Virchand Raghavji Gandhi : Assessment Of A Jaina Scholar And Spokesman Of India Abroad

Posted: 30.07.2014
Updated on: 02.07.2015

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi (1864-1901)

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/persons/Virchand_Raghav_Gandhi/Virchand_Raghav_Gandhi.jpghad many firsts to his credit. He was the first celebrated Jaina to have graduated with honours from Elphinstone College, Bombay (Mumbai) in 1880, the first authorized Jaina plenipotentiary to a global religious conclave in 1893, the first to win admirers and adherents to his faith outside India, and the first non-Hindu to defend Hinduism in America and Europe. He was much ahead of his times and explained the fundamental articles of the Jaina faith in the living language of science and logic. His interpretation of Anekantavada –the philosophy which says that each assertion though seemingly contradictory, belongs to the domain of possibility - brought the quintessential element of Jaina metaphysics to the global fora. He could juxtapose, assimilate, and harmonise different religious standpoints on the praxis of deeper spirituality. His explanation of the gospel of Ahimsa - non-violence -in scientific idiom, appealed alike to the intellect, the heart and the soul, and in that respect, he was a precursor to Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).

 He was among the first few 19th century Indians to delineate the exploitative aspects of the British Raj marked by racial discrimination, destruction of Indian agriculture and handicraft industries, impoverishment of the subaltern classes, misuse and drainage of India's wealth to Britain, and the abolition of import duties to help the traders of Liverpool and Manchester. He spoke against the imposition of 200% tax on the manufacture of salt 'to maintain a costly government', a somber presage of the Salt Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi in 1930. He had the courage to point out that the British Raj had legitimized the vice of drinking and raised revenue from the liquor trade, which the native rulers never did. He resented that the government spent lavishly to assert its political hegemony by declaring Queen Victoria as the Empress of India in 1877, but it did little to save more than five million people from starvation and epidemics during the famine of 1896-97. He described Englishmen as conquerors who laid claim to 'extra-territorial right throughout India.' Yet his patriotism was not insular as he stood for amity and cooperation among different nations at cultural and economic levels. Despite his reservations about the ethical dimensions of the British export, he praised the British manufacturers for understanding the Indian economic milieu and the requirements of people. He was the first Jaina to speak on trade relations between India and America and to guide the latter on what to export at an international meet organized by W.P.Wilson, Director of Philadelphia Commercial Museum.[1]

Born on August 25, 1864 in an affluent Jaina family of Mahuva, a small town on the Arabian sea coast, and educated at Bhavnagar (Gujarat) and in Bombay (Mumbai), Virchand Raghavji Gandhi became the youngest Honorary Secretary of Shri Jaina Association of India at the age of twenty one, due to his keen interest and involvement in the administration of charitable and religious trusts. A towering intellectual, visionary, orator, writer, and social reformer, he was a polyglot who knew fourteen languages and was conversant both with rational western thought and traditional Indian wisdom. He knew as much about Jainism in which he had been trained in a Jaina monastery by Shrimad Vijayanandsurishwar (Muni Atmarama ji) whom he represented at the Chicago Parliament, as with the fundamentals of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. He was well versed in history, philosophy, psychology, science and mysticism, and quoted profusely from scholarly works. He could address large audiences with rare confidence and speak sometime for hours elaborating on a subject. Just as Swami Vivekananda founded the Vedanta Society of New York and Anagarika Dharmapala, the Maha Bodhi Society of America, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi founded three institutions in America - Gandhi Philosophical Society, School of Oriental Philosophy, and Society for the Education of women of India.

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi synergized in him, the erudition of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (1840-1905), the sobriety of Hewavitarne Dharmapala (1864-1933), the philosophic outlook of G.N. Chakravarti, the sensitivity of Balwant Bhau Nagarkar (1858-1926) and the patriotic zeal and prophetic vision of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) - all of whom represented their respective faiths at the World's first Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1893.

 

AT PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi created a great impression on the Chicago Parliament by his refined manners, vast learning, and command of the English language. Although, in physical appearance, he was not as handsome as Swami Vivekananda, his tranquil and austere figure in an immaculate Kurta – upper garment - white shawl -over the shoulders and traditional turban with golden border, his friendly disposition and gentle smile attracted one and all. His opening and closing addresses (September 11 and 27) presentation on Jainism (September 25) as well as his off-the-cuff observations during discussions, were greatly appreciated.[2]He delineated the intricate philosophical points through metaphors, narratives, fables and quotes. In interactive and representational argument he was no less eloquent in the Parliament than Swami Vivekananda, Hewavitarne Dharmapala, Balwant Bhau Nagarkar or Narsimhachari, but he never used raw rhetoric to overawe his opponent. While presenting counterview or censuring the illiberal, he did not cross the limits of decency, and thereby won the respect of all. The American Press lauded his simplicity, scholarship, non-sectarian outlook and breadth of vision. The Boston Evening Transcript dated September 30, 1893, wrote: 'He has a refined and intellectual countenance, a bright eye and something in his manner that suggests cosmopolitan influences.'

When evangelist George T. Pentecost of London concluded his address on September 24,1893 by saying that 'there were two or three oriental bubbles which have been floating over Chicago for the last two or three weeks'[3] alluding to Swami Vivekananda, H. Dharmapala, Narsimhachari and other delegates from India, it was Virchand Raghavji Gandhi who gave a befitting reply. 'The oriental bubbles might yet be found heavier than certain bloated balloons of self conceit which were temporarily obscuring a large portion of the horizon.[4] The Chicago Daily Tribune dated September 26, 1893 reported that the audience was sympathetic, and 'applauded loudly almost every point he scored.'

 

EXPONENT OF JAINISM

Jainism is an outlook of life, a mode of understanding the world, a way to the efflorescence of the soul, as well as a living faith. In its classical mould, the word 'Jaina' is more of an adjective than a noun, as it derives from the word jina which means he who has conquered himself. The history of Jainism goes back to the beginning of time. Its historical evolution, like that of other faiths, has been the result of interaction between a number of factors, forces, ideas and puissant souls, sometime between parallel or even rival schools of thought. Jainism is neither the heir or the rebel child of Hinduism as Christianity is of Judaism, nor a reactionary religious movement. The Supreme Truths in the Jaina faith were revealed to the twenty-four tirthankaras - 'ford-finders' - those who help one to cross the ocean of worldly existence' - at different stages of man's evolution. Deriving from the Shramana ('self reliant') tradition which is many millennia old, Jainism focuses on the purification, elevation and flowering of the human being - an idea which is close to the Mundaka Upanishad (I.1.5), which says that true knowledge comes not through pedagogy but through experience.

While Hermann Jacobi (1850-1937) introduced Jainism to the West through his translation of a few Jaina classical texts both into German and English, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi may be called the first able exponent of Jainism in America and Europe, who spread its aroma through his insightful talks, discourses and writings. He presented Jainism as an ethico-metaphysical system which lays down that moral power is superior to physical power; renunciation is not escapism but the way to infinite purity and infinite bliss; self-sacrifice is better than self aggrandizement. He believed that Jainism is fit to be a world religion because it stands for spirituality and culture not dogma. Jaina ethics aim at the cultivation of the mind, the heart and the soul along the lines of truth, non-violence and righteousness, so as to turn hatred into love, love into compassion and compassion into social service. The three jewels of Jainism, Tri-ratna, namely, Right faith (samyaka shraddha), Right knowledge (Samyaka Jnana) and Right conduct (Samyaka Acharna), underline the need for the establishment of the moral law in society. Jainism rejects the atheistic and materialistic perceptions of the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy since it believes that the goal of human life is not to attain pleasure but to be perfect in every respect.

At the Chicago Parliament (September 11) he described Jainism as a faith 'older than Buddhism, similar to it in ethics but different from it in psychology.'[5] His paper on Jaina philosophy and ethics (September 25) delineated the cosmology, canon, science, logic, epistemology and moral codes of Jainism in a masterly way.[6] He put forth two parallel but distinct views in the Jaina tradition namely, Dravyarthik naya which holds that the universe is without beginning and end, and Paryarthika naya which holds that creation and destruction take place every moment. He divided the Jaina canon into two parts - Shruti dharma, revealed laws, and Charitra dharma, moral laws, which elevate character. He referred to the nature of nine principles, six substances, six kinds of living beings and four states of existence in the Jaina philosophy, explaining some of them in detail. He described the soul as the divine element in all beings – the element which knows, thinks and feels, but is different from matter which is also eternal. As long as the soul is subject to transmigration, it undergoes the process of evolution and involution. Moksha, the state of final liberation, is achieved when the soul regains its purest form by relieving itself of the burden of karma and severing all connection with matter. The realized ones look upon all living beings as upon themselves. He explained the Jaina belief in eight types of karma – law of cause and effect - and in the theory of reincarnation, widely supported by philosophers, theologians, and prophets the world over, as it provides the raison d'etre of injustice and misery in the world. He asserted that the Jaina prophets could reveal the minutest divisions of living beings with their inner eye and envision ' how many organs of sense minutest animalcule has', much before the discovery of microscope. He informed the audience that there were works on biology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology in the Jaina tradition, written centuries before the birth of modern sciences.[7]

He rejected the common view upheld about the Jainas as atheists or agnostics. Although the existence of a First cause or that of a creator-deity is absent in the Jaina cosmological scheme, the Tirthankaras recognize the subtle essence underlying all substances, 'conscious as well as unconscious, which becomes an eternal cause of all modifications and is termed God.' While the Brahmins recommend devotion (bhakti) and action (karma), and the Vedantists emphasise the path of knowledge (jnana) to reach the Ultimate Reality, Jainism teaches that ' knowledge and religious observances' are the means to obtain the highest happiness. In conclusion, he spoke of the panchamahavrata or five great vows of ascetics, namely, 'not to kill; not to lie; not to take that which is not given; to abstain from sexual intercourse; to renounce all interest in worldly things or to call nothing one's own.[8] These vows which bear verisimilitude to the five Yamas - restraints - in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, are regarded by the Jainas as means to attain the Supreme spiritual state of a Siddha Parameshthin.

In his final address (September 27), Virchand Raghavji Gandhi thanked the organizers of the Parliament for their hospitality, kindness, ' liberal spirit and patience' with which they heard the views of delegates from the orient. However, in view of occasional notes of disharmony, Christian claims to superiority over other religions, and some direct attacks on Hinduism and Buddhism, he observed: ' If you will only permit a heathen to deliver his message of peace and love I shall only ask you to look at the multifarious ideas presented to you in a liberal spirit and not with superstition and bigotry, as the seven blind men did in the elephant story.[9]

As per the said story the blind men had touched the different parts of an elephant's body and quarreled among themselves about its shape, size and features. He thus tried to establish that truth has various dimensions; religions are divided by ignorance and bigotry, and the good in all faiths need to be recognized.

 

JAINA CONTRIBUTION

After the Chicago Parliament, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi went on lecture tour in different parts of America and England on invitation, visiting India in between. In his various discourses and writings, he explained how Jainism has enriched various disciplines like philosophy, religion, literature and arts.

The Jaina contribution to the domain of metaphysics includes its concept of the self existent and timeless Reality; its bheda-abheda doctrine which recognizes both different (bheda) and identical (abheda) perspectives, its nine categories namely, jiva, living being or soul; ajiva, non-living being; punya, good deeds, papa, evil deeds; ashrava, influx of karma, bandha, bondage of karma, samvara, stoppage of inflow of karma; nirjara, eradication of karmic matter, and moksha, salvation; its six-fold division of dravyas, substances, namely jiva, soul, pudgala, matter, dharma, principle of motion, adharma, principle of rest, akasha, space (together called panchastikaya) and kala, time; its four-fold division of souls– deva, gods, jivas, living beings, tiryaks, lower animals and the vegetable kingdom and narakas, lower regions – all subject to the law of karma, and so on.

The atomic theory of Jainism which propounds that an atom (paramanu) is indivisible and indestructible and has colour, flavor and taste; that the aggregate of atoms (skandha) in various modes and combinations changes the quality and taxonomy of objects, comes closer to the scientific view.

The Jaina theory of five kinds of knowledge namely, mati, ordinary cognition, shruti, testimony, avadhi, inner perception, manahparyaya, capability to read the mind of others, and kevala or pratyaksha jnana, perfect or direct knowledge, adds a new dimension to Epistemology.

The seven modes of predication (saptabhangi), called also seven nayas or standpoints – syad asti (perhaps is), syad nasti (perhaps is not), syad asti-nasti (perhaps is and is not), syad avaktavya (perhaps inexpressible), syad asti avaktavya (perhaps is and is inexpressible), syad nasty avaktavya (perhaps is not and is inexpressible), syad asti-nasti avaktavya (perhaps, is not and is inexpressible), have contributed to the study of Logic.

The Jaina view of nonviolence as the highest ideal of life is a great contribution to Ethics. Its concept of Moksha as a state of freedom which renders infinite joy, infinite freedom, and infinite bliss adds to the theology of salvation. The rejection of dogma in Jainism and the acceptance of different points of view are the salient features of Jaina ethos.

Jaina art as seen through its iconography, sculptures, paintings, stupas – hemispherical structures - decorated manuscripts, mystic diagrams, and temples is aesthetic, meaningful, majestic and magnificent. Jainas have produced vast literature on philosophy, logic, history, comparative religion, grammar, prosody, mathematics, lexicography, astronomy, art and other subjects in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Prakrit.

 

CRITIQUE OF CHRISTIANITY AND MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES

Although many Christians attended the Chicago Parliament in a spirit of love and fellowship showing utmost courtesy and goodwill to delegates from the East, some of them spoke in derogatory terms about oriental religions. Christianity was presented as the only true and universal religion, 'the only complete and god-given revelation'.[10] The Code of Righteousness revealed by God to Moses, called the Ten Commandments, was described as superior to the ethical precepts of Orientals.[11] It was argued that the idea of the unity of God and the brotherhood of man as suggested in Paul's great speech on Mars Hill was not found in 'the Hindu Buddhistic Bible'.[12] Rev. Joseph Cook of Boston stated (September 14) that he regarded all faiths except Christianity as 'a torso'. Except Christianity 'there is no religion known under heaven, or among men, that effectively provides for the soul this joyful deliverance from the love of sin and the guilt of it', he said.[13] As regards the antiquity of Christianity Pentecost pointed out that it does not date from the birth of Christ. ' Christ crucified 2000 years ago was only the culmination in time, and to our sense, of a revelation already ages old[14] Besides, no ideal character 'ever satisfied the demands of the mortal consciousness of the ancient world' as did Jesus Christ.[15]

Like many oriental delegates to the Chicago Parliament, like Kinza Riuge M. Hirai (Japan), Swami Vivekananda, Hewavitarne Dharmapala, and others, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi was convinced that the Christian attitude towards other religions based on the interpretation of Saint Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 CE), Saint Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215 CE), Tertullian (c. 160-220 CE), Tatian (c.120-180 CE) and others, was that of hostility, condemnation and intolerance. Justin Martyr, for example, interpreted non-Christian religions as the work of demons and evil spirits, and dubbed them all as 'crude superstitions, demonic counterfeits and caricatures of the true religion.'[16]

Both in America and Europe, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi pointed out the Christian bias against other faiths, based as it was on raw, tainted information from dubious quarters. He disapproved of proselytism rooted in such theological assumptions as, all-non-Christians were going to hell; there was no way to salvation except through Jesus Christ who is the central and culminating point of God's salvific plan for mankind; and that Christianity is the fulfillment of all religions. He rejected the view that some people are the chosen of god (Deutronomy 7:6) while others are pagan; that if Jesus Christ is true, all other prophets must be false. Without denying the purity of character of Jesus Christ and the nobility of his ethical teachings he observed that he had been preceded by many spiritual masters like him.[17]

'I have to say that no Christian minister can point to a single moral truth or ethical statement in his new testament of Jesus the Christ that I cannot duplicate a thousand times with even greater emphases from the sacred books and teachings of our religion antedating as they do the Christian era by thousands upon thousands of years.[18]

In one of his historic lectures, 'Have Christian Missions to India been successful?' delivered at the Nineteenth Century Club in America, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi presented a critique of Christianity and missionary methods.[19] He argued that Christianity does not have fixed doctrines as it has grown through the ages - from the times of Christ to that of the Fathers of the Church to that of the Middle ages, to the Age of Reformation down to the present times. Christianity has not come 'direct through Christ' but through 'the layers of superstition and bigotry, of intolerance and persecution, of damnation and eternal hell-fire.' It has thus lost 'the standard of apostolic days.[20] The fact that Christianity has borrowed its cosmogony, festivals, liturgies and sacred paraphernalia, from previous or older religious traditions, shows that it does not have a 'divine origin'.[21]Its doctrines of Original Sin and of vicarious atonement are not convincing.[22]The gullible are made to believe theological half-truths and miracles, like the immaculate conception of Mary and the resurrection of Jesus after crucifixion. The Church has been offering inducements to convert the poor with foreign money. It has used education and social work as means of proselytisation, something 'repulsive to our conscience.[23] Instead of improving moral standards, or raising the position of women and the masses, Christianity has introduced social evils with its western lifestyle and values, which overemphasize the gratification of the senses, its ideas of marriage and of social relations.[24] He noted that Christians being non-vegetarians and wine-takers seem to the Hindus to represent a religion bereft of humanitarian or spiritual ideals.[25]

He wondered how the 'dogmatic aggressiveness'[26] of Christian preachers elevate the spiritual state of a nation. He argued that the missionaries were so trained as to detest other religions. They preached an insular creed, and spread 'a false theology', 'not only false but positively injurious to the best interests of mankind.'[27] They were ignorant about Indian history, culture and philosophy, and saw nothing positive in non-Christian traditions.[28]They were systematically spreading false information about other faiths to erode their credibility.

Like Swami Vivekananda, he goaded the Christian missionaries to put their theology into action – to live a virtuous life like that of Jesus Christ, and not indulge in calumny, hypocrisy, drinking and other vices. He felt that dogmatic Christianity cannot take root in India.

 

 DEFENDER OF HINDUISM AND INDIAN CULTURE

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi saw historical and cultural affinity between Hinduism and Jainism since both have emerged from the same soil. At the Chicago Parliament he had the honour to read Manilal N Dwivedi's detailed essay on Hinduism, in his absence. He defended the Hindu tradition against missionary attacks as can be seen from his response to George T. Pentecost's vitriolic observations (September 24).[29]

Pentecost had spoken derisively about the Hindu deities by observing that to compare 'the peerless Christ' 'to any of the gods worshipped by the Hindus 'is to mock both them and him.'[30] He had lampooned the traditional Hindu History by saying that orientals were destitute of the historical sense and could easily manage millions of years as decades.[31] He had dubbed the claim about the eternity of the Vedas and the antiquity of Puranic heroes antedating 'all other faiths' as irrational.[32] Above all, he had cast aspersions on the chastity of women who served in the temples of India.[33]

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi explained why Christian missionaries painted a negative image of India: 'They go to India to convert the heathen in a mass but when they find their dreams melting away, as dreams always do, they return back to pass a whole life in abusing the Hindu.'[34]He argued that the 'present abuses' in Hinduism, were not from religion, but in spite of it, as in every other country. Hindu society had been so virtuous in the past that a Greek historian remarked: ' No Hindu was ever known to tell an untruth, no Hindu women ever known to be unchaste.' He gave the example of emperor Akbar (1542-1605) who showed utmost respect to the Bible when a ship of Christian traders was captured with the copies of their holy book, unlike the Portugese Christians who had defiled the Koran in a similar situation.[35] In another lecture, Virchand Raghavji Gandhi referred to ancient and medieval travelers and scholars like Hieun Tsang (602-664 CE) Marco Polo (1254-1324 CE) and Mohammad al-Idrisi (1099-1161), who showered rich encomiums on the Hindus for their high character, truthfulness and honesty.[36] As regards the superstitious nature of Hindus, he had this to say in a lampooning way:

'These holy men talk of the Hindu superstitions. They had better examined their own religion. A religion whose beginning is in blood, whose salvation is in blood, whose purity is in innocent blood, whose hope of saintship is in a dream of a sea of blood, whose revivals are brought about by preaching and a vision of the sea of blood afresh, would do better by talking less of the superstitions of other nations.'[37]

It appears that the caustic observations of Rev. T. E. Slater of the London Missionary Society, Bangalore, made in his Paper, read at the Chicago Parliament by Frank M Bristol, were lurking in the mind of Virchand Raghavji Gandhi when he uttered these words. The Paper stated inter alia that 'no literature, not even the jewish, contains so many words relating to sacrifice as Sanskrit. The land has been saturated with blood.'[38]

The concept of India as a unique, hoary civilization and vibrant culture, with multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious, and multilingual traits, finds articulation in the discourses and writings of Virchand Raghavji Gandhi. To him India was not just a geographical entity but the land of gods and holy men. He regarded the quintessential Indian values as timeless and eternal. He saw the different schools of Indian philosophy as flowers of various hues, all emitting fragrance. He regretted that while India was 'the mother of religions and 'the cradle of civilization' it was dubbed as the land of heathens, 'both materially and spiritually' in Christendom due to ignorance.[39] On the testimony of Greek writers like Strabo, Pliny, Arrian and Megasthenese he argued that India had become a familiar topic with the western people long before the birth of Jesus. He quoted from the writings of scholars like Max Mueller (1823-1900), Sir Thomas Munro (1761-1827), H.H. Wilson (1786-1860) and others to show that India had a glorious past.

Hinduism to him was not a religion in the western sense of the term but a way to achieve all-round perfection. He spoke of Hinduism's antiquity and its superiority to European knowledge in many spheres of activity. He rejected the view that Hindus have no history 'worth considering' prior to the Muslim invasion of India. The fact is that historical events were transmitted 'with particularity and exactness from generation to generation, from century to century.'[40] Like Swami Vivekananda, he provided the raison d'être of caste, image worship, rites of marriage, and of religious symbols like AUM, swastika, forehead-marks, chakras – wheels or lotuses – in the subtle body, etc. He described Sanskrit - deva-vani - 'language of the gods', 'the oldest language in the sisterhood of languages',[41] as essential for an understanding of Indian history, religion and culture, a fact vouchsafed by western philologists. Yet he was not a revivalist in the narrow sense of the term. He disagreed with Abbe Dubois's description of Hinduism as a pagan religion and argued that modern science has come to accept the value of some ancient rites and ceremonies. Contrary to the western belief that Hindu women were 'abject slaves' of their husbands, and enjoyed a lower status in society, he observed that the wife in India is regarded as the queen of the household and never kept in seclusion or subjection, denied education or excluded from holding a high position in society.[42] He quoted Sir Thomas Munro (1761-1827) who said that 'the Hindus are not inferior to the nations of Europe, and if civilization is to become an object of trade between England and India, I am convinced that England will gain by the import cargo.'[43]

 

CONCLUSION

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi had a short but eventful life marked by prominent social, religious and legal activities, for which he was honoured by Jainas as well as non-Jainas, both in India and abroad. The triumph of his mission in the west raised the image of India and restored the confidence of the Jaina community in its ethos. He brought about an inner resurgence in Jainism by upholding its precepts against all odds, thereby saving its soul from the growing impact of the West. He was successful in stimulating interest in Jainism both as faith and as a way of life, which is evident from the fact that Herbert Warren and Mrs Howard adopted the culture of the Jaina community. While the former took notes of his lectures and expatiated on the Jaina faith, the latter served as Secretary of the Society for the Education of Women of India, founded by him. He showed that Jainism can provide answers to the ultimate existential questions, and help one to take a quantum jump from ignorance to supreme knowledge, from conflict to peace. His understanding of Buddhism, Indian mysticism which he regarded as synonymous with the Yoga School, the six systems of Indian philosophy, and comparative religion, was superb, and for this reason, he was invited to a number of religious, spiritual and philosophical societies in important American cities like Chicago, New York, Boston and Washington DC. He also made a mark in England by his insightful talks and his success in winning an appeal. His lectures on concentration, meditation, hypnotism, dietetics, the art and science of breathing, and the occult, generated much interest, and continue to be meaningful.[44] He taught how one can strengthen will, nullify negative propensities, expand consciousness, and awaken inner powers. His views on spirituality are well suited to this age of scientific enquiry and rationalistic criticism.

As a crusader for the Jaina causes he succeeded in obtaining tax exemption for pilgrims (1886) to the sacred Mount Shatrunjaya (Gujarat), through a compromise with the ruler of Palitana, by using the good offices of Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay (Mumbai). He filed a case for the closure of tallow factory of Mr Boddam on Sammed-Shikhar (Shikharji), the venerable peak of Jainas in Jharkhand, and won it after great effort. He was a great patriot, and his concern for the masses grew out of his sense of identity with humanity. While in the USA he could raise forty thousand rupees for the famine stricken people of India and arrange to send a steamer full of grains (1896). He remained a pure vegetarian throughout his life, sometime surviving on raw or boiled vegetables in the cold climate of America and Europe,[45] thus becoming a living legend for the supporters of vegetarianism, in his time. Like Swami Vivekananda, he wanted a synthesis of tradition and modernity, of science and spirituality, so that mankind could have peace as well as prosperity. He left his mortal coil on August 7,1901, in Mumbai.

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