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Thus Spoke Mahapragya - Vol.1: 07. Eternal Happiness (3)

Published: 31.03.2011
Updated: 02.04.2011

Eternal Happiness (3)

The conversation between the guru and the disciple continued. The guru spoke about the three sutras of solitary happiness. The fourth sutra is swadhyaya (self-study). It is mentioned in Uttaradhyan that by swadhyaya one can attain the solitary happiness. Swadhyaya is a very important means of nirjara (disassociation of karmas), self-purification and attaining solitary happiness. Swadhyaya and dhyan both are a pair. First comes swadhyaya. With swadhyaya one can find the truth. A man, who has not understood the truth, would not realize the significance of education which is to increase one’s awareness and remove his ignorance. Swadhyaya is a very important catalyst to remove one's ignorance.

The knowledge one earns in his lifetime and the experience he seeks is very limited. In the thousand years of tradition, numerous people who have researched and acquired knowledge is due to this swadhyaya. It is based on their knowledge that the books and literatures have been written. When one reads them one can acquire those thousands of years of knowledge.  There is a limit to what an individual can acquire knowledge in his lifetime. By doing swadhyaya one can get some enlightenment. There is a pair of eyes. There is also a third eye and science calls it as ‘Intuitional Power’. In Preksha Dhyan we have defined this third eye as samata (equanimity).  One eye is called Raag (Attachment) through which he sees only things, which are favourable to him, and the second is called Dwesha[1] (aversion / avoidance or repulsion) through which he sees only things, which are unfavourable to him. Both of them create problems. The third eye is of equanimity. It is the unprejudiced, unbiased and objective eye which enables an individual to see the truth.

The third eye enables one to gain vast knowledge. There are so many literatures through which one can gain knowledge. Jain tradition has a large bank of literature. The vaidik (ancient) tradition and Buddhists also have a vast knowledge bank. One can look forward to these three current traditions to acquire vast knowledge. One who hasn't gone through them his thought, knowledge and the activities are also limited. It cannot be broadened. It can be broadened only with knowledge.

People believe there is tremendous knowledge developed in the west. This is a myth. A vast knowledge was developed in India. There were complete fourteen Purvas (Original Jain Scriptures). One can imagine the vastness of the knowledge, which was there in each set. We have nine Nidaan (Nine symbolic sign). Each Nidaan is a vast literature in its own. One can gain knowledge on both the general and spiritual aspect. Swadhyaya is the third eye which enables an individual to see the truth. People do not know themselves. Leave alone the fact of knowing others. To know oneself, about one’s own existence, one's own personality, about one's own mental state one needs to have the knowledge. There is a beautiful line in the poem - “Eyes can see everybody but it cannot see itself”. How can the eye see itself?

If one has to see himself, he needs to stand in front of a mirror. It is in front of the mirror that an eye can see itself. One, who can see others also needs somebody's help to see himself. Hence to understand one-self, one needs to seek somebody's help and that help is in the form of shastra (spiritual knowledge). One can gain vast knowledge with swadhyaya. A person staying in Jain Vishwabharati in Ladnun and wants to know where gold is available? To get this knowledge, he has to pick up books and study the geography and understand where the gold mines are located. For a businessman, the information on where iron, copper or marble is produced, from where he can procure things, this information is very important. Once the businessman knows this information, he can progress and flourish in his business. If he sits idle at home, he can never be successful businessman.


In every field education, knowledge and expertise is a must.

There are different knowledge areas. One among them is the bhautik gyan (knowledge of physical science). For this also one needs to study a lot. When I was in Dungargarh, one gentleman had approached me. He was brother of Muni Dhananjay Kumar. Earlier, he was a collector in Assam and now he is a Deputy Director. He teaches IAS officers. For higher studies he had been to America also. He was saying that everyday he had to read a lot and even the professors who come to teach also read a lot of books. They have to abreast themselves with the current knowledge. I asked him why they need to study so much. He said that without reading, one cannot achieve efficiency and develop his expertise on the subject. To develop expertise one needs to read. Cooking is also an art. One also needs to study the art of cooking. To make daal and roti (staple food of India) also, one needs to study. If the cook is well educated and an expert in his profession, he can certainly earn huge sum of money in big star hotels. If he is not educated he has to work hard on the roadside restaurants to make his ends meet. In every field of education, knowledge and expertise is a must. Whether it is the general knowledge or the spiritual knowledge, swadhyaya is very important. One cannot develop and prosper without it. Even to build a house, one needs to go to architect to get the blue print of the house. It is the expertise in the subject that matters. Whether it is the general knowledge or spiritual knowledge, swadhyaya is required.

There was be no better form of penance than the swadhyaya and there cannot be a better form than this. A partial knowledge causes numerous problems. If one has the complete knowledge of Aagam Chaksu (View all living beings around as one soul) and Shastra Chaksu (Divine Eye) then there are very few problems that one comes across. Without swadhyaya one gets entangled even in small problems and it very evident that their knowledge is limited.

This is a very old incident. Acharya Tulsi was in Calcutta. A follower came to me. He was very intelligent, humble and knowledgeable. For a businessman there is a limit to his swadhyaya. The follower asked “Rich and influential people are always given preference. People give less importance to people who are poor and not influential”. He was puzzled with this differential treatment. If one had the complete knowledge and with swadhyaya, then one would not get entangled with these small problems. I explained him “What you said is true. When you think little deeply on this aspect, you would realize that everybody have their area where they specialize. In the area of religion, there is someone who stands out prominent. In the area of karma, there is someone else who stands out prominent.” I explained him with an example that in the area of karma (holistic version of the principle of cause and effect), during Lord Mahavir's time, King Shrenik was a prominent person. However in the area of religion, Puniya was prominent. King Shrenik was facing a turbulent time. The King Shrenik sent words to Puniya to sell his good deeds to him so that he can avoid his turbulent fall, which was ahead of him. So the question is who is important now? Whether it is Shrenik or Puniya? Both are important in their areas and have a role to play.

We must be clear that there are different competencies and different roles to play. One should respect the person in the area in which he is prominent and competent. Shrenik was competent in his area and so was Puniya. Shrenik was very well known and popular in areas far and wide. One cannot imagine Puniya in his place. In the area where Puniya was well known one cannot expect the same from Shrenik. Hence we have to look at them differently. After listening to me he said, he was convinced why people get their importance. Whether someone explains orally also is a form of swadhyaya, talking is also swadhyaya and so are the discussion, reading, listening the different forms of swadhyaya.  A thought had occurred in my mind around twenty-five years back that why should we do pravachana (preaching)? Nobody listens and applies them in their lives. Somebody had asked Vedanti “What is truth and myth?” He said “I am giving you advice is my myth. You will not follow it. This is the truth”

The question is whether somebody understands preaching’s and agrees to it.  Yesterday Mahashramanji was saying one has to do this and do that. I thought in my mind if anybody will even follow this? If there is a doubt in the belief, then what is the use of saying it. A question crossed my mind. Is there any use of doing pravachana (preaching's). Then I was also convinced that there would be at least some people who would understand this and apply it in their lives and also bring about a change in themselves. Even if they don't change, at least our swadhyaya and our follower's swadhyaya is done and with this we do Nirjara (clean ourselves from within). Whether we are inside the house or in the market, one must work. In Rajasthan, people sit in a bench and spend hours together chatting. It would be beneficial for them if they could at least utilize that time in listening to the righteous knowledge and preachings. With this they would not only spend time in learning new things but also clean their souls from within. When this swadhyaya continues, a day will come when this will bring about a change in their lives.

Swadhyaya is very important. Even from a worldly view, swadhyaya is very important. One can shed away the ignorance and increase his knowledge and information. Today the awareness has increased a lot. One can enhance his knowledge through different mediums. This is the age of information revolution. People say watching television is bad. One day Mahashramanji was saying that the television highlights more of violence and the sinful activities. However, television also shows some good things. The students can benefit out of those information. Good and bad are the two sides of the same coin. What one should take and ignore depends on the individual.

According to Upanishad education is of two types: Apara (knowledge of mundane self) and Para (knowledge of supreme self). Apara is the general education, which is taught in the schools. Para is the spiritual knowledge. One has to study both Apara and Para. They both require an extensive study. Two days back a young gentleman by name Shreyans Ghodawat came to me. He was studying medicine. I asked him how many years it would take to become a doctor. He said it takes at least five years to do MBBS and another two years to do M.S. People who want to specialize in certain areas go abroad and spend almost ten to fifteen years in studying. Why do they study so much? They study so that they gain more knowledge and become experts in their field. Hence one needs to study for a long time. It is necessary. Even to gain the general education one needs to work hard and it takes a long time.

There are very few people who seek the spiritual knowledge. Of them, there are very few people who seek to know who they are and to know more about one-self. With the general education one can earn his livelihood. If he is an expert in his field then he can earn a lot of money which a layman in Ladnun just can't imagine. There was a survey sometime back in the Hindustan Times where they disclosed the highest wage earned by an individual. The individual was paid an unbelievable amount of twelve crore per annum! The individual had excelled in his field and hence we was paid so high. He had worked very hard and earned the knowledge. He was thus capable of building the foundation of his company so strong that it could generate thousand of cores rupees in revenue. Long back a person who owned a newspaper said that wherever he puts his hands, he always had made a fortune. This is possible because the person had developed so much of expertise that he could convert a loss making organization into a profit making organization within a short period of time.

This is all possible because of the time spent in education. If one doesn't study he will not develop expertise. There are very few people who gain expertise naturally. There are many people who have acquired expertise. One needs to specialize. This is possible through education and swadhyaya. This is all related to the general education.

Now we will discuss about spiritual knowledge. Difficulties keep arising. Whether it is a sadhu, sadhvi or a follower one has to face this difficulty. The difficulties that one would face during meditation are no less when compared to what he would face in his business.  During meditation one comes across many problems and they are caused by none other than your senses. They cause not one or two but numerous problems. It is the mind and its volatility that causes these problems. The elements, which cause the problems, are within us. They are within every human being whether it is sadhu or a normal householder. The problems could be caused by either our senses, ego, benefits or loss. Out of the twenty-two parishah (problems) ignorance is one of the problems. There were two sadhus. One knew to read and the other did not know to read. He was very upset and developed inferiority complex. To overcome the problem swadhyaya (study) is very important. One who is hyper and gets angry very quickly can read a sutra in Dasvaikalik and find a solution to their hyper activeness and short temper. One can solve many problems when he does swadhyaya.

One Muni had taken diksha (the person leaves his family of origin and joins the lineage of the spiritual community) at a very old age. He developed a passion for learning. His quest to learn, know more and also to find the truth about things. He was very old and he could not remember things. Hence he started memorizing by reading things aloud. Some Muni's got disturbed and they complained the old muni and said “You memorize things by reading them aloud. This is disturbing us. Please do not read aloud.”  The Muni agreed. However the passion of Muni towards learning did not die down. After sometime he again started memorizing things loudly. Some Muni cajoled him and said “It looks like you will finally grow a tree in a desert”. The Muni was determined to learn. He said “I will do that one day and show it to you”. The Muni did what he had said. He was able to grasp so much knowledge and information that the Munis, who had taken diksha before him were left far behind.

This was possible only because of a continuous effort and determination. There is abundance of knowledge. We do not study and, hence we remain ignorant about many things. If one studies, then lot of things can be discovered from the hidden treasure of knowledge. There is no age limit for this. The common lame excuse given is the lack of time and the busy schedule. Sadhus and sadhvis do not commonly give this excuse, but is one of the most common excuses given by a householder.

I always say something to the people who always give 'Busy' or 'Lack of Time' as one of the lame excuses. There was a man who always said either 'Busy' or 'Lack of time' whenever anybody asked him anything. The wife had got fed up with this reply. Whenever he returned home late and when the wife used to ask him if she could serve him the food, he would always reply 'Busy'. One final day the wife replied back to him and said, “Nowadays, even I am busy like you. Whenever you are dying just tell me in advance so that I can prepare myself to weep”.

A person who always complains that he is busy is actually a lazy person. If the work is important he will certainly find time. If one desires, he will certainly find time despite a busy schedule. It is expected that a sadhu and a householder read the spiritual literature. If the householder cannot dedicate so much time, at least the sadhu and sadhvi should make it mandatory to devote their time towards this. The spiritual knowledge can enlighten a person about his soul. It can provide mental happiness and peace. It can calm down the senses and bring down the negative thoughts and feelings. One must sincerely devote his time towards gaining spiritual knowledge.

On a 12th January


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Mahapragya ne Kaha - Vol.1 Translated by:
Rakesh Kumar Jain Online Edition: 2011

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aagam
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Assam
  5. Calcutta
  6. Crore
  7. Dhyan
  8. Diksha
  9. Equanimity
  10. Guru
  11. Gyan
  12. Hindustan Times
  13. Karma
  14. Karmas
  15. Ladnun
  16. Meditation
  17. Muni
  18. Muni Dhananjay Kumar
  19. Munis
  20. Nirjara
  21. Para
  22. Preksha
  23. Preksha Dhyan
  24. Purvas
  25. Raag
  26. Rajasthan
  27. Sadhu
  28. Sadhus
  29. Sadhvi
  30. Sadhvis
  31. Samata
  32. Science
  33. Shastra
  34. Shrenik
  35. Soul
  36. Sutra
  37. Swadhyaya
  38. Third Eye
  39. Tulsi
  40. Violence
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