Article: Aṇuvrat Movement

Contributed by Shivani Bothra

Vow 7

When Jains become mendicants, they swear to follow the 'Five Great Vows' – mahā-vratas: 1. non-violence – ahiṃsā 2. truth – satya 3. non-stealing – acaurya or asteya 4. celibacy – brahmacarya 5. non-attachment or non-possession – aparigraha.

'Five Great Vows'
Image by Shree Diwakar Prakashan © public domain

Seventh vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will practise chastity
I will set limits to acquisition

This vow is similar to the sixth, but addresses aparigraha more directly
It is also the only vow that addresses the 'fundamental vow' of brahmācārya – celibacy or limiting sexual behaviour

Therefore, making the seventh vow entails much more than just non-attachment and limiting one’s material possessions.

Vow 8

Eighth vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not resort to unethical practices in elections

This vow addresses ethical concerns in the categories of ahiṃsā and satya

This vow specifically calls attention to the power of politics to effect change. The movement lays down the parameters for a healthy democracy and some of the key pointers for choosing a trustworthy candidate to vote for.

The vow dictates that a worthy candidate should be honest, free from drug addiction, a man of character, efficient and not promote sectarianism (Tulsi and Karnawat 2010: 49).

Vow 9

Ninth vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not encourage socially evil customs

This vow is difficult to categorise in the five aṇuvrats because it attempts to focus attention on the potential harmfulness of certain customs and traditions in Indian society

One example of such customs is that of dowry, in which the family of a bride gives cash or gifts to the family of the groom.

Tulsi encouraged people to examine familiar customs and become aware of potential harm, and to be open to adjusting alien and unfavourable customs when necessary.

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