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In Jainism, both homeless ascetics and householders śrāvaka have to follow five major vows (vratas). Ascetics observe these fives vows more strictly and therefore observe complete abstinence.

  • Ahiṃsā is the first and foremost vow of the Jain ethical code.

"Religion of NON-VIOLENCE is the real nectar of life"-even after knowning this fact if one cannot fully abandon violence i.e. the violence of Sthavaras(jeevs having only one sense), he/she should surely leave the violence of Trasa Jeevas- this is the order of jinendra bhagwan.

To abandon the intentional violence of Trasa Jeevas by Mann(Heart), Vachan(Speech), Kaya(Body) and Krit(to do self), Karit(to get done by other), Anumodna(to praise such an act) is called as AHIMSANUVRATA.

Shravak(Householder) cannot leave Arambhi(related with household works such as making food, cleaning home etc.), Udyogi(related with business) and Virodhi(protection of self & religion) violence, but he fully avoids Sankalpi(Intentional) violence. Jain text, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya deals with the conduct required of the householder (śrāvaka) and therefore discusses the fundamental vow of ahiṃsā in detail. It mentions that, "all these subdivisions (injury, falsehood, stealing, unchastity, and attachment) are hiṃsā as indulgence in these sullies the pure nature of the soul. Falsehood etc. have been mentioned separately only to make the disciple understand through illustrations."

  • Satya (falsehood)- Not to lie or speak what is not commendable.[1] The underlying cause of falsehood is passion and therefore, it is said to cause hiṃsā (injury). In Jainism, "that which causes pain and suffering to the living is not commendable, whether it refers to actual facts or not is immaterial.(Reality p=197)
  • Asteya- According to Tattvarthsutra, "Taking anything that is not given is stealing."

{Driven by passions, taking anything that has not been given be termed as theft and since theft causes injury, it is hiṃsā|Puruşārthasiddhyupāya (42)}

  • Brahmacharya- It means chastity for householders and celibacy in action, words & thoughts for ascetics.

{Unchastity (abrahma) is copulation arising from sexual desire. There is all-round injury to the living in copulation and, therefore, it is hiṃsā.|Puruşārthasiddhyupāya(107)} {Just as a hot rod of iron inserted into a tube filled with sesame seeds burns them up, in the same way, many beings get killed during sexual intercourse|Puruşārthasiddhyupāya (108)}

  • Aparigraha (Non-possession)- According to Jain texts, attachment to possessions (parigraha) is of two kinds: attachment to internal possessions (ābhyantara parigraha), and attachment to external possessions (bāhya parigraha).
  • Wrong belief
  • The three sex-passions
    • Male sex-passion
    • Female sex-passion
    • Neuter sex-passion
  • Six defects
    • Laughter
    • Liking
    • Disliking
    • Sorrow
    • Fear
    • Disgust
  • Four passions
    • Anger
    • Pride
    • Deceitfulness
    • Greed

According to sacred Jain texts, "internal possessions are proved to be hiṃsā as these are just another name for hiṃsā". External possessions are divided into two subclasses, the non-living, and the living. "External possessions, due to the passion of attachment in them, result into hiṃsā."


  1. Jain|2012|p=61