Pratima (Jainism)

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Pratima is a step marking the spiritual rise of a lay person in Jainism.

In Jainism, the spiritual rise of a lay householder (sravaka) is marked by eleven steps termed pratima.[1] They are described in several codes of conduct (sravakacharas).[2] After having passed the eleven steps, one is no longer a sravaka, but a monk (muni).

The pratimas are mentioned in several ancient texts like Ratnakaranda Shravakachara (2nd century A.D.).[3]

Rules prescribed for laymen are divided into twelve vrata (vows) and eleven pratimas.[4]

Twelve vows

The twelve vows are:

Head Vow Meaning
Five vows
1. ahiṃsā Not to hurt any living being by actions and thoughts
2. satya Not to lie or speak what is not commendable.[5]
3. asteya Not to take anything if not given.[6]
4. brahmacharya Chastity / Celibacy in action, words and thoughts
5. Aparigraha (Non-possession) Detachment from material property.
Guņa vratas[7]
6. digvrata Restriction on movement with regard to directions.
7. bhogopabhogaparimana Vow of limiting consumable and non-consumable things
8. anartha-dandaviramana Refraining from harmful occupations and activities (purposeless sins).
Śikşā vratas[8][7]
9. samayika Vow to meditate and concentrate periodically.
10. desavrata Limiting movement to certain places for a fixed period of time.[9]
11. upvas Fasting at regular intervals.
12. atihti samvibhag Vow of offering food to the ascetic and needy people

Eleven Stages

The eleven stages (pratima) are:[10]

  1. Darshan Pratima (Right perspective): The worship of the true God (i.e., tirthanhara,) guru (preceptor) and shastra (Scripture), and the avoidance of gambling, meat-eating, drinking (wine), adultery, hunting, thieving and debauchery.
  2. Vrat Pratima: The keeping of the twelve vows and the vow to observe sallekhana (at the end of one's life)
  3. Samayak Pratima (Periodic meditation): Engaging in meditation or worship on a regular basis.
  4. Proshadhopvas Pratima (periodic fasting): fasting four times in a month.
  5. Sachitta Tyaga Pratima: not eating vegetables having the capacity to grow again.
  6. Ratribhukti Tyaga Pratima (or Diva Maithun Tyaga Pratima): Giving up eating during the night or coitus during the day.
  7. Brahmacharya Pratima (celibacy): abstaining from sex or related activity.
  8. Arambha Tyaga Pratima (giving up occupations): refraining from any activity to earn a living.
  9. Parigraha Tyaga Pratima (giving up possessions): detachment from most possessions.
  10. Anurnati Tyaga Pratima (giving up right to give permissions): refraining from giving orders or expressing consents in the family.
  11. Uddishta Tyaga Pratima: The complete renunciation of the householder’s life, retiring into a forest and adopting the rules laid down for the guidance of monks.[11]

Ashadhara in his Sagara-Dharmammrata (13th century) has groups the 11 steps into three ranks.

  • Grahin (jaghanya: first to sixth pratima)
  • Varnin (madhyama: seventh to ninth pratima): At this point the householder is termed a Varni. The pratimas are:
  • Bhikshuka (uttama: tenth and eleventh pratima): At this point a person depends on others for daily survival.

Those who have ascended to the eleventh pratima are termed Kshullaka (with two articles of clothing) and Ailaka (with only one piece of cloth) in the Digambara tradition. The eleventh pratima is termed Shramanabhuta Pratima (being almost like a Shramana) in the Svetambara tradition. The next step is that of a full Jain Muni.


  1. Shravakachar Sangrah, Five Volumes, Hiralal Jain Shastri, Jain Sanskruti Samrakshak Sangh Solapur, 1988
  2. Jaina yoga: a survey of the mediaeval śrāvakācāras By R. Williams
  3. Upasakdashang aur uska Shravakachar, Subhash Kothari, Agam Ahimsa Samta Evam Prakrit Sansthan, Udaipur 1988
  4. Jain 1917, p. 77.
  5. Jain 2012, p. 61.
  6. Jain 2012, p. 68.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jain 2012, p. 88.
  8. Tukol 1976, p. 5.
  9. Jain 2012, p. 90.
  10. Jain 1917, p. 83.
  11. Jain 1917, p. 84.