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Jainism and Peace
Jainism and Peace
Modern man has made tremendous progress in the domain of science and technology. There is really vast difference between the man of the so called Stone-age and the man of our modern times, who has entered into the unique space age. But inspite of this material advancement, real and lasting peace is not within reach. A critical examination of present day conditio mns show that we lead the life of luxury and multiplicity. We have forgotten our soul and we are solely devoted to physical comforts and material prosperity. We appear to have captured the secret of the dead atoms, but we seem to have lost sight of the glory of the living soul, which is the repository of infinite attribures Our complex way of living is increasing our requirments and needs and we do not get the real satisfaction we need. As saline water dose not quench our thirst, it rather gose on increasing , similary, the greater the number and variety of objects to placate our everchanging fastidious tastes and longings, the more uneasy and unhappy we become when our way ward mind dose not get its desired objects. This form of life has made us slaves of temptations and material comforts. We have captivated ourselves in the meshes of attachment and aversion. We have forgotten that this enchanting edifice of progress built on the sand of soul-less materialism will not last long. We do not take lesson from the ruins of Rome and Greece which were once on the apex of civilization and material prosperity. These words of Wordsworth are very significant: The world is too much with us, late and soon, Getting and spending ,we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours ; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.
We are devoted to unbridled lust
We are devoted to unbridled lust, luxury and licentiousness feed our animal passions. We mourn and bewail for our miseries and mental worries as if some outer agency is the mischief-monger, but, in fact, we are solely and wholly responsible for all ourills and evils. We forget that we should subjugate our animal nature. That sensible man should not sacrifice his rationality at the alter of beastliness and carnal craving. The mental and moral make-up of the man of this self-induligent age is bewildering. He is shorn of real inner- life. He is ready to kill millons of man to satisfy his vanity, whim , nationality and greed. He has a heart of stone. Billy Granham rightly remarks that we live in an age of spiritual emptiness. He says, "Whils Nietzsche asserts that God died nin the 19th century, some now add that man died in the twentieth century."(The World Aflame) The real cause of univesal unrest and misery is our uncontrolled acquisitive temperament and the insanity of vanity. We are so much seldish and self centred that we pay no heed to the pangs and anguish of the poor and the weak. The monster of materialism is guiding and goading the economic man to satisfy his animal appetites little caring for moral values. The wise suggests that the inordinate desires should be subdued and checked. As a matter of fact our genuine needs are few. Our inordinate greed makes us possess ae much as we can. We forget that our stay in this body is very uncertain. Who knows that in twinkling of your eyes we may have to depart from yhis temporary tabernacle? In that case all our material gaine and possessions remain behind. The words of the old Testament turn out to be true, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb and naked shall I return." Not even a prariticle is taken away by the departed soul with it except one's Punya and Papa-merits and demerits.
In this context the words
In this context the words of Emerson are illuminating; "Several land-lords owned large farms, which rendered them bumper crops of corn , apples, hay, hemp and other things. The landlords said that they were they were the masters of the farms . Hearing this the Earth echoed back. They call me theirs' Who so controlled me; Yet every one Wished to stay and is gone. How am I theirs' If they cannot hold me. But I hold them. It is unfortunate that the dictum of modern man is: Gold is God and Gold i.e. material gains oly will solve all puzzles. Thomas Fuller's observations are sensble and significant, " Contentment consisteth not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire; not in multi-plying of wealth, but in subtracting man's desires". We should not aim at the life of a glutton or the pleasures of a pig Since we are rational beings we should set highest value not on living any how, but on living well. It is ne-science which has dragged us to the brink of destruction, wherein war and carnage are looming ahead. The voice of reason ordains, "Thou shalt not build thy happiness on the misery of another." We should stope our mad race for worldly pleasures of we seriously aspire to achieve genuine and perenial peace. Jain sages and thinkers advise us to cut short our wants as much ar possible so that we may be one day above all sorts of wants; because we see, the lesser the wants, the greater is the quality and quantity of simplicity and purity bestows sweeter result then the lifeof luxury and perplexity. The following description of poet Tagore's Santiniketan university is significant, " In Santiniketan boys learned to think truth more important than riches, to love nature and to respect all life. He believed that india's work is to teach the world the love of outward simplicity and inward truth. People gather too many things round them- money, motors, radios and lose the secret of real happiness and to do so She needs modern forest schools away from the noise and rush of town" (Sykes, Rabindranath Tagore p.52).
These words of the poet
These words of the poet are illuminating, I do not seek to glorify poverty, but simplicity is of greater price than the appendages of luxury. The simplicity of which I spwak is not merely the effect of a lack of superfluity; it is one of the signs of per fection. When this dawns on mankind, the unhealthy fog. which now besmirches civilization will be lifted. It is for this lack of simplicity that the necessaries of life have become so rare and costly." (The Centre of Indian Culiure p.7). How touching and sarcastic are these remarjs of Poet Tagore, " Happy child, the cradle is still to boundless world will be too small for thee." His acquisitive temperament increases by leaps and bounds. Some hold that civilization consists in the increasing of wants and the plans to satisfy them. This view is contradicted by our own experiences. The want is really like devil, which can never be satisfied. Acharya Gunbhadra's reasoning is very sound when he says; " Every living being has such a deep pit of worldly desires that all objects in the world amount to a particle for it. What and how much, then, can each get ? Useless is the desore of sense- enjoyments." The retional and noble mind understands that he is not the body. The self or the soul is different from the material body. The ignorant forgets his ownself and treats his frame as his own Self. American physician Holmes throes light upon human body as follows," A few gallons of water, a few pounds of carbon and lime, some cubic feet of air, an ounce or two of phosphorus, a few grams of iron, a lash of common salt , a pinch or two of sulphur, a grain or more of each of several hardly essential ingredients and we have man." This material man has been further explained thus, "93"% of the weight of the body is mads up of three elements-oxygen, carbon and hydrogen; nearly six per cent of nitrogen , calcium and phosphorous and the rest of traces, but very important traces of various minerals and salts among which iron and iodine are the most necessary". Jain saints have advised us not to be bodyminded, nut we should try to think of the Kingdom of heaven hidden within . We must understand this central truth about the self. Acharyan Kundakund says: " Absolutely pure, having the nature of perception and knowledge, always non-corporeal, I am indeed unique. Hence not even an atom of alien things, whatsoever (whether living or non-living) is related to me----- as mine." The spiritual-man is adorned with the above eental truth. The knowledge of the soul together with its attributes is very essential to achieve everiasting peace. It frees the soul from the pangs of birth, old age, death and transmigration in the world. Vivekanand has said; " Without the knowledge of the spirit all materil knowledge is only adding fule to the fire. Religions of the world have become lifeless moceres. What we want is character. To be and to do good, that is the whole of religion."
Charitra Chakravarty Jain Acharya
His Holiness Charitra Chakravarty Jain Acharya Shantisagar, Maharaj talting about real happiness had once told me, " Material objects cause mental disteess and arouse several worries, whereby the mind cannot enjoy tranquillity and peace. The serenity of a lake is disturbed, when a pabble is pelted therein; in the like manner the material objects bring in their train disssatisfaction, mental worries and anxieties. This state of affairs acts as an imediment on the path of spiritual progress and perfect joy. His Holiness further observed, " Ahimsa and Truth will bestow genuine peace and happiness. Ahimsa stands for the abandonment of meat-eating , destruction of human or sub-human life. Thinking of doing evil to others or causing pain to fellow creatures is also to be abjured. Truth consists of realising our intrinsic material objects. The five-fold observance provide real peace to the individual and the society. Noninjury, truth, nonstealing, celibacy and abandoning ought to be partially observed by the householder. All nations should follow the principle of Ahimsa otherwise this volcano of violence will lead them to untold distress and universal destruction." Out of ignorance we make a search for happiness in outward objects, when we ourselves are, in fact, the ocean of joy. which can be achieved by the life of purity. Thr Bible says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Purity consists of casting away the vicious way of thinking and living upto it. It dose note consist of sweet, silvertongued orations, shedding of crocodile tears or expression of pious, but insincere wishes. In foct , purity consists of the entire way of life based upon the golden gospel of mercy, compassion or Ahimsa for all beings. We ought to respect the legitimate rights of others. We should bear in mind that real mercy or compassion comprises of affection in action and reffection. It dose not consist of jugglery of affection-exhibiting and pleasing Vocal expressions.
I am a living substance
The wine of violence has dethroned the soul from its Divine Status. One who sincerely wants real peace should devote some time for introspection and contemplation upon the real nature of the Self. He should think thus: " I am a living substance , The nature of material objects is different from that of mine. How can I be one with the matter which is different from my intrinsic mature. My soul is the real abode of infinite peace and boundless bliss. I should not foolishly run after material object for my happiness. As one cannot get oil out of sand for there is no oil in it ; likewise the material objects do not peace in material objects is the effort of finding peace in material objects is the greaest blunder. These remarks are illuminating, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If a man love the world the love of the Father is not in him ." (John 11, 15-17) Whan karmic bonds are broken by dint of self-contemplation I attain Godhood, which is the inherent right every aspring soul. Right faith, Right knowledge and Right cinduct combined lead to liberation and perennial joy and peace. Then disease, old age and death do not troyble the soul any more and it ramains happy for ever. The trident of spiritual force annihilates the entire army of the evil and establishes the kingdom of soul. Lord Tennyson's words are memorable: Self-reverence, Self-knowledge, Self-control; These three alone lead life to Sovereign power. As a matter of fact, our very soul is a place of wonders. It has been working miracles in the domain of physical science. Due to stupefaction and ignorance we have for-gotten our powerful soul and we devote all our attention to the dead and non-sentient matter. Acharya Amritchandra says: one who is engrossed in his own Self , finds his solace in his Self and derives full satisfaction from his Self, enjoys transcendental and divine Happiness, which is beyond expression" We all are after enjoyment and feel that it is outside the Self. That Joy is not out of us. A little change in the word ' Enjoy' reveals the truth. We should read ' In-joy', if we want to enjoy. One whose attention is worship. The living to him. Such is the supremany of nescience and delusion . The person equipped with spiritual out-look tries to ' look in'. He is in a postion to have a taste of genuine peace for the abode of senses. Even the idol, which represents the ideal of introspective mood and which is devoid of all soris of physical covering or ornamantation gives pease and joy to the troubled mind. This poin becomes clear when a man of any religius denomination or without religion beholds the Jain monolithic colossus of Lord Gommateshvara 57 feet high in the standing postture at Sravanbelgola near Mysore. A Kannada poet Boppana explains, what the silent serene serene sentinel appears to be speaking, " Why in vain do you make yourself wender in the forest of births by foolishly mistaking the various dying deities of the lend for gods? Think on Gommatadeva, who is of the from of the supreme soul, and you will get rid of birth , old age and other sorroes. No man shall take pleasure in killing, lying, stealing, adultery and covetousness, if he dose, he will lose for ever this world and the next Lo, Gommatadeva looks as if proclaiming this standing on high" (Inscriptions of Sravanbelgala dated 1080 A.D. pp. 98-99). In the presence of this majestic idol of ideal peace and joy one gets the answer to the pure and perfect souls are found in every Jain temple. Deep thought reveals the point that the price for real peace is the life of universal brotherhood and mercy. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru's observations are significant, " Peace connot be purchased by compromisewith evil or surrender to it". The brute-in-man tries to enjoy without caring for the distress and anguish of other, but the gentleman's view point keeps in minds. George Bernard Shaw championed the cause of universal love and justice. He had observed, " If I were an omnipotent despot I should enforce vitality as to make my subjects independent of analgesics, intoxicatnts, stimulants, tobacco, fish, fiesh and fowl for their endurance of life." Sober and serious thought enlightcns us that peace or happiness is only there where the genial and boundless current of compassion and universal love incessantly fiows. Killing the innocent or the weak is, in fact, the culture of vultures. It can never be real culture. this is not proper way to peace.
The Message of Jainism Is
The message of Jainism is that miseries evolve out of violence or Himsa. The higher the type of non-injury the greater the peace enjoyed. Peace is not manufatctured any where. It is not attained by power or treasures of mighty monarchs or democratic institutions. It is the sublime reward of noble and virtuous life. The virtuous are always happy and peaceful whether they are poor or friendless or placed in worst circumstances. External environment does not disturb their inner joy and serenity of mind Unless a person is above want and mentally and morally strong, he cannot have a glimpse of peace. The novice should start his journey to the harbour of happiness by possessing less in the form of material objects cause the fall of the inner-man. How elevating and illuminating the words of the Jain Saint Gunbhadra are, " Just see the pans of a balance. That which is loaded goes down and the lighter one rises up; sinilarly a person possessed of the burden of the worldly objects will go down and the fellow with few objects will rise up." Desire and lust enter the mind and corrupt the soul through the sense-gates .These senses stupefy the soul's right perspective and correct approach. The World Teacher and founder of Jainism Lord Rishabhadevo has warned us to control our desires and subjugate our ssnses We should not im at insentient matter as our final good. It fact , we have to save ourselves from the clutches of matter. One should aim at the manifestation of one's Divine attributes lying dormant in the mundane soul. Jesus tells us that " This world is a bridge to pass on. It is not a place to play bridge thereon." Man forgets this noble gospel of wisdom and he keep himselfbusy in construeting huge mansions and repents when he has to leaveall his belongings while passing on to the other world.
It is Worthy of note
It is worthy of note that Jain literature is replete with the ideas which elevate the soul and ism points out that our present day troubles are the consequences of Himsa- violence and unbridled acquisitive temperament. We should try our best to get rid of these evils. We should utilise the two oars of Ahimsa and Aparigrha-non-violence and posscssion-lessness to protect our boat of life from sinking in the deeo sea of Transmigration and lead it to the hrbour of immortality and everlasting bliss. The words of Saint Samanthadra are elevating and illuminating:- "One who desires to achieve spiritual peace, should eradicate the blemishes that deprave the soul " mJeoes<e-MeevlÙee efJeefnleelceMeeefvleŠ’’ (mJeÙebYetmleer$e) Verily, Self-absorption and cirtuous life lead to transcendental bliss and perennial peace. Internal purity and sublimity are indispensable for perennial peace and joy. Jain Tirthankara's sermon for real happiness- Be light, Get light, Then delight will follow, As the day follows the night.
Man is a rational & sensinle creature. The word ' Man' suggests, "Man must be Merciful, Affectionate and Noble" Mercy is the path of Divinity and Godhood. It is the quint- essence of culture and purity. Mercy consists of affection in action and reflection towards all beings. Amazing and enchanting achievement of material Science do not bestow real peace nnd tran quillity, for peace is a non-material spiritual attribute. Panacea for all Ailments Mercy creed Noble deed Few need Control greed. Life is most dear to you, Similarly it is dear to the innocent , helpless, meek and mute creature.Listen to the agonies of the voiceless Be viceless. Your physical body is a perishable object . Be wise before your soul leaves your corporeal coil.