Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 16 ►Context of Non-Violence

Published: 09.06.2020

To be scholar is something and to have an understanding of different facets of life is something else. Some people, in spite of lacking sufficient depth in philosophy also grasp the inner essence of life. Again some people, in spite of being an erudite in scriptures and philosophy fail to see the basic facts of life. Here two aspects need to be laid emphasis on—acceptance and pre-conceived notion. A person who wants to have a new understanding, he listens with minute awareness and keeps himself ready to realize the truth from any dimension. He develops a clear understanding of life. Those who are prejudiced about any person or any principle, those who lack power of reasoning and who hesitate accepting new ideas, they cannot understand unless they become absolutely impartial.

Religion is to Save Oneself from Sins

In Terapanth there is a law—to save a sinner from sins. In that context someone’s life is spared or someone is able to save his wealth or property is not religion in the true sense of the term. The important point is to save oneself from sins. If the relevant points are drawn they cannot be given importance. If relevant incident is given importance then sometimes just the opposite might happen. To save a person from sin someone may die as well. If the person survives, it will be considered a religious act then the sin of someone’s death will also get associated with him whereas it never happens that way. The sole purpose of religion is to save everyone from sin. Apparently whatever happens it cannot be associated with religion. To prove this law’s authenticity three living examples have been laid forward to explain this vividly. Some of our monks and nuns have drawn pictures as well. They can be captured in words this way.

How could Thieves Leave Stealing?

There was a shop of a trader in the market place. A portion of his shop was occupied by a few saints. One night some thieves entered the shop. They broke the lock. They carried the bags of money and were about to leave suddenly a voice startled them—‘Brother who are you?’ The thieves got nervous. They saw saints and became rest assured: They were convinced that they would not be affected by the saints. Thinking this they said, ‘Maharaj! We are thieves. We have stolen and now getting back.’ The saints sat there. The thieves also followed suit. The conversation between them went at length. The saints explained the thieves of the pros and cons of stealing. This changed their heart. Realizing the act of stealing the cause of their downfall they decided to stop stealing in future. When they left stealing their fear also disappeared. Then they became relaxed and listened to the words of wisdom from these saints.

The night was about to be over. The dawn broke. People started moving here and there. The trader also came there to pay visit to these saints. No sooner had he stepped on to the staircase than he noticed the front door open. What might have happened was the concern that bothered him and he stepped forward. He found the lock broken. His heart started palpitating. He looked here and there. He saw the saints sitting at one comer. Just in front of them were the thieves sitting with their bags full of stolen money. The trader went near the saints. The saints introduced the thieves with the traders. The thieves said-—Seth Saheb, take hold of your wealth. If these saints were not present today than we would have turned you almost as a saint. This is the influence of these saints’ words that we have left stealing and your wealth was rescued.

The first example is that of thieves. Here two incidents are worth noticing. The first point is that the thieves got transformed and stopped Stealing-thus saving their souls from the sin of stealing. The second point is the rescue of the trader’s wealth. The souls of the thieves were saved from sin, it is religion, and the wealth was saved that is a relevant consequence of this act.

Conscience of the Butchers

Some butchers were carrying goats. They met some saints on their way. The saints asked them—‘Where are you going?’ The butchers were carrying the goats to kill them. They confessed. The saints said ‘Do they want to die? If not then what right do you have to kill them?’ The second point—the sin that you would accumulate by killing them who is going to suffer the consequence of it? Will it not taint your soul? The butchers were startled to hear this. The saints were in search of an opportunity and finding one they gave them some wise suggestions. That transformed their mind. At that very point of time they decided, to stop killing these innocent leaving creatures.

This second example is that of the butchers. Here also we find two significant points. The first point is that these saints’ suggestions set these butchers free of violence. The second point was that these impotent goats were saved. The butchers went beyond violence which is a direct way of religion and saving the life of goats was a relevant consequence of it.

One Advice—Two Consequences

It was midnight. Some saints were sitting in a shop in the middle of the market deeply engrossed in meditation. Co-incidentally three persons appeared before them. The saints asked, ‘what are the matter brothers! Where are you all going in the middle of the night?’ Hearing these words they stopped abruptly. The saints repeated their question—‘Good fellows! Why don’t you say something?’ All three of them got into a dilemma. What to do‘? Whether to confess or not. In their hesitation all three came near the saints and sat. The warmth and-love from the saints helped them disclose the matter to some extent. They said, “Lord, we are sinners. We are not even worth sitting at your feet. We are victims of our habit. We are going to a prostitute at this hour.’

The saints gave them advice at length. They talked about the ill consequences of getting intimate with the prostitutes. They also taught them how to get over passion. After hearing their words of wisdom at length their mind frame changed. They lamented over their actions. With contemplation and reason they finally renounced this gruesome habit.

On the other hand the prostitute kept waiting for them for some time. She stepped outside her house in search of them and looking for them she also reached there. She insisted them to come with her. She said, ‘If you don’t come, I shall drown myself in the well and commit suicide.’ They said, ‘We have all left this gruesome habit. If you take our advice then you also better change your way of life’. The prostitute was overruled by emotions. She ignored their words and jumped into the well thus putting an end to her life.

This third example is for the people who are hedonists. Here also we find two significant points. The first point is that the saint’s advice set these hedonists free from doing wrong deeds. The second point is that the prostitute died by throwing herself into the well. The hedonists got free from hedonistic pleasures. The prostitute made this situation an excuse for committing suicide. But in reality these two incidents are separate and there is no point connecting these two.

Understanding Develops from Remaining Aware

If we examine the aforesaid illustrations then the final conclusion we reach is that thieves renounced stealing which saved the trader’s wealth, it is not religion. Similarly renouncing the act of killing saved the life of goats but that is not religion either. The true essence of religion lies in the renunciation of thieves and the butchers. If we associate wealth with the thieves, religious trait and goats association with the non-violent trait of the butchers then renouncing debauchery becomes responsible for the prostitute committing suicide. Acharya Bhikshu did not agree with this view. He said—‘renouncing the act of stealing and killing is religion. Wealth and goats were saved as a natural consequence of it. Similarly renunciation of debauchery is religion. The sin of committing suicide is associated with the prostitute. Those who renounced have got no connection with that sin whatsoever.

This perception of Acharya Bhikshu is very deep. The people of new generation however find difficulty in accepting this view. Those who are wise mature and free from all pre-conceived notions, those who are alert and keen to observe the phenomenon minutely they attain to clarity quite easily. They can conceive even very complicated thoughts quite easily. This has been-my experience.   In the year I had my Chaturmas in Jaipur. India had become free then. Indian Constitution had also been framed. But no one had been chosen for the post of President. The President of Vidhan Parishad Dr.Rajendra Prasad was working. He met me for the first time. The disciple of Swami Laxmiraj, who was also a famous doctor in Jaipur, Nand kishoreji was also present. At that point of time Rajendrababu and I discussed on various subjects. When Acharya Bhikshu’s Principles were being discussed I placed forward the three pictures of his illustrations that were quite controversial. I also tried to elicit his personal view on the subject.

Rajendrababu minutely observed the picture and said—‘Acharya’ there is nothing intriguing in these illustrations as far as the picture is concerned. The factor worth considering important always remains unaltered and the relevant factor remains what it is. Acharya Bhikshu has lucidly expressed such a matter of grave importance. It is really important and worth considering.

Rajendrababu had no prejudice regarding Terapanth so he could grasp the true essence of it quite easily.

In the very ‘Chaturmas’ that was held in Jaipur there were many scholars present who were opposing the intimation of children. Few names like Pragyachakshu Pandit Sukhlalji, Shri Dalsukhbhai Malbani, Shri Chimanlal Chakkubhai, Shri Parman and Kumar Kapadia, Muni Tin Vijayji are worth mentioning. They were erudite on Jain Philosophy. There is no doubt about their knowledge that they possessed on the subject. But their views were somewhat antagonistic to Terapanth views. They often questioned the principle laid forward by Terapanth. They had no resentment against anyone but the pre-conceived notions that they had and the lack of the association along with the lack of texts written in contemporary language had given rise to certain doubts in their mind. As long as these reasons were present Terapanth could not get their support. But I feel very glad to announce that when the new texts came into limelight their prejudice changed. Then many reasons and opportunities became available to meet them. With their condition and minute observation they supported the inherent thoughts, methods of rule and work schedule of Terapanth. Their kingship is worth mentioning.

Defending One’s Life and Soul

Defending one’s life and defending one’s soul have different roles toplay. The common people think in terms of saving life. Jain Aagam talks of saving one’s soul. In Dashvaikalic Sutra it has been said—

अप्पा खलु सययं रक्खियव्वो,
सव्विदिएहिं सुसमाहिएहिं|
अरक्खिओ जाइपहं उवेइ,
सुरक्खिओ सव्वदुहाण मुच्इ||

Having controlled the entire instincts one must always defend one’s soul. An unprotected soul keeps on wandering and gets entangled in the cycle of life and death. A protected soul on the other hand becomes free from all miseries.

To talk of self-defense is to swim in the direction of the current. To ride a boat in the favorable wind is convenient. If the breeze is hostile then one has to put a lot more effort to ride the boat. To save one’s soul from sins is like swimming against the current. This concept would not be easily grasped by a layman. In this context if ‘VibhajyavadiShaili’ is used then the concept can be easily understood.

AcharyaBhikshu’s Seven Illustrations

If religion is associated with protection of living creatures then many new difficulties arise. There are many such contexts where to save the life of a living creature are affected in some way or the other. If superficially seen then no one pays heed to such a significant point. But if the contemplation is deep then the reality of its asserts. In this context Acharya Bhikshu has given seven illustrations——

First Illustration—A pond is full of frogs and fishes. It is full of mire where various kinds of lives reside. A bull descends on it to quench its thirst during summer. Driven by its habit the bull dwells in the pond as long as it drinks water. This causes violence to many tiny lives residing in the pond. In this situation should the bull be prevented to come near the pond? If it is not prevented then those tiny lives die. What should be done in a dilemma like this?

Second Illustration—Some rotten vegetables are kept. There are many worms that are feeding on the heap of it. Some goats proceed forward to eat those vegetables. If they are not stopped then those tiny creatures will die and if the goats are prevented then they will remain hungry. What is the solution of this problem?

Third Illustration—The mud mortar is filled with a bunch of radish and carrot. There are plenty of small living creatures that dwell there. The bull is drooling to have a taste of them. The same question arises again. Should the bull be prevented to go near the mortar? If the bull is prevented then one accumulates ‘Antaraya Karma’ and if it is allowed then those tiny living creatures are killed.

Fourth Illustration—There are some earthen pitchers filled with water. A drop of water contains many mobile creatures. Such creatures are present in water. The thirsty cow moves towards them to drink water. Should the cow be removed from there? If it is not removed then those creatures become victims of violence and if it is driven away then accumulation of ‘Antaraya Karma’.

Fifth Illustration—There is a plant in the heap of garbage. There are many small creatures moving there. The birds are coming to peck their beaks in it. Should these birds be shooed away? If the birds are shooed away then they remain hungry or else those creatures are killed.

Sixth Illustration—A place is full of mice. A cat pounces upon them. What should be done at this point? A cat tums deaf ears to some one’s advice. If the cat is driven away then it remains hungry and if it is not removed then the mice are killed.

Seventh Illustration—Some flies are droning over molasses or jaggery or any remnant of a sweet dish. Some male flies come to catch those flies. Should these male flies be prevented from attacking the female flies? If the male files are driven away they will remain hungry otherwise the female flies will be killed. The same question arises here again.

Limitation of a Saint and a Family Person

If such a situation arises before a saint then what should he do? Every living creature is equal for him. Who is he going to favor and whom he is going to ignore? If the violence is caused by a rational human being then he can be convinced not to do so. His heart can be transformed and he can be dissuaded from committing an act of violence. But if the doer of such an action is beyond all understanding then what can he do apart from being alert. When the same situation arises before people living in society they take an action. Considering the nation, time opportunity and effectively. If a person saves some ones’ life the saint never forbids him to do so and if someone doesn’t do so he never insists. The main point is that if a family person gets involved in such actions according to his convenience or understanding then it should not be associated with non-violence or religion.

Sugar and Ants

Acharya Vinoba Bhave has written—Some Jainas from the view of non-violence and compassion pour sugar, flour and so on before the holes of ants and believe they are helping the creatures to survive. But what is the consequence of it? I saw in some places a person putting sugar near an ant hole. There were some thousands of ants in the hole. They all rushed outside. They formed a heap. At that very point a bull came wandering by. It stepped on to the heap of ants. It might have killed some thousands of ants together. If sugar had not been put there then these ants would not have come outside and died.

In the aforesaid context the point worth contemplating is that on the basis of sugar or flour how many ants could be saved? Do they not survive with the aid of nature and their own strength? The second point is by putting sugar and flour how many creatures could be saved and where?

Regarding his writings it seems Acharya Vinoba Bhave is speaking the language of Acharya Bhikshu. Whether someone saves someone or not, it is not a philosophical riddle. The essence of philosophy is non-violence. The philosophy of killing or saving someone is quite intriguing and the application of the same ideal is being measured by the same yardstick.

In Jainism saving one’s life and non-violence are different aspects. To grasp this phenomenon people are hardly found. The new perception that Acharya Bhikshu has given will be quite difficult to present before this flux like world. The reverend Kalugani had to face this difficulty quite a number of times. Such a context is being mentioned here.

Context of Kalugani’s Journey

Kalugani was on his way to Mewar. He reached Raipur Borana via Chittor. There were very few people present from Terapanth sect. Jainas from other sects were mostly present there. Whoever were there were biased. They used to come to listen the discourses but would not share public seats. They would arrange for their own seats. One day some people came. They asked him a question. A rat is being eaten by a cat, at the same time the cowshed is also set on fire. You are moving in that direction. What will you do? Kalugani said—‘I am a saint. We have our own limits. I shall stay in my limit’. They asked again—Would you not save the rat? Would you not open the gate of the cowshed? Kalugani replied—‘A saint never interferes in a situation like this because he has his own obligations. The common people at this point became all set to argue. They were given many such instances to realize but they were not in a mood to understand.

Kalugani applied another strategy. Some Muslims and their Maulvi had also come to listen to his discourse. He addressed him saying—‘MaulviSaheb! You have sat to read Namaz. You are deeply engrossed in your prayer. At that point of time if your child falls from upstairs what would you do?’ The Maulvi answered—‘We hardly care who lives and who dies when we offer prayers because we get deeply imbued in contemplation of God’. Kalugani said, ‘You read namaz for sometimes, then also you forget all about worldly affairs.’ My namaz is for life time because I am spending the life of saint. How could I be expected to get entangled in worldly affairs? Hearing the logical argument of Kalugani the Maulvi said addressing all the people present there—‘Listen brothers, what Guruji said is absolutely alright. He has renounced the world and has become a saint. How would he get associated with the world again?”

The conversation that went between Kalugani and Maulvi Saheb has been described in ‘Kalushyobilas’ in this manner-

तुम मान कुरान प्रमान यदा निज जान रिवाज नमाज पढो
सब काज हि व्याज सिवातम काज गरिबनिवाज के ध्यान चढो,
घडि-दो-घडि हेत रहो दूढचेत, चहे कोई आय कटो जु बढो,
जहं जीवन-यापन है इह भांत, फकीरी से पंथ तो अंत बढो़||

Transforming One’s Heart

The question is not saving someone or not saving. Can a cat be turned non-violently saving a rat from it? Non-violence is associated with transformation of one’s heart. As long as the cat’s heart is not changed it cannot be turned non-violent or religious. What to say about cat even human beings cannot be forced and it is not wise either.

Acharya Bhikshu’s disciple Beniramji’s bag was stolen. When he woke up in the morning it was not there. He looked for it here and there. He found some footsteps. Following the footsteps the saints reached the thief s house. A few bowls and pictures were spread here and there. The saints asked ‘Brother! Who brought my utensils here? The thief replied ‘Finding nothing worthwhile I brought these things’. The saints said, ‘Brother! We are all saints. What will be the use of all these things to you? Please return them to us.’

The thief returned everything save a wooden utensil and a few pages of pictures. The saints tried to persuade him but he didn’t listen to them. The saints asked him—"what will you do with them?’ He said—‘Maharaj! I would feed my bull keeping the food in it and show these pages of pictures to my son.’

The saints tried in every possible manner to persuade the thief. He did not listen. Should they have argued with him? There are many such instances where efforts could be taken to transform one’s heart. A balanced response is what can be expected from a religious creature enforcement of any kind is not feasible.


Title: Ocean Of Problems
Author: Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aagam
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Bhikshu
  4. Antaraya
  5. Antaraya Karma
  6. Bhikshu
  7. Chaturmas
  8. Chittor
  9. Contemplation
  10. Fear
  11. Jain Philosophy
  12. Jainism
  13. Jaipur
  14. Kalugani
  15. Karma
  16. Meditation
  17. Mewar
  18. Muni
  19. Non-violence
  20. Pandit
  21. Prasad
  22. Raipur
  23. Rajendra Prasad
  24. Soul
  25. Sutra
  26. Swami
  27. Terapanth
  28. Vinoba Bhave
  29. Violence
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