Nov 28, 2007

Jainism In A Nutshell

By F J Dalal

A Way of Life, Neither a Dogma, nor a Belief

The Fundamental Concept
`AHINSA PARAMO DHARMA’: NONVIOLENCE (Harmlessness) is the foremost Religion. Ahinsa, a nebulous term, includes SATYA (Truth), ASTEYA (Non-Stealing), BRAHMACHARYA (Celibacy, Restraint), and APARIGRAHA (Non-possession, Detachment)

The Goal
The ultimate purpose of life is to purify the immortal Soul to Perfection such that the cycle of birth and death is ended.

The Path
` LIVE AND LET LIVE.’ It is the PRACTICE of Non-Violence in daily life at every step of the way.

The Basis
1. It is a logical, scientific, rational, and natural way of life for every Living Being.

2. Every Living Being has an Indestructible SOUL that can be perfected. SOUL has no distinction of sex, status or form. Only the BODY that every soul takes is different.

3. THEORY OF KARMA: ACTIONS (Purushartha) are the basis of attachments to soul. `As you sew, so you reap.’

4. THEORY OF REINCARNATION: Soul takes different bodies of one to five Senses, such as human being, animal, bird, insect, plant, etc. based on Karma attached to it.

5.UNIVERSE is Begginingless and Endless. It transforms and perpetuates. `MATTER IS INDESTRUCTIBLE.’ Otherwise, `Who created the Universe? And who created the creator of the Universe?

6. The GOD is neither the Creator, nor the Sustainer, nor the Destroyer. Otherwise, `Who created God?’ Temples, Idol Worship, Rituals, etc. are extensions of the Belief in God as Trinity/Trimurti in other Religions.

7. Some violence is inevitable for Survival of Life. This violence can be reduced infinitely through Restraint. The ultimate Goal is Perfect Purification of the Soul totally detached from all Karmas.

8. DOGMAS/Scriptures (Shastras and Sutras) are written by People in the NAME of GODS, perfectly purified Souls, whose lives are the basis of their Philosophy. This, in turn, propounds Theories and Principles. When Formalized, Dogmas form the basis of Structured Religions that emphasize and prioritize them. When proved outdated, they need to be revised.

9. ANEKANT (Multiplicity of Views) and SYADVAD (Relativeness of the Truth): Practice of Principles of any Religion is purely a Personal Matter. Therefore, there is no need to CONVERT any one. Each one practices according to its abilities (Yatha Shakti). These practices have various different facets, aspects and angles that need not be the cause or ground for CONFLICT.

10. STRUCTURED RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS create Hierarchies and Vested Interests to sustain them. Therefore, we see numerous sects and sub-sects in all of them. Power, Position, and Authority are their Hidden Motives.

11. RELIGION AND SCIENCE are inherently the different phases of unfolding and evolving universal Realities, The TRUTH. They are neither against nor contradictory to each other.
TRADITIONS are Practices prevalent at certain times in the PAST. There cannot be any SACROSANCT about them. To-days practices will become tomorrows Traditions. Nothing remains constant, except CHANGE. Meaningless and Wasteful Past TRADITIONS, CELEBRATIONS, and RITUALS (Ceremonies) are not the Religion.

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