Once a human being has learnt that the soul is separate from the body as described in the Aacharang Sutra, he then goes on a quest to understand what is right and what is wrong, to accept or not to accept, to understand the minute details of everything they do in daily life. In this quest , the human being learns various religions and chooses to follow one of them.
Lord Mahaveer describes in detail all of this in the Sri Suyagadanga Sutra, Jainism described as a judicious decision.
As in all blogs, this is not direct translation or transcription of the Gurudev’s preachings. It is just an understanding of a follower. Mistakes are bound to happen, and so if you find any please describe them in the comments section to help correct them. If you may have any questions feel free to discuss them in the comments section as well.
The Journey from birth
If you are a Jain by birth, you are one of the lucky people born on this planet to be blessed with a family that follows Jainism. A family that follows the concept of Ahimsa or non violence and is born to feed on a vegetarian diet embodied with the principle of “live and let live”. Not many however are born like that, they learn different types of religious ritual by birth, and some include sacrifice as a holy practice. Why do they do it? What happens if they don’t do it? Is there nonviolent means of performing the same ritual? Nobody thinks about it because they are born and brought up like that.
“What should I do?”
To a Jain it may seem as violence, but to a person who does that day in a day out, they don’t feel anything. As you grow into an adult from a child you realize the mistakes you do. You just accept the practice or you choose to not perform it. It is at this stage you seek guidance. Mahaveer describes this in detail in the Sri Suyagadhanga Sutra. He also in detail describes all the false practices that lead to nothing.
Sri Suyagadhanga Sutra is the perfect description and guidance to the purification of the soul.
Incorrect means of life
In this sutra, mahaveer logically explains why a holy dip in the ganges does not lead to salvation. or why the practice of sacrificing an animal is no means to please the gods or even why breaking of a coconut does nothing but create a bang.
If the holy dip in the ganges lead to salvation, does it mean the fishes that are in the ganges will receive salvation in the next birth? While the dip in the ganges is holy and means of cleansing the soul, it only cleanses the outer body. It is important to perform Internal Purification. if sacrificing is means to liberation, then why not sacrifice yourself or your children? Why an animal that means no harm?
Many such descriptions are made a part of this Sutra. In short Mahaveer explains to all of man kind that salvation or liberation (moksha) can be attained by practicing the non violent means of life.
Non-voilence as the virtue of life
What makes Jainism different from the other philosophies of the world? Sri Suyagadhanga Sutra explains the importance of Jain philosophy, the importance of nonviolent means of life. The extraordinary virtues of Lord Mahaveer, the painful and torturous life of Mahaveer are described in this Sutra. The painful journey that the soul has to experience in hell due to non-meritorious deeds is well described as part of the Sutra.
The nonviolent means of Lord mahaveer is described by some of the “Upsargs” (occasions of painful experience) that he had to face during his lifetime.
In one instance Mahaveer is said to have been going through a thick forest. He is faced by a huge snake called the chandkausik. The snake tells mahaveer to return back or that he shall kill him. Mahaveer told chandkaushik that he did mean any harm to him. Chandkaushik bites mahaveer in the toe, and it is said that milk instead of blood came out of the wound. Chandkaushik then confronts mahaveer and kills his anger.
In another instance Mahaveer when going through a village is invited by a farmer into his hut. Mahaveer accepted the offer and goes into the meditation state. The villager informs Mahaveer that he was leaving for some work and that Mahaveer should take care of the hut. Mahaveer was in deep meditation, and does not listen. Soon after, a cow comes along and eats a portion of the hut.
The villager returns to his half left hut and starts cursing Mahaveer. Not having recieved a response from Mahaveer, the villager hammers two big nails into Mahaveers ears. Mahaveer was still in his meditation. As he travels in this meditation he reaches the bottom of a tree and stays there. Some more villagers gather along, and one of them notices the nails in Mahaveers ears. It is said that valcanoes erupted when Mahaveer screamed of pain as the nails were removed.
Many such stories are made part of the Aagam’s to inspire us into leading a nonviolent means of life.
Only when you are ready
The Sutra uses the example of Aadra Kumar, a Nobel prince of Iran who receives a gift of Jain articles including the charavala (a broom like object used by the Jain saints). Aadra Kumar wonders what these articles are and using deep meditation he is able to realize that he was a Jain saint in the past, and that he is now lost in worldly affairs. He requests his parents for permission to leave the world and enter sainthood, and go back to India. Aadra Kumar fleeced his kingdom when his parents refused.
On his way to India, he hears a voice from informs him that he cannot be a saint just yet due to sins bound to his soul. Aadra kumar decides against the inner voice and attains sainthood from a Guru. It is documented that Aadra Kumar because of a relation (raag or attachment) that he shared with someone, Aadra Kumar comes back into sansar. After having finished his karmas related to the worldly affairs, he attains sainthood again and is said to have attained moksha (salvation) in a few more births.
You accept yourself as the soul, you practice nonviolence as means of life to obtain spirituality, now what?
Understanding the life sciences in-depth. Mahaveer describes this in the third sutra: Sri Thananga Sutra.
Jai Jinendra. Jai Gurudev.