ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA'S APPEAL for National Jain Unity

Posted: 25.07.2009
Updated on: 02.07.2015

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I have pleasure in attaching a document on

ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA’S APPEAL for National Jain Unity

particularly in the context of his appeal to

“Jain scholars for historical study of Jain religion in the 21st century and that Indian scholars have written very little on Jain darshana. Some scholars have written in short. Even in these no reliable sources are used. This is not only a deficiency of the Indian scholars, but also of the Jain Munis and Jain scholars. They have not presented genuine granthas-sources to the scholarly community. Most of the literature remained in libraries.

“This is clearly evident because- some scholar stated that Jain darshan as a branch of Vedic dharma and someone of the Buddhist religion. There would not be room for such misleading interpretations if Jain literature is edited with a modern perspective. Jain Munis and scholars have remained indifferent towards misleading and false statements against Jain religion. Jain religion is an independent religion; it is not a branch of any religion. A pioneering clarification of this was given by the Western Indologists. But no Jain scholar has written on this subject first.

“Even today some scholars call Jain religion as a branch of Hindu religion. This is a misleading statement. To call Jain dharma as a branch of Hindu dharma by interpreting Hindu religion as a Vedic dharma is a misinterpretation. If Hindu dharma is considered as a Bharatiya dharma then Jain dharma cannot be a branch of any particular dharma. Independent Dharma

“Jain dharma is not theistic. Jainism accepts the thesis that man can attain to highest enlightenment - sarvajna - all-knowing. According to theistic philosophies God alone can be all-knowing, not man. According to Jain darshana a man can attain to ultimate enlightenment.

“Jain darshana is not superhuman - apaurusheya. Its progenitor is a Tirthankara. Therefore in Shakrastuti calls every Tirthankara as Aadikara. “

I am concerned to present this document in view of the persistent misrepresentation of Jainism and the denial of its status as a National Minority despite being declared as a minority in 9 States in India comprising almost 90 per cent of the Jain population in India.

 

Bal Patil
Secretary-General, All India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi,
Ex-Member, Media Expert Committee, Govt. of India,
Ex- Member, Maharashtra State Minority Commission, Govt.of Maharashtra, Mumbai.

 

 

Pdf: ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA'S APPEAL

English text extracted:

ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA'S APPEAL

National Jain Unity Conference in Udaipur

It is necessary to unite for the survival of Jain religion and community

Compiled by Bal Patil

Acharya Mahapragya in his inaugural speech of the Jain Shasan Vikas Manch said that this Manch (organisation) should be built on the model of the United Nations. When the United Nations was established all the nations did not join it. A few nations got together and started working. Impressed by its international outlook and common peace and welfare work more and more nations joined it. This is a good example to be followed for Jain unity. It is a basic principle for Jain unity that in order to preserve Jain religion and community we must be united. We must think how we can become stronger. Jain religion is independent. It should not be seen as part of Hinduism or Buddhism. Now we must be concerned more with our shortcomings rather than achievements. Acharya Mahapragya referred to an instancer of how an ancient Bhagvan Mahavira image was transformed in south India into a Devi. There are many such instances. Why do Jains have to face such instances? It is because Jains are not united. We are not vigilant. In spite of our Agamic spiritual, philosophical, intellectual heritage and wealth we are still weak because we are not united. Therefore it is necessary that that we should organise Jain Shasan Vikas Manch and not get involved in controversies such as mode of worship.

21st Century and Jain Religion: Acharya Mahapragya

There is need for historical study.

Jain religion has been studied very little with a historical perspective. Modern age expects that Jain religious discipline and thought processes should be explained in a historical context.

Historical perspective of philosophical evolution

Because the Jain scholars did not study our Agamic literature and books with a historical perspective there is no understanding of the traditions and organisation. Today controversies are created because of the unnecessary regulations. And necessary discipline is not being imposed.

Historical Perspective

Jain scholars have paid very little attention to history. There is no organised history of the two and half thousand years. Some Pattavalis are available. We get information about the Acharya tradition in them. We also get historical information about some Tirthas and kings. But on the whole there is neither a perspective view nor any writing.

An important aspect of history is the history of the evolution of thought. We do not have a clear philosophical understanding as to how concepts evolved in Jain darshan.

Indifference to Jain Scholars

Indian scholars have written very little on Jain darshana. Some scholars have written in short. Even in these no reliable sources are used. This is not only a deficiency of the Indian scholars, but also of the Jain Munis and Jain scholars. They have not presented genuine granthas-sources to the scholarly community. Most of the literature remained in libraries.

This is clearly evident because- some scholar stated that Jain darshan as a branch of Vedic dharma and someone of the Buddhist religion. There would not be room for such misleading interpretations if Jain literature is edited with a modern perspective.

Indifference to Jain Scholars-2

Jain Munis and scholars have remained indifferent towards misleading and false statement as against Jain religion. Jain religion is an independent religion; it is not a branch of any religion. A pioneering clarification of this was given by the Western Indologists. But no Jain scholar has written on this subject first.

Even today some scholars call Jain religion as a branch of Hindu religion. This is a misleading statement. To call Jain dharma as a branch of Hindu dharma by interpreting Hindu religion as a Vedic dharma is a misinterpretation. If Hindu dharma is considered as a Bharatiya dharma then Jain dharma cannot be a branch of any particular dharma.

Independent Dharma

Jain dharma is not theistic. Jainism accepts the thesis that man can attan to highest enlightenment - sarvajna - all-knowing. According to theistic philosophies God alone can be all-knowing, not man. According to Jain darshana a man can attain to ultimate enlightenment.

Jain darshana is not superhuman - apaurusheya. Its progenitor is a Tirthankara. Therefore in Shakrastuti calls every Tirthankara as Aadikara.

A Perspective View

For an individual studying Jain dharma and darshana it is necessary to study literature of both the Shwetambara and Digambara traditions.
Some topics have been interpreted with great depth by Digambara Acharyas. In some topics Shwetambara acharyas have made great progress.

Jain dharma and darshan can be studied in a proper perspective only through a comparative study of both.

Social Organisation

That which does not cause any harm to samyaktva, or to vows -vrata- such worldly discipline is acceptable to Jain samgha.

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