The practice of Equanimity: Sāmāyika
“No matter what amount of knowledge we may acquire, but if there is no sense of self-righteousness acquired, all is in vain.”
Sadhvi Sri Kalanidhishreeji Ma. Sa.
If a soul donates millions of gold coins every day and the other does pure Sāmāyika for only two hours, the former cannot attain the same worth level as the latter. Retirement from all Sāvadya (sinful) activities by giving up the aggrieved and dire contemplation and keeping equanimity for one auspicious moment – is called ‘Sāmāyika Vrat‘.
The word Sansāra (the world) is derived from the root word ‘Sru‘, which means: to converge, wander, and remain unsteady. Thus, Sansāra means constant rotation and change. After passing through different lives and places, the soul realizes the horrors of wandering in the world and seeks refuge in Guru Bhagwant. To get rid of this dreadful trap, Tirthankar Bhagwant has bestowed us with the six essential duties, viz. Sāmāyika, Logas, Vandanā, Pratikraman, Kāryotsarga and Pachhakhan respectively. These six-essential duties are considered inevitable for Sadhu-Sadhviji (spiritual seekers) and Shravak-Shravika (commoners). From Uttarādhyayana Sutrā, a detailed description of the characteristics of these six duties and their merits can be obtained.
According to Jinavāni, Sāmāyika is the first and most essential among the six essential duties. The meaning of the word Sāmāyika is ‘ Practice (Sādhna) of Equanimity’. By prohibiting ourselves from sinful attitudes of mind, speech, and body, we are supposed to merge in the Samādhi of equanimity. Sāmāyika is a thriving art of living that leads to a spotless, impeccable, elegant life. However, unfortunately, our practice of Sāmāyika is limited merely to physical activity. We practice lifeless Sāmāyika and remain trapped in the traditions, customs, and rituals. Without knowing the fundamental consciousness of Sāmāyika, we usually sit in one place and recite the mantras by rote. As a result, it remains only a tedious process. Before practicing Sāmāyika, it is essential to know its core meaning and to understand why Tirthankar recommended it as an imperative necessity.
All of us are surrounded by many dualities, wrapped in contrasts, immersed in preferences, and tormented by endless cravings. To liberate us from this swamp, God has recommended contemplation in one place with mindfulness, away from the entire world. It is called Sāmāyika in the true sense. The solutions to all our problems are within us. Therefore, it can be said ‘in is the only way out’. By imbibing equanimity in Sāmāyika, we can balance the dualities such as favourable-unfavourable and real-romantic. To seek the path of prudence and discipline is called Sāmāyika. It is not a custom but excellent chemistry – a vital basis for living a successful life. By engrossing in Sāmāyika, we are saved from all the dualities and conflicts, and we come to know our fundamental nature. It protects us from all the worldly Avadhyas. The term ‘Avadhya’ stands for: ‘That which is not worth mentioning, that which is condemnable, and that which is sinful’. Sāmāyika stops it, and we become strong internally.
Advantages of performing Sāmāyika:
Through Sāmāyika, the religious virtues are developed, as in it the abstinence from inauspicious and impure actions and the consumption of auspicious and pure actions are practiced.
Sāmāyika is literally ‘pre-practice of sainthood’. The process of transformation of the soul into the ultimate form is ‘saintliness’. Therefore, it is self-evident that the true practitioner of Sāmāyika is moving forward to attain saintliness and godliness.
Sāmāyika is like a queen bee as all other bees build beehive and collect honey where the queen bee sits. Similarly, on starting the practice of Sāmāyika, many parts of the spiritual practice, such as self-study, chanting, meditation, sensation etc., get activated. Then, there is the accumulation of honey in the form of consciousness.
All the acts which are cleansed by doing penance with millions of lives, the same number of acts get cleansed by practicing Sāmāyika immersed in self-consciousness.
By perfecting Sāmāyika with equanimity, salvation is attained.
Sāmāyika and Practice of Yoga:
Sāmāyika itself is a process of meditation. While performing Sāmāyika, we introspect, examine our self, and eliminate the defects of our character and behaviour through Prekshādhyāna, Prānayāma and so on. By using Prekshādhyāna through Sāmāyika, the soul advances. We do Trikālik Sāmāyika, which is related to our breath. Our Sushumnā Nādi (dormant cord) is activated while doing Trikālik Sāmāyika. Morning and evening are the best times for this meditation. While practicing Sāmāyika, āsanā (sitting posture) is also the part of yogic practice. At the beginning of Sāmāyika, one must sit in Pālyānkāsanā, due to which one feels lightness in the body. In this āsanā, both the palms are kept near the navel, the right palm is kept up, and the left palm is kept down. After sitting in a suitable posture, it is necessary to breathe very slowly. Once the mind is stable, forgetting the body’s consciousness, self-consciousness is awakened. This state of meditation leads to salvation.
Thus, Sāmāyika is a unique act to keep the mind stable. It is a resolution to attain the unmatched peace of the soul, and it is a pleasant and straightforward way to attain the ultimate position. It is a secret mantra to attain Akhandānanda (eternal bliss) and the best vessel to sail the ocean of sorrow.
Dr.Sejal Shah (Ph.D)