Ahimsa Yatra : Siriyari : Acharya Mahaprajna : No Shortcuts To Spirituality

Published: 09.08.2004
Updated: 30.07.2015

Spiritual observances have meaning only when a person observes moral restraints. Whenever moral restraints are ignored and spiritual observances are put centre stage, religion loses its meaning. In Jainism, restraint means self-control. It requires self management, personal management to awaken one’s innate potentialities, to develop oneself and to be guarded against unwarranted obstacles. In Jain scriptures restraints are divided into seventeen types, control of thoughts and senses included. For a harmonious and peaceful life, one should practice all types of restraint, regardless whether they are easy or difficult to realise. The degree of control would naturally differ from person to person.

Search for the Truth

Non violence, truth, non-stealing, restraints, and non possession are the five great vows observed by Jain monks. The second vow - truth - is colossal and eternal. It is the greatest pursuit of life. Lord Mahavira said ‘Search the truth yourself’. The search for truth involves two things: the search for the truth and the search for the self. The truth we search cannot be put to use by anyone else. Only the one who searches for truth can put it to use and enjoy the supreme bliss obtained through self-realisation. Man has a highly developed brain and centres of super sensual knowledge. That is why he alone is capable of searching for the truth.
The achievement of scientific researches is put for practical use for the entire society. The achievements of spiritual exertions, on the other hand, are personal achievements. One has to walk on the road that leads to truth and self realisation. Successful practitioners have tried to communicate their experiences to others. But spiritual experiences cannot be transferred to others. Everyone has to exert himself independently to gain them. Whatever has been spoken or written by those who gained spiritual experiences became Sruti (Jain literature). Sruti is useful because it prepares the background for Sadhana. But this background serves no purpose unless the practitioner has exerted himself. Spiritual experiences are not social experiences. There is no point citing the Agamas, Bhagavad Gita or Koran to prove that there is unity of spiritual experiences. Only he who has experienced the truth can say, “This is truth and I have known, perceived, and experienced it”. The field of self-discovery is particular like the field of scientific research, one will have to think and exert oneself scientifically. A person cannot borrow experiences from another person. Thus search for truth is a long and complicated process of scientific experiments. Unless one does Sadhana, one cannot realize the truth and follow it.

Peace through Preksha Meditation

Both, desirable and undesirable things, are present in the world. Non violence means strength, bravery and heroism. It has no relation with cowardice.
The root of violence lies in hatred. All wars and acts of terrorism in the past or present are the direct outcome of hatred of those who train people in carrying out terrorist acts. They instill hatred in the hearts against the intended target, so that there remains no hesitation in killing and destroying.
Thus changing hatred into love and friendship is of utmost importance. Where there is love, there cannot be violence.
Physical and mental intolerance are the two major causes of violence. Once the attitude of intolerance is changed, non violence automatically ensues. Modern education does not focus on developing compassion, sensitivity, love, and friendship in people. Mere study cannot develop these qualities. Exercises from the system of Preksha Meditation like concentration on the center of enlightenment can help to record an increase in universal compassion, love, friendship and sensitivity.
Self-restraint is good, so is renunciation. To speak the truth is good, and so is non-violence. Yet without restraint neither truth nor non violence can be achieved. The reason for this is that man does not control his mind. Without controlling the mind, neither non-violence can be practiced nor truth be attained. The mind can be controlled by meditation and ‘science of living’. This can lead towards the path of enlightenment.

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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. Agamas
  3. Bhagavad Gita
  4. Brain
  5. Center of Enlightenment
  6. Concentration
  7. Gita
  8. Jainism
  9. Meditation
  10. Non violence
  11. Non-violence
  12. Preksha
  13. Preksha Meditation
  14. Sadhana
  15. Science
  16. Science Of Living
  17. Violence
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