By Vijay Darda | 13-09-2021
Jain principles and philosophy are a wonderful amalgamation of nature, science and humanity
I consider myself fortunate that I have got an opportunity to be associated with religious scholars and knowledgeable persons from different religions. From the early days of my life, I have been curious about knowing and understanding religion. Spiritual values imbibed in me by my grandmother, Bai (mother), father and my life partner Jyotsna made me open to accept the teachings of all religions. It did not even occur to me to criticise any religion. Festivals of different religions make me joyous and I strongly believe that this diversity makes India different from other nations in the world.
Religion is not an outer covering but is a medium to awaken your inner soul. You follow any religion, they all show you the right path. There is no place for hatred in the religion but unfortunately today bloodbath is being witnessed in the name of the religion. The cruelty in the name of the religion upsets me and I always think when will this environment change. Will it ever change? If yes, what will be the way of change? I can see this path in the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir Swami. I would like to make it clear that I do not want to assert the supremacy of Jain religion. I feel that for every individual his/her religion is supreme and that should be so.
However, if there are principles in other religions or beliefs that can make life better, there is no harm in accepting them. In my personal life, I have learnt a lot from other religions apart from Jainism and I also follow these teachings. All religious books and symbols are available at my Pooja place.
I am discussing the Jain way of life and philosophy here because there are principles in this religion which can show us the new way. I would first like to speak about Kshama (forgiveness). Of course, it’s not as easy as saying or writing it. So, it has been aptly written in the Jain philosophy – Kshama Veerasya Bhushanam. Only the one who is strong and brave can learn the art of forgiveness. There is a need of inner strength to seek forgiveness from somebody and even more power is required to forgive somebody. When we speak of forgiveness, it includes developing capacity to not only forgive others but to forgive self too.
In fact, the Jain philosophy speaks about going beyond human life and seeking forgiveness from the entire living beings in the universe. The teaching here is clear, we are committed to maintain in its originality this Earth, sky and the unknown other world that nature has gifted us with. In fact, this is the teaching of every religion.
This is why it is essential that every individual wears the ornament of forgiveness. For this, one will have to modify oneself. One needs to attain that purity of soul wherein even the thought of harming somebody does not arise in the mind. Jain philosophy teaches us that even thinking of harming somebody is an act of violence. It is obvious then that when we develop the capacity to imbibe forgiveness at this spiritual level, the thought of non-violence will occur naturally to us.
Non-violence is in fact the highest moral virtue. This concept of forgiveness and non-violence is the basis of Jain philosophy. Sadly, in today’s world maximum violence is being carried out in the name of religion. Throats of each other are being slit. Merchants of religion are brandishing the weapon of greatness of their religion. The horrific and cruel hand of terrorism is looking to take the entire humanity in its clutches.
I feel that the non-violence has the strength to fight even this draconian hand of terrorism. I am not dwelling on some theoretical aspect. Our freedom struggle has been witness to the power of non-violence. The empire on which Sun never set was ousted by Mahatma Gandhi with the power of truth and non-violence. Jain philosophy has taught us this lesson of truth and non-violence ceaselessly for the last thousands of years.
If forgiveness, truth and non-violence are in our life, renunciation will become part of our life naturally. Greed will never occur if we desire only for what is essential for life. This will make the path of our life easy. Right philosophy (Samyak Darshan), right knowledge (Samyak Dnyan) and right character (Samyak Charitra) will become part of our life.
Jain philosophy teaches us pluralism that is the ability to understand others. Today, all feel that they are right but actually till you understand the point of view of others, you cannot do justice to yourself too. Can a trader’s business be successful if he cannot understand the perspective of his customer? Similarly, if everybody begins to understand each other’s point of view, there will be no conflict.
When there will be no conflict, there will be no war. If looked at from a broader perspective, the entire humankind will be able to live in peace and harmony. We will be able to create a world where there will be no need of hoarding arms. The money we are spending on arms can be spent on education and health of the masses.
This may sound a hollow thought now but during its journey mankind has done what it has resolved to do. The man has reached the Moon. Technology has developed a lot. If the man resolves to make forgiveness as his ornament, no power in the world can stop him. We will then, in true sense, be able to say Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is a family).
We have just celebrated Paryushan Parva and sought forgiveness from each other. Just imagine what the world would look like if everyone acquired the ability to forgive and seek forgiveness! Then the world will be even better than the paradise of our imagination. Non-violence too is also born out of forgiveness.