>Victory over affliction is a penance for monk and Achharya.
> Affliction is a kiln where life is refined like gold on heating.
> Conquering affliction of hunger and thirst has been termed in a Jain saint’s life as ‘Shraman Constitution’ (i.e. the rules and regulations prescribed for saints) in Moolaradhana (the basic text which describes network of the conduct of Jain saints).
> Shedding of ‘Karma’ occurs by conquering afflictions which by cleansing the foulness and impurity of heart purifies the conscience as crystal clear as cloudless sky.
“Margacyavana nirgararth parisodhavyah parisaha” i.e. the afflictions are to be endured so as not to swerve from the path of stoppage of karma (i.e. moksha marg) and for the sake of dissociation from karma. By enduring hunger, thirst, etc one becomes firm in facing fruits of karma blocking the future influx of kartnas and destroying them gradually to attain salvation.
Generally, the knowledge gained with ease is forgotten in times of distress, but one who has a daily practice of enduring affliction, does not deviate from the path of religion and is always ready to endure these, thereby shedding karmas to open the door to final emancipation.
The above aphorism of Umaswami Dev shows the reason and purpose of enduring affliction voluntarily. It is a prior practice of enduring the unexpected, sudden and uncalled for calamities.
>Practice of Conquering afflictions is a highway to control the mind and keep it stable in the moments of distress.
Once, Achharya Shri went out for Aahar-charya (i.e. for taking food in a manner prescribed for Jain saints). Having found a suitable situation for taking his meals as per his vow at the doorstep of a right devotee (Shravak), Maharaj Shri entered his kitchen. After worship and utterance of tri purities (i.e. purity of mind, speech and body) by the Shravak, Achharya Shri paid veneration to all emancipated souls (Siddhas) and became ready to take food in a standing posture in his hallowed hands placed together.[Jain saints take meal in a right devotee’s house only when he respectfully observes ‘Novada BhaktV i.e. paying nine kinds of respects. These are:
(1) Invitation to take food while the saint happens to pass in front of his door;
(2) Offering him a high seat;
(3) Washing his feet and applying the washings to forehead;
(4) Worshipping him;
(5) Saluting him;
(6 to 8) Preserving his own mind, speech and body in a state of purity and utterance to this effect
(9) Declaring the purity and suitability of food and water.
During those days Maharaj Shri used to take only hot milk and rice. Boiling milk was kept in a pot near the Shravak. Some times when karmas become functional, blind faith gives birth to imprudence. The saying “Vinash Kale Vipareet BuddhC’ (at the time of annihilation, one loses his wisdom), proved to be true and the Shravak, in utter confusion and haste, picked up the hot pot with a cloth and poured the hot milk into the hallowed hands of Achharya Shri. He did not use his prudence that the boiling milk in the hot pot which had to be picked up using a cloth could not be poured into hallowed hands of Achharya Shri.
As soon as the hot milk was dropped into his hallowed hands, Achharya Shri became semi-conscious out of pain due to unendurable heat and sat down on the ground.
Venerable Nemi Sagar Ji Maharaj, a “Grihastha” (house-holder) at that time by the name of Nemanna Shravak, was present in the house of the Shravak. Seeing Achharya Shri unconscious all the people were flustered. Nemanna began to recite ”NamokarMahamantra’ loudly in his ears presuming it to be the last moments of his life.
After some time Maharaj Shri became conscious and opened his eyes, then only people felt relieved.
In fact, it was an lAntraf (i.e. obstruction in taking meals) but there was not the slightest hint of anger on his face. He stood up quietly with a gleam of forgiveness and endured this affliction as if nothing had happened.
How placid and poise was Charitra Chakarvarti Shanti Sagar Ji Maharaj? The ascetic sees fault in himself and the voluptuous blames others (i.e. attribute faults to others)
How relevant and appropriate are these sayings:
“A vile person says all are sinner. The voluptuous says you are sinner”.
“The ascetic says I am a sinner. The Gyani says no body is sinner”.