Sri Āchāranga Sutra

There three things which must be discussed in the present day and time. The first one has to be Āgam, the second can be health – regarding austerity and righteous conducts and the third can be the implication of Jain principle. Out of these, firstly, I would like to talk about Āgam. In the current digital age as we are cut off from the fundamental principles, it is imperative to know that Jainism is a conduct-oriented Dharma. On the path of emancipation, deeds speak louder than words. Just as Sri Uttarādhyayan Sutra is the final sermon of God, Sri Āchāranga Sutra belongs to the first sermon of God. Sri Āchāranga Sutra is given the first place in Drādshāngi. In Shwetāmbar as well as Digambar traditions, this Āgam is given the first place. Āchāranga Sutra is called the lifeblood of Jain Dhamma. The preaching of conducts and non-violence is seen throughout the scriptures. Āgams have not only preached to refrain from violence but also insisted on not stating anything where violence is taking place. The present Āgam is in prose-verse, not as a story or a dialogue form but the preaching is bestowed through the precious Āgam statements. In total there are 25 lessons.

Āchāranga Sutra is prefaced by a wonderful statement: “के अहं आसी?” i.e., “Who I was? Where did I come from? Where will I go hereafter?” Āchāranga Sutra is the core element of Jain knowledge fundamentally. Bhagwant composers of Āgam have done immense contribution by writing a series of brilliant and mystical Āgam statements in a very lucid style, which appeals not only to Jain community but also to all human beings alike.

These scriptures mainly talk about righteous conducts and its importance. This is an invaluable insight that combines knowledge and action. Das Vaikalik Sutra is considered to be a worksheet for beginners, Jnātā Dhamakathā is considered to be a worksheet for knowledge whereas Āchāranga Sutra is considered to be a worksheet for the life of righteous conducts for the devotees.

Golden Statements of Jain Āgam Āchāranga Sutra:

Humans commit violence for six reasons – 1) for praise, 2) for gaining honour, 3) for worship, 4) for resisting pain and disease, 5) for controlling chaos and 6) sometimes violence is committed for Dharma also.

  1. One who knows and renounces the causes of violence is a sage.
  2. Those whose renounce deception and live life of simplicity, are called sages.
  3. Those who step into the state of Vairagyā – path of abstinence with faith should follow the vow of Jain faith sincerely.
  4. In Jain Dashan, it is not said that there is life in water, but that water itself is life.
  5. The attachment to worldly things is the human world.
  6. A wise man should be ashamed rather than violent. Every creature wants happiness, nobody likes sorrow.
  7. A Jain sage never aspires to live a life of violence.
  8. Why to entangle the soul by constantly chanting my mother, my father, my brother, my sister, my wife, my son and my family besides money, wealth etc.?
  9. Human life is the best form of life for Sādhanā – worship.
  10. Happiness and suffering of every living being is subject to their Karma.
  11. One who perceives the moment is called a Pandit.
  12. Everyone loves his/her own lifespan i.e., life.

    However, the material that brings happiness may sometimes also bring unhappiness, the means of happiness can also be painful.

  13. Action and speech should be one. The values that are filled inside should be expressed by the speech. It is imperative for a seeker to have integral cleansing.
  14. The soul should always remember that one day I too have to die, this outlook will reduce the karmic bond.
  15. One who is in good chemistry with his soul never sees faults of other.
  16. The seeker preaches to a common man just in the same manner as he would preach to a virtuous person. For him both are equal and for both he sees equal possibility.
  17. The ascetic soul is always awake, while the ignorant souls are asleep.
  18. Always stay away from the company of ignorant beings.
  19. You are your own friend, then why are you looking for other friends outside?
  20. He who knows one soul in its entirety, knows all the objects of the world.
  21. The seeker is neither swayed by flattery nor dragged by popular interest. Consider the outside world as a strange theatre. His own world is complete for him.
  22. Don’t look at someone’s current situation with hatred and detest. Today’s sinful soul can become tomorrow’s god e.g., Arjun Mali. Jain Dashan teaches to contemplate from a multidimensional perspective.
  23. When the living beings of the world suffer, instead of accepting the Karma, they rush to get rid of the suffering.
  24. The opinions of human beings in the world may differ.
  25. God says that by fighting with one’s own soul, one should always strive to win over one’s soul adversary Karma. What is the benefit of fighting with others?
  26. O great soul! Whatever is preached by you is true and unquestionable. The word of God should be trusted.
  27. SādhusSādhvijis (sages) are preaching with the intent of bringing everyone together with kindness, compassion, considering the interest of all beings.
  28. When the soul becomes unable to perform the necessary actions and its death appears imminent, the soul abandons the rest of the body and fights against Karma, making death a festival.

Āgam is not only the source of pride but also a conduct-oriented book that is relevant even today.

Dr. Sejal Shah (Ph.D.)