Abstract Thinking: [18.05.4] - Anupreksha Of Dutifulness - Awareness Of Duty In The Youth (4)

Published: 12.03.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

A great deal of discussions on the manifest and the unmanifest is to be found in Indian philosophy. The unmanifest lies below, hidden. The manifest lies before us, apparent. But without the unmanifest, there can be no manifestation. Without the unmanifest, which serves as its foundation, the manifest can find no expression. Manifestation can take place on the basis of knowledge, only when it is allied with action. There is no fruition of action because our knowledge lacks depth. With depth of knowledge, action has an opportunity to flower.

A youth should progress in the direction of studies and his studies should be very comprehensive. I believe that the deep study of metaphysics found in Jainism, would be rarely met with elsewhere. Bhagwati sutra is the living proof thereof. I am not saying it merely because I am a Jain; I have arrived at this conclusion after making a comparative study of all the philosophies.

The metaphysical analysis found in the Bhagwati Sutra is not available to that extent in any other Indian book. Such a great wealth you have, such a stupendous work in your own house, in your own philosophy, and yet you remain unacquainted with it. You do not establish contact with it; you never try to know it in depth. How can you then derive any benefit from it? A great many young men come into contact with us. Only 3-4 days ago, a young man told us,

"I live in London. I go to America. People ask me, ‘What is Jainism?’ I cut a sorry figure there; I do not know what to do about it. I know nothing. I am a Jain, writes 'Jain' after my name, but I do not know anything about Jainism. And other people thing since I am a Jain I must be knowing a lot about it!" Still another young man told us that when he went to Germany, he met a professor there who was a serious student of Jainism. He took the young man to his house, showed him his library. The young man was stunned. When the professor began to talk about Jainism, the young man felt much embarrassed. He wished there were a pit in the ground to hide him and he should enter it. He was greatly ashamed of himself. He said to himself, "This foreigner is asking me things about Jainism and I do not know the A.B.C. of it. I can’t even understand what he is talking about!" That young man said to me now, "I resolved then and there that I must study Jainism so as never to be discomfited again."

In view of all this, you should also mentally resolve, and particularly those young men who have ability and the capacity to do something, should determine to draw up a 4-5 year plan after whose implementation, we should have a group of young men who can act as representatives of Jainism and teach others many things about it

There was a time - and the tradition continued for about 500-700 years - when, if a ruler needed a minister, a magistrate, a commander-in-chief or a treasurer, he would hold interviews and in these interviews preference was given to the Jains. A Jain could be appointed as the Commander-in-chief, or a Judge or the Prime Minister, because he would be authentic, true, honest, would not play false and would not accept bribes. All this was associated with the word, Jain. If a person was a Jain, it meant he was authentic, honest. Such a tradition fully established the uniqueness of Jainism.

In the present age the uniqueness of Mahavir can be established through the uniqueness of character displayed by the Jains. We have to give a new turn to our lives. The prime condition for such a new turning would be: Character-development, self-development. The present day historians have presented Mahavira as the pioneer of morality. The first name among the enunciators of morality is that of Lord Mahavira. Mahavira propounded morality along with religion. Other people propounded the religion of worship, still others propounded rituals. But Mahavira did not do that. He never said, "You should worship me!" He never said: "Recite my name!' You might go through the whole of ancient literature. You will not find a single instance where Mahavira believed in human effort and valour. He only said, "Be true!"

He propounded the religion of morality, the religion of character. The first essential for the youth is to make efforts in the direction of self-development

Mahavir believed in the doctrine of relativity. He himself subscribed to no ism, but the doctrine of relativity originated from his teaching. Mahavir looked at truth factually as well as from the point-of-view of conduct. He laid down two approaches - transcendental and empirical.

"Observe the soul and at the same time observe your behaviour, too. Because you have to play your role on the stage of this world. You cannot violate the rules of conduct. It was on this basis that Jainism came into being.

If you are seeking truth, you will not find if through any institution: For truth, you will have to explore the very depths of your soul. It was on this basis that Jainism was postulated.

  • 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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  1. Bhagwati Sutra
  2. Jainism
  3. London
  4. Mahavir
  5. Mahavira
  6. Soul
  7. Sutra
  8. The Pioneer
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