The Quest For Truth: [07.03] Soul And The Supreme Soul (3)

Published: 01.04.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008
Our world is very strange. That which we should ask ourselves we ask others and that which we should ask others, we ask ourselves. We should ask other: "Who are you?" That we ask ourselves. We should ask ourselves, "Who am I?" That we ask others. We are not able to find an answer to the question, "who am I" because we are asking others. We will not be able to find the answer as long as we continue to search in the outer world.

Moving one step towards finding the answer to the question, "who am I", we brought consciousness from outside to inside. There we experienced our existence. Our senses, speech and mind were taking our consciousness out. We were seeing the outside world. Wisdom turned the direction of the consciousness within and we perceived our soul. The journey of the soul in the outer world was over and the journey within had begun. A bridge had been built between soul on one end and the supreme soul on the other. A bridge, that is the inner soul (antaratma). The one who wants to be paramatma has to necessarily know the paramatma. The one who knows the realized soul [arhat), only he knows his soul. The one who does not know the arhat will never know his soul. This important principle for spiritual practice of Acharya Kundakunda is a valuable one even in the context of becoming the supreme soul. In common parlance it is that one should first know the soul and then the supreme soul. But without knowing the Supreme soul we cannot know the soul.

There is an old story. A king invited artists from all over the country. When they all assembled, the King said, "The King's seal has to be made. Make the picture of a cock. Breathe such life into the picture such that the seal is truly special. The best painting will be given a prize." The artists were very happy. They accepted every condition laid down by the king. In a few days' time they all came back with the work they had done and placed it before the king. The king was pleased with what he saw. He thought, "I am no artist. Who is to adjudicate?" After some reflection he invited an old artist who at one time had held the title of the best artist in the kingdom. The artist, now old, was called and the king said, "Decide which painting will be awarded the first prize." The artist-judge took all the paintings. He returned the following day and said, "Sire! None of the paintings is good enough to be your seal. They are all useless." The king was astounded. "But how can you say that. They are all beautiful," he exclaimed. Replied the artist-judge: "Beautiful for sure. But you had asked for a picture full of life. None of them have life."

The King was now faced with a problem. "All the good artists of the country are here. If you do not like even one painting of theirs, then you make one," said the king. The artist-judge looked at the king and said, "I am old, but even then if you say so, I must obey. I need three years to make a painting." "Three years!" exclaimed the king.

"Special merit does not accrue without practice. Impulsive work can serve to keep things going, but it cannot create that something special. Taking permission for three years from the king the artist-judge left. Six months passed and the artist never met the king. The king sent his confidante to see what work the artist was doing. He went in search of the artist and did not find him in his home. As he went searching for him he reached the forest where he saw a pen full of about fifty cocks and hens. The old painter was sitting amidst them. The king's confidante asked, Is the painting ready?" The old man replied, "I am still making it." "When will it be ready?" "In another two and a half years."

Two and a half years went past. The king once again made enquiries and this time called for the artist. “Bring the painting," said the king. "It is not yet made." "Three years have gone past why don’t you made the painting as yet. What were you doing till now?" "Shall I tell you what I have been doing?" "Yes, indeed, I would like to know." In the court there came the sound of cocks crowing from all sides. Cocks started running to and fro. The courtiers began to wonder, "What kind of man is he? The same language, the same mannerism, the same behaviour." The king asked, "What is this that you are doing?"
"O King, I was showing you what I had done in three years. I have become a cock." "But that was not what I wanted. I wanted you to paint; not become a cock yourself." "Without becoming a cock I cannot paint one." "Okay, you are a cock, now bring the picture" "What is the problem with the painting? It is a half hour job. Get the brush and paper, I will make the painting." All the material was brought and even as the court was watching the picture was ready.

"Does this picture have life?" "Yes, my lord," said the painter.

"How do you say that? What is the test?" The artist called for one cock. He placed all the painting of others and let the cock free. The cock did not react to them. Then he placed his picture. The cock became active even as he saw the painting. He charged at it, all ready to fight with the cock in the painting. The artist said, "Sir this is a painting with life. A cock is fighting with another."

"How did you make such a painting in such a short time?" asked the king. "Sir, I spent three years becoming a cock. If I had not become one, I could not have made one" replied the artist.

The one who is not divine cannot worship the divine. Any person has to first become divine and then worship the divine. Without meditating on the supreme soul, the soul cannot become the supreme soul. To know the supreme soul takes time, to become one does not take time. The one who cannot see the supreme soul can never become one.

  • The Quest For Truth: In the context of Anekanta by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj
  • Translated by Sudhamahi Regunathan
  • under the guidance of Revered Munishree Mahendra Kumar.
  • Published 2003 by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute (Deemed University), Ladnun, Rajasthan, India

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Kundakunda
  3. Arhat
  4. Consciousness
  5. Kundakunda
  6. Paramatma
  7. Soul
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