Fourth stage of development-part-2
The removal, one by one, of the four classes of instrumental causes which make us what we actually are, is the means whereby we become what we are potentially; and the soul in this process of becoming is developed through the stages now in course of being given.
In the fourth stage of development, the first of the four causes is removed, or at any rate controlled. In this fifth stage, the second cause, lack of self-control, is partially removed or kept down. In this stage there is partial self-control, and there is the right attitude. All persons in this stage, therefore, know the value of self-control, they all make the effort to practice it, and they practice it in part.
In the fourth stage, there is control of the worst degree of anger, pride, deceitfulness, and greed, and the lack of self-control in that stage means the less intense degrees. In the fifth stage, there is control of the degree of anger, etc., next above the worst, and therefore in this fifth stage vows to refrain from certain activities of an injurious nature can be taken. There is partial self-control in relation to living beings, having the power of locomotion, but not in relation to stationary living things, like plants.
In this stage, we are liable to generate any of the knowledge-obscuring energies, any of those forces which prevent us from doing right actions which we see ought to be done and may wish to do. Also we may generate the male sex passion, disgust, fear, grief, laughing and joking, improper liking and disliking, also the milder degrees of greed, deceitfulness, pride, and anger. We may generate both pain and pleasure; life as an angel, but not as man, animal or devil.
As already mentioned, all persons in this fifth stage of development practice self-control partially. When perfect self-control over the sense pleasures, desires, emotions, passions, etc., is practiced, then there is no question of degrees; but here, in this fifth stage of partial control, the question of degrees arises, and three degrees may be considered, namely, a low, a moderate, and a high degree.
The person, practicing a low degree of self-control in the right attitude of mind, would give up meat-eating and alcoholic drink. He would resolve, and carry out the resolution not to destroy intentionally and without any special necessary cause any innocent living being or thing which has locomotion. And he would every now and then try to meditate upon the five kinds of great personalities postulated by the Jain philosophy.
The person practicing a moderate degree of self-control with the right attitude of mind, would follow the path of rectitude, his conduct would be good. He may observe the thirty-five rules of conduct previously given. He observes twelve special rules, which may be called vows, in the absence of a more adequate word to translate the Sanskrit term “vrata“; and he performs six daily activities. These twelve vows and six activities are given in the following pages.
A person practicing the highest degree of partial self-control, would eat only once a day; he would give up all kinds of food which is animate at the time of eating, such as raw fruit, lettuce, etc. He would practice absolute chastity. He would have the desire to adopt the vows of the monk; he may not be able to adopt them, but still he has the desire to.
The five kinds of great personalities referred to above are:
The Masters, or those who reach omniscience in the flesh, and teach the road to everlasting life in the liberated state (Arhat). They have 12 characteristics.
Those soul who have reached that state already (Siddha). They have 8 characteristics.
Those spiritual teachers who, though not omniscient, have realized or experienced the self-realization of their own souls, and are illuminated. These are spiritual heads (Acarya). They have 36 characteristics.
Those who understand the true nature of the soul, and are teachers of spirituality under the control of the spiritual heads. They have 25 characteristics.
Any holy man or woman who strictly follows five great vows (sadhu). Such persons have 27 characteristics.
SIX DAILY ACTIVITIES
The practice of these activities is, already mentioned, one of the things a person exercising the middle degree of partial self-control would do:
He would worship the master. Or, in the absence of the Master, he would worship the image of the Master. What is the use of worshipping an image? The answer is as follows:
The methods used in cognizing any insentient thing or any living being area are of four kinds, viz., the name, a representation, the thing in its previous condition, and the thing itself.
The first method is by giving the name. The mention of the name is sufficient to bring to knowledge the idea of the object. The mention of names has a great deal to do with the rise and improvement of the mind; it is a great factor in those concrete activities which have to do with the progress of man.
The second method by which we cognize things or beings, look down upon, pay respect to, etc., is the picture, likeness, photograph, portrait, diagram, symbol, image, model, statue, etc. Absent persons can be worshipped by this means. The fact of the misuse of images does not disprove the philosophical truth that the image is an important factor, when its use is rightly understood. Photographs, etc., can be used as a means of insult or contempt (Guy Fawkes, for example); and they can be used for respecting and worshipping absent persons.
The third method is, when we wish to respect or worship a thing or person not yet in existence; we worship the previous state of that thing, or person. By paying respect to the present person or thing, we can pay respect to the future being or thing. For instance, the Indian prince Srenika is believed to have been the soul who is to be the first Master of the next cycle; so the first Master of the next cycle of time could have been worshipped by using Srenika in that way.
The fourth method of knowing a thing or paying respect, is by using the actual person or thing.
When a person has an ideal, he respects it; and the idea of the ideal is much strengthened by worship. Worshipping the ideal by any of the above four methods, strengthens the belief and convictions regarding that ideal.
The second thing that a person exercising the middle degree of partial self- control would do every day, would be to render homage to the teacher (guru).
He would study philosophy every day.
He would practice some form of self-control every day.
He would practice some form of austerity every day, both physical and internal. Controlling hunger would be a physical one; also assuming posture in concentration, would be a physical one. Concentration would be an internal one. Austerities are not the line of least resistance.
And he would do some kind of charity every day; but not in the sense where the giver is superior to the receiver; both are equal. If there is any idea of superiority, it encourages or feeds pride. Pride obscures knowledge; it is like a plate in front of the eyes obstructing the view.