CHAPTER-1 GANADHIPATI TULSI
THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF PREKSHA DHYANA
Q. While mentioning the objectives of your Punjab tour, you said that in your
work you are guided by two viewpoints -- that of anuvrat and preksha dhyana.
Anuvrat is a unique achievement of your life. This fact is now well proved by
the activities of the past three decades. The talk of preksha dhyana is somewhat
new. There are many questions in the public mind about it. How did it originate
and why? What values do you wish to establish through it in society? Is this
also an extensive movement like Anuvrat? There are some other questions, too.
Will you kindly tell us about it at length?
Ans. Jain munis do not stay at one place for long. So travelling on foot becomes
an indispensable part of their life. They are, in fact, pledged to a life of
travel and are always on the move. But if their journey is imbued with some
special aim, it acquires greater significance. I have been travelling on foot
for the last 53 years. During the first 23 years, the scope and aim of my
pilgrimage were limited. The frontiers were, however, extended; the objectives
became more clear and comprehensive, and my foot-pilgrimage took a new turn.
This turn occurred 30 years ago when I began my anuvrat journey. The journey
extended much farther. Pilgrimages were made from the north to the south, i.e.
from Punjab to Kanya-Kumari. During these tours, foundations were laid of a
religion, which was finding recognition as simple religion without any epithet
before it. Through it communal prejudices began to be demolished, and a pure
non-sectarian religion emerged.
Anuvrat started a new experiment of bringing about a revolution in thought in
the field of religion. Treating the external structure of religion as secondary,
it has given primary importance to its essential spirit. Earlier, formal worship
which is a secondary aspect of religion, was mistakenly given precedence over
spirituality which is the soul of religion. Anuvrat halted this reversal of
values caused by relegating the primary to the secondary and accepting the
secondary as primary. It gave precedence to spirituality. A widespread, illusory
conception was abandoned resulting in greater clarity and the re-establislhment
of spiritual values. It once again awakened people's faith in spirituality. They
displayed greater interest and the urge to practise religion in the laboratory
of life became stronger.
The discussion on spirituality unwittingly created the background for preksha
dhyana. The seed of preksha was sown the day anuvrat started its campaign for a
revolution in thought. For years, this seed was nurtured within. After maturing
inside, it sprouted forth and flowered at the appropriate time. From this
viewpoint, preksha is no unexpected happening. It is not a sudden jump out of
the void. Its origin is the, culmination of a process; it has a whole history
behind it. It emerged into existence after creating for itself a solid base.
Q You are the preceptor of the anuvrat movement. - Did you have any concept of
preksha dhyana in your mind at the time of starting the movement? Or is it only
in the present decade that emphasis is being laid on preksha dhyana, keeping in
view people's growing interest in meditation and yoga? You just said that
preksha dhyana is no sudden achievement. But then why did it remain unprojected
before the public for so many years?
Ans. Anuvrat and preksha dhyana originated almost together; though at the time I
had no conception of 'preksha' in my mind. But, for the creation of the kind of
ground I required for anuvrat, it was not possible to ignore the inevitable
requirement of dhyana-sadhana. The sapling of anuvrat bloomed earlier because it
was connected with the gross world, with the behavioural aspect of life. But
preksha is concerned with the subtle world, the inner aspect of life, and it
took a long time to develop, and still longer to bear fruit. As the conception
of moral values took root among the people, the spiritual thirst increased. For
the individual smitten by spiritual thirst, preksha dhyana is an infallible
means of self-realization.
At the very outset we had proclaimed that spirituality is the basis of morality.
Some thinkers recognize patriotism as the basis of morality; others recognize
social welfare to be the inspiration behind morality. The Chinese philosopher,
Confucius laid great emphasis upon moral values for achieving happiness,
prosperity and equilibrium in life. Again, the preceptor of Taoism, Laotse, too,
conceived of an ideal society and held simplicity and straightforwardness to be
the most excellent behaviour. The Indian ethics also give outstanding importance
to the concepts of this world and the other world in the perspective of
morality. But our perception is quite different. We have accepted spirituality
to be the fundamental basis of morality. Because it is only in the spiritual man
that moral action can flower. Similarly, spiritual development, too, is more
likely to flourish on the ground of moral behaviour.
In the initial stages of the anuvrat movement, we had not laid any special
emphasis upon dhyana-sadhana. But once the principle of morality was well
established in the public consciousness and faith in moral conduct was
strengthened, need was felt for special experiments of sadhana with a view to
making that conduct stable. For this, anuvrat training shivirs were organised.
The form of preksha dhyana first emerged at the 21-day shivir organised at the
Spiritual Meditation Centre, Mehrauli, in Delhi. This shivir was held in 1966
and in respect of both time and technique stood distinct from all the shivirs
held till then. In that shivir, beside morality, a good deal of discussion was
held on spirituality, and some exercises were also performed. During this
progranune of spiritual churning, there were present many people who were
vitally interested in spirituality. Notable among these were Morarji Bhai Desai,
Srimannarain, Dada Dharmadhikari, Gopinath Aman, Jainendra Kumar, etc. Since at
that time I was not in Delhi, I was not present at this shivir. However, in
close proximity with and under the direction of Muni Nathmalji (now Yuvacharya
Mahaprajna) good work was accomplished there. In a way this camp became a
meeting point of spiritual and moral ideologies. Referring to this fact,
Srimannarainji said at that time, "It appears to me that this sadhana-site will
become a centre from which rays of spirituality will.transmit light to all the
people of the world."
During that long shivir, some spiritual books were also studied. Comprehensive
discussions took place on important topics relating to mental peace.
Deliberations were held on spiritual experiments in the context of the
present-day problems of the world. In all, this shivir created a stir in the
intellectual world. It was after this shivir that the seed of preksha began to
sprout forth. Emphasis was now being laid on meditation, along with anuvrat. To
the Anuvrat Code of Conduct, we added two more items -- meditation and study.
This created a distinctive atmosphere and it seemed as if preparations were on
for the manifestation of some important element.
Now began to be held more meditation camps than anuvrat shivirs. Adequate
interest was created among the people in respect of dhyana-sadhana. But still no
shivirs were held under the name of preksha dhyana. About 2-3 years ago, an
organised and comprehensive form of meditation technique was developed which
came to be recognized as preksha dhyana. Preksha dhyana is the next stage of the
anuvrat programme. From one point of view it is a developed form of anuvrat,
from another, a successful method of giving a practical shape to the theoretical
aspect of anuvrat.
Thirty years ago (in 1950), I toured Punjab. Anuvrat was the main objective of
my pilgrimage then. The matter of spirituality or meditation was secondary at
that time, and therefore was only incidentally touched upon. Now that the next
stage of anuvrat had been developed, in. my second tour of Punjab I added to
anuvrat, preksha dhyana as well. In fact, anuvrat and preksha dhyana are
complementary to each other. We believe that their fulness and vigour would
serve to make public life, too, more vital and complete.