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.

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.

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