Jai Mahavir ji
Fundamental Features of Jainism
Supreme Uprightness or Honesty
(Uttam Arjava Dharma)
Source religious books written by Upadhaya Munishri Kamakumar Nandi ji in excerpt form.
A renowned English poet writes about uprightness:
A man of life upright
Whose guiltless heart is free,
From all dishonest deeds,
Or thoughts of vanity.
The Hindi word Arjava means uprightness, straight-forwardness, simplicity, frank-speaking, honesty, non-hypocrisy, large-heartedness and freedom from deceit.
In Jain scripture ‘Baras Anupekha’ Acharya Shri Kundkund Swamy has defined the virtue of supreme uprightness or straight-forwardness (Uttama Arjava Dharma) as below:
A Jain saint (sharaman Muni), acts in life with an unblemished heart discarding crooked feelings, and follows a definite moral code of conduct; as a rule, he practices uprightness (Arjava Dharma) i.e., the third virtue out of the ten supreme virtues. Simplicity in ideas is known as straight-forwardness (Arjava). Its opposite is crookedness or hypocrisy. To give up hypocrisy is the supreme virtue of uprightness
(Uttama Arjava Dharma). Hypocrisy is a hindrance in life journey. As long as this obstacle lurks in a devotee, he cannot fully perform his devotion. If a devotee wants to carry on his life journey in a well-planned, simple and unhindered manner, is essential for him to give up hypocrisy or crookedness.
The glory of Mareech was rendered gloomy by his deceitful role of Golden deer. Yudhishther lost his high honor and fell of low esteem amidst his kith and kin by the utterance of his deceitful words, “Ashwathama” has been killed. It is true that even a little deceitful conduct proves fetal like milk mixed with poison. Deceitful conduct for the sake of selfish and mean show of false dignity lowers life to loss of virtues and ends in degeneration. The following instance shows the reality and hypocrisy of deceit:-
Two saints named Gundhar and Vinaydhar were staying in a garden. One of these saints Gundhar performed the penance of self-torture. During the four months of his rainy season stay at one place ‘Chaturmas’ he used to remain standing, unmoved at one and the same spot in a posture of bodily torture. Once when the prescribed period of four months stay ‘Chaturmas’ was over, the Gods worshiped him. The whole sky resounded with the slogan ‘victory to thee’ The smell of flowers showered by the gods made the whole surrounding atmosphere fragrant. This news spread in the whole city like forest fire. Next morning the city people set out to visit and pay homage to the saint. But by the time the city dwellers reached the garden, the saint had left the place on the completion of his ‘Chaturmas’; and Saint Vinaydhar had come there instead and settled there.
The city people mistook him for the saint Gundhar who had performed his four months rainy season stay there. Worshiping him with great devotion and respect, and singing hymns and saying prayers they began to adore him, “O Holy Saint! Even long accumulated sins are washed away in no time seeing a detached saint like you.”
It has been said:-
On seeing the holy saints and sacred image of Lord Jinendra, the sins accumulated since times immemorial are destroyed in the twinkling of an eye, just as water held between to joined palms with a gap is wasted in no time.
Saint Vinaydhar thought that if he disclosed the truth to the people, they would not worship him. Thinking so, concealing the deceitful feeling in his mind, he sat motionless with closed eyes in a posture of deep meditation. Having worshiped him, the city people left for home. Holly Vinaydhar’s mind was polluted a bit by deceitfulness. Therefore, after death he was reborn as a semi God (Deva). Again, on completion of his life period as a semi God, he was born as an elephant named Triloke Mandan. One day Bharat, the brother of Ram, was frolicking in water in the company of Sita and Vaishlya. Meanwhile the elephant Triloke Mandan uprooting a pillar, reached the city near the same tank where these people were frolicking in water; and as soon as he saw Bharat he had recollection of his previous birth. Now he began to repent on his deceitful conduct in the previous life.
“Ah! Bharat and I had performed penance together at the same time. But on account of my deceitful conduct to entertain people’s worship and homage, I am born as an elephant” Ultimately, by performing severe penance in successive births the elephant, Triloke Mandan, later on attained the superb state of man i.e., Godhood.
Thus, even a petty deceitful deed may lead to birth in an evil state of being. On being reduced to this low state of birth, a creature has to suffer untold types of tortures. One who is deceitful in conduct is fated to be born in an animal state due to his bondage of Karmas. So every living being should give up deceitful conduct.
Most of the politicians and high ranking people indulge in deceit; for they believe that policies politics and politics cannot be run without deceitful conduct. But religion cannot be practiced without giving up deceit. The two things are contradictory. Politics is a thing of the physical world. WE can carry on life even without politics. But the boat of life cannot sail across the river from one bank to the other in the absence of religion.
Hence, O Mortal Man! Be upright, be upright and be upright in all the daily dealings; and shun all deceit and fraud, for ‘Honesty is the best policy’
Many people think That honesty and integrity; cannot possibly be maintained in this mundane world; but they do not know that without these, life is nothing but chaos.
In truth, Honesty is a great asset in life. Even if you become a beggar, it will be your glory to think that you are an honest beggar. A clear conscience shines far more bright that a heap of gold coins- fresh from the mint and is far more valuable than a whole mine of diamonds.
The great poet Sir Henry Wotton sings:
‘How happy is he born or taught
That serveth not another’s will
Whose armour is his honest thought?
And simple truth his utmost skill!
Vanity is absolute worthless. Hence, it is some thing that must be given up at all costs. That will make man free from pride and life will be pure like gold. It is a day to day experience that harsh words cause clash and tender words result in peace. Therefore, learn by heart these sane words of advice; “Treat every body with politeness, even those who are rude to you. For, remember that you show courtesy to others not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one” Hence every person should speak beneficial, friendly affectionate sweet words. The wise seers have said: “Sweet words costs nothing, but buy every thing”.
The great poet Reidhu has described the supreme uprightness or Honesty as below:
1. Uprightness (Arjava) is the superb religious virtue. It makes the mind stable, annihilates evil. Gives birth to happiness and puts an end to sins. Hence, O holy soul! Follow this virtue of righteousness, practices over it and give ear to it.
2. Whatever thoughts arise in your mind, speak them out to others as such; and make efforts to make a similar type of action with body i.e., be honest in mind, speech and action. This is the eternal rule to usher in happiness.
3. This virtue of uprightness is acquired by giving up deceitful ideas. It is a sign of infinite belief and knowledge and is a store-house of extreme non-sensual (celestial) happiness.
4. By uprooting the thorn of deceit from your inner self, meditate upon the holy virtue of uprightness; because all the vows, self-restraint and observance of holy rules by a deceitful person, are futile. Only the virtue of uprightness paves the path of salvation.
5. The virtue of uprightness itself takes the soul across the ocean of the universe; intense feelings of advanced spiritual development are obtained through the virtue of uprightness. Uprightness conquers the pride or vanity of the opponents.
6. The virtue of uprightness is the symbol of the divine; it is free from any pledge, it is a living image of the lord; it is friendly to the soul; it is eternal and sign of fearlessness (intrepidness) uprightness, attains the imperishable state of salvation (Moksha)
Note:-The words shown in italics and green color are from prakart/sanskrit language.
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