Literally, Samvar means blocking. Samvar, in the theory of karma, means
blockage or stoppage of the inflow of karmas to the soul. It is the
opposite of asrav, which means the inflow of karmas. In the discussion
of asrav, we gave the boating example which also explains how samvar
works. Let us pretend as if we went boating. We were having a good time
and suddenly noticed water rising on the floor of boat. We immediately
felt that the boat had a hole and if the leak was not fixed the boat
would sink. So, the first thing we did was to find the hole and seal it
so that new water would stop coming in. This stoppage of water coming
in is called samvar. A similar situation is that of our soul which is
wandering in worldly affairs. We have so many holes (activities)
through which karmas are flowing in at all the times. We talked about
these holes when discussing asrav: wrong beliefs, vowlessness,
passions, indolence, and psychophysical activities. These activities
allow karmas to become attached to the soul. Once we have realized the
effects of such activities, we need to work towards overcoming them so
that we can stop new karmas coming in before they further sink the
Samvar can be described in two types:
1) Physical or Objective,
2) Psychic or Subjective.
The physical refers to the actual shutting of our activities which leads
to stoppage of the inflow of karmas. The psychic means consciously
striving to stop our passions.
Samvar is of 6 kinds, namely:
1) Samiti (Careful)
2) Gupti (restraint)
3) Yati-dharma (dharma of a sadhu)
4) Bhavanas (mental reflections)
5) Parishaha (sufferings)
6) Charitra (conduct)
These 6 types of Samvar will be efficacious and real only if they are
carried out with a firm faith in the commands of the Jina. Therefore,
Samyaktva is deeply and intimately connected with Samvar. Through
Samyaktva, the asrav called wrong belief or mithyatva are completely
blocked and stopped. By means of Samyak charitra and yati-dharma, the
asrav called vowlessness is blocked. By means of gupti, bhavanas, and
yati-dharma the Asrav called Passions is blocked. By means of Samiti,
Gupti, Parishaha, etc., physiological activities and Pramad is blocked.
By means of Charitra, the Asrav called vowlessness, passions,
psychophysical activities can be blocked.
1) Samiti (Careful)
Samiti actually means Sam + iti = Samiti or the right use. Examples
include, having the right objective, spiritual awareness, the proper
discipline, and spiritual vigilance and caution. In this manner, there
are 5 subtypes of samiti:
a) Irya Samiti: (Careful movements): This means to move cautiously and
carefully, and looking closely on the ground so that no jiva might be
harmed or killed. A sadhu observes this more carefully and that is
why he does not walk around unnecessarily. He walks on the path which
most minimizes violence. Rather than walking on the grass or insects a
sadhu would take an alternate route in order to minimize the violence
caused by him, even if the alternate route was longer. A layman should
also keep this in mind and should be careful while walking.
b) Bhasha Samiti: (Careful speech): One should limit or completely
avoid speaking anything which may provoke violence, flattery,
condemnation, gossip, etc., or use words that may cause harm to others.
One should not inflict pain by using words which are filthy or
abusive. One should also limit or deter uttering unpleasant and
thoughtless ideas which are contrary to the principles taught by the
Jina or speech that can provoke wrong belief. One's words or speech
must be kind and gentle. If anyone has confessed to a sadhu about his
wrong activities or sins, then the sadhu must not speak about this to
others. This samiti also reminds us that one must not frighten anyone
by speech or words, make a mockery of anyone, or preach a false
c) Eshana Samiti: (Careful about taking food): Caution must also be
paid about all matters relating to food. Sadhus should go for alms to
various houses and should take a small portion of allowable food from
each place so that the layman, from which the food is taken, does not
have to cook again. Also sadhus should not take any raw vegetables, raw
seeds or any food which has been in contact with living beings,
including those taken from a burning stove, oven, or even a
refrigerator. A sadhu should not go for alms if it is raining and
should not accept any food brought to him. There are forty-two faults
which sadhus must avoid while accepting alms. A layman should also
refrain from committing a sin in the offering of food to sadhus. All
intoxicated and forbidden foods are not to be taken by either sadhus or
d) Adan Bhand Matta Nikshepna Samiti: (Careful about putting cloths
and other things on) A sadhu should take the utmost care, before using
clothes, to make sure that there are no insects in the folds which may
be crushed, hurt, or killed. Care must be taken before taking and
putting away vessels, books, or sitting down, etc. Similar precautions
should also be taken by laymen.
e) Parishtapanika Samiti: (Careful about disposal of excreta): One
should be very careful about how, and where one disposes of trash,
refuse, or excretions so that no harm is done to even the minute
insects or bugs. A monk must never keep either food or water overnight,
but must rather dispose of them carefully as mentioned above.
Gupti means restraint. Samiti helps us to regulate our activities, while
gupti helps us to further restrain or curb activities of mind, speech,
and body. There are 3 types of gupti:
1) Mano Gupti. (Restraint of the activities of the Mind): One must
restrain extreme grief, anger, joy, and anxiety (Asatkalpanaviyogi).
One must restrain oneself from the effects of love and hate, and pain
and pleasure (samatabhavini). One must be restrained and think
steadily, not of external things, but of one's own soul.
2) Vachan Gupti. (Restraint of speech): One must restrain speech by
observing a vow of silence (Maunavalambi) for a certain number of days
or by speaking as little as possible and only when absolutely necessary
3) Kaya Gupti. (Restraint of physical activities): One must be
careful and should restrain one's physical activities as per rules laid
down in the scriptures (Yathasutracestaniyami).
The 22 parishahas pertain to the enduring of hardship and while doing so
remaining in a state of serenity and equanimity so that all karmas may
be destroyed. These are more prominently followed by sadhus and
sadhvis. There are 22 types:
1) Hunger. A monk must not accept food which is blemished and prepared
with any one of the forty-two faults, even if he has to stay hungry.
2) Thirst. A monk should not take unboiled water, even if he has to
3) Cold. Even when it is cold a monk should not wish for heat.
4) Heat. Even when it is hot a monk should not wish for cold.
5) Insect bites. If a monk is bitten by insect while he is meditating,
he should not brush it away or become irritated, but should bare it
6) Clothes. A monk must accept whatever clothes he may receive.
7) A monk must bare evil words told to him.
8) A monk must bare kicking and beating.
9) A monk must bare diseases.
10) A monk must sleep on a wooden flat bed or coarse grass.
11) A monk must not take a bath.
12) A monk must wear torn clothes but should not ask for new clothes.
13) A monk should not experience shame or helplessness while going for
alms from door to door.
14) If a monk should not get alms, then he should not become worried
and, on the contrary, should think as though he has been given a chance
to perform austerity.
15) A monk should not become attracted towards the beauty of women.
16) A monk should not become disturbed by hardship while meditating in a
17) A monk should not become agitated even when there is suffering or
18) A monk should not become proud while being honored.
19) A monk should not become irritated when getting pricked by thorns,
20) A monk must should not feel sorry for not attaining knowledge even
after good efforts.
21) If a monk is ignorant and can not read, he should not become
depressed. He must think of karmodaya and must keep his pursuit of
22) A monk must try to understand the message of the Jina and should
never doubt it.
Ten Duties of Sadhus
Sadhus observe the following great duties to the fullest extent, while
householders follow them from a lesser degree to fullest extent.
1) Kshama (forgiveness)
2) Namrata (politeness) and Laghutha (meekness)
3) Saralata (simplicity)
4) Nirlobha (absence of Avarice)
5) Tap (internal and external austerities)
6) Samyama (controlling senses)
7) Satya (avoiding condemnable speech)
8) Shaucha (mental purity)
9) Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
10) Brahamcharya (celibacy)
The Twelve Bhavanas Or Contemplation:
Bhavana means the contemplation, through which you motivate your soul
to carry out lofty reflections. There are 12 types:
1) Anitya Bhavana:
All external substances including the body are transitory (Anitya). They
are perishable and therefore, we should not have attachment for them.
2) Asaran Bhavana:
Human beings are experiencing tremendous agitation. When death occurs
and the soul has to leave the body there is no one who can save a jiva
who is helpless. Wealth, family etc. have to be given up at such a
time. No worldly things can provide refuge so why should we depend upon
3) Samsar Bhavana:
In the cycle of samsar, mother can become wife; wife can become mother;
and an enemy can become a friend; etc. How futile is samsar ? We
should not have attachment for it.
4) Ekatva Bhavana:
"I am alone, I was born alone, I will die alone, I am sick alone, I have
to suffer alone, I have to experience the karmas which I have earned,
alone." Therefore, one should be cautious and keep away from the
attachment and hatred.
5) Anyatva Bhavana:
"This body is transitory and it is different from me. I am the soul
which is not perishable. While body is perishable. Even wealth, family
etc., are not mine. They are different from me, therefore, I discard
attachment for all these things."
6) Asuchi Bhavana:
"This body is made up of impure substances. It is being nourished by
impure substances. I will discard my attachments for this body and
engage myself in self-discipline, renunciation, and spiritual
7) Asrava Bhavana:
Thinking on inflow of karmas. All causes that create the inflow of
karmas should be discarded.
8) Samvar Bhavana:
Samvar means blocking of the inflow of karmas. One must contemplate on
Samiti, Gupti, Yati-dharma etc. One must carry out these activities and
try to reduce or stop the new bondage of karma.
9) Nirjara Bhavana:
Nirjara means to shed whatever karmas we have. One must think of the
benefits that accrue from each of the 12 kinds of Tapas or the
austerities which cause nirjara. One must contemplate on these
austerities in order to destroy sins.
10) Lokasvabhava Bhavana:
Lokasvabhava means one must contemplate on the three Lokas, namely: 1)
the upper world, 2) the middle world, 3) the lower world, and also the
whole universe filled with souls and pudgals.
11) Bodhidurlabh Bhavana:
One must contemplate on how difficult it is for the souls that are
wandering aimlessly in four stages of existence in the Samsar to attain
the Jin dharma. There should not be even the slightest negligence in
observing the religion propagated by the Jina."
12) Dharma Bhavana:
"Oh: Arihant Bhagwan, the omniscient, has expounded an excellent Shruta
Dharma and Charitra Dharma. I will engage myself in these Dharma." One
should carry out this contemplation again and again.
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