DISCIPLINE

Discipline: The Backbone of Terapantha Order:

The strength and development of the Terapantha is based on its well-maintained discipline and the disciples' loyalty to it. The Acharya enacts the maryadas for the organization, which, though never imposed, are heartily accepted by the devoted monks and nuns. In the organization, the monks and the nuns seek guidance from the Acharya who is the sole authority to direct them on their paths of spiritual development.
Acharya Bhikshu was always vigilant for maintaining firm discipline in the order. Once, he called a monk, Muni Veniramji. But even after giving a repeated call to him, there was no response from the monk. Acharya Bhikshu thought that even inspite of listening, Veniramji is not responding. He considered this a breach of discipline. He told a lay follower, named Gumanmalji Lunavat, that Veniramji seems to be negligent and hence, may be expelled from the order. Gumanmalji went straight away to the room of Veniramji and related to him the whole event. On hearing it, Veniramji rushed to Acharya Bhikshu and expressing his repentance, he bowed to him. Acharya Bhikshu said, "Why did you not respond to my call?" Veniramji said, "I am very sorry. I was so much engrossed in my work that I could not pay attention to your call." His humbleness pleased the Acharya who forgave him, but this very incident gave all monks and nuns a valuable lesson of the value of obedience.

Combination of Democracy and Autocracy :

There is harmonization of autocracy and democracy in the Terapantha order. Acharya Bhikshu was always concerned with both freedom and discipline. Autocracy exists in the sense that the Acharya is the supreme head in the organization, and hence, nobody can challenge his order. Democracy exits in the sense that everyone has the freedom to put forth his view with regard to the conduct etc. to the Acharya. All disciples realise the importance of having the authority of Acharya and consider their lives to be secured under his able guidance and supervision. So, we find neither absolute autocracy nor absolute democracy, but a happy blending of both in the Terapantha order. It is a unique example of union of faith and freedom.

 

Equality of Distribution in the Order(Sangha):

This organisation is an experiment in the field of socialism. Here, the highly learned monks/nuns on one hand and the common ones on the other hand are considered at par as far as the monkhood/nunhood is concerned, and hence, they all are equally treated. There is an equal distribution of work and duty in the affairs of the religious order. All monks and nuns do the duties duly allotted to them turn by turn in the order of their seniority of monastic tenure.

No monk or nun has the right to intiate anyone as his/her own disciple. Nobody can have his/her ownership over the books, the manuscripts, the clothes, the utensils, the appliances etc.. All the things belong to the Sangha. The articles of foods and drinks, clothing, places used for accommodation etc. are equally distributed and divided among the monks and nuns. All the disciples in the order are satisfied with this system. Seeing such an arrangement, Jayaprakasha Nararyan, the social reformer, once said, "We are trying to bring socialistic pattern of society in India. It has been going on already here in the Terapantha Sangha for more than two hundred years."