I And Mine: [03.16.2] - 8 Brief Rules of Group Spiritual Practice - 8. An All-inclusive Viewpoint (2)

Published: 01.01.2006
Updated: 06.08.2008

Even one who knows the word equivalents of all the substances of the three worlds (this world, the other world and the nether world) cannot explain just a thousand word equivalents out of endless equivalents of even a single substance.

It is untrue that only that much is right as a man knows, or that only that which he knows is right and the rest is not right.

Similarly, how can it be maintained that only that which was known in the past is right and that all else is not right? Did our ancestors ever say that they had discovered and expressed the whole truth and did they close all doors to future discovery of truth? It should be accepted that new achievements will continue to be made as long as the world lasts or man lives, or the soul is adored, or the truth is sought. With such a clear understanding there is no likelihood of the peace of mind being disturbed.

Dada Dharmadhikari threw light on the production of wealth and its distribution. Jainendraji mostly shed light on external circumstances, but sometimes on the innerness too. I talked about peace of mind.

All these deliberations and discussions are one-sided. But life does* not have only one aspect. While talking of mental peace, can the mention of food be avoided? Can a hungry man read? Can a thirsty man quench his thirst by enjoying literature? Once a patient set out on a quest of health, he visited physicians practising different systems like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Allopathy, Yunani and Naturopathy. Each one emphasized the importance of his system and decried the rest. I have myself heard the views of many Naturopaths. They feel elated in rejecting Allopathy. I myself emphasized the Naturopathic system. But I do not like insisting on any one system. What will Naturopathy do where surgery is needed? Those practising Ayurveda reject Allopathy. They say, 'Allopathic medicines suppress the disease and a reaction follows leading to the emergence of other diseases.' The Ayurvedic system tries to root out the disease, while Allopathy efforts momentary relief. While Ayurveda is capable of long-term treatment, Allopathy is capable of short-term treatment. One can approximate truth by taking into consideration the individual, the place, the time and the existing situation. An absolute view cannot help reach truth.

There are many people who stress the importance of spirituality but do not like Yogic postures, breathe control exercises etc. There are diseases in which Yogic postures and breath control exercises are useful. For attaining a particular state, religion is instrumental and essential, but in the liberated state religion becomes non-essential. Insistence on absoluteness is not right in any field whatsoever. Continuing to believe in the universality of something leads to difficulties.

In practical life we are advised to speak neither truth likely to hurt others, nor untruth, but partial truth. Let me tell a story in this context. Once upon a time a one-eyes king invited a few painters. He said to them, 'The portrait you make of me should be beautiful and true but no barely true.' He announced a prize of a lac of rupees for the best portrait. All the painters wondered how to fulfil the king's conditions. Three of them agreed to do the king's portrait. One of them having completed it took to the king, who saw it and said, 'The portrait is beautiful and lifelike but not true because it shows both the eyes normal.' To the other painter he said, 'Your portrait is beautiful and live, but it portrays the bare truth by showing me one-eyed.'

The third made the king's portrait after keen and penetrating thinking. He drew an imaginary portrait depicting the king stringing the bow so that one of his eyes got hidden behind the raised hand. The king expressed his joy at the portrait and rewarded him with a lac of rupees. The third portrait was neither untrue nor bare (a depiction of naked truth), but partly true.

Many people pride themselves on calling a spade a spade. Many people resort to untruth to please others. It does them no good. Partial truth is both acceptable and useful.

Our viewpoint should be complete, harmonious and relative. A complete viewpoint is not far removed from truth. A garland is made of diverse ideas having a common thread running through them. This is Anekant (indeterminacy or absence of opposition between extremes). If we cannot weave a garland, all the beads will scatter.

I have no right to impose truth on anyone. I am bound to Syadvada (the doctrine of qualified or non-absolute assertion). I feel that if the eyes are directed towards truth, life will have no unhappiness. Acharya Shree has given me the approach grounded in truth or true sight. For researching in Agams (Jain canonical texts) Acharya Shree told me: 'We are doing an extremely responsible job. Never think in terms of sectarianism about our beliefs. Express only that which strikes true. It may be mentioned what our traditional beliefs are, but truth should not be tinged with our beliefs.'

Is truth preferable or the individual? Are circumstances preferable or is truth preferable? Acharya Bhikshu answered the above question. He said. 'What I am saying today is untinged according to me. If a polymath or metaphysician finds it wrong tomorrow, he should abandon it.' He never drew an absolute line beyond which truth did not exist. Doing that would have meant presumptuousness.

We should consider all thoughts in the light of the fact that no word, language or substance can explain truth fully. We should accept an idea as a qualified truth. Whatever comes complete is acceptable.

The sun sets and darkness spreads everywhere. In olden times oil lamps were used to light houses. Today electricity is used for the purpose. There can be many sources of light and they can be quite compatible with one another. But light is light. The sun gives light, so does the oil lamp. Truth is no different. Whether expressed by an All-knowing person or by a petty person, truth is truth. There is no difference. There can be a difference in quantity.

If you consider the whole process in a holistic context I am sure you will not be deprived of peace of mind.

  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Agams
  4. Anekant
  5. Ayurveda
  6. Ayurvedic
  7. Bhikshu
  8. Dharmadhikari
  9. Lac
  10. Pride
  11. Soul
  12. Syadvada
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