Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What Is Called Non-Violence In Jainism

What is Non-Violence 
( collected from eJainism site )

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term meaning non-violence. Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living beings. Jainism has assigned the first position to the vow of Ahimsa among the five main vows prescribed for continuous observance by its followers. It is, therefore, necessary to see and understand the various aspects and implications of the Jaina vow of Ahimsa.

Ahimsa Mahavrata
Ahimsa means avoidance of Himsa (violence). It has been treated as the first of the five Mahavratas (great vows), prescribed by Jain religion and this Ahimsa Mahavrata has been defined in `Ratnakaranda-sravakachara' as following:

"Abstaining from the commission of five sins, himsa and the rest in their three forms, krita, karita and anumodana, with the mind, speech and the body constitutes the Maha-vrata of great ascetics."

It means that the Ahimsa Mahavrata involves the avoidance of Himsa i.e., injury to sentient beings in every possible manner. The Himsa can be committed by three kinds of Yoga, i.e., modes or means viz., of mind, speech and body. In other words, injurious activity can be committed mentally (by mind, or in thoughts), orally (by speech), and physically (by body, or by action). In addition to these three Yogas, Himsa can be committed by three kinds of Karana (action), as Krita (by doing it oneself), Karita (by getting it done through others), and Anumata or anumodana (by giving consent to others doing it).

Further, by the combination of these Yogas and Karanas it is clear that Himsa can be committed in 9 ways, i.e., by the application of 3 Karanas to each of the 3 Yogas. Thus, the Ahimsa can be observed in full in the following 9 ways:

  1. Mentally not to do injury oneself.
  2. Mentally not to get injury done by others.
  3. Mentally not to approve injury done by others.
  4. Orally not to do injury oneself.
  5. Orally not to get injury done by others.
  6. Orally not to approve injury done by others.
  7. Physically not to do injury oneself.
  8. Physically not to get injury done by others.
  9. Physically not to approve injury done by others.

Obviously, in the Ahimsa Mahavrata, the Ahimsa is observed in a complete or full manner, i.e. in the above nine ways. Since this Ahimsa Mahavrata is extremely difficult to practice, it is prescribed for the observance by the persons in the ascetic order.

Taking into account the extreme severity involved in the observance of Ahimsa Mahavrata, the Jaina scriptures have prescribed the vow of Ahimsa with less degree of intensity for the observance by the householders and called it as Ahimsa Anuvrata. The authoritative sacred book `Ratnakarandas-stravakachara' has defined Ahimsa Anuvrata in following terms:

"Refraining from injuring living beings, having two or more senses, with a deliberate act of the mind, speech or body, in any of the three ways, krita, karita and anumata, is called Ahimsa Anu-vrata by the wise."

Thus, in Ahimsa Anuvrata, a layman does not intentionally injure any form of life above the class of one-sensed beings (vegetables and the like), by an act of the mind, speech or body by krita (by himself), by karita (by inciting others to commit such an act), nor by anumodana (by approving of it subsequent to its commission by others).

Meditations for Ahimsa-vrata

With a view to strengthening the feelings of a person in relation to the observance of the Ahimsa-vrata, it has been laid down in "Tattvartha-sutra" that a person should try to practice the following five Bhavanas (Meditations):

  1. Vag-gupti (preservation of speech)
  2. Mano- gupti (preservation of mind)
  3. Irya (care in walking)
  4. Adana-nikshepana-samiti (care in lifting and laying down things)
  5. Alokitapana- bhojana (care in taking meals by thoroughly seeing to one's food and drink)

Obviously these Bhavanas (meditations) encourage cautiousness in the actual observance of Ahimsa-vrata.

Transgressions of Ahimsa-vrata
In addition to inculcating the above Bhavanas (meditations), a person is also advised to avoid the following five aticharas (defects or partial transgressions of Ahimsa-vrata):

  1. Bandha, i.e., keeping in captivity angrily or carelessly (animals or human beings)
  2. Vadha, i.e., beating angrily or carelessly (animals or human beings)
  3. Chheda, i.e., mutilating angrily or carelessly (animals or human beings)
  4. Ati-bharairopana, i.e., overloading angrily or carelessly (animals or human beings)
  5. Annapana-nirodha, i.e., withholding food or drink (from animals or human beings angrily or carelessly)

Naturally the avoidance of these Five aticharas, i.e., transgressions, would enable a person to practice ahimsavarata without committing many faults.

Renunciation of Drinking Liquor

For the observance of Ahimsa-Vrata it has been specifically laid down that a person should renounce drinking wine because, according to the sacred text of "Purushartha siddhiupaya", "wine stupefies the mind, one whose mind is stupefied forgets piety; and the person- who forgets piety commits Himsa without hesitation." Again, it is impressed that drinking liquor leads to the commitment of Himsa because wine is the repository of many lives which are generated in it. Similarly, it is brought home that many base passions like pride, fear, disgust, ridicule, grief, ennui, sex-passion, and anger arise due to drinking liquor and that these passions are nothing but the different aspects of Himsa.

Rejection of Eating Animal Food
The observance of Ahimsa-vrata invariably means the total rejection of the practice of meat-eating on various grounds. In the first place, flesh cannot be procured without causing destruction of life, which is nothing but clear Himsa.

Secondly, even if the flesh is procured from an animal which has met with a natural death, still Himsa is caused by due to the crushing of tiny creatures spontaneously born in that flesh.

Thirdly, the pieces of flesh which are raw, or cooked, or are in the process of being cooked, are found constantly generating spontaneously-born creatures of the same genus. Hence, for these valid reasons a person must completely renounce meat- eating which definitely involves Himsa.

Abandonment of use of Honey

Along with the renunciation of wine-drinking and meat-eating, the giving up of use of honey is also included in the observance of Ahimsa-vrata because the use of honey invariably entails the destruction of life as even the smallest drop of honey in the world represents the death of bees. It is also made clear that even if a person uses honey which has been obtained by some trick from honey comb, or which has itself dropped down from it, there is Himsa in that case also, because there is destruction to the lives spontaneously born therein.

Giving up eating of certain fruits

As a part of the observance of Ahimsa-vrata it is enjoined that a person should give up the use for diet and other purposes of five kinds of fruits known as Umara, Kathumara, Pakara, Bada and Pipala as they are the breeding grounds of various living organisms. Again, if these five fruits be dry and free from mobile beings on account of passage of time, their use will cause Himsa because of the existence of an excessive desire for them.

Avoidance of killing Animals

It is also specifically stressed that in the observance of the Ahimsa-vrata, killing of animals under various pretexts should be strictly avoided as it does involve destruction of living beings in one way or another. In the first place, a person should not sacrifice animals or birds or embodied beings with a view to please Gods by such offerings and to seek in return his desired objectives. It is emphatically stated that it is a perverse notion to think of himsa as having religious sanction and to consider that the Gods are pleased at sacrifices of living beings offered in their name. In fact it is asserted that religion is peace giving and can never encourage or sanction what gives pain to living beings.

Secondly, a person should not kill animals for pleasing the guests in the belief that there is no harm in killing goats, etc., for the sake of persons deserving respect. Such a desire is obviously not good as it involves the abominable Himsa in the form of wanton destruction of living beings.

Thirdly, a person should not kill animals like snakes, scorpions, lions, tigers etc., on the ground that by so doing a large number of lives will be saved. Such a type of killing has to be avoided because it engenders the feelings of enemy, hostility and revenge which go against the principle of Ahimsa. Again, it is stated that as these animals always strike man in self-defense, they will not do harm to man if they are not attacked by man.

Fourthly, a person should not kill animals which are leading a severely painful life due to onslaught of certain incurable sufferings or disease on the ground that by the act of killing the animal would soon be relieved from its unbearable anguish and agony. But this kind of killing is considered not as an act of mercy but definitely as an act of Himsa.

Renouncement of Night-eating

With a view to making the observance of Ahimsa-vrata more complete a strict injection to restrict the eating activity during the day-time only is levied. It has been laid down in the sacred Jaina text of ''Purusharthasiddhi-upaya'; that "Those who take their meals at night cannot avoid Himsa. Hence, abstainers from Himsa should give up night eating also".

It is argued that day-time is the natural time for work and for taking food. Again, food is prepared more easily, with greater care and with less probability of injury to living beings during day than at night. Further, the light of the sun makes it easy to pick out, to separate unwholesome stuff, and to remove the worms and small insects which find place in the material for food. There are many insects which are not even visible in the strongest artificial light at night and there are also many small insects, which have a strong affinity for food stuffs, appear only during night-time. 

That is why it is concluded in the same sacred text as follows that "It is established that he who has renounced night-eating, through mind, speech or body, always observes Ahimsa". As utmost importance is attached to the practice of eating during day-time from the point of view of observance of Ahimsa, certain sacred texts like "Charitrasara" consider "Ratri-bhukti-tyaga", i. e., giving up eating at night, as the sixth "Anuvrata", i.e., small vow, added to the prevalent set of five Anuvratas.

 What is SATYA

Satya is a Sanskrit term meaning truth or correct. But in Jainism it has a more subtle meaning. Jainism defines Satya as harmless truth or we can say those words that are true or correct and importantly, do not harm or hurt any living being. So utmost care must be taken in speaking. The implication of this vow is extended to prohibition of following:

1. Spreading rumors and false doctrines.
  1. Betraying confidences.
  2. Gossip and backbiting.
  3. Falsifying documents.
  4. Breach of trust.
  5. Denial of the existence of the things, which do exist.
  6. Assertion of the existence of non-existent things.
  7. Giving false information about the position, time and nature of things.
One's speech should be pleasant, beneficial, true and unhurtful to others. It should aim at moderation rather than exaggeration, esteem rather than denigration, at distinction rather than vulgarity of expression, and should be thoughtful and expressive of sacred truths. All unthruths necessarily involve violence.

One should protect the vow of truthfulness by avoiding thoughtless speech, anger, greed, putting others in fear. The idea is to overcome greed, fear, anger, jealousy, ego, frivolity, etc., which are considered breeding grounds of falsehood. Only a person who has controlled these emotions and desires has the moral strength to speak the truth at all times. However, in keeping with the principle of non-violence in speech, if a truth is likely to cause pain, sadness, anger or the death of any living creature, then a Jain is advised to remain silent.

What is Achaurya 
Achaurya is a Sanskrit word meaning "avoidance of stealing" or "non-stealing". A Jain must not take anything that does not belong to him without the prior permission of its owner. This includes even a blade of grass from another’s garden. The implication of this vow is extended to prohibition of following:

1. Taking another's property without his consent, or by unjust or immoral methods.
  1. Taking away a thing that may be lying unattended or unclaimed.
  2. When taking alms, taking more than what is minimum needed.
  3. Accepting things stolen by others.
  4. Asking/encouraging or approving others for any of the above mentioned prohibitions.
One should observe this vow very strictly, and should not touch even a worthless thing which does not belong to him. Jain monks and nuns who survive by begging for food from laypersons are advised not to acquire more than a few mouthfuls of food per family.

What is Aprigraha 
Aparigraha is the concept of non-possessiveness. The term usually means to limit possessions to what is necessary or important, which changes with the time period, though sadhus would not have any possessions. This is based on the belief that desire for material wealth can lead a person to commit sin by giving rise to negative emotions like greed, anger and jealousy. Desires are ever-growing and they form a never-ending cycle. A person who wishes to achieve liberation from the cycle of life and death must acquire control over his senses and avoid attachment to material things, places or persons.

Monks and nuns are required to give up attachment to the following:
1. Material things such as wealth, property, house, books, clothes, etc.
  1. Relationships such as father, mother, spouse, children, friends, enemies, other monks, disciples, etc.
  2. Feelings such as pleasure and pain, feelings towards touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. They have the equanimity towards music and noise, good and bad smells, soft and hard objects for touch, beautiful and dirty sights, etc.
They do not eat food for taste but for survival with the intention to destroy his karma with the help of this body. Non-possession and non-attachment are to be observed in speech, mind, and deed. One should not possess, ask others to do so, or approve of such activities.

What is Brahmcharya 
Total abstinence from sensual pleasure is called celibacy. Sensual pleasure is an infatuating force which sets aside all virtues and reason at the time of indulgence. This vow of controlling sensuality is very difficult to observe in its subtle form. One may refrain from physical indulgence but may still think of the pleasures of sensualism, which is prohibited in Jainism.

Monks are required to observe this vow strictly and completely. They should not enjoy sensual pleasures, ask others to do the same, nor approve of it. For laypersons, brahmacharya means either confining sex to marriage or complete celibacy and they are required to be chaste in their deeds and thoughts. There are several rules laid down for observing this vow for householders.

जैन धर्म भारत का एक प्राचीन धर्म है। 'जैन धर्म' का अर्थ है - 'जिन द्वारा प्रवर्तित धर्म'। 'जैन' कहते हैं उन्हें, जो 'जिन' के अनुयायी हों। 'जिन' शब्द बना है 'जि' धातु से। 'जि' माने-जीतना। 'जिन' माने जीतने वाला। जिन्होंने अपने मन को जीत लिया, अपनी वाणी को जीत लिया और अपनी काया को जीत लिया और विशिष्ट ज्ञान को पाकर सर्वज्ञ या पूर्णज्ञान प्राप्त किया उन आप्त पुरुष को जिनेश्वर या 'जिन' कहा जाता है'। जैन धर्म अर्थात 'जिन' भगवान्‌ का धर्म। अहिंसा जैन धर्म का मूल सिद्धान्त है। जैन दर्शन में सृष्टिकर्ता इश्वर को स्थान नहीं दिया गया है।

जैन ग्रंथों के अनुसार इस काल के प्रथम तीर्थंकर ऋषभदेव द्वारा जैन धर्म का प्रादुर्भाव हुआ था। जैन धर्म की अत्यंत प्राचीनता करने वाले अनेक उल्लेख अजैन साहित्य और खासकर वैदिक साहित्य में प्रचुर मात्रा में हैं।

जैन धर्म में श्रावक और मुनि दोनों के लिए पाँच व्रत बताए गए है। तीर्थंकर आदि महापुरुष जिनका पालन करते है, वह महाव्रत कहलाते है

अहिंसा - किसी भी जीव को मन, वचन, काय से पीड़ा नहीं पहुँचाना। किसी जीव के प्राणों का घात नहीं करना।
सत्य - हित, मित, प्रिय वचन बोलना।
अस्तेय - बिना दी हुई वस्तु को ग्रहण नहीं करना।
ब्रह्मचर्य - मन, वचन, काय से मैथुन कर्म का त्याग करना।
अपरिग्रह- पदार्थों के प्रति ममत्वरूप परिणमन का बुद्धिपूर्वक त्याग।
मुनि इन व्रतों का सूक्ष्म रूप से पालन करते है, वही श्रावक स्थूल रूप से करते है।

मुख्य लेख : जैन धर्म में भगवान

जैन ईश्वर को मानते हैं जो सर्व शक्तिशाली त्रिलोक का ज्ञाता द्रष्टा है पर त्रिलोक का कर्ता नही | जैन धर्म में जिन या अरिहन्त और सिद्ध को ईश्वर मानते हैं। अरिहंतो और केवलज्ञानी की आयुष्य पूर्ण होने पर जब वे जन्ममरण से मुक्त होकर निर्वाण को प्राप्त करते है तब उन्हें सिद्ध कहा जाता है। उन्हीं की आराधना करते हैं और उन्हीं के निमित्त मंदिर आदि बनवाते हैं। जैन ग्रन्थों के अनुसार अर्हत् देव ने संसार को द्रव्यार्थिक नय की अपेक्षा से अनादि बताया है। जगत् का न तो कोई कर्ता है और न जीवों को कोई सुख दुःख देनेवाला है। अपने अपने कर्मों के अनुसार जीव सुख दुःख पाते हैं। जीव या आत्मा का मूल स्वभान शुद्ध, बुद्ध, सच्चिदानंदमय है, केवल पुदगल या कर्म के आवरण से उसका मूल स्वरुप आच्छादित हो जाता है। जिस समय यह पौद्गलिक भार हट जाता है उस समय आत्मा परमात्मा की उच्च दशा को प्राप्त होता है। जैन मत 'स्याद्वाद' के नाम से भी प्रसिद्ध है। स्याद्वाद का अर्थ है अनेकांतवाद अर्थात् एक ही पदार्थ में नित्यत्व और अनित्यत्व, सादृश्य और विरुपत्व, सत्व और असत्व, अभिलाष्यत्व और अनभिलाष्यत्व आदि परस्पर भिन्न धर्मों का सापेक्ष स्वीकार। इस मत के अनुसार आकाश से लेकर दीपक पर्यंत समस्त पदार्थ नित्यत्व और अनित्यत्व आदि उभय धर्म युक्त है।

जैन धर्म मे 24 तीर्थंकरों को माना जाता है। तीर्थंकर धर्म तीर्थ का प्रवर्तन करते है। इस काल के २४ तीर्थंकर है-

क्रमांक तीर्थंकर
1 ऋषभदेव- इन्हें 'आदिनाथ' भी कहा जाता है
2 अजितनाथ
3 सम्भवनाथ
4 अभिनंदन जी
5 सुमतिनाथ जी
6 पद्ममप्रभु जी
7 सुपार्श्वनाथ जी
8 चंदाप्रभु जी
9 सुविधिनाथ- इन्हें 'पुष्पदन्त' भी कहा जाता है
10 शीतलनाथ जी
11 श्रेयांसनाथ
12 वासुपूज्य जी
13 विमलनाथ जी
14 अनंतनाथ जी
15 धर्मनाथ जी
16 शांतिनाथ
17 कुंथुनाथ
18 अरनाथ जी
19 मल्लिनाथ जी
20 मुनिसुव्रत जी
21 नमिनाथ जी
22 अरिष्टनेमि जी - इन्हें 'नेमिनाथ' भी कहा जाता है। जैन मान्यता में ये नारायण श्रीकृष्ण के चचेरे भाई थे।
23 पार्श्वनाथ
24 वर्धमान महावीर - इन्हें वर्धमान, सन्मति, वीर, अतिवीर भी कहा जाता है।

ऋषभदेव, अरिष्टनेमि आदि तीर्थंकरों का उल्लेख ऋग्वेदादि में बहुलता से मिलता है, जिससे यह स्वतः सिद्ध होता है कि वेदों की रचना के पहले जैन-धर्म का अस्तित्व भारत में था। विष्णु पुराण में श्री ऋषभदेव, मनुस्मृति में प्रथम जिन (यानी ऋषभदेव) स्कंदपुराण, लिंगपुराण आदि में बाईसवें तीर्थंकर अरिष्टनेमि का उल्लेख आया है। दीक्षा मूर्ति-सहस्रनाम, वैशम्पायन सहस्रनाम महिम्न स्तोत्र में भगवान जिनेश्वर व अरहंत कह के स्तुति की गई है। योग वाशिष्ठ में श्रीराम ‘जिन’ भगवान की तरह शांति की कामना करते हैं। इसी तरह रुद्रयामलतंत्र में भवानी को जिनेश्वरी, जिनमाता, जिनेन्द्रा कहकर संबोधन किया है। नगर पुराण में कलयुग में एक जैन मुनि को भोजन कराने का फल कृतयुग में दस ब्राह्मणों को भोजन कराने के बराबर कहा गया है। अंतिम दो तीर्थंकर, पार्श्वनाथ और महावीर स्वामी ऐतिहासिक पुरुष है[4]। महावीर का जन्म ईसा से ५९९ वर्ष पहले होना ग्रंथों से पाया जाया है। शेष के विषय में अनेक प्रकार की अलौकीक और प्रकृतिविरुद्ध कथाएँ हैं। ऋषभदेव की कथा भागवत आदि कई पुराणों में आई है और उनकी गणना हिंदुओं के २४ अवतारों में है। महाभारत अनुशासन पर्व,महाभारत शांतिपर्व, स्कन्ध पुराण,प्रभास पुराण,लंकावतार आदि अनेक ग्रंथो में अरिष्टनेमि का उल्लेख है !

Monday, July 17, 2017

What Is Jainism Or Jain Religion ?

Jainism is an ancient religion from India. It teaches us the way to liberation and shows the way how to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. Renunciation is the act of renouncing or rejecting something, especially if it is something that the renouncer has previously enjoyed or endorsed.In religion, renunciation  indicates an abandonment of pursuit of material comforts, in the interests of achieving spiritual enlightenment.

Jainism traditionally known as Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion. Jainism followers are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina (victor) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life.
 Jain Religion also refers to the ascetic battle that, it is believed, Jain renunciants (monks and nuns) must fight against the passions and bodily senses to gain enlightenment, or omniscience and purity of soul. 

The most illustrious of those few individuals who have achieved enlightenment are called Jina (literally, “Conqueror”), and the tradition’s monastic and lay adherents are called Jain (“Follower of the Conquerors”), or Jaina. This term came to replace a more ancient designation, Nirgrantha (“Bondless”), originally applied to renunciants only.

The aim of Jain life is to achieve liberation of the soul. It means, it teaches us how to get rid of attachment with material objects and remain detached from role we play in our life. We play the role of son, brother, sister,father, mother , teacher and many such other roles. But while playing these roles we have to keep our mental state detached from these relations and always remain in stable position. 

Jain religion teaches us that our soul is in its long journey just like other souls are in their own journey. Though all souls are originally same and like love, happiness, peace , bliss and purity , journey  of every souls is different and unique. 

Jainism does not believe in a Creator God .As per Jain principles, the entire material universe is self existing system. Everything in it , including the individual soul is an aspect of matter. Each should is eternal , but it has states, shapes and sizes. In the bound state (Bandha)  it is subject to Karma and Rebirth. It attains liberation only when it completely gets rid of karma. Jainism believes that karma is fluid like substance that remains attached to people and the should exists in all animate and inanimate objects.

Parasparopagraho Jivanam ("the function of souls is to help one another") is the motto of Jainism. Namokar Mantra is the most common and basic prayer in Jainism. Jainism is a religion which teaches a path to spiritual purity and enlightenment through disciplined nonviolence (ahimsa  literally “noninjury”) to all living creatures.

Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviors and teachers known as Tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who is believed to have lived millions of years ago, and twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the Tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

The main religious premises of Jainism are 

Ahimsa ("non-violence"), 
Anekantavada ("many-sidedness"), 
Aparigraha ("non-attachment") and 
Asceticism. (the doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial,self-mortification, and the like.rigorous self-denial; extreme abstinence; austerity.)

Followers of Jainism take five main vows: 
Ahimsa ("non-violence"), 
Satya ("truth"), 
Asteya ("not stealing"), 
Brahmacharya ("celibacy or chastity"), and 
Aparigraha ("non-attachment"). 

These principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles. 

Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviors and teachers known as Tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who is believed to have lived millions of years ago, and twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the Tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

1. Metaphysics

According to Jain thought, the basic constituents of reality are 
Souls (jiva), 
Matter (pudgala), 
Motion (dharma), 
Rest (adharma), 
Space (akasa), and 
Time (kala). 

Space is understood to be infinite in all directions, but not all of space is inhabitable. A finite region of space, usually described as taking the shape of a standing man with arms akimbo, is the only region of space that can contain anything. This is so because it is the only region of space that is pervaded with dharma, the principle of motion (adharma is not simply the absence of dharma, but rather a principle that causes objects to stop moving). The physical world resides in the narrow part of the middle of inhabitable space. The rest of the inhabitable universe may contain gods or other spirits.

While Jainism is dualistic—that is, matter and souls are thought to be entirely different types of substance—it is frequently said to be atheistic. What is denied is a creator god above all. The universe is eternal, matter and souls being equally uncreated. The universe contains gods who may be worshipped for various reasons, but there is no being outside it exercising control over it. The gods and other superhuman beings are all just as subject to karma and rebirth as human beings are. By their actions, souls accumulate karma, which is understood to be a kind of matter, and that accumulation draws them back into a body after death. Hence, all souls have undergone an infinite number of previous lives, and—with the exception of those who win release from the bondage of karma—will continue to reincarnate, each new life determined by the kind and amount of karma accumulated. Release is achieved by purging the soul of all karma, good and bad.

Every living thing has a soul, so every living thing can be harmed or helped. For purposes of assessing the worth of actions (see Ethics, below), living things are classified in a hierarchy according to the kinds of senses they have; the more senses a being has, the more ways it can be harmed or helped. 

Plants, various one-celled animals, and 'elemental' beings (beings made of one of the four elements—earth, air, fire, or water) have only one sense, the sense of touch. Worms and many insects have the senses of touch and taste. Other insects, like ants and lice, have those two senses plus the sense of smell. Flies and bees, along with other higher insects, also have sight. Human beings, along with birds, fish, and most terrestrial animals, have all five senses. This complete set of senses (plus, according to some Jain thinkers, a separate faculty of consciousness) makes all kinds of knowledge available to human beings, including knowledge of the human condition and the need for liberation from rebirth.

2. Epistemology (the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.) and Logic

Underlying Jain epistemology is the idea that reality is multifaceted (anekanta, or 'non-one-sided'), such that no one view can capture it in its entirety; 
that is, no single statement or set of statements captures the complete truth about the objects they describe. 

Every school of Indian thought includes some judgment about the valid sources of knowledge (pramanas). While their lists of pramanas differ, they share a concern to capture the common-sense view; no Indian school is skeptical. 

The Jain list of pramanas includes sense perception, valid testimony (including scriptures), extra-sensory perception, telepathy, and kevala, the state of omniscience of a perfected soul.

Notably absent from the list is inference, which most other Indian schools include, but Jain discussion of the pramanas seem to indicate that inference is included by implication in the pramana that provides the premises for inference. 

That is, inference from things learned by the senses is itself knowledge gained from the senses; inference from knowledge gained by testimony is itself knowledge gained by testimony, etc. 

Later Jain thinkers would add inference as a separate category, along with memory and tarka, the faculty by which we recognize logical relations.

Since reality is multi-faceted, none of the pramanas gives absolute or perfect knowledge (except kevala, which is enjoyed only by the perfected soul, and cannot be expressed in language). 

As a result, any item of knowledge gained is only tentative and provisional. This is expressed in Jain philosophy in the doctrine of naya, or partial predication (sometimes called the doctrine of perspectives or viewpoints). According to this doctrine, any judgment is true only from the viewpoint or perspective of the judge, and ought to be so expressed. 

Given the multifaceted nature of reality, no one should take his or her own judgments as the final truth about the matter, excluding all other judgments. This insight generates a sevenfold classification of predications. The seven categories of claim can be schematized as follows, where 'a' represents any arbitrarily selected object, and 'F' represents some predicate assertible of it:

Perhaps a is F.
Perhaps a is not-F.
Perhaps a is both F and not-F.
Perhaps a is indescribable.
Perhaps a is indescribable and F.
Perhaps a is indescribable and not-F.
Perhaps a is indescribable, and both F and not-F.

Each predication is preceded by a marker of uncertainty (syat), which I have rendered here as 'perhaps.' Some render it as ‘from a perspective,’ or ‘somehow.’ However it is translated, it is intended to mark respect for the multifaceted nature of reality by showing a lack of conclusive certainty.

Early Jain philosophical works (especially the Tattvartha Sutra) indicate that for any object and any predicate, all seven of these predications are true. 

That is to say, for every object a and every predicate F, there is some circumstance in which, or perspective from which, it is correct to make claims of each of these forms. These seven categories of predication are not to be understood as seven truth-values, since they are all seven thought to be true. 

Historically, this view has been criticized (by Sankara, among others) on the obvious ground of inconsistency. While both a proposition and its negation may well be assertible, it seems that the conjunction, being a contradiction, can never be even assertible, never mind true, and so the third and seventh forms of predication are never possible. 

This is precisely the kind of consideration that leads some commentators to understand the 'syat' operator to mean ‘from a perspective.’ Since it may well be that from one perspective, a is F, and from another, a is not-F, then one and the same person can appreciate those facts and assert them both together. 

Given the multifaceted nature of the real, every object is in one way F, and in another way not-F. An appreciation of the complexity of the real also can lead one to see that objects are, as they are in themselves, indescribable (as no description can capture their entirety). This yields the fourth form of predication, which can then be combined with other insights to yield the last three forms.

Perhaps the deepest problem with this doctrine is one that troubles all forms of skepticism and fallibilism to one degree or another; it seems to be self-defeating. 

After all, if reality is multifaceted, and that keeps us from making absolute judgments (since my judgment and its negation will both be equally true), the doctrines that underlie Jain epistemology are themselves equally tentative. 

For example, take the doctrine of anekantevada. According to that doctrine, reality is so complex that any claim about it will necessarily fall short of complete accuracy. The doctrine itself must then fall short of complete accuracy. Therefore, we should say, "Perhaps (or “from a perspective") reality is multifaceted." At the same time, we have to grant the propriety, in some circumstances, of saying, "Perhaps reality is not multifaceted." Jain epistemology gains assertibility for its own doctrine, but at the cost of being unable to deny contradictory doctrines. What begins as a laudable fallibilism ends as an untenable relativism.

3. Ethics

Given that the proper goal for a Jain is release from death and rebirth, and rebirth is caused by the accumulation of karma, all Jain ethics aims at purging karma that has been accumulated, and ceasing to accumulate new karma. 

Like Buddhists and Hindus, Jains believe that good karma leads to better circumstances in the next life, and bad karma to worse. However, since they conceive karma to be a material substance that draws the soul back into the body, all karma, both good and bad, leads to rebirth in the body. No karma can help a person achieve liberation from rebirth. 

Karma comes in different kinds, according to the kind of actions and intentions that attract it. In particular, it comes from four basic sources: (1) attachment to worldly things, (2) the passions, such as anger, greed, fear, pride, etc., (3) sensual enjoyment, and (4) ignorance, or false belief. Only the first three have a directly ethical or moral upshot, since ignorance is cured by knowledge, not by moral action.

The moral life, then, is in part the life devoted to breaking attachments to the world, including attachments to sensual enjoyment. Hence, the moral ideal in Jainism is an ascetic ideal. 

Monks (who, as in Buddhism, live by stricter rules than laymen) are constrained by five cardinal rules, the "five vows": 
(1) Ahimsa, frequently translated "non-violence," or “non-harming,” 
2)  Satya, or truthfulness, 
3 ) Asteya, not taking anything that is not given, 
4 ) Brahmacharya, chastity, and 
5 ) Aparigraha, detachment. 

This list differs from the rules binding on Buddhists only in that Buddhism requires abstention from intoxicants, and has no separate rule against attachment to the things of the world. The cardinal rule of interaction with other jivas is the rule of ahimsa. This is because harming other jivas is caused by either passions like anger, or ignorance of their nature as living beings. 

Consequently, Jains are required to be vegetarians. According to the earliest Jain documents, plants both are and contain living beings, although one-sensed beings, so even a vegetarian life does harm. This is why the ideal way to end one's life, for a Jain, is to sit motionless and starve to death. Mahavira himself, and other great Jain saints, are said to have died this way. That is the only way to be sure you are doing no harm to any living being.

While it may seem that this code of behavior is not really moral, since it is aimed at a specific reward for the agent—and is therefore entirely self-interested—it should be noted that the same can be said of any religion-based moral code. Furthermore, like the Hindus and Buddhists, Jains believe that the only reason that personal advantage accrues to moral behavior is that the very structure of the universe, in the form of the law of karma, makes it so.

What is Daslakshan Parava and what is Jainism ( from e-Jainism site www.http://ejainism.com/

Daslakshan (ten virtues) Parva or the Festival of ten virtues is the Paryushan festival celebrated by the Digambar Jains annually for self-purification and uplift. This parva ultimately leads us to our true destination i.e., salvation. All Digambar jain celebrate the Dash Lakshan Parva for ten days. It is 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. The ten virtues or dharma are:
‘Dharma, Seva, Kshanti, Mridutvmrijuta, ch Shotmath, Satyam Akinchanyam, Brahm, tyagshch, tapashch, sanyamshcheti’
(Acharya Amritchandra, Shloka 208)

  1. Uttama Kshama (Supreme Forgiveness) - To observe tolerance whole-heartedly,shunning anger.
  2. Uttama Mardava (Tenderness or Humility) - To observe the virtue of humility subduing vanity and passions.
  3. Uttama Aarjava (Straight-forwardness or Honesty) - To practice a deceit-free conduct in life by vanquishing the passion of deception.
  4. Uttama Shaucha (Contentment or Purity) - To keep the body, mind and speech pure by discarding greed.
  5. Uttama Satya (Truthfulness) - To speak affectionate and just words with a holy intention causing no injury to any living being.
  6. Uttama 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. Uttama Tapa (Penance or Austerities) - To practice austerities putting a check on all worldly allurements.
  8. Uttama 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. Uttama 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. Uttama Brahmacharya (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.

What is Jainism - 

The 'Jains' are the followers of the Jinas. 'Jina' literally means 'Conqueror.' He who has conquered love and hate, pleasure and pain, attachment and aversion, and has thereby freed `his' soul from the karmas obscuring knowledge, perception, truth, and ability, is a Jina. The Jains refer to the Jina as God. They teach us to reduce vices like rãg (attachment), dvesh (aversion), krodh (anger), màn (pride), mãyã (deceit) and lobh (greed).

Jain religion is unique in that, during its existence of over 5000 years, it has never compromised on the concept of nonviolence either in principle or practice. Jainism upholds nonviolence as the supreme religion (Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah) and has insisted upon its observance in thought, word, and deed at the individual as well as social levels. The holy text Tattvartha Sutra sums it up in the phrase 'Parasparopagraho Jivanam' (all life is mutually supportive). Jain religion presents a truly enlightened perspective of equality of souls, irrespective of differing physical forms, ranging from human beings to animals and microscopic living organisms. Humans, alone among living beings, are endowed with all the six senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and thinking; thus humans are expected to act responsibly towards all living beings by being compassionate, non-egoistic, fearless, forgiving, and rational.

Jainism recognizes this fact while analysing the Universe and maintains that the whole Universe can be broadly divided into two categories, viz., Jiva and Ajiva, meaning motivating conscious and unconscious matter thus pervading everything noticed in this Universe. On the basis of this finding, about two thousand five hundred years ago, not with the help of any laboratory testing but by sheer analytical logic, the Jina seers saw the life force not only in plants and vegetables but also in so called inanimate matter such as earth, water and air.

The jain code of conduct is made up of the following five vows, and all of their logical conclusions:

  1. Ahimsa (nonviolence)
  2. Satya (truthfulness)
  3. Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
  5. Brahmcharya (chastity)

Jain religion focuses much attention on Aparigraha, non-possessiveness towards material things through self-control, self-imposed penance, abstinence from over-indulgence, voluntary curtailment of one's needs, and the consequent subsiding of the aggressive urge.
The Jains are divided into two major sects, Digambar and Svetambar. The differences between the two sects are minor and relatively obscure. Digambar Jain monks do not wear clothes while Svetambar Jain monks, wear white, seamless clothes.

"Samyakdarshangyancharitrani Mokshmargasya" is the fundamental principal of Jainism. It means: "True Perception, True/Right Knowledge and True/Right Conduct" is the path to attain Moksha. Moksha is attained by getting liberated from all Karma. Those who have attained Moksha are called Sidhdhatma (Omniscient Soul) and those who are attached to the world & other souls through Karma are called Sansari (living beings). Every soul has to follow the path of Moksh as described.

The universe has two components "Jīva" and "Ajīva". There are Anant (Infinite) Jiva which are caterorised as Sidhdha and Sansari. The Sansari (worldly) Soul takes various form of life using Ajiva and all worldly relations are formed based on Karma. Humanbeing, Animal, Deity / Angel, Hell-being are four forms of these souls known as the Paryaaya or Gati.

Jainism beliefs & practices are purely derived from the structure defined as above. e.g. Non-violence can simply relate to minimizing new Karmas to get attached to the soul, every soul is considered worthy of respect as it has potential to become Sidhdha (Param-atma - pure soul), materialistic things are consumed as little as possible, meditation is practiced to free yourself from your thoughts - both Shubh (good) or Ashubh (bad) etc..

The belief that all living beings possess a soul, requires a great care and awareness in going about one's business in the world. Jainism is a religion in which all life is considered worthy of respect and it emphasizes this equality of all life, advocating the protection of even the smallest creatures. This goes as far as the life of microscopic organisms. A major characteristic of Jain belief is the emphasis on the consequences of not only physical but also mental behaviors.

A Jain is a follower of Jinas ("conquerors"), specially gifted human beings who have rediscovered the dharma, became fully liberated and taught the spiritual path for the benefit of all living beings. Jains follow the teachings of 24 special Jinas who are known as Tirthankaras ('ford-makers', those who have discovered and shown the way to salvation). The 24th and most recent Tirthankar is Shri Mahaveera, who lived from 599 to 527 BCE according to traditional history. The 23rd Tirthankar, Shri Parsvanatha, is now recognised as a historical person, who lived during 872 to 772 BC.

Jainism encourages spiritual development through reliance on and cultivating one's own personal wisdom and self-control (व्रत, vratae). The goal is realization of the soul's true nature.

Jaina tradition is unanimous in naming Rishabha (also known as Adhinath) as the First Tirthankar of this descending (avasarpini) kalachakra (time cycle).[11] The first Tirthankar, Rishabhdev/ Adhinath appeared prior to the Indus Valley Civilization. The Jain Swastika symbol and naked statues resembling the Jain monks amongst the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization, do substantiate claims.

Jainism believes that the Universe and Dharma have no beginning and no ending. However it goes through a process of cyclical change. Jains believe it is approx. 8.4 million years old in its current cyclic period. Therefore there is no concept of a creator of the universe within Jainism.

Jainism differs from other religions in its concept of God. According to its belief, there is no overarching supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer. Every living soul is potentially divine and the Sidhhas who have completely eliminated their karmic bonding, thereby ending their cycle of birth and death, have attained God-consciousness.

The main Jain prayer (Namokar Mantra) therefore salutes the five special categories of souls that have attained God-consciousness or are on their way to achieving it, so as to emulate and follow their path to salvation.

Importance of Nomokar Mantra  

णमो अरिहंताणं
णमो सिद्धाणं
णमो आयरियाणं
णमो उवज्झायणं
णमो लोए सव्व साहूणं
एसो पंच णमोक्कारो, सव्व पावप्प णासणो
मंगलाणं सव्वेसिं, पडमम हवई मंगलं Namokar Mantra (णमोकार मंत्र), also called the Navakâr Mantra or the Namaskâr Mantra is the fundamental and most recited prayer/mantra in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. In this mantra, we salute the virtues of the Pancha Parmeshthi, or five spiritual masters: the Arihantas, Siddhas, Âchâryas, Upadhyâyas, and Sadhus (normal monks). By saluting them we receive the inspiration from them for the right path of true happiness and total freedom from the karma of our soul. Through this mantra we worship the virtues of all the supreme spiritual people instead of just worshipping one particular person. It is important to note that the Navkar Mantra does not mention the names of even Tirthankaras and Siddhas. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings that are more spiritually advanced and to remind followers of the Jain religion of their ultimate goal of nirvana or moksha. In this mantra we bow down to these supreme spiritual personalities, and therefore, it is also called Namokar Mantra.

Namo Arihantânam I bow in reverence to the Arihantâs (Prophets).
Namo Siddhânam I bow in reverence to the Siddhâs (Liberated Souls).
Namo Âyariyânam I bow in reverence to the Âchâryas (Preceptors or Spiritual Leaders).
Namo Uvajjhâyanam I bow in reverence to the Upadhyâya (Teachers).
Namo Loe Savva Sahûnam I bow in reverence to all the Sadhûs (Saints).
Eso Panch Namokkaro, Savva Pâvappanâsano Mangalanam Cha Savvesim, Padhamam Havai Mangalam This fivefold bow (mantra) destroys all sins and obstacles and of all auspicious mantras, is the first and foremost one.


The word Arihanta is made up of two words: 1) Ari, meaning enemies, and 2) hanta, meaning destroyer. Therefore, Arihanta means a destroyer of the enemies. These enemies are inner desires known as passions. These include anger, ego, deception, and greed. These are the internal enemies within us. Until we control our passions, the real nature or the power of our soul will not be realized or manifested. Some passions are called as ghati karmas because they directly affect the true nature of the soul. Ghati karmas are categorized into four. They are as following:
1. Gyanavarniya (knowledge blocking)
  1. Karma Darshanavarniya (perception blocking)
  2. Karma Mohniya (passion causing)
  3. Karma Antaraya (obstacle causing) Karma
When a person wins over these four ghati karmas he/she is called Arihanta. Arihanta attains:
1. Kevalgyan, perfect knowledge due to the destruction of all Gyanavarniya Karmas.
  1. Kevaldarshan, perfect perception due to the destruction of all Darshanavarniya Karmas.
  2. Becomes passionless due to the destruction of all Mohniya Karmas.
  3. Gains infinite power due to the destruction of all Antaraya Karmas.
Complete knowledge and perception means they know and see everything everywhere that is happening now, that has happened in the past, and that will happen in the future. Arihantas are divided into two categories:
1. Tirthankar
  1. Ordinary
Tirthankaras are special Arihants because they revitalize the Jain Sangh (four-fold Jain Order) consisting of Sadhus (male saints), Sadhvis (female saints), Shravaks (male householders), and Shravikas (female householders). During every half time cycle, twenty-four persons like us rise to the level of Tirthankar. The first Tirthankar of our time period was Lord Rishabhdev, and the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankar was Lord Mahaveera, who lived from 599 BCE to 527 BCE. A Tirthankar is also called a Jina. Jina means conqueror of passions. At the time of nirvana (liberated from the worldly existence), Arihanta sheds off the remaining four aghati karmas namely:
1. Nam (physical structure forming) Karma
  1. Gotra (status forming) Karma
  2. Vedniya (pain and pleasure causing) Karma
  3. Ayushya (life span determining) Karma
These four karmas do not affect the true nature of the soul; therefore, they are called Aghati karmas. After attaining salvation these Arihants are called Siddhas.
It is very interesting to note that in Namokar Mantra we pray to the Arihants first and then to the Siddhas, even though the Siddhas are perfected souls who have destroyed all (both Ghati and Aghati) Karmas, and at a higher spiritual stage than Arihants. Since Siddhas have attained ultimate liberation, we do not have access to them. On the other hand, Arihants are still human beings and offer us spiritual guidance during their lifetime. It would not have been possible for us to know about Siddhas or liberation without them. In order to show our special reverence for their teachings, we salute Arihants first and then Siddhas. Siddhas Siddhas are the liberated souls. They have completely ended the cycle of birth and death. They have reached the ultimate highest state, salvation. They do not have any karma, and they do not collect any new karma. This state of true freedom is called Moksha. Siddhas experience unobstructed bliss (eternal happiness). They have complete knowledge and perception and infinite power. They are formless and have no passions and therefore are free from all temptations.
Siddhas have eight specific characteristics or qualities (8 guñas) namely:
1. Ananta gyana (infinite knowledge)
  1. Ananta darshana (infinite power)
  2. Ananta labdhi (infinite vision)
  3. Ananta sukha (infinite discipline)
  4. Akshaya sthiti (permanence – without any change)
  5. Being vitaraga (impartial)
  6. Being arupa (having no name or form)
  7. Aguruladhutaa Acharyas The message of Jina is carried on by the Acharyas. They are our spiritual leaders. The responsibility of the spiritual welfare, but not social or economical welfare of the entire Jain Sangh, rests on the shoulders of the Acharyas. Before reaching this state, one has to do in-depth study and achieve mastery of the Jain scriptures (Agamas). In addition to acquiring a high level of spiritual excellence, they have the ability to lead the monks and nuns. They know various languages with a sound knowledge of other philosophies and religions of the area and the world. Upadhyayas This title is given to those Sadhus who have acquired a special knowledge of the Agams and philosophical systems. They teach Jain scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis. Sadhus and Sadhvis When householders become detached from the worldly aspects of life and get the desire for spiritual uplift (and not worldly uplift), they give up their worldly lives and become sadhus (monk) or sadhvis (nun). A male person is called sadhu, and a female person is called sadhvi. Before becoming sadhus or sadhvis, a lay person must observe sadhus to understand their life style and do religious studies. When they feel confident that they will be able to live the life of a monk or a nun, then they inform the Acharya that they are ready to become sadhu or sadhvi. If the Acharya is convinced that they are ready and are capable of following the vows of sadhu or sadhvi, then he gives them Deeksha. Deeksha is the initiation ceremony when a householder becomes a monk or a nun. In Deeksha, the sadhu or sadhvi makes the following commitments:
1. Commitment of Total Non-violence (Ahimsa) - not to commit any type of violence. Non-violence is the greatest of all virtues, the core of all sacred texts, and the sum and substance of all vows and virtues.
  1. Commitment of Total Truth (Satya) - not to indulge in any type of lie or falsehood. A person who speaks the truth becomes trustworthy like a mother, venerable like a preceptor and dear to everyone like a kinsman. Truthfulness is the abode of austerity.
  2. Commitment of Total Non-Stealing (Asteya) - not to take anything unless it is given. One should desist from buying stolen goods, inciting another to commit theft, avoiding the laws of the State, use of false weights and measures, adulteration and counterfeit currency.
  3. Commitment of Total Continence (Brahmacharya) - not to indulge in any sensual activities. The soul is Brahman. So the activity regarding the self of a person who is free from body consciousness is called Brahmacharya or Continence.
  4. Commitment of Total Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha) - not to acquire more than what is needed to maintain day to day life. One should refrain from accumulation of unlimited property due to insatiable greed as it becomes pathway to misery and results in numerous faults. Lord Mahaveera has said that the ownership of object itself is not possessiveness; however attachment to an object is possessiveness.
A person becomes a Jain monk by equanimity, a Brahmana by celebacy, a sage by knowledge and an ascetic by austerities. The true monks are free from attachment, self-conceit, companionship and egotism. They treat all living beings, whether mobile or immobile impartially and equally. A monk maintains equanimity in success and failure, happiness and misery, censure and praise and honour and dishonour. In other words, a monk remains completely unaffected by honour, passions, punishment, affliction and fear. He or she is undisturbed and unbound and is free from laughter and sorrow. A monk should bear hunger, thirst, an uncomfortable bed, cold, heat, fear and anguish with an unperturbed mind. An enlightened and self-restrained monk should go to towns and villages with equanimity and preach the path of peace.
Some other things they observe are:
1. They do not accept the food cooked specially for them; and accept vegetarian food only.
  1. They do not eat before sunrise or after sunset.
  2. They drink boiled water.
  3. They walk bare footed carefully so as not to harm even small insects and therefore do not use vehicles for transportation.
  4. They do not stay in one place for a longer time.
  5. They do not touch any person of the opposite sex.
  6. They do not get involved in social or society affairs.
  7. Some monks wear no clothes while others wear white clothes.
  8. All nuns wear white clothes.
  9. They offer spiritual guidance.
  10. Self-discipline and purity.