This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
Title - Sadhak and Sathi
Author - Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)
CHAPTER - 10
STUDY OF SELF
Study of Self is a basic necessity in various stages of spiritual
progress (Sadhana). It is incomparable and indispensable. It
yields immediate reward and is considered to be the guide to all
other means. All the preceptors of various schools of
philosophy in the world, have accepted its unique importance.
Each one of them has given it its due place in the methods of
Sadhana propounded by them.
Looking from the absolute point of view, the fruit of engaging
in self-studying is self-realization. To obtain the benefits of
self-study, association with another self-realized soul, or the
following of his spiritual instructions, is necessary. Three
stages can be considered in the development of the Sadhana of
1. Obtaining time for study.
2. Careful study of scriptures.
3. Attainment of the supreme state of self-study, by
continuously practicing contemplation of the acquired
In the first stage, the aspirant requires contact with the noble
and learned persons. If he is firmly convinced that he wants to
indulge in self-study, he will spare an hour or two from his
busy life from business or service or domestic work. He should
then put his efforts into the acquirement of knowledge in this
spare time, and gradually go on creating greater and greater
leisure by resorting to a secluded life and create more and more
interest in advancing his scriptural studies.
In the second-stage, study of good scriptures means those that
lead to higher spiritual knowledge. If one studies the
scriptures in the proper order, as laid down by the experienced
and the learned saints, greater benefit will be derived.
During the course of this study, one can constantly or
occasionally stay in an Ashram with learned saints. He can also
strengthen his knowledge by reading, writing, thinking,
memorizing, pondering, and discussing with others. These
different methods of studies, when combined harmoniously with
success and joy, lead to great advancement of knowledge in a
short time. As the knowledge acquired in this way is
methodical, purposeful, useful, and blissful, and again, because
it has been acquired in the presence of and under the guidance
of some enlightened saint, it leads the aspirant to a great
height of spiritual progress in a very short time.
In the third and the last stage, further progress is required to
be made by practicing in life the principles, which have been
learned so far. This leads to the experience and conviction
that the soul (Atma) is a pure consciousness, and its nature is
truth, knowledge and bliss (Sacchidananda). Once this happens,
all impure and sorrowful thoughts are gone. The aspirant
realizes that passion (Kama), anger (Krodha), and infatuation
(Moha) are doors to hell, he cultivates the virtues of
non-attachment, forgiveness and contentment.
Whether in worldly activities such as bathing, taking food,
business, and other exchanges, family relations and their
problems. Or in spiritual activities such as devotion,
association with saintly persons, self-study, worship, daily
spiritual activity, meditation, and so on the routine of the
continued divine awareness should be cultivated. The feeling
that I am "Sadhaka Atma" should be persevered with such
intentness that life becomes remolded and the fragrance of
virtues spreads in each activity of our life, and our entire
life becomes propitious to ourselves as also to others.
If we could accomplish this successfully, self-knowledge
(Atma-jnana), self-meditation (Atma-Samadhi) and self-joyfulness
(Atma-ananda) will surely manifest themselves, because of the
principle that the appropriate causes having been provided the
invariable association must manifest.
GLORY OF ENGAGEMENT IN SELF-STUDY
1. We cannot make headway on the path of salvation without
knowing what it is. We must therefore know the path through
the sermons of a learned preceptor or through the study of
the sublime scriptures.
2. True renunciation (Tyaga) is not possible without a proper
understanding of what is to be given up and what is to be
3. Real compassion cannot be actually practiced without proper
knowledge. Knowledge is therefore a forerunner of the
practice of real compassion.
4. In this world of ours nothing is more sacred than knowledge.
5. Acquisition of the best of things is not possible without
best efforts. Hence with a firm determination, a person must
constantly cultivate the vow of self-study (Svadhyaya). He
should not give up self-study in spite of difficulties, only
such a noble and great aspirant attains to an established
state of self-study (Svadhyaya).
6. By following this method and also by constantly engaging in
study, one attains to concentration in Svadhyaya. Self
realization and equanimity of the soul dawn on their own in
this very life as the reward par excellence of Svadhyaya.
7. Indulgence in self-study reveals countless virtues. One
becomes conscious about truth and untruth; intellect dawns;
doubts are set at rest; the grasp of Reality dawns; the habit
to resort to illogical attitudes leaves the mind. The fame
of such a aspirant spreads far and wide.
8. Pride, anger, negligence, disease, and laziness are the five
obstacles in the acquirement of knowledge (Vidya). With
diligence and care, the aspirant should avoid these and exert
constant efforts to acquire knowledge.
9. Just as humility is essential for acquisition of knowledge,
similarly even after knowledge is acquired, it shines forth
only through humility. A really learned person is always
humble and ever continues to be so.
LIVING EXAMPLES OF SELF-STUDY
About 150 years ago, Maharaja (king) Jagatesh of Jaipur, of the
state of Rajasthan, India, who was very just, impartial and
devoted to the service of his people. Many educated scholars
visited his court and were duly honored. One of his ministers
was Shri Jaichand Chhavda, a scholar of great merit. He had a
son name Nandlalji, who was also working for the state. Both
father and son were very famous and high ranking scholars.
Their knowledge of the scriptures was shining forth with their
spiritual Sadhana. They had contributed uniquely by translating
Jain scriptures in old Hindi Language.
Once, a great scholar (pundit), who had defeated many other
scholars in different parts of India, arrived at Jaipur and made
the following announcement, "If nobody enters into a discussion
on the meaning of scriptures (Shastras) with me within five
days, I shall take myself as victorious over all in this city
and the state."
The king was puzzled, no scholar in the city came forward to
enter into discussion with this outsider. On the advice of
some, the Maharaja approached Shri Jaichand and requested him to
save the prestige of the state. Shri Jaichand sent his son
Nandlal for discussion with the Pundit.
Nandlal defeated the pundit easily. The King decided to honor
the father and the son in public. On learning this, Shri
Jaichand told the Maharaja, "I do not believe in disputation but
I arranged this dialogue on the scriptures (Shastras) only to
save the prestige of the state. I do not need any certificate
of honor. If you are really pleased with me, please release me
two hours earlier from my duties to the state. This will enable
me to devote more time to my spiritual progress and study of
authentic scriptures (Shastras), so that I can make my life more
He was a real Pundit. His detachment and indulgence in self-
study prove that he was a man of great spiritual heights. Let
us give honor to this great man Shri Jaichand Chhavda!
In the 18th century, after finishing his studies in Logic and
Philosophy, Pundit Shri Ramnath settled near a town called
Navadwip in the state of Bengal, India. He taught students
religion and literature. He did not accept any salary or other
benefits from the state. One day his wife told him that she had
no wheat flour to make bread (Chapatis). He replied, "Cook
whatever is available in the house." She cooked rice and boiled
tamarind leaves. He praised how delicious the meal was.
Maharaja Shivachandra of Krishnanagar had heard about this great
Pundit and his economic condition; and had invited him to the
palace. But Punditji never visited. At last the king visited
and inquired, "Punditji, do you have any inconvenience? Is
there any way I can be helpful to you or your family or deliver
Pundit answered, "As far as my household goods are concerned,
inquire with my wife!"
The king went in the house, bowed to the lady and inquired the
same way adding he will consider himself lucky to supplement any
need. The lady in a very dignified way indicated, that their
needs were more or less met with. The king bowed to this
detached personality of the lady and left. The next day he sent
various items to the family but they returned everything except
provision for three days. The king and the citizens worshipped
the couple in their hearts.
In 1927, at a farewell function at Kashi University, the
Professor of Logic inquired of all graduating students, "What do
you aim of your life?"
Someone wanted to become a Judge, someone else a college
professor, or a principal etc. However, when it was the turn of
Sumeruchandra Diwakar, he replied, "The ultimate goal of my life
is to attain godliness".
The professor said, "Look, how high the goal of life is of this
Jain student! His feeling is that spiritual attainment is more
blissful than worldly status!"
The inspiring words of the professor had a magical effect on the
minds of the students.
Shri Sumeruchandra is today a life-long celibate, busy in the
devotion of the Goddess of Learning. He has propagated the
Aryan (traditional Hindu) culture and the Jain religion
(Dharma) in many countries.
Even today, at the age of 72, he is busy in studying the
scriptures and has written many authentic and scholarly books
and articles. Some time back Justice Dwivedi sought the meaning
of the word "JAIN" from him and he replied, "A `JAIN' is one who
is endowed with the following virtues:
J = Just - he loves justness
A = Affectionate - he is really affectionate
I = Introspective - he is the tester of his inner-self
N = Noble - his dealings are always noble.
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