Anarthadanda Vrata

Definition - What does Anarthadanda Vrata mean?

Anarthadanda vrata is one of the 12 vows of a layperson in Jainism. The term comes from the Sanskrit anartha, meaning “bad” or “harmful”; danda, meaning “punishment”; vr, which means “conduct” and “restrain”; and rta, meaning “order” and “oath.”

The vows are categorized into three subgroups, and anarthadanada vrata is one of three vows called the guna vratas, or the "merit vows." It is a vow of piety to avoid such purposeless sins as self-indulgence and speaking badly about someone.


Yogapedia explains Anarthadanda Vrata

Among the sins that the layperson taking the anarthadanda vrata vow should avoid are:

  • Thinking of things that the Jains believe lead to sin such as hunting, theft and adultery
  • Giving sinful advice or instruction
  • Disturbing nature for no reason, such as uprooting trees and trampling or destroying plants
  • Giving gifts of weapons or poison
  • Listening to bad or absurd stories
  • Gambling, which leads to many other sins in Jainism beliefs

In addition to anarthadanda, the guna vratas typically include dik vrata and bhoga-upbhoga vrata. Although the guna vratas can vary by tradition, they all involve a promise to avoid or limit particular behavior. The rest of the 12 vratas include anu vratas, or the five vows of non-harming, truth, non-theft, chastity and non-possession, and shiksha vratas, which are the four spiritual or disciplinary vows.

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