આજ નો દિવસ : વિક્રમ સંવત   ૨૦૭૩  ( નેમિસૂરિ સંવત  ૬૮ )  આસો સુદ બીજ શુક્રવાર   Dt: 22-09-2017



જીવન માં જે વાત ભૂખ્યું પેટ અને ખાલી ખિસ્સું શીખવે છે, તે વાત કોઈ શિક્ષક પણ ના શીખવી શકે

Origin of Jainism

May the entire universe attain bliss,
May all beings be oriented to the interest of others,
Let all faults be eliminated and
May people be happy everywhere.
Jain Verse
 

May all persons be happy,
May all be disease free,
May all attain well being and
Let no one be overtaken by miseries.
Hindu Verse

 

Every living being desires happiness and endeavors to avoid pain and suffering.  The question is how these objectives can be achieved.  Generally, a person will feel happy if he gets whatever he desires and can avoid everything that he does not like.  However, situations do occur, which are not in his interest or do not conform to his liking.  Even in favorable situations it is not always within his power to prolong the situation.  Every situation changes and a person feels miserable when the new situation is not to his liking.  Moreover, desires and likes or dislikes of all beings are not identical.  What one person loves may be of utter distaste to another.  It is therefore impossible that everything can happen to everyone’s taste.  Viewed in this light, it would seem that there couldn’t possibly be a way for making everyone happy.

Fortunately, however, there is a way.  Two verses, one each from Jain and Hindu traditions quoted above, address that way.  It should be noted that they have identical meanings.  Both of them convey the same message of well being for all, for the whole universe, and for the elimination of evil.  Shraman (Jain, Buddhist) and Vedic (Hindu) traditions have flourished together; both have borrowed from and influenced ideologies of the other.  It is therefore not surprising that Jain scholars have time and again insisted on the study of not only Jainism, but also the six schools of thought prevalent in India and collectively known as Shad-darshan.  Broadly classified, they are known as Vedic and Shramantraditions, both having originated from the same Indo-Aryan culture.  Both of them have addressed the subject of universal happiness and have discovered that the way to universal happiness is to wish and act for happiness and well being for all.  If every one acts accordingly, the world can turn into paradise and there would not be any misery; at least man-made misery would come to an end.

Indian philosophies go beyond seeking happiness in this life.  Almost all of them believe in the existence of an eternal soul and in a continually changing pattern of every thing else.  Therefore, they seek happiness that lasts beyond the present life.  Their ultimate goal is to present the path of liberation leading to the termination of the cycle of life and death.  However, as long as we are not liberated, their approach is to seek continuing happiness.  The above two verses therefore urge everyone to look earnestly for the well being of all others, to stay meritorious in this life to be sure of reaping fruits of their merits in subsequent lives.

When one talks of religion, the question may arise, ‘Why do we bother about religion? Could we not be happy in this life without worrying about religion?’ One may be healthy, have a loving spouse and children that they love, have plenty of money, and possess all the amenities that one needs.  What more is religion going to offer?

These are legitimate questions. The concept underlying these questions revolves around our body.  Its health, its relations, its well being, and comforts and luxuries it can indulge in are supposed to bring forth happiness.  Accordingly, when such situations are to our liking, we happen to consider ourselves happy.  Unfortunately the body with which we identify ourselves and also everything around it happens to be transitory.  All the situations are ephemeral.  The happiness that we might be experiencing from such situations can disappear at any time.  We do not know what is going to happen at the next moment.  As such, our so-called happiness happens to be unstable and short-lived.

Even if situations conducive to our interest were likely to continue indefinitely, peace and happiness may not always materialize.  As the poet Percy Shelley put it in one of his poems, we are prone to ‘look before and after and pine for what is naught.’ Hardly anyone feels satisfied with what he has.  We have the tendency to desire what we don’t have.  Our desires are endless and as long as desires remain unsatisfied, no one can ever feel happy and experience real peace that can lead to blissful pleasure.  We may strive hard for achieving that pleasure but hardly any one attains it any time during life.

This is because we seldom try to explore who we are and what is our true nature.  Nothing against our nature is going to give us lasting happiness or real satisfaction.  Jain scriptures therefore define religion as ‘Vatthu Sahävo Dhammo’.  It means that religion is the nature or property of all substances (Dravyas) including soul and matter.  Without knowing ourselves and without realizing our own nature, we have been trying to gain happiness.  No wonder that it eludes us, because we have been trying to gain it from extraneous circumstances.  In a way, we have been dwelling all the time in a state of delusion about ourselves.  We can just as well say we have been pursuing a mirage.

Herein comes the role of religion.  A generally accepted definition of religion is ‘Dhärayati Iti Dharmah’ It means that what holds (from falling) is religion.  Our remaining in a deluded state constitutes a fall and religion tends to protect us.  It teaches us that the physical body with which we identify ourselves, is alive on account of the soul that abides within it. The soul is our true self.  We are the consciousness pervading the body and our association with a body terminates at the end of life.  The true nature of consciousness is to know whatever happens without any sense of craving or aversion.  It is therefore futile to be pleased or displeased with different situations.  Thus by revealing our true nature, religion helps in extricating us from the deluded state in which we have been entangled since time without beginning.  Religion teaches us to know ourselves.

“He who knows one (soul), also knows all;
He who knows all, knows the one.”

 

This quotation taken from Jain scripture Ächäräng Sutra states that he who knows the soul, knows every thing else.  This is so because the knowledge of true Self as pure, enlightened, not aging, immortal and ever blissful soul can lead to the state of having no desire.

This, of course, does not mean that we should not try to change an undesirable situation; nor does it endorse inaction.  As long as the soul is embodied, it will stay active.  There are different types of activities that a monk or a layman should undertake.  Religion, however, prescribes that everyone should undertake activities vigorously but without any degree of attachment.  This would mean facing any situation dispassionately without reacting in terms of craving or aversion.  The common objective is to enable one to view every situation, comfortable or uncomfortable, with equanimity and without getting agitated.  That would amount to knowing oneself and abiding in one’s own blissful nature.