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   Fundamental Features of Jainism
 Supreme Renunciation

   (Uttam Tyaga Dharma)


Source religious books written by Upadhaya Munishri Kamakumar Nandi ji in excerpt form.


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Renunciation of all possessions is Ahimsa; and the appropriation of all possessions is Himsa.’

The word renunciation means to cast aside, to give up, to get rid of, to discard and to leave. Some wise man have said: ‘In this world it is not what we take up but what we give up, that makes us rich’

 Renunciation has been assigned a great significance in the path of salvation propounded by the omniscient lord Jinendra. Therefore for house holders renunciation implies charities; and for ascetics it signifies the vow of Parigraha-partiyag i.e., abstention from greed of worldly possessions and the virtue of freedom from attachments. One who cherishes the feeling of renunciation without letting one’s energies lie dormant, paves the way to the attainment of ‘Tirthanker prakriti’ i.e., the state of final liberation or salvation means renunciation. To acknowledge the non-self as different from self and then to become non-attached to all worldly object or to discard the non-self is renunciation.


How can rainfall be possible without clouds? How can corn grow without sowing seeds? Like wise, how can the living beings attain bliss without renunciation?

Every living creature is aspirant of happiness. This happiness is an outcome of renunciation. When a thing is fully and whole-heartedly given in charity to others, it is called renunciation. If some one desires a return in exchange for a thing donated or wants to get it back after once given to others as charity; or donates something to others after getting his name inscribed on it, it is not called renunciation. Only that can be called as giving which is given to the poor; all other giving’s are of the nature of barter.

 Renunciation lends greatness to a man. Lord Bahubali followed the path of renunciation and attained his cherished goal. He conquered the kingdom of the sovereign king Bharat and returned to him thereafter without a hitch. How great was the feeling of renunciation in his outlook on life! He was the noble soul who laid down the foundation of this grand Indian tradition of returning a kingdom after once conquering it; which has become an immortal heritage of Indian culture to the coming generations. Lord Ram also won over Lanka after defeating Ravana, and then he renounced it by crowning Vibhishan as the King of Lanka. Rightly has it been said: “A generous mind never enjoys its possessions so much as when others are made partakers of them?”

The Jain prophets endowed with humanitarian outlook recommended that if a person ever happens to earn more than his requirements, he must give away his money in charities The best form of charities prescribed by religion are four:

                                       Ø      Ahara Dana-giving food to the hungry and poor;

Ø       Abhaya Dana-saving the lives of living beings in danger;

Ø      Aushsdha Dana- distribution of medicines;

Ø      Gyan Dana or donation of scriptures-Spreading knowledge.


These charities are called theChaturvidha Dana’-the four fold gifts by Jain religion; and it has been enjoyed on the house-holders that they should make special efforts to give these charities to the needy, irrespective of cast or creed. Even now, in all parts of India the Jains have rigorously maintained the tradition by giving freely ‘Chaturvidha Dana’-four fold gifts.

 While defining the supreme virtue of renunciation, the great poet Reidhu writes:

  1. Renunciation is part and parcel of religion. As a rule the two are inseparable. A perfectly purified soul dedicated to the virtue of penance should practice with full devotion the supreme virtue of renunciation within his capacity. That paves the way to attainment of superior state of existence in the next birth.

  2. A horde of vices is driven away by renunciation; it spreads the shining glory and frame of a person; consequently an enemy surrenders and falls down at his feet. Once gets the bliss of happy land of Eldorado through renunciation.

  3. A man developed to renunciation should regularly give charity humbly and affectionately using auspicious words. First of all he should give save the lives of all living beings in danger; doing so vanquishes the miseries related to the other world.

  4. Besides, one should give ‘Shastra Dana as well i.e., he should distribute among the people sacred books and scriptures which impart and spread religious knowledge. He should make free distribution of medicines also which cure living beings of all bodily diseases, and destroy all physical ailments root and branch.

  5. Giving food to the hungry and poor brings peace and prosperity in its return. As a rule these are four type of charities (four fold renunciation) practiced from times immemorial. In other words, renunciation is practiced by putting an end to vicious thoughts. In short, the virtue of renunciation consists in doing all this.

  6. We should give alms to the miserable and show reverence to the talented and virtuous persons. We should cherish the sole feeling of mercy and meditate in our mind for the attainment of perfect faith.


Hence, O Mortal Man! Practice renunciation, Practice renunciation and Practice renunciation throughout your life; for wise men say: “The more you covet, the more you lose; and the more you renounce riches (give charities), the more you gain; or more you give up, the more you merit.”


Indeed, “To renounce all sense of possession with regard to wealth is a very difficult vow.”


To sum up, ‘Riches have wings and they flee leaving us in the lurch,’ Therefore, it is wise to renounce riches and all other possessions voluntarily and give charities; otherwise when misfortune robs us of all our wealth and prosperity we shall be left penniless waiting all cursing our destiny.


                                                                                    The End


Note:-The words shown in italics and green color are from prakart/sanskrit language.

In case any mistake is noticed it may be either informed to us or the contents may be read after correction.


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