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Section 05 To Section - 07


 

Non � Violence and Parigrahapramana

- a Path towards World Peace

* Prof. Gajanan L. Bhide

The modern Age is an age of nuclear power. The scientific and technological inventions have-attempted to control the nature and brought it to the services of human beings. But yet the man, society or nation are not satisfied with the gains they achieved. The selfish emotions for �more� created an unhappy atmosphere every where. The aim to secure this �more� has created a conflict between men, societies and the nations. Everywhere there is a �cry for peace�. The materialistic achievements and the technological know how could not achieve the peace for men and societies. The experience teaches us that wars were not caused by pressure of external circumstances but they were caused by selfishness, bigotry, intolerance, and hatred in man for man. Today corruption, bribery and black-marketing are rampant not only in India but throughout the world. Conflicting moral standards produce social, economic and political maladjustment�s and cause war or violence. It is, therefore, necessary to moralise political life, which in the complexity of modern life counts so much with us. Non-violence and parigraha pramana, the way of life shown by Jainism is the only path towards world peace in such a conflicting condition.

Himsa means violence, injury, mutilation, disfigurement m any shape or form. Himsa is injury to the vitality�s, caused through want of care and caution, Ahimsa means non-injury to life. The ideal Ahimsa is non-injury to other forms of life as well, namely beasts, birds and smaller creatures too. The strict observance of Ahimsa must avoid three classes of killing 1) Krita-killing with one�s own hand. 2) Karita-willing through an agent 3) Anumodita-approval of killing when another does it. All these cases must be strictly avoided according to the principle of Ahimsa. The principle of Ahimsa or universal love is based upon the recognition of the kinship of all organisms. Living organisms of different grades exhibit certain common characteristics peculiar to life. The lowest grade of the organic world consists of the botanical kingdom. The plants and trees are living organisms possessing only one sense, the sense of contact or touch. While all other organisms are placed in an environment in which they have to adjust their activities necessarily and inevitably in order to live on. Man has a unique privilege of changing and re-ordering the items of environment to suit his plan of life. This endows man with the creative activity, by which he can live in harmony. This higher capacity in man makes him realise his kinship to the other animals. This realisation of kinship of all organisms imbubes man with an ethical sense of love and sympathy to all living creatures. This is the ethical outcome of the fundamental unity of living beings.

Intentional Himsa ought to be entirely renounced by every man or woman leading a worldly I if e and may well be avoided by every thinking person without any harm or serious inconvenience to himself. It is not the infliction of physical injury alone that constitutes Himsa but violence in words, speech and thought too is Himsa. One must abstain from intentional Himsa caused by one�s activities of mind, speech and body. In Ahimsa motive is the decisive � factor. Himsa is caused by entertaining impure thoughts, by activities goaded by passions such as anger, pride, greed, fear, sex-desires and similar impure thoughts. Equanimity, non-attachments, control of senses, sacrifice and social service etc. contribute to Ahimsa.

Ahimsa is the supreme rule of conduct and is known as universal compassion. It includes infinite patience, inner calmness, discrimination, self-sacrifice, and true know lodge. Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. It does not come within the reach of the coward. It is not a lifeless dogma but a living and life-giving force. Observance of the principle of Ahimsa will lead to the greatest glory. Giving it up and acting against it will bring the worst disgrace. Doing injury to another is obviously violence but harbouring injury to another and unwillingness from cowardice, to defend oneself or one�s neighbour, is also violence and probably worse than the first.

In following non-violence, a person is expected to show kindness and sympathy to all living beings. This character of universal love and mercy to all living beings is the intrinsic human virtue. A person not endowed with such a quality is not far different from the ordinary animal. the unbounded kindness and mercy, the intrinsic divine element in man, must be fully developed so that the human personality may grow to its full stature.

The Jains maintain that the Ahimsa Dharma-the cult of non-violence or universal love to all living beings is the foundation of the Jain�s sacred life leading to the goal of liberation and self -realisation called Moksha. According to Jain tradition, Lord Rishabha was the first to preach Ahimsa- Dharma to the people at the beginning of the present yuga. Lord Mahavir led the revival movement for the spread of cult of Ahimsa in India. The cultural tradition based on Ahimsa is seen to have continued in India with some ups and downs during the Mughal and British period. The mighty weapon of Ahimsa was wielded by Mahatma Gandhi in liberating India from British yoke during recent times. The achievement of the Indian freedom under the able guidance of Mahatma Gandhi is a practical demonstration of the cult of non-violence. The invention of Atom Bomb and Hydrogen Bomb can never be relied on as a solution to the present day conlicts of ideologies between the big power of the world.

Mahatmaji had profound faith in the innate goodness and nobility of human nature. He believed that the ? doctrine of Ahimsa was the greatest contribution that India had made to world culture. He himself understood the principle of Ahimsa in a scientific way and expressed that, � No religion of the world has explained the principle of Ahimsa so deeply and scientifically as is discussed with its applicability in every day human life in Jainism. As and when the benevolent principle of Ahimsa will be searched for practice by the people of the world to achieve their end in life in this world and beyond, Jainism is sure to have the upper-most status and Lord Mahaveer is sure to be respected as the greatest authority of Ahimsa. � Gandhiji liberated the whole continent without firing a shot. He proved that a country can consummate a social, political and economic revolution without using violence. The path of peace illuminated by him should steady the steps of ail-the peace lovers of the world. Thus the human civilization, which is threatened today by power politics, violence and war can be saved with the help of the path of Non-violence.

Jainism prescribes five moral principles to be observed by all the members of society. These are five vows or pancha vratas. viz. 1 ) Ahimsa-Non -violence, 2) Truth 3) Non-stealing 4) Chastity or Brahmacharya 5) limiting one�s own possession or parigraha pramana. All these vows should be observed by thought, word and deed. The �principle of self-imposed limit to one�s own possession or income-parigraha pramana is extremely significant and valuable to the presnt world conditions. This implies the following moral practice.� Any worldly man according to his status in society is expected to make a mental decision �that beyond a certain amount of acquisition of property, whatever more to him must be devoted to the welfare of society in general and should not be appropriated by oneself as one�s own property �. The object of observing this fifth vow is to secure economic stability in society. The social order based upon the vow of parigraha pramana will certainly prevent unnecessary accumulation of wealth in a few hands and an undesirable accumulation of misery, poverty and wretchedness in many others in society. The present world order is based upon a scramble for wealth and economic standards have resulted in conflicting ideologies of capitalism and communism. An equitable distribution of wealth and successful elimination of poverty and misery will be the main characteristics of a welfare state. The undesirable conflict and struggle between capitalism and communism cannot occur in human society, if it is based upon the healthy economic principle of limited personal possession and surrendering all the surplus to society as a whole. The conflict between these two ideologies, political and military clashes, could easily be avoided, if this ethical principle, parigraha pramana is adopted all over the world. Acquisition of property is not an end in itself but only a means for individual experience of happiness. Strict adherence of this principle, will lead mankind along the middle path avoiding undesirable accumulation of wealth on one side and undesirable concentration of poverty, misery and wretchedness on the other side. The difference between these two could be avoided only by adopting the principle of parimita parigraha. This parimita parigraha-limited acquisition of property enjoyed by the Jain faith, is an indispensable moral code to be adopted by every human being. Thus the ideological, political, military conflicts between men, societies and nations can be avoided with the adoption of the path of non-violence and parimita parigraha. The selfish motives behind these conflicts can easily be removed with two principles. It is hoped that all shades of opinion either in India or any part of the world would find an easy approach to the cult of non-violence. If it is well understood and sincere attempts are made to practice the same in any walk of life, the adoption of non-violence and parigraha pramana is the only path to achieve permanent peace in the world.



Is Religion a Stumbling block in the

path of peace ?

* A. R. Ramtirthakar

Never before in the history has so much fear gripped the human mind as today. We are in the last decade of 20th century. We have seen nuclear holocaust in the same century. In the same century we have experienced vast progress of science but this scientific progress was without control of Spiritual power. Science has removed so many hurdles in our day-to-day life. But the same time has made our life fearfull and miserable.

The arms race is, today, accelerating setting in motion a complex process within every country. After so many disasters, agencies are researching the new types of weapons and support a continuous arms race. At present developing countries also are investing 40 to 50% of their national income in this arms race. Disarmament creates jobs along with radically improved health care. Transport provides descent housing for millions and raise the educational standard. But unfortunately this important factor of disarmament has been neglected by the evil controlled science.

According to United Nations estimates, the investments needed to improve housing and eliminate slums throughout the world is only 3.35% of the gross world product. For environmental protection additional investment of 1.05% is needed. Even a 20% reduction in global military spending would help to resolve man�s most urgent needs. It will also reduce the economical gap between the developed and developing countries. The developed countries are too much involved in the arms race but ironically developing countries suffering from backwardness hunger and poverty are increasingly involved in this arms race.

Today we are pleased with materialistic progress. We have easily forgotten that materialistic progress without religious background is totally useless for the human being. Nuclear power is a product of science. Nodoubt Nuclear energy is helping man. But if we think of Third World War with reference to Nuclear Scenario, it spells out how much damage it will do. It is difficult to predict the number of Nuclear weapons and the magnitude of their explosiveness. It is very clear that a Nuclear war once started cannot be restricted to a limited scale.

About 15000 cities and towns with population above 1 lakh could become targets for nearly 5000 warheads with total explosive power of 2000 mega/tons. The military target could consume over 6000 warheads. The explosive power nearly 3000 mega/ton could reduce the economically important industrial centers, to ashes. Energy supply and oil fields could be damaged. The directly evident consequences of major nuclear war include human casualty including deaths and serious injuries resulting from the blast, heat, and radiation due to explosions. 750 millions will be killed outright and some 340 million will receive serious injury due to immediate effect of the blast that constitutes a significant proportion of the total population of the world. Many of those who survive the initial impact, are in far greater suffering due to the late effects of biological systems and the calamities that result from the long range ecological and climatological consequences.

To avoid this, we must have fresh look at science. If we can create religious background, the science will not frighten man. In today�s condition, not science but religion and religion only can save the mankind. Religion is defined in a variety of ways. Defination of religion is like a bull�s eye lantern which gives us a clear view but not a complete view. Leaving aside the attempt to define we can simply say that religion is spiritual quality of life. Its foundation is faith, its temper is holiness, its aim is realisation of God. True religion shows its influence in every part of our conduct. It is like the sap of a living tree which penetrates the most distant boughs. What we need in religion is not a new life but a new sight, not a new path but new strength to walk in the old one, not new duties but new resolution to fulfill those that are plain before us. Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom, freedom has no security but virtue, virtue has security but knowledge and knowledge has no security but faith in God. God is therefore the central theme in all religions. Religion proclaims that God is an Omniscient and omnipotent being who sees and rules all things. This proclamation of religion is no mere fancy but a fact.

The Universal element in all religions with the rare exception is the concept of God. In the past an attempt has been made in the world to organise ideas about God which have taken the form of religion. In India we say


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that means water falling from the sky goes to the Sea. so the salutation offered to the various Gods reach Him alone. This sentiment is the fundamental attitude of Hinduism.

Spiritual values and social behaviour are not antithetical. The individual expresses and develops his personality only through relations with others. Society is the net work of religions among individuals. The aim of religion is the integration of personality which reconciles the individual to himself, to his fellowmen, and to the supreme spirit. To realise this goal there is a variety of paths. But these different paths at last come together to help the mankind. The true religion establishes harmony between morality and religion. Morality can not be divorced from religion. The religion is a grace place, an important part in almost all religions. Grace means a divine health

descending from above. Its helpful light is being thrown on the path of the seeker after spiritual unfolding. Religion means transformation. It is an act of self-discovery and contact with the divine.

The world is being knit together into a family with the advance of communication and technology. The vision of the universal brotherhood is finding expression through religious groups. Only spirituality can bring humanity together based on love and service. No one can say that religion is in any way becoming a hurdle in the progress of mankind. On the contrary religion is removing the hatred among the human society. Science will bring man together or closer bodily but religion has power to bring their minds together. The group of people having love and affection for each other will bring permanent peace on the earth, So in the advance era we have to say that for the peace and alround progress of mankind religion is unforgettable and the most important factor.