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Who is a Jain Shravak: 29.4 Daily Routine of a Jain Shravak

Published: 23.03.2020

Outcome of Tolerance

Tolerance is not a matter of memorizing, but a practical virtue. One who learns to tolerate, can bring about unprecedented changes in his life. Endorsing this fact, AcharyaTulsi pointed out an illustration in Shravak Sambodh

sahishnuta ho, sahishnuta ho keval rat se,
sahanshil sahasa koi kaise ban paaye.
Ho prayog 'Tulsi' preksha-prayogshaala mein,
paramaadhaami pati bhi parmaatma ban jaaye.

After a long wait, a baby girl was born into a prosperous family. She was named Samta. The family brought her up in an utmost pampered environment. Consequently, she grew up as an undisciplined girl. When she became an adult, the family started to find a groom for her. Unfortunately, no one was ready to marry her. Finally, she was engaged to a boy who lived in a distant village. The wedding was celebrated as scheduled. The groom's family was much pleased to find a beautiful daughter-in-law from a reputed family.

Samta went to live with her in-laws. All members of the family were distressed with her behaviour within a week. She was both neither humble and thoughtful nor efficient in her work. Her relations with all her in-laws were sour. After a few days, her brother came to bring her back to her parents' home. Samta's mother-in-law readily agreed to send her back with him. When Samta arrived at her parents' home, she wept bitterly. On being asked, she said, 'What kind of family have you chosen for me?'

Her father asked, 'What is the matter? Are you not comfortable at your in-law's house?'

Samta replied, 'It is terrible, worse than hell.'

The father probed, 'How is your mother-in-law?'

Samta, 'She is no less than a witch.'

'What is your sister-in-law (jethaani) like?' 'She is a hellcat.'

Her father questioned, 'What about your other sister-in-law (nanand)?'

Samta cursed, 'She is predatory.'

'And my son-in-law?' inquired her father.

Samta replied, 'What should I say about him, he is absolutely a demon!

The father realized that the root of the problem was Samta. How could it be possible that the entire family is wicked? He consulted his wife and then one day told Samta about a miraculous mantra and explained its effect. Samta was very eager to learn the mantra as her father had advised her that the mantra had the power to hypnotize the world. He elaborated, 'the mantra, though very small, is very difficult in practice. It would be necessary for you to remain peaceful and calm during its practice and you need to stay among the people whom you want to control. Moreover, during the practice you must bear their hostile attitude.

Samta was ready to try the mantra, but she wanted to do so at her father's home. She became restless hearing of her in-law's house. Her father persuaded her and consequently, she agreed to go back for six months. Without any communication, her father sent her back with her brother. On seeing her back unexpectedly, Samta's mother-in-law became annoyed. His brother gave a letter sent by her father to Samta's father-in-law and departed. Immediately after her brother's departure, Samta's in-laws started criticizing her, but she remained silent and kept chanting the mantra given by her father. Observing her silence, her mother-in-law was astonished. The insults continued for more than a week, but Samta did not react at all. Seeing this, the heart of mother-in-law became full of sympathy. She praised Samta. That moment was the most blissful for Samta. The effect of the mantra was visible just within a week instead of the six months.

In a span of four months, the atmosphere of the house was transformed. Samta won the hearts of all the members of the family by her soft behaviour. Now it had become agonizing for her mother-in-law if Samta went away from the house even for a day. After six months, her brother came and requested the mother-in-law to send his sister with him. She agreed on the condition that Samta would have to return on the same day. On seeing Samta, her father understood that she had been successful. He asked her the same questions about her in-laws. Samta stated, 'My in-law's home is like heaven. My mother-in-law is a goddess. My both sisters-in-law are as dear to me as my sisters. My husband is the most divine person. It was my fault that, 'I had misunderstood them earlier.' Her father was now satisfied. The miraculous mantra was none other than 'Om Arham. Its contemplation coupled with tolerance changed her perception towards her husband to be godly.

Family Life and Associated Training

AcharyaTulsi remarked about the relevance of the tradition of joint families and development of collective consciousness. To continue the tradition of joint families learning and training through family meeting is essential. In the following stanzas AcharyaTulsi has sketched his pain for broken joint families.

Yug yug tak chali fali-fuli, vyaapak sayunt parivaar pratha,
Vah chinn-bhinn ho gayi aaj kaisi hai usaki karun katha
jo toot-foot ho gayi, gayi jo bachi surkashit rahe vahi
parivartan-parishakaar se bhi milate jaaye sanskaar sahi

This means, what a pity that the ancient tradition of joint family is now shattered. There is no way to revert to it, but at least the prevalent tradition must be preserved.

According to sociologists, family is the fundamental unit of society. It can be assumed to be the first stage of community life. The concept of family is very ancient. The use of the word 'joint' with family is relatively modern. It should be understood with relative perspective. Its progress is possible only on the basis of higher consciousness. The tradition of joint families can be carried on only if there is absence of selfishness and presence of virtues of tolerance, harmony, equal distribution, service, help, politeness, and affection. This is a distinct application of non-violence. These values are base for the large organizations and can cultivate collective consciousness.

In the 20th Century, a change in family tradition began. Individual mindset, highly selfish attitude, intolerance, disharmony and decrease in attitude of helping others etc. shattered the essence of joint families. Professional competition, problems of residence in developed cities and highly competitive education, have caused family breakdown. It has affected everyone. Values which would be imbibed in joint families cannot be learnt in nuclear families. Consequently, religious, social and political parties are devoid of collective consciousness.

There may be difficulties in living in joint families, but it has its own advantages as well. Many people stand ready to help one another in joint family which is not possible in nuclear families. Handicapped, ill or elderly people never become burdensome in joint families. However, the present situation has changed. Society at large has started preferring nuclear families. No one has the time to instill moral values into the younger generation. The smaller the family is, the greater the confinement is. Joint families play an important role in protecting the heritage of tradition over generations. There are various reasons which highlight the necessity of returning to the tradition of joint families.

The present age is the age of training. Training centres have cropped up in every new field. In ancient times, only training in manufacturing of goods was imparted. At present, however, training courses in personality development are being introduced. In spite of these diverse trainings, there is no course for family harmony and management. A shravak should initiate principles to maintain harmony, co-existence and impart the values in their family. Family meeting and discussions can be one of the advantageous steps in implanting such values.

In ancient times, newly married girls would hesitate to speak to their mothers-in-law for several years. Speaking directly to their fathers-in-law was out of question. Even during those times, the elders of the family used to assemble all family members and train them in their values and religion. Today, families are much closer. Daughters-in-law are treated equally as daughters. She can share her feelings freely and openly with her in-laws. Therefore, a meeting can be easily organized, which can play a very positive role in preventing the deterioration of culture in today's era.

In earlier times, people would be mentally prepared to tolerate even the most difficult situations. In present times, to tolerate something is mistaken to be cowardice. Even the least adverse situation causes depression in people who live with such a mindset. In family meetings, all the family members get an opportunity to sit together and converse openly upon many issues and discuss the issues which are problematic. Many issues arise due to misunderstanding. Such delusions are sorted out through conversations during the discussions. A healthy tradition can flourish through these discussions by including religious practices such as Guruvandana, Arhat Vandana, reading the Vigyapti(the weekly bulletin of Terapanth sangh) etc. These thoughts are narrated in the following stanzas:

Paarivarik goshtiyhaan saaptaahiki ya paakshiki
maasiki jab-tab yathochit dharmshikshan-saakshiki
Parspar samvaadita se granthiyaan man ki khule
vandana vigyapti vaachan premamay imarat ghule

Sources

Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?
Author: 

Acharya MahaPragya

Translator: 

Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Edition: 
2019
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. Arham
  2. Arhat
  3. Arhat Vandana
  4. Consciousness
  5. Contemplation
  6. Environment
  7. Mantra
  8. Non-violence
  9. Sangh
  10. Shravak
  11. Terapanth
  12. Tolerance
  13. Vandana
  14. Vigyapti
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