Sanyam or self-restraint is key to acquiring spiritual health

Yesterday was Upacharya Sadhvi Sarla ji Maharaj’s 75th Sanyam Diwas.

Jainism subscribes to the philosophy of “Uttam Sanyam Dharma” for self-purification. It propagates “Uttama Sanyam” as one of the ten universal virtues to be practiced in daily life to counteract the four passions (Kashayas) i.e. anger, pride, deceit and greed.

As per ancient Indian literature, we have 10 Indriyas – five motor Indriyas or the Karamindriya and five sensory indriyas or the Gnanaindriya. The motor indriyas involve the functions of elimination (anus), procreation (genitals), movement (legs), grasping (hands) and speaking (speech). The five sensory indriyas in sequence are smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing. The first motor indriya is linked to the first sensory indriya. Therefore, elimination is linked to smelling, procreation to tasting, movement to seeing, grasping to touching and speaking to hearing.

Meditation helps to sequentially control one’s senses. Meditation is done after passing urine and on an empty stomach as otherwise these urges would interfere. Then comes control on movements i.e.  stillness, followed by relaxing each every muscle representing control over grasping and then going to an inner journey of inner silence of controlling over the 5th motor indriya i.e. speech. Only after one has learnt to control the motor indriyas, will one be able to control the five sensory indriyas in succession as mentioned above.

Controlling of these five sensory and five motor senses or indriyas is Sanyam or self-restraint and is key to acquiring spiritual health.

A prescription for practicing sanyam can be controlling all senses in one day (fasting) or any one item in a day or meditation.

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