Acharanga Bhasyam: Preface To Chapter II

Published: 11.11.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

The title of the present chapter is 'Pondering over the Nature of the World'. The author of the Cūrṇi explains the word 'world' as the world of passions.[1] The word 'world' has many meanings. Therefore the meaning proposed by the author of the Cūrṇi  is not improper. A critical study of the present chapter easily leads to the interpretation of the 'loka' (world) as ‘lobha' (greed). In the first chapter the principle of non-injury to life had been propounded. There the reference to the principle of non-possession was naturally made. The plausibility of the meaning of greed is strengthened by the expression like 'the sense of 'mine’-ness' (mamāyamāṇaṃ)[2] and grasping (parigijjha)[3] used in the text. In the Sthānāṅga also, it is said that a person can not find an opportunity to listen to the religious discourses and the like on account of his involvement in violent activity and possessiveness. He achieves such opportunity through his withdrawal of interest in them.[4]

The author of the Niryukti has explained the word ‘vijaya[5] It will be proper to convert the word 'vijaya' into 'vicaya’ In Prakrit, the word vicaya is easily replaced by vijaya. For instance, the expression 'ājñāvicaya' is found as 'āṇāvyaya'[6] in Prakrit.

This chapter has six sections. The author of the Niryukti has indicated the subject matter of these sections thus:[7] -

  1. One should not develop attachment to one's relations.
  2. One should not have laxity in self-discipline; and should cultivate indifference to the sensual objects and the passions.
  3. One should not be proud of his caste (social position), should not feel depressed on account of his low caste, and should appreciate the unimportance of wealth and fortune.
  4. One should not indulge in sensual enjoyments.
  5. Only for the maintenance of disciplined life, one should depend on the householders (strictly according to the rules).
  6. One should always avoid the sense of'mine'-ness in all activities. All these are concerned with the principle of non-possessiveness.

In this chapter, there are significant aphorisms concerned with the subject of possessiveness:

"Only he who forswears the instinct of acquisitiveness is competent to renounce his possessions."[8]

"Austerity, or the curbing of passions, or self-control is not seen in an acquisitive person."[9]

"He should abstain from acquisitiveness." [10]

The compound word 'logavipassῑ’ in this chapter draws our special attention. By this compound the process of Vipaśyanā meditation is indicated. By the word 'āyatacakkhu' (a person of 'wide-open-eyes') the process of perception without blinking or what is called trāṭaka is indicated.[11]

The essence of ascetic life of Lord Mahāvῑra is freedom from non-vigilance. On this topic a penetrating proposition is available here:

Lord Mahāvῑra said: "An aspirant should be vigilant against incontinence."[12]

"A wise man has nothing more to do with infatuation."[13]

Lord Mahāvῑra was a great propounder of self-exertion and self-independence. This is why special importance has been attached to the 'seer' or the 'perceiver' in the doctrine of the Lord. Thus the Lord has said: You should perceive instead of only pondering.[14]

In the field of self-cultivation, the principle of contemplation on the antidote of the evil is approved on the ground of self-experience. In Jain psychology, there are four fundamental passions: anger, pride, deceit and greed. Subjugation of these propensities is possible only by contemplation on their antidotes. Greed is the most vicious factor that cannot be calmed down by means of gain. Even as there is the inclination towards greed, just so there is present the predilection for non-greed. According to the doctrine of karma, greed is the product of the rise of the deluding karma, and absence of greed is due to the destruction-cum-subsidence of the deluding karma. In every creature, there is the destruction-cum-subsidence of the deluding karma, just like its rising. When there is non-vigilance, the state of destruction-cum-subsidence becomes defunct, whereas the state of the karmic rise is active. In the absence of non-vigilance, the state of destruction-cum-subsidence becomes active, whereas the state of karmic rise is defunct. In the case of someone who is residing under water, when the hand is engaged in clearing the moss, one can see the sky and the stars; when, however, the hand is inactive, the moss spreads over and obstructs the vision of the sky. The first outcome of the Lord's discourse is the development of self-awareness and vigilance. The manifestation of the state of the destruction-cum-subsidence is the outcome of the discourse. The second outcome is the subjugation and uprooting of the greed through the experience of non-greed ingrained in the self.[15]

The central theme of the present chapter is the resolve of non-possessiveness.[16] For the security of this resolve, the relinquishing of the sense of 'mine'-ness towards the body and the things is propounded here.[17]

The discipline of good conduct is the central theme of the Ācārāṅga. This discipline is further concerned with the discipline of the ascetic and that too is laid down for the achievement of nirvāṇa. In addition to this, a good many aphorisms available in the present chapter, concern practical life. They are most useful for ordering the society and also personal life. It is universally recognised by all that on the deterioration of the senses, one is confronted with old age and decay.[18] The scholars of sociology and economics hold in high regard the doctrine of doing what had never been done by their predecessors. But the lopsidedness of the doctrine becomes manifest when the person holding the view is attacked by disease of old age or becomes helpless when nearing his end, finding no rescue or shelter.[19]

In the present chapter, thus, the obvious facts of life are set in their proper perspective. The repeated diving deep into the ocean of truth is the only way to salvage the pearls of truth.

Footnotes
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Sources

Publishers:
Jain Vishwa Bharati

Ladnun- 341 306 (Raj.) India © Jain Vishva Bharti

ISBNS 1-7195-74-4

First Edition:2001

Courtesy :
Shree Chhotulal Sethia Charitable Trust Sethia House, 23/24,
Radha Bazar Street, Kolkata-700 001 (INDIA)

Printed by:
Shree Vardhaman Press
Delhi (INDIA)

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Contemplation
  4. Cūrṇi
  5. Deceit
  6. Discipline
  7. Greed
  8. Karma
  9. Lord Mahāvῑra
  10. Meditation
  11. Nirvāṇa
  12. Niryukti
  13. Prakrit
  14. Pride
  15. Ācārāṅga
  16. Āyāro
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