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PURE CONDUCT IS THE TRUE RELIGION
RIGHT EXPOSITION OF JAINISM IN THE WEST
ISSUES CONFRONTING THE FOLLOWERS OF JAIN DHARMA

PURE CONDUCT IS THE TRUE RELIGION 

By Mrs. Nirmala Bothra

I am making a humble effort to share with you my realizations, through thoughts and worldly experiences. My attempt is to enable a human being to make his life a success by spending his time in the world blessed with the beauty of Nature.

"Satya" (truth) is such a standard that can be understood in the form of truth only, and not in the form of untruth. I have presented in this article my thoughts about the "Dharma" (religion) of character obtained from the Nature. The purpose of human life is to glorify one's character. Any human being is a member of his family; he is an incarnation of his parents. It is imperative that he has pure character for the unity of his family and its proper direction, including the direction of the lives of members of future generations, and for instilling virtuous values in them. The true character is absolutely necessary for upliftment of human civilization because men constitute families, families build society and societies compose the world. A man is a significant unit, contributing to the well being of the world.A men ought to purify his knowledge and ensure its proper use so that the future of the coming generation is brightened up. With this in view, it is said:

     "There is no religious austerity like truth, 
      There is no sin comparable to untruth,
      The Holy God resides in the heart of the true."

The objective of human life is to discover the truth and to liberate the soul by following the path of truth. Man has ever been struggling in the search of the truth but he can achieve the truth only by honoring the discipline of the Nature and not disobeying its ruling.

This is the ruling of fate that each living being, desirous of salvation, has to pass through the mortal state and he has to step forward only by fulfilling his duty with the help of his sound mind and judgment. If he fails to make the right use of his rationality, he would continue to achieve only his decline. A person of such sound mind may not be able to change the land and the sky but surely can change his thoughts and attitudes because a perfect position (state) can be attained only after passing through the channel of perfect truth.

The path of truth is the only perfect path. All scriptures have acknowledged "Ahimsa" -- (nonviolence) as the best "Dharma" -- (religion) and after have great consideration recommended, three (3) steps of conduct to follow the path of truth. The three steps are:

  • PURE "DARSHAN" (VISION)

  • PURE "GYAN" (REASON, KNOWLEDGE)

  • PURE "CHARITRA" (CHARACTER)

Exacting these three virtues, a man can lead a happy life, can attain "Vivek" (rationality) and can follow the right "Sadacharan" (conduct). Without righteous conduct, a man becomes even worst than animals. The training for the righteous conduct must commence from the childhood itself because this is the right time to lay the strong foundation on which the strong castle of character can stand throughout life. "Vision, reason and character, nay worship, are the essence acceptable. Only a foundation, strong, pure, well-laid can make this life worth living.

PURE VISION ("DARSHAN") IS THE FIRST STEP OF MAN'S ADVANCEMENT
"Darshan" (vision) implies faith in God and his reverence. Nature's power is a special power. Man has given, only to this power, the name of God. The universe rests on this power itself. Only on its flow, the creatures move back and forth and will continue to do so. Buddha, Mahaveer, Ram and Jesus attained perfect position and greatness by upholding their faith in this infallible truth and combining pure vision, pure reason (knowledge) and pure character. That is why the world worships them today. Idols of such noble and holy men are sculptured, set up in temples and then adored. This power of the Nature is neither manifest nor is capable of being presentable in a form. This in itself is an infinite and all prevailing great energy. A temple is but a means to impress this realization in any human being. With the help of an idol or a picture, faith can be awakened in children. They can be inspired to trust in this power. A mere visit to temple is not the vision; the vision is a staunch belief in God. What we see with the eyes is not all truth. We cannot see the air but can realize its power by its touch. Similarly, we cannot see the God, but his power is felt everywhere. When man first came into the world, he had nothing. No food, no clothes, no house and no knowledge of letters. But then he achieved all these and more with the help of his rationality and intelligence. This faculty and power is derived by him from his earlier action and supported by nature. The power of the Nature is stronger than the human faculty. One should take up his duty and act, keeping that power in upright view. Pure vision helps a man to acquire pure knowledge and the pure knowledge can refine the pure vision. These are totally interdependent. These are inseparable.

PURE KNOWLEDGE ("GYAN") IS THE SECOND STEP OF MAN'S ADVANCEMENT
Good and bad are identified through knowledge alone. Earlier actions may empower a man to think and comprehend but the proper or improper use of such power depends upon his knowledge. Only through knowledge, he can decide whether he should speak the truth or tell the lie, whether he should comfort someone or cause grief. Knowledge makes him realize that good deeds lead to good results and bad deeds entrain bad results. Even then, trapped by inducements, he at times acts bad. As a result, he conscience becomes unrestful and gloomy; His heart and mind get entangles into lack of peace. This puts adverse effect on his mind and body. He is captivated by various diseases. Pure knowledge breeds humanity. In the absence of humanity, a man becomes a demon. He starts behaving against the Nature and the Nature punishes without avoidance. Man is helpless in front of this power. He can become happy, prosperous and great only by acting in accordance with Nature. In order to achieve good results from Nature, he has to perform well to become entitled to good results. Pure knowledge enables good performance. Pure knowledge is itself to act with judgment and this pure knowledge really the only knowledge, is helpful.

     "Let every home resound with the talk of Dharma.
      Let the hard-to-perform become easy.
      Let all acquire nobility of knowledge and character.
      Then all the fruits of human life will be achieved."

PURE CHARACTER ("CHARITRA") IS THE THIRD STEP OF MAN'S ADVANCEMENT
It is human religion derived from Nature. Without pure character, a man cannot uplift his soul. Mahaveer, Buddha, Ram and Jesus all achieved their greatness and perfect state by achieving the purity of character. They were liberated from the birth and death, their souls mingled with the Nature.

THE CLARION CALL IS: BE A CONQUEROR OF YOUR TIME
Only by honoring the tenets of pure character, man can understand the true form of his soul. A man of noble character has only noble thoughts which help him in the service of mankind. A man of fallen character gets distorted thoughts which cause grief. He suffers and the surroundings get decayed. Purity of character is a great dedication (Sadhana) and with this dedication, one gets the light of soul, one thinks pure and acts pure. By this, he becomes great and shows to others the direction of greatness. Man has developed societies with his rationality and then has make the social code of conduct. He has resented diverse thoughts and philosophies in the name of religions. To serve, to make temples, not to eat at night and avoid fruits of roots and so on. But these good deeds are only his duties. For better health fasts, and abstinence will keep bodies healthy and mind in control. Misdeeds are saved. These become the channels of refinement and purification. To obey and maintain pure character of this kind is "Dharma" (religion). This is "Sanyam" (self-control) and this is "Sadhana" (practice). Pure vision, pure reason and pure character, when enacted take us to our perfect state. Since man comes to this world for his soul's salvation, this three point program helps to achieve success in his mission. Such a man's soul mingles with the Nature's power. He is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. This is "Moksha" (emancipation) the "Mukti"(liberation) and "Nirvana" (Salvation). "The essence of knowledge is but this, extend kindness to all who live, hurt no one, killing is not to give, the science of nonviolence is not to miss."

     A man achieves civility and religious prowess when he acquires:

          * Pure "Darshan" (Vision)
          * Pure "Gyan" (Reason, Knowledge)
          * Pure "Charitra" (Character)

     This is the way of health, happiness and peaceful life. 
     It lays foundation for his endeavor towards salvation.

Author's Appeal to the world

Great Nations are built on great civilizations and great civilizations are built on family values. Three important ingredients that make up the great family are:

              * Pure Vision (Faith)
              * Pure Knowledge
              * Pure Character

Pure vision keeps a person focused on the right path. Pure knowledge helps a person in realizing right from wrong. Pure character gives him civility.
In this booklet, I have tried to summarize my thoughts based on my own life experiences. I believe that these principles should be taught to children from an early age at homes as well as in the schools. This is essential for humanity to embrace rational thinking and civil behavior.
It is my appeal to educators to consider a school curriculum in moral science which teaches a child a way of living based on these principles.


Some Thoughts

* Pure Conduct is the True Religion.
* There is no other attainment nobler than purifying one's life.
* The nature is the exemplifying teacher for the serious students of behavior.
* Greed can be conquered by contentment and anger can be conquered by peace.
* Purity of heart is the only rule for the journey to reach god.
* Pure heart breeds beautiful thoughts and beautiful thoughts give birth to noble deeds.
* Civility cannot be achieved without good thoughts and conducts.
* Good characters can be acquired by practicing good deeds. It cannot be bought by money.
* Live not for existence's pleasure but for soul's satisfaction.