Niyamsara is one of the most
renowned adhyatmic works of Shri Kund Kunda Acharya. He was the preceptor
of Shri Uma Swami, the renowned author of Shri Tattwartha Dhigama Sutra.
Bowing to Vira Jina, who, by nature is the possessor of infinite and
supreme knowledge and connation: I shall compose Niyama-sara, preached by
Kevalis and the Shruta Kevalis.
(by- Jaina Dharma Bhushan Brahmachaari Sital Prasadaji):
In this gatha,
Shri Kunda-Kunda Acharya, who lived in the first century of the Vikrma
Era, renders homage to the last of the twenty-four Tirthankars, Lord
Mahavira, who called Vira, and emshrines Him in his heart for the
purification of his thoughts; so that he may be able to fulfill his
undertaking successfully. Further, the Acharya expresses it emphatically
that whatever he will write will not be his own independent teaching, but
will be fully based upon the authoritative pronouncement of Kevalis and
Shruta -Kevalis. Niyamsara (1) - (Soul- Jiva)
The treatise is named Niyamsara, because it deals with the path of
liberation, which is Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct, the
three jewels of faith combined. The word Niyama literally means,
"rule or law," and Sara means "the right." Niyamsara
thus signifies the Right Rule, the true and indispensable law for the
attainment of liberation.
The sole object and the whole gist of this treatise are to show that the all-pure, all-conscious,
all-blissful and self- absorbed soul alone is the Siddha, a perfect soul.
If a soul is in bondage with karmic matter, i.e., if it has any connection,
whatsoever, with the Non-Soul, it is imperfect, and under delusion. It is
imperfection or delusion, which is accountable for the continuance of
transmigration's, and experiences of pain and pleasure. In order to obtain
liberation, perfection, external beatitude, a soul must get rid of all
connection with the non-self. When this connection with the Non-self is
completely severed, Siddha-pada, Perfection, is attained.
Right Belief, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct have been dealt with, from two points of
view, the real and the practical.The real is the only sure and
direct path; while the practical is an auxiliary cause to the attainment
of the real. Real path of liberation is absorption in the self.
Attachment and aversion,
which include all passionate thought activities, are the main cause of
karmic bondage, while non- attachment, or pure thought activity leads to
freedom from bondage.
Practical Right Belief is a true and firm belief in Apta, the
all-accomplished, all-knowing, source of all knowledge, in the Agama, the
Scripture, the written discourse, which first flowed from the omniscient,
and in the Tattvas, the principles or categories.
The Apta must have three special characteristics:
(a) Freedom from all defects such as hunger, fear, anger, delusion, (b)
Omniscience and (c)
non-volitional propagation of truth. Such are the Arhats, the adorable
Lords, of whom the most prominent are the twenty-four Tirrthankaras.
(1). (Pudgala) "matter" is the most prominent, plays a
very important part in the amphitheater of the universe. The special
attributes of matter-substance (pudgala) are touch, taste, smell, and
colour. It exists either in the from of atoms or of molecules. Only gross
molecules are cognizable by the senses; fine, electric and karmic
molecules, which compose the electric and the karmic bodies of all mundane
souls, are not cognizable by the senses.
is the scripture composed by the highly learned and spiritually advanced
saints from discourses which flowed from the Arhats. These scriptures are
faultless and free from the flaw of inconsistency.
principal categories or substances are seven: (1) Jiva, soul, (2) Ajiva, non-soul, (3) Asrava, inflow, (4) Bandha
bondage, (5) Samvara, the check of inflow, (6) Nirjara the shedding of
previously bound up Karmas, and (7) Moksha liberation from all Karmic
All that exists is included in one or other of the two principles, soul and
non-soul. Which a man is alive, it is the soul in his body, which
perceives and knows all objects; A body without soul is incapable of
perceiving or knowing anything. Material objects such as a pen, table or
chair cannot feel or know anything. They are unconscious or inanimate
I. The soul. It is the only conscious substance. Looked at from the
real point of view even a mundane soul is pure. Peaceful, all knowing and
all blissful; It is potentially so. From the practical point of view such
a soul experiences various kind of pain and pleasure in different
conditions of life.
II. The Non-soul. It comprises the other five real and independent
substances, which, taken together with the soul, make up the six (Dravyas)
Dharma Dravya. "Medium of motion" is a single, immaterial
substance, pervading throughout the whole of the universe. It is
essentially an auxiliary cause of motion for soul and matter.
Adharma Dravya. "Medium of rest" is also a single immaterial
substance, pervading throughout the whole universe. It is also an
essentially auxiliary cause of rest for soul and matter.
Akisha Dravya. "Space" is a single infinite immaterial
substance. Its function is to give place to all substances.
Kala Dravya. "
Time", is an immaterial substance. It is an auxiliary cause of
bringing about modifications is all substances.
& IV. "Inflow" (asrava) and "Bondage (Bandha)."
Every mundane soul has a
karmic body, formed of karmic molecules. The universe is full of karmic
molecules. Inflow of these molecules toward the soul, caused by its own
vibratory activities, through mind, speech, and body, is called asrava.
When these molecules are so attracted towards the soul, they are
assimilated in the existing karmic body. The causes of assimilation or
bondage are the soul's vibratory activities and passion. This process is
known as bandha (bondage). The processes of Inflow and Bondage of Karmic
matter go on simultaneously. The main auxiliary causes of both of them are
(a).Wrong belief (Mithyatva).
(d).Soul's vibratory activities (Yoga).
V. Samvara. "Checking of Inflow" and "Bondage of
Karmic" molecules, is called Samvara (Stoppage).
The main auxiliary causes of stopping the inflow and bondage of
karmic molecules are :-
(b) Observance of vows.
(d) Restraint of soul's vibratory activities.
VI. Nirjara. "The shedding of karmas" already bound with
a soul, at maturity, or prematurely, is called Nirjara. The premature
shedding of karmas is caused by pure thought-activities, brought about by
the practice of right kind of austerities. The shedding on maturity is a
natural and automatic process.
"Liberation "is freedom from all karmic matter as a result of
the non-existence of the cause of bondage and the shedding off of all
karmas previously bound. It is the state of a Siddha, the condition of
devotion to Apta, study of the scripture, and meditation of the seven
principles, cause the subsidence of wrong belief (mithyatva ) and of the
four error-feeding passions (anantanubandhi kashaya) and as a consequence
the real right belief which is an attribute of the soul, shine forth in
its true splendor. At this stage the right believer is fully convinced of
the true and pure nature of his own soul, and this is Real Right belief.
1 Practical Right Knowledge is the acquisition of the
detailed knowledge of all the seven principles explained above, with the
help of the Jaina scriptures. This Right-knowledge must be free from three
main defect (a) doubt (Samashay), (b) Perversity (Viparyaya) and (c)
Indefiniteness (anadhyavasaya). It reveals the complete and precise nature
2 Real Right knowledge is to know the true and real
nature of the soul as quite distinct from all other non-soul substances.
of, and unflinching devotion to, the subject matter of practical right
knowledge is an auxiliary cause to the attainment of Real Right Knowledge.
A right believer, who has
fully realised the true and real nature of his own soul, and is bent upon
getting rid of the karmic filth, which is in bondage with his soul, tries
to follow Right Conduct. His main object in doing so is to be free from
attachment and aversion, and from all impure thought-activities and to
attain the condition of equanimity.
Practical right conduct consists in observing the following five vows: -
(a)Ahinsa (refraining from doing injury)
(b)Satya (refraining from falsehood.)
(c)Asteya (refraining from theft.)
(d)Brahmacharya (Chastity, purity.)
This practical right conduct can be observed either
partially or fully. Laymen observe it partially, while those who observe
it fully are saints. Partial observance is merely a stepping stone to the
conduct of a saint, without following which it is not possible to advance
spiritually and to ultimately liberate the soul from karmic bondage.
A layman is required to follow the seven supplementary
vows also, as they are helpful in the proper observance of the first five.
Out of these seven, the following three are called Gunavratas (miltiplicative
vows) because they raise the value of the five vows multifold.
Dig-Vrata, a life-long vow to limit worldly activities to fixed
points in all the 10 direction, North South, East, West, North-east,
North-west, South-east, South-west. Above and below.
a vow to limit worldly activity for a fixed period "only."
Taking a vow not to commit purposeless sin. It is of five kind :
(a).Apa-Dhyana, thinking ill of others.
(b).Papodesha, Preaching evil of others.
(c).Pramada-charya. Inconsiderate conduct, such as uselessly breaking the boughs of trees.
(d).Himsa-dan, preparing or supplying instruments of attack.
(e).Dushruti, Reading or listening to improper literature.
The remaining four are
the following Shiksha Vratas or disciplinary vows; so called because they
are preparatory to the discipline of an ascetic's life:
:- Taking a vow to devote a fixed period every day, once, twice, or three
times, at sunrise, sunset and noon to the contemplation of the self for spiritual advancement.
Taking a vow to fast on four days of the month the two Ashtamis and the
Parimana. Taking a vow every day to limit one's enjoyment of consumable
and non-consumable things.
Taking a vow to take one's food only after feeding ascetics or others,
with a part of it.
The following eleven stage of
spiritual progress have been laid down for a layman.
1. Darshana Pratima. A layman who entertains right belief, and
follows the five main vows to a limited extent is called in this stage.
2. Vrata-Pratima. In this stage he observes the five main vows to a limited
extent (anuvartas), without transgression and follows the seven supplementary vows.
3. Samayika Pratima. In this stage he practices faultless contemplation
regularly, three times in the morning, at midday and in the evening, at
least for about 48 minutes every time.
4.Proshadhpvasa Pratima. In this stage he observes a fast faultlessly. On
the 8th and 14th days of the fortnight .
5.Sachitta Tyaga Pratima. In this stage he does not take animate water and vegetable, etc.
6.Ratri-Bhukta Tyaga Pratima. He does not take or give food or drink at night.
7.Brahmacharya Pratima. He gives up sexual intercourse even with his wife.
8.Arambha Tyaga Pratima. He give up all profession and all means of earning
money and all wordly occupations.
9.Parigraha-Tyaga Pratima. He gives up all desire for objects of the world
and abandons all property expert a very few limited number of clothes and utensils.
10.Anumati-Tyaga Pratima. He would not even offer advice on any worldly matter.
11.Uddishta-Tyaga Pratima. In this stage he would not accept food which is
prepared particularly for him. He will only accept food which is
respectfully offered by a house-holder at the time when he goes out for
food. One following the discipline of this stage may be
(a) Kshullaka, who keeps a small sheet of cloth not sufficiently long to cover his whole body and a small
loin-cloth (langoti) and dines in a dish, or
(b). Ailaka, who wear only a small loin-cloth (langoti) and dines off his hands.
They both carry a bowl of water for cleaning the body and
peacock-feathers brush for harmlessly removing insects.
Every Jaina house-holder is ordinarily required to perform the following six daily duties.
1. Deva-Puja. Worship of the Arhats, the adorable.
2. Guru Bhakti. Devotion to the gurus or preceptor-saints.
3. Svadhyaya. Study of the scriptures.
4. Samyama. Control of the five senses and the mind. In practicing Samyama,
it is necessary to renounce certain objects of enjoyments with the idea of self-control.
5. Tapa. Austerities such as meditating upon the nature of soul, every
morning and evening, for a fixed time.
6. Dana or Charity. Giving of (a) food, (b) knowledge,(c) medicine, or (d)protection.
As soon as an Ailaka is able
to subdue his passion, and regards himself as above passion and emotion,
like an infant he discards that small langoti also, become a nirgrantha, a
naked saint, without any possession, whatsoever, except the bowl for
carrying water, for cleaning but not bathing the body and the peacock
feathers brush for carefully removing insect. He may keep scriptures as
well for daily.
A saint while observing the
five great vows fully and without any transmigration, has to observe the
following eight rules of Conduct also :-
1. Five kinds of caution, (Samiti).
(a). Irya Samiti Proper care in walking.
(b). Bhasha Samiti, proper care in speaking.
(c). Eshna Samiti proper care in eating.
(d). Adana-Nikshepa Samiti,Proper care in lifting and placing the bowl, etc.
(e). Utsarga Samiti, proper care while attending call of nature.
2. Three kinds of Restraini (Gupti), (a)of mind, (b) of word, (c)of body.
These eight rules of conduct
taken together with the five vows make the thirteen rules of practical
right conduct laid down for a saint.
In dealing with the six essential duties from the real point of view, the author has used the word
Avashyaka in its etymological sense. Avasha, means independent; and
Avashyaka Karma means independent action. Independent action signifies the
idea that the soul of a saint meditation is not dependent upon any other
thought activity except its own pure and real nature. This is only
possible in the condition of self-absorption, when a saint is free from
all foreign thought activities.
From the practical point of
view, they may be briefly described as follows :-
1. Pratikramana; Repentence means the statement of the sins and transgression
committed by a saint, during the performance of his daily routine; and
making penance for them.
2.Pratyakayana. Renunciation means resolving to avoid particular
thought-activities and action in future, which tend to disturb the
performance of essential duties.
3.Stuti or Praising and
4.Vandana prostration to the worshipful saints. They are both aspects of
Devotion which are practised with the object of getting rid of impure thought activities.
5.Samayika or Equanimity. In practicing Samayika a saint resorts to some
undisturbed solitude, and calmly and cheerfully withdraw all his
thought-activities, and meditates upon his own soul and its various attributes and modification.
6.Kayotsarga. Is the relinquishment of attachment to the body and all other objects associated with it.
Nirvana is the result brought
about by the practice of self-absorption, which is the combination of Real
Right belief, Real Right Knowledge and Real Right Conduct.