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Akaranga Sutra

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Essence of the world

First lesson.


Many entertain cruel thoughts against the world with a motive or without one; they entertain cruel thoughts against these (six classes of living beings). To him, pleasures are clear. Therefore he is near death. Because he is near death, he is far (from liberation). But he who is neither near (death) nor far (from liberation), considers the life of a slow and ignorant fool as similar to a dewdrop trembling on the sharp point of the blade of Kusa grass which falls down when shaken by the wind. A fool, doing cruel acts, comes thereby ignorantly to grief. Through delusion he is born, dies.' Being conversant with the deliberation about this delusion, one is conversant with the samsara; being not conversant with that deliberation, one is not conversant with the samsara. He who is clever, should not seek after sexual intercourse. But having done so, (it would be) a second folly of the weak-minded not to own it. Repenting and excluding (from the mind) the begotten pleasures, one should instruct others to follow the commandment. Thus I say.


Sce! many who desire colours, are led around (in the samsara), they (experience) here again and again feelings (i.e. punishment). Many live by injurious deeds against the world, they live by injurious deeds against these (living beings). Also the fool, suffering (for his passions), delights in bad acts here, mistaking that for salvation which is none. Many (heretics) lead the life of a hermit (in order to avoid worldly sorrows and pains).


Such a man has much wrath, much pride, much conceit, much greed; he delights in many (works), acts frequently like a stage-player or a rogue, forms many plans, gives way to his impulses, is influenced by his acts though he pretends to be awakened: (thinking) that nobody will see him. Through the influence of ignorance and carelessness the fool never knows the law. Men! unhappy creatures, world-wise are those who, not freeing themselves from ignorance, talk about final liberation: they turn round and round in the whirlpool (of births). Thus I say.

Second lesson.


Many do not live by injurious deeds against the world, they do not live by injurious deeds against these (living beings). Ceasing from them, making an end of them, he perceives: this is a favourable opportunity; he who searches for the right moment for this body (should never be careless). This is the road taught by the noble ones.


When he has become zealous for the law, he should never be careless, knowing pain and pleasure in their various forms. Men act here on their own motives; it has been declared that they suffer for their own sins. Neither killing nor lying, he should (patiently) bear (all unpleasant) feelings when affected by them. That man is called a true monk.


Those who are not given to sinful acts are (nevertheless) attacked by calamities; but then the steadfast will bear them. (he has to bear) them afterwards as (he has done) before (his conversion). (The body) is of a fragile, decaying nature, (it is) unstable, transient, tineternal, increasing and decreasing of a changeable nature. Perceive this as its true character. For him who well understands this, who delights in the unique refuge, for the liberated and inactive there is no passage (from birth to birth). Thus I Say.


Many are attached to something in the world - be it little or much, small or great, sentient or nonsentient - they are attached to it (here) amongst these (householders). Thus some incur great danger. For him who contemplates the course of the world and does not acknowledge these attachments (there is no such danger). Knowing that that which is well understood is well practised, man! with thy eyes on the highest good, be victorious (in control). Among such men only is real Brahmanhood. Thus I say.


1 have heard this, and it is in my innermost heart; and the freedom from bonds is in your innermost heart. He who has ceased (to have worldly attachments), the houseless, suffers with patience a long time.


The careless stand outside, the careful lead a religious life.


Maintain rightly this state of a sage. Thus I say.

Third lesson.


Many are not attached to something in this world, they are not attached to it among these (householders). He is a wise man who has heard and understood the word of the learned ones. Without partiality the law has been declared by the noble ones. As I have destroyed here the connection with the world, so is the connection elsewhere difficult to destroy. Therefore I say: One should not abandon firmness.


Some who early exert themselves,do not afterwards slide back; some who early exert themselves, afterwards slide back; those who do not early exert themselves, (can of course) not' slide back. That man also is of this description, who knowing the world (as worthless nevertheless) follows its ways. 'Knowing this, it has been declared by the sage.' Here the follower of the commandment, the wise, the passionless, he who exerts himself before morning and after evening, always contemplating virtue and hearing (the merit of it) will become free from love and delusion. 'Fight with this (your body)! why should you fight with anything else?' Difficult to attain is this (human body) which is worth the fight. For the clever ones have praised the discernment of wisdom; the fool who falls from it, is liable to birth.


In this (religion of the Gainas the cause of the fool's fall) has been declared (to depend) on colour and killing. But a sage who walks the beaten track (to liberation), regards the world in a different way. 'Knowing thus (the nature of) acts in all regards, he does not kill,' he controls himself, he is not overbearing.


Comprehending that pleasure (and pain) are individual, advising kindness, he will not engage in any work in the whole world: keeping before him the one (great aim, liberation), and not turning aside, 'living humbly, unattached to any creature! The rich (in control) who with a mind endowed with all penetration (recognises) that a bad deed should not be done, will not go after it. What you acknowledge as righteousness, that you acknowledge as sagedom (mauna); what you acknowledge as sagedom, that you acknowledge as righteousness. It is inconsistent with weak, sinning, sensual, ill-conducted house-inhabiting men.


'A sage, acquring sagedom, should subdue his body.' 'The heroes who look at everything with indifference, use mean and rough (food)' Such a man is said to have crossed the flood (of life), to be a sage, to have passed over (the samsara), to be liberated, to have ceased (from acts). This I say.

Fourth lesson.


For a monk who has not yet reached discrimination, it is bad going and difficult proceeding when he wanders (alone) from village to village. Some men (when going wrong) will become angry when exhorted with speech. And a man with wary pride is embarrassed with great delusion


There are many obstacles which are very difficult to overcome for the ignorant and the blinded. Let that not be your case! That is the doctrine of the clever one (Mahavira). Adopting the (Akarya's) views, imitating his indifference (for the outer world), making him the guide and adviser (in all one's matters), sharing his abode, living carefully, acting according to his mind, examining one's way, not coming too near (the akarya), minding living beings, one should go (on one's business).


(A monk should according to the akarya's order) go and return, contract or stretch (his limbs), thoroughly clean (what ought to be cleaned). Sometimes, though a monk be endowed with virtue and walks in righteousness, living beings, coming in contact with his body, will be killed. (If this happens through mere carelessness) then he will get his punishment in this life; but if it was done contrary to the rules, he should repent of it and do penance for it. Thus he who knows the sacred lore, recommends penance combined with carefulness.


(When a monk) with fully developed intuition and knowledge, calm, guarded, endowed (with knowledge), always restrained, perceives (a woman tempting him), he should consider within himself: what will this person do? The greatest temptation in this world are women. This has been declared by the sage.


When strongly vexed by the influence of the senses, he should eat bad food, mortify himself, stand upright, wander from village to village, take no food at all, withdraw his mind from women. First troubles, then pleasures; first pleasures, then troubles: thus they are the cause of quarrels. Considering this and well understanding it, one should teach oneself not to cultivate (sensuality). Thus I say. He should not speak of women, nor look at them, nor converse with them, nor claim them as his own, nor do their work. Careful in his speech and guirding his mind, he should always avoid sin. He should maintain this sagedom. Thus I say.

Fifth lesson


Thus I say: a lake is full of water, it is in an even plain, it is free from dust, it harbours (many fish). Look! he (the teacher) stands in the stream (of knowledge) and is guarded in all directions. Look! there are great Seers in the world,wise, awakened, free from acts. Perceive the truth: from a desire of (a pious) end they chose a religious life. Thus I say. (I)


He whose mind is always wavering, does not reach abstract contemplation. Some, bound (by worldly ties), are followers (i. e. understand the truth); some who are not bound, are followers. How should he not despond who amongst followers is a non-follower? 'But that is truth beyond doubt, what has been declared by the Ginas.'


Whatever a faithful, well-disposed man, on entering the order, thought to be true, that may afterwards appear to him true; what he thought to be true, that may afterwards appear to him untrue; what he thought to be untrue, that may afterwards appear to him true; what he thought to be untrue, that may afterwards appear to him true. What he thinks to be true, that may, on consideration, appear to him true, whether it be true or untrue. What he thinks to be untrue, that may, on consideration, appear to him untrue, whether it be true or untrue. But hewho reflects should say unto him who does not reflect: Consider it to be true. Thus the connection (i. e. the continuity of sins) is broken.


Regard this as the course of,the zealous one, who stands (in obedience to the spiritual guide). In this point do not show yourself a fool!


As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to kill. As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to tyrannise over. As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to torment. In the same way (it is with him) whom thou intendest to punish, and to drive away. The righteous man who lives up to these sentiments, does therefore neither kill nor cause others to kill (living beings). He should not intentionally cause the same punishment for himself.


The Self is the knower (or experiencer), and the knower is the Self. That through which one knows, is the Self. With regard to this (to know) it (the Self) is established. Such is he who maintains the right doctrine of Self. This subject has truly been explained. Thus I say.

Sixth lesson.


Some not instructed (in the true law) make (only a show) of good conduct; some, though instructed, have no good conduct. Let that not be your case! That is the doctrine of the clever one. Adopting the (akarya's) views, imitating his indifference (for the outer world), making him the guide and adviser (in all one's matters), sharing his abode, conquering (sinfulness), one sees the truth; unconquered one should be one's own master, having no reliance on anything (in the world). He who is great and withdraws his mind from the outer world, should learn the teaching (of the Tirthakaras) through the teaching (of the akarya); by his own innate knowledge, or through the instruction of the highest, or having heard it from others. A wise man should not break the commandment. Examining all (wrong) doctrines from all sides and in all respects, one should clearly understand, (and reject) them. 'Knowing the delight of this world, circumspect and restrained, one should lead the life of an ascetic.' Desiring liberation, a hero should, through the sacred lore, ever be victorious. Thus I say.


The current (of Sin) is said to come from above, from below, and from the sides; these have been declared to be the currents through which, look, there is sinfulness.


'Examining the whirlpool, a man, versed in the sacred lore, should keep off from it.' Leaving the world to avert the current (of sin), such a great man, free from acts, knows and sees the truth; examining (pleasures) he does not desire them.


Knowing whence we come and whither we go, he leaves the road to birth and death, rejoicing in the glorious (liberation). 'All sounds recoil thence, where speculation has no room,' nor does the mind penetrate there. The saint knows well that which is without support.


(The liberated) is not long nor small nor round nor triangular nor quadrangular nor circular; he is not black nor blue nor red nor green nor white; neither of good nor bad smell; not bitter nor pungent nor astringent nor sweet; neither rough nor soft; neither heavy nor light; neither cold nor hot; neither harsh nor smooth; he is without body, without resurrection, without contact (of matter), he is not feminine nor masculine nor neuter; he perceives, he knows, but there is no analogy (whereby to know the nature of,the liberated. soul); its essence is without form; there is no condition of the unconditioned. There is no sound, no colour, no smell, no taste, no touch-nothing of that kind. Thus I say.


End of the Fifth Lecture, called Essence of the World.

Essence of the world

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