Conditions change! No more sane living in a Gurukul!
Shivirs now partly serve to make good what is gone.
The system grows; all kinds of shivirs,
With different aims are held, on different grounds.
Jain Vishva Bharati, the harbinger of awakening,
Promotes sadhana-shivirs, when and wherever possible;
Ten-day shivirs, or 7-day; peaceful meditation!
Campus repose, free from all commotion!
Q.The gurukul tradition is now extinct. But need is felt even today for the
kind of personality that was evolved there. Do we have any substitute to make up
for the lost tradition?
Ans. The system of gurukul is gone. It is not acceptable to modern
sensibilities. Freedom today has found a new definition. All ancient standards
of discipline stand altered. The prestige enjoyed by the guru and discipline in
olden times is fast dwindling. The idea of practising sadhana in a gurukul for
years together now seems impossible. Because, a gurukul has its own traditions
which the residents must observe wholeheartedly. If the tradition is not so
observed, it becomes a burden. In the atmosphere prevailing today, the utility
of the gurukul institution has become questionable. But an alternative to the
gurukul tradition exists---which is shivir-sadhana. Indeed, shivir system is the
new method of this age. It may be said to partly make up for the gurukul system.
Nowadays, a great many shivirs are organised where experiments are being
conducted in various fields, such as education, sadhana, therapy and recreation.
Of course, a shivir in any particular field is conducted on its own ground.
Every shivir has a different objective. Naturally, the results are also
different. Nevertheless, the practice of holding shivirs has met with a fair
measure of success.
The Jain Vishva Bharati is a unique institution. Experiments are being held
there in three different disciplines---Education, Sadhana and Service. In order
to systematise this experimentation, the Jain Vishva Bharati organizes shivirs
from time to time.The Sadhana Centre of Jain Vishva Bharati (Tulsi Adhyatam
Needam) is fully able to this task. The workers of the Needam are responsible
for making all arrangements. They want that everyone should drink deep of the
fountain of spirituality established here. That an individual should go thirsty
in the absence of water sounds natural. But that a man should groan with thirst
while living in the vicinity of a vast reservoir of water is not so
intelligible. In this context, Kabir says:
The fish living in the water athirst!
It tickles me to laughter!!
The poet who cannot help laughing at the prospect of a fish tormented by thirst
in the midst of water, later writes. "All this happens for want of self
knowledge." All man's confusion, all his contrariety is possible only in a state
of self-aversion. The individual whose gaze is turned inwards, changes his
character through the practice of preksha dhyana, and is able to transform his
personality. Incidents of change of character or personality transformation
often occur in the lives of sadhaks participating in a shivir. Many people
achieve freedom from addiction by practising meditation there. Sometimes, a man
accepts evils like drinking and smoking, so as not be out of fashion. Later, he
gets so caught in the habit, that he cannot get out of it, even if he desires to
do so. The participants of preksha dhyana shivirs, through inner inspiration and
the impact of environment, make possible what appears to be impossible. They are
able to dissolve their tensions and acquire the technique of living peacefully.
Until the state of introversion is strengthened through meditation, a change of
character cannot take place. There is thus constant need for training and
practice in the meditation camps.
Q.What is the fundamental objective of preksha dhyana? In what direction and to
what extent can a sadhak practising preksha dhyana progress?
Ans. The chief objective of preksha dhyana, is to make religion a way of life.
Religion today appears to be impotent, the reason being the complete absence of
its practice in the lives of religious people. Without practice, religion cannot
influence life. In order to introduce religion in life, the practice of
meditation is a must. If has been said in Isibhasium Sutra, that religion
without meditation is like a body without the head. Meditation is the practical
form of religion. It is in the practice of meditation that religion is activated
in life. Until one enters meditation in depth, the secrets of religion are not
revealed. Religion in itself is a mystery, which remains incomprehensible to a
Once the disciples of Guru Gobind Singh assembled before him in a group. While
acquainting him with their problem, they said, "Everyday we sing in praise of
the Lord, but it has brought us no enlightenment. We have practised sadhana for
years together, but to no purpose." Guru Gobind Singhji said, "I understand your
problem. We shall look into it."
A few days later, he called all the disciples and said, "Fetch me a pitcher full
of wine and gargle your mouths with it, without letting go a single drop down
the throat. Do it till the pitcher is emptied." The disciples fetched a big
pitcher of wine. They took mouthfuls of wine and instantly spat it out. Within
no time, the pitcher got emptied. Guruji said, "Did you finish the whole lot?"
And when they replied in the affirmative, he said, "It was a lot of wine. Didn't
you get intoxicated?" The pupils looked at their guru in surprise. They humbly
said, "Gurudev! We never let a drop go down our throats. So how could we get
Guruji, taking up their words, said, " 0 pupils, here is the answer to your
problem. You have sung in praise of the Lord, but only superficially. The name
of the Lord never got deep down your throat! How could you be benefited? Until
your whole mind is identified with the name of the deity, until you repeat it
with all your heart, until you become rapt iterating it, no benefit would accrue
to you." In the context of this story, it becomes apparent that unless one
descends into the depths of religion, all religious worship proves futile.
Sadhana is a fruitful method of exploring the depths of religion. After
undergoing this process of exploration, all doubts stand resolved of themselves.
The question about the utility of religion for the present age does not then
arise at all.