Humanity, Power and Spirituality for Unity of Religions

Published: 01.05.2010
Updated: 30.07.2015

Definitions

Humanity:

The quality of being human; the peculiar nature of man, by which he is distinguished from other beings, the quality of being humane; the kind feeling, dispositions, and sympathies of man; a disposition to relieve persons or animals in distress; and to treat all creatures with kindness and tenderness. Jainism talks of all living beings to include not only human beings but subhuman (animal), heavenly and hellish beings also.

Peace:

We use the term peace here instead of power as the word Jain is derived from Jina which means conqueror (spiritual) and the power he gets as result is infinite to continuously enjoy the state of bliss. Peace means a time when there is no fighting, no rudeness, no cruelty but only calmness, the absence of hostility, or the existence of healthy or newly-healed interpersonal or international relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness in political relationships and, in world matters. Among the potential causes for the absence of peace i.e. war or conflict are: insecurity, social injustice, economic inequality, political and religious radicalism, and acute racism and nationalism. Jainism talks of tranquility or the state of bliss as the ultimate peace. Further they talk of violence (hiṅsā) and absolutism (ekāntavāda) as the primary causes for conflict and war.

Spirituality:

It relates to the nature of spirit; not tangible or material. Synonyms include immaterialism, dualism, in-corporeality and eternity. Spirituality is associated with religion, deities, the supernatural, and an afterlife. Many equate spirituality with religion, but the two are separate entities; religion being just one way in which humans can experience spirituality. Rather religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization. For some, spirituality includes introspection, and the development of an individual's inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation; e.g. religion is a type of formal external research, while spirituality is a search within oneself. In Jainism, it is often termed Adhyātma or experience of the true self-same.

The above definitions of humanity, peace and spirituality throw up the following interesting observations

  • Spirituality should lead one to develop humane disposition and ultimately peace and tranquility.
  • All three are inter-related. Can one say being spiritual, one develops humane attributes and peace ultimately and the three are concomitant in that order i.e. spirituality-peace-humanity?
  • If spirituality and religion are same; why religion becomes the biggest source of conflicts and trouble? Why not consider each religion as a different way of being spiritual? ‘Is the rigidity of views i.e. only I or mine is Ok and others are not’, one of the major issues causing absence of peace and humanity?
  • Can we say that Non violence (ahiṅsā) is the highest attribute of being humane? So it is the panacea to cure all problems. Can exploitation (form of violence in Jainism) based on religion/race/economic considerations, fighting, rudeness, and cruelty ultimately result in peace?

Let us examine the above issues and their resolution as described in Jain religion with the theme of my talk as Unity of religions with Peace through humanity and spirituality.

Preamble

Jainism is one of the oldest religions of India. It believes in all existences to be real and broadly groups them in two categories namely sentient (jīva) and insentient (ajīva). There are infinite jīvas in this cosmos with each having an independent soul of its own. Each soul maintains its independent identity eternally and continuously goes through change (origination destruction of its modes/states). Karmas are subtle matter particles, which store the actions of the jīva and then generate appropriate fruits (experience of pain or pleasure) of these actions at appropriate time. Even though karmas are very powerful and affect the soul, yet soul has the inherent power to change and even destroy the karmas bonded with it so that the soul can become supreme soul (or attain liberation)? Each soul, defiled by subtle matter karmas, continues to go through transmigration until these matter karmas, called impurities, are completely removed from the soul. This is the highest ideal to be achieved and the soul in this pure state is called siddha or to have attained liberation (mokṣa). Liberation is achieved by each soul through its strenuous ethico-spiritual conduct. Hence each soul is assigned full responsibility for its own state of pain/pleasure or bliss. On the other hand, Jains also say that jīvas help each other (duality of causes namely material and efficient). Thus one jīva which tries to attain liberation is said to be the material cause for its state while the other jīvas, who help this jīva achieve liberation, are called the efficient cause/s. There are twenty four spiritual leaders called tīrthaṅkaras of this present era with Mahāvīrabeing the latest 24th.

The Jain path of spiritual purification is called Mokṣa Mārga. It comprises right belief-knowledge-conduct together. This path of purification, when pursued, automatically brings worldly happiness and peace (as bye products) in its journey to ultimate attainment of liberation (Moksa).

Jains today are a handful society of some 4.2 million. They are considered as the most educated (over 95 percent), non violent, peace loving, law abiding, religious, philanthropic and prosperous community. They are also very sensitive to the needs of the society they live and take appropriate actions to contribute towards social well being.

Peace through humanity and spirituality and unity of religions

Self realization as the highest goal of each living being:

Jains lay great emphasis on self improvement rather than improving others only. 20th century Jain acarya Tulsi rightly said ‘If the individual improves, the family will improve; if the family improves the society will improve; if the society improves the country will improve and then the world’. This is applicable to all Jain principles like non violence etc as only a person who is virtuous himself can ask others to be so. Once a lady with her young son went to Mahatma Gandhi and asked Mahatma to order the son not to eat sweets as he is prone to diabetes. To this Mahatma asked the lady to come after a week with the child? After a week Mahatma told the young boy not to eat sugar as eating sweets is injurious to health, The lady asked Mahatma why you did not say this a week ago, To this Mahatma replied ‘I used to eat sugar myself a lot. So I first gave up eating sweets for a week first and then tell the young one to do so’.

Jains consider infinite intuition, knowledge, bliss, and energy/potency as the primary attributes of the pure self/soul. We, the lay people are unable to experience these attributes as our pure soul is defiled by impurities called karma. All our activities in the world are to achieve happiness. Thus Jains consider realization of the self (pure self state and its attributes) as the primary goal of their life. Accordingly their religious teachers’ defined nature of an entity is its religion (vatthu suhāvo dhammo). Therefore Jains regard spirituality as an integral and ultimate aspect of their religious experience and see it as the active connection to deep pure self. The pure soul experiences absolute peace (tranquility) with no conflicts with others while for lay persons/empirical souls such experiences are momentary. Thus spirituality is understood as the search for or the development of inner peace or the foundations of happiness (bliss) and is essential for personal wellbeing (social happiness) also.

Jain religious teachers also define religion as conduct (carita khalu dhammo). This differentiates religion from spirituality. But in this case also, the spiritual experience is the ultimate aim and conduct can be considered as a pre requisite for this spiritual experience. Hence Jains consider religion and spirituality as identical as well as different also (bheda-abheda), a view they take of all entities, events and activities.

This ethico-spiritual experience in Jainism is divided in fourteen stages of spiritual purification called gūṇasthānas. The 13th and 14th stages are the pure stages where the practitioner (called arihanta) experiences bliss and is totally at peace by himself as he is free from all obscuring karmas. The 8th to 12th stages are the spiritual experience where the practitioner is going through very fast suppression or annihilation of passions so as to switch from monkhood to higher stages or return to lower stages (in case of suppression). The stages 1, 4 to 7 are the stages to practice conduct to move up the higher stages. We, the lay persons are restricted to 1st, 4th and 5th stages while the monks stay in 6th and 7th stages and practice spirituality to move up the ladder.

Majority of us, stay in the 1st stage only as in this stage we are focused only on realizing happiness through others (by becoming better than others using all methods available, and totally ignore our own self and its attributes). Here the focus is on others for happiness and not self. We are infested with what Jains call Ārta (worldly activities and experiencing their results) and Raudra (cruel) dhyānas (both collectively called inauspicious) rather than Dharma (auspicious) or Śukla (pure or spiritual) dhyānas.

The primary differentiator in the 1st and 4th stage of spiritual purification is the acquisition of right (or rational) belief (samyag darśana). Simply stated, right belief means ‘Belief in the eternal existence of soul; in its primary attributes (infinite intuition, knowledge, bliss and energy) and capability of the empirical soul to become pure soul by its own efforts’. Acquisition of right belief brings a sea change in our attitude resulting in our decisions and actions that lead us to self realization. Without it every act becomes wrong and results in demerit. This also emphasizes that we consider all living beings as equal (like ourselves) and hence practice equanimity (samatā) towards all. Without this, we will continue to drift outwards all the time resulting in our being unhappy and causing problems to others. All religions of India accept that happiness is within. A person who develops this right faith starts valuing the existence of other living beings as equal and hence avoids acts which will cause pain or ill will to others. We become focused in all our worldly pursuits to attain success in all activities we perform without harming others. The 5th stage indicates the strong desire of the practitioner to progress on the path of self realization while staying as a householder and engaged in worldly activities. So in this stage, he accepts the vows (vratas) known as anuvratas or minor vows to guide his life style.

Another doctrine of Jains namely the Karma doctrine assigns full responsibility to achieve our objectives on us only. We are responsible for all our actions and the results thereof. Our past activities do yield results, good or bad as the acts performed, but the same can be changed for the better or worse or even annihilated to achieve our objective and enjoy the state of bliss ultimately.

The conduct to be practiced by all, be they in 1st or 4th or 5th stages is to:

  • Lead a life free (or minimal) stress/passions (or passions namely anger, pride, deceit and greed) as these are the causes of bondage and hence pain. Besides bondage of karmas, these also results in physical problems and in interpersonal conflicts.
  • Eat non violent and pure food. Food is the primary external input we take to sustain our body. Food directly affects our mind, body and speech. (Jaisā khao anna vaisā bane mana, Jaisā piyo pāni, vaisi bane vāni) In Jainism highest importance is placed to food (type, quantity, and timing).
  • To accrue auspicious karmas or merit, Jains talk of six essential duties (āvaśyakas) to be performed daily. The daily essential duties are; worship the true God, veneration of the holy teacher, self study of the holy texts, charity, self restraint and penance.
  • Practice the five minor vows (aṇuvratas) namely non-violence, non-stealing, speaking the truth, limited celibacy and limited possessions (possessiveness to be more precise). These are the causes to stop accrual of inauspicious karmas as well as earn auspicious karmas. The beauty of these minor vows is that the practitioner sets his own limit to observe each vow and gradually enhance these limits to move up the path of spiritual purification and peace. As an incentive to observe these vows, Jains say the practice of these vows result in merit (pūnya) and elimination of demerit (pāpa). We find similar vows in Buddhism as well as in Patanjali Yoga also. All these vows are detailed in Jain holy texts called Śrāvakācāras with resulting merits and demerits accrued.
The above code of conduct is based on the following four cardinal principles of Jain way of life:
  • Non violence (Ahiṅsā) in conduct
  • Non possession (Aparigraha) as life style and society
  • Multiplicity of viewpoints (Anekānta) in thoughts
  • Conditional dialectic (Syādvāda) in speech

Non violence (Ahiṅsā)

In an unprecedented way Mahāvīra clarified Ahiṅsā. In Ācārāṅga He says, " None of the living beings ought to be killed or deprived of life, ought to be ordered or ruled, ought to be enslaved or possessed, ought to be distressed or afflicted and ought to be put to unrest or disquiet". (savve pāṇā ṇa haṅtavvā, ṇa ajjāvetavva, ṇa ajjāvetavvā, ṇa parighettavvā, ṇa paritāveyavvā, ṇa uddveyavvā). Thus the Āyāro (Ācārāṅga) conclusively pronounces that after understanding the importance of kindness to beings, the enlightened person should preach, disseminate and applaud it at all places in East-West and North-South directions. (dayaṅ logassa jāṇitta pāiṇaṅ padiṇaṅ, dāhinaṅ udiṇaṅ āikkhe vihae kiŧŧe vedavi).

Later on in The Praśnavyākaraṇa Sūtra He designates Social Ahiṅsā as kindness (dayā), security (rakṣā), salutariness (kallāṇa), fearlessness (abhaya), non-killer (amādhā), compassion (anukampā), tolerance (sahiṣṇūtā), equanimity (samatā), love (prema), forgiveness (kṣamā), service (sevā), friendship (maitri) and so on by 64 different names.

Being happy or be in a state of bliss is the nature of soul. All living beings want to attain this state, as nobody wants pain of any sort. If this is so then not killing or not giving pain to anybody is GOOD or moral and the reverse is NOT GOOD and hence is to be avoided. Jains equate violence with sin (papa) and hence the cause of transmigration and all types of pains. This is the basis of all moral and ethical postulates of Jainism from the practical viewpoint. Convergent validation for this non-killing thesis can be found in the first global survey by the World Health Organization of deaths by suicide, homicide, and war which conclude that “violence is a preventable disease” (WHO, 2005).

Mahatma Gandhi practised this social ahiṅsā all the time to achieve independence for India.

The coverage of Ahiṅsā is so vast that it does not refer only to our external activities (like hurting or killing by physical means only) but it refers more strongly to the internal activities of both mind and body i.e. psychic and physical. To understand the vastness of non violence in Jainism, it is important to know that Jains classify living beings in six categories based on the body (mobile i.e. 2 to 5 sensed or stationery with one sense like plant/air/fire/earth and water bodied) they have. To help us, the lay persons practice, Jain texts brought the concept of Life Vitalities (prāṇas like breathe, life span, sense organs/s, potency of mind body and speech) as of four primary types and for a total of ten all inclusive types. Hurting or killing of even any one type of these vitalities is hiṅsā. Hiṅsā can be performed knowingly or unknowingly by activities of mind (mana), speech (vacana) or body (kāya) by a person himself or asking others to do so or admiring those who perform such violent activities. Samantabhadra, a noted Jain monk of 2nd century AD has aptly described Māhavīra’s doctrine as ‘Sarvodaya Tīrtha’

Historical evidence and our own observations of recent times show the deadly and devastating results of violence committed as the coverage of violence and mass killing is increasing exponentially. For example:

  • Adi purāna: Bharat Bahubali dual
  • Rāmāyana: Killing of individual/s
  • Mahābhārat: Killing of a family/s.
  • 1965-75: Community or countries affected
  • 1980s-: The entire world getting affected.

The advent of technology has enhanced significantly the impact and method of committing hiṅsā. India (claim to be peaceful nation) spends enormous amount to protect its leaders and suffer losses due to terrorism and violence alone. In our present day world also, we can see that use of force to win a war or eliminate discord or differences in religious-political ideologies results in escalation of violence only causing more miseries than reducing them (Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Indo-Pak troubles etc.). It is not out of place to mention some of the statements made by President Obama while accepting the Nobel Peace prize ‘Violence never gets peace. We go to wars by justifying them as just wars. However all these wars do not result in peace? The only justification for just war is to fight for humanity and for this the nation/society which wages war must first demonstrate that it is practicing humanity first’

Some facts about hiṅsā are given below:

  • Hiṅsā affects the doeri.e. hiṅsaka more than the hiṅsya (the victim). So even for our own selfish gains we must observe non-violence. We can see enhanced cruelty in our thinking, anger and uneasiness all through our body and mind causing stress and associated problems. Once committed, the hiṅsya starts getting ready to take revenge and hence the hiṅsaka has to be involved in amassing more violent tools and devices and becomes more and more engrossed in hiṅsā.
  • Ecology: Killing the five types of living beings i.e. those with air or water or fire or earth or plant as their bodies, is called environment pollution. Even killing animals and other living beings cause natural/ecological imbalances. Copenhagen summit of world environment in 2009 suggest 50% greenhouse gases are emitted by animal breeding for food industry alone.
  • Social ills: Girl child killing in the womb; use of cosmetics and leather products from unborn and newly born animals; class system dividing the society in low, middle or high castes etc on the basis of birth, race or colour; religious fanaticism and exploitation of the weak are different ways of committing violence. Growing intolerance, selfishness are some of the social ills caused by enhanced hiṅsā.
We thus see that violence affects individuals/societies/countries and may even cause total destruction of the whole humanity. Violence has assumed ghastly dimensions with the advent of technology. Hence it is essential that we adopt the concept of an Ahiṅsaka society and the world.

To practice non violence by the lay persons, the emphasis is on minimization of hiṅsā. Here the emphasis in Jainism is on prevention by always having an attitude of carefulness (of ahiṅsā) in all our activities and putting restrains on our activities of mind, body and speech. To achieve this objective, Jain texts talk of four types of hiṅsā namely:

  • Ārambhī or that associated with lifestyle.
  • Udyogī or that associated with professional activities, e.g. agriculture
  • Virodhī or Self-defense i.e. to protect oneself from the enemies
  • Saṅkalpī or premeditated done due feelings of attachment and aversion towards others.

The first three types of violence are such that a common man cannot avoid them completely. Violence against two to five sensed beings is to be avoided completely except in a few situations while extreme carefulness is to be practiced for saving the one sensed living beings namely with air, fire, water, earth and plants bodied. This implies exercising restraint and practicing conservation in consumption also. The third type is primarily for self-defense and for correcting the violent or wrong tendencies of others and is allowed in a limited manner. The fourth type is completely prohibited as it is simply to satisfy one’s ego or interest and is committed due to ignorance or wrong knowledge and attachment/aversion. In our legal system, we know that intentional violence always get severe punishment while unintentional violent acts may at times go without punishment or with token punishments.

Jain karma (cause and effect) doctrine also explains the effect of ahiṅsā. Jains talk of two types of causes namely material (upādāna) and efficient(nimitta). Every soul is the material cause for its state of existence while all other souls are the efficient causes for his state. Being violent first causes harm to the practitioner (physical like stress, anger, hypertension, cruelty etc) before they become efficient causes of pain to others. This is why perhaps the words kṛta (self inflicted) or kārita (ask others to do violent acts) and anumodāna (to admire those who are committing a violent act) are all equated as similar in the definition of ahiṅsā. The Jain slogans “Live and Let Live” and “parasparopragaho jīvānāma” or livings beings cooperate with each other are derived from this concept.

The positive or social aspects of non violence as described under social non violence include compassion, service, equanimity etc which will bring a sea change in our attitude and the growth social, religious and environmental harmony.

Non possessions/Non possessiveness (Aparigraha)

The literal meanings of the word 'parigraha' (possessions) are to surround, to hold on both sides, embrace, enfold, envelope, seize, clutch, grasp, catch, take possession of, etc. Thus parigraha implies material possessions. However, the Jain text Tattvarthasutra defines it as attachment (rāga), infatuation (murcchā) and bondage (bandhana). In Sutrakrtanga, Mahāvīra equates parigraha to bondage and declares it as the main cause for all pains. This includes the full range of feelings from liking to craving. Thus parigraha is not just possession of money and material but the thoughts and feelings that are associated with them resulting in possessiveness. Aparigraha is the absence of parigraha. In a nutshell we can say that aparigraha is the absence of ‘the feeling of mine’ and substitute it by ‘feeling of the society’. Since it is not possible for a layman to fully embrace the concept of aparigraha by renouncing all possessions; the Jain texts ask the lay persons to set limits to their worldly possessions and gradually make these limits tighter. The concepts of charity (dāna) and conservation of consumption are the derivatives of aparigraha.

The primary goal of man is to lead a healthy and happy life. Many individuals relate happiness to material possessions and think that possessing things such as a big house, expensive cars and fancy clothes lead to happiness. Most rich individuals appear to have little time to enjoy what they possess as they are engrossed in first amassing wealth and then its preservation only feelings caused by their possessiveness. But this is just a mirage. In reality, contentment and non-possessiveness bring genuine happiness and peace of mind. A mad pursuit of money and materials results in worries and hence stress. Examples of infighting between Ambani brothers; increase in the alarming number of disputes and court cases involving money, property and ego to maintain certain lifestyles fill our world.

Limiting our desires and possessions serves the cause of ecological balance also. It is not sacrifice or an act of charity but an act for the very survival of mankind. Indiscreet consumerism by individuals and nations involves rampant exploitation of natural resources resulting in not only pollution of the environment all over the globe but extreme economic inequalities. This behavior has aggravated the suffering of the common people. Efforts to resolve these problems through political maneuvering and/or tenets of modern economics have not been effective. Mahatma Gandhi aptly said ‘Our earth has enough resources to satisfy the needs all living beings but it does not have enough resources to satisfy the greed/desires of even one person’.

When desires and ambitions are consciously limited through our practice of non-possessiveness, contentment prevails; we have good thoughts and develop a sense of accomplishment; our competitors do not remain our adversaries; they become our beneficiaries. Instead of prosperity for the few, well being of all is attained. It is for the common good of the society. This process results in an atmosphere of goodwill, amity and peace in society. We see Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, the richest and the second richest men of the world, setting aside large parts of their wealth for social causes by saying in one word ‘Giving back to the society’. President Obama is emphasizing conservation (saṅyama) of natural resources by limiting unnecessary consumption and their more efficient use. This freedom to set limits comes from responsibility toward society and results in the establishment of ‘A welfare society’.

Multiplicity of viewpoints (Anekānta)

Let us look at a few examples to understand what we mean by Anekānta.

  • I am the son of my parents, brother of my sisters and brothers, father of my children, husband of my wife, friend of others and so on. Who am I?
  • There was an elephant in the jungle that was approached by seven blind men. Each blind man got hold of a part (trunk, tail, leg, ear, belly etc) and insisted that he knows the elephant completely even though he touched a part (e.g. the man holding the foot said elephant is like a pillar). An eighth man who could see the elephant completely told every blind man that they were right but partially.
  • A team of 100 photographers went to Kolkata to see the famous Bodhi tree. Each photographer took a picture of the tree from a specific point and claimed his photo only represent the tree completely.

The above examples explain the Jain theory of viewpoints/anekānta. It is based on their definition of reality as with persistence and change simultaneously i.e. an entity is both eternal and yet continuously changing. Truth is infinite and no one, like us, can know it completely. We all experience and insist that our viewpoint represents the whole truth and hence results in intolerance towards others. This is explained by each person or religion, having its own beliefs, claims it to be the only right one. A new man or a new society cannot be visualized on the basis of these beliefs in isolation. A worldly belief based on selfishness and the concern for personal gain as a result of which one disregards the good or the gain of others is to be eliminated as one’s gain are of no use unless the neighbours/city/country and the world are also benefitted by the same. Perhaps the key lies in the change in our view/way of thinking and attitude. The attitude YOU or ME has to change to YOU and ME to achieve the cherished goal for a change to better. Jain doctrine of anekānta (multiplicity of viewpoints) provides a basis to achieve this. Its three pillars are:

  • Tolerance and respect for other’s viewpoints/customs rigidity by giving up rigidity or instance that I am right and others are wrong.
  • Co-existence - cooperation with others i.e. existence of opposites at the same time is reality; love and service are the need of the day.
  • Relativity i.e. we are all related meaning our actions affect not only us but others as well.

Mahāvīra always used to answer all questions put to him using this doctrine. Every event or activity must be viewed from at least two viewpoints namely transcendental and practical or substance and mode. For example Soul is eternal but it goes through transformation continuously. Siddha Sen Divakar, a noted Jain saint of 4th century AD says:

Jāvaiyā vayaṇapahā tāvaeya ceva hoṅti ṇayavāyā,
Jāvaiyā ṇayavāyā tāvaeya ceva parasamay.

i.e. Naya or viewpoint doctrine is a method of contemplating/analysis. It is a thought, and thoughts have no limits/boundaries. So there are as many viewpoints as thoughts and hence there are as many philosophical doctrines. When we try to emphasize our thought as the only truth and other’s thought as false, then every thought becomes untrue/false (mithyā). Whenever we talk of independent viewpoint (i.e. not consider relativity), our thoughts become untrue (mithyā). I give an example to clarify this point. On gaining independence, an old woman took out her cot, put in the middle of the road and lied down on it. A truck came and honked so that the woman moves away from the road. After repeated honking, the old woman did not move an inch. The driver then came down and asked the woman to move to the side so that he can drive his truck away. The old woman said “I am now independent and hence shall not move”. On hearing this, the driver said ‘Ok I am also independent and so I will drive my truck over you’. On hearing this woman got the message and moved to the side’.

Similarly when we try to condemn the views of others, our own thoughts and expressions become questionable. Hence Siddha Sena says that every philosopher is right based on relativity of his views to a particular time period/place or situation. According to him, Sāṅkhya philosophy is right as per the substance viewpoint as they talk of soul and other substances as eternal; Buddhist philosophy is right from the mode viewpoint as they talk of everything as temporary, originating and destroying every moment and Vaiśeṣika, though talk of both eternal and temporary substances, but they say that some substances like soul, parmāṇu etc. are eternal only and the others like pitcher etc. are/momentary/temporary only. Citing the example of a necklace, he says that only those precious stones attain the same value as the neck lace when they leave their independent existence and are threaded together as a necklace. Similarly adherence to the Anekānta doctrine is possible for those nayas only which analyse the truth as relative to other nayas and not independent of them. Anekānta can thus be viewed as a Holistic approach to thought processes. It attempts to bring reconciliation, rather confrontation amongst them. We can have faith in the doctrine of our religion for seeking divine grace but for social harmony, peace and welfare we have to accept the existence of other religions and doctrines and seek common ways to achieve these social objectives as well.

Examples of Anekānta applications in our life

  • In a democratic form of government, both the ruling and opposition parties co-exist and are essential. People living in one party system, wherever existent, continuously try to change the system to two or multiple party system of government. Similarly good and bad both co exist i.e. I am good to my friends and bad to my enemies.
  • Religious intolerance results in fanaticism. It is the largest cause for the conflicts and unrest today. Every one cries for secularism of one type or the other.
  • JRD Tata says “The Tata philosophy of management has always been, and is even today more than ever, that corporate enterprises must be managed not merely in the interests of their owners (shareholders), but equally in those of their employees, of the consumers (customers), of their products and services, of the local community, and finally of the country and world at large’. This is the foundation of most of the business enterprises which survive and thrive. To this now a days the environment is also added.
  • Einstein’s theory of relativity has proved that time; space and speed are relative to the position of the viewer.

Conditional dialectic (Syādavāda)

We have seen that the whole truth is infinite. An omniscient knows the whole truth and it is impossible for us, the ignorant beings, to know the whole truth. Even if one knows the whole truth, there is limitation of speech faculty and the language, which do not permit expression of the whole truth simultaneously. So Jainism talks of a system to sequentially express the whole truth stating a part at a time and specifying that this part being said is true partially and more statements exists or shall follow. To achieve this objective, they add a word syāt before every sentence, which shows incompleteness of the truth being expressed and identifying a viewpoint from which the statement is being made. The language used to achieve is called Saptbhaṅgi or a collection of seven sentences. These are: Is, Is not, Can’t say and their combinations. This can also be explained by an example of traffic lights at a crossing. The states of traffic lights can be Red; Green; Yellow or combinations thereof.

Conclusions

On achieving independence India adopted a constitution to be a secular society and freedom to practice their religion, and equality of one and all for realizing their potential. This ideal puts lot of responsibility on each one of us to keep the interest of others in mind, treat them like us and then fulfil our dreams. Similarly India also unquestioningly embraced an economic growth model based on equal opportunities for health, education and economic opportunities to all. This model, as Mahāvīra said, must be inclusive of the all types of living beings, be they sub human or the one sensed living beings (air/water/earth/plant and fire bodied). We need a paradigm shift in our approach to create a better informed, responsible and accountable society which tries to achieve welfare of all (like Mahāvīra’s Sarvodaya Tirth). We need to adopt a more holistic model of development, which includes environmental and social factors (equitable or welfare of all) right from the beginning and is based on a robust ethical framework of not harming anyone, equal opportunity to all for self realization. Unless this fundamental shift takes place, all our attempts to achieve the objectives enshrined in our constitution are bound to fail in the long run. We thus see the need for a common minimum program to unite all religions (secular state) and work together to have humane disposition, peace and prosperity (power). I propose the following declaration for this purpose:

To provide equal opportunities for self-realization for all citizens based on the practice of ahiṅsā, aparigraha and anekānta by one and all. I feel it is essential as absence of the three As will result in selfishness, greed and destruction of not only the country but humanity at large.


References:

Wikipedia on the internet

Deliberations at The world global summit on environment in Copenhagen

Study Notes of ISJS, Tattvārthasutra by Umā Swāmi

Rattan Karand Śrāvakācāra by Samant Bhadra

Sutrakrātaṅga, Prasnavyakarana and Bhagawati Sutra. (Jain Canons)

Sources
International School for Jain Studies
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  1. Abhaya
  2. Acarya
  3. Adhyātma
  4. Ahiṅsā
  5. Ajīva
  6. Anekānta
  7. Anger
  8. Anukampā
  9. Anuvratas
  10. Aparigraha
  11. Arihanta
  12. Bahubali
  13. Bhadra
  14. Body
  15. Buddhism
  16. Celibacy
  17. Consumerism
  18. Contemplation
  19. Cooperation
  20. Darśana
  21. Deceit
  22. Dhammo
  23. Dharma
  24. Dāna
  25. Ecology
  26. Einstein
  27. Environment
  28. Equanimity
  29. Fearlessness
  30. Gandhi
  31. Greed
  32. Gūṇasthānas
  33. ISJS
  34. International School for Jain Studies
  35. Jainism
  36. Jina
  37. Jīva
  38. Karma
  39. Karmas
  40. Kolkata
  41. Kṣamā
  42. Mahatma
  43. Mahatma Gandhi
  44. Mahāvīra
  45. Maitri
  46. Mana
  47. Meditation
  48. Moksa
  49. Mokṣa
  50. Naya
  51. Nayas
  52. Nimitta
  53. Non violence
  54. Non-violence
  55. Omniscient
  56. Papa
  57. Parigraha
  58. Patanjali
  59. Pride
  60. Pāpa
  61. Samatā
  62. Samyag Darśana
  63. Samyag darśana
  64. Sarvodaya
  65. Siddha
  66. Soul
  67. Space
  68. Sutra
  69. Syādavāda
  70. Syādvāda
  71. Syāt
  72. Sāṅkhya
  73. Sūtra
  74. Tirth
  75. Tolerance
  76. Tulsi
  77. Tīrtha
  78. Tīrthaṅkaras
  79. Upādāna
  80. Vacana
  81. Vaiśeṣika
  82. Vatthu
  83. Violence
  84. Yoga
  85. Ācārāṅga
  86. Āvaśyakas
  87. Āyāro
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