Jainism is the Science of Life

Published: 17.03.2011

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The essay was published in August, 1947 in The Jaina Gazette, Vol. XLIV (No. 8), p. 114. As a contemporary historical source it illustrates an aspect of the political and social situation of the Jain community shortly after Indian independance


Jainism is the Science of Life

Jainism is not merely a religion which is used as a label, a group name for a certain class of people, or a set of beliefs to be professed. It is a way of life. In consists in living happily and at the same time helping others to live in peace. It does not tolerate exploitation of any sort of to any degree, to become happy by making others unhappy. It is co-operative living. Non-co-operation is with evil only. "Parasparo pagraho Jivanam" is its guiding principle in life. Mutual co-operation is the distinguishing feature, the inherent attribute of all living beings.

The doctrine of brotherhood of humanity is extended by Jains to a brotherhood of all living beings; inclusive of all forms of elemental life,, such as plants., flowers, grass.

It is said that human life cannot be sustained without causing injury in some way, at least, to the lowest forms of life. The objection is true from a point of view, and the doctrine of non-injuring is modi­fied to an extent varying with the circums­tances of each-individual. It is for each individual to form his own code of conduct. In doing so, however, he should sincerely exert his best, and not under-estimate or minimise his own capacity. "Shaktitah tyag" and "Shaktitah tap" is the rule of conduct. Be your own judge, but judge yourself severely; and do your best, so as to cause the least injury in amount and in kind. This is quite' practical and that without much difficulty.

In our daily life, we are addicted to many bad habits. We eat too much, too often, and too many things. It seems that we live to eat, while we should eat to live; and to live healthy and strong. In the first place, animal food should be tabooed, prohibited, and declared unanimously unfit for human consumption. India grows enough grain, enough fruit, and enough vegetables to feed her inhabitants, provided there is no expert of feed grains, oil seeds, fruits etc., and there is no immigration of foreigners in the country. India has enough cotton and wool to clothe her people, if there is no expert of raw cotton and wool. Our food should be simple, vitalising and health-giving. Spiced and dressed dishes undermine health. Iced and aerated waters besides being expensive are harmful. The preparation of silk entails terrible, dreadful and cruel killing of millions upon millions of silk worms; and the use of and trade in silk are both sinful. Foreign medicinal preparations are very often animal products, liver extracts, essences of beef, mutton, chicken etc., and very many injections and serums are pre­pared after inflicting diabolical cruelty on animals. Indian Ayurvedic and Unani medicines are more effective, and speedier in result and purer. But it hasbecome the fashion to adopt Allopathic treatment, which is very much more expensive and unsuited to Indian temperament and climate. We also waste much money and time in un­necessary talk and gossip, in smoking and drinking, in cinema shows and parties, in card play, and other fashionable games, and in much more reprehensible so-called sports, like shooting birds, beasts and fishes.

As regards training of the mind, we are on a steep downward path. Our leaders and our best scholars are given to indulgence in anger, and pride deceit and greed are rampant, and indulgence in minor passions is not considered a defect at all. Spiritual life is scoffed and laughed at. Unhappiness, misery, discomfort, disease, discontent, mutual distrust, jealousy, strug­gle for power, scheming and plotting, doublefaced life, and mean selfish exploita­tion, have become the order of the day. An observance of the simple and easy rules of conduct prescribed for a Jain layman would make people live happily.

Sources

The Jaina Gazette

Compiled by PK

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  2. Ayurvedic
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  5. JAINA
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