Skip to content
Home » Jainism » Jain Festivals » Dashalakshana Parva » Uttama Akinchanya Dharma – Supreme Non-Attachment

Uttama Akinchanya Dharma – Supreme Non-Attachment

    Meaning of ‘Uttama Akinchanya Dharma – Supreme Non-Attachment’, quotes from Jain scriptures, its interpretation with real-life instances.

    – Muni Sri Kamkumarnandi Maharaj

    He, who abandons the evil thought of attachment to worldly objects, can alone give up possessions.

    Assuredly, the non-appearance of attachment and other passions in Ahimsa, and their appearance is ‘Himsa’.

    Na kinchan iti akinchana

    Not to have the least (Parigraha) attachment is known as Akinchanya (non-attachment). The word ‘akinchan‘ is derived from the word ‘akinchan’ by the addition of the suffix anr/shaynj. The word means to put a limit to ambitions, to put a check on desires.

    Man is a social animal. Man makes many future plans while living amidst society and in the nation. These plans never come to an end; rather they go on multiplying one after the other. It has been said:

    Api sankalpita kama, sambhvanti yatha yatha
    Tatha mnushyanram, trishanr vishvam visarpati

    As soon as the hopes or ambitions of a man are fulfilled, instantly new ambitions take birth. His desires go on increasing; there is no full stop to them. Therefore, a man should observe the virtue of non-attachment by putting a limit to his ambitions. Acharya Kundkund Swamy has written in the holy book ‘Samaysaar’: ‘Desires are limitless. Hopes live eternal in the heart of a man. There is no end to possessions (Parigraha). Still man is running a mad race after possessions and material objects day and night. Acharya Gun Bhadra Swamy has drawn a fine picture of the unending nature of ambitions of man in his sacred book ‘Atmanushashan‘ in the following verse:

    Ashagart pratipranri, yasmin vishvmnrupamam
    Ksya kim kiydayiti, vritha vo vishayeshita

    – Atma A. Gunbhadra

    In the heart of every living being there exists a deep pit of hopes, in which the universe appears to be equivalent to an atom. Then for whom, what and how much scope there can be left inside this pit i.e., it can contain almost nothing else but hopes. Therefore, O noble souls! Futile is your ambition for those articles of enjoyments or pleasure giving objects. It means that thirst of desires of every living being has grown to the extent that even if he attains all the wealth of the whole world, his thirst of desires can never be quenched by any means. This ignorant creature has been wasting his precious lifetime in claiming such mortal and transitory objects, which are different from self as his own. The passions and sensuous pleasures, which are the outcome of object non-self, have made him blind. This blindness is more dreadful than blindness of eyes by birth. It has been said:

    Andhadyam mhanndho, vishyandhikritaikshnra
    Chkshuandho na janati, vishyandho na kainchit

                                                              – Atma A. Gunbhadr

    i.e., This human being, who has lost his sense of wisdom and power of discrimination due to his over indulgence in lustful desires, is blinder than a worldly blind man. For a blind fails to see with his eyes only, but a man blinded by sensuous pleasures cannot grasp the real nature of things; neither by the senses nor by the mind. Therefore he has misconceived the non-self as the real self. So long as this living being does not forsake this sense of attachment, he will not realize the virtue of non-attachment. Acharya Aklanka Swamy has also affirmed this fact in ‘Rajvartika’ thus:


    i.e., To give up the belief that this thing belongs to me is the virtue of non-attachment.

    There was a forest. Daily some cowherds led the cows to graze in that pastureland. While grazing the cows one-day, they chanced to see ripe mangoes hanging from a tree. Their mouths watered on seeing the mangoes. When one of the cowherds cast a pebble at the mangoes, two mangoes fell down. He ate them and enjoyed the delicious fruits. The mangoes were really very sweet. This made another cowherd think ? “Why to miss such tasty fruits? I shall also pluck a mango just now.” So saying he picked up a pebble and struck at the mangoes. Instead, the stone piece struck the head of a saint meditating under the tree. His head was injured and started bleeding. This horrible sight terrified all the cowherds. Seeing tears flowing from the eyes of the saint, the cowherds approached him and spoke humbly ? “O saint! We are guilty. You are all merciful. Please pardon us. We have inflicted severe injury and pain to you.” The saint replied calmly, “I have suffered no pain.” The cowherds again questioned, “if you have felt no pain, why tears are bursting from your eyes?” At this the saint replied, “Boys! When you cast pebbles at the mango tree, it gave you sweet and tasty mangoes. But now when your stone piece struck me, I have nothing to give you in return. That is why tears are flowing from my eyes.” The cowherds paid homage to the saint lying at his feet and returned home. The instant that the feeling of compassion grows in human heart, is the beginning of religion.

    Attachment is of two kinds:

    1. Internal Attachment ? The feeling of love, hatred, affection and ill will for living beings; and wrong belief are internal attachments.

    2. External Attachment ? Greed for wealth and property is external attachment. Greed for worldly possessions (bahay parigrah) consists in desiring more than what is needed by an individual.

    Accumulation of even necessary articles in large numbers, expressing wonder at the prosperity of others, excessive greed and changing the proportions of existing possessions are all forms of Parigraha (worldly attachments). The virtue of non?attachment cannot be attained without discarding both types of Parigrahas (attachments). Only by discarding both, the soul can be made fully purified, clean and spotless. In Shraman culture merely discarding of the external attachments has got no value. Therefore, the living soul (a living being) will be called non?attached only when he gets rid of both internal and external attachments. The Jain scriptures say that attachment equivalent even to a ‘Til’ (Sesum seed) brings extreme sorrow and suffering in its wake.

    A man took resort in a forest renouncing all worldly attachments. At that time he owned no possessions except a cloth piece. In daytime he used to wrap it round his body to clothe it, and at night he would spread it on the ground to make a bed to sleep in. In the forest there lived many rats, which nibbled his cloth. The man thought of protecting his cloth from the rats anyhow. With this idea he tamed a cat. Milk was needed to feed the cat. So the man had to tame a cow as well. But grass (fodder) was required for the cow. Now to employ a cowherd became essential for this job. A house was then needed for the cowherd. As soon as the house was built, a maidservant was engaged to look after the house. The maidservant expressed her desire to keep her kith and kin along with her. The man built separate houses for every one of them.

    Thus, in some days the forest was filled with the hustle and bustle of the city, yet his troubles went on increasing by leaps and bounds. The underlying idea is that by and by even a petty attachment assumes large dimensions in the long run. Therefore, it is most essential to get rid of attachments at the initial stage. Every man should think that he has certainly to depart from this world one day, leaving behind land, house, gold, sons, wife and relations ? in fact leaving even his body. Hence, why all this mad strife for worldly attachments.

    A fine description about attachments has been given in the following verses:

    Tinrmitu parigahu jath nrathi, akinchanru so nriymainr athi
    Apapar jath biyarsati, pydijyi jahim parmaithi bhati

    Chhadijyi jahim sankap duth, bhoyanru vanchhijyi jahim anrith
    Akinchanru dhammu ji aim hoyi, tam jhayijyi nriru ith loyi

    i.e., Where there is not the least attachment equivalent even to a straw, as a rule there lies the vow of non?attachment. Where a man is endowed with the power to distinguish between self and non?self; where reverence and devotion is shown to the five divinities; where evil thoughts are discarded; and where there is no ambition for tasty foods, there lies the virtue of non?attachment. Indeed, he, who is desirous of storing, is a householder and not a monk. A man should practice the virtue of non?attachment in this world. To obtain real knowledge is extremely essential for this purpose. It has been said:

    Dhan kan kanchan raj sukh, sabhi sulabh kar jan
    Durlabh hey sansar main, aik yatharath gyan

    i.e. It is very easy to achieve wealth, property and royal glory; but extremely difficult to acquire real knowledge in order to attain the virtue of non­ attachment (Akinchanya Dharma ).

    It is a hard nut to crack to be born as a man i.e., to achieve the state of a human being. It is a rare luck to be born in a high family in this Arya land; to be endowed with all organs of body in working order; to possess a hale and hearty body free from sickness and all ailments.  To get good company of noble souls, to be gifted with the true deities, true scriptures and true religious teachers, and finally to be capable to attain salvation. If a living being does not recognize the value of his present human state, which is a rare gift attained with difficulty, it must be regarded his great misfortune.

    A dumb man thinks ? “If I had speech, I would have sung great hymns in praise of the Lord.” A blind man murmurs ? “If I had eyes and possessed eye sight, I would have seen the holy Lord again and again, and studied the scriptures.” A deaf grumbles ? “If my ears had been in working order, I would have listened to the holy sermons, hymns and chanting of prayers.” All of them are in distress for want of only one sense organ each. But if he, who is gifted with all the five senses working properly and well, does not follow the right path, he is totally in the dark and it shows his ignorance only. He is like the fool, who on obtaining a hardly available diamond from the mine again casts it there not realizing its value. His act is like fleeing crows by casting pearls at them.

    There lived a learned king in a city. He used to compose a Sanskrit couplet  (sloka) as soon as he got up in his bed early in the morning daily. He stepped down from the bed only after he had composed a full couplet. An extremely poor destitute Brahman also lived in that city. Although he was poor, yet he was a good scholar of Sanskrit language.

    Being fed up with the sufferings of poverty, one day he thought of committing theft. He decided to enter the royal palace for the act of stealing, rather than breaking into the house of an ordinary householder; so that he might get hold of a good booty. He thought that this act would cause no suffering to the king by robbing a little out of his vast royal treasure. One night he stealthily entered the royal palace. When all the inmates of the palace had gone in deep slumber, the learned Pandit began to roam hither and thither inside the palace in search of something worth stealing. He caught sight of precious articles in the palace one after the other, with the result that he was at a loss to decide what things he should steal and take away.

    While wandering he entered the king’s bedroom. A lamp was illuminating the room. Therefore, all the costly objects kept there to adorn the room were clearly visible. He was so much enamored at the sight of those lovely decoration pieces that he could not make up his mind what to steal. At last he saw the gold bricks placed under the legs of the king’s bed to raise it high and decided to steal away one of them. But the problem was how and from under, which leg he should take out a brick without waking the king. The night passed in this condition of indecision. As soon as the day dawned, the king woke up and started composing a Sanskrit sloka sitting in his bed. He succeeded in composing only three steps of the following sloka:

    Chaitohra yuvtya suhrdinokala, sadbandhva pranryagrbhgirshch
    Grjanti dantinivhastrtnasturndga

    The king repeated the three steps time and again, but could not compose the fourth step. The meaning of the three steps is:

    “I am the master of several beautiful and charming young damsels as my wives. I have many true friends and brothers. Many sweet?speaking submissive servants attend on me. Many elephants trumpet at my door and many fast racing horses are there in my stable.”

    On hearing the three steps of the sloka, the learned Brahman thief, who had got into the palace with the main intention of stealing, could not control himself. Then and there he instantly composed the fourth step as under and recited it to the king:

    Samilitay nyaniarn hi kinchidasti

    i.e., As soon as a man breathes his last, none of these horses, elephants, wives, friends, servants and attendants will accompany him to the other world.

     The king was taken aback on hearing such a fine step which completed his sloka. He looked at the learned thief with surprise and asked him, “O learned scholar! Who are you? How and why have you come into my bedroom?” The Brahman related the whole tale of his wretched campaign. Being pleased, the king rewarded him handsomely and bade him farewell.

     To sum up, these physical possessions belong to us so long as we breathe and survive. No sooner do we give up our ghost, than all this vast wealth is left here in this world. All our affluence and grandeur i.e., wealth and property except our immortal soul are not our own and are perishable. Therefore, the immortal soul alone is our real self. We should make incessant efforts only for its uplift forever.

     Ahideva and Mahideva were two brothers. They both went abroad on a business errand. They amassed enormous wealth and bought a precious diamond with the money. The diamond proved so inauspicious in its effect that a vicious feeling to kill his partner took possession of the mind of its holder. But the two brothers had great mutual love. So any, how they put reins to their evil feeling and did not kill each other. Soon after they returned home and handed over the diamond to their mother. Instantly, on getting the diamond an evil thought flashed into her mind, “Why not kill both my sons by giving them poison in food, so that the diamond may remain in my possession for ever?”

    She went on pondering thus throughout the night. In the morning her mind changed on hearing the holy sermon of a monk and she began to reproach herself:

    “Cursed am I, that I plotted to assassin my own flesh and blood ? my dear sons ?for this petty stone. Condemned be this devil ‘Parigraha’ (attachment for possessions).” On coming to her senses, she told the whole truth to her sons. She at once instructed them to cast away the inauspicious diamond into some unfathomable pond or deep sea. What to say of keeping it with her, she disdained even to look at it. The sons obeyed her and acted accordingly. Thereafter, all of them began to live with love and peace.

    While describing the virtue of non?attachment (Akinch Anya Dharma), the great poet Reidhu writes:

    Akinnchnru bhavhu apyu jhavhu, daihhu bhnru nranrmu
    Nrruvam gye vnru, suh sanpnru param antidiye vigybhu

    Akinchnru bu sangah nriviti, akinchnru bu suhjhanr sati
    Akinchnru bu biyliye bhamti, akinchnru rynrtye paviti

    Akinchnru anuchiyi chitu, pasrantu indiye bnri vichitu
    Akinchnru dhaihu nraih chatu akinchnru jn bhav suh vistu

    Tinrmitu prighu jath nrthi, akinchnr so nriymainr athi
    Apaparjath viyar sati, pydijyi jhim parmaithi bhti

    Chhndijyi jhin sanklp duth, bhoynru vnchhijyi jhin anrith
    Akinchnru dhamu ji aim hoyi, tn jhayijyi nriru  ith loyi

    Aihu ji phavain ladh shavain tithaisar siv nryri gya
    Gye kam viyara punr risi sara vndnrij tay tainr sya

    1. Imagine of the virtue of non?attachment taking the soul as different from the body; soul is a storehouse of knowledge; it is unique; it is colorless; it is blissful; it is superb; it is devoid of senses and is fearless. Such evaluation of soul is ‘Ahnchanya Dharma’ i.e., virtue of non?attachment.

    2. To get rid of attachment from all worldly possessions is the vow of non-attachment. To be endowed with the power to meditate upon the four auspicious virtues; viz. (i) Maitri-­friendship with all living beings. (ii) Pramoda ? delight at the sight of beings better qualified or more advanced than ourselves on the path of liberation. (iii) Karuna ?compassion for the afflicted. (iv) Madhyastha ? tolerance or indifference to those, who are uncivil or ill behaved; is the vow of internal non?attachment. To be free from the feeling of allurement for something is the vow of ‘Akinchanya’ (non?attachment); and to have no feeling of possession is the vow of external non?attachment; and to be dedicated to the three jewels ? Right belief, Right knowledge and Right conduct, is the vow of ‘Ahnchanya’.

    3. The vow of non?attachment puts reins to the mind, which roams, in the strange forest of senses. To give up love for the body is the vow of non-attachment, and to be averse to the worldly enjoyments is also the vow of non-attachment.

    4. Where there is not the least attachment equivalent even to a straw, as a rule there is the vow of non?attachment. Where there exists the power of discrimination between self and non?self; where devotion for the five divinities is revealed; where the evil pledges are discarded and where ambition for delicious dishes exists no more, there lies the virtue of non?attachment. A man should meditate upon these in this world

    5. The Tirthankaras have attained salvation as a result of and with the assistance of, this virtue of non?attachment. On account of this non?attachment virtue the saints who are devoid of the evils of vicious passions are venerated forever.

    Hence, O Mortal Man! Be non?attached, be non?attached and be non-attached to all worldly allurements in order to enjoy the true and eternal bliss available in the heavenly abode of the celestial beings i.e., enlightened souls, who became liberated as they were endowed with the supreme virtue of non-attachment.Meaning of ‘Uttama Samyam Dharma – Supreme Self-Restraint’, quotes from Jain scriptures, its interpretation with real-life instances.

    error: Jain Heritage Centres - Celebrating Jain Heritage.....Globally!