I And Mine: [02.22] - A Religious Revolution - Restraint

Published: 23.11.2005
Updated: 06.08.2008

The world would have been singularly governed by fear and terror had there been no restraint. If the river had not flown between the two banks, it would have done the people more harm than good. Our very being and life in society depend upon the restraints within which we live.

Consider the following scene. Down below is flowing the Sabarmati River and over it is a railway bridge. On one side of it is broad-guage and on the other side metre-guage. Nearby is a pathway for those going on foot and on bikes. Everyone is following the course meant for him/her. No One is hindering the path of others. Had it not been for this restraint through proper organization, the trains would have been hindered by the river waters and so would have been the case with people's movements. Man has learnt to observe restraint and so nothing is obstructed - the flow of the river, the railway traffic, the movements of the people.

In the Gita there is a mention of the restraint of a tortoise. The tortoise knows how to practise restraint. It knows how to hide its organs under the security cover of its back. That is why it is able to protect itself against the onslaught of jackals. Both Lord Mahavira and Lord Buddha said in the same language. 'Restrain your hands, restrain your feet, restrain your speech, restrain you sense organs, and restrain your mind.'

Everyman seeks security. Restraint is the greatest security. Germs do not cause as many people to fall ill as does non-restraint. Arms do not wound as many people as does non-restraint. The police force does not put as many people behind the bars as does non-restraint. Death does not claim as many victims as does non-restraint.

Physicians say, 'Of what you eat fifty per cent is for ourselves and fifty per cent for the doctors.' Food is not taken to nourish the entrails but to satisfy the palate. Food will not be as scarce as it is today only if considerations of satisfying the palate were removed from eating. When all our attention is directed towards things we need to eat and drink, we are unable to fully concentrate on our basic need. Such is the sad state today. Problems related to luxury and covetousness have relegated the problem of food to a secondary position. And the problem of food has made many secondary problems primary. India is still a country of scanty resources. It is a pity that in such a country one class enjoys all kinds of luxuries and unnecessary things while another class suffers from the pangs of hunger.

Once Acharya Tulsi was staying in Rajasthan. Some of his disciples were moving about on foot in another state. Acharyashree was told that they were facing inconvenience and not getting adequate food. He reduced the quantity of his own food. News of this sympathetic gesture reached the disciples. Their sense of hardship began mitigating. The feeling of hardship aggravates in the absence of sympathy, but on getting sympathy, even if hardship does not lessen, its feeling definitely gets attenuated. If the affluent people observe restraint, the hardship of the deprived people automatically gets reduced or even if it does not get reduced immediately, at least it's feeling definitely gets less sharp. Abundance of earthly goods by itself does not solve all human problems. Many problems can be solved by restraint alone. Our economists talk merely of increased production of goods. At such a time is it not necessary for our religious leaders to present the need for restraint in a scientific framework and to establish the fact that restraint solves not only mental but also physical problems.

When the regulations (worship aspect) become primary and restraint becomes secondary, the religious domain loses its lustre, and when restraint becomes primary and regulations become secondary, the religious domain becomes resplendent.

  • 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 Tulsi
  3. Buddha
  4. Fear
  5. Gita
  6. Mahavira
  7. Rajasthan
  8. Tulsi
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