Jain monks

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The message of Jina, Lord Mahنvira the last Tirthankara, is carried on by the ؤchنryas. They are our spiritual leaders. The responsibility of the spiritual welfare, but not social or economical welfare of the entire Jain Sangh, rests on the shoulders of the ؤchنryas. Before reaching this state, one has to do in-depth study and achieve mastery of the Jain scriptures (ؤgams). In addition to acquiring a high level of spiritual excellence, they have the ability to lead the monks and nuns. They know various languages with a sound knowledge of other philosophies and religions of the area and the world.

This title is given to those Sadhus who have acquired a special knowledge of the ؤgams and philosophical systems. They teach Jain scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis.


When householders become detached from the worldly aspects of life and get the desire for spiritual uplift(and not worldly uplift), they give up their worldly lives and become sنdhus (monk) or sنdhvis (nun). A male person is called sنdhu, and a female person is called sنdhvi. Before becoming sنdhus or sنdhvis, a lay person must observe sنdhus orto understand their life style and do religious studies. When they feel confident that they will be able to live the life of a monk or a nun, then they inform the ؤchنrya that they are ready to become sadhu or sadhvi. If the ؤchنrya is convinced that they are ready and are capable of following the vows of sadhu or sadhvi, then he gives them Deekshن. Deeksha is initiation ceremony when a householders changes to a monk or a nun. At the time of Deekshن, the sadhu or sadhvi voluntarily accepts to obey following five major vows for the rest of his/her life:
Commitment of Total Ahimsن (non-violence)-not to commit any type of violence.
Commitment of Total Satya (truth)-not to indulge in any type of lie or falsehood.
Commitment of Total Asteya (non-stealing)-not to take anything unless it is given.
Commitment of Total Brahmacharya (celibacy)-not to indulge in any sensual. activities
Commitment of Total Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)-not to acquire more than what is needed to maintain day to day life.
Some other things they observe are:
1)They do not accept the food cooked specially for them;
2)They do not eat before sunrise or after sunset;
3)They drink boiled water;
4)They walk bare footed and do not sit in a car, train, airplane or any other vehicle;
5)They do not stay in one place for a longer time;
6)They do not touch any person of the opposite sex even the children of opposite sex;
7)They do not get involved in social or society affairs;
8)Some monks wear no clothes while others wear white clothes;
9)All nuns wear white clothes;
10)They offer spiritual guidance to us, Self-discipline and purity is the part of their daily life.


The 22 parisahas pertain to the enduring of hardship and while doing so remaining in a state of serenity and equanimity so that all karmas may be destroyed. These are more prominently followed by sadhus and sadhvis. There are 22 types:

Hunger. A monk must not accept food which is blemished and prepared with any one of the forty-two faults, even if he has to go hungry.

Thirst. A monk should not take unboiled water, even if he has to go thirsty.

Cold. Even when it is cold a monk should not wish for heater.

Heat. Even when it is hot a monk should not wish for fan or aircondition.

Insect bites. If a monk is bitten by an insect while he is meditating, he should not brush it away or become irritated, but should bare it calmly.

Clothes. A monk must accept whatever clothes he may receive.

A monk must bare evil words told to him.

A monk must bare kicking and beating.

A monk must bare diseases.

A monk must sleep on a wooden flat bed or coarse grass.

A monk must not take a bath.

A monk must wear torn clothes but should not ask for new clothes.

A monk should not experience shame or helplessness while going for alms from door to door.

If a monk does not get alms, then he should not become worried and, on the contrary, should think as though he has been given a chance to perform austerity.

A monk should not become attracted towards the beauty of women.

A monk should not become disturbed by hardship while meditating in a cemetery.

A monk should not become agitated even when there is the suffering or grief.

A monk should not become proud while being honored.

A monk should not become irritated when getting pricked by thorns, etc.

A monk must should not feel sorry for not attaining knowledge even after good efforts.

If a monk is ignorant and can not read, he should not become depressed. He must think of karmodaya and must keep his pursuit of knowledge alive.

A monk must try to understand the message of the Jina and should never doubt it.

Ten Duties of Sadhus

Sadhus observe the following great duties to the fullest extent, while householders follow them from a lesser degree to fullest extent.

Kshama (forgiveness)

Namrata (politeness) and Laghutha (meekness)

Saralata (simplicity)

Nirlobha (absence of Avarice)

Tap (internal and external austerities)

Samyama (controlling senses)

Satya (avoiding condemnable speech)

Shaucha (mental purity)

Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

Brahamcharya (celibacy)


The Twelve Bhavanas Or Contemplation:

Bhavana means the contemplation, through which you motivate your soul to carry out lofty reflections. There are 12 types:

Anitya Bhavana:

All external substances including the body are transitory (Anitya). They are perishable and therefore, we should not have attachment for them.

Asharan Bhavana:

Human beings are experiencing tremendous agitation. When death occurs and the soul has to leave the body there is no one who can save a jiva who is helpless. Wealth, family etc. have to be given up at such a time. No worldly things can provide refuge so why should we depend upon them.

Samsar Bhavana:

In the cycle of samsar, i.e. births and deaths, mother can become wife; wife can become mother; and an enemy can become a friend; etc. How futile is samsar ? We should not have attachment for it.

Ekatva Bhavana:

"I am alone, I was born alone, I will die alone, I am sick alone, I have to suffer alone, I have to experience the karmas which I have earned, alone." Therefore, one should be cautious and keep away from the attachment and hatred.

Anyatva Bhavana:

"This body is transitory and it is different from me. I am the soul which is not perishable. While body is perishable. Even wealth, family etc., are not mine. They are different from me, therefore, I discard attachment for all these things."

Asuchi Bhavana:

"This body is made up of impure substances. It is being nourished by impure substances. I will discard my attachments for this body and engage myself in self-discipline, renunciation, and spiritual endeavors."

Asrava Bhavana:

Thinking on inflow of karmas. All causes that create the inflow of karmas should be discarded.

Samvar Bhavana:

Samvar means blocking of the inflow of karmas. One must contemplate on Samiti, Gupti, Yati-dharma etc. One must carry out these activities and try to reduce or stop the new bondage of karma.

Nirjara Bhavana:

Nirjara means to shed off whatever karmas we have. One must think of the benefits that accrue from each of the 12 kinds of Tapas or the austerities which cause nirjara. One must contemplate on these austerities in order to destroy sins.

Lokasvabhava Bhavana:

Lokasvabhava means one must contemplate on the three Lokas, namely: 1) the upper world, 2) the middle world, 3) the lower world, and also the whole universe filled with souls and pudgals.

Bodhidurlabh Bhavana:

One must contemplate on how difficult it is for the souls that are wandering aimlessly in four stages of existence in the Samsar to attain the Jin dharma. There should not be even the slightest negligence in observing the religion propagated by the Jina."

Dharma Bhavana:

"Oh: Arihant Bhagwan, the omniscient, has expounded an excellent Shruta Dharma and Charitra Dharma. I will engage myself in these Dharma." One should carry out this contemplation again and again.

Some special rules of conduct for sadhus and sadhvis:

The Jain sadhus or sadhvis do not take food or water after the sunset or before sunrise. They wait 48 minutes after the sun-rise before even drinking boiled water. Under any circumstance, they do not eat or drink anything between the hours of sunset and sunrise.

Gochari (Alm): Jain sadhus/sadhvis do not cook their food, do not get it prepared for them, or do not accept any food which was prepared for them. They go to different householders that are Jains or vegetarians and receive a little food from each house. This practice is called Gochari. Just as cows graze the top part of grass moving from place to place, taking a little at one place and a little at another, in the same way Jain Monks and Nuns do not take all the food from one house. They collect it from various houses. The reason Jain Sadhus/sadhvis accept a little food and not all the food from one house is because this way the householders do not have to cook again. The cooking process involves much violence in the form of fire, vegetable chopping, water consumption, etc., and sadhus or sadhvis do not want to be the part of any violence due to their needs. They do not receive food standing outside the house; but they go inside the house where food is cooked or kept. This way they can understand the situation that their accepting food would not make the householders to cook again. They accept food which is within the limit of their vows.

 Vihar: They always walk with bare feet. When they travel from one place to another, whatever may be the distance they always go walking. They do not use any vehicle like bullock cart, car, boat, ship or plane for traveling. Whether it is cold weather or scorching sun; whether the road is stony or thorny; whether it is the burning sand of a desert or a burning road, they do not wear any foot-wear at any time. They move about on bare foot all their life. The reason for not wearing shoes is while walking, they can avoid crushing the bugs or insects on the ground. While going places, they preach the religion (Dharma), and provide proper spiritual guidance to people. They do not stay more than a few days in any one place except during the rainy season which is about four months in duration. The sadhus and sadhvis generally do not go out at night. The place where they stay is called Upashray or Paushadh Shala. They may stay in places other than the Upashrayas if those places are suitable to the practice of their disciplined life and if they do not disturb or impede the code of conduct. The reason they do not stay anywhere permanently or for a longer period in one place is to avoid developing attachment for material things and the people around them.

Loch: The Jain Sädhus and Sadhvis after receiving the Diksha (initiation) do not cut their hair or shave their heads; nor do they get these things done by a barber. But twice a year or at least once a year at the time of Paryushan, they pluck off their hairs or they get the hairs plucked by others. This is called Keshlochan or Loch. This way they are not dependent on others to carry out their needs. It is also considered as one kind of austerity where one bares the pain of plucking of the hairs calmly.

Clothing: They always wear un-stitched or minimally stitched white clothes. Some Jain sadhus do not wear the clothes. A loin cloth which reaches up to the shins is called a Cholapattak. Another cloth to cover the upper part of the body is called Pangarani (Uttariya Vastra). A cloth that passes over the left shoulder and covers the body up to a little above the ankle is called a Kämli. Kämli is a woolen shawl. They also carry a woolen bed sheet and a woolen mat to sit on. Those who wear clothes have a muhapati a square or rectangular piece of cloth of a prescribed measurement either in their hand or tied on their face covering the mouth. They also have Ogho or Rajoharan (a broom of woolen threads) to clean insects around their sitting place or while they are walking. Sadhus who do not wear any clothes have morpichhi and kamandal in their hands. These are the articles by which they can be distinguished. This practice may vary among different sects of Jains but essential principle remains the same to limit needs.

They bestow their blessings on all, uttering the words Dharm Labh (may you attain spiritual prosperity). They bless everyone alike irrespective of their caste, creed. sex, age, wealth, poverty, high, or low social status. Some put Vakshep (scented sandal dust) on the heads of people. Monks and nuns show the path of wholesome life and of a righteous and disciplined life to every one through the media of discussions, discourses, seminars and camps to attain spiritual prosperity.

The entire life of sadhus/sadhvis is directed towards the welfare of their souls. All the activities of their life have only one aim, namely, self-purification for self- realization. For the attainment of this objective, besides following laid down guidelines they perform the pratikraman daily, and perform other austerities.

Conferring a title:

The Jain sadhus, after being initiated that is, after receiving the diksha become immersed in such activities as meditation, seeking knowledge, acquiring self-discipline etc. Proceeding on the path of spiritual endeavor, when they reach a higher level of attainment, their spiritual elders, for the preservation of the four-fold Jain Sangh, confer upon them some special titles.

The Title of Acharya: This title is considered to be very high and involves a great responsibility. The entire responsibility of the Jain Sangh rests on the shoulders of the acharya. Before attaining this title, one has to make an in-depth study and a thorough exploration of the Jain Agams and attain mastery of them. One must also study the various languages of the surrounding territory and have acquired a through knowledge of all the philosophies of the world related to different ideologies and religions.

The Title of Upadhyay: This title is given to a sadhu who teaches all the sadhus and sadhvis, and has acquired a specialized knowledge of the Agams (Scriptures).

The Title of Panyas and Gani: To secure this title, one should have acquired an in-depth knowledge of all the Jain agams. To attain the status of Ganipad one should have a knowledge of the Bhagawati Sutra and to attain the Panyas-pad one should have attained a comprehensive knowledge of all the aspects of the agams.

The Jain sadhus, on account of the mode of their life, are unique among all the monks. The entire life of Sadhus and Sadhvis is dedicated to spiritual welfare of their souls; all their objectives, and all their activities are directed towards elevating their souls to the Paramatma-dasha, the state of the Supreme Soul.


 Jain Muni's being massacared by Vedic militants during 8th Century A.D.                        

  Pictures of Jain Muni's being massacared by Vedic militants during 8th Century A.D. (bhakti movement by
Adi Shankaracharya)  Rest of population was converted to Dalitism (untouchable) lowest form of Vedic religion.

During this period most of Dravid Jain temples were converted to Vedic temples (eg. Tirupati, Meenakshi,
varadperumal, Kamakshi and 100s of other temples in South India and over 100 temples in Jin Kanchi (kanchipuram)

This is archaeologically recorded and authicated fact,however not published due to security reasons.Picture taken from one of converted jain temple to Hindu temple in Tamilnadu, where victory of Vedic pundits is celebrated by depicting carvings of dravidian killings on carved wall.


That is why Jain monks and nuns are unique. Their activities are directed towards the uplift of their souls to Paramنtman (the state of liberation).