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Who is a Jain Shravak: 15.2 Non-Violence: The Vow of Amity and Compassion

Published: 26.02.2020

Ahimsa and Amity

'Don't kill' is a phrase of non-violence in negation. The affirmative form of non-violence is amity and compassion i.e. 'mitti mein savva bhueshu' - I have amity with all living beings. One nation has the feeling of enmity with another nation. Development of amity can reduce the problem of poverty. Poverty is somehow related with enmity. If, for instance, there is no enmity, i.e. there is amity, between India and Pakistan, then the budget allocated for purchase or production of armaments and the preparation of war could easily be directed to alleviate poverty. Even though there are millions who starve every day, countries continue to spend billions of dollars in acquiring weaponry, missiles, arms and ammunitions. Due to enmity such expenditure cannot be prevented. In the presence of enmity there will always be some misuse of money; In the presence of amity such misuse can be prevented.

Such hostility exists within nations and within families too. If family disputes are taken to court, considerable fortune is spent on lawyers and bribery. For example, during the distribution of wealth among brothers, if there is some inequality neither side will tolerate it. One reports a case in the court, hires a lawyer and tries to resolve the matter in court. The amount they wanted to get, goes in the pockets of lawyers. Why does this occur? Resentment and bitterness are the root causes of wastage of money. Amity creates a positive atmosphere and paves the path towards non-violence, and of course, saves money.

Terminate the Root of Conflict

An incident took place in Saurashtra. Two brothers owned adjoining mansions. A betel nut tree was planted in the elder brother's property and the tree and fruits leaned towards the younger brother's house. The younger brother took some betel nuts from the tree. Taking this into consideration, the elder brother was upset and the brothers quarrelled. They filed the case in the general court and then it was forwarded to High Court. The fruits would cost hardly two or three thousand rupees but they spent lakhs of rupees on the case, and yet it brought the brothers no peace. The judge of the High Court finally thought that these gentlemen were fighting over such a petty issue. He decided to do something about it. One day the judge visited the property and analysed the situation. He then got some labourers and got the tree cut down. Upon seeing what had happened, both the brothers questioned him, 'What have you done?' To this, the judge replied, 'I have uprooted the cause of your struggle.'

Long-Term and Short-Term Effect

Man does not think of the long-term effect of his action. Short termism is not praiseworthy. Unfortunately, today people are more interested in instant gratification. In the corporate world, there are two types of policies: i) Long-term goals or results, and ii) Short-term goals or results.

Those businessmen who think for the long future get success, whereas those who focus on short term measures failure.

In the religious domain, both long-term and short-term policies are prevalent. It has been explained in Isibhasiyaim through an illustration. If you throw a stone in front of a dog, it will lick it. It will focus only at the stone. If you shoot a lion with a bullet, instead of thinking of bullet, it will focus on the source of the bullet. A person with a dog's instinct thinks only about the present instant whereas a person with a lion's instinct will think about the future.

Bhagawan Mahavira's philosophy was based on long-term result. If we think from a long-term perspective, we will realise that the feeling of enmity is never good. Enmity always results in loss. Amity creates a favourable atmosphere.

Ahimsa and Compassion

Compassion is an affirmative form of non-violence. Compassion ceases all the evils. Five flaws of non-violence such as beating etc. mentioned earlier are due to cruelty. Death punishment is also the ultimate form of cruelty. As long as the instinct of cruelty is not transformed, punishment will not work. As a matter of fact, death penalty is undesirable. In this scientific age, such death is irrelevant. With the development of compassion, transformations of instincts also occur.

Bhimdeva, the King of Gujarat, was a very cruel emperor. Once during his tenure there was drought in his kingdom. This affected farming adversely. Farmers requested the king, 'We have no money. We cannot pay our taxes because we are unable to farm.' Bhimdeva refused to empathise with the farmers and ordered his officers to imprison all the farmers. One day, his successor, Mularaj visited the jail. Seeing the trouble of the imprisoned farmers, his heart empathised. He pondered, 'How can I release them from prison? If I will request Bhimdeva, he will not accept it.' Mularaj was very genius. He came out with an idea. He thought, 'the king is fond of horses. If someone grooms the horses and rides on them then it would please the king.' Mularaj thus decorated the horses, made them ready and brought before the king.

The king asked, 'Who groomed these horses?'

The officer replied, 'Your successor, your highness.'

Delighted king said, 'Mularaj! Whatever you wish for, ask for a boon.'

Mularaj said, 'I will not ask for a boon. Let it be due.'

The king replied, 'Mularaj! Why don't you ask for it?'

Mularaj then said, 'Oh King! I know that whatever I demand, I will not get it. Then why should I demand for it?

King said emotionally, 'You ask whatever you want. I will approve it.'

Mularaj asked, 'Oh King! If you really want to give me something, I request you to release all the imprisoned farmers and relieve them from their taxes.'

The king was overjoyed with his empathy. He embraced his son and said, 'I am so heartless and cruel and my son you are so compassionate.' He ordered for immediate release of the prisoners.

Feeling of amity and compassion enrich social relationships whereas enmity, cruelness and greed fill the society with bitterness. This first anuvrat of non-violence is the vow of amity and compassion. Through this vow, both society and individuals become healthy.


Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?

Acharya MahaPragya


Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ahimsa
  2. Anuvrat
  3. Greed
  4. Gujarat
  5. Non-violence
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