Saturday, March 12, 2022

Digambara Nirgranthi

Digambara Nirgranthi

The word Digambara refers to ‘one who is naked’. Dis means space and ambar means clothing, the space is their cloth is called Digambara. The body is also a cloth of Atma. 

Digambara monks were referred as ‘nigamthesu’ in 7th Major Pillar Edict inscription of Samrat Ashoka of 236 BCE. He mentioned three distinct groups of ascetics other than Buddhists: Nirgranthis, Brahmanas and Ajivikas. 

I met three ‘Digambar Jain Sadhus’ on Bhavnath road, Junagagh yesterday (11/3/2022). They were doing morning walk. The Chief of the three Nayan Sagarji came forward and after preliminary introductions invited me to his Ashram Samoharan, Nirmal Dhyan Kendra located on Rupaytan road in Girnar taleti. After the funeral of Saint Punitacharyaji was over, I went to the Ashram of Nayan Sagarji. His Guruji died some 15 months ago who had spent 42 years of his life on two spots of Girnar and serve many pilgrims and locals through herbs of Girnar. His Guru, Bharati Bapu, Kashmiri Bapu and Punitacharyaji were like light houses of spiritual kingdoms of Girnar. With their departure in one year, there is vacuum created which will take time to fill up as the kshetra is turning more into a tourist spot. 

I went to Samosharan Ashram in the afternoon. It’s a beautiful campus with a temple, some rooms and a bhojanalaya. A coupon of ₹70 serves you a good satvik meal of a vegetable, pulse, roti, dal-chaval and papad. Each monk stays in his allotted room and spends time as per his daily routine of walking, meditation, reading and writing. The monks take meal and water only once in 24 hours. They don’t eat meal in utensils and drink water in a glass but take the meal and water in two hands as few gulps served by the host. As they don’t deposit money for their food, their daily meal is sponsored by some individual and the manu is limited to the capacity and choice of the host barring the prohibitory items. 

Digambara Sadhus are called ‘nirgranth’ means without any bonds. They have 28 attributes of pure conduct including five major ahimsa, truth, non-thriving, celibacy and non possession. These twenty-eight primary attributes are: five supreme vows (mahāvrata); five regulations (samiti); five-fold control of the senses (pañcendriya nirodha); six essential duties (Şadāvaśyaka); and seven rules or restrictions (niyama). A book of scripture is their only asset. 

We discussed the spiritual subject of Atma which Nayan Sagarji  explained through Aum Naad Sadhana, Pranayama (purak-rechak-kumbhak) and meditation. He was clear that each individual has to walk on his own path but as per the guidance of his master. None can explain the form of Atma unless one realises and experiences himself. A man describes quality and taste of sugar but unless the listener eats and tastes it, he won’t understand the word sweetness of sugar. Similarly, without going into deep meditation inside one won’t experience the taste or form of Atma. The mind is moving in subjects and objects of outer world and it remains in disturbed state mostly. Therefore, the sadhana begins with inverting the attention of mind towards self and thereafter travelling to deep inside where the true form of Atma is realised, experienced. How deep is that meditation, he explained with a story of a monk who didn’t realised a deer rubbed on his back when he was in meditation. 

How to select a master was a difficult question none can answer easily. However, he explained the differences between Sadhana (spiritual practices) and Shadhano (worldly objects). If the master and disciple join for Sadhano, they won’t progress. “लोभी गुरु लालची चेला दोऊ नरक में ठेलम-ठेला।”

“Honour your self. Worship your self. Meditate on your self. God dwells within you as you." -Swami Muktananda (Ganeshpuri)

Ek Omkar Satnam. 


12 March 2022


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