, the Jains dedicate themselves heart and soul to submit to their popular slogan 'Live and Let Live'. Thus, they give expression to their feeling that all creatures in the world are equal, endowed with the same soul and aspire for peace and happiness. Indeed, this annual function is not merely a traditional ritual, but also a first step on the path to attain liberation or salvation ‑ the final goal of every man's life.
Kshma bhushan gunri jan ka , man ka svasthya ka
I.e., Forgiveness is an ornament of the learned; it bestows charm to life and gives perfect health.
From the spiritual viewpoint forgiveness is regarded synonymous with sobriety, nobility and generosity. Forgiveness is supposed to be the first and foremost virtue of ascetics and scholars. In the holy books of all religions anger has been pronounced to be the root cause of all sins and the downfall of man. The persons given to anger are generally found unrighteous, tyrants, immoral, quarrelsome, murderous and depraved by nature. Anger has been looked down upon and forgiveness adorned by one and all. The great Acharyas have also said:
Koho miti vinrasanram
I.e., Anger puts an end to friendship; or,
I.e., People given to anger are the meanest persons.
Various sermons, discourses, fables and legends all sing glories of forgiveness, which affords emotional sustenance, moral inspiration and mental power to a man.
Ksma Dharma kshma yagya, kshma vaida kshma shrutam
Ye aitdaivam janati sa sarva kshutrmhati
- Mahabharat 2nd parva
Adruha daivo vardyentai - Rigveda 5/68/4
I.e., The gods (or true friends), who do not indulge in revolt and create stir, alone raise us high in the world.
Sugorvam ashryam dharni datai khanitarmapi dhuruvam, tatha Tama badhkanityam kshmsvasman - Kural Kavya Pari 16
Not only from the spiritual point of view, forgiveness has been regarded the basis of all types of penance and meditation, but in the material world also from the scientific and psychological viewpoint forgiveness has been called bestowal of bodily vitality. It is a panacea for all diseases and instrumental to mental development. Forgiveness helps not only in pacifying anger and making us religious minded by removing all sins, but is also capable in keeping us hale and hearty
Scientists have also proved that a poisonous chemical fluid known as 'Adrenaline' automatically begins to be extracted from an angry man's bile duct, which effects his whole nervous system together with the veins and arteries. As a result of the extraction of this poisonous fluid, fatal and incurable diseases like muscular weakness, weaker memory, loss of appetite, generation of acidity and rise in blood pressure take birth in human body.
Scientists are unanimous in their opinion that anger gives rise to many types of mental disorders. The psychiatrists state that cure of diseases like emotional tension, blood pressure, ulcer, TB, and mental madness is possible only by rooting out anger.
Anger invites to untimely, premature old age. The ill feelings of anger, gloom, worry and hatred leave a deep effect on human body. In the state of rage, a chemical change takes place in a man's body, which obstructs blood supply to the face. As a result the facial skin turns either pale or extremely ruddy. An occasional outburst of anger creates wrinkles on the face. On the contrary the face looks full of luster and bloom in a peaceful and happy state of mind. Thus, anger causes not only physical loss but the internal system of the body also becomes deranged. Consequently, it leaves an adverse effect on the digestive system as well, and many heart troubles are born. In this way the vicious feeling of anger leaves a highly demolishing effect on the human body, mind, heart and soul. Therefore, not only from the point of view of heavenly bliss and a virtuous life, but also for worldly health and happiness, and to promote the feeling of universal brotherhood, anger must be discarded at all costs.
To celebrate forgiveness as a festival is a symbol of the growth of spiritual purity. It is said ‑ 'A forgiver sleeps soundly and peacefully; but the night of an unforgiving person passes in mental tension and uneasiness. It seems as if his bed was strewn with thorns.'
Forgiveness is not merely a matter of oratory, it is treasure of the inner soul as well. The sweet taste of sucrose can be felt only by the tongue. But the sweetness of forgiveness lies dormant in the inner self. Forgiveness breeds peace and harmony.
The 24th Tirthanker, Lord Mahavira, states:
Khramami savjivanram, savai jiva khamantu mai
Miti mai savbhudaisu , vairam majham nr kainr vi
The beauty of a man's eyes lies not in 'kajul', but it lies in applying the (aniana) of friendship to our sight. '0 sarva asha mam mitram bhavantu ‑ said the great Vedic sages ‑ May we attain friendship everywhere. The same feeling finds expression in a line of the verse 'mairi bhavna’ (My Ambition in life)-
Metri bhav jagat mai maira sab jivon sai nit rahe
Indeed, friendship is the happy outcome of forgiveness, and the nectar of forgiveness lies at the root of noble virtues like gratitude, humility and friendship.
Non‑violence derives a new life from forgiveness. Forgiveness thy name is non‑violence. The letter 'ksh' in the word 'Kshma' has a knot at its root. In Sanskrit language the word 'ma' means negation. Hence, the message of forgiveness is not to maintain in the mind any knot like the letter 'ksh'
Forgiveness does not denote cowardice rather it symbolizes bravery. The unwilling submissiveness shown by a weaker person is helplessness; it is called cowardice. But the forbearance shown by a valiant and brave person is true forgiveness. The former is surrender; the latter is victory. The former type of forgiveness is like that of a dead bodies wrapped in coffin, which is passive submission, not active self‑willed pardon.
Forgiveness is life. It is a normal process of peaceful co‑existence in daily practical life. The rules of walking to the left on the road and stopping at the red signal which are strictly followed in big cities, denote forbearance for one another. Forgiveness puts a check on road accidents. It shows the right path of 'Live and Let Live' to one and all.
In the absence of forgiveness the wild axiom, 'The bigger fish swallows the smaller fish' will hold sway in the world. If the weaker and stronger beings coexist in human society, it is simply an outcome and unique gift of forgiveness alone.
Do not give mere vocal expression to this inherent virtue of soul through outbursts on loudspeakers by organizing grand functions in support of forgiveness simply for public show. Let forbearance become a practical aspect of your daily life bringing peace and harmony in human society. You will then realize that the good results which you cannot achieve by the use of brute force i.e., subduing an enemy by wielding the sword; the same thing you succeed in doing by the use of the invincible peaceful weapon of forgiveness. Forgiveness turns a foe into a friend forever. It is a common saying, 'The victories of peace are more renowned than the victories won by war.'
The sword is a harbinger of enmity and bitterness. It is a weapon of violence. On the contrary, forgiveness is a blissful message of friendship and love. It is a part and parcel of non‑violence. The sword creates discord, while forgiveness brings concord. Such is the unique power and miracle of spiritual force achieved through forgiveness.
Forgiveness reveals high morale. It is a jewel worn by noble souls. Forgiveness promotes the feeling of harmony and amity. Anger is subdued by forgiveness. The ill feeling of bitterness persists in the heart of a person devoid of forgiveness like non-washable marks carved on a stone slab. But forgiveness blots out bitterness from human heart like transitory ripples on water.
Forgiveness is a virtue of humility. It is an ornament of social courtesy. Forgiveness is sinless. It is chaste. Forgiveness is woodland of peace, where perfect calm prevails and austerities are performed.
Forgiveness teaches us non‑violence and through non‑violence we should learn to practice forbearance. The axiom ‑ 'prasparograho’ can be proclaimed only by a devotee of non‑violence, who is anti to the law of the jungle 'Tit for Tat'. The slogan 'Live and Let Live' is as much an expression of non‑violence as that of forgiveness. Forgiveness aims at prolonged happiness and long life for others and freedom from mental tension for self.
Forgiveness and Forgiving
The 'Paryushan Parva' ‑ the observance of the ten universal supreme virtues ‑commences with the first virtue forgiveness. It culminates in the forgiving ceremony; as if forgiveness works as a coherent link between the beginning and the end of 'The Festival of Self‑Uplift'. Water is to drink, not to fill pitchers. Its coolness is needed for the throat, not for the pond. Likewise, the soothing drink of forgiveness is meant for the soul. It is not a trick meant for social manipulation and exploitation of injured feelings. So far you have learnt lessons in forgiveness and cried slogans in support of forgiveness times without number. Now put to practice in daily existence, what you have learnt; so that the ever growing crowd of criminal cases in the law courts may lessen, and conferences preaching universal brotherhood may replace the army battalions posted on the borders.
Only the enlightened souls can convey the message of forgiveness. The ill-bred wretched fellows whose hearts are palpitating with rancor fail to understand the significance of this celestial virtue. One given to forgiveness resides forever in the Garden of Eden, whereas a man bereft of the virtue of forgiveness always burns in the dry forest fire of ever simmering rage. In truth, 'Forgiveness' is a superb word found in' the spiritual dictionary of some highly cultured societies alone.
Miriam savbhudaisu vairam majham nr kainr vi
Lord Mahavira preached and professed in black and white through the scriptures, the message of universal brotherhood. The prophet laid stress on the well being of all men, birds and beasts. The holy soul counseled mankind to sustain no ill will for any living being in thought, speech and action.
The U.N.O. observes a day for universal brotherhood. Does it not signify that we live in an environment of racial hatred and territorial discord between nations throughout the year? The message of Jainism is that we should observe not days, but years and centuries of universal brotherhood and mutual love among all human beings i.e., practice forgiveness for all creatures including the 'mute' beings of the animal kingdom. To limit the feeling of fraternity, which is a perennial spring of humanity to certain days, is to limit the joys of human life.
Love begets love; hatred begets hatred. Friendship enhances fellow feeling. A true friend stands by his friend both in weal and woe. He shares both his joys and sorrows. Mutual distrust, ill will, jealousy, malice and bitterness today dominate the world. Terrorism has become the order of the day. By our sincere dedication to forbearance we should try to reverse the present barbaric social order of the world and turn the human society into a model homeland for all living beings ‑'Where the head is held high; where the mind is free.'
The panacea for all ills of mankind lies in the motto 'Forgive and Forget' i.e., disarmament, not in the arms race and accumulation of more and more deadly weapons or manufacturing atom bombs and hydrogen bombs, which can annihilate the whole mankind in the twinkling of an eye. If the whole world has to survive under one roof of the blue sky, it must get rid of the brute and mad craze for war and narrow nationalism.
Ne hi verainr vera shamyati
I.e., Enmity cannot put an end to enmity. Violence cannot root out violence. Forgiveness is a cry of the day.
To sum up, the contrary of revenge is forgiveness, which makes a man brave, fearless, virtuous, courteous, happy and prosperous. It has been said:
Yadi kamysai satyam hridayen sugirvam
Karysthim samam sarvaivyvahar kshmame
I.e., If you want to win eternal glory, treat all with forgiveness.
Paksha vyo yathopari vyasm sharm yachhta
I.e., Just as the birds spread wings over their young ones to provide them safety and happiness, you should also rear in your heart the feeling of happiness, joy and affection for all men, birds and beasts.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Ask forgiveness, ask forgiveness and ask forgiveness from all with a feeling ‑ 'Welfare of all living beings, and peace and happiness for all creatures'. Forgiveness makes a man not only meek and tolerant in nature by overpowering wrath and purging the soul of all other passions, but it also works as a tonic to promote good physique and mental health.
Dharmstshramytram karnrsydrog prshantai sehkaripuram
Bahye vidhanam pratipdyate ut, chikitstam sarvasihobhyatma
I.e., Religion is an internal and main remedy to cure diseases. All external treatments are mere subsidiary causes. In short, 'To err is human, to forgive divine.'