The Quest for the Royal Road: Protecting Righteousness or Faith

Published: 29.02.2016

The residents of Subzi Mandi area of Delhi have taken a very big step. Today's grand function is its implementation. This open-air function would benefit many sections of the people.

We shall have to bring down the enclosing four walls. However, the wall that comes up on account of narrow- mindedness is much more dangerous. I am happy that we have met with considerable success in bringing down that wall.

When I see such programmes, my heart overflows with joy. I become emotional. But when I discover that such a big function brings no particular results, I also become sad. I do become sad, but I am never disappointed. Sadness and disappointment are too different states of mind. Being sad meant being neutral. Literally it means that even if we do not meet the desired success, we should not be impatient but take an objective attitude. Bhagwan Mahavira also said, "You may become sad, but never lose hope. Do not stop. Keep moving, If you do not succeed once, try again. Actually, endeavour alone opens the gate of success."

We have gathered here not as a formality. But all of us have pure thoughts in our minds and have a strong desire to do something. Although I have walked seven miles to reach this venue, the beautiful and chaste atmosphere of this place have driven away my fatigue.

Every activity of ours is inspired by some purpose. This is because our monks and nuns are given to serious thinking. How can any activity of theirs be without an aim? The main purpose of these seminars we organise is to connect the links of unity that has been shattered over the centuries.

Even the Jains who have sought to bring about harmony among various mutually contradictory schools of thought, like theism and atheism, nihilism and eternity, momentarism and permanence through its many-sided approach, are adamant about their own ideas. They fight over petty differences of opinion. How ridiculous is this situation when it applies to those who have inherited anekanta[1] approach to truth: If even the Jains, who seek to offer solutions to the world problems by the many-sided approach, entangle themselves in such controversies, how can we hope that they would be able to give any direction to the world?

We should remember three things and give serious thought to them, if we wish to regain our lost glory:

We should co-operate in activities of bringing about unity, not disruption. It often happens that when we take some step to forge unity, we do not get your co-operation and if you make some attempts, we are not able to co-operate.

Unity does not mean bringing together all the five fingers and thereby destroying the efficient working of the hand. It only means that while remaining separate the five fingers function in a co-ordinated manner.

Talking about the state of mind of religious people, Bhagwan Mahavira has said in the Sthananga Sutra that whenever dharma or a faith faces any difficulty or an individual is passing through a difficult time, some people give up the faith "but not dharma as such. Some people give up dharma but not their faith. Some people discard both dharma and faith. But some people are so determined that they give up neither dharma nor the faith.

The best choice is to protect both dharma as well as the faith. But when there is discrepancy between dharma and faith, how far is it right to give preference to the latter? Actually, we should impart secondary importance to faith or creed and defend dharma at all cost. But the real trouble is that whenever the problem of unity arises, people start thinking in terms of protecting their own faith. Their main consideration is whether the tradition of their own faith is going to be harmed in the process. Dharma takes a back seat in the anxiety to protect an organisation. But has the protection of an organisation sans dharma, any value at all? After murdering dharma, how long would the organisation last?

Bhagwan Mahavira even went to the extent of saying that when there is a question of discarding dharma or the ascetic's attire, one may discard the ascetic's attire if the need arises, but he should not abandon the dharma. In this context, as far as the unity and glory of Jainism are concerned, he should not allow the tradition of his sect to prevail upon him. It is here that we must establish the value of our liberal thinking and outlook. Our liberal-minded monks and nuns should deeply think in this context.

Let us learn to tolerate each other. After all, is there any field where we do not have to tolerate each other? How much of toleration we have shown in joint families and joint enterprises? Only then we are able to have some success. No great action can be expected from the person who loses his balance in the face of the slightest inconvenience.

An incident in the lives of two great Arya Samajic leaders can provide inspiration to us even today:

Swami Darshnanandji and Shraddhananadji were very competent leaders and veteran scholars. The relation between them was very affectionate. They used to meet often and they discussed and debated. One evening they met as usual. They entered into serious discussion about the scriptures. For some reason, there was suddenly tension between them. Darshnanandji got very excited and said many harsh things to Shraddhanandji. That meeting ended in a tense atmosphere.

On returning home, Darshnanandji searched his heart. His line of thinking changed. His excitement subsided. Realising his mistake, his heart was filled with remorse. He addressed a very polite letter to Shraddhanandji and sought forgiveness for his mistake.

After reading the letter, Shraddhanandji sent his reply in verse:

Darshnanandji, do you think I am an oilseed that after being squeezed a little it would give away its oil (affection) and suddenly turn into oil-cake? You must change your way of thinking, and think of me as those grains of rice which, even when pounded by heavy pestles, turn whiter and whiter. You might have said or done anything, I still have the same love and affection for you.[2]

We too can take inspiration from this incident and enrich our relations with more sweetness and deeper love.

For the success of the coming celebration of the 25th centenary of Mahavira's nirvana, let us work unitedly, so that our dreams of that golden occasion would be realised.

I do hope that all sections of the Jains would seriously think about this and would get ready to make progress and spread the influence of the Jain philosophy.


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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. Bhagwan Mahavira
  2. Delhi
  3. Dharma
  4. Glory of Jainism
  5. Jain Philosophy
  6. Jainism
  7. Mahavira
  8. Nirvana
  9. Sthananga Sutra
  10. Sutra
  11. Swami
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