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The Quest for the Royal Road: Spiritual Inclination

Published: 25.02.2016

How long have sexual desires and lust, enjoyment of physical pleasures, attachment, etc. plauged us? How long have they pursued us? It is very difficult to explain this. A small child does not have to be taught how to cry. At the slightest inconvenience he would start crying. At the least indication of hunger, he would cry. If he wants something immediately, he would cry. Does his mother teach him to cry? Not at all. But it is a fact that when the child is plauged by some desire, he cries automatically. His mother teaches him neither to laugh nor to feel offended. Little children are easily offended. They look at you differently. They roll on the ground. They refuse to walk.'They start biting and clawing you. Who taught them to do all those things? No one. The sanskaras of several births compel them to behave that way. But the same children do not easily remember the simplest mantra like 'I bow to the arhata'[1] even after making them repeat it innumerable times. That is because the child is not familiar with it. He has to be taught to pray, as he is unfamiliar with it.

Every person is attracted by good shapes, good flavour, good smell, good touch and is eager to enjoy them. But a.yogi keeps himself away from them. He never loses his sense, and does not get attached to physical things.

The meaning of yoga is the pursuit of the path of moksha. It is the sadhana for complete liberation.

Yoga means becoming one with the Soul. It is the sense of oneness ofyoga and the yogi. Religion and a religious person are separate, but a stage can also be reached when the two become one. That is the highest state. So long as the samayik[2] and the person doing samayik do not become one, samayik does not serve its purpose. It would be a pure practice when the person engaged in it is completely absorded in it. Similarly, when man is completely identified with religion, he is a religious man, Not otherwise.

It would be really a matter of surprise when one turns away from sexual enjoyment and lust. In the same way, it is also a matter of surprise to establish a sense of oneness with religion with the help of yoga and penance.

It is difficult to be completely identified with religion. But without it, religion does not bring the result it should. It is necessary to relate ourselves to religion in such a way that we do not regard religion as separate from us. Religion is unavoidable for us as eating. We would come across many who carry the burden of religion. But there would be few who assimilate religion in their own lives. There are innumerable people carrying the burden of being human. They all live like animals.

A donkey carries the load of sandalwood. But it cannot enjoy the scent of sandalwood. That poor creature cannot have any sandalwood but it cannot even enjoy the scent which is borne by the wind, because it is merely a beast of burden. So are some human beings. It is not up to me to say who is like a beast of burden and who is not. You can judge it yourself. I would not say who is truly a saint and who merely wear the mantle of saintliness, or who is a shravaka and who merely shows himself to be a shravaka. People should draw their own conclusions. The person carrying the burden of religion is he who follows the tenets of religion under pressure and allow anything impermissible when there is no pressure. Such a person is like a beast of burden. A person who follows religion out of fear of being reproached is only the carrier of burden of religion. Such fear may act as a factor when one is still learning, but not at a later stage. Who would come to tell you to sleep at night? You would automatically go to sleep when it is time to sleep. You would automatically drink water when you are thirsty. You would not wait for anyone to tell you. In the same way, one must have an inner urge for religion. There is no need for anyone to tell.

There are two types of persons-Those who pretend and those who are genuine. Those who pretend are labourers, those who are genuine are the masters. But today the labourers are becoming the masters. There is a reason for it. The master today considers the labourers their servants. That is why the workers are possessed with the desire to be the masters. Had they been regarded as human beings instead of servants, such an idea would have never occurred to them.

Abraham Lincoln was asked, "What is your concept of a republic?"

He said, "According to me, it only means that I would not like to be anyone's slave, because becoming someone's slave, destroys freedom. When I do not wish to become a slave, why would others want to be slaves? But if I do not wish to be a slave, I also do not wish to be master. This is my concept of a republic. Everyone should live unto themselves. No one should be a slave and no one should be master. Everyone should live according to his idea. All are masters unto themselves. All are their own slaves."

We have a similar arrangement in our Dharma Sangh. All monks are their own masters are also servants. The relation between the teacher and the taught is not that of the servant and the master. It is the relation like between the father and the son. The relation between he who lays the rules of disciple and who is kept under that discipline cannot be intimate. It suggests a selfish motive. The relation between the father and the son is intimate and it speaks of well-being. Kalugani used to say, "All monks and nuns are part of myself. Just as man cannot walk without legs, cannot put on his clothes without hands, cannot see without eyes, cannot hear without ears, cannot think without the mind, cannot sit erect without spine, I too cannot walk without those monks and nuns, cannot sit and sleep without them. In short I can do nothing' without them. I feel crippled without them. They are all part of me. What would body be without all those limbs?"

Just as Abraham Lincoln said that in a republic, none was the slave and none was the master, Bhagwan Mahavira said 2500 years ago:

  • Regarding anyone as slave is violence.
  • Imposing your authority on anyone is violence.
  • Exploiting anyone is violence.
  • Torturing anyone is violence.

The Democratic system is very well suited for religion. Autocratic rule creates many obstacles for religion whereas religion remains dynamic under democracy. Inclination towards the soul comprises the principal aspect of religion. Those who act for the soul maintain the dynamism of religion. Those who work only for the body, create obstacles in the observance of religion. Wearing clothes to appear beautiful and eating to enjoy the taste are the activities meant for the body. This is like being slaves to the body. Studying, meditating, reading scriptures are the activities related to the soul. Anyone who engages himself in these activities, keeps religion alive. That religion cannot be inert. It would be active and alive.

Jainism rotates on the axis called the Soul. The acharyas said, "Study of the scriptures is the Soul, meditation is the Soul, good conduct is the Soul, knowledge is the Soul, philosophy is the Soul. If we do not recognise the Soul, everything is without meaning. If we recognise the Soul, we become steady in our Soul."

Smoke emits from fire. It rises high by itself. No outside force, but its own lightness carries it upwards. The day we ourselves become similarly light within, we would not have to be in search of anything. Liberation would come on its own. But this is hard task of accomplish. In just one sentence we can say that to the extent that there is inclination towards the Soul, there is saintliness. The rest is all far away from it.


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Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
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. Bhagwan Mahavira
  3. Body
  4. Dharma
  5. Discipline
  6. Fear
  7. Jainism
  8. Kalugani
  9. Mahavira
  10. Mantra
  11. Meditation
  12. Moksha
  13. Sadhana
  14. Samayik
  15. Sangh
  16. Soul
  17. Violence
  18. Yoga
  19. shravaka
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