Introduction to Jainism Part II
‘SANGH" Communion :
A person born in a Jain family is "Jain by birth only". Technically and spiritually he is not in the "Sangh" as ordained in scriptures. The Sangh (communion) consists of four (I) Sadhu (Holy monks) (II) Sadhvi (Holy nuns) who sincerely believe in "Bhava-Nirved" -to be free from the materialistic worldly wanderings of continuous births and deaths."Samvega" ardent desire to attain "Moksha" – final liberation. To achieve that above they have accepted "Sarvavirrti" complete renunciation- Monkhood (The 6th and 7th stage of spiritual development) and (III) Shravak-layman and (IV) Shravika-laywoman who takes twelve minor vows (Partial self discipline)and worthy conduct (5th stage and aim to reach the 6th & 7th stage (Renunciation).
Persons of lower stage should be a "Samkiti" (The 4th stage) who has"Right/ True Faith in True Deity, True Guru – Preceptor and True Religion (as propounded by Omniscient Teacher) and keen desire to achieve the 5th, 6th and 7th stage during his life-time are also included.
35 Rules of Conduct ( Marganusari):
These rules are relating to social life because all living beings are social . The practice of the following rules prevents us from falling spiritually lower and helps us to rise higher, it is the means to get ourselves from the 1st stage of development to the fourth. (2nd and 3rd are of momentary duration).
The rules are all based upon love, sympathy, fellow feeling , pity, etc. and the practice of them is to be accompanied by these feelings, otherwise it is mere hypocrisy. (They are ideas, convictions and conducts of those who practise them). These rules are not commands. The Jain Deity issues no commands. They are state of knowledge and mode of behaviour. From the sincere practice comes out the purity of soul. The dirt and foreign matter in combination with the Soul is removed. It is the first step for a person desiring to make some spiritual progress. They are for the beginners, and not for those who are spiritually advanced.
Rules of Conduct : A few in brief :
1) In trade and business he earns his livelihood by just and honesty. No ignoble nature such as butcher, gunmaker etc.
2) Follows excellence of conduct, appreciates oing of the wise and spiritually experienced persons.
3) If one has to marry- marriage partner should be with culture taste, character, status, etc. of the same kind and marries his sons and daughters to well-born well behaved folks.
4) He is known to afraid of committing sins, avoids sinful pastimes, gambling, lustful eyeing towards opposite sex, alcoholic-drinks, meat-eating, etc.
5) Should practise ideal civic behaviour, well established family customs and religious rituals, would never malign, slander or libel.
6) He lives in neither too secluded nor too open a residence. It must be situated in a good locality and have good neighbours. The house must not have many entrances.
7) He, always associates with good people, who are partial to virtues, spiritually advanced and abandons place of evil reputation.
8) Worships his parents, has reverence for preceptors, teachers, is respectful to elders and old, pays obeissance to deity.
9) Regulates his expenditure according to his income, dresses according to his position and hears religious discourses everyday, Divides his income in 4 parts (1) For investment (2) For trade (3) For household expenditure and (4) For charity.
10) He is grateful for what is done for him, he is loved by people, he is modest, merciful, of serne disposition and benevolent. He eats at fixed time, when indigestion, he does not eat. He is free from obstinacy and has partiality for good cause.
Twelve Bhavana – Mental Reflections
1) "Anitya" = Impermanence – transitory nature of things. There is impermanence of everything surrounding one. There is only immortal soul beneath the changing body, life-span is getting reduced daaily. Shall have to go leaving everything behind. Alone.
2) "Asarana"- Helplessness, thinking of a refuge. Birth is inveitably followed by death, we are helpless in face of death. True Religion is the only protection, it gives a serene peaceful death, which is a great achievement.
3) "Samsara" = Ocean of illusion, worldly life. Continuous wandering under different garbs in various Kingdoms, in different bodies from ‘Nigoda’ to heavenly beings and back to microbe, to animal and vegetation etc. Liberation is possible from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
4) "Ekatva" = Aloneness. There is absolute solitude of each individual. He is body alone and departs alone. Will experience the Karmic fruits alone, one should achieve dependence only in one-self.
5) "Anyatva" = Beyond Body. The Soul is separate from the even body, even the body is not mine, I have to leave it. The Soul is immortal. We must try to know the power, capacity of the inner-self to attain "Pure-Self".
6) "Asuci" = Impurity. Beautiful, physically most attractive body is only skin-deep, is full of impurities, whatever the discards are unclean.
7) "Asrava" = Karmic Fusion (Inflow). There are five Karmic agents. Perverted views "Mithyatva", Non- restraint "Avirati", carelessness "Pramada", passions "Kasaya",activities "Yoga" of mind, speech and body. With 42 sub-divisions result in fusion of subtle forms of matter. Which are important reasons for cycle of rebirth.
8) "Samavara" =Karmic shield is anti-dote to asrava, stops influx of karman. The insight "Samyagdarsana", renunciation "Virati", carefulness "Apramada", passionless "Akasaya", Self- control "Ayoga", reflections "Bhavana", With 57 sub-divisions which leads to salvation.
9) "Nirjara" = to discard- to separate- liberate, Karmic matter from the Soul leading to eternal salvation through twelve kinds of tapa- penance.
10) "Lokasvarupa" = To reflect about the Universe. Uncreate, eternal, self-existant, imperishaable, six reals, nine elements (Tatva), three divisions, four existence, innumerable kinds of living beings. I have been to all these places, who am I? What is the final resting place? How to attain the same?
11) "Bodhi Durlabha" = Rarity of true insight. True religion, charity, chastity, penance and state of mind (Bhava) intension, forgiveness, contement, truth, compassion, pity etc. leads to "Moksha".
12) "Dharma-Swakhyat" = Truth of jaina religion. Teachings of the "Tirthankara- Arhat", which leads to eternal bliss, through the under-standing of one’s own inner-self (Atma).
The soul who has the capability of salvation, only a few whose time is ripe-due (in the last Pudgala Paravarta Kala), initially becomes slightly inclined spiritually, towards religion. With gradual increase in self dedication, faith, clarity, love, fellow-feelings, compassion, reduces wants, controls desires, etc.; results in acquisition of spiritually higher ‘Gati’ and ‘Jati’. He has reverence for life of all living beings, visible or invisible, mobile or immobile, regards every soul equal to his own, treats them with utmost care and sympathy with equanimity (Samvar) and confidence, he knows-who am I ? – A Bhavyatma.
Then he acts on four Bhavanas (feelings)
1) Maitri : Amity to develop a feeling of amity towards all beings.
2) Pramoda : Appreciation, a feeling of appreciation towards the meritorious.
3) Karuna : Compassion, a feeling of compassion towards those in misery.
4) Madhyastha : Equanimity, equanimity in instructing those who have lost the true values and
averse to suggestions.
He visits the temple regularly, before entering, he sheds off all impure, unclean thoughts and thoughts of worldly material life. He enters and with a steady gaze on the Pratima (the Image), which has been anointed by an Acarya (leader of the Jaina Order) with the Eight Fundamental Attributes, which pure soul has achieved, – "The Spiritual Zenith" (Siddhatva). Offers his prayers and rituals and opens his heart, makes a clean breast and with complete surrender asks for forgiveness. With an ardent desire he prays for His grace through the medium of the Pratima, the strength to help to annihilate the Karmic forces and achieved not a heavenly life, which is only a passing phase but the Eternal Salvation and be one equal to him.
Now he has faith in Six initial Tenets :
1) The Self exists.
2) The Self is immortal.
3) The Self is its own doer.
4) The Self experiences the results of his own deeds- good or bad through body.
5) There is path to Moksa.
The soul sallies forth and finds True Religion- Right conduct. The individual with self-control, concentration and more advanced form of mental and moral discipline, develops more and more unimpeded activities of the immortal self (Nirjara). With ‘Purusartha’ (efforts-endevours) gradually advancing, He
1) Practices equanimity,
2) Fasts on specific religious days.
3) Maintains purity of diet and restriction on varieties.
4) Keeps continence by day.
5) Achieves complete contience.
6) Restricts activities
7) Withdraws from domestic supervisory activities.
8) Finally reaches severence of family-ties, leading towards Complete Renunciation in its totality. When the Karman is entirely anninilated, the state of released Soul of all matter, acquires ‘Siddhatva-Godhood: The emancipated liberated soul attain achieves the eternal, indestructible, the all powerful and illuminating state of ‘Pure Self, enjoys infinite bliss and self beatitude, the Zenith of ‘Spiritual Glory’, ascends to the summit, close to the border. The magnificient region ‘ Isad Pragbhara’ ( the fifth gati) where the blessed settle down permanently into all eternity and enjoy incomparable, indestructible, super-natural happiness of salvation with complete equality in rank.
Syadvada- Philosophy of Relativity :
The theory of Syadvada otherwise known as Anekantvada is the distinguished feature of the Jain Philosophy. It is an important subject as the doctrine is found only in the Jain Philosophy. Every principle of Jain Philosphy is considered in the light of "Syadvada". "Syad" means in a sense or form a certain strand point and "Vada" points at "Principle" or "School".
It points out relativity or true nature of a thing which cannot be explained in absolute terms. Jains maintain that a thing is possessed of many attributes and we express the thing only in one or more of these attributes. The relationships between the thing and that attribute cannot however be fully stated in an unmodified statement. The same thing appears to be of a different type from a different stand point. To comprehend the aspect one must take into account, several standpoints or views. Syadvada is also known as Anekantvada, or the Doctrine of Manifold Aspects. Anekantvada describes the world as manifold, an ever-changing reality, an infinity of view points depending on the time, place, nature and state of the one who is the viewer and that which is viewed.
What is true from one point of view is open to question from another. Absolute truth cannot be grasped from any particular view point alone. Absolute truth is the sum total of all the different-view points (more than one point of view).
The Syadvada with its "Sapta Bhang" or seven prepositions of modes of expressions each dealing with a particular aspect of a thing under consideration, yields Complete truth regarding that thing. These modes are interrelated and each pre-suppose other, each implies the other.
For an illustration, a man is a Son from his father’s point of view, a Father from his son’s point of view, a Brother from his sister’s point of view and a Husband from his wife’s point of view.
Relativity is the art of creative thinking. It is an honest effort to look at truth in its proper perspective. The art of choosing right angles at right time and right place and while doing so a Jain does not neglect other angles, but accepts them passively in their due importance, making the truth of subsidiary importance. Jainism says that relativity is mental non-violence.
Syadvada if properly understood reveals the true nature of a thing. The Syadvada is an unprecedented gift of the Jain Religion to the world. It can play the supreme role of bringing harmony among conflicting ideologies and thereby universal brotherhood will shine forth to the fullest extent.
Some extracts from ‘Bhagavan Mahavira’s Life’ ( some previous births)
In the temporal ocean of endless births and rebirths, Jaina Philosophy takes congnizance of the Soul’s birth towards eternal liberation only from the day the Soul acquires ‘Samyaktwa’ (right faith). Therefore maximum time for the soul’s liberation will be within half ‘Pudgala Paravarta Kala’.
Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara’ of this ‘Avasarpini’ at the end of the forth descending time-cycle, had acquired ‘Samyaktva’ during the life of ‘Nayasara’- a petty prince, in Mahavideha Ksetra.
Nayasara’s family tradition of not to partake food without first entertaining at least one guest (Atithi Satkara). Which was the main reason for acquiring ‘Samyaktwa’. He was on a look out for some quest is the course of his work in a forest when he saw some Jain monks, who had lost their way wandering in the forest. Elated, he went forward and gracefully received them. After food he went along to guide them till the town was visible. It was here the scholar preceptor having grasped the excellent nature and behavior of Nayasara, expressed his desire to give something in return. Nayasara listened intently to the councel regarding True Faith in ‘Sudeva Suguru Sudharna’ (right deity- right preceptor and right religion). With the result, he became a ‘Samkiti’ (intuition of inner-self) With faith he embraced Jainism and offered to dedicate his all towards religion.
After his second life as a celestial being in heaven, he was born as a prince ‘Marichi’, the son of Bharata Cakravarti, (King of Kings, sovereign of six continents) and his grand father was the first Tirthankara Rsabhadeva, in this ‘Avasarpini’ at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth section of the time-cycle. ‘Marichi’ renunciated and became a Jaina monk disciple of Lord Rsabhadeva, but he could not bear the rigours and strict hard life of a Jaina monk. He became an ascetic (Avrati), absence of vows and easier life, yet he advised all his would be disciples towards ‘Lord Rsabhadeva’ for ‘True Spiritual Religion’.
Once in reply to a query from Bharata, "whether there is any one who would be a Tirthankara’s soul in this august assembly?" The Lord said, "Your own son Marichi will be the 24th Tirthankara." Then Bharata Chakravarti went to Marichi; bowed most reverently, mentioning that he was paying respect to the 24th Tirthankara, but not to the ascetic. Marichi danced with joy and exclaimed with unseemly vanity, pride and exaltation at the family linrage. ‘My grandfather is the first Tirthankara, my father is the 1st Chakravarti, I’ll be the 1st Vasudeva (Sovereign of three continents) and the 24th Tirthankara. Thus he assimilated Karman of sin of heavy intensity and of long duration.
During his journey of births and rebirths he also had to go through the 7th hell, a lion’s birth, again to the 4th hell. Jainism says that even a future / would be ‘Onmiscient Arhat’ must also suffer for all the acts of compassion or cruelty by going through different existence inclusive of heaven and/or hell according or the Cosmic Law, until complete liberation from the Karmic matter. Four great Souls of would -be Tirthankara from the present Avasarpini (Time Cycle) are now in hell as Infernal beings- King Srenika, and three Vasudevas (soverigns of three contients), Ravana and Laksman of the ‘Ramayana’ era and Krsna of the ‘Mahabharata’ era. Even today Jainas pray and adore with revence their Souls as future Tirthankara.
Some of the major 27 Bhavas (Life -spans) of Lord Mahavira.
1st : Nayasara – Became Samakiti, in the Mahavideha Ksetra.
3rd: Marici -Became Ascetic, devoid of Jaina religion for a few major births.
18th: Triprustha Vasudev – 1st Vasudev-hari (Soverign of three continents). As a rule all vasudevas invariably have to go to hell .
19th : Infernal being -went to 7th hell.
20th : Lion – Birth of Lion.
21st : Infernal being : went to 4th hell.
23rd : Priyamitra- Cakravarti- (Sovereign of six continents) in the Mahavideha Kestra. Renunciated- became a monk.
25th : Nandana Rjarsi- a prince- life span of 2.5 million years of which 2.4 million years as a prince and 100000 years as a Jaina Monk with 11,80,645 continuous monthly fasts. Very intense desire to emancipate every soul to salvation. Thus acquired and assimilated Punya Karma resulting into Tirthankarhood.
26th : Angel – Went to 10th heaven. Previous to this he had been to different heavens nine times as angles and countless births in sub-humans, vegetation, water-bodies etc.
27th : Bhagwan Mahavira was born in 599 BC at Kshatriyakunda in Bihar – India.His father was King Siddartha and his mother Queen Trishala. His original name was Vardhamana, which means evergrowing.
It will be seen from Lord Mahavira’s life that his observance of Tapa ( penance) elevated him to the supreme state of Omniscient Teacher(Arhat).It was by mortification and austerity that he could become the unequalled Master of Ahimsa. It will be astonishing to know that even though he knew that it was his last life-span (Bhava) and would be a Tirthankara in the same life yet it is imperative that he must annihilate (Nirjara) all the remaining karma and liberate his Soul. With intense single-mindedness of purpose, Lord Mahavira ate and drank water only 349 times in the course of his twelve years and six months and fifteen days of monkhood. All his fasting days were without water.His lengthy fasts were generally undertaken during the monsoon days, when monks have to remain at one place. The longest fast was of six months. All these years he neither squat nor slept – except for about 3 hours, spent during nature’s call and travelling and spent all his time in meditation in standing position – statuesque minimum of about twenty hours, usually in the open.He lived very frugally wandering from place to place with only one garment. So intense was his concentration on his goal that when his only garment was accidently caught on a thorn-bush and pulled off, he remained without it thereafter.For intensive tapa, mortification and austerity he travelled to ‘Anaryadesa"- uncivilised countries and suffered unimaginable, untold hardships with equanimity(Samabhava), all for the attainment of Omniscience – the stage of perfection and purity. Mahavira finally annihilated four major Karmas( Ghati Karma) and attained Kevaljana (Dynamic Omniscience Stage). Precisely 12 years and 6 months and 15 days after renouncing the princely state in pursuit of his goal he was able to comprehend the mechanism of the universe as a whole and human nature in particular, which led him to the root of all problems.
A more significant event of his fruitful initial sermon after omniscience to an audience which included " Indrabhuti Gautama", a Brahmin who was a scholar of repute, great authority on Vedic-Scriptures and exceedingly proud of his knowledge. Through his encounter Gautama became the chief disciple – ‘ Ganadhara’. Lord Mahavira had eleven Ganadharas as his inner circle.
Lord Mahavira attained Siddhatva in the year 527 B. C.
Some views of eminent personalities of the world.
"In conclusion let me assert my conviction that Jainism is an original system quite distinct and independant from all others: and that therefore it is of great importance for the study of philosophical thought and religious life in ancient India." —– Dr. Hermann Jacobi.
"Jainism is of a very high order , its important teachings are based upon science. The more the scientific knowledge advances the more that Jain teachings will be proved." —— L.P. Tessitore, Italy.
"Lofty in ideas and high ascetic practices are found in Jainism. It is impossible to know the begining of Jainism." —— Major General Forlong.
"Jainism has contributed to the world the sublime Doctrine of Ahimsa. No other religion has emphasised the importance of Ahimsa and carried its practice to the extent that Jainism has done, Jainism deserves to be universal religion because of its Ahimsa Doctrine." —— Presrident Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
"There is nothing wonderful in my saying that Jainism was in existence long before Vedas were composed." —- Dr. Radha Krishnan – Vice President.
"We learn from Shastras and commentaries that Jainism is existing from beginingless time. The fact is indisputable and free from difference of opinion. There is much historical evidence on this point."