Abstract Thinking: [28.02] - Anupreksha of Simplicity - Straightforwardness - The Way to Purification

Published: 29.07.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Lord Mahavira said - "He alone is purified, who is straightforward and simple. In the Indian tradition is found the concept of penance for purification. The first condition of penance is that a person should become as simple as a child and acknowledge his faults before the guru without any reservation. This is self-criticism. To be simple as a child and to acquaint the guru with everything unreservedly is self-criticism. Now it is up to the guru to do what he will. You are free from care. If you hide anything, it will prick your heart like a thorn. Then there is no purification. He, who hides his defects and deficiencies, cannot be purified. And religion cannot bide in an impure soul. Only a straightforward and simple soul is pure, and only in a pure soul does religion abide.

Gautam asked - "O Gentle One! What does one get out of uprightness?"

Lord Mahavira said - "Gautam! From uprightness one gets the straightness of the body, the sincerity of feeling, the simplicity of language, and a harmonising temperament leading to a perfect correspondence between word and deed."

Uprightness means simplicity. Which is that mass of light which shines all round. Lord Mahavira said - 'The purity of heart comes to him who is simple." The mind of a crafty person cannot be pure. A child's mind is simple. That is why a child inspires love in every heart. As we grow up and become clever, our mind is heaped with many coverings. There is the covering of ignorance, of doubt, of illusion and attachment. We do not try to understand the other person that is why we are not openhearted towards him. We want to exploit the other person; that is why we are not sincere to him. Had there been no ignorance, doubt and fraud in the world, love would have flowed among mankind and there would have been no distance between man and man. Then there would have been no division. A Sanskrit poet has said:

The needle is straight and therefore sews things together, creates one fabric out of two pieces. The scissors is crooked; it splits; cuts one piece into two.

Straightforwardness binds the minds together: the scissors of illusion and attachment severs them.

The political scientists said, "A man should not be too simple. The trees which are straight are cut down; the crooked ones are spared." This politic adage has only served to extinguish the lamp of simplicity in man's heart. I should like to ask if you like a man whose body is crooked. Do you repose any trust in a man who does not talk straight? Do you love a person who dupes you? The answer to these questions is in the negative, i.e. you do not like such persons. Then how do we make out that we should not be too simple? If every man's heart were like an open book, no man would fear another. Today, one man is afraid of another because every man has reservations, every man's mind is twisted, unclear and in darkness.

We need not be simpletons—let us not be deprived of the capacity to take in the reality of what is before us. But also let us not be crafty and deceitful; let us not profane the mind of another with our own wickedness! Let us be simple—fully awake to our surroundings, but without a trace of malice towards others. He, whose mind is simple and alert, will not be duped by another. Only he, whose mind is defiled, finds himself cheated.

An old woman was carrying a bundle on her head. A youth was also going along the same road. He was filled with compassion for the old woman and said to her, "Grandma! Let me carry the bundle for you. It will give you some rest" The old woman was moved by his sentiment and gave the bundle to him.

After some time, she took it back from his. The youth's mind underwent a change. He said to himself, "I had the bundle with me. If I had made away with it, what could the old woman do?. So the youth once again offered to carry the old women's bundle. But the old woman declined his offer. When he insisted, the old woman said, "No, I shan't entrust you with my bundle any more." The youth asked why. The old woman replied, "Son! The same spirit which moves you has warned me too!"

Simplicity is the light of the mind in which nothing remains obscure. Crookedness or deceitfulness is the mind's darkness in which a man flounders forever.

  • 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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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Fear
  3. Guru
  4. Mahavira
  5. Sanskrit
  6. Soul
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