Bhagavan Mahavira ► 07 ► [07.02] Non-violence and Non-possessiveness

Posted: 03.09.2005

Chapter 7

The Relevance Of The Jaina Religion To Modern Problems


ne cannot appreciate Bhagavan Mahavira's conception of non-violence until and unless he comprehends his concep­ tion of non-possessiveness. Violence and acquisitiveness go hand in hand.

Gautama once asked Bhagavan Mahavira:

"Lord! Can man attain enlightenment?"

Bhagavan Mahavira said,

"Yes, he can."

Gautama:

"Lord, how can he do so?"

Bhagavan Mahavira:

"By renouncing violence and possessiveness".

Gautama:

"Can man be spiritually disciplined?"

Bhagavan Mahavira:

"Yes, he can."

Gautama:

"Lord, how can he do so?"

Bhagavan Mahavira:

"By renouncing violence and possessiveness."

Possessiveness and violence, according to Bhagavan Mahavira, are inseparable. Today, when violence is used against power and wealth, we think violence is on the increa se.

In the language of Bhagavan Mahavira, this violence is against violence. Thinkers of today have begun to endorse Bhagavan Mahavira's view that we can put an end to violence only by putting an end to the monopoly of power and wealth. According to Bhagavan Mahavira, violence can be eradicated only through a change of heart.

Modern political tinkers take a different view of things. They believe that violence can be stopped only through force.
But experience so far has shown that force has failed to stop violence and people have now begun to think that it cannot succeed unless supported by a favourable public opinion.

The only graceful way to escape reactive violence is to willingly put a limit on possessiveness. The natural consequence of this discipline will be an equitable distribution of possessions.

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