--> Skip to main content

Ahimsa And Satya in Jainism

Two of the important religious aspects of Jainism are Ahimsa and Satya. 

Ahimsa in Hinduism

Abstaining from inflicting injury on any being, that is, following the practice of nonviolence, is termed ahimsa. The principle of ahimsa should be followed in thought, word and deed as per Jain teachings. The Jain monk abstains from any injury to all life-forms and is forbidden to take the life of any organism, even those that have one sense.

Himsa (injury) is classified as of two kinds, dravya himsa and bhava himsa, the actual and the psychical. The psychical precedes the actual and refers to the mental attitudes and motivations that give rise to the desire to take life in one form or another. Dravyahimsa is the actual taking of life of any type of organism. The principle of ahimsa emphasizes that the mind must be free from all evil intentions. Any thought or intention to commit violence must be eradicated. To follow the path of ahimsa, one should attain self-discipline and gain control over passions like hatred, greed and so on. If the principle of ahimsa is violated by an act of negligence, then the result is that the soul is defiled. The lay disciple practices the principle of non-injury. There is some laxity in the practice of this principle as an anuvrata by householders wherein the disciple is forbidden to take the life of any organism possessed of two or more senses.

Satya in Jainism

This vow refers to truthful speech. To always adhere to the truth and not utter even a subtle falsehood is the satyamahavrata. This vow ensures moral and spiritual growth. The other qualification made in this regard is that one should speak what is true and what is good, beneficial and pleasant. One should avoid vulgarity in speech, garrulous and exaggerated talk, refrain from the habit of mocking and gain control over emotions like fear and anger. In the case of the householder who follows the anuvrata of satya, such strict observance is not insisted upon and he follows the principle of abstinence from falsehood as a general principle.