Definition – What does Anu Vrata mean?
The anu vratas are a category of vows that are part of the 12 vows of a layperson in Jainism. The anu vratas are sometimes called the small vows, or vows of limited nature. The term comes from the Sanskrit anu, meaning “common,” “tiny” or “fine”; vr, meaning “conduct” or “restrain”; and rta, which means “order” or “oath.”
Ascetics or monks observe these same vows strictly, so, they are referred to as the maha vratas, or “great vows.” But the layperson observes an anu vrata only for a limited period and more moderately as his life circumstances allow.
On explains Anu Vrata
The Sanskrit names of the anu vratas may vary by the specific Jain tradition, but their meanings tend to be the same. The anu vratas consist of:
- Ahima – a vow to not harm or injure.
- Satya – a vow to be truthful.
- Asteya – also called acaurya, this is a vow to not steal.
- Brahmacharya – a vow of celibacy for ascetics or chastity for laypeople.
- Parigraha parimana – a vow to limit attachment to worldly possessions.
In addition to the anu vratas, the 12 vows of a layperson include the three guna vratas (the strengthening vows), and the four siksa vratas (the disciplinary or spiritual vows).