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Jainism �

A Laser beam towards Global Peace

* Pandita Padmashree Sumatibai Shah

As a founder of Academy for global peace and president of the World Peace Conference, I have great pleasure to welcome all the eminent scholars of Jainalogy, who assembled here on this great occasion. I am thankful to these scholars, becuase they responded to our appeal and contributed research papers in the conference within a very short period. I know that some of them have pains of travelling for one or two days also, but I hope that their stay in Shravikashram and presence and participation in the conference will be pleasurable and happy one. I wish that the pure academic discussions and paper reading in this conference, will remain forever in the minds of Shravikashram and the participating scholars too. Again I welcome you all.

My Institution, Shravikashram, is an Institution having social, cultural and academic importance in society. This is one of the biggest institutions of type in the world. This institution is not only a �Home� for orphans and divorced women but, also a cultural training center for the girls to be good and responsible women in future. Shravikashram with the help of various technical institutions has attempted for independent and self-supporting women�s position. This is an Academic Institution having a well reputation in India. Various academic projects are completed and many more have been undertaken by this institution. Shravikashram is aware of the social problems

and so attempts were made to held academic discussions and arrange conferences to find out the solutions over the social problems. Thus the Shravikashram always remained as a part and parcel of the society. This conference is also organized with an object to discuss and search the path for world peace, which is the urgent need of humanity, society and nations too.

Cry for peace :

The twentieth century has witnessed the period of distraction. The distraction by atomic weapons at Nagasaki and Hiroshima made the scientists, politicians and statesmen of the world to think over the problem as to how the peace of the world can be maintained. The destruction in the second World War has affected the human life as well as political and social condition of the world. The world is standing on the brink of destruction through the media of Atomic power. Whether to face annihilation or to survive for better life is a big question mark before the big countries. The major countries in the world like U. S. S. R., U. S. A., England, China, France are thinking to use the atomic power for the purpose of peace in the world. The attempts of the world origin stations such as League of Nations and in some cases United Organisations also failed to establish permanent peace. There is a cry for peace everywhere.

Today the world has arrived at a great crisis. It has to be decided whether man with all his scientific knowledge and power would go back to the barbaric condition or would find and follow the true path of progress and development. If at this crucial hour humanity makes a wrong choice, the whole race may even be wiped out from the face of the earth as being an evolutionary failure. The Nature may start her experiment on some other planet, in some other solar system of which recent scientific research has already given us glimpses. Man has not yet attained the qualities of the head and heart which alone can give him the fitness and the capacity to make a proper use of the great power which has been put into his hands by science for preparing the material conditions of a truly spiritual life on the earth. Men get inspiration from within to accomplish something great and an the grand scale, but on account of spiritual ignorance they are unable to ascertain what that great thing is and blindly impelled by egoism they are rushing into the world struggles to conquer and rule over the whole earth.

Science has turned the human race into one unit. One country, one nation, one culture that is really the goal towards which all the endeavour of Nature is tending. Within that world union there will be unimpeded freedom for individual as well as the group to develop in their own way, thus manifesting infinite variety within a grand world symphony. But the present mind, life and body of man are so weak, ignorant, small, narrow, unregenerate that, with these assets he cannot grasp or accept this great ideal of unity in diversity and proceed to realise it in actual life. For this, it is necessary to discover the soul, the self, lying concealed in all human beings behind their outward body.

The modern thinkers and philosophers have attempted to search out a new path to present us on this crisis, as a light for its solutions. Human desire is the main cause of these conflicts. Human nature is many sided and very complex. Man has a body, a vital, a mind and each of these has its own claims and needs. Only the barbarians can remain satisfied with the well being of the body, the satisfaction of vital desires. Man is chiefly a mental being and his mind erects the ideals of the true, the Good, the beautiful. Humanity really consists in the pursuit of these ideals for their own sake. But it is found that these mental ideals do not accord with the claims and demands of the life of man. Again the conflict between his body and life is also considerable. That is why human life is full of so many conflicts and contradictions. All attempts of man to build an ideal society have broken down again and again on account of these inherent conflicts in human nature. The desire for possession, domination, exploitation is inherent in the vital nature of man. Even the most satisfactory economic condition that any social scheme can bring about will not appease these hungers in man. Even the very peace and security prevailing in the world will be found monotonous and boring and the vital nature will seek for new adventures leading to the social conflicts and international wars. The intellectual reason of man has not the power to establish harmony among these discordant elements and lead them to their true fulfillment. That can be done only by spiritual consciousness which is greater and higher than the mind.

Mind and fife themselves cannot grow into their fullness except by the opening up of larger and greater consciousness to which mind only approaches. Such a larger and greater consciousness is the spiritual. The spiritual consciousness is not only higher than the rest but more embracing, universal as well as transcendent. It can take up mind and life into its light and give them the true and utmost realisation of all which they are seeking for. It has a greater instrumentality of knowledge, a fountain of deeper power and will, an unlimited reach and intensity of love and joy and beauty. These are the things for which our mind, life and body are seeking knowledge, power and joy and to reject that by which all these arrive at their utmost plentitude is to shut them out for their own highest consummation.

Rationalistic Way to Search For Peace :

The ideal which the modern mind has understood very well is the realisation of the life �an ideal material organisation of civilization and comfort, the use of reason and science and education for the generalisation of utilitarian rationality which will make the individual a perfected social being in perfect economic society. �This rationalistic ideal however is not so modern. Rousseau and other rationalists brought about the French Revolution following this very ideal. But whatever might have been its other results, it certainly did not lead to the formation of an ideal order of society. The later attempt of the Marxists on the same line, has led no doubt to a new order of social organization in Russia, but there has not been any fundamental change or improvement in the condition of men. In the matter of individual freedom there has been a definite deterioration. Soviet Russia is already being compelled to give up, one by one, the fundamental tenets of Marxism, even its opposition to religion and spirituality.

The rationalists of Modern age wanted to eliminate religion from life as being an obstacle to the progress of humanity. They erected a rationalistic religion of humanity, the serve of man as man, the observance of moral and social rules conducive to the welfare of human life on the earth. They made it a substitute for traditional religion. It must be admitted that this has been done much good to mankind. But this very rationalistic attitude brought about a subjective chaos and specially after the devastating European war, �all received values were overthrown and all firm ground seemed to disappear from its social organisation, its conduct and its culture.�

The society which rejects spiritual values cannot bring forth a better and higher order of human life simply by giving encouragement to science and art in the name of culture. In such a society science will be used as a means of fulfilling the so-called natural evolutionary laws such as, �the survival of the fittest�. Art will be made to popper to the lowest passions in man. Thus giving a new force and ascendance to his lower nature will really be an evolutionary retrogression. This conscious stress on the material and economic life was in fact a civilised reversion to the first stage of man, his early barbaric state.

Science is an influence hostile to religion not because it supports any metaphysical position but because it is empirical and must therefore tend to weaken belief in any system of ideas which lack empirical foundation. But if the argument is valid that science is bound to weaken belief in religion how is it that such a large percentage of the foremost scientists in all ages and in all countries has been ardent believers in religion ? As regards the empirical foundation of science it is now admitted that science can never give us ultimate truths about things as long as it confines itself to data given by sense experience. Science does not offer or even attempt any explanation or interpretation of happenings in the world. It has now for its single aim the discovery of the laws to which these happenings conform the pattern of events. Science and Industrialism can do much to remove the poverty of the people and must be accepted, but unless there are proper safeguards, that will not be an Unmixed good.

Education and propaganda�s, it is supposed, would inducement to give up violence and learn to love each other. But experience shows that education can only give a knowledge of things, it cannot bring about any radical change in nature. Unity, equality, co-operation all these things are needed for the well-being of the society. So attempts are made to suppress all competition and clash of egoes by a rigorous social organisation. But under such a regime, society will be turned into a machine and the Individual will riot find the needed freedom and scope for own development, and that is not the way for the solution of the problem of life. This attempts to bring about a new world order through mechanical means, through social and political adjustments, such a mentality which either rejects spirituality altogether or if it at all accepts it, turns to morality and religion, the former consisting of certain outer rules of conduct, the latter of outward rites and ceremonies. But the true spirituality is not a thing of rules and principles, it is a life spontaneously out flowing from the innermost spirit.