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2 - SOME ASPECTS OF JAIN PHILOSOPHY
SOME ASPECTS OF JAIN PHILOSOPHY
Very few men will be found ready to hear the claims of a religion that is professed by only a meagre two million people, to be considered as being one of the greatest faiths preached for the moral welfare of humanity. The standard by which the common man judges of the soundness of a throty, is the number of men who are willing to say ‘yes’ to it when a comparative study of religion is begun, the attention of the scholar at once fixes itself upon those only that are numerically strong beyond comparison, While Hinduism or Christianity counts tens of mil1ions, it is only with some difficulty that Jain¬ism can advance a little further than the first unit. It is only -of late that the great Comparative Religionists of the west have had their eyes slowly opened to the hitherto ignored treasures of philosophy going under the COD1.m.on name of Jainism, But the question still remains, why this faith should show such a small number of adherents, if. as is claimed, its tenets possess that power to appeal to the sentiments of the highest men which all great principles are said to possess. While considering this problem, the critics of Jainism in modern times naturally avail themselves of the charge laid at the doors of this religion by its Vedic opponents. It is asserted with some show of reason that Jainism has failed to capture the hearts of mankind as it has rebelled against the very authority that holds sway over men civilized and uncivilized. The absence in Jainism of a creator who is ')11Iy (0 be prayed 10 grant any boons that a disciple may chance to ask for, is thus said to be the reason why it claims such a small number of followers. This may or may not be on. It may nowever, he said here that for the scholar and the thinker, the question is not whether a religion satisfies the craving of a more or les unthinking mob; for , on this theory, the sacrificial rites of Aryan and Un-Aryan barbarians which seek to propitiate the gods by offering of lives, may pretended to stand on higher grounds than those that are occupied by the best and subtlest speculations on our highest heads. In giving a verdict on such a charge at this. It is necessary, therefore, to see it is stands the test of intellectual and moral criticism. Judged from this standpoint, the war waged by Jainism against the fictitious power that professes to be able to set all Law a t defiance and work miracles for the satisfaction of its favourites, is a war. in the cause of truth and morality, There can be no indictment of Jainism on this ground, It would be better to examine the nature of its teaching, its aims and objects and its triumphs in ages gone by, before we give our judgment as to the cause of the small number of its professors. This we shall be able to do not in the beginning, but in the end of our inquiry, Yet the very first step we have to take is to mark the Theosophical Nature of Jainism.
This is reading makes it so, shows why. the charge has at all C0I11C into vogue and the way in which it is to be answered. Jainism is in fact neither a religion nor a sect nor a school of Philosophy. It is the essence, the abstract, the undercurrent, in short, the religion of religions. It may be defined almost in the sa me terms as were used by Zeller 0[' Ferrier in forming a definition or philosophy in general. Jainism is a purified system of rational knowledge holding only such. principles as appeal to reason qua reason. It is not Vishnu thus the Jains adore; it is not Shankar that they accept as their God. Neither is Budha or Christ their object. of worship. Yet in one sense it is Vishnu (the protector), it is Shankar(the doers of good. It is Budha (As awakened) as it is also Christ as the teacher of right that are raised to the universal adoration of men and animals. Even the Twenty four Teerthankar of every age of the unending and unbegun series of ages, do not command our reverence as being Shri Vrishabha or Shri Vardhamana or any so and so. It is every Jin as such that is our God and more that a God. A jin is not a particular personality or even a cut and dry principle. It is an eminence of position attained by illimitable excellence in knowledge, conducted joy, etc. every soul may aspire to reach it by a long series of lives in which itmay free itself from the trammels of worldly action. And who ever succeeds in this – the path of success is sure though slow and clear though difficult – may command our reverent homage. It is in this spirit of adoring whatever is best, where ever it may be foundthat the Acharya Akalanka offers his salutation to the faith which a Jain is asked to lay in his God, his scriptures and his preceptor is also to lay in his God, his scriptures and his preceptor is also of a very logical nature. The faith of Jainism is the faith in truth (Samyaktva) and it is only faith of Jainism is the faith as long as the knowledge of truth has not realized it into absolute wisdom. The Jain faith is only provisionally blind – nay, it is never blind, it is opposed to sight and is a vague appreciation of truth as a result of past ages of ever developing knowledge. It is not the usual Bhakti or the feeling of worship; but it is in insight (Darsban) into the truth of the universe that is itself accountable in every detail and is destined to be justified by increased knowledge or the widened circle of lignt. A very illustrative instance as to how their insight works may be found in the faith which the Jain Shastras dictate. Our acceptance of those scriptures relies on their being proved to “impossible to be transgressed” if freedom for the soul is wished for and also to be “fully consistent with what is seen and desired”. A strictrer test then this could sacarcely be found to examine a religion. The first ground on which this religion appeals to all truth-loving sould is, therefore, an appeal of reason to criticize itself by the most logical standards. It is not a name that is the rallying point of its disciples. But as a path that leads by critically examined steps to a consumption which is universally wished for, Jainism claims our earnest consideration.
THE THEORY OF GOD
The same critical nature of Jain Philosophy may be prominently found at work at w or k in the conception of God. Swami Samant Bhadra's Apt-mimansa illustrates the way in which an intelligent Jain would set about his enquiry of Godhood. The sage has in mind the task of composing a great commentary upon the Tatvarrh Sutras, Naturally the first thing that occurs to him is the invokation of Divine blessings. But his mind is so ablaze with criticism that he could begin nowhere with closed eyes. So he asks himself at very first step, why should I call you my God? Is it your entrance into this world accompanied by all 'the splendour of Indras and more, that entitles you to my hom¬age? Is it your power to work. through the sky? The plain answer is in the negative. These may be the powers of an en¬chanter, says the Acharya. Do then the two classes of mahodayas (c. g. good form immunity from physical pains, etc.) constitute your claim to our reverence? Here also the answer is, no for. it IS argued, such glories may be found n the heavenly deities who arc still haunted by passion. Are you then our God by being the ioun.ler of a religion? No. There arc others too who have founded religions. Thus he goes on discussing one after another the various attributes that are considered the essence of true godliness by some school or other. Finally the conclusion arrived at is that God is not the creator of the world superstitions that cling…………………… to any other nation of God. The Jain to lean upon some imaginary entity that would be ready to offier it rescuing hand to any one suffering from any cause. Such an entity must be endowed with capacity to do an undo anything that suits the devote. Hence the conception of Jainism is always open to misunderstanding and as such calls for a few remarks in this place. There may be difficulties in the way of belief in an uncreated universe; but those in the way of the dogma of creation, are greater and more insuperable difficulties. Hinduism or Vedism, the contemporary opponent of Jainism in this respect, is not a pure type of the creation-theory. Hence the antagonism of the ¬two was not so marked in this field. The perpetual existence of Brahma out of which every visible existence grew, was the' root of many opinions that favoured the Jain theory. At the best, the Hindu creator: must be a mere architect planning his work. Even this is not a allowable in the school represented by the best-known critic of Jainism, Shankaracharya. Adwaitrsm is. not at all better than Jainism, if the doctrine of non-creation is" to be taken as a defect. Keeping aside its moral results for a moment, Jain ism might still bold that for Adwaitism, a different theory is impossible and inconsistent. Clearly, therefore, the ascription of a title of notoriety to Jainism by Shankar and his school, is one of the lower expedients to which worsted adver¬saries stoop in their baser moments. The advocates of the Jain theory need not be content with this negative advantage, for they may well claim for more.
GOD AND MAN
There are various ways of concerning the inter-relation of the man. Jainism was bold enough to occupy that end of the line which is conspicuous for bringing together the terms at the nearest points. Indeed, Adwaitism is the school which avowedly achieves this most successfully. But its success is the result of annihilation of the one term for the benefit of the other, with the effect that the annihilation of the one leads to the evaporation of the others. Adwaitism thus destroys not only man to give advantage to god but practically the Adwit Brahma is its own Mahesh. As soon as it tries to establish absolute superiority where only a relative existence is possible it cuts the tree under its feet and falls flat with what is fells. The God is empty, with all his essence centred in a mere, lifeless worked, where Adwaitism thus fails Jainism removes the difficulty by making the separation between God and man actual and yet retains the advantage of a theory that exalts man to the very God – hood by making the union potential. Yet the potentially is nto irresistible current of uncontrolled events. This would, like Adwaitism make men Gods only awaiting their time. It is only the conditions possibility of the soul to attain the union which ever presupposes actual independent existence but total similarity in essence and attributes – conditions upon the soul going through a voluntary trial through ages. The trial is the existence of the soul in the world or in the two worlds above and below. This leads to the cardinal theory of Jainism, the theory of Karma, it is this principle that makes it so prominently a school of activity, not a mechanical but a voluntary activity for heaven or hell as one chooses. But the total significance of the theory can nto well be understood witout its complementary notion of the Jagat Karan Vada.
THE CREATION CONTROVERSY
Our philosophy handles the question from the logical where was he before creating it? If he was not in space, where did he localize the universe? “How could a formless or immaterial substance like God” continuous the author of the Great Puran – Shri Jin Senacharya – Create the world of matter” Was he a mere architect? If not, whence could he bring his material; what was the souce of material? If there was any who created the source? And where was. that 'who' ? If the material is to be. taken as always' existing,. why not take the itself as unbegun? If the creater was uncreated, why not suppose the world to be itself existing? Again, “Is God self-sufficient? If he is, he need not have created, the world, If he is not, like an ordinary potter, he would he incapable of the task, since, by hypothesis, only a perfect being could produce "If he is to he said to have created the world with-an aim, it is what no one will allow. If it is a mere play of his will, it would be making God childish. If you say that God is an agency through which he creates he creates every thing according as is determined by his Karmas. Then this makes him dependent upon others (for his activity). If he is only a (or an agent through whom is caused by karmas. Why needlessly should his aid be presumed when everything is complete by itself?” Further on, the Acharya speaks almost in the strain of Moreley in one of his works on the French Revolution Literature when he says. “ If God is benevolent and if he has created the world out of his grace as felicity. The sage goes on to ask of his opponents. Why the world should be destroyed by him who gave it birth. If it is to stop the veil doing of the wicked why did he create the evildoers at all? Then comes the teleological explanation of creation, so piously stuck to by even critical heads. The answer briefly is that the variety in the world” That is what strikes the teleogist – “It caused by the variety of the Karmas which is the action of the soul”. The soul is therefore, the cause of every thing thorugh its own actins – of every evil by its eveil actions and of every good by its good actions. The sould is its own. But then,
WHO ARE THE TRUE GODS?
Jainism transforms the Adwait doctrine in its characterization of divinity. The soul has the capacity either to degrae itself to the depths of the Nigoda or the lowest of the seven hells or exhalt itself to the uppermost regions of nending felicity, Absolute Wisdom, total insight and unlimited prowess. This quadrubple of Illimitables or Anant Chatustaya is not meant to meddle with the affirs of the world. The souls that attain this height are absolutely from the comman………………..goods and evils. The Gods are related to the world only as it supreme teachers, meuleating lessons in the “Three Jewels” as teachers, however, they word only during a short period that mtervence between the fourth and the fifth or the last Kalyan or epoch of their worldly life. And then only it is the influence of the Punya of the audience who gather around the Holy teachers during those fixed periods that inspires the Kevalins in their Pre – Nirvan periods, says the great author of the Samayasar, to undertake the workd of expounding the path of salvation. Thus though the God are in a way related to the world as tis tacerhs, they are to use an usual Jain simili, lotuses in water, i.e. related and yet aloof from the element, from which theyt gros and still remain free. Say Lucretius (II 646) Omnis enim per de divom nature necese est Immortali avo summa cum pace frvater, Semota a nostris relens subjunctaque louje Nam Privata dolore ommi, private periclis, Ipsa suis Pollens opubus, nihil indigo nostril, Nec bene promeritsi capitur, nec tangitur ira Well any these words apply to the God of Jainism. This description of the Gods is not however the nature of what are styled Devas residing in the heavens in Jain literature. These are in the essence beings like men only enjoying higher, longer and more intense pleasure but they have pains going along when compared with us, in being compelled to descend to human life before it is even possible for them to attain the Nirvan. They are men writ large. The Jins – this is the proper term for the true Gods of Jainism – are perfectly free from any passion that we know of. Their images are emblems of this feature of the Jains – I mean, the Digambar Jain, they are absolutey naked from head to foot. This is very often made a point of ridicule by partisans cavilers of Jainism but we might, with Milton says : Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of natures work, honour dishonourable. Sinbred, how have ye troubled all manking With shes instead, mere shews of seeming pure and banish from man’s life his happiest life Simplitity and spotless innocence. This principle of Jainism was influenced the subsequent doctrines of the religion in many ways. The questions of the creation of the universe as apart from man does not bear a direct relation with practical life and therefore a theory of creation assumes its fullest importance only as applied to man and his inner nature. If you deny the divine origin of things, what is the basic of morality? What is the root of human activity. What is the exact nature of Karmas? How far is the soul determined by his Karmas? What liberty of action does Jainism allow? Is the Ethics a deterministic system like that of the Vedic pantheism? What is the influence of Dharma on human actions as mounlded by the previous Karmas? Why did the holy teacher labour, if the Karmas was the master of man’s destiny? Such questions that form the very essence of mortality crop up in views as soon as we come face to face with the genesis of human activity. We can hope to give but a brief reply to these problems in the spirit of Jainism. So we might begin by asking ourselves.
WHY DOES MAN ACT?
Who else, if not God, makes him a hero in the strife of life? Whence is the strife at all? It is one of the paradoxical but still true premises from which every system has to start that gives an answer to this question. The karmas is in point of origin: as original as the soul itself. The two are packed together from unbegun times. And the strife springs up as soon as the soul sets about freeing itself from this. company, and ends when it attains Mcksha. .Not that every soul is on its way to liberation ; for so me of the souls do not take heed of the lessons- taught by those who have accomplished liberation and hence they weave every day a web of Karmas round their own selves. which gets more tangled at every step. The soul is thus the efficient cause of man's activity and his destiny. But in its own pure nature, the soul is a principle of rationality only. It be- comes a cause only when combined with the material of its work, the Karmas. The final cause is the Moksha, which is attained by true insight which is acquired either by the effects of previous good acts or by tile teachings of the Shastras. This insight or as it may be styled, this faith is never a sufficient cause of deli¬verence as is held by the followers of the Bhagawat Dharma like Tukaram. Faith is the basis on which the ladder of wisdom and character is to be placed to reach the highest place. But it is only a basis. Wisdom is supposed to be the path of beatitude by Vedantists like Slianlaracluirya but knowledge without action is brain without hands. Nor is the Nirva n reached by the vast, almost bewildering, mass of ritual that is performed to propitiate the stoned Gods .if the temples. In its original, Jainism allows but a small part of the incumbrances that have grown upon the superstitious ignorance of the faithless followers. The celebrated Jain Acharya, Shri Kundkunda, points out three pure modes of worship which chiefly consist in the consecration of the soul to the way of life lived by the holy teachers. The unpure path of approaching the highest is of course image worship of the twenty four. But even this worship And simple as it is, it occupies in the system of Jain practices, which are more
A SCHOOL OF ETHICS
Than a system of ritual. . Everything is for the development, the purification and the freeing of one's own self. There is no dependence on any power beyond that which ever one may lay his hands on. There is no favour sought, no fear entertained 'but that which one's due, due by one’s own good or bad actions, The Kurma , though powerful, as long as one is in its clutches, can be ... torn into tatters by any, only he must bear and forbear. The veil of bondage can be removed, however thick) and heavy it may be, by any soul, however weak it may look only it must take the tools suited to the work. And those tools are offered to all without any expectations in return. There is no son or God, through whom the soul must seek to e saved ; there is no prophet commanding the devoted from the coachman’s box of a warrior chariot. From the fold of Jainism no one is shut out, what ever his caste and birth may be. Thus the Jain ritual is a system of quality and a bond of brotherhood. It is a more system being a system of inward inspiration, a system that subdues the low and ignoble in the heart of man. It is nto an aimless asceticism that burns out all the man and thus empties te system of its whole content and that grows up on the soils of pessimism. Self subjection does not in Jainism mean the desctuction of all the self but it is only a subjection that rises man’s higher nature supreme. Not is self conquest the end and aim of man. Truly does Shri Gunbhadra starts his self discipline by telling his Oh Soul! Greatly does thou fear misery and long for happiness. I will tell three the path of that which thou thus longest for. It should be also remembered that Jainism is a true moral philosophy on another ground, although it is suspected to teach man utter depreciation of worldly life. The soul that was destined to attain Nirvan within the span of its running life was the soul that went through all the, important . epochs of man's life as we understand it. Nay; it is the princi-ple of Jainism that the life wo live, is the one on which the existence of its ascetics depends and through which its Purified asceticism grows. While describing the value of human Iife, an ancient Jain teacher says :--It is in human life that Tapas, the great Vows, concentration or even Salvation is possible. Nothing could give life a nobler ideal and a more glowing hue.
THE FREEWILL THEORY
Here we might resume our question as to whether the theory of determination by the Karma allows room for freedom of will. The pantheistic system of the east are charged with being unmoral in tendency in as far as they make the human a part and pareel of the divine soul. The essential unity of the two is rightly considered to be a deathblow to moral feleing. If the part is what the whole has made it, there is not responsibility for wrong or credit for right. It is not however clear how, Christian morality which asserts that the human soul is the creation f God, can answer 'nay' to the same charge, although its necessity is more indirect than that of Adwaitism. If the God the faith of all we have, if he is the' ultimate authority of our moral institutions, if his. guarantee it is that makes .the ethical Ought a categorical imperative, why is not the evil that makes us fan away from the path marked out for the-righteous and that made Eve taste the fruit .of knowledge-why is that evil not ascribed to the same source of the universe, the source that created light as well as darkness, the heaven as well as the hell. It is a higher notion of Zorostrianism than of-the Islamites or the Christians to say that there are two equally original and independent sources of good and evil. This dualism may have its difficulties; but from the moral point of view, to hold that the same being of infinite goodness should have as well been the parent of so much vice and misery is a poorer idea than that of the strugle of Angra Mainyas and Spenta Mainyas, and if pantheism makes moral responsibility impossible, unitarian theology makes evil as necessary as good and thus makes moral conduct absurd. Free from the creation theory, Jainism makes its Gods neither the claimants of credit for our own virtue nor the unrelenting punishers of sins that we are his. instruments in committing, The holy teachers of the Jain s offer advice but even that IS not in the form of commands. They sell universal truths \\'1: ich are their own justification. They are not to be accepted as being sanctified in their birth from God; but as being intrinsically adapted to the highestdfos of man, they appeal to him with natural cree, The Dharma of the Jains is the condition, the sine 'lila non of the progress of the' soul but it helps on such souls as are bent upon movement. Water enables rile fishes to move about only if they choose to do so. lt is for thorn to sec whether they shall move or stand still. Similarly the soul may select to extricate itself from the whirpools of life,the Dharma comes to his help but it may delude itself and covert what drives it in and in. The Dharma is potential stem which has to be worked internal drive of the engine to cover the distance between Sansar and unending felicity. Jainism is thus the most libertarian ethics possible. No one could for a moment say that moral freedom consists in total: irresponsibility. And so, If Jainism makes men suffer long series or troubles and difficulties for sins commi¬tted in present or past lives. it makes its ethics no less libertarian. But at any moment, the teachings of the 1ibertcd may take effect and from that point of time, the Jain Dharrn launches the .soul upon its slow voyage to freedom. The choice is not instantaneously full with its distant results: for the Karmas may not be at that moment fully exhausted. But the ball has nevertheless been set in motion and the force must transmit itself to the end in spite of resistance. Instant escape is impossible. Even the soul may have advanced too far to be influenced by the holy teaching. The old hag who was carried by force to the presence of lord Mahavir. lore open her eyes to avoid even the sight of the Teacher But there is nothing incompatible with morality in this necessary determinism inseparable with human; nature, a determinism which is the condition of freedom with responsibility.
We have hitherto ontlined the most of features of Jainism with necessary brevity. But we can not conclude our review without noticing some of charges to which it is said to be open. Mr. Apte’s able paper tries to account for the later insignificance of the Jains as a martial race by ascribing the supposed weakness of the Jains to their principle of non killing.
Mr. Apte supports his view with a quotation from Col. Todd. Hiw view seems plausible owing to the excesses to which that principle is reduced by a small number of modern Jains. In accounting for the peculiarities of a race, it should be remembered, principle expounded in writing that are not reached by many, should not be compelled to yield more than they imply the first place. it should be admitted that theories fashion the minds of their advocates as much as they receive their colour from the mind, the occupy . It may be as true that the Non¬ killing theory in its extreme form, may have caused some minds to be averse to warlike pursuits, as that the originally simple and sensible Ahimsa may have-nay is admitted all hands to have-been reduced to its absurdities and immasculated forms by some of the later Jains who were already being borne alone the current of foreign domination. The debasement of the principle may be the result of the degraded ages and the minds that made the ages so. We should also note that we are always apt to attach too much value to doctrines and too little to men. Then it is also important to examine what really the Jain Shastras teach. Tile full Ahimsa implies absolute freedom from the conditions of the world and hence the Jains who are on higher stages of asceticism are directed to desist from means that so unnecessarily meet with ridicule from unsympathetic observers. The ordinary householder has He is not to kill motives afforded by passions. That alone is killing which gives pain to lives owing to our minds, tongue or body being affected by passion. (Shri Uma Swami) This allows latitude enough for any ordinary life to carry on his usual avocations that necessarily imply a certain amount of unintentional harm to others, the Kshatriya is yet more plainly enjoined to follow his duty and do his Dharm by being a true and generous warrior. The ultimate goal is total non-killing. And even in the preliminary stages, a Jin has to avoid pain to others as far as possible. This is what is taught by European utilitarianism with the improvement that placed upon the same footing as men in counting up results of an action. It is to be left to the readers to judge whether the change is for the better or forthe-worse. That it more comprehensive and wider in range, is plain enough. As to the propriety of this enlargement of the moral sphere, it .depends on the moral susceptibilities of the man to decide the point.
The above is not a sketch of Jain philosophy in any way. It is an endeavour to point out to thoughtful students of compara¬tive religion and moral philosophy that a vast and fruitful field is all but unexplored by them. True that scholars like Jacobi have been spending good deal of valuable labour upon this sub jeet. I profess to enlighten none of this class. Yet I may ven¬ture to say that the labours hitherto spent are chiefly confined to the literary aspects of Jain scholarship. The few works trans-lated into English are only works of secondary value from ethical and theological standpoints. The above will clearly bring out the fact that Jainism is as vigorous and practical a school of thought as any European school and that it adds to its logical keenness of a well-cut Eastern system. It would be a material benefit to the task it have in view, if attention were paid to the great principle of aneak ant vad, which anticipates the logic of paradoxes with which Hegal astonished the world. I hope the a hove will convince the indefatigible European scholar to look upon .la Jainism as a system pregnant with various lines of useful research and not as the chimera of a few fantastical minds. The small number of 2.2 million persons who prfess the creed is not an index to the unpractically of Jainism. The Counding it sell it at fault. The name may be borne in a small number but Jainism is no name of a prophet. It claims its conquest it every section of the Indian community where it was Jainism that spread humanity and manliness. The Vedic sacrifices were discontinued the Budhistic atheism was exposed. The Hindu philosophy was brought nearer to truth by the post Budhic revivalistis, the defects of Adwaitism were brought home to the minds of the Hindus and cruelty to the most trifling life was stopped or softened in vast populations all over india. It is not a small record. But here too, it does not end. Jainism is truth and truth is Jainism. It contains the best known truth and wherever truth wins. Can we not then say, with a German Professor.
किंत जसं च अचिरा पावेज्जउ सयलपुढविये।।