Temptation and its Control

June, 2023 by Dr. Jeoraj Jain

1. Temptation (Lobha):

Excessive attachment to wealth, power and its growth or avarice is called temptation. It is the most dangerous passion (Kashaya) and is called the father of the sins. During the elimination of the Kashayas, it decays in the last. In the Sthananga Sutra [1], Greed has been described as “आमिष व्रत समाणे लोभे” (“Amish Vrat Samane Lobhe“). A person who longs for happiness, repeatedly receives sorrows due to Greediness. Greed is said to be the root of Anartha – misfortune [1] on Earth.

There are 4 types of Greeds, as per its intensity:  Anantanubandhi, Apratyaakhyani, Pratyaakhyani, and Sanjvalan temptation.[2]

Causes of temptation: The strong desire to get wealth and resources, which have not been acquired as yet, is called Triishna. Because of the false belief that all these resources will bring happiness, Greed catches up. Greed increases due to not setting limits to the acquisition of material things, space, and power. The wickedness like violence, untruth, stealing, increases with the increase of possessions. Greed also increases due to anger, pride, and illusion. Greed/ temptation increases by having evil thoughts in the mind and by thinking evil of others.

2. Characteristics of a Greedy (Lobhi) person:

The behaviour of covetousness is like, “mine is mine, and yours is also mine”. There is a lack of humility and humanity in his behaviour. He does not think how much he has collected. There is still a lot to be collected, he ponders. A Greedy soul is ready to do even any low-level work for the fulfilment of his lust and enjoyment. “लोभाविले आययई  अदत्तं” [3, Chapter 32/29] (“Lobhaville aayamayi adattam“) i.e. when the soul is polluted by Greed, it is prone to indulge in stealing. He becomes rigid and deadly. His sensibility dies and compassion vanishes. The high intensity of all other passions (kashayas) is seen in the Greedy one [2].

Due to Greed, man has exploited nature excessively to establish his selfish hegemony. The governments have encouraged mining in the name of development. Nature has been exploited excessively by cutting down forests.

Materialism and consumerism have given rise to wilful violence and excessive exploitation of limited natural resources. As a result, the environment has been getting grossly polluted, causing serious global warming problems. Because of Greed, nations and people are deeply engrossed in amassing wealth and in destroying nature. They are causing more and more enmity. ” लाहा लोहो विवड्ढइ ” [3], [4, 1/9/3]. Greed is destroying mutual good relations, humility, and amity [5, 8/38], even at international level. As such, nations must wake up fast to implement remedial measures at intra and international levels to contain and manage Greed, in order to preserve ecological balance at global level.

“जहा लाहो, तहा लोहो, लाहा  लोहो पवठई।” [3, 8/17]  “Jaha laho, taha loho, laha loho pavthai.”  The more you get, the more you want. Desire increases with every gain. Even if the whole world, full of wealth is given to a man, he will not be content [3, 9/48], since it is very difficult to satisfy the desires of an avarice man. Just as a crane is produced from an egg and an egg from a crane, so delusion springs from desire and desire from delusion [3, 9/49].

Excessive profit increases Greed and excessive Greed increases the storage (Parigrah) instinct, which is a big factor in increasing environmental pollution. In this way man has put his very existence in danger. It is also said that one who indulges in Greed, causes enmity with all beings and perpetuates the tradition of enmity [4, 1/9/3]. People resort to even untruths under the influence of Greed [6]. There is only a transient pleasure in worldly wealth since there can never be permanent peace in any foreign matter. It is therefore necessary to give up Greed for the safety of self and society.

A Greedy soul, being biased towards his own benefit, can never practice equality and equanimity. Contrary to it, he becomes violent. He does not mind lying and stealing. A Greedy person always considers himself to be true. He becomes angry and arrogant. A Greedy creature becomes a burden on the earth.

Hence it is necessary to control Greed to put a break on the increasing environmental pollution and for establishing mutual trust, equality, and equanimity in the world society.  By conquering or restricting Greed, one would ensure safety of self and society.

3. Harms caused by Temptation:

It has been clear from the above that the unlimited desire of sensual subjects is the basic cause of misery and unrest. This desire is the Greed of the soul. Both, this birth (bhav) and the subsequent births, get spoiled by Greed. He always harbours a desire to accumulate more and more wealth and shows pride in his possessions and virtues too. He builds an empire of wealth, because of his earlier auspicious Karmas. But he does not hesitate to exploit the people and commit violence. He makes it difficult for other people around to earn their legitimate part. Therefore, due to Greed, he attracts antaraya karma also. He does not mind causing great harm to others for the fulfilment of his own selfish goal. The Greedy person remains in constant arta and raudra (distressed and violent) thoughts, due to which his mind experiences agitation and stress. In a Greedy soul, evil qualities like jealousy and mental agony etc. are born [3, 11/45]. He cannot see and tolerate the good of others.

4. A Greedy soul’s disease and its Treatment:

A Greedy man is like a spiritual Patient. Its Remedy starts with reducing and limiting the possessions, quantifying desires, and following the rules of gross Non-violence, he will become friendly towards all the common beings and nature.

4.1. The pathway to make Greedy a contented Soul:

Yugadrashta Mahavira had given effective measures, some 2500 years ago to the human society in the form of Anuvrata to achieve contentment. Concurrently an important scientific postulate was revealed by him that plants, water, air and earth are also living-beings of immobile mature. Hence by treating them with compassion and self-respect, the “Greedy attitude” of the person will be restrained and controlled. Excessive exploitation of nature will be drastically avoided, and environmental balance will be maintained.

4.2. Prescription and Medicines:

A Greedy must first get knowledge of the causes of Greed. He should have conviction about the necessity to understand the actual ‘need’ and get rid of Greed. He should instill faith and follow right conduct and austerity to remove Greed [3, 28/2]. As said [3,29/70], contentment is achieved by conquering Greed. For curing this disease, camps should be organized according to the level of Greed. During the interactive lecture sessions, the Greedy person is motivated to adopt two virtues of Aparigraha and Charity. These are the best medicines for its treatment. He would become healthier in the form of a contented person. His attitude would also exhibit the quality of contentment.

Description of this practical solution has been given in Jain scriptures as below.

4.3. Principle of Aparigraha:

When the fire of deadly passion is burning, extinguish it by water of spiritual knowledge, noble conduct, and austerity [3, 23/53]. It is a realistic, practical, and rational principle with a solid foundation for social uplift. It imbibes the doctrine of non-possession to limit the desires for worldly pursuit.  As Gandhi proclaimed, the mind-set should be to consume minimum resources for one’s needs and to utilize one’s surplus resources for the well-being of society. This is a sort of trusteeship principle for managing one’s accumulated resources, as prescribed by him.

At individual level, a person is inspired to remain as aparigrahi, if the feeling of sharing or portfolio distribution is inculcated in him. If one takes a resolution to live the life by minimizing his needs, then the message of non-violent attitude will spread. The curriculum of Schools should also be so designed that it highlights the aim of developing such a system of aparigraha. As a result, the future generation will get a solid spiritual base for a different mind-set in the society to make it free from fear and exploitation.

Under this system the inner feelings of a person will always keep him connected with the whole society. He will not indulge in Greed, which actually leads to violence and excessive exploitation of nature and humans. It would prevent the people from utilizing Science and Technology for environmental disasters. It will create a simple Spiritual base for the economic system, as preached by Mahavira. It should be understood that Spirituality is not merely a philosophy or theoretical knowledge, but it is knowledge applied to situations in real life and put into actions. So, it attempts to make one’s outlook and attitude more relevant to real life to make it worthwhile for physical as well as spiritual progress in harmony with the environment [8].

4.4. Austerity: 

Mahavira prescribes that observing austerity leads to control of senses and Greed for possession of resources. It empowers the candidate to destroy the karmas and purify his soul [9]. Certain rules like physical strength, prowess, knowledge of the purpose and time are to be followed for observation of austerities / tapa. [5]. The importance of self-restraint is obvious in controlling desires. Sensual pleasures, Greed and ego are tamed by austerity, making him a better and strong individual. Austerity is not observed for getting praise, status, or fame. It is done to concentrate on Self through meditation and to study scriptures. One of the natural offshoots is reduction of Greed and realization of the fact that wealth and property are not capable of providing protection and removal of Karmas from his soul. [3, 19/17]. By conquering Greed, contentment would be achieved, which would lead to real happiness and peace. [3, 29/70]

5. Practical Method to change Heart of the Greedy:

5.1. To transform the Greedy, one should never speak ill of him. Rather, by explaining the nature of Greed, he should highlight the ultimate sufferings by Greed and explain the ways to remove Greed. Cultivate the belief that “Greed can be conquered.” Instill in him the belief that desires can be stopped. In order to get rid of Greed, start with one of the 14 daily Rules, as per the 10th Shravaka Vrata, like taking the vow of limiting the number of food items on daily basis. This may prove to be very beneficial and effective in reducing Greed. Controlling Greed and attachment leads to Nirjara of the karmas, i.e., upgrading of the soul.

5.2. The 5th Anuvrata of a laity may be explained to inspire him to accept its rules. By doing regular Samayik, by doing pratikraman, by doing Gochari-Dayaa vrata, one can get success in controlling Greed and start feeling content. By contemplating on the temporariness of the happiness derived from the money earned by Greed, one would realize that it cannot save one from disease, old age and death. Hence Greed must be controlled by up grading the soul.

5.3. “उदारचरितानां सु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम। “For a person with liberal and generous thoughts, the whole world is his family. That’s why all avenues of happiness are open to him.  There is no enmity or malice in his mind towards anyone.

It has been said in Gita that the sorrow which is like poison in the beginning and like nectar in the end, gives peace to the soul and intellect.  That happiness is pure and eternal. That happiness can be attained only by renouncing Greed and illusion. Only through that method can true world peace – mental and physical – be established. But it is well known that renouncing Greed and illusion is very difficult. Since it is a must for our survival at this juncture, our world leaders have to achieve that on war footing. It requires concerted and unanimous efforts with disciplined mind by spiritual as well as political, to make the people get rid of Greed.

Apart from the general methods outlined above in point 5.1 and 5.2. following systematic and well-structured plans must be started throughout the world.

5.4. As a universal measure, it is better, as the saying goes, “Catch them Young”, to start from primary school level.

The curriculum of Schools throughout the Globe should also be so designed that it emphasizes the purpose of life and highlights the necessity and aim of developing a global system of aparigraha pravriti. This will help maintain harmony within and with the environment. . The above value-based education in schools lays the foundation for a fear free international community, where the tendency of exploitation among its citizens is curbed or minimized.

For better controls on Greed, it is also important to Develop common Global Training Programs for public to instill Right attitude towards Nature and one’s Life-objective on Earth.

It would highlight the ill effect of Temptation and inculcate the right Discipline to manage it.

If there is any slight improvement in his past qualities due to the new vows of non-possession and contentment, then due encouragement should be given to him in public.

6. Meaning of Contentment:

Non-attachment and cool attitude towards resources and wealth possessed by one is called contentment. Among Forgiveness, humility, simplicity, and contentment, the fourth is the most important quality. In fact, contentment is the prime and fundamental quality of the soul. This works as a simple and effective way to remove Greed.

He becomes careful and compassionate to preserve and protect every form of life – mobile as well as immobile living-beings in his practical life. He happily exercises Self-restraint for the good of surroundings. As such, he would not indulge in excessive exploitation of the one-sensed living-beings in nature, like minerals, forests, and oceans. It will help maintain ecological balance.

It has been said that by conquering, Greed, one attains the quality of contentment [3, 29/70]. He does not attract karmas that have been experienced by the fructification of the seductive karma but helps him in doing nirjara (fructification) of the karmas bound in the past [3, 29/60]. One who controls the craving and does not get Greedy, the attachment and craving vanish like drops of water from a lotus leaf.

Since Greed causes deterioration of mental health of the masses due to jealousy, untruth, cheating and exploitation, contentment would reverse this trend of deteriorating mental health and bring immense happiness and peace to one’s mind.

7. Discussion:

7.1. On Global Level:

Several nations have been indulging in destroying the global ecological system due to their shear Greed. We will discuss whether the theoretical prescription and the practical pathway described above for transforming the Greedy soul of an individual, be useful for such nations?

A nation represents a collective of its nationals and it acts as per their collective Greed. It tries to achieve hegemony by accumulating wealth at the cost of others by over exploiting the natural resources and polluting the environment, under a false belief that it would make it prosperous and mentally peaceful. Thus, the collective “desire” influences very much the rest of the world. Its aggressive postures, violence and injustice are bound to bring mental agony, unrest and infighting within that nation, with enhanced Greed.

As such nations must behave and act responsibly for the protection of Earth by showing real concern for Global warming and for equanimity etc. This can be achieved essentially by shedding off its Greed.

7.2. On International Level:

When the education and training is imparted in schools of the world stressing aparigraha, as per the well-designed syllabus mentioned above, the society would be liable to become exploitation free. That means Greed will not find any footing in the human society.

In today’s indulgent and aggressive competitive culture, the above system of basic education is bound to curb the exploitation and hatred.

Although at present, every nation is committed to keep mutual relations based on Panchsheel, but they are infested with fear and distrust to take that commitment forward. However, it will be possible only when all the nations aim at equanimity and collective prosperity by mutual cooperation of every nation.

The basic premise for it is that people should have faith in Aparigraha and austerity. That means, every nation must believe that these are 100 % essential qualities to be adopted to save civilization from extinction. A nation with these qualities would avoid unnecessary storage; help the less developed nations, if necessary, even by reducing its own per capita consumption and observing at least token austerity. It would bring contentment, harmony and mental peace among the nationals and promote real brotherhood, non-violence, and world peace.

8. Conclusion:

For managing Greed efficiently, one must be knowledgeable about the main purpose of life and be convinced about the necessity and methodology of containing the Greed. Then only he would be able to feel responsible citizen to adopt the right attitude to apply Self-restraint. He would feel reverence for all forms of life. In practice he would be careful and compassionate to preserve and protect them in his modified lifestyle. He would restrict his desires to bare minimum and would give away his remaining resources in charity for the betterment of the society. This would bring immense happiness and peace to his mind.

Similar logic applies for the methods to be adopted collectively by all the Nations to manage Greed and salvage the ecological balance of Earth. As Gandhi remarked, we have sufficient natural resources to satisfy our Needs but not the Greed of Nations.

It would bring contentment, harmony with nature and mental peace among its nationals and promote real brotherhood, collective prosperity, and world peace.

As a result of “Catching them Young” training, the future generation will get a solid spiritual base for sustaining a positive mind-set in the society to make it free from fear and exploitation.

The future generation will get a solid spiritual base for sustaining a positive mind-set in the society to make it harmonious with environment and free from Greed and exploitation.


[1]. Khicha, N.K, “Lobh se Pradooshan”, Swadhyaya Sandesh, Oct. 2022, Gulabpura, p31.

[2]. Rag-Dwesha Vijay (2012), Aadhyatmik Sadhnaa Kendra, Sambalpur-494 635.

[3]. Uttaradhyayana Sutra, Sudharma Shravak Sangh, Jodhpur.

[4]. Sutrakritang Sutra, Sudharma Shravak Sangh, Jodhpur.

[5]. Dasvaikalika Sutra, Sudharma Shravak Sangh, Jodhpur.

[6]. Acharang Sutra, Sudharma Shravak Sangh, Jodhpur.

[7]. Jain Dulichand(1988), Universal Message of Lord Mahavira, P. Vidyapeeth, Varanasi.

[8]. Chander Jagdish (2008), Science and Spirituality. Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Mount Abu.

[9] Jain Dulichand (2018), Motivational Thoughts of Mahavira, Prabhat Paperbacks, New Delhi, p98/12.

About Author


Dr. Jeoraj Jain is a gold medallist of Rajasthan University. He obtained the Degree “Doctor of Engineering” from Germany. He worked with Tata Motors in Growth and Production Departments. Was First in the world to design and produce Fabricated Axles for heavy Vehicles, involving Innovative Welding Design.

He has advanced a scientific hypothesis of the Life form of Water without DNA and RNA. He discovered that the contents of Jain Loka are described by Statistical Method in scriptures. It resolves the present riddles of Loka. He received the “Vigyan Ratan Award” from Gyan Sagar Science Foundation, 2017. He has authored three books on Water and Lokakash.

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