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Fundamental Features of Jainism


(Uttama Sanyam Dharma)

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


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“Self-restraint is the key to the eternal happiness.”

The dictionary meaning of word self-restraint (sanyam) is “Restraint over one's self; self-control; self-command”. It has various meanings and usages like to check, restraint, control, prevention and mental concentration etc. Supreme self restraint is one of the ten virtues to be cultivated by a man to counteract the four passions i.e., anger, pride, deceit and greed.

1.        Restraint on senses.

2.        Restraint in conduct towards animate beings.

Restraint on senses- To check the five senses (sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing) and the mind from indulging in sensuous pleasure is restraint on senses.


Restraint in conduct towards animated beings- To safe guard the one sensed souls (sthavara) viz. earth, water, fire, wind, and plants; and the others many sensed souls (Trasa )i.e., having bodies with more than one sense organ, is known as restraint for animates.


The following statement throws light enough upon this reality.


        Once there was a king. He was absorbed in sensuous pleasures day in and day out. The king owned a vast and beautiful orchard cum flower garden, in which multicolored flowers and fruits of the super most species grew and bloomed for ever. The king was so lusty and led such a luxurious life that in order to satisfy his whimsical demand innumerous flowers of different varieties were brought daily to make a flower bed for him. The king deemed himself to be very happy and delighted by sleeping in this bed.

One morning the royal gardener’s wife brought flowers to adorn the king’s bed. As soon as she had spread the bed with fragrant flowers, she began to think, ‘how lovely the flower bed looks! God knows what a bliss the king experiences by sleeping on it.’ While pondering thus in her mind, she decided to sleep for five minutes only in that charming flower bed and feel the pleasure of it. She knew that the king was likely to come into the palace after a long time. Thinking this she lay down in the bed. She was dead tired of the whole day’s work. As soon as she lay in bed, she fell in sound sleep. When at nightfall the king came into his royal bed room and found the gardener’s wife sleeping soundly in his flower bed, his eyes became blood shot with rage. The king instantly pulled her from the bed catching hold of her pony tail, hurled her violently on the ground and beat her black and blue with a stick. But there was no sign of pain and sorrow on her face; rather she began to laugh loudly. When the king ordered her to make clear the reason of her laughing, the lady gardener replied, “Your majesty! I am laughing at the idea that when I had to bear so many hunters strokes simply for sleeping in this flower bed for five minutes only, what will be your fate, who sleep in this flower-bed every night? Why not you discard all these transitory worldly enjoyments and observe self-restraint in life?”


On hearing such words from the gardener’s wife, the king thought in his mind what a great lesson this poor woman had taught him. Therefore, soon after this incident the king renounced all royal grandeur and initiated to monkshood.


While describing the virtues of self- restraint  the great poet Reidhu writes:

1)       The virtue of self- restraint is very rare in the universe. The block-headed person who gives up self- restraint on attaining this virtue once, roams in the universe in various states in this cycle of old age and death.

2)       Self- restraint is achieved by subduing the five senses. Self – restraint is the outcome of freedom from passions. Self- restraint is attained by performing severe penance and it is cultivated by giving up the craving for tastes and through constant meditation.

3)       Self- restraint is attained by keeping long fasts; it is obtained by controlling the mind from loitering and going astray; it is achieved by self- imposed bodily torture; and it is attained by renouncing home and worldly possessions.

4)       Self- restraint comes by defending the five sensed living beings and the one sensed beings apart from by examining carefully the seven 'Tattvas' (realities). These Tattvas are Jiva, Ajiva, Asrava, Bandha,Samvara, Nirjara and Moksha, Self- restraint is achieved by controlling the bodily activities.

5)       Self- restraint is attained by practicing compassion; it is achieved by nourishing the desire of salvation over and again. Self- restraint paves the way to perfect belief or faith. Self- restraint is the sole path to salvation.

6)       Devoid of self- restraint, human life is meaning less. In the absence of self- restraint this living being as a rule takes birth. In a lower state of life for want of self- restraint.

7)       ‘Self- restraint can be the only shelter in this birth and the next birth’-says lord Jinendra. It is just like the scorching rays of sun to dry the pond of miserable existence. Self- restraint alone resolves the complex problem of migration from world to world.


Hence, O Moral Man! Practice self- restraint, practice self- restraint and practice self- restraint to obtain true bliss; for one ‘who has subdued his self becomes happy in this world as well as in the next.’ Always keep in mind: ‘ A man might give by way of charity, thousands and thousands of cows every month; but far better than he will be the man who may give nothing in charity, but only observes perfect self- control.’

                                                                                                                     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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