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Abstract Thinking: [32.01] - Anupreksha Of Gentleness

Published: 03.09.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Gentleness means sweetness. It is the secret behind successful collective living. Through it, an individual's life acquires fullness and charm. A gentle character is pliable. A man possessed of gentleness is capable of instantaneous adjustment in every kind of situation. Many a time, what cannot be accomplished through strict discipline, gets accomplished through gentleness. Gentle behaviour is of the essence of moral consciousness. Some people are cruel. Their treatment of animals and men is so ruthless that their hardheartedness shows through. When a man treats the animals so cruelly, how can there be any development of morality in him? How utterly pitiless is man in everyday living? Is not hunger for dowry ruthless conduct? Every year hundreds of innocent girls are sacrificed on the altar of dowry. With all these ruthlessness going on, any talk of morality sounds quite meaningless. We have committed a grave error in separating morality from religion. We think it is necessary to be religious for a better deal in the other world, for achieving salvation or gaining entry into paradise, but it is not necessary to be moral. Whether a man is moral or not, if only he is religious, does his worship and japa regularly, he is free to conduct himself as he pleases in the shop or at home. A man thinks that irrespective of his conduct, his worship of God shall wipe out all error, that his ceremonial adoration of God once or twice a day will suffice to rid him of sin, that it would mark a new beginning, a new way of thinking and action. With this kind of belief that religion, spirituality and religious consciousness is one thing and moral consciousness is something apart, altogether different, all talk of developing a moral consciousness proves futile. What we need today is a radical transformation of consciousness.

Man has three weaknesses - cruelty, incongruity and the tendency to harm himself. Cruelty comes first. I want to refine my conduct - which means that instead of ruthlessness, I want gentleness and sweetness. I want compassion so that my behaviour is full of kindness towards others, so that ruthlessness is gradually dissolved till it is completely wiped out. All the incongruities, all the contradictions, all the problems today, whether economic, political or sociological, are basically rooted in man's cruelty. Is it possible for one man to cheat another without cruelty? Can any man rob another, do adulteration, all these things are just not possible. All the evils continue because of cruelty. One has no leisure even to think about these. Even a patient on his deathbed cannot be admitted to hospital until the authorities are illegally gratified. A man is required to travel on account of some urgent work, but unless he offers a bribe, he cannot secure a rail-berth. A businessman adulterates the feed with the result that the cattle start dying after consuming it. This is not possible without cruelty. Is adulteration in flour, in spices, in pulses possible without cruelty? Not at all. The whole story of economic corruption is the story of cruelty.

Let our behaviour towards another be free from cruelty. If it is free from cruelty, many problems are resolved of themselves.

There is no longer any need to seek a solution thereto.

Within us is flowing a fountain of unlimited consciousness. Before one can immerse oneself in it, one must come to see it. Streams of goodwill and friendship burst forth around him who comes to espy this source.

The spirit of goodwill and friendship is the starting point of universal brotherhood. The man, who keeps awake every moment and is free from malice, can alone lead a good life. A good life means the development of gentleness and straightforwardness. Only a gentle and straightforward person can practise equanimity. He who practises equanimity, comes to realize himself, and with realization comes the awakening of eternal consciousness.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Consciousness
  2. Discipline
  3. Equanimity
  4. Japa
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