I And Mine: [01.18] - I And My Mind - Relative Truth

Published: 01.11.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

I see the picture of an old man emerging before my eyes. He was very healthy and strong in his youth. He was very active and equally proficient in his work. He was a centre of attraction because of both, his physical eyes and his inner light. Now he has grown old. His beautiful body now looks like a corpse. His beautiful hair has greyed. His healthy body has become diseased. His eyes are not longer attractive. His organs of perception have become ineffective, and his organs of action have become powerless. He is no longer proficient in his work, nor is he now known for inner wisdom. He feels organised through the remembrance of his past. His unhappiness lies in the present, but is not an outcome of the present. It has been derived in the present, but has its connections with the past.

He would not have been so unhappy, if he had not been healthy and beautiful in the past, if he had not been so energetic and effective in the past, if he had not been a centre of attraction in the past. He would have avoided unhappiness, if he had not connected the past with the present through memory, if he had been free from the knowledge of his past and present identity.

The period of time when I was the centre of attraction is now over. Now the wheel of time has put me into a new time-span. In it, I have lost the capability of being the centre of attraction. Thus he would not have been unhappy, only if he had the right knowledge of the change of circumstances suffered by the same entity. If he had the right knowledge and philosophy, he would have avoided unhappiness.

Lord Mahavir had alluded to this tendency to let the present be influenced by the past, as Naigam Naya, differentiating between past, present, and future.

Once a farmer said to his wife, 'I am going to bring a buffalo.' She said, 'You are welcome to do so, but I will give the cream of its milk to my mother.' The farmer said, 'How can you do so? I buy the buffalo and its cream is enjoyed by your mother?' The debate became heated and they started quarrelling. One of the neighbours came and broke all their pitchers, saying the farmer's buffalo had grazed in his field and eaten away all his grass. 'But I have no buffalo at home,' said the farmer, 'so where is the question of my buffalo eating away your grass?' The neighbour remarked, 'Why this quarrel then between you and your wife, even when there is no buffalo?'

This is an instance of the present being influenced by the future, and again it exemplifies a part of the Naigam Naya.

I see the cycle of integration and disintegration in the change of state of material objects. What is an ocean if not an integration of countless drops? And what is a drop if not the disintegration of an ocean? Integration denotes expansion. It has its own utility, for ships cannot float on a drop of water. Disintegration denotes diminution. It too has its own utility. The beak of a bird cannot take in a whole ocean. Therefore, both, the ocean and the drop are real.

Cloth has its own use. It gives protection against heat and cold. Thread has its own use; it makes knitting possible. Their functions are not interchangeable. Therefore, cloth as well as thread is real. Conceding the reality of these two relative realms is explained by Lord Mahavira's Samgrah and Vyavahar Naya, synthetic approach and analytic approach.

I see a beautiful garden containing scores of attractive and pleasing rose plants. Their multi-coloured flowers are very lovely. They are exuding fragrance. All visitors to the garden view them with greedy eyes.

After a few years, I find the garden withering. The gardener had stopped watering the plants, and so they have dried up. Now everyone views them with pitiful eyes.

The past glory of rose plants has turned unreal. Now their destruction has become real. This present reality exemplifies Lord Mahavira's Rijusutra Naya, straight and direct approach.

Once, a seminar was in progress. One of the speakers was rejecting the scriptures. I thought to myself, that one body of knowledge is approved as well as rejected by another body of knowledge. Had it not been for verbal knowledge, neither approbation nor rejection would have been possible. Could that speaker reject the scriptures without resort to the use of words?

Really speaking, he was not so much rejecting them as he was imposing his body of knowledge on the ancient body of knowledge. Such an imposition is made possible by a partial view. Nothing like the rejection of ancient texts would be possible, if over a passage of time a change of relationship between sounds and their sense is conceded.

'Delhi' is a word. It deputes a certain territory called by that name. Its meaning changes if one thinks of Delhi in the past, Delhi in the present, and Delhi in the future. Delhi under the Congress rule is different from Delhi under the British rule, and should another regime come in the future, Delhi under that regime would be different from Delhi under the Congress rule. If we consider its minutiae, both, yesterday's and tomorrow's Delhi will be different from today's Delhi. This knowledge of verbal meaning coming under the influence of the passage of time is Lord Mahavira's Shabda-Naya, verbal approach.

Today we were wandering in the Mandor garden with Acharya Tulsi. Facing us was a hilly ascent, and there was a flight of stairs for going up. Going up the stairs, Acharyashree remarked: This is of course an Udyan (garden). The meaning of that overwhelmed my mind. An Udyan is a garden laid on a highland. There is a close relation between the subject and the predicate. There is no predicate, which may echo two subjects. Different etymologies yield different meanings. Lord Mahavira's Samabhirurh Nqya, the standpoint in which a difference of meaning is supposed to exist in the difference of gender, synonym, and number, explains this.

There was a government officer, who used to light two lamps, one with oil bought with his own money, and the other bought with government funds; the former for doing his personal work, and the latter for official work. There are many similar instances. For example, there was another officer, who would use the official car for official work, and the public transport for personal work. A man is a government officer only when he is doing official work. This is Lord Mahavira's Evambhut Naya, actual approach.

We live in a world of relative facts, and therefore their interpretation is very valuable for us. By evaluating it, we can solve a number of problems. The origin of all problems lies in pertinacity and in imposing one's opinions on others. Pertinacity gives rise to untruth and it in turn creates problems. The relative outlook is an enormous contribution of Lord Mahavira to Indian thinking. It develops the habit of eschewing pertinacity. Eschewing pertinacity brings one is contact with truth, and truth provides answers to all problems.

  • 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. Body
  4. Delhi
  5. Mahavir
  6. Mahavira
  7. Naya
  8. Tulsi
  9. Vyavahar Naya
  10. Wheel of Time
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