In Jainism, the word Śrāvaka is used to refer the Jain laity (householder). The word śrāvaka has its roots in the word śrāvana, i.e. the one who listens (the discourses of the saints).
In Jainism, two kinds of votaries are there:-
- The householder (one with minor vows)
- The homeless ascetic (one with major vows)
six essential duties are prescribed for a śrāvaka. These help the laity in achieving the principle of ahimsa which is necessary for his/her spiritual upliftment. The six duties are:
- Worship of Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (five supreme beings)
- Following the preachings of Jain saints.
- Study of Jain scriptures
- Following discipline in their daily engagement
- Charity (dāna) of four kinds:
- Ahara-dāna- donation of food
- Ausadha-dāna- donation of medicine
- Gyan-dāna- donation of knowledge
- Abhaya-dāna- saving the life of a living being or giving of protection to someone under threat
Jain ethical code prescribes five main vows and seven supplementary vows, which include three guņa vratas and four śikşā vratas.
Five minor vows
|1. Ahiṃsā||Not to hurt any living being by actions and thoughts|
|2. Satya||Not to lie or speak what is not commendable.|
|3. Asteya||Not to take anything if not given.|
|5. Aparigraha (Non-possession)||Detachment from material property.|
||6. digvrata||Restriction on movement with regard to directions.|
|7. bhogopabhogaparimana||Vow of limiting consumable and non-consumable things|
|8. anartha-dandaviramana||Refraining from harmful occupations and activities (purposeless sins).|
||9. samayika||Vow to meditate and concentrate periodically.|
|10.desavrata||Limiting movement to certain places for a fixed period of time.|
|11.upvas||Fasting at regular intervals.|
|12.atihti samvibhag||Vow of offering food to the ascetic and needy people|
A householder who observes these vows is called viratavirata, i.e., one who observes abstinence as well as non-abstinence. During
A householder who has observed all the prescribed vows to shed the karmas, takes the vow of sallekhanā at the end of his life. According to the Jain text, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya, "sallekhana enable a householder to carry with him his wealth of piety".
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