Jai Mahavir ji
Fundamental Features of Jainism.
Jainism is totally Rational Religion
By:-Upadhyaya Munishri kamakumar Nandi ji
Ref books Fundamental features of Jainism and Universal Message of Jainism (Extract form)
This religion has been interpreted in different ways, but in fact it
is the balanced out look and way of life, which lead to Divinity,
perfection, omniscience and bliss of beatitude. Ordinarily we are in the
habit of telling that all religious lead to the same goal of peace and
happiness, but if we critically examine this view- point, difficulty
will come in our way, because unfortunately some such matter is dressed
as religion, which is just the antithesis of it. Superstition,
fanaticism, bigotry and ignorance mislead many a man in the name of
religion. Vivekanand has said, “ Sacrifice, geniflexions, mumbling and
muttering are not religion.”
Therefore, while dealing with religion the same person must guide
himself against those false, misleading and pernicious principles, which
as a matter of fact, kill the very soul of religion. The great
philosopher of Athens, Socrates has clearly explained the value of the
knowledge. He says to Crito, “Reason is our guide.” If we adopt the
path of ignorance or Agyan (without knowledge) as our guide, we shall be
no less than beasts who are steeped in the abysmal darkness of
If one peruses the pages of world history of religion, he is much
distressed and disgusted to see how terrible massacre of innumerable
souls was brought under the banner of religion. Blood soiled history of
religion gives a warning to the sober –minded people, who strive for
peace and happiness that it would be wiser on their part not to cherish
any hope from this perpetrator of inhuman barbarities and cruelties. In
view of this fact, religion connotes animosity, hatred, perverted and
short sighted vision, massacre of those who are not in consonance with
your way of thinking and observance of rituals, certainly then world
peace will not be achieved even in dreams by means of such ignoble and
pernicious religion, which appears as an immortal blemish for mankind.
Swift’s remarks are significant in this respect, “ we
have just enough of religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us
love one another”
Comparative study and mature thought lead us to the conclusion that real religion is the harbinger of peace and piety, amity and affection, happiness and harmony. It ennobles that soul and elevates the same to the state of perfection, immortality and ever lasting bliss of beatitude. The mischief is wrought by the whims of short-sighted fanatics and bigoted devils, who pose themselves as person of religion for the act of omissions and commissions of different factors. In this light the chastisement of religion by Marx as “Opium of the people” or by Lenin as “The most odious thing on earth” is not justified. Nietsche Scoffs vehemently against Christianity, “I call Christianity, the one Great curse, immortal blemish on mankind”. He rails against Gods, “Dead are all Gods, how we want the superman to live”. Man’s activities are motivated mostly by material desires. Atom-smashing and sky-flashing inventions of science have bewitched human personality so much that intelligentsia has in fact very little attraction for religion. Those who are puffed up to see their swelling number in the columns of census enumeration should carefully ponder over the point that religion is in fact on decay. Frankly speaking these days religion appears like a patient of the serious disease of tuberculosis. “I have noticed no definite progress in any religion,” observed Gandhiji and added, “ the world would not be the shambles it has become, if the religions of the world were progressive”.
Fanaticism also destroys the life of real religion. It engenders the
vicious circle of hatred in the hearts of noble souls against this
beneficial religion. To me, it appears that the modern majority of
thinkers bid good-bye to grand old religion because of its harrowing and
horrible history of persecution and massacre of mankind. As a matter of
fact fanaticism is the real devil that destroys all the good points and
the best in religion. We must be thankful to this age of scientific
investigations of all of us and therefore we are not in the grip of that
cruel and merciless attitude so as to think of the destruction of
votaries of other creeds. It is this inhuman persecution and bigotry
that has created disgust in the minds of modern thinkers, who have lost
all hopes from this harbinger of perennial peace and concord.
Nowadays we see that religion is losing its grip from human mind. The problem of bread and satisfaction of our carnal cravings is haunting the minds of the majority. The economic man is out trying to achieve joy and prosperity at the cost of inner man. We value the greatness of a person, a community or a nation not by what he or they have contributed to the betterment of humanity and all living beings; but by material gains and possessions. If this race after dead-matter goes on ceaselessly and unabated, no body can save us from universal suicide and destruction.
Jesus was right when he said that an impossible thing like passing
of camel through the small eye of a needle might be feasible but it was
altogether impossible for an individual to reach the kingdom of heaven
by means of wealth or worldly possessions. The Nirgranththas headed by
lord Rishabhdeo, the founder of Jainism and the other Jain Tirthankaras,
amongst whom lord Mahavira, the senior contemporary of Budha, was the
last one, preached the very truth. They not only talked of that golden
ideal, but they lived up to that noble path of truth whereby they got
Nirvana or salvation. These days all people, be they pacifists or
war-mongers, are equally straining every nerve or appears to be trying
their level best to find out the key of knowledge, whereby the firmament
may be free from fire spitting and blood raining clouds which indicate
the definite destruction of denizens of our world.
Essence of Religion:
If we try to consult innumerable creeds on the point, we won’t achieve our objective; for if unfortunately we are entangled in the details, our fate will be that of spider, whom we see dead in its own web. Therefore in the words of Ashoka, whom H.G.Wells highly praised thus, we should look to the essence of religion or “Dharmasar.”
Now the question is: What is the essence? The student of Mathematics knows how to find out the G.C.M.
of several terms. If we apply the same method here, we will come to the
conclusion that Maitri of
Budha, Love of Christ, Reciprocity of Confucius and
Ahimsa of Lord Mahavira can be called the gist of religion. It
mainly rests on one’s way of thinking as well as living. In this age
of tailor made civilization, equipped with sweet expressions, the
actions do not coincide. Vivekanands ideology is significant, “What
good is it, if we acknowledge in our prayers that God is the father of
us all, and in our daily lives do not treat every man as our brother?
Books are only made so that they may point the way to a higher life, but
no good results, unless the path is trodden with unflinching steps.
Rule of brute:
It is argued that in this world life thrives upon life, therefore
the golden role of compassion or fellow feeling cannot be faithfully
followed by mankind. Serious reflections reveals that the rule prevalent
amongst the beasts should not be a guide to man, whom, according to
Christians, God created in his own image and according to Muslims, who
is the best of God’s creation. The good and the great preacher of
religion observe that this human form is extremely precious. Once it is
lost in sensual life, it is hard to get it again. Gauging the greatness
of human form, it is up to us to act wisely and with a sense of justice.
It doesn’t become a rational animal i.e., man, to inflicted pain upon
others for his comforts. Justice is expected of him.
In the Jain literature, we come across a thrilling incident
associated with the life of the twenty-second Tirthankara, Lord Neminath,
whose marriage procession was proceeding through the Highway of Junagarh
in Gujrat. He heard the moaning and wailings of mute animals who were
captivated in a large pen. On enquiry the charioteer told, “sire,
these beasts will form part of feast of your father’s friends and
rulers who have come to grace the occasion of your marriage.”
Neminath’s heart felt much wounded. He became deeply pensive and said
selfish is this man, who puts on shoes to protect his feet against the
thorn, and does not think for a moment while piercing his arrows through
the body of innocent poor mute creatures. This rational man appears much
worried about the least pain in the little finger but he looks
completely callous about the agonies of the mute creatures whom he
cruelly butchers for his material pleasures or games!”
So thinking he left the marriage procession, climbed the Girnar-Hill and attaining Omniscience by means of penance, preached all over the world the message of mercy, compassion, non-injury and universal brotherhood.
We should depend upon arduous efforts and sincerely dedicate ourselves to the sacred task with heart within and God overhead. We must remember Lord Mahavira’s sublime message that “Celestial beings worship the souls constantly devoted to Dharma-the Law of compassion.
Let us all with courage, conviction and sincerity proceed towards the divine path of purity, piety, peace and perennial joy and attain Nirvana, the ultimate aim of every aspirant.
Now wealth, luxuries and physical comforts are taking all the time of man and he has no more to spend for a thing like religion. In this age of materialism, dollar has been called Almighty and it is the object of universal veneration. The living man has strange affections, dead degrees, dead diamonds, dead gold and dead bank balances. These non-living objects do not quench the thirst of the soul. “What is missing in our age is the soul. There is nothing wrong in the body. We suffer from the sickness of sprits,” observed Dr. Radha-Krishnan. Economic and political problems are propelling the outer-man to seek its solution in the ruin of inner-man. The economic man is out to destroy the ethical man to achieve his goal. There is spiritual bankruptcy.
We are proud of the science whereby we can fly like a bird in the air, swim like fish in the water, but it is really sad that we do not know how to live on earth like man. Power politics, false sense of patriotism and vanity are putting innumerable hurdles in the way of noble ideals and achieving universal brother hood. Selfish ends are ruling the human society. Few people really aspire for common weal and universal good. In this mad race for money and material gains, man has absolutely no time at his disposal for introspection or inner vision. He is not going to pay any heed to his inner voice or to the call of his conscience. He has no interest in such questions as: “What am I, What is my nature, whence do I come, whither will I go?” He treats this as mere waste of his precious time and energy. Whatever blessings he gets from his labours he himself wants to enjoy the fruits with only those who are of his complexion, creed or country. He does not want to participate in the joys and sorrows of the entire humanity. He looks like a horrible automation; and hence he does not like to alleviate the sufferings of teeming millions by his efforts.
In short Jainism is one of the most ancient religions of the world. It was founded by Lord Rishabhadeo. The august influence of Rishabhadeo is unique. To the world he gave the religion of Ahimsa termed as Jainism while he had renounced his royal pleasure at Prayag, modern Allahabad., the land has occupied a place of eminence in the galaxy of sacred place. This country has been named Bharat after his emperor son Bharat Charavarty-sovereign ruler. His other son was Bahubali called Gommateshwara. His monolithic 57 feet high majestic and magnificent image at Sravanbelgola (Mysore State) is a wonderful object of universal veneration. Thus the world is much indebted of Lord Rishabadeo for his supreme contributions. Mahavire was not the founder of Jainism. Before him twenty-three Tirthankars had flourished. History reveals the fact that under Jain rule the land was very glorious, powerful as well as peaceful. Those who are really interested in individual as well as universal peace ought to seriously ponder over Jainism and its ennobling culture.
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