Anekantavada, in Jainism, the ontological assumption that any entity is at once enduring but also undergoing change that is both constant and inevitable. The doctrine of anekantavada states that all entities have three aspects: substance (dravya), quality (guna), and mode (paryaya). Dravya serves as a substratum for multiple gunas, each of which is itself constantly undergoing transformation or modification. Thus, any entity has both an abiding continuous nature and qualities that are in a state of constant flux.

Pancha Mahavrata

Right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct are the three most essentials for attaining liberation in Jainism. In order to acquire these, one must observe the five great vows:

  • Non-violence – Ahimsa
  • Truth – Satya
  • Non-stealing – Achaurya or Asteya
  • Celibacy/Chastity – Brahmacharya
  • Non-attachment/Non-posession – Aparigraha

Ahimsa in Jainism

Ahinsa in Jainism is a fundamental principle forming the cornerstone of its ethics and doctrine. The term ahinsa means nonviolence, non-injury and absence of desire to harm any life forms. Vegetarianism and other nonviolent practices and rituals of Jains flow from the principle of ahinsa. The Jain concept of ahinsa is very different from the concept of nonviolence found in other philosophies. Violence is usually associated with causing harm to others. But according to the Jain philosophy, violence refers primarily to injuring one’s own self – behaviour which inhibits the soul’s own ability to attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of births and deaths).At the same time it also means violence to others because it is this tendency to harm others that ultimately harms one’s own soul. Furthermore, the Jains extend the concept of ahinsa not only to humans but to all animals, plants, micro-organisms and all beings having life or life potential. All life is sacred and everything has a right to live fearlessly to its maximum potential. Living beings need not fear those who have taken the vow of ahinsa. According to Jainism, protection of life, also known as abhayadānam, is the supreme charity that a person can make.


Satya is one of the five vows prescribed in Jain Agamas. Satya was also preached by Mahavira.According to Jainism, not to lie or speak what is not commendable. The underlying cause of falsehood is passion and therefore, it is said to cause hiṃsā (injury). According to the Jain text Sarvārthasiddhi: “that which causes pain and suffering to the living is not commendable, whether it refers to actual facts or not”.

According to Jain text, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya:

All these subdivisions (injury, falsehood, stealing, unchastity, and attachment) are hiṃsā as indulgence in these sullies the pure nature of the soul. Falsehood etc. have been mentioned separately only to make the disciple understand through illustrations.


Asteya is the Sanskrit term for “non-stealing”. It is a virtue in Jainism . The practice of asteya demands that one must not steal, nor have the intent to steal another’s property through action, speech and thoughts. Asteya is considered as one of five major vows of Jainism. It is also considered one of ten forms of temperance (virtuous self-restraint) in Indian philosophy.

In Jainism, it is one of the five vows that all Śrāvakas and Śrāvikās (householders) as well as monastics must observe.The five transgressions of this vow as mentioned in the Jain text, Tattvārthsūtra are: “Prompting another to steal, receiving stolen goods, underbuying in a disordered state, using false weights and measures, and deceiving others with artificial or imitation goods”.


Aparigraha is the concept in which possessions should include only what is necessary at a particular stage in one’s life. It is a form of self-restraint that avoids the type of coveting and greed by which material gain destroys or hurts people, other living things or nature in general. Aparigraha is the opposite of parigraha, which means “the focus on material gain.”  Aparigraha is one of the main lessons in the Bhagavad Gita, which states that a yogi should give up possessions that hinder his/her yogic path. Doing so frees the yogi from dependence on sensual and bodily demands, allowing experience of the true Self at a deeper level.  In the context of a yoga class, aparigraha is the acceptance of what the body is capable of doing while practicing, rather than the desire to perfect a pose as someone else has.


Brahmacharya is a concept within Indian religions that literally means “conduct consistent with Brahma”. In simple terms on the path of Brahma.  Brahmacharya is different from English term “celibacy,” which merely means non-indulgence in sexual activity. Brahmacharya is when a person controls his citta, abstaining through word, thought, and deed from physical or sensual pleasures to achieve Brahmagyan.  In one context, brahmacharya is the first of four ashrama (age-based stages) of a human life, with grihastha (householder), vanaprastha (forest dweller), and sannyasa (renunciation) being the other three asramas. The brahmacharya (bachelor student) stage of life – from childhood up to twenty-five years of age – was focused on education and included the practice of celibacy. In this context, it connotes chastity during the student stage of life for the purposes of learning from a guru (teacher), and during later stages of life for the purposes of attaining spiritual liberation.

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