The aim of all religion is the spiritual and moral uplift of man . Spiritual uplift may be individual in pursuit as well as achievement, but moral uplift implies one’s conduct and behaviour in relations with other beings, human and animal. Man is a social being, and hardly any of his actions, by thought . Word or deed, is without its direct or indirect impact on the society he is a member of . In fact, even spiritual development is well nigh impossible without the cultivation of wholesome and appropriate moral values . Religion in practice is, therefore, nothing but a determined and rational effort to lead a pious, virtuous and moral life .
Jainism has been described as an ethical system par excellence, because it lays the greatest emphasis on self-discipline and self-control in order to lead a life of peaceful co-existence, co-operation, co-ordination and co-realisation . Ahimsa or non-violence in thought , word and action, is its keynote, and perfect equanimity its pivot .
In the present book, ‘Life and Legacy of Mahavira-A Social Study’, the learned author, after dealing with the antiquity of the Tirthankara tradition, the life and work of Lord Mahavira, and his philosophical and ethical doctrines, has discussed in the last chapter, the significance of Mahavira . This chapter is the core of the book, and in it, though very briefly, he has tried very ably to evaluate the social aspects of Lord Mahavira’s teachings, under six apt subheadings-Establishment of Social Equality, Emancipation of Women, Inculcation of Self-reliance,
Emphasis on Non-violence, Insistence on Tolerance, and Encouragement to Social Welfare, which bespeak for them selves .
The author, Dr . Vilas Adinath Sangave, is a seasoned scholar not only of Sociology, of which he is a reputed teacher, but also of Jaina religion and philosophy . I congratulate him for this nice piece he has prepared for publication in this year of 2500th Nirvana Anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the Greatest Benefactor of Mankind. Shri Rajendra Kumar Jain, the enthusiastic Secretary of the Veer Nirvana Bharati, Meerut, also deserves thanks for bringing out this book for the benefit of the readers. He has the credit of publishing several other good books in English and Hindi through the Veer Nirvana Bharati .
JYOTI PRASAD JAIN
2nd October, 1975 .