1. PRIMARY INSTINCTS AND AHIMSA.
It is but natural for every living being , to hanker for peace and happiness . In fact , every living creature of this world , weather a man or an animal , is acting according to four primary instincts , namely instinct of (1) food , (2) fear , (3) sexual appetite and (4) greed to hoard things . Howsoever unmanifested and undeveloped may be the inner spiritual potentialities of a living being , the abovenamed four instincts will always be present in its working . A mere glance at life on this planet endorses this fact . Even a tiny ant is seen toiling and moiling for its food. If anything comes into its path , it is seen hesistating and stopping to ascertain whether any
‘ fear ’ exists to hinder its progress . Ants and other insects enjoy life in their own way and their greed is even greater than man’s . Maunds of grain is found hoarded in the ant-hills . This is the crude and ignorant way of living . They live it in the manner of their instincts , which are wanting in spiritual awakening . Their knowledge of discrimination between good and evil is limited rather little . The animals know nothing of practical validity of knowledge beyond their instincts . It is only man , who is naturally in a far developed condition of knowledge . He possesses the mental power to discriminate between good and evil . He understands as to what is good worth acquiring and what is evil , which he should give up . But the pity is that the modern man has become so much engrossed in materialism , that his sense of discrimination between good and evil , has almost disappeared . He thinks and calculates things according to his greed and desire , as the animals do . He is ignorant of his true and real nature . It never occurs to him that he is something more than a mere bundle of flesh , bones and bodily force . His sojourn in this life is certainly short; but his transmigration in wordly conditions is endless ; because his thinking ‘ego’ ----- his soul is a simple substance and it can never be destroyed . Desires and passions , of course , have crippled the soul; otherwise soul is all perfect , full of knowledge , perceptions , power and happiness in its nature . This is the higher nature of human beings , because it is more manifest among themselves than animals .In animals too , such a soul exists , but in a very less developed mundane condition .
Now , if a man loves his own soul and does not wish to be hurt by his fellow creatures , he should behave in the like manner towards others and regard the animals as his lesser brethren . Because , Ahimsa is not only an ethical law of negation . It is in fact the law of nature , as it is but a characteristics of the soul . Man should not cause injury to his own self or to other souls by mind , speech or body under the sway of his animal instincts and passions . It is but natural for man to love his fellow beings and live with them amicably . Hence man is expected to act according to the biddings of his inner conscience the VIVEKA-----his inherent power of discriminating between good and evil . But a man infactuated with selfish motives and greed for acquiring power and wealth , never cares to hear his inner voice : he is swayed away by his lower nature and gladly trods the wrong path , which causes him only pain and misery . If one reflects on the prevailing appalling conditions in the world , one would certainly conclude that is surely something wrong with the ways and things of the world . So much callousness , barbarity and warfare pervades the universe that the very life of humanity is in danger . Nothing here has happened by accident ; nor the present world chaos is the result of incurring the wrath of any God on the peoples of the various nations of the world . The God is all merciful and all perfect . He is beyond the reach of desires and evils of wrath and pleasures never pollute Him . So He can never thrust the world into the frying pan of misery and distress . Rather He abides in the heart of man as TRUTH and always is at hand to guide him . In fact the prevalent world-wide unrest and chaos is the result of man’s own wrong actions and mismanagement of things . In a world of plenty , man is helpless and he finds food supplies in great danger . The ruthless accumulation of wealth , utterly unmindful of the distress of the millions , goes steadily on . Lawlessness is rampant . Nation exploits nation . Man exploits his neighbour . These animosities and inequalities cause conflict between man and man . Majority of mankind have sought to find peace and happiness in external objects ; while the real peace and happiness are the properties of the Soul . Animal nature and passion has taken an uppermost seat in the heart of man . This is a state , which must cause every thinking man to pause and consider . After all what is the root cause of this distress and unrest ? Is there any way to be out of it ?
Certainly there is a way to set the things right . Centuries ago Lord Mahavira , last Tirthankara of the Jains , whom Mahatma Gandhi regarded as the ‘ Greatest Apostle of Ahimsa ’ pointed out the Right Path of Liberation to the erring world . From the view-point of Lord Mahavira , individual was the fundamental factor of mass progress towards salvation and He taught the man to reform himself . He told that “ the body is the prison of the soul , and flesh its bitterest enemy . Owing to the dominion of the flesh the soul is undergoing suffering in a number of ways and all its rank and power have been lost . Immortal by nature , it is now living terror-struck with Death ; though omniscient and blissful in its own right , it is ignorant and miserable now . Yet , its Divine nature has not been altogether destroyed ; only its perfection in that regard has been curtailed and it has been reduced to the condition of helplessness . The evil influence of the flesh can , however , be destroyed , and the soul released from its power . And AHIMSA is the only weapon , which can actually bring about this consummation so devoutly wished for . ”
Thus Mahavira preached the Religion of Ahimsa and based it on Samyak-Purusartha , i.e. Right Activity which enjoined upon man first of all to develope his sense of Viveka or proper discrimination between good and evil and then to follow an active life substantiated with the true spirit of non-attachment and universal love . On the basis of Ahimsa Mahavira established a nucleus of universal Brotherhood of all living beings , since in Truth , all souls are one and equal . No difference and distinction can be made between soul and soul , howsoever undeveloped their wordly status may be . He proclaimad empathitaclly that every individual possesses same all perfect soul who should be honoured and must not be slained : -
Thus we enjoin on you , thus do we say ,
Thus we believe , thus we proclaim to all :
No living things should be slain any where,
Nor ordered forcibly this way or that ,
Nor put in bonds , nor tortured any way
Or treated violently otherwise ;
Because ye are the same which ye would slay
Or order here or there against his will ,
Or put in prison , or subject to pain ,
Or treat with violance ; ye are the same ;
The Self-same Life doth circulate in all .
Lord Mahavira thus declared the TRUTH and said that this world is common to all : both man and animals are wandering in this world since eternity due to their wrong activity of mind , speech and body . Like men , animals too desire to live and enjoy life . They also have an equal right to live . Ahimsa is the very characteristic of soul and it is only through Ahimsa that a man can live peacefully and can destroy the bondage of flesh and Karma . In Ahimsa is hidden the fundamental principal of recognition of ONE LIFE in all . Therefore , show no violen ce to any one ; hurt no one , injure none , not even an insect , this is the Gospel of Life . Ahimsa really means , molest no one ; not even your own soul . Tirthankara Mahavira , therefore , finally proclaimed that Life is dear to all , as it is deal to you . Hence let no one injure life ; but the individual should be as assiduous in cherishing the life of another as his own . For Ahimsa is the Supreme Principle and Highest Religion .
Such is the Science of Religion as taught by the blessed omniscient Teacher and in it lies hidden the Right Solution of the appalling world problem . Individual has to correct him – self : because individuals form the nations .
individual man has become engrossed fully in animal instincts . He is living in
ignorance . He is groping in the darkness of wrong belief . He has taken rope
for snake . Everyone claims that the ‘ Might is Right ’ , but none cares to
test the Truth . Yet however , mighty minds who ponder well and discriminate
between right and wrong reject the idea of innate aggressiveness in man . In an
instructive article in the “ Courier ” ( Feby 1954 , UNISCO Organ) , R. F.
Ashly Montagu , professor of anthropology at
“ All the available evidence gathered by competent investigators indicates that man is born without any aggressiveness within him whatsoever . The fact seems to be that aggressiveness usually develops in the child is a result of frustration . The school of evolutionary thought which preached the struggle for existance and the survival of the fittest , gave a onesided view of nature as a competitive ‘red in tooth and claw’ process , and omitted almost entirely the factors of cooperation and mutual aid , which play so great a role in the ecology , the balance , of nature --- We find that man is the most plastic , the most malleable , the most educable , of all living ... What most persons have taken human nature is actually the acquired behaviour of the person . ”
Thus it is obvious that behind the animal instincts , there exists the fundamental spiritual potentiality of Truth and Ahimsa in man . And since the same soul abides in every living being the nature of Ahimsa applies to them also . Soul in itself is non-violent by nature , but since it is imprisoned in body by the result of his own actions of pollution and violence , it has acquired an outwardly behaviour , which is called
“ Vaibhavic ” in the Jains scriptures .
Therefore it being the creation of individual soul itself , it has marred its inherent beauty and crippled its perfect potentiality . To act through mind , speech and body is but natural for a Wordly soul ; yet the individual can use it power of discrimination between good and evil . To cause injury to others out of anger , conceit , deceit and greed is an evil act , because it hurt the peaceful nature of soul itself and disturb the outwordly peace as well . Due to this action the individual soul attracts and binds with it a very fine atomical matter , which turn into an unpleasurable and painful atomics energy , called Vaibhavic ( acquired personality and results in creating miserable and painful circumstances . Therefore in this atomic age when one is blindly led to believe in the power of nuclear weapons and when the tests of such .
The immortality of his Soul is beyond question ; yet he thinks himself a poor mortal . Certainly he has forgotten that he is something more than mere dust . His body returneth , of course , to dust , but his soul remains ever shining in consciousness . Yet , he is so attached to unreal things that he acts to the wrongful biddings of his lower nature . He follows his animal desires pertaining to flesh blindly and thereby transgress the very Law of Existance called Ahimsa . Violating the Law of nature , one can little except to be happy , because he binds unpleasnat Karmic energy with his soul which results in pain .
been already pointed out that the main moving of indiviual activity in this
world , are the four primary instincts of food , fear , sexual craving and
greed of acquisition . Tendencies and traits of individual character arise from
their modifications . An animal has almost no character : it only behaves
itself in the maner of its inborn tendencies , which are formed according to
its mundane soul’s past actions and their results . The individual man ,
likewise , who has not succeeded in controlling his movements and acts only
according to his inborn but acquired tendencies , is but an animal in human
form . Yet since the individual man learns to act according to his VIVEKA
conscience and controls his desires , he rises higher in self-realisation and
gladly practises the principal of non-violance in his daily dealings . He
improves his tendencies and instincts by self-control and accumulates a
pleasant Karmic energy . So the Way of Ahimsa is the