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Acharanga Bhasyam: Preface To Chapter III

Published: 15.12.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

The title of the present chapter is 'Endurance of Cold and Hot'. This title is meaningful because here the tolerance of cold and hot in the practice of discipline is prescribed. Etymologically cold means cold environment, hot means hot environment. By implication the word 'cold' refers to the favorable and 'hot' the unfavorable condition. The Niryukti has related these two words to the twenty-two types of hardship. Among the hardships, woman and eulogy are 'cold', while others are 'hot'.[1] An alternative meaning of these two words has also been given in the Niryukti, viz. The harsh hardships are 'hot' and the mild ones 'cold'.[2]

In the Niryukti, while applying the process of linguistic analysis to 'cold' and 'hot', some varieties are mentioned such as frost, hail, snow, hail-stone, etc. as animate cold material objects; necklace etc. are inanimate ones. The clouds mixed with animate water are mixed cold material objects. The quality of coldness in matter is an immaterial cold object. The states of the soul - karmic suppression, elimination and elimination-cum-suppre- ssion—are immaterial cold objects. Similarly in linguistic analysis of the word hot, fire is an animate hot material object, the ray of the sun is an inanimate hot material object. The luke warm or warm water that is not boiled thrice is a mixed hot material object. The hotness of the matter is an inanimate immaterial object. The state of karmic rising in the soul is animate immaterial object. Anger and pride are hot, greed can be cold also from a particular standpoint. The state of karmic elimination is hot because otherwise it will not be compatible with the burning of the entire mass of karma.[3]

The subject matter of the present chapter is concerned with the endurance of cold and hot hardships by the monk. There are four sections in the present chapter, comprising the four topics:[4] (i) the unrestrained persons are asleep on account of spiritual slumber, (ii) people in spiritual slumber experience misery and suffering, (iii) by mere endurance of suffering,[5] or by mere inaction devoid of the practice of discipline a person cannot be a monk, (iv) the passions are to be got rid of.

The present chapter starts with the states of sleep and wakefulness. The sleep is as valuable for life as wakefulness. In the spiritual field, wakefulness alone is valuable, and not the state of sleep. It has, therefore, been said that the monks are always awake while others are always asleep. Even though one is sometimes asleep on account of the effective rise of the intuition-covering karma, he is not really in sleep as he is endowed with right vision and disgust for worldly life. It is only rise of the faith-deluding karma that is great sleep in the spiritual sense of the term. The person who has overcome such sleep is always awake. But the person who is under the influence of spiritual sleep induced by the rise of the faith-deluding karma is always asleep. This is the supramundane process of sleep and the awakened state.[6] The Niryukti has defined the demerits of the sleep state and the merits of the wakeful state. Just as a person who is asleep, mad and in coma is subject to incurable suffering, so the person in spiritual sleep is immersed in infinite suffering and misery. On the other hand, just as a wise person fleeing from burning fire enjoys pleasure (and avoids misery) so a person with the discerning knowledge of the miserable and the non- miserable courses of life enjoys pleasure by avoiding the pitfall of misery.[7]

In the present chapter, the doctrine of equality has been propounded.[8] As it is a treatise dealing with equality, the Ācārāṅga has been named 'sāmāyika' that is, a scripture propounding equality. The phrases versed in three sections[9] 'the supreme end'[10] etc. in this text are indicative of the antiquity of its composition. Here aphorisms propounding the doctrine of karma are also available.[11] In this chapter the 'world-view' meaning 'truth' is found construed with many others words.[12] Truthfulness which is of the nature of desisting from faleshood is none other than 'desisting from injury to life'. The sūtras like the following in the text do not stand for truthfulness of the nature of non-falsehood. But they are expressive of the truth of the nature of true faith or they explain the true nature of the soul and objects:

  • Be steadfast in the truth (3.40)
  • Man! you should cultivate only the truth (3.65)
  • The intelligent monk who is loyal to the truth crosses the domain of death or the sensuous desires. (3.66)

In Jainism, the doctrine of omniscience is found described in detail. The question whether the doctrine of omniscience has been accepted in the Ācārāṅga has been raised by scholars. There were indeed discussions of the doctrine in the treatises of medieval period, which are found here also. But from the statement 'this is the philosophy of the seer', (3.85) it is obvious that Jain philosophy is the philosophy of the seer, which did not arise out of logical argumentation. The seer also is qualified by two adjectives: The abandoner of the weapons of violence and non-violent, the maker of the end, that is, the maker of the end of the knowledge-obscuring karma (3.85). There arises disqualifying impediment due to karma (3.19). There is no such impediment for the seer (3.87). In these two sūtras, there is the base of the argument employed by the medieval logicians for proving omniscience that is, of the definite consummation of the existence of the varying degrees of knowledge is in a state of knowledge that is transcendent and perfect.[13] The ideal perfection of wisdom - the gradation of perfection must end somewhere, because it is ideal, like the ideal magnitude. By this kind of inference, the existence of ideal wisdom is proved, leading to the proof of omniscience, because the proof of the latter is of the nature of the proof of the former. There was another syllogistic argument: The subtle, the covered and distant objects are perceived by somebody, because they are knowable like ajar and the like. The omniscience is also proved by the non­contradiction of astronomical knowledge as it is said: If the knowledge of absolutely unperceivable objects were not possible, how could the uncontradicted astronomical knowledge be possible? If such knowledge were admitted as due to scriptural knowledge, the latter (scriptural knowledge) would be another proof to the existence of omniscience.[14]

Moreover there is no contradiction available for the thesis of omniscience.[15]

The dialogue between the kālāsaveśiyaputta and the elders in the order of Mahāvīra shows the doctrine of six fundamental constituents of the discipline propounded by Lord Mahāvīra[16] -

    1. Observing equanimity by desisting from all kinds of harmful activities in thought, word and deed (3.30)
    2. Undertaking of vows (1.11; 3.28; 3.46)
    3. Self-restraint (3.4)
    4. Inhibition of the inflow of karma (3.86)
    5. Perception of the otherness of the soul from the body (4.73-74)
    6. Abandonment of attachment to the body, passions and the like (8/8/5,29)

In this Āgama, all these six constituents are found described as noticed above. There is no clear mention of the five great vows, unlike those that are found in the Sūtrakṛtāṅga.[17] In this connection it should be asserted that, in the discourses of Lord Mahāvīra, the five great vows are the members in the elaboration of the principle of equanimity. The exposition of the principle of the soul is intimately related with equanimity, as in the Bhagavatī the identity of the soul with equanimity has been clearly mentioned (1.426).[18] This is also found in the Samayasāra (gāthā 277).[19 ]

In this chapter, the causes of the rebirth[20] and immortality[21] have been described. Here spirituality has been properly explained.[22] Equanimity is possible only in desisting from weapon of violence. It is not possible in the acts of violence because they are mutually incompatible. This chapter, therefore, deserves a very careful study.


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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,
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. Cūrṇi
  4. Dhammo
  5. Discipline
  6. Environment
  7. Equanimity
  8. Greed
  9. Jain Philosophy
  10. Jainism
  11. Karma
  12. Mahāvīra
  13. Niryukti
  14. Pride
  15. Samayasāra
  16. Soul
  17. Sūtrakṛtāṅga
  18. Tolerance
  19. Violence
  20. Vṛtti
  21. Ācārāṅga
  22. Āgama
  23. Āyāro
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