Tattvartha Sutra ► 09 Samvar - Prevention Of Karma ► 09.19

Posted: 28.07.2017

09.19 Anashanāvamaudaryavrttiparisankhyānrasparityāgviviktashayyāsankāyakiesha Bāhyam Tapah

Audio:

Sanskrit:

अनशनावमौदर्यवृत्तिपरिसंख्यानरस परित्यागविविक्तशय्यासन कायक्लेशा बाह्यं तपः।

Hindi:

अनशन, अवमौदर्य, वृत्तिसंख्यापन, रसपरित्याग, विविक्त शय्यासन, और कायक्लेश ये बाह्य तप है।

 

09.19

English:

Fasting, eating less than required, curtailing the varieties, control over tastes, lonely habitation and facing the hardships constitute the external austerities.

Austerity is the next important factor in preventing Karma. It was earlier pointed out that Samvar is analogous to closing the doors and windows in order to prevent dirt coming in. Thereafter one has to remove the dirt accumulated inside. Similarly after resorting to prevention of new Karma, one needs to eradicate the existing bondage of Karma. That is known as Nirjarā. Austerities are not only helpful in preventing the incoming of Karma, but also in eradicating the existing bondage.

Tap denotes undertaking austerities with a view to overcoming desires, longings etc. That can be of various types. All of them are broadly classified in two categories of external and internal austerities. Those, which mainly pertain to the physical level and which are more or less visible, are external austerities. Those, which relate to the mental level and which are not very visible, are internal ones These two categories are divided into six types each. As such, there are twelve types of austerities in all. The sutra 19 specifies the following six external austerities.

  1. Anashan: Ashan means to eat and Anashan means not to eat, which is known as fasting. Such fasting is usually termed as Upavās. But Upavās- has a different connotation. It literally means staying close to the soul. When a person thus stays spiritually engrossed, he forsakes the bodily instincts and does not care for its requirements like food etc. Refraining from food is therefore antecedent to Upavās, not an essential part of it. The spiritual pursuit may, however, entail going without food. As such, if one is used to fasting, that can be helpful in remaining unperturbed. Practicing Anashan is useful for that purpose.
  2. Avamaudarya: This is popularly known as Unodari, which means eating less than what is required for satisfying the appetite. It is possible that the spiritual aspirants may at times not get enough to eat. If they are used to observe this austerity, they can stay unperturbed when they do not get enough food. Moreover, this austerity has a hygienic consideration. The research studies have indicated that eating less than the normal intake is conducive to health and can even increase the longevity.
  3. Vrttiparisankhyān: This is popularly known as Vrttisankshep, which means curtailing the variety of the articles to be used. We have the tendency to acquire as many things as possible to satisfy the current or future needs. That tendency needs to be restrained, because happiness is a function of mind and one can surely feel happy with fewer articles. Vrttiparisankhyān is, however, used here in the sense of reducing the number of food-articles and to feel satisfied with a few of them.
  4. Rasparityāg. This means giving up attachment for tastes. The tongue is an organ that looks for tastes. Our attention generally stays drawn towards the tasty foods and drinks. This happens to be a more or less insatiable craze. The hankering for tastes does not allow a person to keep the peace of mind. Some restrain has to be applied to it. That is the reason for laying this austerity. Āyambil is devised for that purpose.
  5. Viviktashayyāsan: This is also termed as Sanlinatā, which means staying in a forlorn place and occupying the minimum space. Normal human tendency is to occupy more space. The purpose of this austerity is to curtail that tendency and to stay comfortable within a restricted area.
  6. Kayaklesh: This literally means bearing physical discomfiture. But the term also covers courting the physical hardships. In spiritual pursuit, one may have to face many hardships, which were described under Parishahjay. If the aspirant is not accustomed to bear such hardships, he would not be able to maintain the peace of mind and there cannot be spiritual development without the peace of mind. It is therefore necessary that the spiritual aspirants- get used to hardships and physical discomfiture.

The main purpose of observing external austerities is to face and get used to the hardships that may arise from time to time. That would enable the spiritual aspirants to observe the peace and tranquility of mind in all the circumstances. That would also enable them to observe the internal austerities.