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GUIDLINES OF JAINISM

Bhadrabahu Vijay

Some special rules of conduct for sadhus and sadhvis

After the sunset, the Jain sadhus/sadhvis do not take food or water. They wait 48 minutes after the sunrise before even taking boiled water. In any circumstance, they do not eat or take juice or water after the sunset till sunrise.

Gochari (obtaining food, alm)

The Jain sadhus/sadhvis do not cook their food nor do they get it prepared by others for them. But they go from house to house and they receive a bikshä (food) from the householders. This system or practice is called Gochari. Just as cows eat very little superficial grass moving from place to place, (taking a little at one place and a little at another). the Jain Munis do not take all the food from one house. They collect it from various houses. For food they go mostly to Jain householders but they may receive pure food from the houses of the people of any other community provided they are vegetarian.

The reason Jain sadhus/sadhvis accept a little food and not all the food they require from one house because this way hose holder would not have to cook again for their needs. Cooking involves violence and sadhus/sadhvis donot want to be a part of any violence due to their needs. They do not receive food standing outside the house; but they go directly to the place where food is cooked or kept; personally observe the situation; and take food because they can understand the situation fully.

What should be eaten? When should it be eaten? How should it be collected? How much should be taken? Regarding these matters, they have some definite and properly prescribed principles and codes of conduct.

They should carefully observe 42 rules while collecting food; and five rules while eating it; and in all, they have to conform to 47 rules.

They always receive food in a wooden bowls and eat out of the bowls which is called patra. To keep boiled water for drinking they use claypots. They always use and drink water that has been filtered and boiled.

Some ascetics perform some austerities and penances and hence they fast for days or months.

Apart from this, they also practice such rituals as ekashan taking food only once a day and in one sitting only or biyashan taking food twice a day. There are some sadhus and sadhvis even today who perform the Ayämbil tap one kind of austerity continuously for several months during which they eat food once a day which is not specially tasty; and does not contain spices, oil or ghee or any kind of vegetables.

Vihar or Padyatra

They always wander about on foot that is they go on bare foot when they travel from one place to another. Whatever may be the distance to be travelled, they always go only walking. They do not at any time use any vehicle like bullock cart, car, boat or ship or airplane for travelling. Whether it is cold weather or scorching sun; whether the road is stony or thorny; whether it is the burning sand of a desert or a burning road, they do not wear at any time any footwear. They move about on foot throughout their lives. While thus wandering, they preach the religion, Dharma, and provide proper spiritual guidance to the pious and devout.

They do not stay more than a few days in one place except in rainy season. During four months of rainy season they stay in one place from the 14/15th day of the Shukla Paksh (the bright fortnight) of Ashad to the 14/15th day of the Shukla Paksh (the bright fortnight) of Kartik according to the Indian calendar. This is called Chaturmäs. During the other eight months, they wander from place to place according to their convenience; and according to the consent and convenience (availability of time) of people, to impel them to turn towards the path of spiritual welfare.

The Jain Sädhus and Sadhvis after receiving the Deeksha (after their initiation) do not cut their hair and shave their heads; nor do they get these things done by a barber. But twice in a year or at least once a year, as a rule, at the time of Paryushan, they pluck off the hair on their heads, the hairs in the beard and the moustache or they get the hair plucked by others. This is called Keshlunchan or Loch.

The Mode of their life

They always wear unstitched white clothes. Some Jain sadus do not wear no clothes. Cholapattak a loin cloth which reaches upto the shins; Pangarani another cloth to cover the upper part of the body; Uttariya Vastra an upper garment; a cloth that passes over the left shoulder and covers the body upto a little above the ankles; Kämli a woollen shawl are the clothes they wear. These are known as the wearing garments. A Santhara, a woollen carpet for asan; a woollen mat to sit on and a covering cloth uttarpattak for the carpet are known as the spreading clothes.

Those who wear clothes have a muhapati a square or rectagular piece of cloth of a prescribed measurement either in their hand or tied on their face covering a mouth. Oghä or Rajoharan a mop of woollen threads. When they go out and have to walk far; some carry a round, thick wooden stick, the head of which is shaped like Meru a peak and which is carved upon. Sadhus who donot wear any clothes have morpichhi and kamandal in thier hands. These are the articles by which they can be distinguished.

The Sadhus and Sadhvis generally do not move out of their place of stay after the sunset, in the night. The place where they stay is called Upashray or Paushadh Shala. They may stay in places other than the Upashrayas if those places are conducive to the practice of the principles of their disciplined life and if they do not impede their austerities,

They bestow their blessings on all, uttering the words Dharm Labh (may you attain spiritual prosperity), irrespective of their caste, creed. wealth, poverty, high or low social status. Some put on the heads of pious and devout people Vasakshep, or scented sandal dust that has been hallowed by holy incantations; and bestow blessings upon them in the form of good wishes saying, "May you be delivered from all the physical, psychic and inherited ailments of iife."

They show the path of wholesome life and of a righteous and disciplined life to every one through the media of discussions, discourses, seminars and cultural training programmes. They show them the way to attain spiritual prosperity.

The entire life of sadhus/sadhvies is directed towards the welfare of their souls. All the activities of their life have only one aim, namely, self-purification and self- realization. For the attainment of this objective, they, as a part of their daily routine-activities, perform some of the austerities described below.

Pratikraman:The prayashchit or the atonement or self- purification for the cleansing of the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly.

Pratilekan:Padilehan- They perform the austerity of examining minutely the clothes and all belongings that they use. Apart from these they do: kneeling (Panchang Pranipat), prayer, (glorification), rendering service to spiritual superiors, taking care of their fellow ascetics who are old, sick or young, study of scriptures, meditation, learning; teaching, reflection, writing etc.