આજ નો દિવસ : વિક્રમ સંવત   ૨૦૭૪  ( નેમિસૂરિ સંવત  ૬૯ )  માગશર સુદ છઠ શુક્રવાર   Dt: 24-11-2017



દોડતા તા ત્યારે લાગતું એવું, આપણા જેવો કોઈ સમર્થ નથી, સહેજ નવરા પડી જોયું ત્યારે, ખબર પડી, જે દોડ્યા તેનો કોઈ અર્થ નથી…

 

Beliefs and practices

Jain society is as dualistic as the Jain universe. On the one hand, there are the monks, who practice severe asceticism and strive to make this life their last. On the other hand, there are the lay people, who pursue less rigorous practices, striving only to do good deeds and hoping for a better incarnation in the next life. Due to the strict ethics embedded in Jainism, the laity must choose a profession and livelihood that keeps with the faith, making the safe occupation of trade the number one occupation of choice.

In their effort to attain their highest hope, which is the permanent release of the jiva from all involvement in worldly existence, the Jains believe that no spirit or divine being can assist them in any way. Hence Jainism is a non-theistic religion. The Jains consider that gods (i.e., devas) and spirits can influence events of this world only. They cannot help the jiva to obtain release. This has to be achieved by individual through their own efforts. In fact, the gods cannot even gain their own release until they are reincarnated as people and undertake the difficult life of a Jain monk.

The ethical code of Jainism is taken very seriously. Summarized in the Five Vows, they are followed by both lay people and monastics. These are:

 

1. non-injury (ahimsa) 
2. non-lying (satya) 
3. non-stealing (asteya) 
4. non-possession (aparigrah) 
5. chastity (brahmcharya)

For lay people, chastity means confining sexual experience to the marriage relationship. For monks, it means complete celibacy. Non-injury commonly means veganism, but some Jains have been known to starve themselves to death in order to avoid harming any living creature. There are even those who wear masks over their mouths and noses to avoid any possibility of breathing in tiny insects. Gandhi was deeply influenced by the Jain insistence on a peaceful, non-harming way of life which is common to the Hindu philosophy of ahimsa and made it an integral part of his own philosophy

According to Jainism, Soul (jiva) exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. Every living being – be it a human or a plant or a bacteria – has a soul and has a capacity to experience pain and pleasure. The soul (Jiva) is differentiated from non-soul or non-living reality (ajiva) that includes matter, time, space, principle of motion and principle of rest.

As realization of the soul and its salvation are the highest objective to be attained, most of the Jaina texts deal with various aspects of the soul i.e. its qualities, attributes, bondage, interaction with other elements, salvation etc. Following are the quotes on soul from Panchastikayasara, a first century CE jaina text authored by Acharya Kundakunda :-

1.

The qualities of soul and its states of existence are described in Verse 16 - The Jiva (Soul) and other Dravyas (substances) are real. The qualities of jiva are chetana i.e. consciousness and upoyoga i.e. knowledge and perception, which are manifold. The soul manifests in the following form as a deva i.e. demi-god, as a human, as a hellish being or as a plant or animal.

2.

The permanency and the modes of soul are described in Verse 18 – Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of the deva state and appearing of the human state or vice versa and these are merely the modes of the soul.

3.

The cycle of transmigration of the soul until it attains Nirvana or liberation is described in Verse 21 – Thus Jiva with its attributes and modes, roaming in samsara (universe), may lose its particular form and assume a new one. Again this form may be lost and the original acquired.

In another text, BHAVAPAHUDA, gatha 64, Acharya Kundakunda describes soul as thus :

|| arasamaruvamagandham avvattam cedanagunasamaddam 
janamalingaggahanam jivamanidditthasanthanam || 

Translation : The soul is without taste, colour and cannot be perceived by the five senses. Consciousness is its chief attribute. Know the soul to be free of any gender and not bound by any dimensions of shape and size.

Hence the soul according to Jainism is indestructible and permanent from the point of view of substance. It is temporary and ever changing from the point of view of its modes. The soul continuously undergoes modifications as per the karma it attracts and hence reincarnates in the following four states of existence - 1) as a Demi-God in Heaven, or 2) as a tormented soul in Hell, or 3) as a Human being on Continents , or 4) as an Animal, or a Plant, or as a Micro-organism.

The soul is always found to be in bondage (with its karmas) since the beginingless time and hence continuously undergoes the cycle of birth and death in these four states of existence until it attains liberation (Moksha).

The Jaina beliefs on the soul can be summarized as under :-

 

The souls are classified as – mundane which are non liberated souls and liberated souls who have achieved Godhood by burning their karmas.

 

Mundane souls are further classified on the basis of evolution of senses and faculties that it possesses. For e.g. humans are classified as five sense souls and Plants and Microbes are classified as single-sensed souls.

 

Consciousness characterized by Perception and Knowledge is the intrinsic quality of a Soul.

 

In all there are 8.4 million species of life forms in four states of existence in which a soul transmigrates an a continuous cycle until it achieves salvation.

 

A Supreme Being as a creator and operator of this universe does not exist. A soul is the master of its own destiny. It is its own lord. The suffering and liberation of the soul are not dependent on any divine grace. It attains salvation by its own efforts.

 

Every soul has the capacity to achieve Godhood in its human birth. This is achieved by burning the accumulated Karmas by following complete non-violence and non-attachment.

 

Liberation is permanent and irreversible. The liberated soul which is formless and incorporeal in nature experiences infinite knowledge, omniscience, infinite power and infinite bliss after liberation.

 

Even after liberation and attainment of Godhood, the soul does not merge into any entity (as in other philosophies), but maintains its individuality.

The universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It had no beginning and will have no ending. It consists of:

 

The supreme abode: This is located at the top of the universe and is where Siddha, the liberated souls, live.

 

The upper world: 30 heavens where celestial beings live.

 

Middle world: the earth and the rest of the universe.

 

Nether world: 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments

 

The Nigoda, or base: where the lowest forms of life reside

 

Universe space: layers of clouds which surround the upper world

 

Space beyond: an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest.

 

Everyone is bound within the universe by one's karma (the accumulated good and evil that one has done).

 

Moksha (liberation from an endless succession of lives through reincarnation) is achieved by enlightenment, which can be attained only through asceticism.

They are expected to follow five principles of living:

 

Ahimsa: 'non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical.' 3 Committing an act of violence against a human, animal, or even vegetable generates negative karma which in turn adversely affects one's next life.

 

Satya: speaking truth; avoiding falsehood

 

Asteya: to not steal from others

 

Brahma-charya: (soul conduct); remaining sexually monogamous to one's spouse only

 

Aparigraha: detach from people, places and material things. Avoiding the collection of excessive material possessions, abstaining from over-indulgence, restricting one's needs, etc.

 

Jains follow a vegetarian diet. (At least one information source incorrectly states that they follow a frutarian diet -- the practice of only eating that which will not kill the plant or animal from which it is taken. e.g. milk, fruit, nuts.)

 

They often read their sacred texts daily.

 

Jains are recommended to pass through four stages during their lifetime:

 

Brahmacharya-ashrama: the life of a student

 

Gruhasth-ashrama: family life

 

Vanaprasth-ashrama: family and social services

 

Sanyast-ashrama: life as a monk; a period of renunciation

 

 

 

Beliefs and practices

Jain society is as dualistic as the Jain universe. On the one hand, there are the monks, who practice severe asceticism and strive to make this life their last. On the other hand, there are the lay people, who pursue less rigorous practices, striving only to do good deeds and hoping for a better incarnation in the next life. Due to the strict ethics embedded in Jainism, the laity must choose a profession and livelihood that keeps with the faith, making the safe occupation of trade the number one occupation of choice.

In their effort to attain their highest hope, which is the permanent release of the jiva from all involvement in worldly existence, the Jains believe that no spirit or divine being can assist them in any way. Hence Jainism is a non-theistic religion. The Jains consider that gods (i.e., devas) and spirits can influence events of this world only. They cannot help the jiva to obtain release. This has to be achieved by individual through their own efforts. In fact, the gods cannot even gain their own release until they are reincarnated as people and undertake the difficult life of a Jain monk.

The ethical code of Jainism is taken very seriously. Summarized in the Five Vows, they are followed by both lay people and monastics. These are:

 

1. non-injury (ahimsa) 
2. non-lying (satya) 
3. non-stealing (asteya) 
4. non-possession (aparigrah) 
5. chastity (brahmcharya)

For lay people, chastity means confining sexual experience to the marriage relationship. For monks, it means complete celibacy. Non-injury commonly means veganism, but some Jains have been known to starve themselves to death in order to avoid harming any living creature. There are even those who wear masks over their mouths and noses to avoid any possibility of breathing in tiny insects. Gandhi was deeply influenced by the Jain insistence on a peaceful, non-harming way of life which is common to the Hindu philosophy of ahimsa and made it an integral part of his own philosophy

According to Jainism, Soul (jiva) exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. Every living being – be it a human or a plant or a bacteria – has a soul and has a capacity to experience pain and pleasure. The soul (Jiva) is differentiated from non-soul or non-living reality (ajiva) that includes matter, time, space, principle of motion and principle of rest.

As realization of the soul and its salvation are the highest objective to be attained, most of the Jaina texts deal with various aspects of the soul i.e. its qualities, attributes, bondage, interaction with other elements, salvation etc. Following are the quotes on soul from Panchastikayasara, a first century CE jaina text authored by Acharya Kundakunda :-

1.

The qualities of soul and its states of existence are described in Verse 16 - The Jiva (Soul) and other Dravyas (substances) are real. The qualities of jiva are chetana i.e. consciousness and upoyoga i.e. knowledge and perception, which are manifold. The soul manifests in the following form as a deva i.e. demi-god, as a human, as a hellish being or as a plant or animal.

2.

The permanency and the modes of soul are described in Verse 18 – Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of the deva state and appearing of the human state or vice versa and these are merely the modes of the soul.

3.

The cycle of transmigration of the soul until it attains Nirvana or liberation is described in Verse 21 – Thus Jiva with its attributes and modes, roaming in samsara (universe), may lose its particular form and assume a new one. Again this form may be lost and the original acquired.

In another text, BHAVAPAHUDA, gatha 64, Acharya Kundakunda describes soul as thus :

|| arasamaruvamagandham avvattam cedanagunasamaddam 
janamalingaggahanam jivamanidditthasanthanam || 

Translation : The soul is without taste, colour and cannot be perceived by the five senses. Consciousness is its chief attribute. Know the soul to be free of any gender and not bound by any dimensions of shape and size.

Hence the soul according to Jainism is indestructible and permanent from the point of view of substance. It is temporary and ever changing from the point of view of its modes. The soul continuously undergoes modifications as per the karma it attracts and hence reincarnates in the following four states of existence - 1) as a Demi-God in Heaven, or 2) as a tormented soul in Hell, or 3) as a Human being on Continents , or 4) as an Animal, or a Plant, or as a Micro-organism.

The soul is always found to be in bondage (with its karmas) since the beginingless time and hence continuously undergoes the cycle of birth and death in these four states of existence until it attains liberation (Moksha).

The Jaina beliefs on the soul can be summarized as under :-

 

The souls are classified as – mundane which are non liberated souls and liberated souls who have achieved Godhood by burning their karmas.

 

Mundane souls are further classified on the basis of evolution of senses and faculties that it possesses. For e.g. humans are classified as five sense souls and Plants and Microbes are classified as single-sensed souls.

 

Consciousness characterized by Perception and Knowledge is the intrinsic quality of a Soul.

 

In all there are 8.4 million species of life forms in four states of existence in which a soul transmigrates an a continuous cycle until it achieves salvation.

 

A Supreme Being as a creator and operator of this universe does not exist. A soul is the master of its own destiny. It is its own lord. The suffering and liberation of the soul are not dependent on any divine grace. It attains salvation by its own efforts.

 

Every soul has the capacity to achieve Godhood in its human birth. This is achieved by burning the accumulated Karmas by following complete non-violence and non-attachment.

 

Liberation is permanent and irreversible. The liberated soul which is formless and incorporeal in nature experiences infinite knowledge, omniscience, infinite power and infinite bliss after liberation.

 

Even after liberation and attainment of Godhood, the soul does not merge into any entity (as in other philosophies), but maintains its individuality.

The universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It had no beginning and will have no ending. It consists of:

 

The supreme abode: This is located at the top of the universe and is where Siddha, the liberated souls, live.

 

The upper world: 30 heavens where celestial beings live.

 

Middle world: the earth and the rest of the universe.

 

Nether world: 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments

 

The Nigoda, or base: where the lowest forms of life reside

 

Universe space: layers of clouds which surround the upper world

 

Space beyond: an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest.

 

Everyone is bound within the universe by one's karma (the accumulated good and evil that one has done).

 

Moksha (liberation from an endless succession of lives through reincarnation) is achieved by enlightenment, which can be attained only through asceticism.

They are expected to follow five principles of living:

 

Ahimsa: 'non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical.' 3 Committing an act of violence against a human, animal, or even vegetable generates negative karma which in turn adversely affects one's next life.

 

Satya: speaking truth; avoiding falsehood

 

Asteya: to not steal from others

 

Brahma-charya: (soul conduct); remaining sexually monogamous to one's spouse only

 

Aparigraha: detach from people, places and material things. Avoiding the collection of excessive material possessions, abstaining from over-indulgence, restricting one's needs, etc.

 

Jains follow a vegetarian diet. (At least one information source incorrectly states that they follow a frutarian diet -- the practice of only eating that which will not kill the plant or animal from which it is taken. e.g. milk, fruit, nuts.)

 

They often read their sacred texts daily.

 

Jains are recommended to pass through four stages during their lifetime:

 

Brahmacharya-ashrama: the life of a student

 

Gruhasth-ashrama: family life

 

Vanaprasth-ashrama: family and social services

 

Sanyast-ashrama: life as a monk; a period of renunciation