The Vision Of A New Society: 30 ►The Basis of Social Structure

Published: 04.11.2019

The individual is a component of society. The nation is afflicted by the social structure. The national conscious­ness has its impact on the world. The individual is the smallest unit of the entire world. If the individual is healthy, it leads to greater social health. The health of the nation is influenced by the healthy social order. If all the nations of the world are healthy, it would be possible to create a healthy world. This is as difficult to put in into practice as it is pleasant in the form of an idea. Why only difficult? It would not be an exaggeration if we say, it is impossible. In the extremely long history of this world, probably at no time, every atom of this earth and the sky were healthy. The wheel of Time has not come to a stop even now. The end of Time is nowhere in sight. In this situation, it is an indisputable fact that this world is something that is eternal. Healthy and unhealthy states have always been prevalent in it. That is why the fascinating concepts of "The World as a Family" or the "the World as one Nest" have not become practical realities even now. Making the world healthy is an extremely difficult task. That is why we shall not make a mistake of dreaming about healthy world.

New Criterion of Success

Anyone who proceeds with the resolve of making the whole world healthy can have nothing but disappoint­ment, because this is a case of extremism. There is a close mutual relationship between extremism and disappoint­ment. Leave aside the world; is it possible to mould even a nation according to a well-considered model? Had it been possible, the great revolutions would not have failed. It would take decades to find out answers to the doubts raised about the communist national order after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. That is why I cannot claim to suggest any plan for the creation of a healthy nation. There are a number of plans under way for the urban and rural construction. But they are directly related to the building up of colonies, suburbs, roads, industrial establishments, etc. Even with regard to this, the honesty of the people engaged in such work has often been in doubt.

I am interested in building a healthy society. I started working in that direction. That work is still continuing. Questions may be raised with regard to the success of my work. Had I been successful, my work would be over. If I have not been successful so far, how would succeed in future? In that case, is it right to spend time and energy in that work? I have been subjected to such questions time and again. My view in this matter is that I have not seen a fanciful dream of a complete success. But if there is fifty or fifty-five percent success, how can that work be called unsuccessful? Between the healthy and unhealthy sides of society, so long as the healthy side has more to show, the dream of creating a healthy society cannot become blurred. If that happens, no dream would ever become a reality.

In this world, if there is non-violence, there is violence as well. Violence and non-violence exist side by side. Anyone who is looking for an absolutely violent or an absolutely non-violent society would find himself in great trouble indeed. It does not seem possible to come across even such an age when either violence or non­violence would cease to exist. In that situation, success of the people engaged in working for non-violence can be measured only in relative terms. If there is more non­violence in society compared to violence, the work in the field on non-violence should not be regarded as unsuccessful.

Three Categories of human Beings

Desire is the inspiring force behind any good or bad action of a person. How would any action be possible without a desire for it? It is a common thing that a worldly creature cannot be free from the ensnaring desires. Desires can be admirable or otherwise. Admirable desires indicate progress. The higher the aspiration of the individual, the greater the things he would do. The individual who has no desire at all to do or be something, finds his ability to work blunted.

Some people talk in terms of selfless action as ordained in the Gita. Selfless action has been considered very important in the Jain philosophy too. Bhagwan Mahavira has said: "A sadhaka doing sadhana or penance should have a specific purpose in mind. He should not do sadhana with the cravings concerning this world or the other world. He should not do sadhana for the purpose of earning respect or prestige. When any desire is linked with sadhana, its lofty objective comes under doubt. But everyone cannot do such a selfless sadhana. Only a dispassionate individual can climb the high peak of selflessness. The dispassionate individual is the one who has nothing more to attain and even the desire for moksha is not left. That is why a dispassionate individual is called purnkama.[1]

An ordinary person is caught in the mire of desires and he is not able to be desire less. In that situation, the middle path is good for him, having too many desires and no desires are two extreme points. Having too many desires is the path of ruin. Having no desire at all is a state that obstructs the path of progress. He, who adopts the middle path, would have few desires. His desires would be limited and controlled. From this point of view, human beings belong to three categories:

Anichchha: One who has no desires.
Mahechchas: One who has too many desires
Alpechchha: One who has limited desires

The individual who has no desire left in him is great. Our folk poets have described such an individual as shahenshah.[2]

How many such individuals would one find in this world? Their number cannot be large. It should be a matter of satisfaction if we can count such individuals on our fingertips. Only the individuals belonging to this category can be dispassionate.

The desires or mahechchha of people are so numer­ous that there seems to be no end to them. Mahavira refers to such persons as "those having desires endless like the sky." Concentrated desires make a person stupid. The greater the benefit, the greater is a person's greed. Greedy and miserly persons are not able to eat their stomach full even after reaching the highest point of prosperity. Such a person is always compelled to live in constant misery. The Jain philosophy refers to such persons as the one having a false view of life.

Dispassion can be an ideal for every religious individual. But it takes a long time before his sadhana reaches the point of fruition. False view of life is an obstruction in the path of dispassion. So long as a person does not adopt a correct attitude, he cannot decide what is proper and what is improper. That is why it is necessary first of all to have the correct outlook. Only the correct outlook can limit one's desires. He knows that living in the world, desires cannot be avoided. But what is the point of giving a free hand to desires to the extent that they completely dominate the person? The person having limited desires does not eliminate the worldly functions, but tries to prevent the perverse tendencies penetrating into those worldly functions.

Result of Growing Desires

Man indulges in action. But that is not the subject of his concern. What concerns him is the result of his action; he becomes alert when his action brings a bad result. Had he thought about such a result beforehand, then probably there would have been some thought of introducing some change in that action. But what could be done when the matter has slipped out of his hands? The person who has become a slave of his desires can never think about the consequences of transgressing the limits. This has been described by Mahavira as follows:

"This person is given to lust. He laments, he is depressed, he gets angry, he sheds tears, feels pain and he repents.[3]

Because such a person lives in adverse situations, he becomes insistent in his attitudes. When his insistence becomes stubborn, hell is let loose. Think of the arrogance in Duryodhana's words when he said, "Oh Keshava, I would not give to the Pandavas even the land equal to the point of a needle, without waging a war!" The estranged feelings between the Kauravas and the Pandavas got extremely hardened. At that point, Shri Krishna took upon himself the responsibility of bringing the two sides to consider a compromise. He brought the emissaries of the two sides face to face and said: "Duryodhana, you may expand your kingdom as much as you wish. The Pandavas are not concerned with it. You give them just five villages to live in. It would solve the whole problem."

But Shri Krishna's suggestion did not find favour with Duryodhana. He frowned and said sarcastically. "Who asked you to take a decision in the quarrel between us brothers? Your interference is not acceptable to me. Let me make it absolutely clear that I would give nothing without fighting a battle. I am inviting the Pandavas to the battlefield. Let them come, win the battle and have their settlements with their own strength." If there are such people in society, they would create the war situations at will and they would not let anyone live in peace. But what is to be done when such persons also have their own power? So long as there is the Mahabharata, Duryodhana too would live with Shri Krishna and Yudhishthira.

When the Resolve Brings Results

In this world, if there are evil persons, there is also no dearth of good persons. When we read about the lives of the sravakas devoted to Bhagwan Mahavira, we are overcome with feelings of faith and respect for them. The names of ten such sravakas are mentioned in Upasakadasha Sutra: SravakaAnanda, Kamadeva, Chulanipita, Suradev, Challashateka, Kundakautika, Saddalaputra, Mahashetaka, Nandinipita and Letiyapita. All of them were in their respective professions. They owned property worth billions. They lived with hundreds of people. They maintained the cattle in thousands. But even while living in such prosperous conditions their desires were so limited! They possessed few clothes for themselves and ate frugal meals. They did not eat more than one fruit in a day. They had one wiping cloth, one pair of sandals. Even things like twigs to brush their teeth were limited. They had minimum things for their personal use. The rest was all for the society. They came to be known as the best sravakas. The lives of such people have been depicted in detail. The mention of these ten sravakas among millions is indicative of their special characteristics, which had resulted not by letting their desires grow, but by keeping them within limits. This is an important basic factor in creating a healthy society.

In the context of the creation of a healthy society, the discussion about the important sravakas devoted to Mahavira draws the attention of our society to an ideal. It would be unrealistic to imagine that hundreds and thousands of people would be able to attain that ideal. Sven in the age of Mahavira, only ten links could be only in that noteworthy line of sravakas. From this point of view, there is no hesitation in accepting the fact that the individuals belonging to that category can be highly respected in society, they can guide the creation of a healthy society, but they cannot mould the entire society according to that model. Society needs a different kind of model altogether. It is the model of the code of conduct based on the principle of anuvrat. This has been my dream for many years. When every person or every family of our society starts following the path of anuvrat, the dream of having a healthy or a non-violent society would become a reality. The outline of the Anuvrat Family programme too has been prepared with this background. When the number of such people multiplies in arithmetical proportion, the resolve of establishing a healthy society would reach its fruition. When the resolve of a single individual becomes the resolve of every individual, millions would benefit from its results.


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Title:  The Vision Of New Society
Author:  Acharya Tulsi
Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anuvrat
  2. Bhagwan Mahavira
  3. Gita
  4. Greed
  5. Jain Philosophy
  6. Krishna
  7. Mahabharata
  8. Mahavira
  9. Moksha
  10. Non-violence
  11. Pandavas
  12. Sadhaka
  13. Sadhana
  14. Sravakas
  15. Sutra
  16. Violence
  17. Wheel of Time
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