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Wisdom, Virtues, and Peaceful Departure: From the Sacred Jainism Scripture – Uttaradhyayana, Part 2 of 2

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On today’s program, we continue with selections from the Uttaradhyayana, a sacred Jainism scripture. Here, we learn the importance of being virtuous to achieve spiritual liberation and a peaceful departure from this life.

“External things weaken the intellect and allure many; therefore, keep them out of your mind. Keep off delusion, remove pride, do not practice deceit, leave off greed. Heretics who are impure and vain, are always subject to love and hate, and are wholly under the influence (of their passions). Recognizing them as unholy men, desire virtues till the end of your life.”

FIFTH LECTURE. DEATH AGAINST ONE’S WILL.

“In this ocean (of life) with its currents (namely births) difficult to cross, one man has reached the opposite shore; one wise man has given an answer to the following question. These two ways of life ending with death have been declared: death with one’s will, and death against one’s will.

Death against one’s will is that of ignorant men, and it happens (to the same individual) many times. Death with one’s will is that of wise men, and at best it happens but once.

[Lord] Mahavira has (thus) described the first kind in which an ignorant man, being attached to pleasures, does very cruel actions. A man attached to pleasures and amusements will be caught in the trap (of deceit). (He thinks): ‘I never saw the next world, but I have seen with my own eyes the pleasures of this life.’ […] Then he begins to act cruelly against movable and immovable beings, and he kills living beings with a purpose or without.

An ignorant man kills, lies, deceives, calumniates, dissembles, drinks liquor, and eats meat, thinking that this is the right thing to do. Overbearing in acts and words, desirous for wealth and women, he accumulates sins in two ways […]. Then he suffers ill and is attacked by disease; and he is in dread of the next world when he reflects on his deeds.

I have heard of the places in hell, and of the destination of the sinner, where the ignorants who do cruel deeds will suffer violently. Then going to the place where he is to be born again according to his deeds, he feels remorse, as I have heard (from my teacher). As a traveler, who against his better judgment leaves the smooth highway and gets on a rugged road, repents when the axle breaks; so the ignorant, who transgresses the Law [of Dharma] and embraces unrighteousness, repents in the hour of death, like (the traveler) over the broken axle. Then when death comes at last, the ignorant trembles in fear; he dies the ‘death against one’s will,’ […].

Thus, has been explained the ignorants’ ‘death against one’s will’; now hear from me the wise men’s ‘death with one’s will!’ Full of peace and without injury to any one is, as I have heard (from my teachers), the death of the virtuous who control themselves and subdue their senses. […] A sinner, though he be a mendicant (friar), will not escape hell; but a pious man, whether monk or householder, ascends to heaven.”
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