Bhagavan Mahavira Life and Philosophy ► 07 ► [07.05] Non-violence and Co-existence

Posted: 06.09.2005

Chapter 7

The Relevance Of The Jaina Religion To Modern Problems


ur thoughts may be divided into two categories:

  • identical, i.e., thoughts which we share with others and
  • different, i.e., thoughts which we do not share with others.

We like to live with those who have identical thoughts and ideas but not with those who think differently.

  • We want to elimin ate the latter. This is all-pervading conflict; this is war.

Looking into the crux of this problem Bhagavan Mahavira said,

"How superficial man's vision is! He does not enter into even a little depth of things. How great is unity below the apparent diversity! Unity and diversity are the go-toge thers. There is no real contradiction between the two. Why should then man give importance to differences and try to eliminate opposition and the opponents?"

This opposition is caused by our passions. Passions breed violence and violence leads to conflict. Conflicts disappear as soon as passions have been pacified and the cons ciousness and mind has been purified. Unity as well as diffe­ rences is the nature of things and both of them will remain. Once we develop the attitude of non-violence, differences disappear and co-existence becomes feasible.

Non-violence is higher development of consciousness. Only those whose consciousness is not sufficiently developed treat others as different and hence opponents, and try to eliminate them. Those whose consciousness is developed do not pay attention only to differences. The moment they see differences, the underlying unity also is clearly perceived by them. This perspective of unity-cum-diversity is the real basis of co-exist ence. If there is total unity, there does not arise the quest ion of co-existence.

Co-existence comes into being only when there is another someone different. If there is only diversity, there cannot be any co-existence. The common basis required for co-existence is not available there.

When there is some unity, and a common basis is available, and also when there is some diversity and peculiar specialities are available, then and then only, the principle of co-existence takes a practical shape. It is only then that non-violence spreads its radiance.

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