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Thus Spoke Mahapragya - Vol.1: 15. Discipline: How it should be

Published: 08.04.2011
Updated: 30.07.2015

Discipline: How it should be?

In this world, there are people who are knowledgeable but are incapable of execution and there are people who are good at execution but are not knowledgeable. The people who are both knowledgeable and capable of execution are dexterous people. Such people are very rare. To have patience is very important. There are three types of veerya (strength to exert in right direction):

  • Balveerya
  • Panditveerya
  • Balpanditveery

It is strange to see how our mind and body is constructed. In evil tasks, the strength flows automatically. One becomes easily vigorous and aggressive. Balveerya and Balpanditveerya become energetic in both good and bad activities. Panditveerya becomes active and energetic only in good activities. Panditveerya is nothing else but the inflow of veerya (vital energy) during restraint.

Acharya Shri had come down to Pilani. We were having a discussion with many professors and learned scholars who had gathered there. I said - Professors are quite flexible when compared to the pundits (scholars) who are orthodox. One of the pundits objected to this and asked for the reasoning. I said “Pundit means Panda (one with exceptional intelligence). Today this exceptional intelligence doesn’t exist as it has altogether taken a different form.”

Terapanth’s Philosophy

“If somebody says something to you listen to them first and accept it politely. Do not argue immediately. It is perfectly fine to clarify things later however”

A pundit is one who makes use of his strength in benevolent activities and spends his energy in generous activities. One cannot become a pundit only on the basis of education. Controlling one’s own energy is difficult. To control oneself, it is very difficult. There are many internal barriers to channel this energy. Ego, prejudice, argument and ones viewpoint are all barriers to this. For an egoist the biggest question is “Who is there to rule me? Who can command me?” His ego says that if it is his mistake he is ready to listen and not otherwise. The biggest question here is who is to decide this mistake. Should it be decided by the person who committed it or by the person who views it? In one's viewpoint it is a mistake and in another's viewpoint it is not a mistake. There is a big gap here. The person who committed the mistake, will have the view point that in a good faith he had done some work and he is being criticized for that. It leads to a big conflict- Conflict of thoughts. The reason behind this is the ego. A person who is humble will listen and accept even though it's not his fault without getting into an argument. It is Terapanth's philosophy that if somebody says something to you listen to them first and accept it politely. Do not argue immediately. It is perfectly fine to clarify things later however.

In this context Muni Maganlalji’s example is worth mentioning. Acharya Dalgani had chastised Maganlalji very badly. Maganlalji very humbly listened and did not reply back immediately. After sometime when things cooled down, he approached Acharya Dalgani and said “You chastised me, it is your greatness.” Maganlalji then clarified and explained the context to Acharya Dalgani. Acharya Dalgani would certainly have repented that he unnecessarily chastised Muni Maganlalji.

When somebody says something even though it is not one’s fault, one should first listen. After listening it is perfectly fine to clarify things rather than getting into a counter argument mode. With this the person who initially said something will be forced to think that he had rebuked you unnecessarily without knowing the facts. This is one path of self-discipline.

Egoism and selfishness are big barriers to self-discipline. Whenever an “I” is involved, one’s viewpoint about things changes dramatically. Hence for self-discipline and community’s interest it becomes imperative to sacrifice ego and selfishness. If one doesn’t sacrifice this ego and selfishness it can lead to numerous problems.

The central theme for our development should be the sacrifice of ego and being self centered. It’s then that self-discipline and conduct can be easily inculcated in our lives. The ego and self-centeredness should be replaced with humbleness and altruistic thoughts.

It is very easy to preach than to practice. It is very easy to advise people on the do’s and don’ts. But when it comes to self it is very difficult to implement. It is difficult to implement because we have not tuned ourselves to imbibe what we have preached.

Barriers to Development

“One must first learn to listen and then to speak”

“Egoism and selfishness are big barriers to self discipline”

To sacrifice ego and selfishness we first need to work on ourselves and it requires practice. When there is no training, no practice, then it would become virtually impossible to sacrifice egoism and selfishness. Our Acharya's have not only preached this but also practiced it. We had experimented on self-control and group dynamism. Acharya Tulsi had formed a new group out of sadhus who were already working in harmony with their counterparts. For e.g. he borrowed Muni Dungarmal from Muni Nathmal, Muni Mannalalji from Muni Kaanmal and lot of such muni's, who were working very closely with each other in a group. This group dynamism can work very effectively only when there is no personal attachment with any individual. Only then self-discipline can be inculcated and it would become effective.

Once we develop a viewpoint that discipline is beneficial to us it would be easier to exercise discipline. Good and bad both are very important elements in a man's life. When man perceives something, which is of benefit to him, he would be energized to do that work. When he perceives something that is detrimental, he will not even take up that work. Hence it is very important that one perceives self-discipline as beneficial to one's development. Once this perception is developed, then man would automatically work towards it.

It is very important for us to create awareness of the good and bad associated with principles and activities of a man's life. What food is good and what is detrimental to one's health? What quantity of water is beneficial to one's health and what quantity is detrimental? When is it good to speak and when it is good to remain silent and listen? Thus, when an individual becomes aware of the benefits and detrimental affects of each and every principle and activities, it would be much easier for him to exercise self discipline. When one doesn't understand the fundamental principle lying beneath the self-discipline and tries to exercise it, it could also be a futile effort. Hence one must develop the mindset of understanding why it is required and what should be done to achieve that. What is required is the training and the development of samskara (the imprints of past events and lives on the mind, genetic traits). Till one develops the samskara, one cannot become self-disciplined and even if he becomes, he would not be doing it whole-heartedly. Hence it is very important that one works towards the development of samskara also. The factors that can aid in the development of samskara are punravritti (revision or repetition) and practice. In the Sanskrit literature, punravritti is not considered to be a good sign. However, there is an exception. When you want to develop samskara, then this repetition or revision is considered to be good. We chant the mantras 'Aum Araham' numerous times. This is certainly beneficial for the soul. Hence for the constructive development of samskara, this repetition or revision is certainly required and constitutes a constructive factor in its development. Thus, we must firmly believe that self-discipline is beneficial to us and we should work towards being disciplined.

I have heard about a trainer in America who conducts class for seven days and charges sixty thousand dollars. He had developed a technique by which he could influence and change the way you perceive and one develops a new positive viewpoint towards it. We should also make an effort to influence and change the perception of people around us for good.

King Bhoj was very fond of horses. The king ordered for some horses from a trader. When the horses arrived, the King asked his four prince to evaluate the horses and select the best among them. The horses were very expensive and, hence the king wanted a thorough evaluation of them to be done before he bought them. The prince was given a week's time to complete this task. After a week all the prince gathered together with their horses. The King asked his sons if he could purchase the horses. The first prince said that the horses were very bad and would serve no use to their purpose. The second and third prince also echoed the same opinion as the first prince. The king then asked the fourth prince. He said “My Lord. Please buy all the horses.” The king was confused as his three sons were against the purchase and only one was favoring the purchase of the horses. He was in a dilemma as to whom to listen?

The King asked the fourth prince, the reason for his recommendation and what good qualities he had seen in those horses. The fourth prince replied “My lord. Their opinions are also correct and even my opinion is correct.” The fact is that they did not accept the horse first and they tried to ride the horse directly without first developing any bond with them. As a result the horses were reluctant to go; the brothers fell down from the horses back as it did not allow them to sit on their back. I first developed a bond with the horses and then tried to ride on them and I didn't have any trouble in riding them.

It is a very clear formula for any new horse. One cannot ride on a horse successfully till he develops a bond with it, shows his affection and love towards the horse. First develop a bond with the horse, show your affection and then ride the horse. The same thing applies for a new person also. You should not be on top of his head and neither allow him to be on top of your head. If you straightaway load him with the task of being disciplined, he would not be able to carry it forward. First develop his strength, make him mentally strong enough to carry the load, develop his samskara and accept him. When you are able to do this, you will be surprised to see that the person is easily able to adopt himself to the situation and become disciplined and carry it further.

One must work intelligently and plan carefully such that self-discipline can be followed consciously and faithfully. If self-discipline is an art, then it is an equal art to influence somebody to follow it. We have to first learn this art rather than jumping straight into forcing somebody to become disciplined. If you ask a person who is very good in studies to cook, would he be able to cook? You first need to train him. He would then practice and master the art of cooking. It is with practice, revision, and development of samskara that one can follow the self-discipline without any difficulty and develop his life.

On a 20th January


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. Acharya
  2. Acharya Dalgani
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Body
  5. Dalgani
  6. Discipline
  7. Muni
  8. Muni Nathmal
  9. Sadhus
  10. Samskara
  11. Sanskrit
  12. Soul
  13. Terapanth
  14. Tulsi
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