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Abstract Thinking: [24.08] - Anupreksha Of Spirituality And Science - The Technique of Meditation - The Greatest Discovery

Published: 17.06.2007
Updated: 30.07.2015

The discovery of the technique of meditation is the world's greatest discovery. Those who move even one step forward in the direction of attaining the transcendental state, those who advance even one step in the direction of truth, are established in the path of truth-realization. These may count only a few - two to three or more - the number is not important. What is really important is the movement in the direction of truth.

I have found that unless two important things are added to science - experimentation and training - religion cannot flourish. Let us practise and put it to the test. Let us make an experiment. One might practise religion for 50 years, but has it brought any change in one's life? Is one less liable to anger now? Is there any change in one's habits? In one's subjection to lust? If lust has subsided even a little, it is good. If not, what has one really achieved? We utter the name of God, recite a prayer, and engage ourselves in self-reflection and worship. We perform all the rituals. But is our mind stable? The answer is - What to speak of five minutes, the mind cannot concentrate on a subject even for five seconds! When we sit in the shop, we are somewhat able to concentrate on the job in hand, but when we sit down for telling our beads our mind grows so restless and wandering that all kinds of thoughts distract us.

In that case we cannot say that we are practising religion. When the mind is wandering and the consciousness is insecure, what may be said to practise religion - the body or consciousness? Is religion practised through the fingers or through the mind? It is through our consciousness and mind that we practise religion. When these are unstable, there is no following of religion.

When a religious person has not learnt the very first lesson - as to how restlessness may be allayed - how is it possible for him to practise religion! We talk of higher things—of soul, God, creation, monism, heaven and hell; of previous existence and rebirth; of salvation. But the steadfastness of the mind which is required for understanding these concepts is not available to us. How can we solve these riddles if we do not possess the key thereto!

Practice is necessary for the exercise of religion. Without practice, religion grows inert. A religious teacher may say to his disciple, "Do not be angry, give up addiction to intoxicating drugs, and abstain from drinking and meat-taking." But when the question is raised as to how, the teacher is nonplussed.

One of the laws of logic is that there is a cause to every effect. Religion is a factor behind the abandonment of evil; it is instrumental in changing one's habits. When religion is practised, habits are bound to change. If wickedness continues and there is no change of habits, it means that we are practising something else in the name of religion.

I have tried to understand religion in the context of science because the scientific outlook offers today a far mere appropriate definition of religion than is possible on the basis of mere belief. There is a great deal of propensity to evil in our bodies whose mysteries are incomprehensible.
I have been studying my body for the last 10 -15 years. Yet I cannot say that I have unravelled them all. From the very beginning I have been a student of philosophy and I have gone into it deeply. I have read all the philosophies of India. But the study of Jain philosophy opened for me a new dimension and gave me a new direction altogether.

I believe that to day direct comprehension is possible; also transcendental knowledge. We can awaken a good deal of our dormant powers. We are not so helpless and poor that we should go on begging all the time. We are capable of doing. But of course we need to open first the doors of possibilities. We should not sit back and complain that nothing can be done. Nothing is impossible if our self-confidence is awakened.

I love religion, but I love science, too. I look at religion from the scientific point-of-view. Two special attributes of science are—experimentation and examination. Religion too is a science. Religion is truth. Unless a man comes to know the secrets of his body, he cannot unravel the mysteries of religion. The understanding of the body is as necessary for a religious person as for a physician. Today, unless a man comprehends anatomy, psychology and physiology, the three branches of science, he cannot be truly religious.

Today, a religious person is faced with a big challenge-the question as to what religion has given to society, what change religion has wrought? Has the individual changed? In fact we are not able to answer these questions.
Religion has three forms:

  1. worship and devotion
  2. morality and will-power
  3. awakening of the religious consciousness.

Morality, honesty and strong determination to keep a pledge command prime importance. If an honest person engages in worship and repeats the name of the deity, it is quite intelligible. But if a person gives a go-bye to morality, does not awaken his religious consciousness and merely engages in worship, it is tantamount to the murder of religion. Today, religion has become a shield td cover evils, a means of fostering lies. How long can such a religion thrive? We are faced with a great danger. We must, therefore, look at religion from a scientific viewpoint-that is, how we may bring about a change from the physiological and psychological point-of-view.

  • 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. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Jain Philosophy
  5. Meditation
  6. Monism
  7. Science
  8. Soul
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