Punia Shrävak and his wife were poor villagers by their own
choice. They lived in a small shack made of mud and grass. Punia
had a vow not to earn more than 12 dokadas (1/12 rupee) every
day. He did that by spinning cotton yarn in the house and selling
it. They also had another vow to offer food to a Sädharmik.
As they could not afford this , he would fast one day and his
wife would fast on the next day. Even during such difficult situations,
they always offered their hospitality to fellow beings. In this
way, the couple did Sädharmik Bhakti (helping deserving people)
Shrävak was known for his practice of Sämäyika.
Once during Sämäyika, he could not concentrate on meditation.
He started thinking to himself that what had he done that was
disturbing his meditation. He could not think of anything that
would disturb his meditation. Therefore, he asked his wife, "What
have we done differently that I can't concentrate today.”
At first, his wife could not think of anything either. But as
she kept on thinking, she remembered that today while coming back
from market, she had picked up dry cow-manure and used that as
fuel to cook. She told Punia about this. He told her that she
should not have done that even though it did not belong to anyone.
We should only use things, which are bought from our daily earnings.
Punia could do true Sämäyika because he lived a life
of such high morals.
Lord Mahävir praised his Sämäyika. Once when king
Shrenik asked Lord Mahävir how he can destroy his bad karmas
to avoid being born in hell in his next life, Lord Mahävir
said, "If you can buy Punia Shrävak’s Sämäyika
then it may be possible.” King Shrenik went to Punia Shrävak
and asked him, if he could buy his Sämäyika. He said,
"I do Sämäyika not to sell, but to uplift my own
soul. Religious rituals can't be purchased. One has to do for
himself.” King Shrenik left in disappointment but with admiration
for Punia's real faith in religion.
shows that one can live a content life even with limited earnings.
We should not take anything, which is not given to us. We should
not accumulate more money than necessary because it will create
more problems. Vows or rituals are done for spiritual uplift and
not for monetary gain. In order to gain benefit from Sämäyika
and other forms of meditation and penance, it should be motivated
by one’s inner self and not by any motives that conflict
with Jain principles.