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Value of Vegetable Eating and Three Characteristics of Jainism

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Value of Vegetable Eating and Three Characteristics of Jainism

Dipa Das & Sanjiv Saraf
Student-M.Phip, Dept. of Pali, Calcutte University, Kolkata (W.B.)
Dy. Librarian, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (U.P.)

The Hindu, Muslim, Jaina and Buddhist, religion does not permit killing. But killing everyday is practice not only for food but also to give taste to tongue in some caste. We do not bother the cry of them when we kill them cruely. Nevertheless, the world religion does not teach us to be cruel. It teaches us to live and let live with love, peace and serenity. So, we must feel that man, the wonders of nature cannot do harm to anybody only for his pleasure Jainaism encouraged the vegatable eating from which we learn that the means of Bramhacarya, Ahimsa and Aparigraha-the three principles fo jainism stands for. We will discuss here that how vegatable eating helps us to follow these three principles of Jainism simultaneously and automatically.

1. Bramhacary :

The quality of bramhacarya, as a part of tolerance, is always celebrated by all religion's saints and tolerance will be one of the greatest qualities of Bramhavarya of celibacy is a mode of life marked with devoted study of the Vedas and other scriptures and with complets abstinence from sexual and secular pleasures. It is the first stage of life for a person who is supposed to practice Bramhacarya having undergone the sacrament of being invested with the holy sacrifical thread and also abstinence from other worldly pleasures and preparing to join an order of hermits1. Bramhacarya means `abstaining from sexual intercoures'. In Jaina tradition any kind of ``Kama is to be abandoned. Devagupta (1016 A.D.) in his Nava-pada Prakarna2 (Verses 48-50) has described ``kama in various ways. ``Bramhacarya (abstinence from sexual intercourse) is of eighteen kinds, nine relating to clestial females (vaikriya) and nine to terrestrial females (audarika). Maithuna (copulation) is twofold, relating to Vaikriya and audirika classes and the letter is again divided into animal and human categories. Under this last head are distinguished : Svadara (one's own wife of concubine), paradara (any woman under the authority of another man), and vesya (a prostitute who is considered to have no owner3). Even without sexual intercourse, by some other ways also sexual mainfestation is expressed. These are :

Smaranam Kritanam Kelish Preksanam guhaya-bhasanam

Samkalpo' dhyavasayasca Kriya-nirvrtir eva ca
Etan maithunam astangam pravadanti manisinah
Viparitam brahmacaryam etad evasta-laksanam

(quoted by Mallinatha in his Kirata 1.1.)'

``Passionate remembrance (smaranam), wistful description (Kirtana), sports (kelih), gazing with longing (preksanan), secret conversation (Guhya-bhasanam), imagination (Samkalpah) resolution (adhyavasayah) and crowing of love (kriya-nirvrti) are the eight kinds of carnal enjoyments and opposite to all these are in brahmacari and they are also, (therefore), eight fold. The Jainas also think that all these eight kinds of carnal enjoyments are to be considered bad for a brahmacari and a Sadhu should always shun all these maithunas under any circumstances. So, by vegetables eating, we autometically indulgence Brahmacarya as one of the mode of life.

2. Ahimsa :

India is the cradle land of Ahimsa. From vedic times down to the present day, the doctrine of ahimsa has always been regarded as pure serene. There are some passages in vedas which contains the eulogy of `ahimsa5. According to the swetambara tradition what Mahavira actually talked about ahimsa cannot be known authentically, because most of his teachings and doctrines have come down to us through his disciples and their decendants who have kept in their memory the savings of Mahavira for nearly a thousand years after his nirvana, till the Second Council at Valabhi in the 5th Century A.D. which condified the doctines of Mahavira in the present form of the Agamas. Now the position of a himsa as recorded in the again texts considering them to be the views of Mahavira shall be discussed. In Agama texts the nature of ahimsa is generally descriptive. The passages as recorded there are the glorificaion of ahimsa. At a much later time, the glorification was turned into a philosophy. For example, in the Dasavaikalika-Sutra non-killing (ahimsa) is regarded as one of the best and excellent dharmas along with controlling of ,mind (samyana) and penace (tapa) and the followers of ahimsa are enen respected by gods :


Dhammo mangalamukkittmam ahimsa samjamo tavo/

Deva vitam namamssanti Jassa dhamme Saya mano/6
This has a Parallel in the Dhammapada (19.6)
Vamhi saccan-ca dhammoca ahimsa sannamo dama
So ve vantamalo dhiro thero ti pavuccati

In a similar way, life of all beings is extolled : Javanti loe pana tasa aduva thavara / VI. 9 In this world as many lives of both trasa and sthavara animals are there, one should not kill them or cause to be killed with or without knowing. The reason he offers for saying this is- Savve jiva vi icchanti jivium na marijjium tamha panivaham ghoram niggamtha vijjayantiyanam (I.Vi. 10)

``All animals wish to live, and not to be slain, therefore, the Jain monks must relinquish the dangerous killing of animals.

On the question of a restraint, Mahavira, says- tesim acchana joena niccam hayavvayam siya manasa kaya-vokkene evam havai samjae10 (I. VIII. 3)

``Towards all these animals one must always and constantly be non-injurious even in mind, body and speech, then he is called a restrained person.

Mahavira's emphasis was on the fact that life is dear to all sorts of creatures. The Acaranga says. savve pana piyauya11 (1.2.3.) and naivaijja kimcana12 (1.2.4.) The Uttaradhyayana also echoes the same- jaganissiehim bhuehim tasanamehim thavarehim ca no tesim arabhe damdam manasa vayasa kayasa ceva13// (VIII/10)

``In thought, words and acts he should do nothing injurious to beings who people the World, whether they move or not.

na hu panavaham anujane muccejja kayai savvadukkhanam evariehim akkayam jehim imo sahudhammo pannatto14 // (VIII. 8) ``One should not permit the killing of living beings, then the will parheps be delivered from all misery ; thus have spoken the preceptors who have proclaimed the law of ascetics. Savvahm anujuttihim matimam padilehia/ Savve akkanta-dukkha ya ao savve na himsaya15 // (Sutra 1.11.9)

``A wise man should study them with all means of philosophical research. All beings hate pain ; therefore one sould not kill them.

eyam khu nanino saramjam na himsal kimcana/ ahimsa samayam ceva eyavantam vivaniya16 // (Satra 1.11.10) ``This is the quintessence of wisdom : not to kill anything. Know this to be the legitimate conclusion from the principle of reciprocity with regard to non-killing. From these above passages of ahimsa we must not get this idea that Mahavira has asked the people to renounce the world. It will be a great mistake if we think so. In all his teaching he wants to emphasize that we must not be goaded by passions and impulses of himsa. But, to all intents and purposes, we must control our mind to allow us to grow stronger mentally, so that our life can become serene, pure and holy. This does not mean that we should not enjoy life to its fullest extent but that enjoyment should not be of a beastly type, but of a divine nature. It must not transgress the purity and serenity of life and of dharma. It should be noted that the basic idea of ahimsa is not to control the outward events. So the practice of ahimsa will teach us how to preserve a purely inward integrity and balance of mind, and how conquer the word from a world both hostile and intractable.

Coming to Jainism this is to say that the doctrine of ahimsa has gained ground in philosophy. Apart from the philosophical texts like the Tattvartha Sutra by Umasvami (1st. to 2nd. Century A.D.) describes also the nature of ahimsa as was current in his time. It is said by Umasvami that himsa does not depend on acts alone. Himsa may be bhava-himsa i.e. `the intention to hurt' and dravya-himsa, i.e. `the actual hurt'. Bhava-himsa arises under the influence of anger and other passions. Krodha-lobha-bhirutva-hasya-pratya-khyanani-anuricibhasanan panca.T.S. VII. 5

Draya-himsa is the actual physical injury. On this point, Amrtacandra thinks the raga and dvesa can constitute himsa `even though no creature perishes. His argument is that once a person is full of anger, he destroys himself, even though he does not destroy any creature; In this medieval period ahimsa was relegated to the position of anuvrata which should be practised by all, whereas in the earlier stages it was one of the panca mahavratos Somadeva (959 A.D.) in his Upasakadhyayana, i.e. the sixth, seventh and eighth books of his Yasas-tilaka which constitute an excursus on the sravakacara, has emphasized the positive aspect of ahimsa which, in this opinion, is maitri, pramoda, Karunya and madhyasthua. Maitri is the friendship with the animals by practisign non-infliction towards the creatures, pramoda is the affection coupled with respect for the beings, karunya is charity to help the needy, and madhyasthya is a stage of equanimity. Later on, Amitagati, (993 A.D.) and Amrtacandra (11th Century A.D.) in their respective treatises sravakacara. (VI 33-44) and Furusartha-Siddhyupaya (Verses 79-89) advocated absolute ahimsa (non-violance).

There are various facets of himsa. This is described by Devagupta (1016 A.D.) in his Furusartha-Siddhyupaya18 (Verses 22). He says that himsa may be arambhaja or anarabbhaja. Arambhaja himsa is inherent in the occupation, whereas anarambhaja is not related to the occuption. There is another called Samkaplaja which is intentional. Crimes done by himsa may be either sarthaka or nirarthaka. sarthaka offences are done consciously, while nirarthaka fortuitously. Sarthaka himsa may be committed with care an attention (sapeksa), while, if it is committed carelessly, it is nirapeksa.19 Though Manu has depicted the excellence of ahimsa, he has said that the killing of animals in a sacrifice is not an offence (tasmad yajne vadho' vadhah). Hemchandra (1088-1172 A.D.) protests against the statement or Manu in his Yogasastra, (II, 33-49). He says that it is a distortion of reality to think that the animals have come to this world to be offered to Gods for the prosperity and betterment of the World. It is not true to say that the jivas living in this world will be reborn as divine beings. Hemacandra calls these people hypocrits who preach the religion of cruelty. Hemchandra goes on further to say that if the animals are sacrificed for an abode in heaven, then why should one not kill one's parents in the sacrifice for getting an abode in heaven ? His argument rests on the famous verse he quote from the Dasa-Vaikalika-Sutra : Savve Jiva vi icchanti jivium na matijjium/ tamha panivaham ghoram niggantha vajjayantinam20// (I.VI. 10) According to Hemcandra Ahimsa is like a beneficient mother of all creatures in the desert or Samsara (mundane life) ahimsa works like a sreame of nector to the forest-fire, ahimsa is course of rain-clouds, for the beings tormented by the diseases (ahimsa) is the best healing herb ; and ahimsa is called the perpetual teturn of existence.

Hemcandra thinks that the protection to all animal beings (abhayadana or Karunadana) is the positive side of ahimsa which everyone should follow. In conslusion if must be said though the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jainas have accepted the question of ahimsa, it is the Jainas who have turned it into a system of philosophical order. The quintessence of ahimsa has made Mahavira an outstanding exponent of social equality and justice. Mahavira's intellectual empire as reflected in his principles of non-violence is imperishable and the heart of a great number of people burst with a boundless admiration has been greatly moulded from thousands of years over the whole terrain of Indian life.

It seems somewhat paradoxical to think of nay religion in this advanced age of science and technology. It may seem outlandish too, to think of a religion at the present day which speaks of non-violence, when the spectacular contributions of science erode the foundation on which our beliefs and values of life have rested for centuries. But inspite of all these achievements one thing is still sure that men are not really happy and science has been unable to bring mental peace and traquility. We cannot deny the fact that one war cannot stopped another war. Material world does not and cannot bring happiness to mankind. It did not happen in the past and it will not happen in future either. People have realised now that spiritual and ethical techings and practices may restore happiness in our life. And in this repect Mahavira's doctrines have profound significance in the present day society as if had in the past. To be precise, if Jaina Philosophy is properly understood, one is inclined to believe that will contribute much to the development of human personality and will make life worth living. A proper understanding of Mahavira's techings will lesson the misery and dishonesty, corruptions and fear, malice and hatred under whose pressure the present World is helplessly groaning. A section of people still believe that Mahavira's doctrines should be preached and practised in this World-a World which is full fo toil and turmoil, a world which is full of violence and conflicts, a world where the full of toil and turmoil, a world which is full of violence and conflicts, a world where the values of human lives are jeopardised at the alter of human power, a world where beastly propensities of human beings are increasing repidly, where the human finer qualities are sacrificed for the cause of material expansion and prosperity, and where lives of all sorts are butchered as fodder for guns. It is also believed that if Mahavira's basic tenets are imparted to the present generation as a part of their education, a new world may be ushered in incourse of time, where there will be no violence, but a permenent bliss will deepen out ideas and thoughts broaden our visions heighten our mental horizon, strengthen our mind with a new vigour, and enlighten our future generations for the betterment of our life.

Therefore, we must said that vegetable eating teaches us the mode of ahimsa which is lack in the world now. Aparigraha : It means ``to renounce all interest in worldly things and not to keep any property. Parigraha is of two kinds abhyantara (internal) and bahya (external). The internal Parigrahas are False belief (mithayatva). Anger (Krodha). Pride (mana), Deceit (maya), Greed (lobha), Sense of the abrurd (hasya) pleasure (ra + i) Displeasure (arati) (fear) bhaxa) Sorrow (soka), Disgust (jugupsa), Male sex urge (pumveda), Femal sex urge (stri-veda) and Androgyne sex urge (napumsaka-veda)21. The ten external parigrahas are-Land (Ksetra), Houses (vastu), Silver (hiranya), Gold (suvarna), Wealth (dhana), Grain (dhanya), Sercants (dasa or dasi), Livestock (catuspada), Utensils (kupya), and Bed (sayyasana). The Jaina Sadhus (Monks) should not attach to all these Parigrahas. Finally we can say that vegetavle eating helps in following the three major principles of Jainism.

Subject Bibliography :

1. Banerjee Satya Ranjan, ed. Jainism in Different States of India, Calcutta, Jain Bhawan, 2001.

2. Banerjee, Satya Ranjan and Ganesh Lalwani, ed. Weber's Sacred Literatuire of the Jains, Calcutta, Jain Bhawan, 1999.

3. Banerjee Satya Ranjan, Introducing Jainism, Calcutta, Jain Bhawan, 2002.

4. Banerjee Satya Ranjan, Prasnottari Jaina Dharma, Calcutta, Jain Bhawan, 1997.

5. Bhattacharya, Nerendra Nath, Jain philosophy Historical Outline, New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1976.

6. Bhuvanbhanusuri, Acharya Vijaya, Ganadharavada, Delhi, Motilal Banara—sidas Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1989.

7. Desai, P.B. Jainism in South India and Some Jaina Epigraphs, Sholapur, Jaina Samkrti Samraksak Sangha, 1957.

8. Jain, S.A. tr. Reality, Calcutta, Vira Sasana Sangha, 1960

9. Kapadia, H.R. A History of the Canonical Literature of the Jainas, Ahmedabad, Saradaben Chimanbai Educational Reasearch Centre,2000.

10. Mahathera, Narada, tr. Dhammapada, Calcutta, Mahabodhi Society of India, 1991.

11. Majumdar, R.C., The Age of Imperial Unity, History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. II, Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavana, 1953.

12. Shah, Nahin J., Jaina Philosophy and Religion, Delhi Motilal Banar asidas, 2000.

13. Sharma, Arvind, A Jaina Perspective on the Phlosophy of Religion, Delhi, Motilal Banarasidas Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2001.

14. Shastri Balchandra, Sat-Khandagama Parisilana, Delhi, Bharatiya Jnanapitha, 1987.

15. Siddhantasastri, Balchandra, Jaina Laksanavali (An authentic Descriptive dictionary of Jain philosophical terms), Vol I, II & III, Delhi, Viraseva Mandir, 1972, 1973, 1979.

16. Sircar, D.C., ed. Religion and culture of the Jains, Calcutta, University of Culucutta, 1973.

17. Smyth, H.W. Weber's Sacred Litrature of the Jains, Calcutta, Jain Bhawan,1999.

18. Varni, Jinendra, Jainendra Siddhantakosa, Delhi, Bhartiya Jnanapitha, 1995.

19. Willams, Robert, Jaina Yoga, A survey of the Medieval Sravakacara. London, Oxiford University Press. 1963.

20. Winternitz Maurice, A History of Indian Literature, Vol. II, , Calutta, University of Calcutta, 1933.


Reference :

1. Jaina Philosophy and Religion. Shah, Nagin J., Motilal Nanarsidas, Delhi, 2000. P. 92.

2. Introducing Jainism, Banerjee, Satya Ranjan, Jain Bhawan, Calcutta, 2002, p. 52.

3. Jaina Yoga, A Survey of the Medieval Sravakacara, Williams, Robert, Oxford University Press, London, 1963, p. 84

4. Introducing Jainism, Banerjee, Satya Ranjan, P. 52.

5. Religion and Culture of the Jains, Sircar, D.C. University of Calcutta, Calcutta, 1973, p. 38.

6. Introducing Jainism, Benerjee, Satya Ranjan, p. 52.

7. Dhammapada, Tr-Mahathera, Narada, Mahabodhi Society of India, Calcutt, 1991, p. 194.

8. Introducing Jainism, Benerjee, Satya Ranjan, P. 65.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid., p 66.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., p. 71,

18. Ibid. p, 72.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Jaina Yoga, A Survey of the Medieval Sravakacara, Williams, Robert, Oxford University Press, London, 1963, p. 93

अर्हंत वचन, अक्टूबर दिसम्बर २००५