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Books > Hindu > हिन्दी > द्रव्यसंग्रह: Dravya Samgraha
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द्रव्यसंग्रह: Dravya Samgraha
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Foreword

From the empirical point of view (vyavahara naya), the soul is said to be the producer of karmic matter (like knowledge-obscuring karma); from the impure transcendental point of view (asuddha niscaya naya), the soul is responsible for its psychic dispositions (like attachment and aversion); but from the pure transcendental point of view (suddha niscaya naya), the soul is consciousness- pure perception and knowledge.

JAINISM: A SCIENTIFIC RELIGION

Jainism derives its name from the word ‘Jina’ or the Victor. The capacity for infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite power is inherent in every soul but it is obscured by its bondages of karmas, which are made up of a very subtle kind of matter. The knowledgeable soul makes great exertion to overcome these bondages. It is no doubt a tough fight but the undaunted and unconquerable soul carries on the battle incessantly and ultimately roots out these bondages with the help of pure concentration. It then attains Omniscience and called the ‘Jina’ or the Victor. Omniscience consists in infinite, all-embracing, and exact knowledge of all substances and their infinite modes. After acquiring Omniscience, the ‘Jina’ spends the rest of His life, till He attains liberation, in the propagation of the True Religion, beneficial to all. He does this to enable others to know the Truth and reach the summum bonum of life and attain the same level of spiritual perfection which He Himself has attained. Our Holy Scriptures are truly the words of the ‘Jina’. Jainism, therefore, is an exact and scientific religion.

Only you, whose words are unopposed to logic and the Scriptures, are free from all faults because what is your desire is not opposed to proof.

Jainism does not demand blind faith from its followers. It encourages them to employ the intellect in order to understand and appreciate its teachings. To overcome doubts and misgivings about what has been said in the Holy Scriptures, Jainism employs that infallible searchlight called anekanta. If anyone wishes to get hold of the whole truth, he must first put himself in different attitudes to study things from all possible points of view. This approach gives one the many-sided, and, therefore, necessarily true, understanding of things.

Vijay K. Jain has translated into English, with authentic explanatory notes, one of the finest classical Jaina texts Dravyasamgraha, composed by His Holiness Acarya Nemichandra Siddhanta Cakravarti (c. 10th century CE). This precious work would play a vital role in quenching the thirst for Truth of scholars as well as learners, and help them in understanding the tenets of Jainism.

I highly appreciate your work and convey my auspicious blessings to you.

Preface

KNOW YOUR SOUL TO BE THE TRUE KING, HAVE FAITH IN IT, AND ATTEND TO IT.

After winning six divisions of earth in all directions (digvijaya),humbling numerous kings, possessors of supernatural powers (vidyadharas), and celestial beings (devas), and acquiring nine-fold most precious treasures (nidhi) and fourteen jewels (ratna), Emperor Bharata Cakravarti proceeded for his capital Ayodhyapuri with his vast ocean of army and the all-powerful, divine cakraratna (spinning, disk-like super weapon with serrated edges). But the cakraratna, surprisingly, stopped on its own at the entrance of Ayodhyapuri signalling to the Emperor that there still remain individuals who have refused submission to his supreme authority. The Emperor found out that they were no one else but his own younger brothers-ninety-nine of them, all extremely virtuous, full of self-esteem, and not easy to win over. The Emperor sent them an appropriate message through an envoy. On receiving the message, highly courteous but essentially commanding them to submit before his authority, they all decided to approach, with a strong urge for world renunciation, their Father, the World Teacher (Tirthankara) Lord Rishabha Deva, who, after attaining Omniscience, was gloriously seated in His heavenly pavilion (samavasarana) erected by the celestial beings at Mount Kailasha. The World Teacher, in His divine discourse, set them firmly on the path to liberation; He preached that for anyone who had great self-esteem, magnificent body, in the prime of his youth, extreme strength, and also noble virtues, it was not commendable to be subservient to a worldly power, like a majestic elephant tamed for use as a carrier. All the brothers, realizing the transitory nature of the world and determined to salute and adore no one but Lord Rishabha Deva, who is worshipped even by the Indras, embraced the most extraordinary Jaina ordination (Munidiksa). They all, endowed with the final and superior bodies of extraordinary sturdiness and strength (vajrarsabhanaracasamhanana), became truly independent, followed the most demanding conduct prescribed for a Muni to the letter, and finally attained the Supreme Status that is liberation. I bow with extreme devotion to Lord Rishabha Deva and his ninety-nine Sons who knew their Souls to be the true kings.

The Emperor’s one other brother Bahubali, also endowed with the final and superior body of extraordinary sturdiness and strength (vajrarsabhanaracasamhanana), hurled open defiance at the Emperor and challenged him to a fight. When the two armies came face to face with each other, the ministers on both sides deliberated that the war would unnecessarily result into massacre of innocent people and that it was quite useless to proceed with the war in an ordinary way. Neither Bharata nor Bahubali, both having the final and superior bodies, could be over whelmed by any weapon and, therefore, let the two brothers fight out the issue by themselves in other ways. It was decided that they should settle their dispute by means of three kinds of contests, namely, eye-fight (constant staring at each other), water-fight, and wrestling. Bahubali won all the three contests but instead of throwing Bharata down on the ground in the last fight (wrestling), he lifted him up on his shoulder and then gently placed him on the ground, out of an affectionate regard for him. Humiliated and infuriated, Bharata called for his irresistible, all powerful and divine cakraratna. Instead of harming Bahubali, it merely circled round him and came to rest in front of him. This had happened because such divine weapons lose their effectiveness when confronted with the master’s close relations. While the assembled kings and courtiers were praising Bahubali on his extraordinary prowess, he himself was contemplating upon the folly of fighting with his own brother for the sake of pride and kingdom. He quickly realized that all sense objects although look attractive in the beginning, end up giving very painful results. He begged for Bharata’s pardon, gave his kingdom to son Mahabali, and worshipping the Holy Feet of his Father, Lord Rishabha Deva, entered the order of homeless, naked monks. Bahubali performed the severest of austerities, standing motionless, and immersed in contemplation for a whole year. He attained Omniscience and finally complete release from the worldly sufferings, at Mount Kailasha.

Filled always with the spirit of world-flight Bharata ruled his kingdom with a strong sense of justice for many years, never abandoning himself to sense- gratification. One day he discovered a while hair in his head and taking it to be the messenger and herald of old age, immediately decided to become a Digambara Muni. Because of the effect of his growing renunciation over the years, he destroyed his inimical karmas within an antaramuhurta (less than forty-eight minutes) and attained Omniscience. He too attained to the Supreme Purity, nirvana, at the end of his worldly life. I make obeisance humble at the Holy Feet of Lord Bahubali and Lord Bharata, both worthy Sons of Lord Rishabha Deva.

In the same spirit as shown by the ninety-nine brothers of Emperor Bharata, Surendra Upadhye (born 22 April, 1925, in Shedbal Karnataka), at the young age of twenty, embarked on the virtuous path of Jaina asceticism by embracing the eleventh and the last stage in the householder’s path called the uddista tyaga pratima and became a ksullaka on 15 April, 1945, to be known henceforth as Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni. He was inducted on to this pious course by Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Shri Mahavirkirti ji Maharaja in Tamadaddi, Karnataka. A ksullaka renounces all that the world calls its own and like a Digambara Muni, keeps only a small whisk of the softest peacock feathers with which to remove insects from the person and books without causing them injury, a small bowl for water, and a few books on religion. The ksullaka wears a loincloth (langoti) and a wrapper cloth. As regards food, a ksullaka eats only once a day in the morning hours. He sits down while eating and eats only what he gets from one household without asking or beckoning for food. While calling for food he only wishes the inmates dharma-labha (may you obtain spiritual merit).

Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni realized early that the soul, from the standpoint of its substance, is eternal, and only its form, in terms of the body of encasement that it is associated with, is subject to change. The ultimate destination of all bhavya souls (having potential for liberation) is the supreme and everlasting state of knowledge, faith, bliss and power. Who in his senses would opt for this short life as a human being to be withered away in just acquiring, and then indulging in, the objects of sense-pleasures? A man well-versed in the knowledge of the Scriptures is aware that the ultimate goal of liberation is far away in time and the human life, although having an extremely small span of time, provides a great opportunity to mould the future course of the soul for an exceedingly long period of time. As an instance, the minimum life span in the heaven of Saudharma Kalpa is a little over one palyopama and the maximum lifetime is little over two sagaropamas. The term palyopama is defined in detail in Jaina Scriptures; suffice it to say here that it is an exceedingly long period of time. And a sagaropama is 10 times a palyopama! Life-spans in hells too are very long; the maximum durations of life in the seven infernal regions is one, three, seven, ten, seventeen, twenty-two, and thirty-three sagaropamas, respectively. The only way to rid the soul of its associated karmic filth and thus make it suitable for pious incarnations, like celestial life or birth in the regions of enjoyment (bhogabhumi), is by cheerfully accepting the observance of vows and leading a well- regulated life. It, therefore, makes great sense to lead a seemingly difficult life of observing vows and austerities during one’s incarnation as a human being.

Not content with the observance of partial vows of a ksullaka, and realizing the necessity of a more rigorous life of self-denial and austerities in his spiritual advancement, Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni took to the arduous path of Jaina asceticism (Muni diksa) on 25 July 1963, in Delhi, when he was christened Muni 108 Vidyanandji by his guru Parama pujya Acaryaratna 108 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja. He became a ‘Digambara’ Muni, free from all vestiges of clothes. The only physical objects he kept with him were a feather-whisk (picchi), implement of compassion, a water-pot (kamandalu), implement of purity, and scriptural treatise (sastra), implement of knowledge. He now accepted pure food free from forty-six faults (dosa), thirty-two obstructions (antaraya), and fourteen contaminations (maladosa), as far as it was possible in the present era. He discarded not only all external encumbrances, but also as much of the internal encumbrances as he could. He exerted himself in the observance of perfect vows, complete renunciation, and full control of his mind, speech and body. And this he did most willingly and cheerfully as it was the only means of acquisition of that joyous feeling of self-elevation which is dear to the heart of every aspirant on the path to liberation. He followed religiously the twenty-eight primary attributes of a Digambara ascetic comprising five supreme vows (mahavrata), five regulations (samiti), five-fold control of the senses (pancendriya nirodha), six essential duties (sadavasyaka), and seven rule or restrictions (niyama) which comprise not taking bath, sleeping on the ground, renouncing clothes , plucking hair on the head and face by hand, taking food only once in a day, not cleansing the teeth, and taking food in a steady, standing posture.

Muni 1o8 Shri Vidyanand ji adorned himself with nothing but the Three Jewels (ratnatraya) of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. He engaged himself incessantly in the study of the true religion as per the Holy Scriptures. He considered study to be sure means for control of the wanderings of the mind and senses. He became wholly acquainted with the conduct required of an ascetic and purified his daily routine accordingly. Parama Pujya Acaryaratna 1o8 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja, on 17 November, 1974, in Delhi, conferred the title of Upadhyaya (Preceptor) on him.

Upadhyaya 1o8 Vidyanandji took further strides in his observances of faith, knowledge, conduct and austerities. He had unwavering faith that the pure Self was the only object belonging to the self and all other objects, including the karmic matter (dravya karma and no-karma) were alien. He reckoned that the pure Self had no delusion, and was distinct form attachment and aversion. He became free from all corrupting dispositions. He cheerfully undertook penances with due control of the senses. He carried out all these observances with fully vigour and intensity, without concealing his true strength. He had all the essential attributes of an Acarya (Chief Preceptor).

On 28 June 1987, in Delhi, the four-fold congregation of the Jainas, under the direction of Parama Pujya Acaryaratna 108 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja, conferred the title of Acarya (Chief Preceptor) on him. Endowed with great wisdom and experience about the conditions of existence in the land, Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Vidyananda ji Muniraja became an ideal Acarya to lead his congregation in all respects, including the prescription of proper penances in regard to transgressions by disciples and followers.

By this time he had mastered the nature and causes of all karmas which result into merit and demerit. He fully assimilated the knowledge contained in Acarya Kundkund’s Samayasara, his favourite Scripture. He undertook the task of guiding bhavyajivas, ascetics and laymen, to the path to liberation. He has always been extremely keen in propagating, for the benefit of all, the teachings of Lord Jina.

We know that in every half cycle of cosmic age, the aeon of regeneration (utsarpini) or of degeneration (avasarpini), twenty-four Tirthankaras are born in this part of the universe (called the Bharata ksetra of Jambudvipa). Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara, graced this earth more than two and a half millenniums ago. In the absence of Tirthankaras, Acaryas are the true light to guide us on the path that leads to true happiness here and hereafter and ultimately to liberation.

The Muniraja derives extreme happiness in observing both internal and external austerities. With the shield of fortitude as his protection, he lets his naked body endure, without any regret, the afflictions of extreme summer and winter. Reflecting always on the transient nature of life, like that of the evening cloud, he treads firmly on the path to liberation. Having long ago renounced his worldly family and home, and realizing that the world is a storehouse of sufferings, he derives extreme contentment in putting his feet forward on the path to liberation as shown by Lord Jina. Thinking always that there is no regime better than that expounded by Lord Jina, he dedicates himself firmly to the service of no one else but Lord Jina. With an unshakeable faith in the Teachings of Lord Jina, he incessantly meditates on the five great vows and the ten universal virtues. He has no attachments, external and internal, to sense pleasures, to karmas, or even to his own body. He has no aversions towards the objects of the environment. He has won over desires with contentment and restraint, negligence or inadvertence with study and meditation, and anger with composure and compassion. Having no conflict or disagreement with any living being, human or plants and animals, he showers his blessings on all like a mother blesses her child. He exerts with extreme care to save from injury the mobile as well as the immobile beings. He has fully grasped all realities including the soul and the non-soul, and his eyes are bright with the light of knowledge. Just in order to maintain steadiness of his body he accepts food that is pure, simple and free from faults. After all, a steady body is essential to carrying out austerities, self- restraint and meditation. He does not seek good food nor does he relish delicacies that are considered to be agreeable to the palate. Although his body has weakened from following severe austerities, his determination to conform to the rigors of meditation has not dimmed a bit. Though physically weak, his body exhibits rare glow and piousness, just as gold gets to brightness and preciousness on being severely heated.

Having assimilated an ocean of profound knowledge that is found in the Holy Scriptures, he is today a living institution of learning. His discourse for the laymen and laywomen attract large number of Jaina as well as non-Jaina devotees, just as a magnet attracts pieces of iron irrespective of their shapes and sizes.

The Muniraja completes on 25 July, 2013, fifty glorious years of his initiation (diksa) as a Digambara Muni. We are truly fortunate that in our midst lives such a great Acarya. His darsana only is capable of cutting the shackles of karmic bondages that have constrained us since long. I bow to him with extreme devotion.

Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Vidyanand ji Muniraja; your adoration has pruified my speech, your contemplation has purified my mind, and making obeisance to you has purified my body. You have made me realize that, in the ultimate analysis, I need to attend only to my soul, and to no one else, in order to obtain bliss that appertains to me. I feel truly blessed.

I present to the worthy readers the English translation, with authentic explanatory notes, of the most sacred and profound treatise, Dravyasamgraha, by Acarya Nemichandra Siddhanta Cakravarti.

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द्रव्यसंग्रह: Dravya Samgraha

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Sanskrit Text with Hindi and English Translation
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Foreword

From the empirical point of view (vyavahara naya), the soul is said to be the producer of karmic matter (like knowledge-obscuring karma); from the impure transcendental point of view (asuddha niscaya naya), the soul is responsible for its psychic dispositions (like attachment and aversion); but from the pure transcendental point of view (suddha niscaya naya), the soul is consciousness- pure perception and knowledge.

JAINISM: A SCIENTIFIC RELIGION

Jainism derives its name from the word ‘Jina’ or the Victor. The capacity for infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite power is inherent in every soul but it is obscured by its bondages of karmas, which are made up of a very subtle kind of matter. The knowledgeable soul makes great exertion to overcome these bondages. It is no doubt a tough fight but the undaunted and unconquerable soul carries on the battle incessantly and ultimately roots out these bondages with the help of pure concentration. It then attains Omniscience and called the ‘Jina’ or the Victor. Omniscience consists in infinite, all-embracing, and exact knowledge of all substances and their infinite modes. After acquiring Omniscience, the ‘Jina’ spends the rest of His life, till He attains liberation, in the propagation of the True Religion, beneficial to all. He does this to enable others to know the Truth and reach the summum bonum of life and attain the same level of spiritual perfection which He Himself has attained. Our Holy Scriptures are truly the words of the ‘Jina’. Jainism, therefore, is an exact and scientific religion.

Only you, whose words are unopposed to logic and the Scriptures, are free from all faults because what is your desire is not opposed to proof.

Jainism does not demand blind faith from its followers. It encourages them to employ the intellect in order to understand and appreciate its teachings. To overcome doubts and misgivings about what has been said in the Holy Scriptures, Jainism employs that infallible searchlight called anekanta. If anyone wishes to get hold of the whole truth, he must first put himself in different attitudes to study things from all possible points of view. This approach gives one the many-sided, and, therefore, necessarily true, understanding of things.

Vijay K. Jain has translated into English, with authentic explanatory notes, one of the finest classical Jaina texts Dravyasamgraha, composed by His Holiness Acarya Nemichandra Siddhanta Cakravarti (c. 10th century CE). This precious work would play a vital role in quenching the thirst for Truth of scholars as well as learners, and help them in understanding the tenets of Jainism.

I highly appreciate your work and convey my auspicious blessings to you.

Preface

KNOW YOUR SOUL TO BE THE TRUE KING, HAVE FAITH IN IT, AND ATTEND TO IT.

After winning six divisions of earth in all directions (digvijaya),humbling numerous kings, possessors of supernatural powers (vidyadharas), and celestial beings (devas), and acquiring nine-fold most precious treasures (nidhi) and fourteen jewels (ratna), Emperor Bharata Cakravarti proceeded for his capital Ayodhyapuri with his vast ocean of army and the all-powerful, divine cakraratna (spinning, disk-like super weapon with serrated edges). But the cakraratna, surprisingly, stopped on its own at the entrance of Ayodhyapuri signalling to the Emperor that there still remain individuals who have refused submission to his supreme authority. The Emperor found out that they were no one else but his own younger brothers-ninety-nine of them, all extremely virtuous, full of self-esteem, and not easy to win over. The Emperor sent them an appropriate message through an envoy. On receiving the message, highly courteous but essentially commanding them to submit before his authority, they all decided to approach, with a strong urge for world renunciation, their Father, the World Teacher (Tirthankara) Lord Rishabha Deva, who, after attaining Omniscience, was gloriously seated in His heavenly pavilion (samavasarana) erected by the celestial beings at Mount Kailasha. The World Teacher, in His divine discourse, set them firmly on the path to liberation; He preached that for anyone who had great self-esteem, magnificent body, in the prime of his youth, extreme strength, and also noble virtues, it was not commendable to be subservient to a worldly power, like a majestic elephant tamed for use as a carrier. All the brothers, realizing the transitory nature of the world and determined to salute and adore no one but Lord Rishabha Deva, who is worshipped even by the Indras, embraced the most extraordinary Jaina ordination (Munidiksa). They all, endowed with the final and superior bodies of extraordinary sturdiness and strength (vajrarsabhanaracasamhanana), became truly independent, followed the most demanding conduct prescribed for a Muni to the letter, and finally attained the Supreme Status that is liberation. I bow with extreme devotion to Lord Rishabha Deva and his ninety-nine Sons who knew their Souls to be the true kings.

The Emperor’s one other brother Bahubali, also endowed with the final and superior body of extraordinary sturdiness and strength (vajrarsabhanaracasamhanana), hurled open defiance at the Emperor and challenged him to a fight. When the two armies came face to face with each other, the ministers on both sides deliberated that the war would unnecessarily result into massacre of innocent people and that it was quite useless to proceed with the war in an ordinary way. Neither Bharata nor Bahubali, both having the final and superior bodies, could be over whelmed by any weapon and, therefore, let the two brothers fight out the issue by themselves in other ways. It was decided that they should settle their dispute by means of three kinds of contests, namely, eye-fight (constant staring at each other), water-fight, and wrestling. Bahubali won all the three contests but instead of throwing Bharata down on the ground in the last fight (wrestling), he lifted him up on his shoulder and then gently placed him on the ground, out of an affectionate regard for him. Humiliated and infuriated, Bharata called for his irresistible, all powerful and divine cakraratna. Instead of harming Bahubali, it merely circled round him and came to rest in front of him. This had happened because such divine weapons lose their effectiveness when confronted with the master’s close relations. While the assembled kings and courtiers were praising Bahubali on his extraordinary prowess, he himself was contemplating upon the folly of fighting with his own brother for the sake of pride and kingdom. He quickly realized that all sense objects although look attractive in the beginning, end up giving very painful results. He begged for Bharata’s pardon, gave his kingdom to son Mahabali, and worshipping the Holy Feet of his Father, Lord Rishabha Deva, entered the order of homeless, naked monks. Bahubali performed the severest of austerities, standing motionless, and immersed in contemplation for a whole year. He attained Omniscience and finally complete release from the worldly sufferings, at Mount Kailasha.

Filled always with the spirit of world-flight Bharata ruled his kingdom with a strong sense of justice for many years, never abandoning himself to sense- gratification. One day he discovered a while hair in his head and taking it to be the messenger and herald of old age, immediately decided to become a Digambara Muni. Because of the effect of his growing renunciation over the years, he destroyed his inimical karmas within an antaramuhurta (less than forty-eight minutes) and attained Omniscience. He too attained to the Supreme Purity, nirvana, at the end of his worldly life. I make obeisance humble at the Holy Feet of Lord Bahubali and Lord Bharata, both worthy Sons of Lord Rishabha Deva.

In the same spirit as shown by the ninety-nine brothers of Emperor Bharata, Surendra Upadhye (born 22 April, 1925, in Shedbal Karnataka), at the young age of twenty, embarked on the virtuous path of Jaina asceticism by embracing the eleventh and the last stage in the householder’s path called the uddista tyaga pratima and became a ksullaka on 15 April, 1945, to be known henceforth as Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni. He was inducted on to this pious course by Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Shri Mahavirkirti ji Maharaja in Tamadaddi, Karnataka. A ksullaka renounces all that the world calls its own and like a Digambara Muni, keeps only a small whisk of the softest peacock feathers with which to remove insects from the person and books without causing them injury, a small bowl for water, and a few books on religion. The ksullaka wears a loincloth (langoti) and a wrapper cloth. As regards food, a ksullaka eats only once a day in the morning hours. He sits down while eating and eats only what he gets from one household without asking or beckoning for food. While calling for food he only wishes the inmates dharma-labha (may you obtain spiritual merit).

Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni realized early that the soul, from the standpoint of its substance, is eternal, and only its form, in terms of the body of encasement that it is associated with, is subject to change. The ultimate destination of all bhavya souls (having potential for liberation) is the supreme and everlasting state of knowledge, faith, bliss and power. Who in his senses would opt for this short life as a human being to be withered away in just acquiring, and then indulging in, the objects of sense-pleasures? A man well-versed in the knowledge of the Scriptures is aware that the ultimate goal of liberation is far away in time and the human life, although having an extremely small span of time, provides a great opportunity to mould the future course of the soul for an exceedingly long period of time. As an instance, the minimum life span in the heaven of Saudharma Kalpa is a little over one palyopama and the maximum lifetime is little over two sagaropamas. The term palyopama is defined in detail in Jaina Scriptures; suffice it to say here that it is an exceedingly long period of time. And a sagaropama is 10 times a palyopama! Life-spans in hells too are very long; the maximum durations of life in the seven infernal regions is one, three, seven, ten, seventeen, twenty-two, and thirty-three sagaropamas, respectively. The only way to rid the soul of its associated karmic filth and thus make it suitable for pious incarnations, like celestial life or birth in the regions of enjoyment (bhogabhumi), is by cheerfully accepting the observance of vows and leading a well- regulated life. It, therefore, makes great sense to lead a seemingly difficult life of observing vows and austerities during one’s incarnation as a human being.

Not content with the observance of partial vows of a ksullaka, and realizing the necessity of a more rigorous life of self-denial and austerities in his spiritual advancement, Ksullaka Shri Parshvakirti Varni took to the arduous path of Jaina asceticism (Muni diksa) on 25 July 1963, in Delhi, when he was christened Muni 108 Vidyanandji by his guru Parama pujya Acaryaratna 108 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja. He became a ‘Digambara’ Muni, free from all vestiges of clothes. The only physical objects he kept with him were a feather-whisk (picchi), implement of compassion, a water-pot (kamandalu), implement of purity, and scriptural treatise (sastra), implement of knowledge. He now accepted pure food free from forty-six faults (dosa), thirty-two obstructions (antaraya), and fourteen contaminations (maladosa), as far as it was possible in the present era. He discarded not only all external encumbrances, but also as much of the internal encumbrances as he could. He exerted himself in the observance of perfect vows, complete renunciation, and full control of his mind, speech and body. And this he did most willingly and cheerfully as it was the only means of acquisition of that joyous feeling of self-elevation which is dear to the heart of every aspirant on the path to liberation. He followed religiously the twenty-eight primary attributes of a Digambara ascetic comprising five supreme vows (mahavrata), five regulations (samiti), five-fold control of the senses (pancendriya nirodha), six essential duties (sadavasyaka), and seven rule or restrictions (niyama) which comprise not taking bath, sleeping on the ground, renouncing clothes , plucking hair on the head and face by hand, taking food only once in a day, not cleansing the teeth, and taking food in a steady, standing posture.

Muni 1o8 Shri Vidyanand ji adorned himself with nothing but the Three Jewels (ratnatraya) of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. He engaged himself incessantly in the study of the true religion as per the Holy Scriptures. He considered study to be sure means for control of the wanderings of the mind and senses. He became wholly acquainted with the conduct required of an ascetic and purified his daily routine accordingly. Parama Pujya Acaryaratna 1o8 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja, on 17 November, 1974, in Delhi, conferred the title of Upadhyaya (Preceptor) on him.

Upadhyaya 1o8 Vidyanandji took further strides in his observances of faith, knowledge, conduct and austerities. He had unwavering faith that the pure Self was the only object belonging to the self and all other objects, including the karmic matter (dravya karma and no-karma) were alien. He reckoned that the pure Self had no delusion, and was distinct form attachment and aversion. He became free from all corrupting dispositions. He cheerfully undertook penances with due control of the senses. He carried out all these observances with fully vigour and intensity, without concealing his true strength. He had all the essential attributes of an Acarya (Chief Preceptor).

On 28 June 1987, in Delhi, the four-fold congregation of the Jainas, under the direction of Parama Pujya Acaryaratna 108 Shri Deshbhushan ji Maharaja, conferred the title of Acarya (Chief Preceptor) on him. Endowed with great wisdom and experience about the conditions of existence in the land, Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Vidyananda ji Muniraja became an ideal Acarya to lead his congregation in all respects, including the prescription of proper penances in regard to transgressions by disciples and followers.

By this time he had mastered the nature and causes of all karmas which result into merit and demerit. He fully assimilated the knowledge contained in Acarya Kundkund’s Samayasara, his favourite Scripture. He undertook the task of guiding bhavyajivas, ascetics and laymen, to the path to liberation. He has always been extremely keen in propagating, for the benefit of all, the teachings of Lord Jina.

We know that in every half cycle of cosmic age, the aeon of regeneration (utsarpini) or of degeneration (avasarpini), twenty-four Tirthankaras are born in this part of the universe (called the Bharata ksetra of Jambudvipa). Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara, graced this earth more than two and a half millenniums ago. In the absence of Tirthankaras, Acaryas are the true light to guide us on the path that leads to true happiness here and hereafter and ultimately to liberation.

The Muniraja derives extreme happiness in observing both internal and external austerities. With the shield of fortitude as his protection, he lets his naked body endure, without any regret, the afflictions of extreme summer and winter. Reflecting always on the transient nature of life, like that of the evening cloud, he treads firmly on the path to liberation. Having long ago renounced his worldly family and home, and realizing that the world is a storehouse of sufferings, he derives extreme contentment in putting his feet forward on the path to liberation as shown by Lord Jina. Thinking always that there is no regime better than that expounded by Lord Jina, he dedicates himself firmly to the service of no one else but Lord Jina. With an unshakeable faith in the Teachings of Lord Jina, he incessantly meditates on the five great vows and the ten universal virtues. He has no attachments, external and internal, to sense pleasures, to karmas, or even to his own body. He has no aversions towards the objects of the environment. He has won over desires with contentment and restraint, negligence or inadvertence with study and meditation, and anger with composure and compassion. Having no conflict or disagreement with any living being, human or plants and animals, he showers his blessings on all like a mother blesses her child. He exerts with extreme care to save from injury the mobile as well as the immobile beings. He has fully grasped all realities including the soul and the non-soul, and his eyes are bright with the light of knowledge. Just in order to maintain steadiness of his body he accepts food that is pure, simple and free from faults. After all, a steady body is essential to carrying out austerities, self- restraint and meditation. He does not seek good food nor does he relish delicacies that are considered to be agreeable to the palate. Although his body has weakened from following severe austerities, his determination to conform to the rigors of meditation has not dimmed a bit. Though physically weak, his body exhibits rare glow and piousness, just as gold gets to brightness and preciousness on being severely heated.

Having assimilated an ocean of profound knowledge that is found in the Holy Scriptures, he is today a living institution of learning. His discourse for the laymen and laywomen attract large number of Jaina as well as non-Jaina devotees, just as a magnet attracts pieces of iron irrespective of their shapes and sizes.

The Muniraja completes on 25 July, 2013, fifty glorious years of his initiation (diksa) as a Digambara Muni. We are truly fortunate that in our midst lives such a great Acarya. His darsana only is capable of cutting the shackles of karmic bondages that have constrained us since long. I bow to him with extreme devotion.

Parama Pujya Acarya 108 Vidyanand ji Muniraja; your adoration has pruified my speech, your contemplation has purified my mind, and making obeisance to you has purified my body. You have made me realize that, in the ultimate analysis, I need to attend only to my soul, and to no one else, in order to obtain bliss that appertains to me. I feel truly blessed.

I present to the worthy readers the English translation, with authentic explanatory notes, of the most sacred and profound treatise, Dravyasamgraha, by Acarya Nemichandra Siddhanta Cakravarti.

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