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Who is a Jain Shravak: 17 ►Three Qualifying Vows

Published: 01.03.2020

Tents are usually made by fastening the fabric to the stake or pole in the ground to make it stable. Without support of stake or pole, tent cannot be secured. Similarly, limitation of desire for possession (Ichchha Parimaan) is like a tent in our life. Three stakes are required to make it sustainable:

  1. Spatial limitation - Limiting the movement in all directions (Digvrat)
  2. Material limitation - Limiting the consumption of material objects (Bhogopabhog-Parimaana vrat)
  3. Violence limitation - Limiting any purposeless acts of violence (Anarthadand Viraman vrat)

These three are the supplementary vows for Ichchha Parimaan vrat. The will for limiting the desires cannot be achieved without observing these three vows.

1. Digvrat

Imperialism is a type of advocacy of empire who believes in the extension of the power and influence of country. Imperialists basically have two policies:

  1. Extension of land or area
  2. Extension of business

In ancient times, area was being extended by colonization. Today, trading colonialism is prevalent. In the present circumstances, none of the countries normally thinks of taking hold of other nations directly, but they keep looking for an opportunity to capture the financial aspects. It is considered that the entry of multi-national companies in India is for the sole purpose of establishing their economic dominance. This psychology of economic dominance is an expression of spatial desire. Digvrat can play an important role in curbing economic dominance. The observer (shravak) of this vow does not expand his business beyond the accepted limit.

During the Indian Independence Movement, Mahatma Gandhi started svadeshi movement, an indigenous campaign for self-sufficiency. The participants and supporters of the campaign started burning imported garments and goods. Gandhiji did not intend the clothes to be burnt. He simply wanted to convey the patriotic feelings in the heart of the Indian citizens in the villages and the entire nation. He motivated to start cottage industries in each and every village to make people financially independent. He insisted that every Indian should only use domestic products in their daily lives.

The svadeshi movement was not only against foreign products but was an important solution to the problem of unemployment in the nation. The educated youth were getting depressed and disappointed because of not finding any employment. Gandhiji instilled self-confidence in them by explaining the importance of self-dependence. By convincing them the value of self-dependency and economic units in the villages, he awakened their faith for productive efforts.

In the code of conduct of a shravak, the first vow, digvrat controls the imperialistic tendency of trade on foreign land. The effect of this vow is reflected in the resolution of not using the things produced out of an accepted territory and not to trade beyond accepted area-limit.

2. Bhogopabhog - Parinaam Vrat

The second vow, bhogopabhog-parimaan vrat restricts consumption and accumulation. Bhog means things can be used only once and upabhog means things which can be repeatedly used. The word 'gupabhog-paribhog is also used for 'bhogopabhog'. It controls excessive craving and inappropriate industries and trades.

Things are limited in the world. However, consumers have unlimited desires. Once entangled in this vicious cycle, a person does not know how to come out of it. The mentality of consumerism is increasing problems day by day. It is not that there is no way out, but man is ignoring the solutions and getting increasingly entangled in the problems.

Unlimited desires are causing environmental imbalance. This imbalance is not a problem of a specific place or nation, but the entire world is under its grip. Nations in this world are divided into three categories:

  1. Developed
  2. Developing
  3. Under-developed

Developed nations are consuming the maximum, developing nations a little less and the under-developed consume very little in proportion.

The reason behind scarcity in availability of material objects is due to imbalanced consumption. This imbalance cannot be controlled until consumers learn the art of restraint.

Due to over-consumption and less supply of goods, natural resources are getting excessively exploited. This is dangerous. Therefore, consumption and exploitation both need to be circumscribed.

More extraction of natural resources will increase their deficiency. This situation will develop a psychology of competition to get the things before their end. Therefore, the solution to this chain of rising problems is to change the mindset of consumption. From this perspective, the vow of Bhogopabhog-parimaan becomes very significant.

a. Two Spheres

Upabhog-parimaan basically includes two spheres:

  1. Food
  2. Profession

When any vow is broken, it is known as atichaar. There are five atichaar (blemishes) related to food.

  1. Sachittaahaar- In spite of renunciation, eating live-food
  2. Sachittapratibaddhaahaar- In spite of renunciation, eating restricted live-food
  3. Apakva-aushadhibhakshan- Eating uncooked grain
  4. Dushpakva-aushadhibhakshan- Eating half cooked grain
  5. Asaaraushdhibhaksan- Eating non-nutritional grain

Everyone recognises poverty is a problem, but wealth is a bigger problem. That is why it is called a curse. Begging is a problem, and to create a situation for begging is even more dangerous. In fact, both poverty and luxury are undesirable. One of the main basis of luxury is the industries and huge factories. There are two viewpoints regarding this.

  1. People with humanitarian view are not in favour of large industrial enterprises for three reasons - Non-violence, Self-dependence, and Management with no exploitation. The bigger industries create possibility of violence. A few people only control large industries. The workers and laborers working at these industries are entirely dependent on them. They are exploited because due to their monopolistic power.
  2. The second viewpoint is finance based. People of this view are in favour of big industries. They opine that considering the increasing population, it is essential to increase the number of industries. Big industries can be the stepping stones for reaching the top of the visualized progress. Based on this idea, big industries have been established. As a result, the rich became richer and the poor, poorer. The gap between the rich and the poor has grown wider. A middle path, which neither increases poverty nor richness, is required in order to bridge this gap.

Farming or trading becomes the source of the livelihood of a shravak. This secures his independence and they can live and work with self-respect. He cannot survive without violence, but he is still inclined towards non-violence and moves in the direction of minimizing it.

b. Prohibited trades for a Shravak

Two types of industries or trades prohibited for a shravak are -

  1. Socially disapproved
  2. Involves cruelty

Industries such as export of meat are prohibited. Exploitation of workers and brutal behaviour with animals and birds are few examples of cruelty. Violence for the sake of luxuries and cosmetics is never praiseworthy and unacceptable for a shravak.

In ancient literature, fifteen types of karmaadaan (prohibited trades) have been mentioned. Some of them are considered to be undesirable from a cruelty viewpoint and some are from social view point. Today, ecological aspects are equally important. Everyone knows that deforesting is a karmaadaan and this profession is compounding ecological problems.

The fifteen types of karmaadaan are worth knowing. A shravak should not do them.


Angaar karma

- Industry involving heavy fire


Vana karma

- Industry involving in the deforestation (destruction of the



Shaatak karma

- Industry of pollution-causing vehicles


Bhaatak karma

- Industry involved in transportation of goods which

leads to pollution


Sfot karma

- Industry involved in uncontrolled mining of minerals


Dant vaanijya

- Trade of ivory


Rasa vaanijya

- Trade of alcohol or drugs


Laksha vaanijya

- Trade of lac-animal products


Visha vaanijya

- Trade for poisonous substances


Yantrapeelan karma

- Oil extracting industry


Kesha karma

- The animal fur trade

12. Nirlaanchhan karma

- Business of castrating bulls etc.

13. Davaagnidaapanata

- Industry which leads to burning down of forests

14. Saradraha-tadaagashoshan

- Profession of dehydrating the river or water resources

15. Asatijana-poshan

- Profession of poultry and nurturing of wild animals for their products

The above karmaadaans are related to bhogopabhoga-parimaana vrat.

  1. Anarthdand ViramanVrat

The third vow Anarthadand viraman vrat prevents from the violence unnecessary and caused by extreme cruelty.

Only a person with endless desires can have an instinct of extreme cruelty. Only a person with ceaseless desires can have an attitude of immeasurable consumption. Only a person with unlimited desires can have a drive for expansion of land or nation. Therefore, all three vows are connected to Ichchha Parimaan vrat which are also called gunavrat.


Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?

Acharya MahaPragya


Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Consumerism
  2. Gandhi
  3. Gandhiji
  4. Gunavrat
  5. Karma
  6. Mahatma
  7. Mahatma Gandhi
  8. Non-violence
  9. Rasa
  10. Shravak
  11. Violence
  12. vrat
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