The Miracle Is You: [03.02] The Teachings Of Mahavira (2) - Reverence for Life

Published: 28.07.2006
Updated: 06.08.2008

Mahavira"s first teaching was reverence for life. If you have reverence for the Indweller, you will have reverence for all life. Otherwise, for the sake of need and greed, man will fight, kill, and exploit. Ultimately, man can be the worst butcher in the world. Without awareness, he is more dangerous than any animal. Animals don't create mass slaughter; they kill only when they are hungry or are in danger. Man kills without hunger.

First you have to realize reverence for yourself; then you will appreciate life in others. Talking to a friend, you see something beautiful in her eyes. That beauty is the beauty of Inside Dweller. Your eyes become windows for your Inner Dweller; it sees the outside and the light inside. That person sees through your window what is inside you, in your body. In this way, two souls communicate, seeing each other inside and outside, with reverence for life.

Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel-Prize winning poet, was walking in the woods with a religious man. He saw a flower blooming along the path and he was moved. The religious man saw his moist eyes and asked what moved him. After a while Tagore said, "The life and beauty of the flower. These tears came from joy, not from sorrow. I saw the small seed pulsating, blossoming, unfolding, opening, bringing forth beauty, color, gentleness and fragrance. What is this? It is life. I saw life. I felt life in a flower and I felt that life in me. I got in touch with my gentleness, with my color and beauty. All this I saw in a flash in the flower. The flower and I were one. Subject and object became one. This was a moment of experience when all duality ended. There was only the experience of life pulsating, feeling, and moving. In that joy the tears brooked."

When we experience this deep reverence for life, we realize life is worth living. With all its turmoil, all its demand, all its problem, all its frustration, life is worth living. We are here to experience that feeling of reverence for life and if we can have a few glimpses, a few moments of that, we have experienced life. What we call enlightenment is nothing but that experience. We are enlightening that area which was obscured or darkened. We realize life. That is the climax of living and our work is to experience that moment. It is like preparing a dinner. It takes four hours to prepare, and in 30 minutes we enjoy it and it is gone. So we are preparing for that moment. We may prepare with fasting or meditation, with silence or service, with prayer or learning. All education must lead to realization of the self.

  • The Miracle Is You by Chitrabhanu © 1980
  • Published by Devine Knowledge Society, Bombay
  • 3rd Edition 1996 Jain Meditation International Center, New York
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. 24. Tirthankara Mahavira
  2. Body
  3. Fasting
  4. Greed
  5. Meditation
  6. Rabindranath Tagore
  7. Tagore
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