The Quest for the Royal Road: How to Celebrate 2500th Nirvana Anniversary

Published: 24.01.2016

[1]Bhagwan Mahavira was a vigilant sentry who guarded a coniemporary consciousness. Through non-violence, non- possassion and pluralistic view, he kindled the spiritual flame. Even after a long period of two thousand five hundred years, those principles have the power of solving our current problems. If is extremely necessary to effectively place these principles before the world which is terrorised by violence, limitless accumulation of wealth and ideological conflicts.

The celebration of 2500th anniversary of Bhagwan Mahavira's nirvana started on November 13, 1974 on the Deepavali day. Preparations were made to celebrate the occasion at the national as well as international level. The Government of India also participated in the celebrations. The Central Committee and the Regional Committees were busy discharging their responsibilities. Respectable people belonging to all religions and faiths enthusiastically paid their tributes to Bhagwan Mahavira individually or collectively. It was an auspicious occasion to lend glory and dignity to the Jain faith. The time has now come for real and sincere action.

The Terapanth Sangh is a well-organised progressive body. It has followed its characteristic tradition right from the beginning. The fourfold Sangh thoughly understanding and then the always been in the vanguard in successfully implementing the indications and directions given by the Acharyas.

On this occasion, various programmes were organised at the national, social and spiritual levels. People to show some natural inclination with regard to the nati- nal and social programmes. But spiritualism is related to inner being. Hence, tremendous inspiration and guidance are needed to carry out spiritual programmes.

Our intention is to present the year of celebration of Mahavira's nirvana as the "Year of Restraint." For that purpose, we have given brief outline about the individual contribution towards this great yajna:

1. Study of 2,500 pages

It is necessary to have thorough knowledge of any philosophy in order to grasp its deeper meaning. Realisation of Truth is impossible without it. Hence, every person who is desirous to learn should study the original treatises on Jain philosophy. The minimum limit of 2,500 pages is fixed for that purpose. That study could be pursued individually or collectively. Some of the prescribed Hindi books for this study are—

· Bhagwan Mahavira: Jeevaan aur Darshan,

· Satya ki Khoj: Anekant ke Alok mein,

· Jain Darshan: Manan aur Mimansa,

· Jain Darshan aur Adhunik Vijnan,

· Terapanth ka Itihas,

· Bhikshu Vichar Darshan,

· Jain Siddhanta Deepika,

· JeevAjeev.

Study of more books in addition to these was also recommended.

2. Training in Metaphysical Knowledge

It is necessary to learn a few things by heart in order to assimilate Jain philosophy. For that purpose the maximum number of people have to learn by heart "twenty-five bol",' "pratikramana" (Jain confessions prayer), etc.

3. Jnanashala (Study Circles)

The programme of Jnanashala has been found very useful from the point of view of inculcating good sanskaras among young boys and girls. The efforts in this direction by sadhus and sadhvis during their travels should result in permanent establishment of Jnanashalas. Its usefulness should be realised by people in each region who should start operating this programme.

4. Five Formulae for Harmony

The result of the anekant attitude are harmony and goodwill. Hence, the five formulae for bringing about harmony are to be popularised to the maximum extent. These five formulae are —

1. The practice of corroboration through constructive arguments is to be adopted. One's own beliefs may be enunciated. But oral or written accusation of anyone should be avoided.

2. There should be tolerance with regard to opinions of others.

3. Hatred and contempt for other peoples religions and their followers is not to be encouraged.

4. If someone chooses to change his religious faith, there should be no social boycott or any other undesirable treatment.

5. There should be a collective attempt to accept these basic tenets of religion—non-violence, truth, non- stealing, celibacy and non-accumulation of wealth.

5. Initiation in Anurvat

Anuvrat is a movement of moral awakening. It has played a major role in building the character of our nation. In a non-sectarian spirit, it has done significant work among all classes. It is decided to prepare at least 2,500 followers in the path of anuvrat with a view to give momentum to this work.

6. Initiation in Right Belief and Including Sanskaras

How can there be self-realisation without purifying one's vision? For that reason, Bhagwan Mahavira gave priority to right vision. Initiation in right belief is necessary for attainment of right vision. Training in right belief means self-awakening. Hence, let us inspire the maximum number of people for training themselves in right belief and inculcating the sanskaras.

7. Initiation in Vows

Righteous conduct is the very foundation of progress in life. It influences every field of life. High character alone is the key to the solution of various problems. Therefore, it is necessary to initiate more and more people in the vows. Bhagwan Mahavira had three lakh sravakas who observed the twelve vows. Through the medium of the vows, he gave a new direction to society. In the modern context, those vows are all the more useful. Hence, they have been explained in the modern language. Let the significance of the vows be explained in every region and made popular with a definite end in view. It was our aim to initiate at least 2,500 persons in the vows during this year.

8. Campaign against Addictions

In the name of modernism, the new generation is getting caught; in several addictions and is gradually forgetting its culture and tradition. Let there be a campaign of freeing this generation from addictions and inculcate the sanskaras instead.

9. Worship Classes

Through the worship chamber it is possible to find easy solutions to personal and family problems, and alongwith religious sanskaras, one's daily routine also becomes well-organised. Hence, let there be as many worship classes as possible in every region, where there should be studies, meditation and sacred recitation on a regular basis.

10. Sadhaka-Upasaka Scheme

The training through the sadhaka-upasaka scheme for the householders, both men and women, has been started by the Anuvrat Vihar, New Delhi, under the auspices of the Jain Vishva Bharati. Let more people be inspired to join this programme.

11. Practice of Visarjan (Abandonment)

The formula of visarjan is very useful for the purpose of attaining freedom from attachment. Through abandonment, the wish to stop accumulating wealth becomes stronger. Hence, let every individual understand the significance of abandonment and resolve to practise it.

12. Celibacy

Celibacy is an unfailing means to attain purity. This brings extraordinary strength in one's life. Bhagwan Mahavira gave it the highest place. Let us try to convert at least twentyfive couples to lifelong celibacy this year and inspire 2,500 persons to accept the life of celibacy.

13. Sadhana through Penance

Penance has its own special importance from the point of view of purity of action. Bhagwan Mahavira was devoted solely to penance. While remembering himj let renouncement and penance be particularly stressed. Fasting etc. should be undertaken everywhere. This instruction has already reached all regions through an announcement by the Adarsh Sahitya Sangh. What is now needed is putting it into action. It is necessary we should be informed in a systematic manner the regular long penances, atthaiyans[2], tele[3], ayambil[4], ekasana[5] fasting being carried on.

Beginning

Even though the 25th Nirvana Centenary would be starting from the Deepavali day, this Chaturmasa falls within the Nirvana Centenary year. Hence, the process of renouncement, vows, etc. may be started right from the Terapanth day (the full moon day of the month of Ashadh).

An Important Point

It is particularly the responsibility of the sadhus and the sadhvis that they should prepare a list of the work they can carry on in their own groups and the allotted regions in pursuance of the prescribed programme.

Each group of monks nuns must prepare at least for initiating twentyfive persons in anuvrat, twentyflve for initiation into right belief, twentyfive persons who would observe celibacy for a year, twentyfive persons who would give up non-vegetarian food, twentyfive persons who would observe fasts, perform twenty-five atthaiyan, etc.

If the region is small from the point of view of population, let one person among four families be definitely so trained.

Let the members of the Terapanth Yuvak Sangh, Terapanth Mahila Mandal, Terapanth Kanya Mandal and Terapanth Kishore Mandal be given a training in singing songs related to Bhagwan Mahavira, bhajans, seminars, one- act plays and similar cultural programmes. There would be year long celebrations. Hence, if there are organised groups in several regions, they can also be taken to other places.

It is also the duty of the local Terapanth Sabhas, Terapanth Yuvak Parishads, etc. to fully co-operate with the sadhus and the sadhvis and where the sadhus and the sadhvis are not available, take up the responsibility upon themselves.

Footnotes
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Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharyas
  2. Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
  3. Anekant
  4. Anuvrat
  5. Bhagwan Mahavira
  6. Bhajans
  7. Bhikshu
  8. Bhikshu Vichar Darshan
  9. Body
  10. Celibacy
  11. Chaturmasa
  12. Consciousness
  13. Darshan
  14. Deepavali
  15. Delhi
  16. Fasting
  17. Jain Philosophy
  18. Jain Vishva Bharati
  19. Kishore
  20. Kishore Mandal
  21. Lakh
  22. Mahavira
  23. Mahila Mandal
  24. Mandal
  25. Meditation
  26. Mimansa
  27. New Delhi
  28. Nirvana
  29. Non-violence
  30. Pratikramana
  31. Sadhana
  32. Sadhus
  33. Sadhvis
  34. Sangh
  35. Satya
  36. Sravakas
  37. Terapanth
  38. Terapanth Mahila Mandal
  39. Tolerance
  40. Vihar
  41. Violence
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