Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions
PREFACE
FORWARD
INTRODUCTION
SAPTABHANGI SYSTEM
THE TATTVAS
  THE NATURE OF KARMA (Karma ka swroop)
  ASRAVA
  BANDHA
  SAMVARA
  NIRJARA
  MOKSHA
  STAGES ON THE PATH - GUNASTHANAS
  DHARMA IN PRACTICE
  COMPARATIVE ANTIQUITY OF JAINISM
  SOUL-SUBSTANCE
  Vairagya Bhavana

DHARMA IN PRACTICE


 

 

It is not necessary to comment upon these six categories of misfortune resulting from early marriage at any great length, suffice it to say that where nuptial partners are forced on one another without consulting the feeling of the actual participants themselves, nothing but sexual impurity, discord and misery are likely to result from their living together under one roof. The shortening of the period of self-control also tends to engender sexual promiscuity, by exciting sex-passion which uncultured minds, not yet impressed with the necessity for its rigid control, are apt to regard as the greatest of earthly pleasures. The third form of evil, that is the procreation of unfit children, is a necessary consequence of early marriage, since in those cases where the father has no independent means of his own and is too young to be in a position to support a large and growing family, none but unhealthy paupers can be brought into existence. Health of a child, it should be observed, depends, to a large extent, on the development of the person of the mother, so that where a girl who is only fit to play with dolls is forced to develop a living baby in her womb, the growing embryo is necessarily deprived of the healthy nourishment which every child has a right to demand of its mother. In many cases where the pelvis is not sufficiently developed to form a suitable place for the physical growth of the embryo, inflammation and other unhealthy complications also set up in the womb, causing the death of the child or its mother or both. The main thing to be known in connection with sexual gratification is that excessive and early loss of semen directly leads to loss of bodily and mental vigor, and produces a kind of nervous paralysis which interferes materially with the concentration of mind and strength of will, the two necessary factors in the ascertainment and practicing of 'truth'. We thus observe that early marriage is equally condemnable from both the spiritual and secular points of view.

 

     We now come to the principles governing the selection of one's associates in life --the nuptial partner, friends and the like. In this department also religion enjoins subordinating the worldly or sensual point of view to the spiritual, its aim being always to facilitate the onward progress of the soul toward the highest goal-- Nirvana. Obviously, if the husband and wife belong to two different persuasions, or entertain mutually hostile beliefs, nothing like spiritual harmony can possibly result from their union; and the situation is no wise improved even when they both try to pull on together in the most commendable spirit of toleration, for toleration cannot possibly take the place of co-operation which is altogether excluded by the opposition of private convictions. It follows, therefore, that the selection of a suitable spouse must be made from one's own community, so as to ensure perfect accord and co-operation in respect of all matters, spiritual and temporal. The same principal governs the selection of all other associates, as far as practicable; and even the caste system, which is so much denounced nowadays, is really the outcome of the rules laid down for satsanga (association).

     A keen controversy has been recently raging round the caste question, and many persons have come forward to advocate a complete breaking down of its fast and rigid boundaries, but as the matter has not been approached from the spiritual side of the question, it is worthwhile to consider its bearing from that point of view s well. No one who has at all studied the human nature is likely to deny the fact that our beliefs are liable to be affected by the thoughts and actions of others-- receiving confirmation and strength from people of one's own faith, and direct or indirect discouragement from those who follow a different creed. Now, the generality of mankind of this age seldom possess that degree of faith which is capable of withstanding persistent temptation or sustained attacks of skepticism, especially when not directly made. The company of people given to gambling, debauchery, and the like is the most dangerous for this reason, and offers many temptations which even men of mature judgment, to say nothing of raw youths, at times succumb to. Besides, the true spirit of friendship demands that one should not perform any religious acts likely to offend one's companion in the least degree, and since all forms of worship are open to objection on the part of the opponents of the true faith, good companionship necessitates a total abstention from them in the company of those of a different persuasion. The effect of such forms of comradeship, thus, is quite pernicious to the aspirations of the soul, and requires the restriction of association with those outside one's own religious community to particular occasions at well selected times and places. This does not mean that one should be rude or intolerant to those who do not belong to one's faith, but only that one should avoid undue intimacy and constant companionship with them. As no one who values his peace of mind should associate with anarchists, sedition-mongers, robbers, murderers and the like, howsoever agreeable they be, so should one avoid, so far as possible, all those men whose association is likely to seduce one from the true path, and only mix with those of a holy and pious temperament. Such, briefly, is the nature of the reason of caste exclusiveness, and there is no reason to doubt that any one who realizes the importance of keeping the spiritual goal in view, in all forms of activity, would never range himself against its observance. This, however, furnishes no license for the absolute exclusiveness of different castes in the same community, beyond certain limits to be shortly pointed out.

 

     There are two principles governing caste division, namely,

     (1) The religious, and

     (2) The secular.

 

     The former of these recognizes only one community or caste of true believers, while the latter classifies men according to their occupations. The earliest legislator, Shri Rishabha Deva Bhagwan, divided men into Kshatryas, Vaishyas and Shudras*, with regard to their different avocations.

(*The Hindu idea that the Brahmans, Kshatryas, vaishyas, and Shudras issued from the mouth, arms, heart and thighs of Brahma is evidently a mythological metaphor, resting upon the personifications of 'manhood' as a being.)

 

The principle+ of division lay in the fact that the prosperity of a community depends on the defense of its territory, the development of its trade and the due performance of their work by the menials.

(+It will be generally seen to be the case that a man is more likely to excel in the calling of his ancestors than in an entirely strange occupation. It is, for instance, not to be expected that a Mahajan's son, who has spent all his life in comfort and luxury or in looking after the peaceful business of his own firm, would make as good a soldier as the young Rajaputa conscious of his descent from the royal Pratap. The glorious traditions of the Kshatryas Varna (warrior caste), stories of exciting adventures of brave Rajaputa warriors, memories of deeds of undying glory of his own ancestors, to say nothing of the thousand and one other items and incidents which invest the latter with an irrepressible psychic vigor which constitutes a great advantage over his rival, the majahan's son. Reverse the position, and you will find the brave warrior out of his element in the counting house. The same is the case with other Vargas.)

 

     The Brahman class came into existence during the reign of Bharata, the son of the first Tirthankara. Later on, Hinduism fully accepted this classification of men into four Varna, and made it the basis of its yoga, making each caste correspond to a particular department of that system, --Jnana yoga for Brahmans, raja yoga for Kshatryas, karma yoga for vaishyas and Bhakti yoga for Shudras. It is, however, clear that the idea of caste exclusiveness had nothing to do with the classification of men, as originally conceived, so that all those who followed the true faith were entitled to the same rights and privileges in respect of religious worship. It was only when priesthood acquired considerable influence on the ruling body that Hindu legislators were forced to recognize the claim of Brahmans to a special sanctity as a class.