Shrävakächär (Code Of Conduct For Householders)


Who is a Shrävak / Shrävikä?

Märgänusäri Gunas (Thirty Five Qualities Leading to a Noble Life)

Samyaktva (Right Perception / Right Belief)

Sixty Seven Qualities of a Person Having Samyaktva

Five Anu-vratas (Minor Vows)

01.  Ahinsä Anu-vrata (Nonviolence)

02.  Satya Anu-vrata (Truthfulness)

03.  Achaurya Anu-vrata (Non-Stealing)

04.  Brahmacharya Anu-vrata (Celibacy)

05.  Aparigraha Anu-vrata (Non-Possessiveness)

Three Guna-vrata (Supporting Restraints)

06.  Dig Parimäna-Vrata (Geographical Restraints)

07.  Bhoga-Upabhoga Parimäna Vrata (Consumption Restraints)

08.  Anartha-Danda Parimäna Vrata (Avoidance of Purposeless Activities)

Four Shikshä-Vratas (Disciplinary Restraints)

09.  Sämäyika (Forty Eight Minutes of Meditation and Equanimity)

10.  Desävakäsika (Stricter Geographical Restrictions)

11.  Posadhopaväsa Vrata (Practicing the Life of a Monk)

12.  Atithi Samvibhäg Vrata (Share and Care Discipline)




Why there is not much difference between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor Jains?  Why is a successful Jain businessman or a Jain college graduate thinking about starting a monk-like life?  Why do or did our grandparents always lead a simple and modest life?  There is one answer to all these questions.  They all want to become true Jains.  Then, how do we become true Jains?  A True Jain (Shrävak) is that who has Samyaktva (right belief) and practices Anu-vratas (minor vows). Jainism preaches to lead a simple life by following a life governed by restrains, carefulness, compassion, non-possessiveness, and non-violence. Any person, who follows these noble principles, may be called a Jain.

Who is a Shrävak / Shrävikä?

A Shrävak is a person though he/she lives in a house, practices the minor vows (Anu-vrata).  The word Shrävak is derived from the verb “Shru” meaning to listen.  Shrävak listens to the preaching of the Tirthankar or the right guru or reads the Jain canonical books.  Shrävak has faith in the path of liberation shown by the Tirthankars, who avoids the non-essential activities, who has the right belief, and who has suppressed Anantänu-bandhi (long-lasting passions) Kashäya.  He/she feels that this material world (Sansär) is a prison and wants to be free from that.

There has been a special emphasis given to the code of conduct of the Shrävak (Shrävakächär) in Jainism.  There are more than 40 Jain canonical books on Shrävakächär.  There are two Ägams, called “Upäsaka-dashäng” and “Dashä-Shruta-Skandha ” which provide the basis for the Shrävakächär.

In general, it is very rare to achieve Moksha by practicing Shrävakächär as compared to the practice of Sädhu-Dharma.  However, there are examples in the Jain canonical books that the people who practiced Shrävakächär have achieved Moksha in the same life like King Bharat and Maru-Devi-Mätä according to Shvetämbar belief.  However, according to Digambar sect, one has to give all worldly possession, become a Sädhu and proceed upward in Gunasthäna to achieve Moksha.

Categories of Shrävak

Näm, Sthäpanä, Dravya and Bhäva categories:

·         Näm – Shrävak: one who is a Jain in name only (born in a Jain family);

·         Sthäpanä – Shrävak: the statue or photograph of a Shrävak;

·         Dravya – Shrävak: one who carries out the rites obligatory for a Jain but without spiritualistic sense.

·         Bhäva Shrävak - one who believes in Jainism and practices accordingly.


A threefold division of the Shrävak:



A householder has an inclination (Paksha) towards Ahinsä.  He possesses Samyaktva and practices the Mula Gunas (basic restraints) and the Anu-vratas and is diligent in performing the Pujä;


One who pursues the path upwards through the Pratimäs (spiritual path for laymen) till he/she reaches the eleventh Pratimä that is the last one.  At this culminating point, (Nisthä) he/she quits the household life and practices the Dharma of the ascetic.


One who concludes his human incarnation in the final purification of the self by performing Sanllekhanä.


Another classification of the Shrävak is as follows:


Simple Jain

Recites Namokär mantra regularly, practices Navakärashi (taking food after 48 minutes after the sunrise), does not eat “root vegetables” and does not consume meat, alcohol, honey and Mäkhan (cream cheese)

Practicing Jain

Practices 12 Anu-vrata (minor vows), does not eat at night, participates in Swädhyäy and has good conduct.

Advanced Jain

Does not eat sentient food, eats only one time a day (Ekäsanu), practices complete celibacy and does not take any kind of food or liquid at night.


Prior to Samyaktva:

The soul exists and it is eternal (it has always existed).  We spent infinite Pudgal Parävartan Käls (time required to be born at each place of the universe in the sequential order, skipping the births at the non-sequential place) in subtle (Shukshma) Nigod.  Subtle Nigod is a body with infinite souls residing inside.  On the space of a size of the top a needle, there are innumerable Nigod-balls.  Each ball has innumerable Nigods.  In addition, each Nigod has infinite souls.  We were one of them.  After this, we spent innumerable time-cycles as one-sensed living beings like earth, water, fire, air and plants.  There are two types of plants, one where there is one soul per one body, and another kind where, there are infinite souls per body.  Then we spent long time as two-sensed, three-sensed and four-sensed living beings.  After that, we were born many times as five-sensed beings like animals, heavenly beings and hellish beings.  We were also born as human beings many times, although far fewer times than as other types of living beings.  In other words, we spent more time as subtle Nigod than all other type of lives combined.  Then gradually, we spent more time as one-sensed living beings, then two sensed living beings, then three-sensed, then four sensed and then five-sensed animals (birds, sea-lives, snake, etc. included).  We were also born as hellish beings, heavenly beings, and human beings.

During all that time, we lived an ignorant, non-vigilant, frightful life, struggling for food or in accumulating material things and/or seeking sensual pleasure.  We never thought about our-own-self, our soul.  We always thought the external aspects like body, family, wealth, and other belongings as our own, and never realized that the soul is the only substance that is our own.  Thus, we lived our lives in great misery, never put an honest effort to liberate our selves.  We always sought temporary happiness that was always followed by unhappiness.  Most of the times, we lived our lives being miser, jealous, begging for material things that we liked, with a sad face, in fear, committing deceitful acts, and insisting on the wrong belief.

To make progress is the nature of our soul.  After all these times of misery and unhappiness, the Jiv (worldly soul) somehow reduces his delusion (wrong belief), passion and hate.  Then he tries to use the spiritual power for reducing the on-going unhappiness and misery, and then the fight between the wrong belief, and the spiritual power starts.  Some time the Jiv wins; otherwise, he loses or does not make any progress.  That battle goes on and on.  As the Jiv progresses, he likes to undertake wholesome activities like helping others, donating, etc. Now he does not commit intensive sinful acts and does not have intensive affection for the worldly affairs.  He does not like dishonesty.  He wants to have good and right conduct.  He enters the last Pudgal Parävartan Käl of his worldly life, and is sure of achieving Moksha within one Pudgal Parävartan Käl.  Now, he does not indulge in Anantänu-bandhi (life-long-lasting passions) Kashäya.  He develops three qualities:

·         Compassion for miserable living beings

·         Non-aversion over the good qualities of others

·         Practice of better conduct.

Märgänusäri Gunas (Thirty Five Qualities Leading to a Noble Life)

The path of liberation means the full endeavors relating to the attainment of Samyag Darshan, Samyag Jnän, Samyag Chäritra and Tapa (austerities).  The kind of life that proceeds towards that path, and all those things that help us to lead such a life constitute the Märgänusäri life.

Thirty-five qualities of the Märgänusäri have been mentioned in the scriptures.  Here, we have classified them into four divisions.

·         11 duties to be carried out in life

·         8 faults to be discarded

·         8 virtues to be cultivated

·         8 endeavors to be carried out with caution

Eleven Duties:

·         Lawful earning in accordance with the law.

·         Proper expenditure within the limits of one's income.

·         Proper dress and accessories

·         Proper marriage: There should be parity between the two and the partner should belong to a good family (i.e. the members should be spiritually minded and should carry out spiritual activities)

·         Proper residence

·         Eating food at proper time, when hungry, and only when previous food has been digested

·         Food should be healthy and non-provocative of passions.

·         Respecting and taking care of the parents and the elders.

·         Taking care of the dependents for which we are responsible.

·         Rendering service to guests, monks, needy and destitute people who come to our house

·         Rendering services to the worthy i.e. the enlightened ones and the noble ones.

Eight Faults:

·         Discarding the habit of humiliating others.  This tendency destroys tenderness of the heart and binds with the low karmic bondage.

·         Discarding despicable activities such as deceiving others, betraying trust and gambling.

·         Controlling the senses: We should exercise a control over them.

·         Conquering the six inner enemies (passions): Desire (lust), Anger, Greed, Pride, Arrogance and Attachment are the six inner enemies.

·         Discarding prejudice

·         Pursuing the three Purushärtha, (endeavors) Dharma, Artha and Käm (religion, possession and sensory pleasures) in such a way that does not harm one another.  We should not put forth endeavors to achieve anyone of these objectives, namely, Dharma, Artha and Käm in such a way that the undue pursuit of one causes harm to the others.

·         Discarding a place where calamities occur.

·         Discarding the place and time, which are adverse to us.  You should not move about in improper places at improper times.

Eight Virtues

·         The fear of sins.  We should always fear sin.  In spite of this even if we commit a sin, we should think, "What will happen to my soul on account of this?"  If this fear were present, we would try not to do the same again.

·         A sense of shame: If we were ashamed of committing an ignoble action, we would not commit it as much as possible.  In this manner, a sense of shame and a sense of propriety will prevent us from treading on the path of evil.  In the same manner, though we do not have the intention of performing a noble action, we would perform it out of the fear that it will be shameful not to perform it.

·         A pleasant and serene temperament: We should keep our temperament, heart, voice and appearance, gentle and serene.

·         Popularity: We should attain popularity by acquiring the virtues mentioned above and by practicing noble principles.

·         Farsightedness: Before placing a step in any direction, we should visualize the future consequences of our action otherwise; we will have to regret our action.

·         Acting according to our abilities and limitations.

·         Acquiring a special and appropriate knowledge: We must always think carefully and distinguish between the right and the wrong; the proper and the improper action; advantages and disadvantages etc.

·         Appreciating the virtues.  We must always have an eye for virtues both in our life and in the life of others.  Instead of looking for the defects in others, we must keep looking only for virtues in others.

Eight Endeavors:

·         Gratitude: We should not forget even the slightest benefaction that has been conferred upon us by Gods, spiritual heads, parents and others.  Remembering the benefactors, we must always try to be grateful to them and to do some good turns to them according to our ability.

·         Benevolence: Even if others do not help us, we must always help others without any selfish interest

·         Kindness: We should keep our heart kind and tender and help others by means of action, word and wealth according to our abilities.

·         Associating with virtuous people

·         Listening to spiritual discourses: On account of this, we will attain right knowledge and inspiration to improve our life.

·         The eight qualities of the intellect: In order to listen to spiritual discourses properly and to benefit from them, we must develop the habit of pursuing the eight qualities of the intellect:

°          Desire to listen to spiritual discourses

°          Listening to a discourse with concentration

°          Comprehending what is heard in the discourse

°          Recording clearly in the mind what has been comprehended

°          Thinking logically about what has been heard and the examples related to it

°          Thinking and coming to a conclusion without any doubts

°          Deciding upon the elements (Tattvas)

°          After deciding upon an idea formulating a doctrine determining its true meaning, and its essence.  (Tattva Jnän)

·         Conforming to well‑known traditions and practices:

·         Adoring the virtuous: The following are the virtues and activities of the noble people: ‑‑

°          Fearing social censure

°          Helping those in distress

°          Gratitude

°          Respecting others and not disturbing their prayers and other spiritual activities

°          Discarding defamation

°          Praising patience in adversity

°          Humbleness in prosperity

°          Speaking sweetly and agreeably

°          Abiding by one's word

°          Overcoming impediments

°          Planned expenditure

°          Insistence on doing noble things

°          Discarding improper actions

°          Discarding such evils as excessive sleep, sensual delights, passions and scandal‑mongering

°          Caring for propriety etc.

If we keep admiring such virtues, we will acquire them.


Samyaktva (Right Perception / Right Belief)

After entering the last Pudgal Parävartan, it takes the Jiv about a half Pudgal Parävartan Käl before he develops the right belief.  It is extremely difficult to develop the right belief.  Samyaktva or Samyag-drashti means having faith in the path of liberation as indicated by the Tirthankars.  This denotes the faith in the words of, Äpta (the Jin), Ägam (the scriptures), and Tattvas (the fundamentals).  The right faith is also defined as faith in the right Deva, the right guru, and the right Dharma.

Due to the presence of Darshan-Mohaniya-Karma, (faith deluding Karma) one does not have the absolute true belief.  The person who has Samyaktva has suppressed or eradicated the Darshan Mohaniya (Faith deluding) Karmas.  They are of three types:


Mithyätva Mohaniya or false belief

Because of this Karma, Jivs do not have faith in the Tattvas expounded by the omniscient

Mishra Mohaniya

That makes a man indifferent to true as well as false beliefs

Samyaktva Mohaniya

There is faith in the right beliefs but that does not stay uninterrupted.  In addition, the Samyag-drashti has suppressed or eradicated four Anantänu-bandhi (long lasting) Kashäya (anger, ego, deceit and greed).


There are seven types of beliefs ranging from a Mithyätva (completely false belief) to Samyaktva (completely true belief,) as follows


False Belief (Mithyätva)

This is the soul’s original and beginning less state of deluded world-view.  At this stage, the soul is in a spiritual slumber, unaware of its own bondage.


Means momentary taste of the true belief.  This is a feeling of the true belief, lasting only for a few moments, which soon gives place to the false belief.  This stage has the unusual role of being a pit stop for the soul on its way down from the stage at which it had achieved its first taste of right belief.  It is therefore called the stage of passing taste or lingering right belief; the soul has lost the immediate experience of right belief but retains an aftertaste.


In this stage, there is a transition of the soul from the stage of wrong belief to that of right belief.  It is a combination of wrong and right belief.

Kshäyopashamika Samyaktva

Right belief achieved by the destruction-cum-suppression of Darshan Mohaniya karmas

Aupshamika Samyaktva

Right belief is produced by the suppression of the Karma, which causes disturbance of belief.

Vedak Samyaktva

The state experienced a few moments prior to achieving the Kshäyik Samyaktva.

Kshäyik Samyaktva

Right belief produced by absolute eradication of the Darshan-Mohaniya-Karma.  This is the best Samyaktva, and it lasts forever.


Sixty Seven Qualities of a Person Having Samyaktva

Four Shraddhä (Faith)

·         Faith and study of Nav Tattvas

·         Unconditional respect for the Jin, true knowledge and knowledgeable people.

·         Avoiding the contacts with the people with wrong beliefs.

·         Discontinuing the company of the people with wrong beliefs.

Three Lingas (Indications)

·         Desire to listen to the preaching of non-possessiveness and non-aversion.

·         Strong faith in the path of non-possessiveness and non-aversion.

·         Respect for and servicing to Tirthankars and right guru.

Ten Vinays (Humility / Respects) Respect to ten great ones:

·         Arihanta,

·         Siddha

·         Sädhu

·         Religious place

·         Items of knowledge

·         Vitaräga preaching and tradition

·         Ächärya

·         Upädhyäy

·         Four fold Sangha

·         Right faith.

Three Shuddhatä (Purity):

·         Purity of mind, speech, and body (or purity of opinion about Jin, Jin’s preaching and Jain Sangha).

Avoiding five Dushana (Perversions):

·         Doubt in the path shown by the Tirthankars

·         Wrong expectations

·         Doubts about the fruits of practicing the religion

·         Praising people with wrong beliefs

·         Having company of the people with wrong belief.

Eight Prabhävanä (Esteem):

·         Experts (Jnäni) in Jainism

·         Recites religious stories

·         Debaters to prove truthfulness of Jainism

·         Those who use astrology for promoting Jainism

·         Those who practice religious asceticism

·         Those who are learned and use the knowledge for the benefits of Jainism

·         Those who use special gifts (Labdhi) to prove the validity of Jainism

·         Those who write poetry (literature) about Jainism.

Five Bhushan (Good characteristics):

·         Firm belief in Jainism (right belief) cannot be disturbed

·         Does work to promote Jainism, gives donation, performs austerities

·         Practices Jainism (right Dharma) to achieve liberation

·         Spiritual affection to the Jin and HIS preaching

·         Provides services to Sädhus, Sädhvis, Shrävaks and Shrävikäs, and for temple, canonical books and Sangha.

Five Lakshana (Qualities):

·         Tranquility (Shama, Upasham) - suppressing of the Kashäya (passions - anger, ego, deceit and greed),

·         Spiritual craving (Samvega) - desire for Moksha

·         Disaffection (Nirveda) towards the worldly attachments and their miseries

·         Compassion (Anukampä) - desire to eliminate suffering of those in misery

·         Faith (Ästikya) - Faith in right god, right guru and right Dharma.

Six Jayanä (Carefulness):

·         Has wholesome inclination to right spiritual people

·         Pays respect to right spiritual people

·         Talks about Jainism

·         Attempts to know more about Jainism

·         Donates for the right purpose and to the right people

·         Provides religious service.

Six Ägär (Relaxation):

To relax in the practice of Jainism when forced by

·         Government

·         Jain community

·         Natural calamities like draught

·         Parents and teachers

·         Heavenly beings

·         Undue forces like rape, etc.

Six Bhävanä (Views):

·         Right belief is the root of the religion

·         Right belief is the door to the liberation

·         Right belief is the basis of the religion

·         Right belief is the support for realizing the right qualities of the souls

·         Right belief is the container for the religion

·         Right belief is the treasure house for practicing the right conduct.

Six Sthänaks (Bases):

·         Soul exists

·         It is eternal

·         It is the doer of Karma

·         It bears the consequences

·         There is liberation (Moksha)

·         There is a way to attain the liberation.

Eight qualities indicative of Samyaktva:

·         Devotion (Bhakti) - devotion to Jin,  right guru and right Dharma

·         Remorse (Nindä).  Remorse felt by a devotee for committing any act under the influence of passion, hate or delusion for the sake of the spouse, children, other relatives or friends.

·         Repentance (Garhä).  Repentance expressed in the form of Älochanä made in the presence of a right guru for faults committed under the influence of passion, hate and delusion.

·         Loving (Vätsalya): Kindness to all living beings.

·         Freedom from fear: Strong determination to follow the path of righteousness without any fear.

·         Unswerving conviction (Amoodha-drashti): Disapproval of the wrong formalities and wrong rituals.

·         Edification (Upagooihana, Upabrmhana): The removal of any reproach leveled at any Jain by others.

·         Visitation of the Tirths (Tirth Sevä):  The term Tirth is to be understood as the places of birth, consecration, enlightenment, and Nirvän of the Jins or a temple or the fourfold Jain Sangha.

After having developed the right belief, the Shrävak is ready to take some or all of the 12 vows of the householder.



The word Vrata (Vows) is derived from the verb word “Vru” meaning to select.  Therefore, the Vrata means the type of the selection for renunciation.  ‘Vrata’ is approximately translated by the English word ‘vow’.  Literally, a Vrata means a kind of choice.  However, in the technical or idiomatic sense in which the word is used in the connection now under consideration, there is also the meaning of choosing a right course, and then there is the implied effort of will in willing to so choose.

Choice implies that the person has before him several ways of conduct, and that he picks out one from among them.

The choosing of a right course of conduct from among many ways necessitates the exercise of the judgment and discrimination.  Exercising of the judgment in selecting a right course of conduct, as distinguished from living a life where no such choice is made, implies an effort of will.

Vrata depends on:

·         Selection of the type of conduct to be practiced,

·         Knowledge of what is the right conduct and what is the wrong conduct

·         How much energy one can use and is capable of using for the right conduct.

The hallmark of right conduct is right conviction in thought and action, freedom from infatuation or delusion and passions like anger, hatred etc. Therefore, Vrata is to retire from the wrong conduct like violence, non-truth, stealing, sensual pleasure and possessiveness and to get engaged in the true religious activities through the unity of body, mind and speech.  We do not take Vrata to please any divine power or any one else.  We take Vrata to purify ourselves to continue and enhance the process of liberating ourselves, and to achieve the liberation (Moksha).

Types of Vrata:

The complete renunciation of all worldly attachment is called Mahä-vrata [major vows], practiced by the Sädhus and Sädhvijis, and the partial renunciation of worldly attachments is called Anu-vrata, [minor vows] practiced by Shrävaks and Shrävikäs.  In Jainism, each Anu-vrata has its negative as well as its positive aspects.  Each vow has its negative aspect in the form of moral prohibitions and positive aspect in the form of a moral duty.  Negative terms are effective restrictions. 

Each of these vows has a two-fold purpose.  The first is spiritual in that the observance of each of these vows will prevent the influx of new Karmas.  The thought of injury, theft, or falsehood is the cause of sin.  The other purpose is social.  The same thoughts expressed in action will be punished by the state.  By observance of each of the vows, an individual will be discharging his social obligation.  To desist from violence or theft is to preserve peace and safety in society.  While the spiritual fruit of observance of the vows is self-control and stoppage of the evil propensities of the mind, the mundane fruit is mental peace and the good of the society at large.

Five Main Vows of Limited Nature (Anu-vratas):



Scriptural Name


1.  Ahinsä

Sthul- Pränätipät- Viraman-Vrata


2.  Satya

Sthul-Mrushäväda-Viraman Vrata


3.  Achaurya

Sthul- Adattädäna-Viraman Vrata


4.  Brahmacharya



5.  Aparigraha

Ichchhä Parimäna or Parigraha-Parimäna Vrata



Three Merit or Supporting Vows (Guna‑Vratas):


6.  Dig Parimäna Vrata

Restraints of Geographical Limitations

7.  Bhoga‑Upbhoga Vrata

Consumption Restraints

8.  Anartha Danda-Vrata

Avoidance of purposeless activities


Four Disciplinary Vows (Shikshä Vratas):


09.  Sämäyika Vrata

48 Minutes of Meditation and equanimity

10.  Desävakäsika Vrata

Stricter Geographical Limitations

11.  Paushadha Vrata

Practicing the life of a Monk

12.  Atithi Samvibhäg Vrata

Discipline of Share and Care


Five Anu-vratas (Minor Vows)

01.  Ahinsä Anu-vrata (Nonviolence)


Samayä Savvabhooesu Sattu-Mittesu Vä Jage

Pänäiväyaviraee Jävajjivae Dukkaram.

--- Uttarädhyayan Sutra

Equanimity towards all beings in the universe, to the friends as well as the foes, is Ahinsä (though) it is hard to refrain from hurting the living beings for the entire life.

The First Vrata, in Sanskrit, is called Sthul- Pränätipät Viraman Vrata.  Sthul means gross, as distinguished from strict or subtle.  Pränätipät means separating the Pränas (life forces).  Viraman means giving up.

The following aphorism from Tattvärtha Sutra presents the definition of violence:

'Pramatta Yogät Präna Vyaparopanam Hinsä'

‘The destruction of life due to an act involving negligence is violence'. 


The term 'Pramäda' yields two meanings:

·         Mental state of attachment and aversion

·         Negligence

Therefore, to destroy the life of a living being through passions of attachment and aversion is violence; and to destroy the life of a living being through negligence is also violence.  The mental state of attachment and aversion, and of negligence, is internal violence (Bhäva- Hinsä).  The actual act of destroying the life of a living being is external violence (Dravya- Hinsä).

Now the next thing is to know what killing is, and what particular kinds of killing must be refrained from.

Ahinsä means not hurting. He, who abstains from hurting or harming to any - Jiv or a living being - either intentionally, or through others, or by consenting to another to do so, observes the vow of Ahinsä.  Surely, the lack of attachment and passion is Ahinsä.  When a person is controlled by passions, he causes Hinsä or injury to his own self, though there may or may not cause injury to any living being.  Everything depends upon the state of mind, and intention to abstain from or commit Hinsä, even where actual hurt or injury is not caused.

Different living beings have different numbers of Pränas (life forces or vitalities) as follows:

Life Forces (Pränas)

·         Touch

·         Respiration

·         Body

·         Duration of life (Äyu).

Living beings, which have only these four forces of life, are vegetables, trees, earth-beings, water-beings, air-beings, and fire-beings.

Living beings with two sense-organs have six Pränas, namely, the above four and also:

·         Sense of taste

·         Ability of speech

They have the means of power of communicating among themselves, which can be called speech.  E.g. Shell and worms

Living beings with three sense-organs have seven Pränas, namely, the above six and also:

·         Sense of smell

Ants, lice and bed bugs are instances of such living beings.

Living beings with four senses have 8 Pränas, namely, the above seven and also:

·         Sense of sight or vision

Wasps, bees, scorpions are instances of such living beings.

Living beings with five senses are of two kinds, the first kind have no mind (mind as meant in the Jain philosophy), and these beings have nine Pränas, namely, the above eight and also:

·         Sense of hearing and are known as Asanjni Panchendriya.

The second kind have mind as meant in the Jain philosophy and they possess ten Pränas, namely the above nine and also:

·         Force of mind.

They are called Sanjni Panchendriya.

The injuries caused by severance of any of the vitalities, to a mobile or immobile being, cause pain, suffering, or even loss of life.

As far as possible, one should save the developed living beings (that is, those on the higher scale of evolution and hence those having more sense organs or vitalities (Pränas).  Again, one should live in such a manner that even the killing of the undeveloped living beings (with less number of vitalities) is minimized.  This is the teaching promulgated by the saints.  It is from this standpoint that meat eating, hunting, massacre, and killing is forbidden.

We cannot but do harm and violence to living beings for the sustenance of our body.  We cannot live without killing living beings.  Even our breathing involves violence.  However, we should do only as much harm or violence as is absolutely necessary for the sustenance of our body.  We should make sincere efforts to find out how we can live with minimum violence,

Abstaining from intentionally injuring mobile living beings, through mind, words, or body, in any one of two ways‑ directly or through somebody is called Sthul Pränätipät Viraman-Vrata or Ahinsä Anu‑Vrata.  Householders cannot eliminate Hinsä of immobile living beings but can minimize it.

Jain scriptures have prescribed five rules of restraint for being firm in the observance of the vow of non-injury.  Control of speech, control of thought, regulation of movement, care in lifting and placing things or objects, and examination of food and drink before taking in are the five observances.  Self-control is of vital importance.  Since the vow of Ahinsä requires one to refrain from hurting the feelings of others, control of speech and thought are quite essential.  Everyone ought to be careful in his movements for fear of causing harm to a living being through carelessness.  Similarly, one ought to be careful while placing down objects lest they should hurt some tiny beings.  Such precaution ought to be taken even while lifting up any object.  Similarly, it is necessary to examine minutely one’s own food or drink before taking it in, making sure that there is no tiny being in it.

Jainism makes a distinction between Bhäva- Hinsä (intention to hurt) and Dravya- Hinsä (actual causing of hurt).  That is why five kinds of restraints have been expressly mentioned above as the cautions to be observed by one who wants to desist from causing hurt.  Similarly, a distinction is made between Sukshma-Hinsä and Sthul-Hinsä.  The former requires abstention from causing hurt to life in any form, while the latter requires abstention from hurting forms of life possessing two or more senses.  It is not possible for a householder to refrain from causing hurt to forms of life with one sense, like plants, trees, crops, etc. He must, however, refrain from causing unnecessary harm to Ekendriya and Sthävar Jivs (one sense living beings). However, it is still ordained that a monk should desist from causing Hinsä to any form of life.

In order to steer clear of violence it is necessary to know the various ways in which violence is incurred.

Hinsä is of two kinds:

·         Sankalpi (intentional)

·         Ärambhi (occupational).

Hunting, offering animal sacrifice, killing for amusement, decoration or sport are instances of intentional Hinsä.  Abstinence from those is possible without any difficulty.  All Jain householders should practice this type of Ahinsä.

Ärambhi Hinsä is Hinsä committed by a householder in the ordinary course of his living.  It is of three kinds:

01.  Udyami,

A householder commits Udyami Hinsä while he undertakes some occupation in order to maintain himself, and his family.

02.  Gruhärambhi

Gruhärambhi Hinsä is committed in carrying out the domestic acts like preparation of food, constructing home, cleaning etc.

03.  Virodhi

Virodhi Hinsä is committed in self-defense or defense of person or property of members of the family and friends or defense of a nation. However, aggression is strongly discouraged. One has to defend against thieves, robbers, dacoits or enemies in battles Jainism does not preach cowardice.  Hinsä must not be indulged in as a matter of hostility or revenge.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of the Vow of Ahinsä

1.       Binding any creature and putting it in a prison-house

2.       Beating and chasing of animals

3.       Cutting their organs or castrating them

4.       Making them draw or carry heavy loads

5.       Starving them without food and water

These affect the purity of the vow, as each of these five acts brings suffering to all-living beings.

The consequences of violence (Hinsä) are calamity and reproach in this life and the next.  He who commits violence is always agitated and afflicted, being actuated by animosity.  He suffers pain and suffering, sometimes imprisonment too.  Therefore, everyone should avoid violence and practice benevolence towards all living beings, feel joy at the sight of the virtuous, show compassion and sympathy towards the afflicted, and adopt an attitude of tolerance towards the insolent and ill behaved.  He who conducts himself in this way is able to practice nonviolence and other vows to perfection.  Thus, the positive virtues, which a votary of non-violence must possess, are Maitri (love or friendship), Pramod (joy and respect), Karunä (compassion), and Mädhyastha (tolerance) towards living beings.

Is it bravery to yield to the passion of anger and fury, and to enter into a fight with one's adversary?  Bravery consists of non-violence, that is, restraining the mind from being under the sway of anger and cruelty; it consists of keeping the mind cool and calm by using the internal wholesome strength of discretion.  The just mentioned mental or spiritual strength, which is of the form of non-violence, is a superior physical strength. Human society achieves progress -religious, spiritual, and even material - in proportion to the cultivation of this strength.  The strength of non-violence is the light of intellectual discretion and mental purity.  In addition, with this strength, the world of human beings can become rich in friendliness, sympathy, love, spiritual, happiness, and bliss.

Non-violence is a spiritual power.  Noble bravery or heroism demands self-sacrifice.  Sacrificing violence, supporting, and fostering non-violence is the bravery of high order.  Opposing violence only verbally, and running away out of fear when one is required to face and endure physical sufferings and torture, is really not the practice of non-violence.  In spite of his having courage and strength to fight, the person who controls his passion and excitement and does not yield to violence is the true follower of non-violence.  One who wants to practice non-violence properly and rightly should have, in addition to right understanding, mental strength and courage.

All the Arhats (Tirthankars) belong to the Kshatriya class/caste. The Kshatriya are the warriors. Our Tirthankars were warriors of highest order as they defeated their inner enemies, attachment and aversion. They said that the non-violence is the supreme religion. We as the true followers of Tirthankars should put the practice of the non-violence as the top priority. Practice of non-violence is in the center and all other practices are to prevent the violence. For example, if speaking the truth can kill an innocent’s life then that truth is the cause of violence, and therefore, such truth should be discarded.

One commits violence by not contributing to the efforts of stopping violence or by simply remaining indifferent to violence, just as one commits violence by indulging in actual violent activity.  If one who can swim does not rescue a drowning man, and simply watches him drown, it is an act of violence.  Not giving food to the hungry in spite of one's ability to give food is also a case of violence.  Violence of such type is the result of callous carelessness of the form: "What concern have I?  Why should I invite trouble?  I cannot afford to give food, etc., to others".  Hard-heartedness is opposed to religion and religious practice.  Universal love is the foundation of religion.  Remaining indifferent to others' happiness, comforts, and benefits for the sake of one's own is a form of violence.  Taking undue advantage of others' labor is also a form of violence.  If one knows the truth, and there is the possibility of saving an innocent man by one's speaking the truth on the witness stand in court. Even then, one does not speak out the truth in the court and thus allows the man to be a victim of injustice; it is also a case of violence as it is a case of untruth.

It can be seen that Jain ethics are founded on the principle of Ahinsä and love for all living beings.  While a layman ought to have a rational faith in Jainism, his daily conduct must exhibit the true ideals of non-violence.   In his dealings, he must be upright to the core and practice charity, not only by giving, but also by cultivation of non-attachment towards worldly possessions.  He must be constantly aware of his duties towards himself and society.  His life as a layman should pave the way to the ultimate goal of self-realization.  Having perfect faith and knowledge should not be a matter of mere theory, but should be an ideal constantly reflected in daily conduct. Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness) and Anekäntväd (Multiplicity of views) are also the form of non-violence. Aparigraha stops the physical violence while Anekäntväd stops the verbal and mental violence. Therefore, the practice of Ahinsä is incomplete without the practice of Aparigraha and Anekäntväd.

02.  Satya Anu-vrata (Truthfulness)



Musäväo Ya Logammi, Savvasähuhim Garihio

Avisäso Ya Bhuyänam, Tamhä Mosam Vivajjae

--- Dash Vaikälika Sutra

All the saints in the universe have denounced telling lie. 

Lie causes distrust among the people and should therefore be given up.


It is also known as Sthul-Mrushäväda-Viraman Vrata.  It is falsehood to make a wrong statement through careless activity of body, mind and/or speech (Pramäda -yoga).

Like poetry, it is difficult to define “truth” though its nature can be described and understood.  Umäsväti says that speaking what is not commendable is falsehood.  Commenting on this Sutra, Pujyapäd says that which causes pain and suffering to a living being is not commendable, whether it refers to actual facts or not.  The words that lead to injury constitute falsehoodSamantabhadra says that he who does not speak gross (Sthul) falsehood does not cause others to speak and does not speak the truth even if it is likely to bring danger to him or to anybody else, can be said to abstain from gross falsehood.

Lying is due to some form of passions; therefore, all lying is forbidden, except in cases where the truth is likely to result in greater Hinsä.  Satya Anu‑Vrata is abstinence from harmful, rough, cruel or secret‑revealing speech and requires using harmless and well-balanced language.

One should not utter untruth out of attachment or hatred and even the truth, if it causes destruction of a living being.  Gross falsehoods are those in which there is an evil intention and knowledge that the statement is false.

Four kinds of Falsehood:

01.   Denying the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature when it actually exists,

02.   Assertion of the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature when it does not exist,

03.   Where a thing is represented to be something different from what it is actually,

04.   When a speech is ordinarily condemnable, sinful and disagreeable.


Any speech, which is actuated by passion, is false.  Back biting, harsh, unbecoming, and unethical speech is condemnable.  That speech which provokes another to engage in any kind of injury or destruction of life is sinful.  A disagreeable speech causes uneasiness, pain, hostility, grief, anguish etc, to another person.  When a saint or a preceptor gives sound advice against vices or questionable habit of life, he cannot be said to indulge in false speech, even though the person affected may feel ashamed or uncomfortable.

Umäsväti has advised that a person who wants to be truthful ought to give up anger, greed, cowardice, fearfulness, and tease.  Divulging of secrets, slander, backbiting, forgery and perjury are obstacles to truth.  One must use caution against exaggeration; faultfinding and indecent speech and one should always speak what is “noble, beneficial and concise.”  One must avoid boasting of one’s own merits and avoid jealousy about the merits of others.  This would draw one unconsciously into falsehood.

To describe a thing as it is or an event as it happened is generally regarded as the truth, and factually no doubt it is the truth, but from the religious standpoint, it may or may not be the truth.  If the factual truth is beneficial or at least not harmful to others, it is worthy of being called the truth.  However, if the factual truth is harmful to others, it is not worthy of being regarded as the truth.  So, mere factually truthful statement should not be uttered, if it is harmful to a living being.  Let us explain the point by one example.  We know the direction a deer has gone in.  Nevertheless, when we are asked the direction the deer has gone in by a hunter, pointing out the right direction endangers its life.  Therefore, in such a situation, keeping silence or showing the hunter a wrong direction in order to save the creature is our duty and religion.  It is absolutely necessary to be cautious and to use one's power of discrimination and discretion to decide as to whether or not one should make a statement of fact.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow

·         Giving wrong advice about any matter and misleading people in matters of belief or conduct is very objectionable and must therefore be avoided.

·         False accusations

·         Disclosure of confidential talks, which one may have overheard, is similarly objectionable.  Slandering others or talking about the weaknesses of other people should not be indulged in, as it will damage the prestige of the people concerned.  Divulging the secrets of others or breaking the promise of secrecy involves untruth.

·         Committing perjury or forgery.  This includes keeping false accounts, documents, and carrying on false propaganda about others.

·         Committing breach of trust or misappropriation of what is entrusted to an individual in confidence.

03.  Achaurya Anu-vrata (Non-Stealing)

It is also known as Sthul- Adattädäna-Virman-vrata.  Umäsväti defines stealing as taking what is not given (Adattädäna).  Taking anything that is not given amounts to theft.  The gross vow of non-stealing can be observed by desisting from taking away property that is not actually given by the owner.

Theft also involves Hinsä as taking of property, which is not given, not only injures the purity of thought but also pains the person who is deprived of his property.  The desire to possess other’s property without his consent or knowledge involves spiritual denigration of the self.  One must not take anything belonging to others whether in a house or in the street though it may be of unknown ownership or belonging to a government.  This view is consistent with modern law in our country.

Picking up goods which have been lost or forgotten by their owners, employing thieves to obtain things for oneself, encouraging and prompting others to steal, approving others' acts of stealing, receiving stolen merchandise, using false weights and measures, secretly adulterating commodities or substituting inferior ones for the original, gaining or storing goods without paying taxes, breaking laws formulated by the state for the good of the people, indulging in smuggling, dealing in the prohibited items-all these are acts of theft.  Buying goods of much value at a very low price taking advantage of the seller's helplessness or keeping the excess material given by the seller by mistake is also an act of theft.  In short, taking anything owned by others, through injustice, dishonesty, fraud and unfair means is an act of theft.

Employing unfair means in business, owning another man's property by fraudulent tricks, deceiving others by misleading them, driving others into losses after having won their confidence, damaging others' interests through cunningness, harassing others unnecessarily and unjustly, distressing the innocent-all these are vicious and sinful acts.  When society achieves moral elevation through the cultivation of good qualities like contentedness in proper limited possession, self-control, simple living and universal brotherhood, then the sins of immorality, theft, roguery and devilry that have spread over the entire society will automatically disappear.

The results of the observance of this vow are that all people trust you, you are considered a good citizen; and in that way, you prosper; and it develops strength of character.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow

01.   Accepting or buying stolen property, you did not actually steal it, but you have possession of it without the real owner’s consent.

02.   One may not commit theft but if he instigates another to commit theft or shows him the way of committing theft, he is guilty of abatement of theft.  Therefore, the manufacturing or supplying of burglars’ tools is an Atichär.

03.   Using false weights and measures, As for example using heavier weight for purchasing articles from others and using lighter weights for sale of one’s own commodities

04.   The fourth kind of transgression is when a person resorts to under-hand dealings for getting a thing in contravention of rules of control and restrictions which the state might have imposed.  This would include smuggling of banned product or supplying an enemy with goods, in time of war.

05.   Counterfeiting or imitating.  That is, selling things as one thing when they are really another.  This would include the adulteration of foods, etc.


Stealing is taking

·         What is not granted by its owner, (Swämi Adatta)

·         What is not granted by a living creature, (Jiv Adatta)

·         What is not granted by the Tirthankars and, (Jin Adatta)

·         What is not given by Gurus. (Guru Adatta)

Based on today’s advancements and environments, the vow of Achaurya prohibits making illegal copies of software, unauthorized use of copyrighted material, and unauthorized downloading of music and many similar forms.

04.  Brahmacharya Anu-vrata (Celibacy)


Mulameyamahammassa Mahädosasamussayam

Tamhä Mehunasansaggam Nigganthä Vajjayanti Nam

--- Dash Vaikälika Sutra

Being the root cause of sins and abode of major faults,

the sensuous contacts are abandoned by saints.


It is also known as Sva-Därä-Santosh and Par-Stree Gaman Viraman Vrata.  Brahmacharya term has spiritual as well as physical connotations.  Spiritually it is defined as Brahmani Charyate Iti Brahmacharya.  Brahman means consciousness or soul, Brahmani means within soul and Charyate means staying.  So, the term Brahmacharya literally means staying or dwelling in soul.  Therefore, when one remains fully aware of his pure consciousness and stays aloof of all the physical as well as the mental involvements, he can be said to be observing Brahmacharya.  Equanimity being the principal property of consciousness, the spiritual Brahmacharya also denotes maintaining equanimity by being free from attachments and from all sorts of craving and aversion.

In physical sense, Brahmacharya means celibacy or averting of the sensual activities.  Its observance is essential for attaining the state of spiritual Brahmacharya.  Thus, physical Brahmacharya is a prerequisite for spiritual Brahmacharya.  On the other hand, when one dwells in soul or Self, he gets rid of all attachment.  Such detached person cannot indulge in sensual activity that necessarily needs attachment.  Physical celibacy is thus the cause as well as the effect of spiritual Brahmacharya.  No wonder that celibacy has been accepted as an ideal and is considered highly virtuous in India and other oriental societies, which are spiritually oriented.  People observing celibacy are therefore held in high esteem in those countries

The meaning of the vow as far as the words goes is: Sva means own; Därä means wife; Santosh means being satisfied with.  This is the first part of the vow.  Para means others; Stree means women; Viraman means refraining from, Gaman means to visit or to go, Vrata means a choice of undertaking.

This vow consists in desisting from having sexual contact with other women and from abetting others to have such contact, for fear of incurring sin.  A person ought to be content with a spouse whom he/she has married in the presence of his/her preceptor and others.  He should have no sexual desire or sensual look at other women.  This vow differs from all others in its double formulation: positive in the sense of contentment with one’s own spouse (Sva-därä-Santosh) and negative as avoidance of contact with other women (Par-Stree- Gaman).

He who wants to observe this vow both in letter and in spirit must studiously avoid all occasions of meeting women in privacy and talking of matters that are likely to stir feelings of sexual or sensual contact.

All Jain philosophers have been unanimous in condemning breach of the vow of celibacy as leading to commission of various kinds of sins.  It is also a sin against the society as it disturbs code of common ethics so essential for peace in domestic life and mutual trust.  A man or woman given to adultery involves himself or herself in various kinds of deceitful acts, which result in the destruction of all other virtues.

Knowing or being convinced of the usefulness of the restriction placed upon himself, Shrävak can help himself to keep the vow by paying attention to the following points.  They may be called hedges to keep oneself away from self-injury in the direction of sexual passion.

·         Try not to indulge in lustful stories or conversations or talks about woman.

·         He should not look with a lustful eye or in the spirit of lust on woman’s body, which are factors in arousing the passion.

·         One should not listen private conversation of a couple.

·         He should not bring to mind the sexual enjoyment he had with his wife in former days.

·         He should avoid taking foods that are exciting, intoxicating, or stimulating, especially things that are very oily, containing too much fat, because they produce passion.

·         Even non-exciting and non-stimulating food should not be taken in excess; he should not gorge himself, because a too great quantity of food will produce passion.

·         He should not embellish his body.

All the foregoing remarks apply equally to women, although they are worded for men.

Thus, this vow requires one to be faithful to his/her own spouse, not to involve in any illicit sexual activities, must view opposite sex person as brother or sister, should not get involved in match making, except for his/her own children and should not talk to or look at a person of opposite sex with lust.

Five (Atichär) Transgressions of this Vow:

05.   Having sexual intimacy with unmarried men and women and widow/ widowers,

06.   Keeping a mistress or going to a prostitute,

07.   Gossiping about sex or making sexually provocative gestures,

08.   Leaving one's own children and celebrating the marriages of others

09.   Wearing indecent dress and decorations, and taking intoxicating things.


05.  Aparigraha Anu-vrata (Non-Possessiveness)


Na So Pariggaho Butto Näyaputten Täinä

Muchchhä Pariggaho Butto Ii Buttam Mahesinä

---- Dash-Vaikälika-Sutra

Articles needed for life do not constitute possessiveness;

‘attachment is possessiveness,’ says the graceful Lord.


It is also known as Ichchhä Parimäna or Parigraha-Parimäna-vrata.  Parigraha is infatuate attachment to possessions (Muchchhä Parigraha).  It is the result of delusion or operation of the Mohaniya Karma.  The desire to acquire and possess a number of worldly things like land, houses, heads of cattle, gold, silver and cash is natural to men and women.  This desire should not become insensible.  When attachment to such objects of possession becomes uncontrollable or unreasonable, the mind becomes affected by passions of greed and delusion; such mind becomes oblivious to right faith, knowledge and conduct.  Infatuation or attachment of any kind becomes a source of evil.  In safeguarding property, one is likely to resort to violence and falsehood.

For the householder absolute renunciation of Parigraha is not possible.

When the desire to possess is uncontrolled, it becomes an evil.  To be free from such evil, one should voluntarily decide upon the extent of property and wealth that one should acquire and refrain from all activities of acquisition after the target is reached; this is called Ichchhä- Parimäna-Vrata.

Complete renunciation of all sense of attachment is Aparigraha.  Parigraha or attachment to possession of property is either external or internal.  Possession of external things is not possible without internal attachment.  Hence, both the internal attachment and the possession of external objects come within the fold of Parigraha.

External Parigraha

External Parigraha is of two kinds: Sachitta‑‑animate and Achitta‑‑inanimate, which are further divided in ten categories.

·         Kshetra -land or fields

·         Västu -houses

·         Hiranya -gold and silver coins

·         Suvarna -gold

·         Dhana -wealth

·         Dhänya -grains

·         Däsa and Däsi –maids and servants

·         Cattle and domestic animals

·         Kupya -clothes

·         Shayyäsana - beds and furniture

Internal Parigraha:

Following are fourteen internal Parigraha:

·         Mithyätva -false belief

·         Krodha - anger

·         Mäna - ego

·         Mäyä - deceit

·         Lobha - greed

·         Häsya -laughter for joke or out of contempt

·         Rati - pleasure

·         Arati -dejection

·         Bhaya -fear

·         Shoka -sorrow

·         Jugupsä -disgust

·         Purush-ved - urge to have sex with female

·         Stree-Ved- urge to have sex with male, and

·         Napunsak-Ved urge to have sex with both, male and female.

They are relevant in emphasizing how the purity of the soul becomes affected in various ways in acquisition, possession, enjoyment and protection of property consisting of both animate and inanimate objects.  Attachment, which is the source of Parigraha, will be of various kinds and intensity.  Other mental states referred to as internal attachments are attributable to acquisition or protection of various kinds of objects.  While greed, deceit and pride are involved in the uncontrollable thirst for accumulation, fear, anger or sorrow are aroused when one has to part with the objects.

The object of the vow is that every householder should impose upon himself restrictions as to the nature and extent of objects (animate and inanimate) of possession so that there could be a check on his greed.  Renunciation is the true way of life but it is not possible for everyone to follow it.  Hence, there is need for self-imposed limits on acquisitions.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow:

10.   Keeping more money than the limit determined by the vow.

11.   Possessing land, houses, and other items beyond the predetermined limit.

12.   Possessing gold and silver ornaments more than the predetermined limit..

13.   Keeping excessive domestic articles and provisions than the predetermined limit.

14.   Keeping servants, workers and domestic animals and birds beyond the predetermined limit

About Vow of limiting one's Possessions

Keeping all this in view, the Jain scriptures propound the vow of limiting one's possessions.  The vow should not be used as a means of increasing one's possession or allowing one's desire for wealth to be inordinate and endless.

The practice of the vow is possible only when one limits one's desire for possessions or one controls one's greed.  The vow is preached so that its practice may weaken the attacks of greed, raise the standard of morality and prompt the rich to spend their excess wealth for the good of the society.  By utilizing their excess wealth in philanthropic activities, the rich can properly resist the feeling of hostility directed against them by the unemployed and the poor.  Renouncing excessive luxury, inordinate worldly pleasures as also waste of wealth in various ways, and properly limiting their needs, to utilize their excess wealth for the good of the society is beneficial to the rich themselves and the entire society as well.

Three Guna-vrata (Supporting Restraints)

The three Guna-vrata Digvrata: Dig Parimäna-Vrata, Bhoga Upabhoga Parimäna and Anartha-danda-vrata are intended to impose restraints of long duration on the activities of a householder so that the chances of his committing transgressions of other vows is considerably, if not totally, reduced.  They are supplementary vows, which aids the individual in his observance of the Anu-vrata.

06.  Dig Parimäna-Vrata (Geographical Restraints)

Dig-Parimäna Vrata means voluntarily limiting activities in a limited area.  The Shrävak takes a vow not to travel beyond predetermined limits in the ten directions.  The ten directions are: East, West, North, South, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest, Up and Down.  By fixing the limits in all the ten directions, one's greed, which is at the root of Parigraha, is curtailed.  The householder is like a heated iron ball, wherever he goes, he brings in Hinsä.  If the area of his movements were fixed, he would be restrained from committing Hinsä beyond that area.  He would be able to exercise self-restraint in all matters in relation to the area beyond the limits.

Thus, the primary objective of this vow is to help the householder curtail his activities from all sides, so that his internal passions, particularly Lobha‑‑greed, could be commensurably curbed.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow:

15.   Not limiting the extent to which one can move upwards,

16.   Not limiting the extent to which one can move downwards into an underground vault or into the deeper levels of the sea,

17.   Traveling in any of the eight directions beyond the fixed limits,

18.   Extending the already set limits of travel

19.   Crossing the fixed limits of traveling in ignorance (forgetting the limits).

07.  Bhoga-Upabhoga Parimäna Vrata (Consumption Restraints)

Let us first understand the meaning of Bhoga and Upbhoga.  Bhoga means items that can be used only once such as food, soft drinks, toiletry, lotions, perfumes, incense, etc.  Upbhoga means items that can be used repeatedly such as houses, furniture, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and vehicles.

This vow enjoins the householder to put limitations to the use of objects of senses categorized as those for Bhoga and Upabhoga, with a view to curtailing his sense of attachment to them and, thus, increase his capacity for self‑restraint and will‑power.  Putting limitations, even within the already accepted limits, on the use of objects of senses for the day, or according to one's requirements, and with a view to reducing the sense of attachment to them, is the Bhoga Upbhoga‑Parimäna ‑Vrata.

If a layman can, he should use only those things, which are inanimate.  If he cannot, then he will have to use things that are animate; but he must limit them; he should give up flesh foods, also vegetables in which there are infinite lives in the one body such as root vegetables.  In regard to the trades in which the layman should engage in order to obtain the things he uses; they should be faultless, sinless.  If he is unable to avoid sinless business completely, then he should at least give up such trades that involve cruelty to animals.

Renunciation of Bhogas and Upabhogas is of two kinds: Niyama and Yama.  That which has a time limit is Niyama and the other, which is undertaken for life, is Yama.  Limitation of time could be for an hour, a day, a night, a fortnight, a month, a season or a year and renunciation could be from food, conveyances, beds, bathing, clothes, ornaments, cohabitation or music etc.  Honey, flesh, wine, etc should not be consumed to avoid injury to living beings.

It is not enough if one gives up what is undesirable; he should also limit or give up what is desirable.  Considering his own strength, the wise should renounce even those objects of senses, which are not forbidden; and in respect of those objects, which he cannot renounce, he should limit their usage by day or night.  Again having regard to one's capacity at the time, a further limit to the already set limits should be put every day.  He who being thus contented with limited objects of senses, renounces a majority of them, observes Ahinsä because of his abstaining from considerable part of Hinsä.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow:

20.   Eating live objects such as green vegetables

21.   Taking any thing connected with things possessing life such as using green leaf as a plate

22.   Taking a mixture of living and non‑ living things such as hot water with fresh water

23.   Taking provocative food

24.   Taking badly cooked food

The second part of this Vrata deals with profession. One should not follow or urge others to follow professions wherein violence on a large scale is possibly involved but also that one should not use things produced through them, if one wants to remain undefiled by the defect of large scale violence.

If we want to wear clothes manufactured in mills, want to enjoy the things of leather which is obtained after killing animals, to use clothes and things made of silk which is produced after having killed the four-sensed silk-worms, to put on ornaments of pearls obtained after having killed the five-sensed fish and similarly to use and enjoy other things whose production involves large scale violence or killing, then for us, there is no way out but to register our partnership in that large scale violence.

He should scrupulously avoid the use of those things whose production involves large-scale violence.  It is not possible to observe the vows of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-possession without limiting properly the quantity of things one uses.  It is so because man (or society) who indulges in the excessive use and enjoyment of things has to take recourse to the large scale violence in the mass-production of those things for satisfying his inordinate and limitless desire for the use and enjoyment of those things.  Vices or sins like telling lies, doing injustice to others, exploiting others, etc., are the results of the unbridled desire for enjoying worldly things.  Moreover, to satisfy this ever-growing desire one has to struggle hard to acquire ever more possessions.  All sins and vices arise from this dreadful desire.  It is the function of strong will power or mental strength to curb properly the desire for worldly enjoyment.  In addition, such a strong-willed or strong-minded man can be saved from many sins and vices and can achieve prosperity and spiritual welfare very easily.

The essence of the vow can be put in one sentence: The vow of limiting the quantity of things one uses consists in renouncing the professions in which large scale violence is involved, scrupulously avoiding food, drink, clothes, ornaments, utensils, etc., whose production involves large scale violence, and limiting the quantity, for one's use, of even those things whose production involves very little violence.


Other Fifteen Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow:

This Vrata also deals with 15 forbidden occupations and avocations.  Some of them are obviously unavoidable in the present context.  The traditional list is as under:


Angära Karma

Profession involving large scale use of fire: This covers kilns, ovens, furnaces, smelting and refining metals, bricks making, pottery, etc.

Vana Karma

Profession involving cutting forests: This covers timber, setting the forest at blaze, cleaning the fields by burning grass etc.

Shakata Karma

Profession involving vehicles: This includes the construction, sale and renting of animal drawn carts, Tängäs, and other vehicles

Bhätaka Karma

Profession of transportation: Includes making a livelihood by carting goods in vehicles or on horses, oxen, buffaloes, camels, mules or donkeys.

Sphota Karma

Profession involving hewing & digging: Include the mining, quarrying, and excavating for other purposes.

Danta Vänijya

Profession involving teeth and other animal parts: This covers trades in fur, wool, musk, ivory, hides, teeth, bones and other animal parts

Laksa Vänijya

Profession involving chemical substances: Includes lac (shellac), wax, red arsenic, (Manah sila), indigo, borax (Tankana), Dhätaki etc.

Rasa Vänijya

Profession involving provocative liquids: Includes the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol, honey, fat (obtained from meat), cream cheese (Mäkhän), meat, etc.

Kesa Vänijya

Profession involving human beings and animals: Includes the buying and selling of slave girls and animals.

Visha Vänijya

Profession involving poisons: This implies a ban on trade in all poisons and weapons that are potentially dangerous to life.

Yantra Pillana Vänijya

Profession involving heavy use of machines:  This covers operating mills and presses for crushing sugar cane and for extracting oil from seeds, nuts and vegetables.  Also included are businesses of such articles as grindstones, pestles, and mortars.

Nirlänchhana Karma

Profession involving cutting parts of animals: Includes the gelding of bulls and other animals.  Also includes the branding, docking, nose piercing, and cutting off the ears and dewlaps of livestock.

Davägni Däna Karma

Profession involving destruction: Includes the work of setting up fire to burn forests and farmlands.

Jal Soshana Karma

Profession involving drying of other resources: This covers drying of wells, tanks, lakes and other reservoirs.

Asati- Poshana Karma

Profession involving breeding and rearing: Running brothel houses.  Also included are the breeding and keeping of destructive animals and birds such as parrots, mynahs, peacocks


08.  Anartha-Danda Parimäna Vrata (Avoidance of Purposeless Activities)

The Sanskrit name of this vow consists of five words the first of which is ‘An’ meaning negative; the second word ‘Artha’ means profit, benefit, motive, aim, object, necessary reason, purpose, etc., the third word ‘Danda’ means evils or bad effects and the last two words mean undertaking to refrain from.

It prohibits accumulation of all unnecessary accessories of violence and means of injury.  One should neither keep means of injury like poisons, spears, arms etc. One should desist from sinful gossips, evil thoughts and sports involving injury or loss of life.

Purposeless evil inactivity due to idleness and evil activity due to negligence;

There are five kinds of Anartha-Danda:

Though one has strength, skill and time to work for one's own comforts and to do one's own personal works, yet if one throws the burden of one's own personal works and comforts on others (that is, on one's servants and dependents) and remains idle for oneself, then one is defiled by purposeless evil inactivity due to idleness. Also included is the type of negligence that will cause violence such as keeping food dishes or containers of oil or juice uncovered which may attract bugs or turning on stove without checking for presence of insects or not cleaning soiled dishes promptly.

Though an individual and a society can meet their necessities by production of things involving very little violence, yet if they use those things whose production involves large scale violence, then they do incur the defect of purposeless evil activity due to negligence.

Five Atichär or Transgressions of Anartha-Danda-Vrata

25.   Indulging in indecent language, which will provoke lust and infatuation in oneself or others.  Reading inappropriate literature and seeing inappropriate sights that disturb mind.  Not abstaining from laughter mixed with disrespect or disgust or coarse language;

26.   Making such bodily actions and gestures as laughing; provoking laughter

27.   Indulging and engaging in meaningless talk; gossiping due to self conceit or vanity

28.   Manufacturing and keeping weapons and devices that cause violence

29.   Hoarding things relating to worldly and sensual enjoyment.


We bring unnecessary evils upon ourselves to no purpose, by indulging in thoughts, words, and deeds in which there is no benefit to society, to our friends, or to ourselves.

Gambling or speculation is neither an honest business nor a profession requiring labor.  They both are Anartha-Danda.  It fosters idleness and dishonesty.  It requires the use of deception and tricks.  In it when one gains, so many are ruined.  Causing distress to so many and sitting idle, to gain wealth by such vicious profession is deplorable and reprehensible.  Afterwards, if one gives donations for religious purposes from the wealth accumulated in this dishonest and unjust manner, can that wash off the sins the donor has incurred by causing distress and sufferings to so many persons and their dependents?  If the donor gives away all his wealth in donation for the philanthropic activities with the firm resolve of renouncing the vicious profession forever, will stop him at least from incurring further sins. The reputation one gains in and the honor one receives from the unwise, uncultured society due to one’s wealth acquired through unfair, and unjust means have no value at all from the spiritual standpoint.  In addition, taking pride in such reputation and honor further degrades and lands one on a very low plane.

The three vows discussed above constitute a scheme of preliminary self-restraint designed to secure moral purity and establish equilibrium, of the mind with regard to the worldly objects.  They require a devotee to regulate his food and enjoyment.  They supplement the great vow of Ahinsä and enable the devotee to develop love and affection towards all living beings

Four Shikshä-Vratas (Disciplinary Restraints)

The regulation of work, food and enjoyment that is the object of the Guna-Vratas to secure would not by itself be sufficient to purify the mind and contribute to the spiritual advancement of the individual.  If life were to be meaningful, it must be a constant exercise in righteousness and renunciation.  Unless the moral and spiritual excellence of an individual is progressive both in spirit and action, there cannot be advancement in right knowledge and right conduct.  While the five Anu-vratas provide a solution for the evils of daily life and endow it with purity in thought and action, the three Guna-vrata teach lessons of restraints in work, food and enjoyment in daily life.  The Shikshä-vratas broaden the mind and provide a regular opportunity for growth of scriptural knowledge.  The practice of the vows is a lesson in spiritual training and experience; it affirms our conviction in the efficacy of right faith and knowledge.  It inspires the votary to a life of piety and renunciation, as a preparation for a rigorous life of an ascetic.

09.  Sämäyika (Forty Eight Minutes of Meditation and Equanimity)


Na Sämyen Vinä Dhyänam Na Dhyänen Vinä Cha Tat

Nishkampam Jäyate Tasmät, Dvayamanyonyakäranam

--- Yoga-shästra

No meditation without equanimity; No equanimity without meditation;

Both are interdependent; Thereby can be gained stability


This is the first of the disciplinary vows (Shikshä-vrata).

All scriptures have emphasized the observance of this vow as an exercise for securing equanimity of mind and concentration on the contemplation of the nature of the real self.  The time taken should be forty-eight consecutive minutes, predetermined, and the vow should be taken to practice it a definite number of times a year.

The observance of this vow endows the practice of the five vows (Anu-vratas) with perfection, as the householder is then free from all activities, occupational or physical.

The practice of the vow, with a mind purged from love and hatred towards all beings and with complete equanimity by contemplating on the true principles, leads to self-realization: Attainment of equanimity by practice of the vow will result in abstinence from sinful activities.  Sämäyika, if practiced regularly, brings about equanimity of mind and mental concentration on the soul.

The term Sämäyika is made up of the words Sama meaning equanimity and Äya meaning incoming.  The termination Ika has been applied to show that what brings forth equanimity is Sämäyika.  Alternately, the term can be derived from Samay, which means soul.  As such, the activity that deals with soul is Sämäyika.  Bhagawati Sutra defines Sämäyika as dwelling in equanimous Self.  This is given from the absolute point of view.  From the practical point of view, Ächärya Hemchandra defines it as giving up all the worldly involvement and staying in equanimity for 48 minutes.  As such, equanimity, soul orientation, peace of mind etc. can be considered synonyms of Sämäyika.

Samay is the process of becoming one with own-self, Ätmä, the process of giving up material activities of body, mind and speech for the duration.  Sämäyika is a positive way of submerging the activities of one's body, mind and speech in the spiritual harmony.  Sama is the state of freedom from attachment and aversion (Räga‑ Dvesha); therefore, Sämäyika is the practice for accomplishing the state of freedom from attachment and aversion.  Sämäyika should be performed with a cheerful heart in an undisturbed solitude, in forests, temples or houses.  Sämäyika is helpful in the observance of the five vows, and should be practiced daily with a resolute mind and casting off laziness.

During the period of practice of the Sämäyika, all kinds of attachment and undertaking are absent; and therefore the householder, then, assumes the state of asceticism and, looks like an ascetic.  Those who intend to perfect themselves in the Sämäyika vow should calmly bear the hardships of cold, heat, mosquito bite, insect stings, and other troubles, maintaining perfect silence and control over the activities of body, mind and speech.  One should also meditate upon the transitory nature of the world, the true nature of the self and liberation.

The purpose of Sämäyika is the cultivation of equal goodwill (sympathy), equality and evenness, and tranquility.

·         Equal goodwill (sympathy) (a) towards all religions (b) towards all races and castes (c) towards a man and a woman

·         Equality and evenness (a) to regard all living beings equal with one's one self (b) to maintain evenness (equanimity) of mind on all occasions, favorable and adverse

·         Tranquility to suppress and weaken passions.


Five Transgressions (Atichär) of the vow:

·         Entertaining wicked thoughts and to keep thinking of the pros and cons of worldly matters (misdirection of mind),

·         Uttering lies, disagreeable words and improper words.  (Misdirection of speech),

·         Performing bodily actions that are unwholesome, improper and undesirable.

·         Taking the Sämäyika not according to laid down formalities or taking it and then forgetting it   (Lack of interest or attention)

·         Taking a vow for Sämäyika and then ending it prematurely


The general idea of this vow is to sit in a certain place and read or meditate on holy subjects, and especially to regret misdoings and resolve not to repeat them.

10.  Desävakäsika (Stricter Geographical Restrictions)

From the nature of this vow, it is another aspect of Digvrata.  This vow requires an individual to determine and limit his movements to a house, to a part of it, to a village or a town.  The period for the observance of this vow may vary from a day to a few days, month, a few months or a year.  The basic idea underlying both the Digvrata and the Desävakäsika Vrata is that if a man reduces his freedom of movement to a restricted area, small or large, his absence from all the area not comprised within the self-imposed limits, will mean that he can be said to be keeping the Mahä Vratas, the rigid vows of an ascetic, in that wider area.  At the same time, constant awareness of these spatial limits will result in added vigilance in the observation of the Anu-vratas within them.

Five ways of Transgressions (Atichär) of the Vow:

·         Sending for someone who is from beyond the fixed limit,

·         Sending someone beyond the limit,

·         Drawing attention through coughing or such other gestures,

·         Revealing thoughts by signals or peeping out

·         Revealing one's presence by throwing stones etc.

11.  Posadhopaväsa Vrata (Practicing the Life of a Monk)

The eleventh vow is the same as the ninth Vrata (Sämäyika), but continued for twelve or twenty-four hours and accompanied by some fasting.  By fasting, we remove impurities.  If the vow is taken, it must be practiced at least once a year.

The term is derived from the Sanskrit verb ‘Push’ which means to nourish or to support.  What nourishes the spiritual aspect is therefore Paushadha, which is popularly known as Posaha.  It is observed by refraining from the activities that are not conducive to the spiritual life.  Observance of this restraint is also supposed to be accompanied by staying close to the true nature of the soul.  Such staying is the ‘Upaväs’ in the real sense of the term.  This restraint is therefore also known as Paushadhopväs, which is a compound word made of Paushadha and Upaväs.  For convenience sake, however, we shall use the term Paushadha for the present discussion.

The Präkrut term Posaha (Paushadha, Posadha and Prosadha etc.) means the Parva, the 8th and the 14th day of the lunar fortnight (15th day according to Sthänakaväsi) and Posadhopaväsa means fasting on the Parva day.  The place for observance of the fast could be one's home, forest, temple, monastery or the Prosadha Shälä (hall for the Prosadha).  One should pass the day immersed in righteous contemplation, study of scriptural works (Swädhyäy), and engage in the adoration of the Jin etc. Basically, he spends a day as if he is a Sädhu and spiritually observes a 12 or 24-hour Sämäyika.  That way, he frees himself from all harmful activities and, observes the equanimity and the vow of Ahinsä thoroughly.  The intention is to get training so as to adopt that type of life whenever possible.

Four aspects to be observed in the Posadha, (which could be partial or complete)

·         In respect of food,

·         In respect of bodily care,

·         In respect of celibacy

·         In respect of worldly occupations or activities.

Five ways of Transgressions (Atichär)  of the vow:

·         Acceptance of articles of adoration or worship without examining and handling them carefully,

·         Placing objects or spreading the body on the ground without scrutinizing it,

·         Not carefully and thoroughly examining the places where he moves around,

·         Showing no interest or enthusiasm in the observance of the Paushadha

·         Not taking the Paushadha according to formalities or taking it late and completing it in a hurry, and reducing the time.


12.  Atithi Samvibhäg Vrata (Share and Care Discipline)


Annädinäm Shuddhänäm Kalpaniyänäm Deshakälayutam

Dänam Yatibhyah Uchitam Grihinäm Shikshävritam Bhanitam

--- Samansuttam

Offering acceptable pure foods etc. to the monks

at the appropriate time and place is called the disciplinary restraint for the householders


This vow, which is also known as Atithi-Samvibhäg Vrata consists in offering alms; it also includes service as is necessary to remove obstacles in his path (monk’) of penance and renunciation.  It is also known as Vaiyävruttya Or (Yathä Samvibhäg).

The vow is to be practiced as a matter of religious duty (Dharma).

Atithi normally means guest.  The Sanskrit definition of the term states that

Na Vidyate Tithih Yasya Sah Atithi. 

It means that one whose arrival is not fixed is called Atithi.  Samvibhäg means sharing.  Therefore, Atithi Samvibhäg literally means sharing with some one who does not have prior appointment.  Thus, guests arriving as per planned schedule do not strictly fall within the purview of this discipline.  However, the monks and nuns, who arrive for alms without prior invitation, are real Atithi.  Similarly, the poor, destitute and other afflicted persons, who come for help at any time without appointment, are covered within the purview of this discipline.

In our tradition, the concept of Vaiyävruttya, also known as Veyävachcham, is closely associated with this discipline.  By Vaiyävruttya, we generally mean rendering service to the monks and nuns.  Such servicing is usually extended also to the persons (householders) observing austerities.  The concept of Vaiyävruttya is however not confined to such cases.  It extends to caring for every one who needs to be cared for.  Such care should be purely compassionate and should be extended, irrespective of the age, sex, caste, color or creed of the recipients.  This discipline can therefore be more accurately translated as sharing with and caring for all, who are in need of help.  It is worthwhile to note that service to Sädhu should be carried out with devotion and respect while service to needy with compassion.

The vow includes giving to those only who are worthy of receiving Däna (charity) and are in true need of it.  It includes giving food, water and other things, necessary for existence, to Sädhus and Sädhvis, Shrävaks and Shrävikäs and to others according to one’s ability and means with a feeling of selflessness and with love and respect.

Though generally known as Däna, this vow is also designated as Atithi‑ Samvibhäg (sharing with the Atithi).  Here the word Atithi carries a special Jain meaning, the ascetic or Sädhu.

So sharing amounts to parting with something of our own.  Such parting or giving away is charity or donation and is known as Däna.  All the religions extol the virtue of such Däna, but Jainism lays special emphasis on Däna by giving it the first place among the four foremost virtues of the householders [Däna (charity), Sheel (conduct), Tapa (austerity), Bhäva (thought)].  It is also considered highly rewarding in the present and subsequent lives.

Däna is one of the householder's six duties to be carried out daily (They are: Däna (charity), Pujä (adoration), Swädhyäy (self study), Sanyam (practice of minor vows), Gurupästi (adoration to Gurus) and Tapa (fasting or some austerity).

Atithi‑Samvibhäg Vrata is divided into five aspects:

30.   The recipient

31.   The donor

32.   The object to be given

33.   The manner of giving

34.   The fruit of giving.

The recipients are of three kinds:

35.   The best recipient, the Jain ascetic equipped with all vows and self‑restraint

36.   The mediocre recipient, the Jain Shrävak who has right faith and has taken minor vows

37.   The least satisfactory recipient, the one on the Shrävak 's path and has acquired the right faith.

It should be extended to the young and old, the blind, the dumb, the deaf and also the diseased and wanderers from other lands, treating it as Karunä Däna‑‑ the compassionate giving.

There are seven qualities of a donor.  A donor should have faith, devotion, contentment, energy and zeal, capacity for discrimination, lack of greed or self‑interest and forbearance.

The Däna is of four types:



Gift of food, water


Gift of medicines and helping sick


Extending fearlessness, Gift of shelter to living beings who are at risk of their life, providing protection from danger, attack, intimidation, or threat

Vidhyä (Jnän)-Däna

Gift of books, imparting of knowledge, and helping educational institutions


Out of all these, Abhay‑Däna (extending fearlessness) is the best Däna.  One should also include the practice of the Chaturvidha Däna ‑ donation for four-fold Jain organization (Sangha); this type of Däna has played a significant role in the history of Jainism.  This vow holds a significant position in the Jain tradition and in the Jain social organization (the Jain Sangha).  Giving Däna is a good Karma (Punya) for the giver and helps ascetics or Sädhus to lead their religious life, and protect, interpret and transmit the religion.

Regarding the fruits of Däna: giving alms with devotion to ascetics washes away the Karma bound due to the activities of household life, just as water washes away dirt.  Däna overcomes the greed, which is a form of Hinsä or violence.

One should also donate for Jin‑images, Jin temples and Jain scriptures in addition to Sädhus, Sädhvis, Shrävaks, and Shrävikäs.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this Vow:

38.   Placing food on a sentient thing (like the green leaf or mixing food with sentient things).

39.   Covering food with a sentient thing

40.   Delegation of host's duties to others (or saying something like - “This food belongs to somebody else.”) or absence of inclination to give.

41.   Lack of respect in giving and being envious of another donor.

42.   Not giving at the proper time



Sanllekhanä-vrata is an end of life while in ultra-pure meditation.

It is a well-ordered voluntarily chosen death which is not inspired by any passion and is the result of conscientious gradual withdrawal from the taking of food in such a manner as would never disrupt one's inner peace and dispassionate mindfulness.  So there is a fundamental difference between suicide and Sanllekhanä.  Suicide is the result of the outburst of passions, whereas Sanllekhanä is the result of dispassionateness.  It is recommended only when the body is completely disabled by extreme old age or by incurable diseases and the person becomes conscious of the impending unavoidable death and of the necessity of concentrating on the pure qualities of the soul.  For the aspirant, there is no dissatisfaction, no sorrow, no fear, no dejection, no sinfulness; the mind is cool, calm, composed; the heart is filled with the feeling of universal love and compassion.  It is also called the death with equanimity.

Sanllekhanä means emaciation of passions and body leading to emancipation. Sanllekhanä is of two‑folds:

Kashäya‑Sanllekhanä – Emaciation of passions to be accomplished by internal austerities (Tapa) like subduing anger by forgiveness etc.

Sharira ‑ Sanllekhanä – Emaciation of body to be accomplished by external austerities (Tapa) like fasting etc.

·         It involves giving up enmity, and attachment to possessions etc., and with pure mind, forgiving one's kinsmen and others, and asking for forgiveness.

·         Casting aside grief, fear, anguish, wickedness etc., with all sincerity and zeal, one should allay the innermost passions by scriptural words.

·         Reflecting on the sins committed in the three ways, one should adopt the Mahä-vrata for rest of the life.

·         One should slowly give up, first solid food, then liquid, then water and, in the end observe the total fast with all determination, and fixing the mind on Namokär Mantra.  Thus, he peacefully and blissfully abandons the body.

Five Transgressions (Atichär) of this vow:

·         Desire to prolong life (for fame of having endured a long Sanllekhanä)

·         Desire to die soon (if it is painful)

·         Wishing for pleasures of this world as a reward in the next life

·         Wishing to be born as a Heavenly Being (in Devaloka) as a reward.

·         Desire for sensory pleasures in the next life


These twelve special vows and Sanllekhanä are for helping to change ourselves from what we actually are; ignorant, mistaken, weak, and injurious beings to what we potentially are capable of developing spiritual qualities like the Omniscients, who have developed their spiritual qualities to perfection. The rules are based upon a certain foundation of character already developed - kindness of heart, self-control, desire for right knowledge and relish of truth, the internal attitude accompanying the external, and visible practice of the rules.  These rules bring out further knowledge, increased strength of character, greater peace of mind, sympathy and kindness, and lead to higher levels on the way towards an everlasting, blissful omniscience in a state of life which is natural to the real pure self and which is open to all who wish to attain it.

It will be seen that the Jain ethics are founded on the principle of Ahinsä and love for all living beings.  While a layman ought to have a rational faith in Jainism, his daily conduct must exhibit the true ideals of non-violence and truth.  In his dealings, he must be upright to the core and practice charity not only by giving but also by cultivation of non-attachment towards worldly possessions.  He must be constantly aware of his duties towards himself and to the society.  His life as a layman should pave the way to the ultimate goal of self-realization.  Possession of right faith and knowledge should not be a matter of mere theory but should be constantly reflected in daily conduct.