Article: Aṇuvrat Movement

Contributed by Shivani Bothra

Vow 1

Some types of living beings are illustrated in this manuscript painting. Over the course of the cycle of birth, a soul is born into various types of body according to the karma that has become attached to it. This painting shows examples of these beings.

Examples of types of living beings
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

First vow of Aṇuvrat Movement

Vow

Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not intentionally kill moving, innocent creatures
I will not commit suicide
I will not commit an act that causes the death of a foetus

The first vow belongs to the category of ahiṃsānon-violence or demonstrating great reverence for all living beings.
The ahiṃsā vow is considered the cornerstone of the five mendicant vows and the 'lesser vows' of the householder.

Ācārya Tulsi expanded this vow by specifically singling out the issues of suicide and abortion. He was aware that they were topics of greater public debate in modern Indian society than issues related to animals alone, which were key to earlier understandings in a mainly agricultural culture.

Vow 2

Second vow of Aṇuvrat Movement

Vow

Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not attack anybody
I will not support aggression
I will try to bring about world peace and disarmament

The second vow is a commitment to ahiṃsā

Ācārya Tulsi again acknowledges a widespread modern concern about terrorism and the traumas of war inflicted upon humanity. Tulsi imagined that Jain experiences of taking vows could benefit secular society when combined with a willingness to be consciously aware of how actions, whether of an individual or a whole nation, affect other beings. By taking a vow, an individual redirects his or her energy inwards to fight hatred, jealousy, anger and greed within.

Vow 3

Third vow of Aṇuvrat Movement

Vow

Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not take part in violent agitations
I will not take part in any destructive activities

This vow once again falls in the category of ahiṃsā

This vow reflects another contemporary social concern. Violent protests or revolutions and destructive activities are an expression of emotional disturbance.

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