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JAINA Special Newsletter: Das Lakshana Day 2 - Supreme Tenderness/Humility
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Dear Sadharmik brothers and sisters,
Pranam & Jai Jinendra!

Today, on the second day of Das Lakshana Parva, let us learn about second Dharma i.e. Uttam Mardav.

Mahesh Wadher
JAINA President


Compassion or Supreme Tenderness (Uttam Mardav) gets the second place amidst the ten tenets of Jainism. The feeling of humility or tenderness is compassion.

Compassion (Mardav) means to put an end to vanity or egotism. The foundation of compassion is tenderness or humility. It is an inherent trait of the soul. “Bodh Pahud” describes humility as the root of religion. Just as the construction of a building in the absence of a foundation, the existence of a tree in the absence of roots, the rainfall in the absence of clouds is impossible, likewise birth of the virtue of compassion (Mardav Dharma) and Right Belief (Samyak Darshan) is impossible in absence of humility. The attainment of salvation (Moksha) lies in humility or compassion.

Where there are no gentle thoughts, no polite temperament, no humility; it is futile to go on a pilgrimage, observing vows, taking holy pledges and performing meditation; for these cannot remain stable in a being lacking in compassion i.e., in one who is not free from pride and prejudice. In order to achieve the superb virtue of compassion, it is essential for us to root out pride and prejudice from our hearts. Its Noblest way to live is not to be vain.

Once some children were playing with a ball on the beach When a child tried to catch hold of the the ball by jumping; instead he caught hold of a crow flying very low in the sky. The children felt very happy about catching a crow. All the children flocked at a place leaving their game. They picked up a sparkling conch shell from the seashore. They drilled a hole in it, threaded it and put it around the neck of the crow. The children felt very happy about adorning the crow. The crow also began to think, “Oh! There is no bird to match me in the world.” The crow said this very thing to the children as well. A child said, “Oh! You are puffed up with vanity at this petty adoration. Can you match the bird swan?” Overtaken by false pride the crow spoke, “Why not? Certainly, I can.” A swan sat a little afar. The children said to it, “Oh Swan! So far you alone are the bird famous for flying across the sea, but see this black crow can also fly across the sea.” The swan said, “Don’t be proud in vain.” But the children persisted. The swan said, “Well! It is all right. Get your crow ready to take a flight with me.” They both became ready and the two set on the flight. The swan fluttered its wings to take the flight and covered a long distance, whereas the crow was tired of fluttering its wings but could not overtake the swan. The swan said to the crow, “Why are you tired?” The crow replied with vanity, “No, how can I get tired so soon?” After flying some more distance, the swan again asked, “Are you tired?” Out of pride, the crow replied, “No, not in the least.” But in reality, the crow was dead tired from flying. No end of seashore was visible. Still, he had to travel a long distance. The crow was finding it difficult to flutter its wings due to fatigue. It began to roll down. The swan questioned again, “Have you gotten tired now?” Even then the crow replied, “No, not tired as yet?” The crow began to drown in the seawater; only its beak was visible out of water. The swan understood that the crow was about to die due to false vanity. Hence, an ocean of mercy, the swan lifted it up and brought it on the seashore. The crow would have lost its life due to its false pride or vanity.

While describing the virtue of supreme tenderness, the great poet Reidhu said :
  1. This virtue of compassion or tenderness (Mardav Dharma) overcomes the world i.e., conquers everyone’s heart in the world. It subdues vanity. This compassion or humility is at the root of mercy. It is the cause of unblemished conduct and is beneficial to all. It is superb amongst all the virtues, and vows and self-control are fulfilled and exercised only with compassion or humility.
  2. Compassion destroys vanity and egotism; puts a check on all the five senses and mind. By the blessing of this virtue of humility, the reach of mercy expands on the ground of mind
  3. The virtue of compassion exhibits devotion to Lord Jinendra; compassion restraints the growth of evil thoughts. Compassion gives rise to the feeling of humility and puts an end to the feeling of bitterness.
  4. Compassion brings purity in outlook; it helps in the attainment of both worlds ¬the earthly and the heavenly world (ubhay lok); it glorifies both types of penances and by it, a man can charm the creatures of all the three worlds.
  5. The virtue of compassion makes one aware of the Jain discipline and it gives a clear perception of the real shape of self and non-self (par). Humility removes all evils and it takes us across the ocean of the world.
  6. The feeling of compassion or tenderness is a part and parcel of Right Belief. Knowing this, pay homage to the wonderful and unblemished virtue of compassion (Mardav Dharma).


The most important principle of the environment is that you are not the only element.

- Bhagwan Mahavir
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