Jain World
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Book of Compassion
 

Foreword

 

Section -1 Page 01 To 35

 

Section -1 Page 36 To 69

  Section -02 To Section -04
 

Section 05 To Section -07

  Section 08 To Section -10
  Section 11 To Section -13
  Section 14 To Section -16
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  Section 20 To Section -22
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Section -1 Page 01 To 35


 

A religious movement alone can save man from the mechanical oppression of a regimented society, at the same time strengthening the social and communal feelings, which would ensure an equitable social order. If the religious sense is awakened in man, if man follows the right path following the dictates of religion, each one keeping to his own right course, there can be no conflict between man and man, nations and nations. But experience has amply shown that religion also is defeated by the ignorance and egoism inherent in human nature. The tendency to aggrandizes oneself at the expense of others, which is still very strong in man, has exploited religion for its own purpose, Thus though religion may have helped some individuals here and there to grow spiritually, it has not been able to raise society to a higher level. The problem that confronts humanity today cannot be really solved by the usual type of religious, political, social or educational movements. All these human activities have to be taken up into a new integral vision totally transformed. What is needed is an integral transformation by which self light, peace, power, love, joy and beauty may be established in human life.

An integral spiritual uplift or transformation of human life would be possible in the near future in the world that we are witnessing today. The change of human nature that is needed is nothing so impossible or remote, for that which is to be developed is already there within our being. It has not to be acquired or brought from outside or from a distance. What is needed is to know that soul, that is within us and to remold our external life and nature with the light and power of that inner voice. Nature through her long evolutionary course has been preparing man for this consummation. All the crisis that occurred in human history have advanced mankind some distance towards that good. But the crisis that has now come upon us has no parallels in history and the realisation that is promised to man also has no parallel. Some men or women should have a vision of this change, a realisation of its urgent need. There is a growing realisation all over the world that there is no deliverance for mankind without spirituality, Once this aspiration became fixed and strong in man, nature�s evolutionary efforts will be easier. Attempt for social uplift has been made by organised religion and various kinds of idealism. But the lower egoistic nature of man has again and again frustrated all such attempts at building up a New order of human life, No mental idealism or partial spiritual endeavor can overcome al-together the obstacles inherent in human nature. What is needed is the transcendence of this nature altogether and finding a new mould of life in a super nature. When the action of the supplemental power begins on the earth, human life even within its own limits of ignorance will find a new harmony. With its full manifestation humanity will be raised to a new state of perfection and fulfillment.

The whole nature of man must be changed and transformed before there can be a really new order of the world. This cannot be accomplished, as it is being attempted nearly by preaching and propoganda but, only by a thorough going psychological discipline based on the deepest knowledge of the spirit. True spirituality does not claim the universal validity for any moral rule or religious creed or dogma. It aims at bringing about a fundamental change of consciousness so that men may spontaneously follow the good, the true, the beautiful. Moral rules which prescribe certain modes of action; and religion which lays down certain modes of prayer and worship and performance of certain rites and ceremonies do not by themselves constitute spirituality. Though they can, when followed in the right spirit they prepare the mind and heart for rising into the higher spiritual consciousness.

One has to give up all abscessing attachment to the present mental, and physical movements, vital habits and turn inwards to find the self or spirit within oneself. By finding the self and living in the silence and bliss of the spiritual consciousness, one becomes the spiritual man. Thus �He� is one who discovered his soul, has found his self and lives in that, is conscious of it, has the joy of it, he needs nothing external for his completeness of existence. Thus the self is always to be won. He is won by truth and self discipline. He is won by perfect and entire knowledge. When that is accomplished, when we are in direct union with the soul and our outer life, and when action is controlled by it and the light and bliss inherent in it, human life begins to shed off all the limitations. Even in this material body, we attain peace, light, power and joy. That is immortality to which humanity has been aspiring since the dawn of its civilization.

Nowhere else in the world the technique of spirituality has been so fully investigated and systematised as it has been done for thousands of years in India. It is this which the whole world has to learn from India today. But still India cannot effectively serve as a path finder for others. It is not merely by preaching spirituality but by the practice of a higher spiritual life that, India can become a model of freedom and unity firmly founded on a spiritual basis. This is an ideal which all Indians can accept and realise in themselves. Thus giving a practical lead to the rest of humanity, no other �ISM� or �IDEOLOGY� can attract the allegiance of all or of a majority of Indians. This will pave the way to her national and cultural unity which must be accomplished now, if India is to survives at all. It is not that other isms or ideologies have absolutely no truth in them. Each ism has some truth in it but, it is a partial truth and ignores other aspects and no entirely satisfactory and lasting structure can be built upon it. Truth is complex and many sided and cannot be expressed in simple slogans. Only that ideology can be accepted as true which recognises the elements of truth that is there in other slogans and ideals and Find a place for it in a complex whole. Thus without world unity, there is little hope of lasting peace. The problem of world peace can be solved only by understanding the man, his nature with its roots.

Contribution of Jaina Religion to world peace :

World peace is not possible unless we understand the man and his nature. The various religions in India and world have attempted to enhance the good qualities of men with the help of their philosophical teachings and relitii1ous practices. Attempts were made by all these religions to produce the higher spiritual life and society which will create a spiritual India to lead the rest world. Jainism has distinct qualities and characteristics among other religions in India and the world, with an aim of transforming man into superhuman. Jainism emphatically asserts that every soul is capable of attaining perfection, if it willfully exerts in that direction. The Jain Religious path envisages the salvation of all living beings, human or subhuman and recognises no barriers of sex, age, race, colour, caste, creed, class or states. Everyone who is desirous of leading a healthy, good, noble, peaceful and happy life can benefit oneself by adopting this path which is regulated so as to encompass the varying degrees of spiritual development from a lowest state of decadence to the highest state of Godhood. One who adopts the Jaina religious path with extent, sincerity and in the true spirit, will certainly find himself a better human being than he was before. The basic spirit of this human way of life is �to live and let live� and �do unto others as one would wish them do unto him.� That is to live a life of understanding, tolerance, sympathetic co-operation and peaceful co-existence and still fuller and nobler ca-realisation. The seeker is well on the way of moral and spiritual advancement gradually but steadily unfolding the inherent divinity which is the aim of the true religion. Jainism is the only religion, of all religions of the world which has the principal of Ahimsa as its central doctrine. 9t alone has given a unique position to the doctrine of Ahimsa and has based its ethical code entirely on the complete observance of the tenet of Ahimsa in all its aspects. Jainism has given maximum attention to the important practical aspects of the theory of Ahimsa, so that this can be actually observed both by the lay followers and ascetics in their day to day life. Jainism has ably presented in a scholastic and scientific manner the theoretical and philosophical side of the doctrine of Ahimsa by discussing it thoroughly not only from internal and absolute points of, view but also, from external and real points of view. This religion has given equal emphasis on the negative and positive aspects of Ahimsa. Jainism is a very original, Independent and systematic doctrine, It is a complete system with all necessary branches such as dogma or ontology, metaphysics, philosophy, epistemology, ethics, ritual and is divided into several sects and subsects indicative of long process of development. It has its own deities, gurus and scriptures, its own temples, places of worship and pilgrimage and its own festivals. Besides the devotees it possesses a well organized monastic order comprising both male and female ascetics. Thus this religion has a separate identity in the world religion. Assertion of capability of attaining every soul of perfection, principle of Ahimsa, Anekantavadi attitude towards knowledge and Aparigraha a principal of right path, are the crowning beauty of Jainism. Thus the teaching and practices of Jainism can create a higher spiritual life firmly founded on spiritual base. This religion helps to understand the man, his nature, with its roots which is essential for the establishment of permanent world peace. The pure and perfect path of world peace is shown by Jainism, so it will be necessary to know how the various details of the teaching and practices lead and help the world peace.

Religion has been the greatest force in the history of mankind and religious experience has been man�s noblest experience. Jainism is the religion professed by the Jains so called because they follow the path practiced and preached by the �Jinas�. Thus the Jainism is a religion of purely human origin and it has emanated from the mouth of the dignitary who has secured the omniscience and self control by his own personal efforts. In short, Jainism is the substance of preachings of dignitaries who have attained the state of �Jinas�. After attaining self realisation by conquering the five senses and by destroying all the karma�s Mid after acquiring �Kevala Jnana�, the Jina spends the rest of his time in Dharmaprabhavana. Not satisfied with his own self realisation, the Jina engages himself in the noble task of helping his followings with his message of Dharma and attain the same spiritual status of perfection which lie himself has acquired by his own personal efforts. I his Jainadharma is the boat which is provided for the human beings for the purpose of crossing the ocean of Samsara and because of this noble task of helping the mankind, Jina is also called Tirthankara.


Long Heritage of Jainism :


Jainism is an important, fully developed and well , established religious and cultural system purely indigenous to India. It is the oldest living representative of that ancient Sramana tradition of Indian culture which was in its origin non-vedic. The Jainism has a long traditional history which has already proved its existence with the help of corroborative evidence. Rishabha or Adinath, was the first Tirthankara. He is supposed to be the harbinger of human civilization. He inaugurated the karmabhumi, founded the social order, family system, institutions of marriage, of law, order and justice and of state and government, taught mankind the cultivation of land, different arts and crafts, reading, writing and built villages. towns and cities. In short he pioneered the different human activities as they were then understood. Rishabha, the first Tirthankara was followed by 23 others, who came one after the other at intervals varying in duration.

Mahavir was not the founder of a new religion; what he did was only to reform and elaborate the prevailing creed handed down through a succession of previous Tirthankaras of the Shramana transition of ancient Indian culture. For instance he added chastity as the fifth vow to the system of four-fold self-restraint attributed to Parshva. During the past two thousand and five hundred years since the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira Jainism, the religion of the Shramana Tirthankaras has paused through many varied vicissitudes notwithstanding which it has continued to develop and succeed in preserving its integrity and maintaining its significance against heavy odds. This the oldest living religious system of civilized India. Even if its followers constitute a minority community, though a fairly influential one, it has its own utility and possesses vast possibilities in the context of present day world problem, be they spiritual, social, economic, political, collective or Individual. Thus Jainism has its own place in the religions and the society of India and the world.

Philosophy of Jainism :

Dharma is that which leads, binds or takes back a being to its essential nature, enables it to realise the divinity inherent in itself, helps it to extricate itself from the misery of mundane existence and reach the state of perfect beatitude, sustains it, supports it and uplifts it mentally, morally and spiritually. It thus comprehends faith, conviction, belief, creed, philosophy, path, law, righteousness, piety, in short everything included in religious theory and practice. Jainism is not a revealed religion and claims no divine origin, but was expanded by those supermen who had by undergoing a course of rigorous self-discipline and spiritual purification, known and experienced the reality, realised the truth, practiced the path and achieved the goal. The philosophical basis of Jainism comprises metaphysics and ontology, cosmology and cosmography, theology and mythology, epistemology and psychology, logic and dialectics, ethics and rituals, in short all that goes to make a well-developed and comprehensive philosophical and religious system. It is a metaphysical realism, an ontological optimism, a spiritual idealism, a philosophical non-absolutism, an ethical Puritanism and psychological rationalism. It discourages superstitions and blind faith and encourages free rational thinking.