Nima    19 June 2017 10:41 PM
NIyams of Jain Sadhus and Sadhvis
Sadhu is a term used for an auspicious male monk. Sadhvi is a term used for an auspicious female monk. There are two types of Jain sadhus. One type is the Shvetambar Sadhu who wears white clothes. The Digambar sadhus wear no clothes at all. These two kinds of monks have forsaken all their worldly attachments and have completely detached from all household activities. Instead of participating in secular activities, these monks practice uplifting their souls and teach householders how to uplift their souls, too. To become a Jain sadhu or sadhvi, a male or female householder must participate in an initiation ceremony called Diksha. With this ceremony the future sadhu or sadhvi renounce all things which are worldly. Rice and money are thrown to the people in the procession to symbolize this renunciation. An interesting fact is that there are more sadhus than sadhvis. During the Diksha ceremony, Sadhus and sadhvis take five strict vows.
The first vow they undertake is called the Pranatipataviraman Mahavrat or the vow of absolute non-violence. This means the sadhus and sadhvis promise not to harm or cause violence to any living being no matter how small.
The second vow is the Mrishavadviraman Mahavarat or also called the vow of absolute truthfulness. This vow means the monks should always tell the truth and never lie.
The vow of non-stealing is the Adattadanaviraman Mahavart which means the sadhus and sadhvis should never take anything before asking permission from the owner.
The vow of celibacy means the monks cannot touch the opposite sex nor have thoughts of sensual pleasure. This vow is called Maithunaviraman Mahavrat.
The fifth and final vow these monks partake in is the vow of non-attachment or Parigrahaviraman Mahavrat. This vow means the sadhus and sadhvis do not possess or have any attachment for things they need for daily living.
While taking these vows, these monks recite: “O Lord Arihant! I will not commit the sins of violence, express falsehood, steal and enjoy sensual pleasures, or be possessive, by speech, thought or deed; nor will I assist or order anyone to commit these sins. I will not approve or endorse anyone committing such sins. Oh Lord! I hereby take a sacred and solemn vow that throughout my life, I will follow these five major vows and strictly follow the code of conduct laid out for a sadhu and a sadhvi.”
To become a sadhu or a sadhvi, a person must undergo rigorous training. Future monks learn about the Jain Philosophy and Jain scriptures. The sadhu and sadhvi msut also learn the code of conduct for monks. They also have to learn to detach themselves from the world and learn to give up their families, business, money, and other social aspects of the secular life. Once they start the experience the life of a monk, they can decide if they want to be secular life. Once they start the experience the life of a monk, they can decide if they want to be a Jain sadhu or sadhvi. These monks train with Upadyas and Acharyas, who are wiser sadhus. After the initiation and training, the monks can choose to remain a sadhu or sadhvi.
Jain sadhus and sadhvis do not take any food or drink water before sunrise or after sunset. Forty-eight minutes have to pass the sunrise to drink water. There are three different rules of conduct for sadhus and sadhvis. The three rules are Gochari, Vihar, and Loch.
Gochari is described as Jain sadhus and sadhvis never preparing food or never accepting any food that has been prepared for them. Instead Jain sadhus and sadhvis receive food from various houses and try not to go the same house too often. The reason why the sadhus and sadhvis never take lots of food is because the householders do not have to cook again.
Jain sadhus and sadhvis always walk bare foot. This act is known as Vihar. Many people would ask why sadhus and sadhvis do this. The answer to this peculiar question is that sadhus and sadhvis put less pressure on the ground which may kill or do less harm to the small insects. Also, because of this the monks do not ride in vehicles. Jain sadhus and sadhvis do not even wear foot gear when walking in a cold day or on a hot road. Because of all the bugs and worms outside, Jain sadhus and sadhvis stay inside when it’s raining and stay in one place when the monsoon season begins.
The third act Jain monks participate in is Loch. After taking the Diksha, the Jain monks pull the strands of their hair out with their own hands or by another person. At least onece a year, these monks and nuns pull out their hair during the time of Paryushan. The goal of a Jain is to reach Moksha. Although, people who aren’t monks and nuns can reach their auspicious place, becoming and living the life of a Jain sadhu or sadhvi can bring this goal closer to reality.