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Thus Spoke Mahapragya - Vol.1: 09. Eternal Happiness (5)

Published: 02.04.2011
Updated: 30.07.2015

Eternal happiness (5)

For achieving solitary happiness the guru shared many sutras. The discussion was not over yet. The guru pointed out to another sutra - suttathasanchitanaya which is another source to achieve solitary happiness. Sutra (essence, summary), artha (meaning), and chintan (thought) are the three words through which one can seek solitary happiness. Essence summarizes the entire content of the truth in a few words. It means few words can express a vast meaning. When one wants to express a lot of things then one must try to use as few words as possible which summarize the essence of the entire content.

Sutra is brief summary and artha is the comprehensive meaning. Sutra and artha are two different things. You can call them as word and meaning respectively. One must think over on both the sutra and on the comprehensive meaning that it expresses. Some people only focus on the sutra and they memorize it. They do not know the true meaning behind the sutra. When one doesn't know the meaning then they are far away from the chintan (thought). First one must learn the sutra and the comprehensive meaning that the sutra conveys followed by a thought process. Just knowing the sutra is not sufficient. It is very important that one focuses on learning the sutra and understanding its meaning.

Sutra, Artha and Chintan

One who doesn’t understand the meaning can never reach the truth.

Sushrutha was a well-known Ayurveda Acharya. According to him one who only knows the Ayurveda sutra and does not know its meaning, is like a donkey carrying a log of sandal wood. The donkey carries the heavy weight of the log of sandalwood, but does not understand its importance and neither its fragrance. It is a bitter truth. The Jain sadhu-sadhvi and other institutions can also come under this purview. Today only a conservative and orthodox belief has flourished. This is because of ignorance and they do not understand the true meaning. Bhasyakar has said “One who doesn't understand the meaning can never discover the truth”.

The following three enables one to analyze:

  • Nikshep (understanding of the nature of object)
  • Naya (Perspective, viewpoint)
  • Pramana (evidence, facts)

One who doesn't analyze and understand the truth based on Nikshep, Naya and Pramana will not be in a position truly to comprehend anything. What is right will appear to him as wrong and what is wrong will appear to him as right. He only takes the word, but does not understand the actual meaning it conveys.

One must look at the facts. It is based on the meaning that the sutra is conveying. The most important fact is the meaning. Hence one must comprehend the meaning. One must also understand the context in which it is said. When we do not understand the context in which it is said, how can one understand the true meaning? In Rajasthan, there is a tradition where the women do not call out the names of their husband or father-in-law. The daughter-in-law, who was recently married, was given the work of churning butter from the buttermilk. After sometime the butter was floating. The father-in-law's name was Makkhan Lal and 'Makkhan' in Hindi meant butter. Now she was in a dilemma as to how to say that the “Makkhan (butter) was ready” because the word 'Makkhan' also coincided with the father-in-law's name. She hit upon an idea and called out her mother-in-law and said “Look! Father-in-law is ready”. This ignorance is because one doesn't understand the context and we only look at the word.

One must understand the context. One can understand this context by following these three things:

Naya (Perspective, viewpoint), Pramana (evidence) and Nikshep (understanding of the nature of object). One must understand them, examine them and follow them. Thus, the rise of conservatism is due to the fact that we do not understand the true meaning.

Let us take an example. In the Jain tradition the usage of Mukhavastrika (a piece of cloth tied over mouth) is not a very old one. This came into existence from the sthanakvasi sect (a sect in Jainism). This came into existence during the period of Muni Jivoji. It is good and according to the tradition, there is no harm in it and given the context in the present days it is a very useful means of protecting oneself from the pollution. It doesn't mean that since a tradition has been followed, it is not important to understand the true meaning behind the tradition. One must understand the true meaning and in what context it was used earlier. In the olden days Mukhavastrika was meant to be a piece of cloth, which was used by sadhu and sadhvi to wipe their body. It was supposed to be used like a kerchief. In today's context it is used to cover the mouth. The meaning is totally reversed in the present context.

Few years back, Acharya Tulsi was doing chaturmas (a four month period where the sadhus sadhavi's don't travel) in Hansi. A young gentleman who belonged to the Digamber sect came and said “Tell me where is the mention of Mukhavastrika in Aagam literature?” I said, “You are right. There is no mention of Mukhavastrika in the Aagam literature.” It is mentioned in just one incident where Lord Gautama Buddha was going to visit a Manaspind (pound of flesh) which smelt very badly.” Since it smelt very badly, Gautama Buddha had to cover his mouth and nose with a cloth. Jayacharya has written in this context that to avoid that bad smell Lord Gautama Buddha covered his face with a cloth.

Acharya Tulsi has given a new dimension to the preaching's of Acharya Bhikshu. According to him the social activities is our samaj dharma (social responsibilities). Do not confuse this with Moksha dharma (emancipation of liberation). Somebody rose the question from where did Samaj Dharma come? From where did Laukik Dharma come from? What is the difference between Lokottar Dharma and Lok Dharma? Lok Dharma is nothing else but Laukik Dharma. In those days we had numerous discussions with the people. A lot of time was spent on these discussions. To the question “Where did Lok Dharma come from?”, I replied and asked “Do you know what is Nikshepa Dharma?”. The young gentleman replied “Yes. I know. It means do the nikshepa of the dharma. Naam Dharma, Sthapana Dharma and Dravya Dharma. One needs to do the nikshepa of the Dravya Dharma and you would be able to differentiate between Laukik Dharma and Lokottar Dharma. I said you are telling Laukik Dharma and Lokottar Dharma. What is new in this. Lokottar dharma can lead you to Moksha dharma. In Sthanang literature, there are ten different forms of responsibilities defined:

  1. Grama dharma (Responsibilities towards your village / native)
  2. Nagar dharma  (Responsibilities towards your district / city)
  3. Rashtra dharma (Responsibilities towards your country)
  4. Pashanda dharma (Responsibilities towards heretic religion)
  5. Kul dharma (Responsibilities towards your family)
  6. Gana dharma (Responsibilities towards People)
  7. Sangh dharma (Responsibilities towards your community)
  8. Rruta dharma (Responsibilities towards Ascetic religion)
  9. Charitra dharma (Responsibilities towards your character building)
  10. Astikaya dharma (Responsibilities towards your existential attributes)

Moksha dharma is for your responsibilities towards gaining spiritual knowledge and Lok Dharma is social / worldly responsibilities.

One must understand the context and also the meaning. I would like to see that when the sadhus and sadhvis memorize the Dashavaikalik (collection of verses), if it takes one year for them to memorize it, then they should spend the next five years to understand its true meaning. In the Jain educational system, we had the syllabus where one would study sutras for twelve years and the next twelve years they would spend in understanding its true meaning, its context. Today the entire life is spent in studying the sutras and the meaning of those sutras is neglected. People have memorized and have excellent recital power to recite the verses from Bhaktambar, Kalyanmandir, Sindurprakar, and Shanta-Sudharas. However when asked for their meanings, there is a big void there.

Without understanding the meaning the sutra has no importance. In the traditional education system, one would spend the first of the time in learning the sutra and the second half of the time; he would spend time in understanding its meaning. Both should be parallel activity. When the sadhus, sadhvis and shrawak recite the Pratikraman[1] (a prayer for repentance, forgiveness) they do not understand the meaning it conveys. Hence Gurudev had made it easy for them by translating it into Hindi. The meanings are now in simple Hindi words and convey the message in an easier way. When this easier form of Pratikraman was recited in the United States, the followers came forward and said they actually understood its true meaning only then. Till date, they were just blindly reciting the verse without actually understanding the true meaning behind it.

It is very important to understand the meaning. When we understand the meaning it would give us a different kind of happiness. It will create the awareness as to what one should do and what one should restrict doing. How one can apply the knowledge one has gathered? This would only be possible if one understands the meaning.

When one acquires some knowledge in a year, then in the next year instead of acquiring new knowledge he should focus on first understanding the true meaning of the knowledge he has acquired in the first year and only then move forward and acquire something new. There is a word “Iga Aaya” which means “One Soul”. Acharya Tulsi was in Sardar Shahar and was staying in Gothiji's house. He was casually walking in the hall. One Bengali scholar came forward and said “Acharya. You are a Jain and I am a Vedanti, but still we are one.” I was standing near Acharya and asked him “How are we one”? He replied “We are one because, we both believe in soul. We both advocate the existence of one soul. We both are Advaithvadi (followers of one soul). Where is the difference”?

As per Sangraha Naya (Perspective, viewpoint) there is one soul. However in terms of numbers, there are infinite number of souls. From the viewpoint of formation, soul is one. Each soul has an aura, which is infinite in number. From the Sangraha Naya viewpoint all soul are one. However from a practical viewpoint, we differentiate them. We believe in what can be differentiated and what cannot be differentiated. Till we attain the knowledge of Naya this would not be possible. Every word of Tirthankara[2] had a perspective or viewpoint. You will not find a single word from them, which did not have a meaning or lacked any perspective or viewpoint. We have to understand in what context things are said. There are numerous rules and we must also think in what context those rules are made.

Acharya Tulsi was in Calcutta for sometime. In those times there were many agitations and today they are almost none. People from Tarun Sangha (group) were not in favor of Acharya Tulsi visiting Calcutta. They accused him saying he was violating the code of conduct by visiting Calcutta. I wrote a very descriptive article “Aarya and Anaarya Kya hai” (What is acceptable and what is unacceptable) on this. I had written in the article that earlier the arrangements were made keeping certain situations in mind, where the sadhus found it difficult to travel to certain regions and follow their religious activities. In the olden days, the arrangements was made keeping Magadha as the central point. The arrangements those days, made it clear as to which regions a sadhu can travel and which regions are restricted for a sadhu to travel. Today the situation is totally different. A sadhu is free to travel to any region. He could visit any place anywhere. There is a code of conduct which defines the norms for a sadhu. However, there is an exception to this provided the sadhu can enrich his knowledge, character and wisdom.

Maharashtra was a prohibited region in the earlier days. King Asoka had a very prominent place in Buddha Dharma and so did King Samprati have in Jain Dharma. King Samprati was responsible for the spread of Jainism in Maharashtra. He ensured that the sadhus could travel to Maharashtra without any problems. During those days people were not aware as to how one needs to serve the sadhus nor were aware of the Jain religion. King Samprati asked his soldiers to dress up as sadhus and visit the people so that they could familiarize the people as to how a sadhu lived his life. It was after repeated attempts and trials that people came to know about the Jain religion.

Rules and regulations change over a period of time. Earlier there was a rule that a sadhu should not visit the capital more than once in a month. Today we can visit the capital numerous times. The reason was in the earlier days there were many kingdoms. The spies used to disguise themselves as sadhus and used to enter those kingdoms. Hence, for security reasons, the movements of sadhus were tracked closely. At times they were captured and interrogated. Hence keeping in mind such circumstances a rule was made that the sadhus should not visit the capital often. Today things are much different. One can travel without any such restrictions. If one wants to travel to a different country, he just needs a visa.

It is therefore necessary to understand the context in which things are said. Hence one must understand the sutra and one must understand its meaning deeply. A deep thought is the foundation for the development process.

Upadhyay Yashovijay was a well-known devotee erudite scholar from the Shraman tradition. He had translated the first verse of the Dashavaikalik (part of Aagam - Jain Literature) into fifty different meanings. He met Anandghanji who was also a very learned scholar. Yashovijayji said to Anandghanji “I have found fifty different meanings of this verse”. Anandghanji thought that Yashovijayji was feeling a little egoistic about his achievements. From the qualification point of view Yashovijayji was more qualified than Anandghanji. Anandghanji had developed a very good intuitional power through his hard work and years of experience. Anandghanji translated the same verse and derived hundred meanings out of it. One might think how is that possible? The verse had thirty two characters in it. From these thirty two characters one derived fifty meanings and the other derived hundred?

One Jain Acharya had written a book called 'Asthalaksharth' - eight characters and their eight lakh meanings.  He had said that it was a principle of Aagam that each character can have infinite synonyms. He further said that with his limited knowledge he could only derive eight lakh meanings.

One must ponder upon the means through which one can seek solitary happiness. One must understand the meaning. One must make a diligent effort to understand each word. Uttaradhyayan is a very simple sutra to understand. Jayacharya was a very learned scholar. He was well versed with Aagam literature. Whenever he used to read Uttaradhyayan Sutra, he used to understand deeply the meaning and its context. He would say “Maghji! I have found one gem today”. Every new meaning was a gem to him. Maghji was his successor. Whenever Jayacharya used to find a new meaning, he used to get excited and would say that he found a new gem. Now the question is from where did this gem come? The alphabets and the words are all in front of us, and we are not able to find a gem out of them. The reason behind this is that we do not think deeply. When we develop the habit of chintan (thought) then we will be able to discover new meanings from the same alphabets and words. If we just get satisfied with the little what we have read and understood then we will not be able to find those new gems.

One must develop a quest to learn new things. One must just not be satisfied with reading and memorizing the sutra. A passion and zeal for understanding its meaning should also be developed in parallel. It’s only then his knowledge will be complete.

Success for life

“One must develop a quest to learn new things. One must not just be satisfied with reading and memorizing sutra. Its only then one’s knowledge will be complete.”

“One who works or thinks hard will always find a way”

The guru suggested his disciple that if he wants to experience the solitary happiness, he must not only know the sutra but also understand its meaning. If one does this, he will surely find his way as he goes along. The sutra and it's meaning are complementary to each other. One cannot be considered complete without the other. Whenever honorable Kalugani had any difficulty in understanding any meaning, he would think over it deeply and in the night he used to get a solution in his dreams. One who works or thinks hard will always find a way. One who deeply thinks and has a passion for learning will always find solution either in way of somebody guiding them or realize the solution from within, or sometimes they can even find solution through their dreams also.

Hence to achieve the solitary happiness one must concentrate on three things: Sutra (essence), artha (meaning) and chintan (thought).

On a 14th January

Footnotes
1:

Jump to occurrence in text

2:

Jump to occurrence in text

Sources

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 Bhikshu
  4. Acharya Tulsi
  5. Artha
  6. Astikaya
  7. Aura
  8. Ayurveda
  9. Bhikshu
  10. Body
  11. Buddha
  12. Calcutta
  13. Charitra
  14. Chaturmas
  15. Dashavaikalik
  16. Dharma
  17. Digamber
  18. Dravya
  19. Gautama
  20. Guru
  21. Gurudev
  22. Hansi
  23. Jain Dharma
  24. Jainism
  25. Jayacharya
  26. Kalugani
  27. Lakh
  28. Magadha
  29. Maharashtra
  30. Moksha
  31. Mukhavastrika
  32. Muni
  33. Naya
  34. Pramana
  35. Pratikraman
  36. Rajasthan
  37. Sadhu
  38. Sadhus
  39. Sadhvi
  40. Sadhvis
  41. Sangh
  42. Sangha
  43. Sangraha naya
  44. Shraman
  45. Shrawak
  46. Soul
  47. Sthanakvasi
  48. Sutra
  49. Tulsi
  50. Upadhyay
  51. Uttaradhyayan
  52. Yashovijayji
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