Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 82 ►The Conscience of Non-Violence

Published: 12.07.2020

According to Jaina philosophical thoughts one who doesn’t observe creatures with one sense restrains five bodies and one who observes creatures with one sense cannot restrain his five bodies. In a similar way a person who doesn’t cause violence to creatures with five senses and neglecting these he cannot restrain his five senses. The point worth understanding is whether the question is of restraining five bodies or five senses it is restraint only. In a similar way whether non- restraint is of five bodies or of five senses it is non-restrain only.

According to Jaina Tirthankaras violence it is worth renouncing. In Dashvaikalia sutra it has been said-

सव्वे जीवा वि इच्छंति, जीविउं मरिज्जिउं|

तम्हा पाणवहं घोरं, निग्गंथा वज्जयंति णं||

Every living creature wants to live, no one wants to die, and therefore violence is worth renouncing. The point worth contemplating here is even though violence is considered vile the life of mundane creatures is deeply associated with violence. The question might arise here; if a living creature causes violence doesn’t he become cruel? At this point Jaina Tirthankaras have shown us a way. They said that social beings cannot get over violence fully but they can certainly get over it to a certain extent. If a person gets over unnecessary violence then he is not called cruel.

As an example of the aforesaid statement it can be said that a person builds house, cultivates land, uses water, cooks food and gets involved in a lot of activities. Violence is clear in all these activities. These tendencies are in indispensable in life; therefore, a social person cannot save himself from them. He can at least do this much that he can take a vow of not causing violence to mobile creatures. Although there might be some exceptions to this vow like—a snake bites or any ferocious animal attacks. In a situation akin to this a person cannot remain inactive. In self-defence he kills such creatures. At that point of time it is very difficult to control one. An enemy attacks, at that point also without doing anything it is difficult to mere endure. Therefore the language of now should be, “l would not cause violence to any innocent mobile creature. An argument can be presented here as well and that is if a living creature comes under one’s feet and dies then what could be done? As a solution to this in the aforesaid vow a word “intentionally” must be added. Without causing violence to creatures with one sense a family person cannot sustain his life, but it is a sin as well. Therefore, it is feasible to see if any creature with one sense also doesn’t become a victim of any unnecessary violence. To make a brush for cutting the entire branch of a tree, for a single fruit, severing some twenty or thirty fruits, to pluck two or three flowers rooting out the entire sapling and so on are counted among unnecessary violence.

Touchstone of Violence and Non-Violence

Jaina religion is a religion of conscience. It is a religion of utility. If it is described in a sentence then the definition of religion would be that Utility is only religion. Utility is a precious factor. By coming to some utility a person can save himself from sin to a great extent. The philosophy of Jaina religion is very subtle. Violence and non-violence here is not merely limited to a creature’s lives according to its life energy and when this life force gets exhausted then the creatures die. Therefore, the question of life and death is very insignificant. The edifice of the thought of violence and non-violence rests on the tendencies of the person’s mind, speech and body. The ill tendencies of mind, speech and body are violence and to save one from such negative tendencies is non-violence.

Feeling of Using Non-Violence

A sister of Japan is conducting a research only non-violence. She is greatly fascinated by non-violence and has a deep quest in her mind for it. She said, ‘Once I saw a dying animal. It screamed. Seeing its pain my heart ached. Since then my heart got transformed and my faith got even more intense on non-violence. In the due course of time I developed an intense desire of applying non-violence. I reached Varanasi. I came to know your name there. I have come here all the way from there. I do not want to write a thesis on non-violence. I want to see to what extent non-violence can have an influence on my life. Keeping this point of view, I wish to go through the practical application of it.’

Listening to her words surprised me that foreign women also think over non-violence so much! On the other hand Indian people hardly contemplate over this subject. It seems that those who are in the ocean they have no idea how much water does the ocean contain? I said, ‘The touchstone of non-violence doesn’t merely rest on a creature’s life and death. For this one needs to know whether life contains anger, pride, greed, desire, fear, possibility of committing mistake and so on. If they are present then kills someone or not, he is violent. To the extent that a person saves himself from these traits, he is non-violent to that extent only.

Hearing my words the sister said, ‘Acharyaji! No person in this world can get over these traits fully’. I explained her, ‘I never ask any lay person to get.over all these factors. The main point is to set a goal. If a human being sets a goal and moves forward to it he would certainly be successful in reaching the goal someday.

Half-Understanding of Non-Violence

I see that people associated with non-violence have a deep conditioning of orthodox ideas. They have a half-understanding. If an ant is crushed under feet one repents and anger doesn’t create any repentance. It is the consequence of half understanding of non- violence. If an ant is killed then one repents and when one is affected by anger then no such feeling work. It is so because of the orthodox ideas that people carry. Philosophically the way killing of living creatures is violence in similar way anger is also violence. Due to this, violence is caused on its own accord almost every day. Every moment human tendencies get polluted.

Anger: A Disease

A person came to me once and said, ‘I get angry quite often. For this my mind is always III turmoil. Please tell me the way to win over it. I said, ‘Anger is a disease. It has got a medicine but it is quite bitter in taste. If you keep some preventive measures in mind then only it can be put to an end. Generally it is said when one is possessed by anger one should not speak. If one can be aware this much then one may have control over anger. Generally at the time of getting angry one is not in one’s sense but when it subsides then one must repent and the following day one must renounce having sugar or salt completely.

The person who came took a vow and went away. When he visited next time he said, ‘I remembered your words every moment. So, I did not get angry. It has relieved me. l believe that if it goes on like this, I shall be surely benefitted a lot.’

Touchstone of Religion

Religious people must save themselves from negative traits like anger at any cost. The people who call themselves religious, if their traits remain polluted, then how far would they be called religious, are the question that they must contemplate over. They have to keep this point in mind that the true touchstone of religion doesn’t lie merely in external rituals. The true touchstone of it is a person’s positive traits. The lesser these negative traits, the more is the glory of religion. It is desirable that every person must attain to religious state on his own. He must assess himself on the basis of his traits of life. When he secures full marks he may consider himself successful in attaining religion.

Equilibrium is Desirable

Everyone is aware of positive and negative traits. Excitement comes but it is not fully negative but one has to make sure that one’s traits are not tainted by it. An exponent of religion explains the subtle nuances of religion and gets pretty excited while doing so. lt is not considered bad. A teacher or a lecturer has to get excited but he must not lose control over himself. A preacher takes control over the whole commune. At times he had to be alert that his balance is maintained. They should not lose their sense. They must refrain from using words that may hurt someone deeply. A child commits mistakes repeatedly so he needs to be rebuked but even while rebuking a child one’s balance should not be affected is desirable. When a wise man gets angry it doesn’t last long. It is almost like drawing lines on water that disappear instantly. A poet has said-

'उत्तमस्य क्षणं कोप:, मध्यमप्रहरव्दयम् |

अधमस्य त्वहोरात्रं, नीचस्य मरणं ध्रुवम्||'

A great man’s anger is momentary, a mediocre, man’s anger lasts through the first and second half of the day, an inferior man, keeps his anger throughout day and night. The inferior man retains his anger as long as he is alive. The crux of this whole discussion is that the negative tendencies of mind, speech and body cause violence and one needs to understand them deeply. The graces violence annihilation of life is understood by all, but one needs to save oneself from the violence caused by the instincts. It is understood by a few people. This understanding must be developed. One who doesn’t cause violence to creature with five senses, with one’s intents restrains five senses and one who doesn’t cause violence to creature with one sense like earth, water and so on restrains five bodies. If one moves a little forward then one who doesn’t cause violence to life, matter and the quality of goodness restrains all the senses. The right to restrain all the senses is enjoyed by a saint.

The saints are remembered with great reverence. It is not for the body but the power of restraint. Worship is not offered to a person but the qualities. Where renunciation and restraint are not established the luck also doesn’t favour. No matter how much worship there may be for restraint it always falls short. The worship for a restraint person is worship for renunciation, penance and the culture of restraint.

Although restraint is the outcome of non-violence, therefore in the sphere of religion, ‘it gets established on its own accord. After having understood the significance of non-violence every person must become aware of following the ideals of it. This awareness would become the base of one’s happy and peaceful life and a creature of one’s bright future.


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. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Fear
  4. Greed
  5. JAINA
  6. Jaina
  7. Non-violence
  8. Pride
  9. Sutra
  10. Tirthankaras
  11. Varanasi
  12. Violence
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