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Who is a Jain Shravak: 22 ►Upshot of Jain Lifestyle

Published: 10.03.2020

Ayurveda aims not only at curing diseases, but also intensely focuses on preventing them from recurring in the future. In spite of many therapies and medicines, diseases are increasing. It is apparent that a major cause is the current life style which has several shortfalls.

The Aspects of Present Lifestyle

The key aspects of present lifestyle are competition, rashness, impatience, intolerance, and non-restraint. These factors imbalance the secretions of endocrine glands and consequently ailments are invited. Heart specialists invariably suggest changing one's lifestyle.

Today, mental imbalance, instability and negative attitude have increased, which have raised the rate of mental disorders. Therefore, psychologists also advocate altering lifestyle.

Problems such as violence, terrorism, family-conflict, quarrels, divorce, dowry-related violence, feticides, etc. are growing. Spiritual leaders believe that all these are a consequence of a lifestyle devoid of spirituality. Therefore, there is need to change the way of life.

Similar voice for changing the lifestyle echoes from every corner. AcharyaTulsi has voiced his concerns directly or indirectly and presented a systematic structure of Jain way of life. This structure is designed by keeping Jain followers at the core and all human beings at periphery because it is based on the Jain values and principles. Simultaneously, it paves the path towards a healthy life which any human being can adopt. The maxims of this structure are a panacea for physical and mental ailments, valuable for emotional cure and awakener of the spiritual consciousness.

Life is an amalgamation of body, breath, sense-organs, vital energy, mind, emotion and consciousness. Such lifestyle is praiseworthy which results in a healthy body, rhythmic breath, well-functioning senses, vibrating vital energy, focused mind, pure emotions and awakened consciousness. The nine maxims of Jain lifestyle are based on this foundation.

1. Right Faith (Samyak Darshan)

Worldly life is concomitant with attachment. It is necessary and benevolent if it is controlled by detachment thereby keeping it in balance. A balanced life is the specific motto of a Jain lifestyle.

To have faith in dev (arihant), guru and dharm is right faith.

 The upshots of right faith:

  1. Development of right perspective
  2. Development of positive attitude
  3. Subsidence of intense anger, conceit, deceit and greed

Perverted perspective becomes a barrier for peaceful co-existence, humility, brotherhood, amity, simplicity and honesty in business. Right faith overcomes these obstacles and endows life with energy.

2. Relative Perspective (Anekant)

Relative perspective, harmony, and peaceful co-existence are fundamentals for a social life. Life is interdependent and for this reason along with giving importance to one's own views, one must understand views of others. Whoever practices relative perspective and non-persistence can live a healthy social life.

What I think is partial truth and what others think is not the truth is against the concept of Relative Perspective. A person can maintain happy relationships only if he maintains harmony between his own thoughts and those of others.

The development of relative and non-persistence perspective is the foundation of peaceful co-existence. Absolute perspective and persistence make the life dry, disappointed, and depressed. Lifestyle with relative perspective develops humbleness. Consequently, quarrels and disputes are reduced and family and social life become beautiful, happy, and charming.

The entire world is in dire need of improving human relationships. It can only occur with relative perspectives.

The upshot of relative perspective is as follows:

  1. Development of relative perspective
  2. Development of harmonious attitude
  3. Development of attitude of adjustment within controversial issues
  4. Development of attitude of non-persistence and humbleness

 3. Non-violence (Ahimsa)

Worldly life and violence are difficult to be independent of one another, yet a person endowed with right faith considers minimizing violence. This thought is an important step towards development of non-violence. The first maxim of minimizing violence is avoidance of unnecessary violence.

Man commits unnecessary violence due to remissness, attachment or craving. A person living a non-violent life should try to minimize necessary violence and avoid unnecessary violence.

Cruelty is the cause of violence. It is the underlying essence for assassination and feticide. Anger seems to be the reason behind suicide. Moreover, the obvious motive behind production of cosmetics seems to be beauty and glamour, but the implicit cause is brutality.

Anyone, who renounces unnecessary violence, does not misuse natural resources such as soil, water and plants.

The upshots of a non-violent lifestyle are:

  1. Development of empathy or care
  2. Prevention of environmental pollution
  3. Development of amity for all living beings

4. Ascetic Culture (Saman Sanskriti)

The vital element of Jain lifestyle is saman culture. 'Saman' is a Prakrit word, which has three forms viz. saman, shaman and shraman.

saman: One who is endowed with pure mind and believes in the equality of all living beings akin to his own soul.

shaman: One who purges his impulses and anger.

shraman: One who is an ascetic, industrious and self-dependent.

If I ask, 'would you like yourself to be considered inferior or lower than others, while others accept themselves as superior? Would you like someone to be aggressive frequently and misbehave with you? Would you like others to exploit you'?

If the answers are all in negation, then you need to change your way of life. Respect all living beings as you would respect yourself. Never treat others inferior. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Practice to pacify your aggression and impulses. Do not impede others livelihood.

The upshots of the lifestyle of Saman culture are:

  1. Unity of mankind
  2. End of racial disgust and apartheid
  3. Peaceful co-existence
  4. Balanced behaviour
  5. Development of self-reliance

5. Control of Desires (Ichchha Parimaan)

The quantity of material goods is limited, though consumption is more. The desires of consumers are even much more. To solve this problem BhagawanMahavira has given the maxim of limiting desires. Man does not like to live with limited ownership, whereas unlimited ownership is not acceptable for a healthy society. Therefore, the middle path is to control desires and limit one's personal ownership, accumulations and personal consumption.

Although controlling desires is a challenge in today's blind race of economic competition and growth, yet there is a solution.

The upshots of controlling the desires are:

  1. Contribution while earning
  2. Healthy society

6. Right Livelihood (Samyak Aajivika)

One cannot survive without food, and begging is denounced. Thus, the only acceptable means left for survival is establishing a livelihood. Each householder is dependent upon it for his survival. Anyone believing in non-violence and limiting desires becomes aware of pure means of making money. He does not earn simply by any means. He chooses means which harms neither his own character nor the social fabric.

The upshots of right livelihood are:

  1. Purity and honesty in business
  2. Avoiding businesses dealing with intoxicants such as liquor etc., non-edibles such as meat, fish, egg etc.
  3. Avoiding smuggling
  4. Not engaging in adulteration
  5. Avoiding cosmetics business which implicitly involves violence
  6. Avoiding deforestation

7. Right Values (Samyak Sanskaar)

An aimless life leads nowhere. Direction which leads to a destination can only be the true direction. The destination of life should be the ground of equanimity, balance and self-victory. The inculcation of such values is required right from the onset of life. Personality is judged through values and deportments during specific occasions such as ceremony of birth, naming, wedding, festival and at the time of someone's demise. The values of Jain lifestyle should not go against space and time, should not be entangled in unrealistic traditions, should not lead to blind imitation and unhealthy entertainment and should not sow the seed of violence and antagonism in the society.

The upshots of right values are:

  1. Use of the word 'Jai Jinendra' in greetings, letter writing etc.
  2. Priority of the Jain pictures and quotations in house decorations

8. Purity of Food and Addiction-Free Life (Aahar Shuddhi aur Vyasan Mukti)

Purity of food is not a subject matter confined only to religious books but has also become the concern of medical health and behavioral psychology. As per an old saying - as is the food, so will be the mind. Science has contributed marginally more - as is the food, so will be the neurotransmitter and as is the neurotransmitter, so will be the behavior.

Non-vegetarian food causes contraction of blood capillaries and increase possibility of heart problems and diseases.

Liquor affects lungs and liver. Tobacco contains nicotine which is a harmful element. Anyone who consumes tobacco in the form of cigarette, bidi, zarda or pan-parag (indigenous tobacco addictions), nicotine gets accumulated in the body, which causes contraction in the blood vessels and the consumer is more prone to having heart disease, cancer and many other diseases.

Other addictions such as gambling create stress. Therefore, a man wishing for mental peace and happiness, gambling is a curse. It is necessary to stay away from it.

The upshots of purity of food and addiction free life are:

  1. Healthy and balanced life
  2. Improvement in physical, mental and emotional health
  3. Away from criminal attitudes

9. Ethnic Affection (SaadharmikVaatsaly)

Many factors are responsible for the establishment of social organization. Organizations are based on tribes and some are based on clans within the tribe. Some associations are religion based. People having faith in the same religion have the feeling of unity. To strengthen such feelings, a powerful maxim is - the one who believes in Namaskar Mahamantra is my brethren.

The first purpose of SaadharmikVaatsaly is to keep the homo-ethnic person stable in religion.

The second purpose is - the person who is not Jain by birth can become Jain through his actions and can lead a good life by accepting purity of food and addiction free life with right faith.

Jain religion could reach to the common masses in south India because of its pragmatic form of the four-fold charity applied due to SaadharmikVaatsaly.

The four types of charity are that of - education (gyaan), health-treatment (chikitsa), livelihood (anna) and fearless environment (abhaya).

The upshots of Saadharmik Vaatsaly are:

  1. Love for non-violence
  2. Communal harmony
  3. Religious or sectarian harmony

Sources

Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?
Author: 

Acharya MahaPragya

Translator: 

Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Edition: 
2019
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. Abhaya
  2. Ahimsa
  3. Anekant
  4. Anger
  5. Arihant
  6. Ayurveda
  7. Body
  8. Communal Harmony
  9. Conceit
  10. Consciousness
  11. Darshan
  12. Deceit
  13. Dharm
  14. Environment
  15. Equanimity
  16. Greed
  17. Guru
  18. Mukti
  19. Namaskar Mahamantra
  20. Non-violence
  21. Prakrit
  22. Saman
  23. Samyak Darshan
  24. Science
  25. Shraman
  26. Soul
  27. Space
  28. Violence
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