THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF JAINISM
Perfect Knowledge and Time Happiness: People of all countries and in all times have been yearning for
two things, firstly true and perfect knowledge and secondly True Happiness. Despite all our efforts,
our so-called civilisation has after so long succeeded in securing to us only a few pebbles on the sea
shore and got for its show care only a few snapshots of the Nature’s Vast panorama. As for true happiness
we, the children of civilization, inspite of possessing all products of scientific advance, have seldom
been able to be wholly care-free so that even the small moments of relief that we have been able to
snatch, are tinged with a sun consciousness of unhappiness. It is Jainism alone which promises perfect
Knowledge of all that was, that is, and that will be, of the world here and here after, of heaven and
hell and what not.
It is again Jainism that secures you true and abiding peace of mind and perfect bliss.
Scientific Knowledge and Logic: The two chapters in this book “Scientific knowledge & Jainism” and “Concept of Matter in Jainism” as also another syadvada might have revealed that Jainism is quite scientific, logical and rational. Its Doctrine of syadvada stands unique; there is hardly a counterpart of it in other system of philosophy oriental, or occidental.
No Personification and allegories: Another important difference between Jainism and other religions is that while in the former there are no misleading metaphors allegeries, personification and parables, the other religions cloud the basic truths in mysterious round about ways, they do not catch their noses from the front but from behind the necks with the result that countless people have gone astray.
No rituals and no secrecy: There are no intricate rituals to be observed, none of the un-necessary and showy exercise- standing with one leg or with both hands up and the like. No secrecy, nothing of the sort of Masonic practices, no not even miracles, and those that are, are few and far between.
No Supersitition: Jainism does not claim adherents by instilling fear and awe by threating reprisals if it is dos and don’ts ae not abided by. The Jain Deities do not hold a dagger in one hand and a head separated from the trunk in another. They do not claim animal sacrifice or incense burning for their gratification and satisfaction. The Jain laymen and saints do not participated in yagyas to ward off the supposed evil effects of the planets. They do not perform sharadhas or feed Brahmins whether it is birth or death or any other auspicious or inauspicious occasion and omit all obsequies after the corpse is burnt. They do not take bath in certain rivers considered holy for remission of sins. Worship of planets, tree, quadrupeds, snakes, scorpions or any other raptile or indulgence in any of the primitive practices is a taboo or a Jain,
Family Planning: The country is facing the problem of family planning Vis-vis the increasing population Realising that man is naturally polygamous, reading that human society will not prosper unless some sort of check, is placed on them; the great rishis introduced the institution of marriage, Ahimsa ideology lays stress not on birth control consists in the use of chemical and mechanical means result only in inordinate sexual indulgence and may as a whole harm the society.
Socialism : There shall be no need of any controls either of food or cloth or any other material and contentment would prevail all round if the Jain vow of voluntarily giving up of material needs, is practised by all.
Self- help: In Jainism there is no room for rishwat, tipping or bribery to so called gods and goddesses, no intercession on the judgment day, no big promises which may or may not materialise. Self-help and self-reliance is to be considered supreme. You emulate those who attain salvation and them oi also can attain it and be their equal. Godhood is nobody’s monopoly.
In Practice: In practice the Jains are no matter where they reside-in the Punjab, in the Bengal or even in foreign countries with the exception, of course, of the few misguided youths- all strictly vegetarians and tee-tolalers. They are seldom addicted to intoxicating drugs, may very few of them even smoke. The Jains are proud to proclaim that their criminal record is almort blank.
On the other hand philanthorophy of the Jains is wsell-known.
There is hardly any city in India where they have not run schools colleges, orphanages, and other welfare institutions. Even for a middle class Jain family charity is a must and they willing part with a portion of their income for this purpose. It is because of their good actions that you will very seldom find a Jain begging in the street.
The Jain saints or nuns had an unostentatious life. They do not rule or wean Jattas. Having no attachments and aversions they bless a few but never curse any body, even if teased or tormented. The Jain Saints do not keep spouses muchless bear or rear children. They do no amass wealth and indulge in smoking sulfa and use narcotics and predict satta.
Conclusion: Ye followers of the great Tirthankaras, you have been treading through eternity the long
zig-zag.narrow thorny paths of transmigeration, yours present birth in a Jain family is a sure sign that
soul has already attained a certain degree of practical renunciation and thus has come nearer liberation.
A Jain’s life from the very moment of his Birth being one of giving up, you are born under circumstances
which render the task of renunciation easier. Ahimsa is the easiest of attainemtn by you and this is a
great advantage over your fellow creatures and beings. Look around, not despisingly but pitying at other
communities. You see how steeped most of them are in himsa in its various forms. Are you not placed above
them? How hard it; is for them to give up animal flesh, the habit of drinking and vakious other vices
from the contamination of which the very incident of birth in a Jain family, ensures your freedom.
But great, though the advantage of birth undoubtedly is, its effects can be neutralised by inaction or
retrogression on the path to adharma.
Let you know, be bewaring, gird up your loins and march fearlessly, bravely and resolutely on the Road already opened and illumined by the worshipful feet of the Great masters.
Come sing with Swami Ram Tirtha and our salvation will be nearer.
Trust, trust the self supreme,
The restlessness of soul is due,
To faith in things that seem-
The things that fleet as fog and dew.
The way to keep you fresh and new
To every secret treasure clue
It to assert the real self.
And to deny deluding pelf.
O Happy, Happy, Happy Ram,
Screne and peaceful, tranquil clam,
My joy can nothing nothing bar
My luicry wear Gods, men and birds
My bliss Supreme transcendeth world.
The infinite is that, the infinite this
And on and on, unchanged is infinite
Goes out the infinite from the infinite
And their remains unchanged the infinite
The out ward loss betrays the infinite
The serving Gains displays the infinite
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Lal Mandir Delhi. There is a Jain temple situated opposite to that Red Fort on the Junction of Chandni Chowk and the Netaji Subhash Marg. The temples built in 1656 A.D. was previously known as Urdu Mandir or Lashkari Mandir because it was built primarily for the convenience of the Jains employed in the Mughal emperor Shahjahan’s army located round about that place. It is now known as the Lal Mandir for the stone slabs are of the same veriety as used in the building of the Red Fort. The chief image on the Central alter bears an inscription dated Samvat 1548. The site of the temple was prior to this military ground where a Jain officer, the treasurer of Shah Jahan kept an image for performing his daily religions worship.
The story goes, there used to be the beating of drums early in the morning in this temple. Some body came to the then emperor Aurangzeb and said that who soever said his prayer at Jama Masjid was disturbed by the beating of drums. The fact that such disturbance produced from a building housing an idol exasperated the bigot who ordered the immediate stoppage of the beating of the drums and the flute were accordingly immediately removed but the sound continued to be there at the fixed time. No body knew from where & how it happened. Thorough search was ordered but without any result. The drum beat noise continued to be heard as hitherto. Being very much annoyed Aurangzeb came in person to the temple building, went round every nook and corner but no trace of drum; the flute or any man daring to disobey the imperial orders, could be found. The result the drum and the play of flute was prohibited to be resumed and to this day the practice continues.
Qestion. State what are Heaven and Hell according to Jainism? Compare this with the points of views of Christianty and Islam.
Answer. From the Jain point of view heavens and hells are as real as our own universe. They are quite separate regions of space, the former being siuated above and the latter below the middle zone called Madhya loca of which Jambudwipa the central region and not the little glob of out earth only as has been errounously supposed by the modern orientalists, is a continent inhabited by men.
PICTURE TO BE SCANNED BY PUBLISHER HERE, out of page no.302 of the book. Lok Kashes
The names of sixteen heavens are as follows:-
Saudharma, Asiana, Samat Kumera, Maendra, Brahmloka, Brahamottra Laintaka, Kapistha, Sukra, Mahasukra, Satara, Sahasrara, Anata, Pranata, Arana and Achyut.
The region of the Perfect Souls, called Sidhushilla, lies above the heavens on the top of the universe.
The names of the seven hells are: Ratna Prabha, Pankat Prabha, Dhuma Prabha, Imab Prabha, Mahtma Prabha.
Almost all religions describe the Microcosm viz the body of man as the copy of the Macrocosm ( the universe).
The conditions of existence in heavens vary while in the lower regions there are damsels and other paraphernalia of luxary. In the higher heaven these conditions correspondence to what is described by the Persian poet:
“Bahisht anja kab Ajare naliashad
Kase r alia kase Kare nabashad”
A paradise is that where are no cares and snares and no body has anything is to do with any other. But in the hells the evil spirits of the sinners wreak vengeance for the wrongs to done to on eanother. The persons of the inhabitants of the hells are like quick silver, the particles of which separate. When injury is inflected but unite immediately thereafter and this process goes on.
Hindu ideas about Heavens and Hell r tally more or less with those of Jainism. Christianity and Islam also acknowledge their existence, though unlike the purely Indiasn religions they maintain that the soul’s sojourn in these regions, is eternal.
Question. Explain the significance of the Symbol of Swastika and give its figure in the proper form.
Answer. The proper figure of the symbol consists of the four lims arranged as below with one cipher on the top and there such ciphers below the crescent thus:
Explanation: The four limbs of the swastika, a cross indicate thefour types of life, through which souls wander in the couse of transmigeration namely:
1. Deva (a residents of heaven)
2. Manushya (as human beings)
3. Naraka (as residents of hells)
4. All others, collecting termed tiryannch.
(birds, beasts, insects, plants, minerals etc)
The three cipher symbolise Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct, while the crescent moon is the mark of the quickening spirit, who is beyond to grow and wax strong till a soul becomes Full and Perfect like the full moon. The cipher at the top of an emblem of Godhood, full and perfect.
It may be noticed that the name of the founder of Jainism in the present cycle of time, Rsabha, written as ½"kHkk begins with Sanskrit alphabet letter ½ (R).Now compare it with that part of Swastika which comprises the limbs, namely« and you will not fail to note that both are similar.
Just as Hindus now use the word Jh x.ks'kk; ue%] the Muslims use Bismillah ul Ealamn ur Rahim, which is shortened to the abiad figure …..........=878, so do the Jains and in the whole humanity whether in India or abroad, wherever you have seem Jainism was once revered, used the auspicious letter ½ at the commencement of any good work. In course of time ½ changed into « A The form known as the fylfot is frequently found on the vestment of the Greek Chruch. It is found also in the West, both on recclesiastical and heraldic works. It was commonly used by western people in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and many examples of it may be seen on the monuments. It is abundantly found in the Indian and Chinese art. It was found on the terracotta objects dug up at Troy and is conjectured to date from 1000 to 1500 B.C. Truly speaking it is older even than that. The symbol of swastika is also found in Menico, Peru andTibet, it was recently used as an emblem by the Nazi party and regime. Te word is derived from Sanskrit Svasta meaning well-being. Swastika is the cognisance mark of the seventh Jain Tirthanakara Lord Suparshavanth.
(Reader’s Digest Encyclopaedia P 889 Vol II)Question. Explain why moksha, liberation cannot be obtained either heaven or hell.
Answer. This is because the soul in these regions is deprived of the opportunities for performing tapas and dhyan; austerity and meditation. The continuous life of pleasure in heavens and the undending experiences of pain in hell have no time for practising meditation without which Moksha cannot be attained, it in only in madhyaloka that we get such an opportunity. Alas! We let this opportunity to slip.
A critic of Jainism says:
“It is religion in which the chief persons insisted upon are that one should deny God, worship man and nourish vermins.”
Comment upon the above.
This is a cheap safire of the great principle that man is divine in his essence and need not rely on any external God to become a God and that the meanstrat or louse or bug has right to live like any othr being.
Almost all religions describe the microcosm as the copy of the macrocosm. We may as well say, “Man is the image of God himself.” This means that in order to study God or better say realise Godhood, you have first to study man or realise your ownself; God is something abstract, which cannot be imagined without first imagining something concreate and the fist is The Perfect Man, the omniscient Lord and ultimately is your ownself.
Rats, louse and bugs should not be allowed to breed. The Law of “Survival of the fittest” if applied logically and not selfish to ourselves, permits human beings exploited by others; coloured by whites, by those who rightly or wrongly consider themselves superior to the latter- the Chinese, the Japanese or the Russians. It is nature alone which should be allowed to excercise its right. It is not for human beings to take the law in their hands. The law that human beings are the paragon of the creations was given unto ourselves not by the unanimous votes of all the living being. Even presuming that man is the supreme lord he should excercise this right in favour of and not against the inarticulate fellow beings. It is wrong to betray the self-assumed trust:
Dr. Hopkin says in this connection:
“I believed once that the practical religion of the Jains was one worthy of all condemnation, but I have since regretted that I stigmatised the great religion as insisting on denying God worshipping man & nourishing vermins as its chief tenets without giving reard to the wonderful effect this religion has character and morality of the people, but as is often the case, a close acquaintance with a religion brings put its good side and creates a much more favourable opinion of it as a whole than can be obtained through mere objective literary acquaintance.”
Criticism:- Shri Dayananda deals with Jainism Chapter XI & XII of his book Satyarath and calling the Jains and Budhists as aethists, brackets thes religions with charvakaism.
That Jainism & Budhism are quite different may be seen from the chapter headed Jainism v/s Budhism in this book. But as far as this is concerned, the defence about religion is to be given by the scholars of that religion. The line of thought pursued by Dyananda showing that Jainism is as below:
“There was one Brahspati who had no faith in the Vedas, God and the Virtuous deeds such as yagnas. His belief was that body is burnt to ashes after death nd one which has eaten and drunk (indulged in luxuries) will not come into the world again, enjoy for there is no life beyond. The body is the result of chemical combination of earth, water, fire and air, their mixture gives rise to a conscious being, the soul is born with birth of the man and dies its death.
Question. “Shri Dayananda quotes that is better to be trampled under the feet of an elephant than visit a Jain temple.” Comment upon this.
Answer. No Comments are at all necessary. There is no mention of any man known as Brahaspati in any Jain scripture. Those who have gone through this book in their hands can very judge whether or not Jainism believes or preaches the sort of religion he has described and criticised.
He called Jainism an a theism simply because Jainism condemned yagnas and does not pin its faith in the authority of the Vedas. It is true Jain took budgets against yajnas in those days because people sacrificed animals in them and no body to his sense would support any such practice. As regards the belief in the Vedas we can only say that is not only the Jain who deny the authority of those books the whole world with the exception of a handful of the Hindus are one in doing so. Such like definitions to call non-believers in religion proposed by one class as malakashas, heathens and the like tread contempt and result in bloodshed; battles and we need not dwell any further on the subject. As regard criticism about the Jain temple, we invite any man interested in investigation to visit any Jain temple in any part of this vast country at any time and find any such practice which is obnoxious, derogatory and repungent to religion. “Dayananada’s remarks and criticism of the religions are unjust and umbecoming of a Maharishi.”
--(Mahatma Gandhi)Dayananda; criticising other religions, claims divine authority of the Vedas but the nature of hymns show that the claim is unfounded. This is evident from the fact that Vedas enjoin animal and human sacrifice. Godhoods never encourage an evil practice nor employ misleading language nor would resort to a symbol of flesh and blood.