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The Jaina Path Of Ahimsa

DR. VILAS SANGAVE

INTRODUCTION

Of all religions of the world, Jainism is the only religion which has the principle of Ahimsa as its central doctrine. The other religions also speak of Ahimsa whenever convenient but they never offer such loyalty to the principle of Ahimsa as is found in Jainism. In the history of world religions, Jainism alone has given a unique position to the doctrine of Ahimsa and has based its ethical code entirely on the complete observance of the tenet of Ahimsa in all its aspects. Jainism is the only religion in the world which has given maximum attention to the important practical aspects of the theory of Ahimsa so that Ahimsa, in it's minutest details, can be actually observed both by the lay followers and ascetics in their day to day life. At the same time Jaina religion has got the unique distinction, among the religions of the world, of ably presenting in a scholastic and scientific manner the theoretical and philosophical side of the doctrine of Ahimsa by discussing it thoroughly not only from internal and absolute points of view but also from external and real points of view. In addition, the Jaina religion has earned special prestige in the world by giving equal emphasis on the negative and positive aspects of Ahimsa. On this basis Jainism has shown to the world in a perfect and convincing way the worth of the doctrine of Ahimsa by stating the basic principle, viz., "Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah" i. e. Ahimsa is the greatest religion. That is why Jaina Religion is considered as Ahimsa Religion and Jaina Culture as Ahimsa Culture. For understanding this utmost significance attached to the principle of Ahimsa in Jainism, it is quite necessary to see, in brief, the outstanding features of Jaina religion and the prominent aspects of the concept of Ahimsa as formulated in Jaina religion.