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Dash lakshan Dharma

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Dash lakshan Dharma

(Ten Types of Observances)
Aryika Swarnmati (Sanghasth)

Jain Religion is the religion of soul. Practice of Anuvratas and Mahavratas lead on the path of salvation, at the apex of which infinite qualities (attributes) of the soul are manifested. Various festivals in Jain tradition aim at the purification of the soul. Among these, Dashlakshan Parva in the month of Bhadrapad (Bhado) is the most prominent festival, when almost all the Jains practice religious norms. Dashlakshan Parva emphasizes the sincere effort to adopt 10 Dharmas one by one for 10 days, so that the purity of the soul gradually increases. Brief description of these Dharmas is as follows :

Uttam Kshama Dharma (Forgiveness)

‘To forgive’ is the character of this Dharma. To remain fully calm & peaceful against the harsh treatment or being mocked by wicked or unknowledgeable persons even when there is the capacity to reply. Forgiveness can be practised only by a brave man and not by a coward (Kshama Virasya Bhushnam). Without this characteristic of forbearance, nobody can proceed on the true path of salvation.

Uttam Mardav Dharma (Humility)

‘Humility’ or ‘Not to be Proud’ is the character of this Dharma. To think that all my worldly glamour, my own body, higher caste, strength, worldly knowledge etc. will definitely destroy one or the other day then why to be proud of these? Thus considering all the worldly possessions like a dream one becomes fully humble or modest to proceed long on the eternal path of liberation.

Uttam Arjav Dharma (Honesty)

‘Honesty’ or ‘Straight-forwardness’ is the character of this Dharma. To speak & behave just according to what is in heart or in other words, not to deceive the other with sweet (but false) talks is called as Arjav Dharma. One who cheats other, can never remain happy for long but one with simple & honest behaviour only, can get heaven and ultimately the Moksha.

Uttam Satya Dharma

(Truth) ‘To speak the truth’ is the character of this Dharma. One should tell only the correct & true fact but the truth should not be harsh & rude. One must utter beneficial & pleasant words only. It is better to keep quiet rather than speaking the truth, which can pierce the heart of the other. One, who speaks truth, becomes adorable for all.

Uttam Shauch Dharma (Holiness)

Shauch means ‘holiness’ or ‘sacred-ness’, which is attained by Contentment. One who remains contented with own possessions and does not wish for the money, glamour etc. of the other or in other words, remains away from all types of greed, anger, violence etc. realizes Shauch Dharma. Without this purity of heart, the path of liberation can not be obtained.

Uttam Sanyam Dharma

(Self-restraint) ‘Self-restraint’ is the character of this Dharma. To refrain from the violence of Shatkaya Jeevas (Six types of body forms of living beings i.e. Trasa or mobile & 5 types of Sthavaras or immobile beings) and from the sensual pleasures of 5 senses (Body, Tongue, Nose, Eyes, Ears) define Sanyam Dharma. Acharya says that it is most difficult to be a humanbeing in the worldly transmigration and only the self-restraint with Samyaktva (righteousness) can make the human-life successful.

Uttam Tapa Dharma (Austerity)

‘Austerities’ characterize Tapa Dharma. One who wants to destroy all the Karmas bound to the soul, takes the shelter of Tapa Dharma. 6 types of external & 6 types of internal austerities have been mentioned for Jain Saints. Fasting, Eating less than one’s appetite, Taking a mental vow to accept food, Daily renunciation of one or more of 6 kinds of delicacies (Ghee, Milk, Curd, Sugar, Salt, Oil), Sitting & sleeping in lonely place (devoid of animate beings) and Mortification of the body (till there is no mental agony) are the external austerities while Expiation, Reverence, Service (of the Saints or worthy people), Study of scriptures, Giving up the attachment of the body and Meditation are the internal austerities.

Uttam Tyag Dharma (Renunciation)

‘Renunciation’ is the character of Tyag Dharma. Four types of Dann (Charity)-Food/meals, Medicines, Scriptures & Place for staying (or removing the cause of fear) should be donated by a householder (Shravak) to the Jain Saints. The worldly belongings like money etc. become successful in this way only. Renunciation of the attachment & malice both lead to salvation.

Uttam Akinchanya Dharma (Non-Attachment)

‘Non-attachment’ is the character of this Dharma or in other words, not taking the non-self for one’s own self defines Akinchanya Dharma. Not a single particle in 3 Lokas is of mine, only my soul is of my own or I am the soul only, this type of feeling ends the worldly transmigration.

Uttam Brahmacharya Dharma (Chastity)

‘Chastity’ or ‘Celibacy’ characterizes this Dharma. To renounce the sensual pleasures fully or partially i.e. to consider ladies except own wife as mother, sister or daughter symbolizes Brahmacharya. To be stable in own soul is the real form of this Dharma. Without Brahmacharya all other qualities are of no avail. Thus the understanding of the essence & practice of these 10 observances can illuminate our life in true sense. The word ‘Uttam’ signifies the association of Samyaktva with all these qualities and the true form of these Dharmas realize in great Digambar Jain-Saints only.