Qualities of Sravaka
In order to qualify as a Sravaka it is primarily necessary for a layman to have prerequisites like:
a. Firmness in conduct b. Honesty in earning wealth c. Morality and integrity in behavior d. Fearlessness e. Straightforwardness f. Vigilance in the observation of self-control g. Faith in the existence of the soul etc.
Types of Sravakas
Depending upon the practice of disciplinary rules the three types of Sravakas are:
1. Paksika Sravaka: He is a layman, who has faith in the religion and practices the 8 Mula gunas, 5 Anuvratas and avoidance of 3 Makaras.
2. Naisthika Sravaka: He is one who pursues the spiritual path upwards through the practice of Pratimas till he reaches the eleventh stage and ultimately becomes ascetic.
3. Sadhaka Sravaka: He is one who concludes (Sadhayati) his life by taking up the vow of Sallekhana, a Vrat for peaceful voluntary death.
Rules in Sravakacara A Sravaka is supposed to observe certain rules of conduct are as follows:
1. Marganusari: Jain tradition describes moral rules for lay person relating to their day to day activities in family, business, society and nation. There are 35 rules, called ‘Marganusari’, a path worth observing.
2. Twelve Vratas: These vows are a form of self-discipline and are helpful in the practice of right conduct. They help to avoid influx of karmas and are said to make one’s life peaceful and happy.
3. Four Bhavanas: These four contemplations or Bhavnas are vital for our practical life to avoid mental violence. Along with the said vows a Sravaka should also cultivate four qualities, are:
a. Maitri Bhavana - feeling of friendliness
b. Pramoda Bhavana - feeling of gladness
c. Karuna Bhavana - feeling of compassion
d. Madhyasta Bhavana - feeling of neutrality
4. Three Makaras: One needs to keep away from
a. Madira (Wine)
b. Mamsa (Meat)
c. Madha (Honey)
5. Seven Vyasanas: The seven Vyasanas or addictions that may lead to ruining of one’s life according to Jainism also need to be avoided, are:
i. Mamsa - Meat
ii. Madya - Wine
iii. Dyuta - Gambling
iv.Caurya - Theft
v. Vesya - Prostitution
vi. Para Dara - Adultery
vii. Paparddhi - Sport or Hunt
6. Six Avasyakas: Daily Duties or Nityakarma performed by Sravaka keeps him on path of spiritual journey.
i. Deva Puja - Worship to Gods
ii. Gurupasti - Worship to Preceptor
iii. Swadhyay - Study of Scripture
iv. Samyam - Practice of self-control
v. Tapa - Penance
vi. Dana - Donation
7. Eleven Pratimas: A Sravaka needs to observe the 11 Pratimas, special types of austerities, for spiritual progress for ultimate purification. These are the step towards preparation of monkhood.
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