Monday, December 24, 2012

Difference between Philosophy & Religion

RELIGION IS EXISTENTIAL, Philosophy is Analytical. Knowledge has to be analytical; it can’t be existential. Knowing has to be existential; it can’t be analytical. If you want to know, forget all about analysis; otherwise, you will come across MUCH knowledge but never will you become a knower. If you want to know a flower, don’t dissect it – otherwise you will destroy it. Be with it, in absolute quietness, with a throbbing, loving heart. Breathe it in, dance around it, sing a song, or be silent!

Play upon a guitar, or on a flute. These are the ways to become friendly to the flower. When you are playing on a flute, the flower starts leaning towards you, the flower becomes open. He understands... a friend has come. He knows when the cuckoo calls, he knows when a peacock dances – he will know you too if you sing a song or play on the flute or dance a dance around it. Those are the languages he understands. Or SILENCE he understands – the silence of the stars and the earth..

Just be silently with the flower! Or let tears flow, let your tears drop on the flower. He understands that language too. When it rains and it has a contact with the clouds.... But be existential, don’t be analytical  and the flower will release its secrets to you. "

Saturday, December 8, 2012

True Meaning of Renunciation

In Jainism renunciation has nothing to do with abandonment of outer things but abandoning our attachment to the outer things is the real definition of renunciation.  “External renunciation is meaningless if the soul remains fettered by internal shackles”, said Lord Mahavir. According to the teachings of all omniscient Tirthankaras, “We need nothing to renounce, because there is nothing to renounce. All the external things can never be achieved because the soul is an independent substance and has no relation with the external souls and matter.” Similarly, there is nothing that we can gain because the soul is complete with infinite bliss. All we need is to shift our vision from the outer world to the inner world by gaining the true knowledge of the attributes of the soul and its discrimination from the matter and other souls. If the right perception and conduct are then taken, then it leads to ultimate liberation.

All we need is to change our inner intent and focus the cognitive faculty (upa-yoga) to the pure nature of the soul. If the inner intent is purified then true renunciation is achieved. And when true renunciation is achieved the attachment towards the worldly things automatically ceases.

To understand this fact more deeply we need to go through a beautiful Jain story.

Once there lived a monk who had renounced all his luxury and became a nirgranth (unattached) monk. After renunciation he used to meditate day and night in solitary places. When meditating, he would stand like a statue and fix his eyes on an object in front of him and stop all his activities of mind, speech and body and remain in tune with the soul. Soon his fame spread all over and he became known as a great renouncer. Many people wanted to see him but it was hard to find him as he was living in the deep jungles. Once he arrived in a town to spend the four months of rainy season. All the people of that town wanted to see him. All were standing in a queue.

The king of that town also heard the news and his eagerness to meet the monk found no limit. He quickly approached the monk, bowed down to him and said, “oh monk! You have renounced all worldly attachments, you are great renouncer!” The monk grasped the king’s as well as the people’s wrong understanding about renunciation so he decided to teach them the true meaning of renunciation. He stood up and bowed down the king! Everyone present there were dumbfounded and there was a pin drop silence. The king asked the monk, “oh venerable, why are you bowing down to me? I am a worldly being and having attachment towards my wealth and kingdom.” The monk replied, “Oh king! If giving up only the kingdom is the definition of renunciation according to you then you’re great renouncer than me because I have renounced just my kingdom but you have renounced your soul which is full of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite power and infinite bliss!” He further said, “Now tell me, oh king! Which one is greater? The kingdom or your own soul? I actually have renounced nothing but have gained my real self. To gain something more precious than you have, you will give up attachment towards the things you already have because something more precious is there and that is your own soul.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lord Mahavir, The 24th Tirthankar

Lord Mahavira was the 24th and last reformer or Tirthankara of Jainism. Lord Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of rising moon of Chaitra month, in 599 B.C. in the present state of Bihar, India. His birthplace is believed to have been near the modern city of Patna. Lord Mahavira’s birthday falls in the month of April as per Gregorian calendar. Lord Mahavira’s mother’s name was Queen Trishla and his father’s name was King Siddhartha. Both his parents were followers of Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankara, who lived during 877-777 BCE. When the soul conceived into Queen Trishala's womb, she saw the fourteen great dreams.

Trishala Mother's 14 Great Dreams

Lord Mahavira was a prince and was given the name Vardhaman by his parents. Being the son of a king, he had many worldly pleasures, comforts, and services at his command. However, even at that tender age he exhibited a virtuous nature. He started engaging in meditation and immersed himself in self-contemplation. He was interested in the core beliefs of Jainism and began to distance himself from worldly matters. Even in his early youth he seems to have thought of renouncing the world, but he was always prevailed upon by his affectionate parents to change his resolve, nor did Prince Vardhaman desired to hurt his parents. It appears that Vardhaman’s parents were quite firm in making attempts to engage the boy’s mind in worldly things and in creating around him a luscious atmosphere of amusement and pleasure. Fairly early in life he was married to a charming princess, Yashoda. Yashoda gave birth to a girl who was named Priyadarsana. Although Vardhaman was not attached in worldly life since his young age but he had decided not to renounce the world as long as his parents were alive. His parents passed away by observing fast unto death (santhara) when Vardhaman was 28 years of age. 

Vardhamana taking permission from his elder brother

Now the moment had come for great renunciation but he decided to take permission from his elder brother Nandivardhan. Nandivardhan dissuaded him from renouncing worldly life for two more years because in the absent of their parents it was unable for him to handle responsibility single handedly and the renunciation of his younger brother would add more pain in their parents’ death.

Vardhamana practicing Samayika at his palace

Vardhaman Mahavir lived for two more years in the palace but he spent those years in meditation and spent this time living like a monk. He observed fasts and practiced celibacy until the day of renunciation approached.


Vardhamana distributing his wealth to the needy

Vardhamana giving up his cloths and bonds

On the tenth day of Margsirsa Vardhaman renounced all his bonds, left his silver gold and riches, rejected his property, distributed his wealth in presents, and became a homeless monk. He tore his long hairs with handfuls, removed all his clothes and put a single garment on his shoulder. He then uttered “Namo Siddhanam”, (I bow down to the liberated souls) and started to walk toward the jungles.


a depiction of Lord Mahavir's first meditation after renunciation and his wandering  
Lord Mahavir giving his half garment to a brahmin as alms 

Vardhaman spent 12.5 years in deep meditation and self control.  During these twelve years he spent most of his time meditating. He gave utmost regard to other living beings, including humans, animals and plants, and avoided harming them. He had given up all worldly possessions including his clothes, and lived an extremely austere life. He exhibited exemplary control over his senses while enduring the penance during these years. His courage and bravery earned him the name Mahavira – The Great Hero. This course of penance’s comprehended ‘uninterrupted meditation, unbroken chastity, and the most scrupulous observance of the rules concerning eating and drinking.’ The account of his spiritual practices given in the Acharanga Sutra is literally soul -stirring.

"He meditated day and night, undisturbed and non-perturbed. Avoiding women and giving up the company of householders, he realized singleness. He lodged in workshops, assembling places, manufactories, shed of straw, towns, garden-houses, in cemeteries and burial grounds, or at the foot of a tree, wherever shelter was available. He did not care for sleep for the sake of pleasure and he slept only for 3 hours in his 12.5 years of spiritual pursuit. In winter when cold winds blew, he did not seek sheltered places or kindle wood or seek to cover himself with clothes. In the cold season he meditated in the shade, in summer he exposed himself to the heat. He would meditate with his eyes fixed on a square space before him of the length of a man or in some of the posture without the smallest motion. While meditating he would concentrate on the things above, below, or beside. He meditated free from sin and desire, not attached to sounds or colors, and never acted carelessly. Being averse from the impressions of the senses, he spoke very little and was always calm.

‘Thoroughly knowing the earth-bodies and water-bodies and fire-bodies and wind-bodies, the lichens, seeds and sprouts’ and comprehending ‘that they are, if narrowly inspected, imbued with life’, he avoided all kinds of sin and abstained from all sinful activities. He did not use other’s robe, nor did he eat out of other’s vessel. He did not rub his eyes or scratch his body. Knowing measure in eating and drinking he was not desirous of delicious food, nor had he a longing for it.’ For more than a couple of years he led a religious life without using cold water. He completely abstained from indulgence of the flesh; whether wounded or not, he took no medical treatment. He lived on rough food-rice, pounded jujube and beans. Sometimes he ate stale food. He accepted moist or dry or cold food, old beans, old pap, or bad grain, whatever was available. But if where there were hungry birds, animals or thirsty beings or beggars standing in his way, he would go past that place without begging alms. He kept fasts; sometimes he ate only the sixth meal, or the eighth, or the tenth, or the twelfth; sometimes he did not drink for half a month or even for a month or for more than two months or even six months.

In accordance with the rules of the order he wandered about unceasingly, except for the four months of the rainy season. During the rest of the year, he lived in villages only a single night and in towns only five nights. He was indifferent alike to the smell of ordure and the sweet scent of sandal, to straw and jewel, dirt and gold, pleasure and pain, this world and the world beyond, to life and death. His mind was completely free from attachment. Circumspect in his thought, words and acts, he moved without wrath, pride, deceit and greed. Like water in a vessel, he was unattached in the midst of sin. During the course of his travels, he visited the pathless country of the Ladhas, in Vajrabhumi and in Subbhabhumi; and here his troubles were endless. The rude natives of the place attacked him and set dogs to bite him. He endured the abusive language of the rustics and bore pain, free from desire. “When he approached the village the inhabitants met him on the outside and attacked him, saying ‘Get away from here’. He was struck with a stick, the fist, a lance, hit with a fruit, a clod a potsherd. Beating him again and again many cried. Once when he sat in meditation, without moving his body they cut his flesh, tore his hair under pains, or covered him with dust. They disturbed him in his religious postures”. But like a hero at the head of a battle, bearing all hardships he reached on his path wholly undisturbed."

Within a few days of Mahavira's renunciation, he went to a village called Kummara. He stood there in meditation. One cow- herder took him to be a thief and wanted to hit him, and Mahavira had to leave the village. After a few months of wandering, Mahavira went to an ashram in Moraga, where he was invited to spend the four-month rainy season by its abbot. Mahavira was assigned a hut with a thatched roof. The previous summer had been so hot that the grass in the forest was destroyed, and the cattle ran to eat the ascetics' grass huts. The other ascetics beat off the cattle, but Mahavira just let the cattle eat the thatched roof. The ascetics complained to the abbot, and so Mahavira decided to leave the ashram and spent the rainy season in the village of Ashtikagram. Reflecting upon this experience, Mahavira resolved to follow the fivefold discipline of never living in the house of an unfriendly person, usually standing with the body like a statue (Kayotsarga), generally maintaining silence, eating out of his hand as a dish, and not showing politeness to householders.

Lord Mahavir calmly bearing Shulpani Yaksha's tortures

 Wandering Mahavira one day arrived near a small forlorn village on the banks of river Vegvati. There he took permission from the village headman to stay in an abandoned temple for a night long meditation. According to the scriptures, he was tortured by a Yaksha Shulpani but remained undisturbed in his meditation, free from attachment and aversion, unless the Yaksha gave up torturing Mahavira and fell at his feet. Mahavir opened his eyes and, raising his hand, said, “Shulpani! Anger supplements anger and love begets love. If you do not cause fear, you will become free of all fears always. So destroy the poison ivy of anger.”

During the second year, while Mahavira was crossing the river, his garment was caught in the thorns on the bank of the river. The lord did not look back or tried to put it back on his shoulders. He kept walking and from this time onwards he remained naked.

Lord Mahavir and the poisonous snake Chandkaushika 

Once while he was on his way to Shwetambika town, he had to go through a barren forest which was the habitat of a poisonous cobra snake. He was warned by the villagers to avoid that route but Mahavira did not show any fear. Reaching the snake’s hole he decided to stand there for meditation. According to the scriptures he was bitten by the snake that was a Jain monk in his previous births and had to take the birth of a snake because of anger. The snake was astonished to see milk oozing out instead of blood from the spots where it has stung on Mahavira’s toe. The milk was sign of boundless compassion he had for every living being. Then staring into Mahavira’s eyes full of compassion the snake regained memories of its previous lives and repented mentally for the sins it had committed in previous births. The snake then did not harm any living being and died peacefully.

Mahavira’s second rainy season was spent in Nalanda, a suburb of Rajagrha. While here he was met by Gosala Mankhaliputra. Gosala was then wandering about in the country showing pictures to the people, and was attracted by Mahavira owing to his extra-ordinary self-restraint and impressive habits of medication and by the fact that a rich householder of Rajagrha, by name Vijaya had shown respect and hospitality towards Mahavira. The Jaina books mention that Gosala approached Mahavira with a request that he may be adopted as his disciple, but that Mahavira declined his request, presumably because he at once sensed the great difference between their temperaments. Gosala’s request was repeated on two later occasions and on each successive occasion with greater earnestness, and was ultimately granted by Mahavira. From there they travelled for six years together.

In Choraga village, both Mahavira and Goshala were taken for spies and imprisoned. Tying them with ropes, the landlord Kalahasti torchered them. His elder brother Megh identified Mahavira as Vardhaman, King Siddhartha’s son. He fell at the feet of Mahavir and, with tears of repentance in his eyes he begged to be forgiven. When released Mahavir resumed his journey.

Goshala left Mahavira’s company after six years and started his own school known as Ajivika and declared himself as Jina or Omniscient where Mahavira continued his journey towards the ultimate truth.

twenty great afflictions by Sangam

In the eleventh year of his spiritual journey, one day Lord Mahavir was doing a special one night meditation in Polash Temple. In this practice one makes his body, mind, psyche and soul absolutely still and tranquil, observing the high degree of engrossment in meditation. According to the scriptures, on that night, he was tortured by the celestial being Sangam who gave twenty terrible physical pain to the Lord. Ultimately he couldn’t disturb the lord from his spiritual meditation. It was at this time, and only at this time, that tears rolled from the eyes of Bhagvan Mahavir. The reason behind the tears was not the pain caused by Sangam but they were for the cost of Sangam's own awful severe loss.

It was the 12th year of Mahavira’s spiritual practices. Spending the monsoon-stay at Vaishali he came to a garden in Kaushambi. It was the time around which the incidents of Shatanik’s attack on Champa, fall of Champa, sacrifice of queen Dharini, auction of princess Vasumati as a slave, etc. were occurring. Mahavira with his penetrating knowledge and perception had a glimpse of all this. He made an almost impossible resolution on the first day of the dark half of the month of Paush.

“I will accept alms for breaking my fast only from a princess that has become a slave. And that too only if she has a shaven head, her limbs are shackled, she has not eaten for three days, she is sitting on the threshold of a house, she has pulse-bran lying in a basket and she has a smile as well as tears in her eyes. Unless these conditions are met I resolve to continue my practice and not to break my fast.”

Lord Mahavir accepting alms from the hands of Chandanbala

Five months and twenty five days had passed since Mahavira had eaten anything. The twenty sixth day of the sixth month dawned. It was past noon when Mahavira, wandering for alms, approached the house where Princess Vasumati as a slave was kept. She had made a resolve not to eat before serving to some monk. She had stale pulse in the basket. Upon seeing the Lord approaching to the house she became happy and offered the alms. This is where all conditions of Lord Mahavira met except the one. There were no tears in Vasumati’s eyes. By seeing this Lord moved ahead without accepting alms. Vasumati became sad and thought, “How unlucky I am that Shramana Mahavira did not accept the alms from my hand.” And then she started to cry. When the lord saw back he saw tears in her eyes and thus all his conditions met. He accepted stale pulse and broke his six months long fast. Vasumati later became known as Chandana or Chandanbala and took initiation under Lord Mahavira’s hands and became head nun of the nun order and ultimately gained Omniscience and Nirvana.

The cow-herder hammering thorns into Lord Mahavir's ears

After spending his twelfth rainy season, Lord Mahavira started his journey to Chammani village and as night was approaching he decided to stand in Kayotsarg Meditation outside the village under a tree before it gets dark. A passing cow herder saw the lord and asked him to look for his oxen as he wanted to go back to the village. The lord was in deep meditation and didn’t reply him. The cowherd went into the village and returned a little late. The oxen had drifted away grazing. Not finding his oxen, he asked, “Ascetic, where are my oxen?” As the lord was in meditation he didn’t reply. The cowherd asked again, and once again he did not get any response. He got irritated and shouted, “You hypocrite! Are you deaf, don’t you hear anything?”

Again not getting any answer from Mahavira, the cow herder lost his temper and picked long nail like thorns from a nearby shrub of Kansa grass and pierced the ears of Mahavir deeply by hammering the thorns in. Even such excruciating agony did not move Mahavir from his meditation; neither did it evoke any feeling of anger or aversion in him.

The next afternoon the thorns were removed by doctor Kharak. Kharak used some medicated oil and forceps and pulled out the thorns. This caused such an unbearable agony to Mahavir that an anguished cry was forced out of him. Blood oozed out of his ears.


After deep and exhausting spiritual practice for more than 12 years Lord Mahavir was extremely tired. The exhaustion resulted in a slumber for a few moments during the last hour of the night and Mahavir saw ten strange drams. The ten dreams are described in Jain scriptures as below:

1)  Defeating a lion: You will soon destroy the Illusory (Mohaniya) Karma.
2) A bird with white feathers is in attendance: You will always have purest attitude or feelings.
3) A bird with multicolored feathers: You will propagate multifaceted knowledge through the 12 Aagams (canons)
4)  Two gem strings appear in front: You will preach two-way religion. The conduct of ascetics and the conduct of laity.
5)  A herd with white cows: The four pronged organization will serve you.
6)  A pond with open lotuses: The celestial beings from four dimensions will serve you.
7)  Crossed a waxy ocean swimming: You will cross the ocean of rebirths.
8)  Sun rays spreading in all directions: Soon you will attain Omniscience (kevala jnana).
9) You are encircling the mountain with your bluish intestines: You will pervade the universe with your pure glory.
10) You are sitting on a throne placed on summit of the Mount Meru: You will give religious discourse sitting on a high throne.


It was the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakh. Twelve years five months and fifteen days had passed since the beginning of Mahavira’s spiritual practices. Lord Mahavir sat in mediation under a Shala tree in a garden on the back of the river Rijuvaluka (river Barakar in modern times). Sitting on both feet with knees touching his chest, he was feeling calm even in the scorching summer sun. Focusing all his physical, mental and spiritual energies he was engrossed in deep and pure meditation (shukla dhyana). Gradually the sun was setting in the west and within him the sun of omniscience was rising. He became omniscient or, or Arihanta. He became a Jina, the victorious over attachment and aversion. At that time he was 42 years of age.

Lord Mahavira’s attainment of Absolute Knowledge or Omniscience is mentioned in the Kalpasutra as below:

"During the thirteenth year, in the second month of summer, in the fourth fortnight, the light (fortnight) of Vaisakha, on its tenth day, when the shadow had turned towards the east and the first wake was over, on the day called Suvrata, in the Muhurta called Vigaya, outside of the town Grimbhikagrama on the bank of the river Rjupalika, not far from an old temple, in the field of the householder Samaga(shyamak), under a Sal tree, when the moon was in conjunction with the asterism Uttaraphalguni, (the Venerable One) in a squatting position with joined heels, exposing himself to the heat of the sun, after fasting two and a half days without drinking water, being engaged in deep meditation, reached the highest knowledge and intuition, called Kevala, which is infinite, supreme, unobstructed, unimpeded, complete, and full.”

“He knew and saw all conditions of the worlds, of celestial beings, men and animals and hellish beings; whence they came, whither they are born as men or animals or became celestial beings or hellish beings, the ideas, the thoughts of their mind, the food, doings, desires, the open and secret deeds of all the livings in the whole world; the Arhat, for whom there is no secret, knew and saw all conditions of all living beings in the world, what they thought, spoke, or did at any time.”


The divine preaching pavilion

According to scriptures, a divine preaching pavilion (Samavasarana) was created by the celestial beings for Lord Mahavir to spread his message. All Tirthankaras preach from a Samavasarana according to Jainism. Lord Mahavira spread his message of Ahimsa (Non-violence), but no enough mass gathered at that time and his discourse could not change anybody’s heart and thus his first discourse remained unsuccessful. Then after travelling a long distance he arrived at the city of Pava where the second Samavasarana was created in the garden of Mahasena. Here after a long philosophical discussion Lord Mahavira converted the eleven learned Brahmin Pundits into Jainism and made them his chief disciples (Ganadhars).  They were, Indrabhuti, Agnibhuti, Vayubhuti, Vyakta, Sudharma, Mandikata, Mauryaputra, Akampita, Achalbhadra, Metarya and Prabhasa. The first three were real brothers and were from Gautama clan. Indrabhuti is famously known in Jain scriptures as Gautama or Indrabhuti Gautama and was highly attached and impressed from Lord Mahavira. Each disciple had their own followers and all took initiation under Lord Mahavira’s order. Thus, eleven great scholars were inducted with their 4400 disciples into Lord Mahavira’s order during his first discourse. It is presumable that at this place not only Shramanas but also lay disciples joined Mahavira’s order; in Jaina texts there are references to the Lord having established a community of four orders i.e., monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen at the same time.

To his chief disciples, Lord Mahavira gave the knowledge of Three Pronouncements or Tripadi. These are Upaneiva (Emergence), Vigameiva (Distruction) and Dhuveiva (Permanence). There emerges a new phase of substance (any of the six substances), the old phase vanishes and yet the substance maintains its own essence and quality. Thus nothing new is created, but the substance undergoes modifications. From this knowledge the eleven disciples composed Dwadashangi or the 12 Angas.


Lord Mahavir initiating disciples 

Lord Mahavir established the Jaina Ford on the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakh. After his first discourse he changed hearts of many listeners. There were many kings, including King Shrenik Bimbisar and Ajatshatru (Konik) of Rajgriha, King Chetaka of Vaishali, Nine Kings of Kashi, King Udayana, King Shatanik, King Chandrapadyot and Nine Licchavis Kings of Koshal were staunch devotees of Lord Mahavir.

Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankara preached four vows namely, not to steal, not to Lie, not to commit violence and not to own property. Seeing the conditions of human minds in the present time, Lord Mahavir added the fifth vow namely Chastity and preached five vows.

Lord Mahavir devoted his life preaching the eternal truth he had realized through absolute knowledge. He had a huge community of more than five hundred thousand lay persons and fifty thousand monks and nuns. He organized his followers into a fourfold order, monk, nun, layman and laywoman. Lord Mahavir travelled barefoot, meeting people from all walks of life who came to listen his discourses.  Lord Mahavir gave discourses in the local language Ardhamagadhi, not in the classical Sanskrit.

Lord Mahavir preaching before kings

Lord Mahavir taught that from eternity every soul is in bondage of Karmic Atoms (the minutest atomic particles) that are accumulated by good or bad deeds. In a state of Karmic Delusion, the living being, trapped in worldly existence seeks temporary happiness from external objects and thus accumulates more karma. Lord Mahavir emphasized on self-realization and the knowledge of difference between the self-soul and matter to get rid of influx of fresh karma and to eliminate previously acquired karma to liberate the self from the cycle of birth and death. Lord Mahavir taught the necessity of Triple Gems (Right Knowledge, Right Faith and Right Conduct) in order to attain liberation. There are the Five Great Vows in the heart Right Conduct. These are Non-Violence, Truthfulness, Non-Stealing, Non-Possession and Chastity. The monks and nuns have to observe these vows strictly. Lord Mahavir denied the existence of Supreme God and stressed on self-effort to attain emancipation.

 Lord Mahavir’s philosophy has eight cardinal principles- three metaphysical and five ethical. According to Jainism, the Universe is eternal, was never created and will never be destroyed. The Universe is made up of six eternal substances namely Souls, Material Atoms, Medium of Motion, Medium of Rest, Space and Time. All the six are independent of each other. The six are eternal and yet undergo changes or modifications. To explain this multifaceted reality Lord Mahavir reestablished the philosophy of Anekantvada or The Principle of Non-Absolutism. Anekantvada refers to multiplicity of view-points and teaches us that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth. The language, which is of human creation, has limits to express the absolute truth in words, the principle of Syadvada or the Principle of Seven Fold Predictions was later developed in order to express the multifaceted reality. Another theory called Nayvada also arose from Anekantvada. Nayvada means The Principle of Partial Stand Points. According to Jainism there are infinite stand points and each express partial truth.

Lord Mahavira taught that men and women are spiritual equals and that both may renounce the world in search of Moksha. Lord Mahavira attracted people from all walks of life, rich and poor, men and women, touchable and untouchable.


Lord Mahavir began his last discourse at Pavapuri. It was a marathon one and the world was bathed in the words of wisdom emanating from his lips. His last discourse lasted for consecutive 48 hours and is recorded as Uttradhyayana Sutra.  

At age 72 years and 4 and half months, Lord Mahavir attained Nirvana at Pavapuri. Lord Mahavir’s great Nirvana is mentioned in the sacred text Kalpasutra as below:

“The non-destructive karma of the venerable ascetic Lord Mahavir got exhausted, when in this descending time cycle, the greater part of dushama-dushama period had elapsed and only three years and eight and a half months were left. Mahavira had recited the fifty-five lectures which detail the results of Karma, and the thirty-six unasked questions (the Uttaradhyana Sutra). The moon was in conjunction with the asterism Svati (Arcturus), at the time of early morning, in the town of Papa, and in king Hastipala's office of the writers, Lord Mahavir single and alone, sitting in the Samparyahka posture, left his body and attained nirvana, freed from all pains.”

“In that night in which the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira, died, freed from all pains, the eighteen confederate kings of Kasi and Kosala, the nine Mallakis and nine Licchavis, on the day of new moon, instituted an illuminations on the Poshadha, which was a fasting day; for they said: 'Since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination of material matter!”

Jains celebrate this as Diwali, the day he attained liberation or Moksha.

The day Lord Mahavir attained Nirvana, his chief disciple Indrabhuti Gautama attained Omniscience, the absolute knowledge. At that time his age was 80 years and couldn’t gain it since 30 years due to extreme attachment towards Lord Mahavir. With realizing the fact that everything is transitory and contemplating deeply on singleness of the soul, he gained Omniscience and became Arihanta. 

According to Jainism, all Tirthankars born with Vajrarishabha Narach Sanhanan joints as well as Samchaturasa Naracha Sanhanan. Vajrarishabha Narach Sanhanan mentions the strongest body which is capable of bearing  hardest tortures and difficulties. Samchaturasa Naracha Sanhanan literally means the Symmetrical Body. From this we can say that Lord Mahavira's bodily structure was Symmetrical built and was capable of bearing hardest tortures caused by the animals, humans and celestial beings. According to the scriptures, such symmetrical body is the most beautiful human structure in the universe. 

The conception of symmetry is explained in the following way. "Imagine a man with Paryanka Posture, i.e, crossing the legs and placing the hands over the navel. If straight lines are drawn across the two knees, from the right shoulder to the left knee, from the left shoulder to the right knee, and from the forehead to the hands, one gets four lines. If these are equal to one another, symmetry is apparent."

According to the scholars, he must have been a man of strong will power and patience. Otherwise he could not withstood the tortures and privations he suffered during the period of twelve and half years he was travelling before his attainment of Omniscience. He must have also had charisma and quality of attracting people. This conclusion can be drawn from the success he obtained in combining the Jaina (Nirgrantha) church into one, and creating a religious system, which has lasted almost unchanged these 2500 years. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lord Mahavira Quotes (Mahavir Vaani)

The greatest mistake of a soul is non-recognition of its real self and can only be corrected by recognizing the self

Every soul is independent, none depends on another.  

It is better to win over the self than to win over a million enemies.

There is no separate existence of God. Everybody can attain god-hood by making supreme efforts in the right direction. 

All unenlightened persons produce sufferings. Having become deluded, they produce and reproduce sufferings, in this endless world.

A living body is not merely an integration of limbs and flesh but it is the abode of the soul which potentially has perfect perception (Anant-darshana), perfect knowledge (Anant-jnana), perfect power (Anant-virya), and perfect bliss (Anant-sukha).

Just as a threaded ( sasutra ) needle is secure from being lost, in the same way a person given to self-study ( sasutra ) cannot be lost.

Every soul is in itself absolutely omniscient and blissful. The bliss does not come from outside. 

The soul comes alone and goes alone, no one companies it and no one becomes its mate.

Only that science is a great and the best of all sciences, the study of which frees man from all kinds of miseries.

That with the help of which we can know the truth, control the restless mind, and purify the soul is called knowledge in the Jaina doctrine.

"Can you hold a red-hot iron rod in your hand merely because some one wants you to do so? Then, will it be right on your part to ask others to do the same thing just to satisfy your desires? If you cannot tolerate infliction of pain on your body or mind by others' words and actions, what right have you to do the same to others through your words and deeds?"

That which subdues passions, leads to beatitude and fosters friendliness is called knowledge in the Jaina doctrine.

The unenlightened takes millions of lives to extirpate the effects of karma whereas a man possessing spiritual knowledge and discipline obliterates them in a single moment.

The nights that have departed will never return. They have been wasted by those given to unrighteousness.

Those who are ignorant of the supreme purpose of life will never be able to attain nirvana (liberation) in spite of their observance of the vratas (vows) and niymas (rules) of religious conduct and practice of sila (celibacy) and tapas (penance).

My soul characterised by knowledge and faith is alone eternal. All other phases of my existence to which I am attached are external occurrences that are transitory.

Righteousness consists in complete self-absorption and in giving up all kinds of passions including attachment. It is the only means of transcending the mundane existence. The Jinas have said so.

Don't kill any living beings. Don't try to rule them.

The essence of all knowledge consists in not committing violence. The doctrine of ahimsa is nothing but the observance of equality i.e. the realization that just as I do not like misery, others also do not like it. Knowing this, one should not kill anybody. 

Just as you do not like misery, in the same way others also do not like it. Knowing this, you should do unto them what you want them to do unto you.

To kill any living being amounts to killing one self. Compassion to others is compassion to one's own self. Therefore one should avoid violence like poison and thorn (that cause pain).

Don't be proud if you gain. Nor be sorry if you lose.

One who cultivates an attitude of equality towards all living beings, mobile and stationary, can attain equanimity. Thus do the kevalis say.

Only the one who has transcended fear can experience equanimity.

(One should reflect thus:) Let me treat all living beings with equanimity and none with enmity. Let me attain samadhi (tranquillity) by becoming free from expectations.

Let me renounce the bondage of attachment and hatred, pride and meekness, curiosity, fear, sorrow, indulgence and abhorrence (in order to accomplish equanimity).

Let me give up attachment through unattachment. My soul will be my only support (in this practice of unattachment). (Hence) let me give up everything else.

Just as I do not like misery, so do others. Knowing this, one neither kills, nor gets killed. A sramana is so called because he behaves equanimously.

One who remains equanimously in the midst of pleasures and pains is a sramana , being in the state of pure consciousness.

A sramana devoid of the knowledge of Agama does neither know himself, nor others.

Other beings perceive through their senses whereas the sramana perceives through the Agama.

One devoted whole-heartedly to knowledge, faith and right conduct equally accomplishes in full the task of the sramana.

O Self! Practise Truth, and nothing but Truth.

Enlightened by the light of Truth, the wise transcends death.

Truth alone is the essence in the world.

The ascetic who never thinks of telling a lie out of attachment, aversion or delusion is indeed the practiser of the second vrata of truthfulness.

A truthful man is treated as reliable as the mother, as venerable as the guru (preceptor) and as beloved as the one who commands knowledge.

Truthfulness indeed is tapa (penance). In truthfulness do reside self-restraint and all other virtues. Just as the fish can live only in the sea, so can all other virtues reside in truthfulness alone.

One may have a tuft or matted hair on the head or a shaven head, remain naked or wear a rag. But if he tells a lie, all this is futile and fruitless.

One can bear all kinds of unbearable pain caused by spikes in expectation of wealth etc. But he alone who tolerates without any motive of worldly gain, harsh words spoken to him is venerable.

One should not speak unless asked to do so. He should not disturb others in conversation. 

He should not backbite and indulge in fraudulent untruth.

One should not utter displeasing words that arouse ill feelings in others. One should not indulge in speech conducive to the evil.

Discipline of speech consists in refraining from telling lies and in observing silence.

The sadhaka (one who practises spiritual discipline) speaks words that are measured and beneficial to all living beings.

The bhiksu (ascetic) should not be angry with one who abuses him. Otherwise he would be like the ignoramus. He should not therefore lose his temper.

If somebody were to beat a disciplined and restrained ascetic, the latter should not think of avenging himself considering the soul to be imperishable.

As gold does not cease to be gold even if it is heated in the fire; an enlightened man does not cease to be enlightened on being tortured by the effect of karma.

A thief feels neither pity nor shame, nor does he posses discipline and faith. There is no evil that he cannot do for wealth.

On the aggravation of one's greed, a person fails to distinguish between what should be done and what should not be done. He is a daredevil, who cannot commit any offence even at the cost of his own life.

By practising celibacy one can fulfil all other vows - chastity, tapas (penance), vinaya (humility), samyama (self restraint), forgiveness, self-protection and detachment.

Knowing that pleasing sound, beauty, fragrance, pleasant taste and soothing touch are transitory transformations of matter, the celibate should not be enamoured of them.

The soul is the Brahman. Brahmacarya is therefore nothing but spiritual conduct of the ascetic concerning the soul, who has snapped out of relationship with alien body.

An amorous person, failing to achieve his desired objects, becomes frantic and even ready to commit suicide by any means.

The sun scorches only during the day, but cupid scorches in the day as well as in the night. One can protect oneself from the sun, but cannot from cupid.

The more you get, the more you want. The greed increases with the gain. What could be accomplished by two masas (grams) of gold could not be done by ten millions.

Knowing that the earth with its crops of rice and barley, with its gold and cattle, and all this put together will not satisfy one single man, one should practise penance.

Just as fire is not quenched by the fuel and the ocean by thousands of rivers, similarly no living being is satisfied even with all the wealth of all the three worlds.

Non-possessiveness controls the senses in the same way as a hook controls the elephant. As a ditch is useful for the protection of a town, so is non-attachment for the control of the senses.

Greed even for a piece of straw, not to speak of precious things, produces sin. A greedless person, even if he wears a crown, cannot commit sin.

One who, being swayed by wishful thinking becomes a victim of passions at every step, and does not ward off the desires, cannot practise asceticism.

External renunciation is meaningless if the soul remains fettered by internal shackles.
Living beings have desires. Desires consist in pleasure and pain.

One who is constantly careful in his deportment is like the lily in the pond, untarnished by mud.

Objects of the senses pollute knowledge if it is not protected by discipline.

Discipline is the means of achieving liberation.

Even the noble becomes mean in the company of the wicked, as precious necklace on the neck of a dead body.

The ignoramus is always benighted. The enlightened is always wide awake.

The five senses of the awakened always remain inactive. The five senses of the slumber always remain active. By means of the active five one acquires bondage while by means of the inactive five the bondage is severed.

Just as everybody keeps away from a burning fire, so do the evils remain away from an enlightened person.

Keep yourself always awake. One who keeps awake in creases his wisdom. He who falls asleep is wretched. Blessed is he who keeps awake.

He who lies idle like a python simply wastes the ambrosia of wisdom. With the loss of his wisdom, he is no better than a bull.

The yogi who is indifferent to worldly affairs remains spiritually alert to his own duty, namely, his duty towards his soul. On the other hand, one who indulges in worldly affairs is not dutiful to his soul.

Birth is attended by death, youth by decay and fortune by misfortune. Thus everything in this world is momentary.

The courageous as well as the cowardly must die. When death is inevitable for both, why should not one welcome death smilingly and with fortitude?

Both the righteous and unrighteous must die. When death is inevitable for both, why should not one embrace death while maintaining good conduct?

There is nothing as fearful as death, and there is no suffering as great as birth. Be free from the fear of both birth and death, by doing away with attachment to the body.

Do not be in dread of the dreadful, the illness, the dis ease, the old age, and even the death or any other object of fear.

The non vigilant has fear from all directions. The vigilant has none from any.

One who entertains fear finds himself lonely (and helpless).

The valiant does not tolerate indulgence, nor does he tolerate abhorrence. As he is pleased with his own self, he is not attached to anything.

As a tortoise withdraws his limbs within his own body, even so does the valiant withdraw his mind within himself from all sins.

The enlightened should contemplate that his soul is endowed with boundless energy.

Only that man can take a right decision, whose soul is not tormented by the afflictions of attachment and aversion.

One who knows the spiritual (self) knows the external (world) too. He who knows the external world, knows the self also.