I And Mine: [03.02.02] - 8 Formulas For Making Individual Efforts To Attain Liberation - 2. Purifying the Senses (2)

Published: 08.12.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

The Problem Of Purification Of Senses

The visible world is characterized by sound, form, taste, smell and touch. We come into its contact through our senses. There is no direct relation of the mind with the visible world. Its relation is established only through the senses. The relation of sound, form, taste, smells and touch with the senses cannot be prevented. But the attachment to them can be prevented. At one place in Uttaradhyayan a disciple asks the Acharya: 'Revered One! What does one get by having intense love for religion?' The Acharya replies 'Having deep love for religion gives happiness - aversion to sensual pleasures.' It is the same principle - love for religion and aversion to the external world. This is also the call of restraint. The word sanyam (restraint) is derived from the root. We were getting more and more absorbed in material objects; it has now reversed. We are now completely absorbed in the self and this is verily restraint. While practising restraint, the doors of the senses are not closed, but the doors of the inner self are opened. We are not opposed to the world of objects. The senses and sensual pleasures are neither our enemies nor our friends. They have their own identity and characteristic features.

In his book Sadhak-Badhak, Jayacharya has written that mentality is both a help and a hindrance. When it is guided by attachment it becomes a hindrance. It is because of our weakness that the mind becomes antagonistic to the body. Both are different from each other. We have to treat them as separate entities and not as the same as we do now. Therefore, let us take a vow saying, 'I am different from my body.' The soul is endowed with eternal bliss. There is no joy in mortifying the body; It has come to be commonly said that the more you mortify the body, the more religious you are. I would like to ask you whether religion is connected with suffering or with self-realization. If it is connected with self-realization, a man can be religious whether he suffers or not. And if it is not connected with self-realization - with the power of consciousness - a man cannot be religious, suffering or no suffering. An individual undergoes a month long fast and the first meal he takes after the fast is so meagre that it occupies no more space than the tip of a blade of grass. Again he goes in for a month-long fast. However, if even such an austere person's soul is not morally upright, he continues till eternity to be bound to the cycle of life and death, and is not liberated. If mere mortification of the body could ensure liberation, it would have been achieved by many. What is needed is a steady practice of spirituality in a natural manner and willingness to endure suffering when it befalls. It will kindle spirituality.

  • Making the senses suffer is not our goal.
  • The goal is to operate them in a spirit of detachment.

This is the principle of withdrawing the senses from the external objects. By practising it we make the senses more introvert than extrovert. Consequently, their receptive limits get changed - only that which is essential is received or registered and the inessential is abstained from. In this way one is able to draw a clear line between the useful and the useless.


I sense a great danger in this absorption into the self. This feeling of self-love can with the passage of time turn into selfishness. I am not in the least interested in selfish motivation.

Muni Shree:

You are using the term self-love to mean something different from absorption into the self. The latter strengthens the urge to attain highest spiritual good. Selfishness is yet another form of attachment. On the other hand, absorption into the self is abandonment of attachment. The source of attachment is passion , which comprises anger, pride, deceit and greed. Passion cannot be given up. In daily speech one does hear. 'I have given up being angry (anger), Ash can cover fire, it cannot extinguish it. Anger is not given up; it manifests itself. It loses all its power once consciousness is awakened. Renunciation belongs to the world of vows or strong pledges and when something has been renounced, it is an indication of fulfilment of the vow. A vow touches the inner being but cannot identify with it. If there had been an identity between language and meaning the mere uttering of 'I am non-violent' would have rendered the speaker non-violent. Mere articulation of a word does not enact its meaning. If it had not been so, mere naming a sweet would have satiated the hunger. But it is not the case. 'Restraint and 'regulation' differ in this very respect. Regulation is an external compulsion; restraint is the awakening of inner consciousness.

Attachment has a negative force and detachment has a positive force. Positive force is a characteristic of man's nature. When it is developed the unnatural negative force is automatically destroyed. Practising the above principle is also very necessary for purifying the senses.

  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Anger
  3. Body
  4. Consciousness
  5. Deceit
  6. Greed
  7. Jayacharya
  8. Muni
  9. Pride
  10. Sanyam
  11. Soul
  12. Space
  13. Uttaradhyayan
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