Religion Is The Purity of The Inner Soul

Published: 06.07.2008
Updated: 14.11.2008

Daily Excelsior

SUNDAY, July 06, 2008

Mahavira organized the world on the basis of relativity. He said that the streams of oneness and differences flow together. In this flow of co-existence there is no space for the thought 'either you or I'. I cannot be without you and you cannot be without me. You and me can only be together. Conflict is not natural. Hatred is not natural. Co-operation and balance are natural: to accept the existence of others as of oneself, to accept the individuality of the self.

Along with the acceptance of the idea that all men are one, there should also be the acceptance that each man is different. All men are one is a relative principle. Relative unity cannot exist without difference. Between men there are many differences in their nature, occupation and activities. On the basis of this, one mans is different from another. This is the real acceptance of human unity and differences.

Mahavira explained the above principle from the perspective of religion. He said that in the human being both oneness and differences co-exist and both are real. Therefore, they cannot become the basis of religion. If on the basis of oneness we love mankind then can we hate them on the basis of difference? We hate people on the basis of differences only because we love them on the basis of oneness. The attachment born out of this conflicting situation is not true spiritual attachment. The perception of the soul, which lies beyond oneness and differences, is religion. From this religious perspective oneness among them means the end of hatred and conflict between them.

Mahavira explained oneness among them from the perception of religion but did not give any importance to tradition (sampraday). So it is not important which tradition the person is ordained under. The measure would be how sincere, pure and free from passions (kashayamukt) he is.

By saying that it is quite possible for a person ordained into Jainism not to find liberation and equally for a person ordained into any other religion of find liberation, Mahavira presented the irrelevance of rituals and the indivisible form of religion.

Religion is the purity of the inner soul. Therefore it is not bearing on caste, creed or ritualistic tradition. And yet the exterior form of religion presents itself in ritual and so caste gets associated with it. Mahavira kept the door to his religion's domain open to people of all castes and creeds. He would never have imagined that his religion would get associated with any creed or caste and thus close its doors on some people. And yet time wove such events that turned Mahavira's concept of oneness among men to differences among men. We can present Mahavira's principle of oneness among men to the whole world. But we cannot present the contemporary practices of Mahavira's religion as an example of human oneness to the would.

Non-possessiveness (aparigraha) is a significant principle of human oneness. This can be presented to the entire world as a lofty principle but the Jain society cannot be held as an example of this principle.

Multifaceted reality (anekanta) is another significant principle of human oneness. Thesis can be presented as a tool to find solutions to the problems of the world. But the contemporary world of Jains cannot be cited as the followers of relativity or equanimity.

Observing sthis conflict between principle and conduct the question that arises is—is this principle only followed at the intellectual and emotional level and not at the practical level? If it is not to be applied at the practical level then what is its use?

If it is practical why is the Jain community not following it? Jain society has been so greatly influenced by the events of time that it could not remain the ground for Mahavira's valuable principles.

Today, the need is for the kind of Jain community that would represent Mahavira's valuable principles and would quality to be the heir to his religion. The followers of these principles can be located in any section of the would. From this point of view it can be said that Jain dharma has the potential to be a world religion.

DAILY EXCELSIOR, by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekanta
  2. Aparigraha
  3. Daily Excelsior
  4. Dharma
  5. Equanimity
  6. Jain Dharma
  7. Jainism
  8. Kashayamukt
  9. Lalit Garg
  10. Sampraday
  11. Soul
  12. Space
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