Jainworld
Jain World
Sub Categories of Jain Books
Books on Line
Book of Compassion
 

PREFACE

 

ESSENCE OF JAINISM

 

TIRTHANKARA MAHAVIRA

 

Excerpts from the JINA'S TEACHINGS

  Jain Books
  Catalog of Books in English
  Catalog of Books in Hindi
  Catalog of Books in Gujarati
  List of Books, Topics & Sub-topics and Authors


TIRTHANKARA MAHAVIRA


 

 

The path to this spiritual evolution, as practiced and propagated by lord Mahavira, consists in a harmonious combination of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. The last chiefly consists in 'ahimsa' or non-violence, truthfulness, honesty, celibacy and non-covetousness or possession. Without the other four, ahimsa is meaningless. Everyone is at liberty to follow this noble path according to his or her capacity and circumstances. An aversion to covetousness, in other words, an ever-present wakefulness to keep down one's requirements and possessions, is a primary condition of the 'ahimsic' of life.

Thus gave Lord Mahavira to the suffering world his noble message of salvation, physical, moral and spiritual, about two thousand and five hundred years ago, and it is still true and practicable.

Mahavira had become poignantly aware of the fact that those in power always try to rob the weak of their happiness as well as of their means to become happy, and that this tendency to exploit is the outcome of a love of one's supposed notions of happiness resulting from bodily enjoyments. Everybody considers his own pleasures and convenience so important that he attaches no value to the happiness and convenience of others. He ever tries to believe and prove that in the struggle for existence it is only the fittest who survives, in other words, the weak should justify their existence by sacrificing their all in order to make the powerful the more so. According to this way of thinking, the weak has no right to live and the strong must necessarily feed upon him. These false and narrow notions of happiness create a gulf between man and man and between different classes of men. They give rise to class antagonism leading to violence and counter-violence and vitiate the whole atmosphere, which no longer remains congenial to liberty, equality, fraternity, peace and happiness.

This terrible aspect of 'Himsa' led Mahavira to perceive in Ahimsa the root of all piety, religiosity, duty and universal peace. He clearly saw that it is only through a perfectly 'Ahimsic' way of living that lasting peace in the world can be achieved. And in order to be able to follow the path of Ahimsa it was found necessary that one should exercise a perfect and rational control over his senses, curb his desires and do unto others what he would have others do unto him.

The most characteristic features of Mahavira's teachings are, therefore, firstly, that every human being irrespective of color, caste or sex is fully entitled to follow the path of liberation. Birth is no criterion for nobility but it is one's virtues by which he should be judged great or noble and only by those qualities, which tend to make life nobler or purer. To this end he initiated into his order persons from all castes and classes and from both the sexes and delivered his sermon in the common dialect of the masses.

Secondly, he laid the greatest emphasis on Ahimsa, which implied that one must abstain from injuring others by thought, word or deed and follow the golden rule of 'live and help others to live.'

Thirdly, one should try to be catholic in outlook and try to judge a thing from all possible view-points. One should always try to understand and appreciate the other man's point of view. Such a highly tolerant attitude can alone end all differences which otherwise might lead to terrible bloodshed.

Fourthly, a person reaps what he has sown. Everybody is fully responsible for his own actions and it is he who will enjoy the fruits of his good actions and suffer for his bad actions. He is the maker of his own destiny.

An intrinsic belief in the equality of men and a catholicity of outlook are the two great needs of modern world. Only by actively striving to live in a spirit of true co-existence resting on correct behavior and non-violence, can we perpetuate the memory of benefactors of mankind like Mahavira and bring peace and happiness to the suffering and erring humanity.