2015 ►JAINA Convention Papers ►The Freedom Of Choice

Posted: 17.05.2016

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JAINA Convention 2015

Experience the World of Non-Violence


The Freedom Of Choice by Gurudev Chitrabhanu

 

The core of Jain Dharma is awareness. Awareness to free oneself from influences of the past bitterness and sadness of conditions and judgments. Because of our programmed beliefs, even religion, which is the means to unite, is used to separate one from another. Many people have narrowed their life and placed themselves in a fold by thinking, "I am Moslem." "I am Hindu." "I am Jewish." "I am Christian." "I am Swetambar." "I am Digambar." "I am Sthanakvasi." "I am Terapanthi."

In this way, they are separating themselves saying they are not like me; they are all outsiders." By belief, one has blocked and alienated oneself from mankind and living
beings that are helping our existence in many ways, visibly and invisibly. Awareness helps to break the self-imposed limitations on oneself and to live liberated in a "uniting" universe.   

The philosophy of Jain Dharma does not build our life on the past but on the living present. To me, a good life is a healthy loving life. A good life is a creative life. It is that life where we want to have the awareness that we can choose what we want to choose, let go of the dead past, and live in the living present. If we don't let go of the past, we cannot move forward.

I am reminded of two friends who decided to cross the Ganges River by boat in Benaras. They were drinking bhang, a stimulant, and were feeling energetic because of intoxication and the full moon. The whole night they rowed and rowed. But when it was dawn, they saw people on the shore who looked like the people from the night before. One of them said, "This place looks exactly like Benares." So, they stepped ashore and asked, "Where are we?" They were told they were in Benares. "Benaras? But how can that be? We have been rowing the whole night." Only then did they find out that in their intoxication they had forgotten to untie the rope from the jetty. The rope was over 200 feet long so we had moved from here to there but reached nowhere. We want to move forward, but we don't untie ourselves from the anchoring past habit and beliefs.

Whenever we talk, we talk about the past and go on playing the old worn-out record. Even in therapy for years, our mind roams in the empty rooms of past phantoms. Clinging to the past dogmas, we turn from a plum into a prune. The word of Mahavir inspires us to ask ourselves, "Who am I and what is my purpose? Where do I come from? Have I made my life rich with a feeling of Live and Let Live? Am I vegan; not stealing food of the baby calves? How do I see myself? Why did I not choose the right things? Do I allow others to tell me what I can and cannot do?" Remind yourself that others are only projecting themselves onto you. What they say does not reflect you; it reflects on them. If they deny certain things, they are not denying you; they are denying themselves. Their statements do not apply to you.

Years ago several students from the United States came to India with us and visited Shatrunjaya in Palitana. In this group there were two sisters who were trying to come to terms with their guilt. They were not happy with the past and had been going to various types of therapy for many years. I had known both of them for a long time, and now they traveled all the way to India to have some special time to study for self-awareness. They visited the caves and mountains where many people became enlightened. We climbed Mount Shatrunjaya where a cluster of temples adorns the top of a holy mountain. On top of the highest temple, we had a special ceremonial meditation to let go of the past, to let go of negativity.

Anyone who wants to free oneself from wrong belief, guilt and sin is free to choose the Jain method of saying this mantra: Savva Pava Panasano, which vibrates to liberate. Here savva means all; pava means guilt and negativity; and panasano means destroyed. All guilt and sins of the past are destroyed. The next part of the mantra is: mangalanam cha savvesim. From that moment, mangalanam benedictions and blessings start pouring on us from all directions. This is the greatest among all blessings. In this way, one goes deep into oneself.

Deep into the source, one creates a fine insight and incinerates all the negativities. One accepts oneself as gold, purified of all dross. Of the two people, I mentioned before, one came up from the mantra meditation and said with joy. "I am free! Free from the burden of the load of past negativities." What she had not been able to do in twenty years happened spontaneously in that moment.

Collecting all the junk of the past, collecting all guilt of the past, she incinerated them, cleansed herself of them, and forgave herself. She did not need to go anywhere to be forgiven, to be saved. She said, "I burned the negativity, threw the ashes away, came back to my clean self and started a new life of Ahinsa." It was true for her because she believed it to be possible. Her belief became her reality, a fact for her. But the other person said, "How can you burn all your past and your mistakes? You can't! It is impossible!" The word itself means "I M POSSIBLE". Often the beliefs cling to the past and the mind finds its arguments to support the condition.

Human beings are reasoning animals - and to make life miserable, we find so many reasons. We pick up a book which was written by one person who heard a second person quoting a third person, and then edited by a fourth person. We now take this as the real message and we say, "It is written! It is our original sin and it cannot be undone. We believe it!" It is written that a savior is needed or else we risk damnation and will go to hell; we believe it. But none of this is what the master said.

A master is he or she who does not insult human dignity. Do you think the master will say, "If you don't embrace me, you will go to hell"? Such an idea cannot come from any master; it comes from the egotistical interpreter. The true master helps you see beauty of living an excellent life. They give you their shoulders to climb on to see more, to be taller not smaller. They don't want to see you shrink; they want to see you grow.

Earlier I mentioned of two people who were part of our meditation in letting go of guilt and negativity. One of them found many reasons to hold on to the past; the other willed it to be free and her seed blossomed into a smiling flower. You may think, "That does not happen." But with her, it did. She let go of old thinking and discovered she was free. Such an experience brings inner peace. Not only she, but anyone can recover from guilt by getting in touch with loving energy.

Realizing in your freedom to let go of the past! Be free and open to let the blessings pour in. Go deep into yourself, experience yourself and believe in yourself. This is an understanding that comes only from introspection, from self-realization. Visit all the corners of your consciousness. See your strengths and erase your weaknesses. To erase your weaknesses recite the whole Namokar mantra given at the end.

Accept yourself. Gradually build your self-image. Feel your thoughts of "I am free and I choose to be happy. I choose to be peaceful; it is my nature." So, let us realize the self and have peace. Let us experience the presence of the divine energy which is within each of us".

 


Namokar Mantra:

Om namo arihantanam

I bow to those Souls who have conquered their inner enemies (weaknesses),in order to conquer my own

Om namo siddhanam 

I bow to those Souls who have reached Perfection

Om namo ayariyanam  

I bow to the masters in order to master my addictions, imbalances, and sensual desires

Om namo uvajjhayanam

I bow to all teachers who impart scriptural knowledge to seekers.

Namo loe savva sahunum  

I bow to all the renunciates who live in simplicity

Esopancha namukkaro   

These are the five salutations

Savva pava panasano   

Which eradicate and evaporate all the negative vibrations

Mangalanam cha savvesim   

These are the most powerful and auspicious

Padhamam havai mangalam

Among all the blessings and benedictions.

 

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