Acharanga Bhasyam: Sūtras 174-186 : Preaching Sermons

Published: 13.12.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

2.174 jahā puṇṇassa katthai, tahā tucchassa katthai, jahā tucchassa katthai, tahā puṇṇassa katthai.

Whatever is preached to the fortunate is preached to the unfortunate; whatever is preached to the unfortunate is preached to the fortunate.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 174

In the absence of self-realization, equality cannot materialise in practical life. The person who has realized the self does not strive for anything else. He exerts only for the realization of the self. And therefore, he explains the principle of non-possession in the same manner to the person of a low as to that of a high status. Conversely he explains it in the same manner to the high as he does to the low. Religion should be preached only for the purpose of shaking off the karma.[1] The person who contemplates on the self preaches the religion for the same purpose. And, therefore, for him, the discrimination between the high who possesses fortune and the low who suffers from poverty becomes senseless.[2]

The principle of non-possession is equally beneficial to the rich and the poor. Although there is fortune with one, and absence of fortune with the other, clinging is active in both. And, therefore, the instruction of the principle of non-possession is to be imparted with the same seriousness to the poor as to the rich, in order to get them released from clinging. No special attention should be given to the rich. The doctrine should be preached to the rich with same care as to the poor, and there should be no feeling of hatred towards the rich.

    2.175 avi ya haṇe aṇādiyamāṇe.

    Feeling offended, the heretic may strike the preacher.

    Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 175

    If the preacher of the essence of religion expresses any sort of disrespect towards any person, the person held in disrespect may hurt the preacher. The hurting here implies physical assault, or anger or rejection of the religion propounded by him. Unpleasant remarks like "these rich people are thieves" do not help the teacher to convince the rich of the merit of the religion. Similarly the comment such as "these poor people are born in low families due to their demeritorious deeds, they have uncomfortable beds, like in poor houses, rotten food, and so on" are not beneficial to the propagation of the doctrine. On the contrary, such remarks and comments would dissuade the people from repeating their visits to the preacher and instigate them to abuse the preacher instead.

    2.176 etthaṃpi jāṇa, seyaṃti ṇatthi.

    You should know that imprudent preaching is not beneficial.

    Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 176

    Obsession with a fixed idea or attachment to a particular thought is a kind of possessiveness. A person engaged in the cultivation of non- Possessiveness should explain his own thoughts in a manner that the non- Possessive attitude of himself as well as the listener may develop in a proper way.

    One should appreciate in this connection that one should exercise his power of discrimination in propounding the essence of religion. Nothing good will result in the absence of discrimination. The discrimination of one's own power and ability is the first step. A preacher possessed of the extraordinary ability for religious sermons should take resort to didactic narrative of all the four types namely:

    1. ākṣepaṇī: tale producing attraction towards knowledge and conduct
    2. vikṣepaṇī: tale propounding the right path
    3. samvejanī: tale producing fear for worldly life
    4. nirvedaṇī: tale producing disgust for worldly life.[3]

    A beginner should restrict himself only to the first two types of narratives. He should not touch any topic concerned with philosophy. If a person of immature knowledge embarks upon philosophical discussion, he may fail to solve the intricate problems that may arise, and consequently would land himself upon untoward situation.

    The second step is the discrimination about the locality. The preacher should know the nature of the philosophy that prevails in the locality, before embarking upon religious discourses through deductive narratives. Otherwise there may arise unnecessary disputes ending in undesirable consequences.

    The third step is the discrimination about the time. The religious sermon should be delivered with due regard to the occasion.

    The fourth step is the discrimination about the inclination and attitude of the audience. This is directly stated in the Sutra that follows -

      2.177 ke yaṃ purise? kaṃ ca ṇae?

      The preacher should know the person whom he preaches and also the doctrine the latter believes in.

      Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 177

      In connection with religious discourses, a due estimate should be made about the nature of the listener as to whether he is fortunate or unfortunate, whether he is of mild or harsh nature, whether he is a man of faith or inclined to rational argumentation, whether he is inquisitive or prone to disputes.

      Moreover, the inclination of the person regarding the philosophy or the philosopher he is devoted to or convinced of should be ascertained.

      2.178 esa vīre pasaṃsie, je baddhe paḍimoyae.

      Praiseworthy indeed is the hero who redeems those who are bound by karma.

      Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 178

      The monk who delivers religious discourses in the above manner and redeems people from karmic bondage is indeed worthy of being extolled as the best[4] among the religious preachers. People indeed are bound by their predispositions, past karmas, and impressions created thereby, and possessiveness. The aforesaid religious preacher devoid of the power of discrimination cannot redeem them from those predispositions etc. Only the preacher who is free from obsessive notions, and is possessed of non- absolutistic attitude, reconciling spirit and feeling of equality can redeem them. Such person is held in high respect everywhere on account of his personal goodness.

      2.179 uḍḍhaṃ ahaṃ tiriyaṃ disāu, se sawato sawapariṇṇacārī.

      Such monk is guided by his all-pervasive power of comprehension in all direction: above, below, and horizontal.

      Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 179

      Such person, being free from possessiveness, behaves with full power of comprehension, exerting his whole personality in all directions - above, below and horizontal - at all times. He experiences absolute distinction between the soul and body and performs the necessary duties not being swayed by attachment and hatred. This is, indeed, the result of his conduct with all embracing power of comprehension.

      2.180 ṇa lippaī chaṇapaeṇa vīre.

      He is not tainted by the acts of violence.

      Bhāsyam Sūtra 180

      Such hero does not get stained by the acts of violence. Who, and in what manner, can remain untainted in this world full of sentient beings and non- sentient objects of temptation? Every moment there arise occasions for temptation of violence and possessiveness. But inspite of all this a person of good conduct with all embracing power of comprehension perceives the absolute distinction between soul and body and does not lend himself to possessiveness. Violence is born of possessiveness. The person free from possessiveness lives in vigilance and self-awareness, and so he does not get tainted by violence even when engaged in worldly activities.

      The present Sūtra discloses the heart of the principle of non­violence and defines the distinction between physical and spiritual violence.

      The docntrine of the untained state of the soul is very ancient. This is found in the Uttāradhyayana, 25/39 which says: "Tainting takes place in the case of the person who is addicted to sensual objects but it does not affect him who is free from such addiction."[5]

      In the Bhagavad Gītā also it is propounded that tainting does not occur in a person endowed with equanimity:

      "Even when engaged in any activity, a person is not tainted by it, if he is equanimous, pure, self-conquerer of self, subduer of the senses, and identified with the self of all other beings."[6]

        2.181 se mehāvī aṇugghāyaṇassa kheyaṇṇe, je ya baṃdhappamokkh- amaṇṇesī.

        The monk who is in search of liberation from bondage is intelligent and the realizer of the secret of non-injury.

        Bhṣyaṃ  Sūtra 181

        The wise man who is in search of the release from karmic bondage acquires knowledge of non-injury. 'Injury' means violence. 'Non-injury is non­violence. There is karmic bondage due to violence. And therefore, for the release from bondage, the knowledge of non-violence and also non- possessiveness which is the condition of the non-violence is indispensable. In the Cūrṇi, the explanation of the word 'aṇugghāyaṇa’ is given differently: aṇaṃ[7] means karma; its udghatanam means production (utpādanam). The wise man knows the cause of production of karma.

        2.182 kusale puṇa ṇo baddhe, ṇo mukke. The adept is neither bound nor unbound. Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 182

        In investigating the problem of liberation from bondage, the curiosity naturally arises: "Is the release from bondage possible in this world fraught with possessiveness and violence? In reply the Sūtra says: The adept is the person who is guided by all pervasive power of comprehension.[8] He is also called the liberated in embodied existence.[9] Even while living in this world, he is not bound by any sort of attachment to worldly things, that leads to karmic bondage. He is however not released from the bare necessities of life.[10]

        While engaged in activities with full self-awareness, he does not produce any kind of bondage, even though he is not disengaged from all activities.

        In the Cūrṇi and the Vṛtti, other explanations are also available:

        1. The wise man is not bound by unwholesome tendencies such as non-abstinence. He is not devoid of wholesome tendencies such as good conduct and penance.

        2. The wise man is not affected by the experience of suffering liberated in embodied existence as he is. But as he lives in the world that is full of suffering, he is not liberated from the latter.

        The adept one is he in whom attachment is absolutely extinct. He does not incur long term bondage caused by passions, which is the seed of worldly life. He is however not absolutely liberated, because there are some karmic veils and the like that still linger on until he attains disembodied liberation.

        Or, the adept one is the omniscient Jina. He is not bound by the knowledge-covering veils and the like. Still he is not freed from the non­destructive karmas that are responsible for embodied existence in the world.

          1.183 se jaṃ ca ārabhe, jaṃ ca ṇārabhe, aṇāraddhaṃ ca ṇārabhe.

          The adept engages himself in some acts and disengages from others. Other monks should not engage in acts not practised by the adept.

          Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 183

          For the release from bondage, scriptural injunctions and prohibitions should also be properly comprehended. Whatever is done by the adept, whatever he practises is affirmative injunction. Whatever he does not practise is prohibition. These two are the conditions of the release from bondage. The performance of what is prohibited by the adept is the condition of bondage. Therefore, an aspirant to the release from bondage should not indulge in what is prohibited by the adept. One may practise according to his capacity what is practised by the adept, but one should not do what is not approved by the adept. The injunction ‘one should not do what has not been practised by the adept’ has been introduced in order to bring home the aforesaid truth.

          2.184 chaṇaṃ chaṇaṃ pariṇṇāya, logasaṇṇaṃ ca savvaso.

          The monk should comprehend and abandon every occasion of violence. Similarly he should comprehend and abandon the dispositions that promote worldly life.

          Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 184

          The worldly disposition stands for possessiveness or attachment to worldly things. Thoroughly comprehending, that is, discriminating that the worldly disposition generates violence, he should give that up. Along with that he should renounce the violence generated by the worldly disposition. In the present Sūtra, the causal relation between the possessiveness and violence has been established. The worldly disposition is the 'cause' and 'violence' is the 'effect'.[11]

          2.185 uddeso pāsagassa ṇatthi.

          The seer is not amenable to description.

          Bhāṣyaṃ  Sūtra 185

          The person who can see the pitfall of possessiveness and the merits of non- possessiveness does not need any description. By what an object is described is the 'description'. For example, 'this person is in worldly bondage', 'this person is liberated', 'this person is happy', 'this person is unhappy', and so on. For a person who has perfected the virtue of non- possessiveness and achieved the state of a pure indifferent seer, there is no need of description that indicates bondage or release. A seer is simply a seer. By dint of his pure seership, he is not subject to the states of bondage or release. A person who succumbs to temptation of possessions or worldly things is not worthy of being a seer. One who experiences pure consciousness only is a worthy seer.

          Here the word description stands for any qualification of the subject. In the concluding part (aphorism 87) of the third chapter, it has been asserted that "a seer has no qualification." The word description should be construed with the word qualification for the purpose of interpretation. The person who experiences the states of happiness and misery caused by karma, acquires qualification,[12] and to such person alone the description is applicable. The person who experiences pure consciousness has nothing to do with such description.[13]

            2.186 bāle puṇa ṇihe kāmasamaṇuṇṇe asamiyadukkhe dukkhī dukkhāṇameva āvaṭṭaṃ aṇupariyaṭṭai. - tti bemi.

            An ignorant person is full of affection and he desires pleasurable things. His suffering is not mitigated. Being miserable he revolves in the whirl of suffering. - Thus do I say.

            Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 186

            The person who is not a seer is called an ignoramus though he may be aged or young, because he is ignorant and dominated by greed and ignorance. He indulges in enjoyments indiscriminately and is surfeited with lust. He elishes sensuous objects, and as a result, fails to get rid of his sufferings, leads a miserable life and is caught up in the whirlpool of miseries.

            The enjoyment of sensual objects, even though it produces temporary satisfaction, is sure to cause misery in the long run. Such enjoyment, therefore, is nothing but unalloyed misery. The implication is that the person who approves of desirable objects cannot cross the whirlpool of misery.[14]


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              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,
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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. Bhāṣya
              3. Body
              4. Consciousness
              5. Cūrṇi
              6. Equanimity
              7. Fear
              8. Greed
              9. Hiṃsā
              10. Jina
              11. Kama
              12. Karma
              13. Karmas
              14. Kuśala
              15. Muni
              16. Non-violence
              17. Omniscient
              18. Prakrit
              19. Soul
              20. Space
              21. Sutra
              22. Sādhanā
              23. Sūtra
              24. Violence
              25. Vṛtti
              26. Ācārāṅga
              27. Āyāro
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