Eradication & Prevention: Jain Scripture

We are all currently in once in a lifetime situation where world over, news channels, social media, television, internet, radios and all other possible communication channels are full of news, stories and information about “Corona Virus”. This is one word that human beings will not forget for a very long time. Human beings have the tendency of living in extremes, either extreme carelessness or extreme fear. Various teachings say that one should not live at extremes and should be in the middle to ensure a peaceful, stable and healthy life.

You may find it fascinating that about 2400 years ago, during Samrat Chandragupt Maurya’s reign, Jain Acharya Shree Bhadrabahu Swami wrote a scripture named ‘Ogh Niryukti’. In this scripture, he mentioned a few points that need to be taken care of while helping/treating someone suffering from any kind of ailments/diseases.

Back in those days, there were no instruments, inventions or any apparatus such as microscopes, test kits etc to confirm that such diseases/ pandemics were caused by viruses. Therefore, it wasn’t possible to know its characteristics, the reason for its spread and also the steps to prevent getting infected.

However, you will be surprised to know that the precautionary instructions given by scientists & doctors today after numerous experiments & testing through various lab apparatus to avoid getting infected by COVID-19 bear great resemblance to the instructions mentioned in this scripture written thousands of years ago.

The objective of this article is to point out the similarities between instructions or advice that is being given by renowned health bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Ministries across the globe with those written in this scripture.

This throws light on the fact that how age-old scriptures are relevant in today’s day and age. Let’s also not forget the fact that this pandemic has proved that the preaching of Tirthankar Mahavir to not disturb the nature was very accurate. Therefore the way of life specified in Jainism teaches a lot of things that are applicable even in this 21st century.

Given following are some of the points that were given at that time along with its resemblance of the current precautions we are all taking:

1. Advice given today: Do not touch any patient infected with Covid-19. If you have to touch them always wear gloves.

Shloka: जोऽवि तं उव्वत्तेइ वा परियत्तेइ वा सो हत्थस्स अंतरे वत्थं दाऊण ताहे उव्वत्तेति वा परियत्तेइ वा ||

Translation: Whoever is helping an infected person should not come in contact directly but should wrap a cloth on his hand & then touch the person.

2. Advice given today: If you happen to touch an infected person then you should wash your hands with soap/sanitizers etc. immediately.

Shloka:  उव्वत्तेऊण हत्थे मट्टीआए धोवइ ||

Translation: If you help an infected person in any work then you must wash your hands with soil thereafter.

3. Advice given today: An infected person must be kept in quarantine to ensure he doesn’t come in contact with anyone thereby reducing the spread of the diseases.

Shloka: सो य गिलाणो यदि अत्थि अण्णा वसही तहिं ठविज्जइ, असईए अ ताए चेव वसहीए एगपासे चिलिमिली किज्जइ ||

Translation: If there is another house available then an infected person must be kept there. If not, then keep him in a separate room. If that is also not possible, then keep him in one corner of the room and cover it with curtains. Others should not come in contact with an infected person.

4. Advice given today: Use masks and hand gloves and if an infected person touches any object then the healthy person should not touch that object. Stay at home to avoid getting in contact with any object.

Shloka: बारं दुहा किज्जइ, जेण गिलाणो निक्खमति वा पविसति वा तेण अण्णे साहुणो ण निग्गच्छंति ||

Translation: Objects touched by an infected person shouldn’t be touched by others. Even the doors used by the patient should not be used by the person helping him.

5. Advice given today: The Coronavirus lives longer on metals. So touching metals should be avoided.  

Shloka: इमाणि चत्तारि परिहरिअव्वाणि – विगई दसविहा वि लोणं लोहं च सदसं वत्थं च ||

Translation: Do not touch metals even by mistake. It spreads the virus very fast. It is very surprising that without science, it was possible to point out that metals hold virus for longer periods!

6. Advice given today: Social distancing is the only answer to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

Shloka: यद्यसौ वृन्दघातिनी ततो द्विधा भेदः, तथाऽपि न तिष्ठति त्रिधा, त्रयस्त्रयो द्वौ द्वौ एकैको यावत्तथा न घातयति | कः पुनरत्र दृष्टान्त इत्याह – ‘जहा अलाउवमा’ अलातम् – उल्मुकमुपमानं – दृष्टान्तस्तेनोपमा, यथा हि तानि संहतानि ज्वलन्ति नान्यथा, एवं तेऽपि संहता हन्यन्ते नान्यथेति तदर्थं भेदः ||

Translation: By staying together, the infection can spread easily among others so, at such times monks must live in a smaller group. If it is still risky then you should live alone but must stop the spread. Just like wood sticks when kept together can be easily burnt but when spread out, it is difficult to burn all. Similarly, individuals can remain safe when alone. (Pure social distancing)

Researched by:  Muni Trailokyamandan Vijayji Ms.

Translation by: Team Jainuine 

Images are for representation purpose only.