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Home > Dharma >> Principles of Jainism as Preached by Tirthankaras.
  By Late Brahmachari Shri Shital Prasadji

    Rishabha to Mahavira ware 24 Tirthankaras, who were omniscient world Teachers. Lords Vimala, Ananta and Dharma flourished after a long long period since the advent of Rishabha, the first Tirthankara. They were the 13th ,14thTirthankaras being perfect omniscient Teachers. They preached the selfsame Truth according to the need of their times.  Herein we give the principles of their teachings.
(1)This universe is eternal, with out beginning and end.
Explanation: - It is nothing but the sum-total of substances which have been existing always and will go on existing for ever. No substance is created and no substance is destroyed. Only there are modifications of substances. These modifications take birth and cease to be. An old one dies; and a new one is born. e.g., a human soul loses his boyhood, and acquires youth or old age. When old age is born, boyhood dies. Or a gold bangle is broken to be made into a ring.
All the substances of this universe are primarily Living (Jivas) and non-living (Ajivas).
Explanation :- Broadly, life is that which has consciousness. All else is life-less, unconscious, non-living, non-soul.
(3)   Non-living substances are of five kinds. They are – (1) Matter in forms of atoms and molecules – Pudgala (2) Space – Akash,  (3) Time – Kala, (4) Medium of motion – Dharmastikaya (5) Medium of rest – Adharmastikaya.
   Explanation: - Thus, in all, there are six kinds of substances of which this universe is composed.
  (1)   The conscious immaterial sub-stance is soul. There are infinite souls. 
  (2)   Matter is material, possessed of touch, taste, smell  and  colour. Its  atoms  and  molecules are numerable, innumerable, and infinite in number.
  (3) Space is one grand infinite immaterial substance. It gives space to all other five  substance.
  (4) Time is an immaterial substance which is an auxiliary cause in  bringing  about modifications  of   and  in   all  the  substances.  The  number  of   time-units  or instants or time-atoms  (Kalanus)  is  innumerable.  Each  Time-atom  occupies  one point of space, thus the space of universe,  which  has  innumerable  spatial         points, is covered entirely by time-atoms.
  (5) The medium of motion is one immaterial substance. It is  co-extensive  with  the  universe and is an auxiliary cause for the motion of soul & matter.
   (6)  The medium of rest is one immaterial substance. It is co-extensive with the universe and is an auxiliary cause for the rest of souls and matter.
   Only two substance soul and matter are the chief actors and perform mainly four actions, i. e, they occupy space change and are at motion or at rest. Every action must have two causes one principal, primary or root-cause, and the other the auxiliary cause. The primary and essential cause of a gold ring, is the gold of  which it it made; but the auxiliary or secondary causes are several e. g. fire, the goldsmith’s tools etc., etc. So the primary causes of these above 4 actions of soul & matter themselves, but the auxiliary causes are the above said four immaterial substance. Thus this universe is composed of six real, uncreated substance (Dravyas), and all the manifestations of this universe are due to modifications of soul and matter with the help of the other four substances.  
 (4) Jain philosophy deals with seven principles Tattvas. They are :-      (i)  Soul (Jiva), 
(ii) non-soul (Ajiva); of this ordinary matter is an obvious example and Karmic matter, the finest form of fine, invisible matter, is of  the utmost significance in life, (iii) inflow of Karmic matter into soul – (Asrava), 
(iv) Bondage of soul by Karmic matter, or rather union with and assimilation of the new inflowing Karmic matter by the old Karmic matter with which the embodied soul is already in combination – (Bandha), 
(v) checking of inflow, (Samvara), 
(vi) shedding off of karmic matter already bound with the soul – (Nirjara)
(vii) Liberation, final and complete separation of all kinds of matter from the soul – (Moksha)
 Explanation:- The two categories, soul and non-soul, include all the six substances (Dravyas). The embodied souls are in combination with matter. They are impure and transmigrating in many different mundane existences eternity. They have got a fine Karmic body – a body of meritorious and de-meritorious Karmic matter; in which every moment new Karmic molecules inflow and the old ones are cast off. Thus though these molecules inhere in the soul only for a limited time, yet they always keep the soul in an impure condition, until it gets to tally rid of that fine body by its practice of self-realization and self-concentration.  
   Inflow: - Coming in of Karmic molecules by activity of mind, body, and speech. Activity of a good kind attracts meritorious, while activity of a bad kind attracts de-meritorious Karmic matter.
  Bondage: - The union of Karmic matter with soul. It lasts for a limited time according to the intensity of passions, presents at the time of inflow. During this time of union, the Karmic matter produces good or bad effects and having born its proper fruit falls off gradually; just as food and medicine once taken in, produces effect for some time, till their full matter has gone out of the body gradually.
  Checking: - It is to prevent inflow of Karmic matter by control of mind, body and speech. Checking of wrong activity will not bring Karmic matter which would have come through that wrong activity. Desires of sense pleasures and passions of anger, pride, deceit and greed produce the evil results of injury (Hinsa); lie (Asatya), theft ( Steya), unchastity ( Abrahmacharya), and attachment (Parigrah); which which bring de- meritorious  Karmic matter. Control of all these will check such matter from inflowing into the soul.
   Shedding off: - Getting rid of the Karmic matter which is bound to the soul, before its maturing and falling off after fruition. This shedding is a kind of artificial and pre-mature fruition of Karma. It is achieved by means of  desirelessness and penances producing Pure Self-realisation and concentration.  
   Liberation:- Total freedom of all Karmic matter. Thus the soul reaching a pure and blissful state of Grand Soul for ever remain pure and absorbed in its own true and perfect nature  of all-knowledge, all-perception, infinite power, and infite bliss etc.
(5)   Way to liberation is threefold path of right belif (Samyak- darshana), right Knowledge (Samyak- jnana), right conduct ( Samyak- charitra).
Explaination: These three are called three jewals (traya – ratna) of janism. These are two ways of looking at things; one real and the other practical. The latter is an auxiliary cause for the real. They are called Nischaya and Vyavahara  nyyas or point of view. From the practical point of view, right belief of the above seven principles is practical right belief. From real point of view, right belief of one’s own soul’s true and real pure nature is real right belief. Knowledge of the above seven principles is practical right knowledge. Knowledge of the true, real purenture of one’s own soul is real right knowledge. Due to observation of five vows of non-injury (Ahims), truthfulness (Satya), non-theft (Achourya), chastity (Brahmcharya) and non-attachment (Aprigrah) is practical right conduct. Realisation and concentration of one’s own true, real and pure nature of soul by itself i.e. Self – absorption is real right conduct.  
    When perfect real, conduct with perfect knowledge and perfect pure belif accrues, the soul is liberated and the called Parmatma, God, Isvara, and Siddha.  

(6) Practical right conduct is of two kinds; one for laymen and other for saints.  The latter is the direct cause of liberation. 
   Explanation:-  Saints follow in full the above said five vows of non injury etc. They therefore give up all their possessions, become simple like little children without cloths, eat once a day by going to the house of a pious-layman and pass their time in self-meditation in lonely places, reading pure scared books and preaching to the world the doctrines of the Jinas, the conquerors of Karmimic effects. They have control over their desire and passions.
  Laymen follow the above said five vows partially only. They gradually improve their pursuit of vows, till they become saints. An ordinary layman of the lowest degree should follow the five vows in the following manner:  
(1)   He should not uselessly injure any living beings. Unless injury is due to wrong belief, as to animal sacrifice, flesh eating, hunting, cruel sports, fashion in leather, fur, plumage skins, bones, etc., etc.  As means of livelihood, he can peruse the profession of a soldier, bankers, agriculture, trader, merchant, servant. Although he can avoid some injury (Himsa) incidental to the above occupations, yet he should be most careful to avoid it as much as possible in these, as also in cooking, walking, speaking, respiration and other essential acts of human life as an individual and as a member of society.  He should not eat meat, honey or such thing as involve destruction of animal life, nor should not drink intoxicating liquors.  
(2)    He should speak truth, and not cheat others by false speech and action.  
(3)   He should not take what is not given. Only common things such as water etc. may take freely.  
(4)   He should be contented with is his own wife.  
(5)    He should put a limit to his property. He may have a desire of lacs, but it should be limited to some extent. Limitless ambition is greed. Gambling is also prohibited to a layman. He should drink pure water free from all taint of animal life and try to confine taking food between sunrise and sunset. There are elven stages for a layman to rise in their performance of these five vows. After passing them, the laymen become a saint.
(7)   Real right conduct  i,e., self-realization is required by saints and laymen by following their  respective six.
Explanation:- The six essential daily duties for the saints are:  
   (i) Equanimity i.e. the condition of mind free from worldly  love and hatred ,  (ii)  Penitence for past faults  
   (iii) Intention not to commit faults in future ,  (iv) Praising the holy persons,  (v)  Bowing to the Holy Ones, and  
   (vi)Renunciation of bodily attachment.  
The six essential duties of the laymen are:  
    (i) Worships of the Holy Ones- the conquerors of Karmas by their names and representations and by presents and by praising their spiritual 
qualities.The Idols of Arhats represents the feature of self- contemplation thus impressing on the worshiper’s mind the pure nature of the self.  
    (ii)Services to the Preceptors and listening to their preaching.  
    (iii) Reading Holy Books.  
    (iv) Some minor vows for control of mind and senses such as – Today I shall refrain from going to theatre; I shall have only two meal during the day; shall not take sweet; shall not use scents, etc., etc. These are small self denial to strengthen self-control and to speed one on to the realization of self-absorption.  
    (v)  Contemplation I.e. twice a day, morning and evening or only once, sitting in a lonely place and meditating upon the nature of Holy Ones, or one’s own soul, thereby acquiring equanimity by renouncing attachment and hatered of worldly things for the time devoted to contemplation.  
    (vi)    Charity- Practice charity of food, medicine, knowledge and fearlessness.  
These six daily duties induce pure thought in saints and laymen and enable them to reach Self-absorption - a state where real right belief, right knowledge and right conduct are present in one interfused condition. It is the path of shedding off much karmic dirt and making the soul pure and free.  
Namokar Mantra
    Jainas recite the following incantation mantra in all their religious duties. It consists of 35 letters in Prakrit; its occult significance also is great if it is understood perfectly intelligently.
    Namo Arhantanm – I salute the Worshipful, the conquerors of 4 soul-destructive karmas, viz, knowledge obscuring, conation obsxring, deluding and obstructive karmas and possessors of infinite knowledge, infinite conation, infinite bliss and infinite power, having a pure body and discoursing to the public the tenets and glory of true religion and eternal truth.
    Namo Siddanam – I salute the perfect pure souls free from the body and all karmic dirt, enjoying true natural bliss and knowledge etc.
    Namo Ayiriyanam –
I salute the saints who are the leaders of the group of saints, following the three jewels path of  Liberation.
    Namo Uvajjhayanam – I salute the saints who are the teachers of scriptures to others for acquiring the path of the three jewels.  
    Namo Loye Savva Sahunam –
I salute all the saints wherever found in the universe on the path of salvation.  
   This mantra is helpful in acquiring Pure thought activity.


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