Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 39 ►Compassion in the Context of Non-Violence

Published: 21.06.2020

If we look from historical perception at the canvas of the past then many colourful images emerge. There are a few images of persons. Some of them are philosophers, some are statesmen, and some of them are social reformers and some founders of religion. Whatever they said is also incorporated in history. Their language and the truth that they laid forward needs insight to comprehend. The lack of it will not enable a person to encounter the truth.

In India the two cultures have remained very influential——Shraman culture and Brahman culture. There are many branches of Shraman culture. The main two branches are—Jainism and Buddhism. Mahavira and Buddha had been the sources of them. Mahavira and Buddha were not philosophers but were sages. Their truth had not reached people by the support of argument. They were seers. The seers are those who see and infer. Whatever they see and know they deliver to the mass by means of a local dialect. The discommend of the seers and the language of the mass are the easiest way to understand truth. This is a matter of an era when faith prevailed. In the age of seeing the truth propounded by the sages is being tested. Articles and interpretations are written on it and one's soul is shrouded by the ornaments of language Philosophical perceptions are developed and expanded on this ground.

Lord Mahavira had felt oneness with all the living creatures He never made any distinction between his own soul and the soul of a subtle living creature. The life energy that human beings carry, the same life energy is present in earth, water, plants and other living creatures. To implement this feeling practically he spoke about non-violence. The literal meaning of the word non-violence means lack of violence. The essence of it is treating every living creature equally. Equality, compassion, friendship, empathy and so on are different synonyms of non-violence. While discussing non-violence empathy and Compassion are the two terms that need to be defined.

Clarity of Perception is Necessary

Lord Mahavira was an eloquent speaker of non-violence. He found the solution of two main critical problems—violence and accumulation—-can be replaced by non-violence and non- accumulation. Violence and the tendency of accumulation lead a human being to walk on a wrong direction. The moment one moves front the righteous path the evil temptations emerge. Those who lack courage to defy the wrong temptations they immediately get attached to them without considering its pros and cons. This begins a never ending wait. Man cannot save himself from falling in the clutches of wrong action. So the first and foremost step is to create a clear and light perception. Without developing a right perception a person cannot choose the right path nor can he direct his instincts properly.

In Jaina tradition a revolutionary saint existed who was AcharyaBhikshu. He challenged hardship and inconveniences and created a new path. The path was clear but the people lacked determination. They could not accompany AcharyaBhikshu. This incident did not dissuade AcharyaBhikshu from his determination. He knew that in the way of revolution the thorns piercing feet might leave him forlorn but he did not get perturbed in such a hostile situation. His revolution was based on the discrimination of principals and leniency in behaviour. There was an important point in discrimination of principles and that was kindness or compassion.

AchryaBhikshu perused Mahavira’s sayings deeply. His faith got new dimension. He said, ‘Compassion has two forms—social and spiritual. The social compassion is accepted in society but it doesn’t help one to emancipate spiritually. The spiritual compassion helps one to attain to liberation. The main role of it is to save oneself from sinful tendencies. If a living creature is dying he can be saved somehow. But how on earth can it be considered as spiritual compassion? If a cat tries to kill a rat and to save the rat if the cat is driven away by intimidating it with a stick can it be called spiritual compassion? To intimidate someone with a stick is to display physical powers. To display power is violence. Where there is violence, can there be any spiritual emancipation?

Yardstick of Recognition—Rat and Cat

AcharyaBhikshu had not laid any new theory or principle. He was well adept in Mahavira’s philosophy. But people could not delve deeper into this factor. They said, ‘Bhikhanji says if a cat tries to kill a rat then to save the rat is a sin.’ People are habitual. Even if the sky falls they remain ignorant and don’t try to establish the truth. The example of rat and cat was also made fun of. A time came when AchryaBhikshu was recognized as a man-of rat and cat. AcharyaBhikshu was almost synonymous with Terapanth sect. So even to introduce Terapanth to someone this idiom was widely used.

This example of rat and cat spread from one village to another, from one city to another in India and finally it crossed seven seas and reached Germany. At the time of reverend Kalugani the famous German scholar Herman Jacoby came to India. He met Kalugani at Ladnu. He talked at length and appreciated Jainism. He understood some critical concepts from Ayaro. As a matter of fact the topic of rat and cat arose. He was inquisitive. He had no pre-conceived notions in his mind. So he was happy to have understood the truth. At that point of time it was felt that AcharyaBhikshu’s esoteric principles must be made available in agreement with the thoughts of present era in present language or it would be quite difficult to set Terapanth free from the poison of rat and cat. Once on an auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti Herman Jacoby’s disciple came to New Delhi. I was also present there. We met and got introduced to each other. He said at this point, ‘-‘I am a disciple of Herman Jacoby and you are a disciple of Kalugani. Our masters had met at Ladnu. We are meeting in Delhi.” After a long discussion I came to know from him how Herman was greatly influenced by Kalugani.

Spiritualism and Behaviours

AcharyaBhikshu was a spiritual man. He clearly stated the nuances of spiritualism and behaviour. The behaviour is important but it cannot be assigned the glory of spiritualism. To make difference between spiritualism and behaviour he stated an example: “There was a rich man who had two wives. They both were devoted to their husband but there was also difference in their nature. One of them was spiritually inclined. Even while fulfilling all her responsibilities toward her husband, children and family she would devote her time for spiritual penance. She would perform samayiki, swadhyaya and count beads that were gradually turning her submissive. She was in a state of non-attachment. She liked with her family but her family did not hold any place in her mind.

The other wife had no interest in religion. She would meet household chores, take care of her family and the rest of the time she would devote in grooming herself. She was so busy with her family that she did not even remember about meditation, religion and satsang. Suddenly tragic news of the rich man’s demise reached them. This accident shook the entire family. Both his wives got imbued in the ocean of misery. The spiritually inclined wife thought, ‘Whatever has happened cannot be bondage of karmas so it is feasible to bear the tragedy by just being a witness to it.’ On the other hand the other wife became bewildered. She started beating her chest and cried. She wept bitterly. This drew the close acquaintances, relatives and neighbours. They put the rich man’s life as a focal point and started talking. The wife’s grief grew even more intense.

The people who had come to sympathize saw two scenes before them—One was that of peace and the other one was of bitter weeping Some women commented, ‘What kind of a wife she is! She doesn’t seem to be grieved in the least. Even after having heard the news of her husband’s demise she seems to be unaffected by it as if nothing has happened. Why on earth would she be sad, she is a prostitute? Sethji has passed away that has set herself free. Look at this poor woman. She has lost her peace of mind. She is a ‘Sati’ (a pious woman. She can’t live her life in absence f her husband'.

The people who had gathered gradually returned. The two wives of the rich man had become the talk of the town. One of his wives was criticized while the other was praised. This is a social point of view.

The following day a few nuns went to the rich man's house. They observed the state which his wives were in. They said explaining the relatives, ‘It is of utmost importance to go for a penance of non-attachment in such an hour of crisis. The elder wife is equally affected by grief but she is at peace. She has conceived the essence of religion. She is trying to save herself from excessive lamination. The younger wife is deluded and is getting mad for her attachment. She is avoiding reality. Why don’t you all talk to her and make her peaceful? Save her from creating bondage of karma. This is a spiritual point of view. One cannot realize the right fact of life without analysing spirituality and behaviour independently."

Spiritual Compassion

Prince Arishtnemi was about to get married. He was going to tie the nuptial knot with King Ugraseii’s daughter Rajimati. The formalities prior to marriage were performed. The Journey began on the day of wedding. The earthen lamp that brings good omen was lit accompanied by good music. Before reaching the wedding spot Arishtnemi could hear the scream of some animals. He asked the driver of the chariot, ‘Why the birds and animals have been captivated? Why are they crying?’ The driver said, ‘It is all because of you Kumar. The people invited in your wedding would be served food. Among the food items meat of these animals and birds would also be served. They are screaming for fear of getting slaughtered.’

After having heard the words of the driver Arishtnemi became sympathetic. He felt guilty. He thought, ‘What kind of celebration it is that innocent birds and animals would be killed. This path is not suitable for me. I would not like to get married this way. His thoughts moved so fast that he was carried away by them. He instructed the driver to return. Rajimati kept on waiting. Arishtnemi reached his town Shoryapur. He got fully upset for it. Renouncing his kingdom, luxury and his wife he accepted the life of a recluse. This compassion of Arishtnemi is a spiritual compassion.

Social Compassion

Meghakumar’s mother queen Dharini Devi had got a boon of bringing rain even during a draught or off season. The boon having got unfulfilled, her body began to shrink. King Shrenik asked the cause of this anomaly. Dharini Devi remained silent. The king enquired further. The queen informed everything related to her boon to the king. The king consulted this problem with his son playing a dual role as his secretary, Abhay Kumar. Abhay Kumar in the name of his friend Dev took a three days fast. Dev appeared before him On AbhayKumar’s request Dev promised him to fulfill queen’s boon.

Dev's compassion for Abhay Kumar shrouded the entire sky with cloud. It started lightening. The rain began to shower mcessantly Abhay Kumar was greatly indebted. In that kind of weather queen Dharini mounted on elephant's back to take a ride over the forest. At the fulfillment of her boon she got highly delighted. This is an example of social compassion.

A Religions Text Written in Four Letters

Compassion is a word. Whether it is spiritual or social, can be understood according to the context of any situation. Many situations arise in a man’s life where he becomes a medium for compassion or he has to show compassion. The main factor is to realize the true form of it. The four lettered word अनुकंपा(Anukampa) is difficult to understand how esoteric it is. AcharyaBhikshu had written a book on it defining the word titled—‘AnukampakiChaupai.’ This book ornamented by Dohas (couplets) and Dhalo can be a subject of research for Ph.D. No special work has hitherto been published. If one sets himself free from all prejudices and conduct a research on the subject then the people of intellectual class will be enlightened with new discoveries.

AcharyaBhikshu had been asked questions time and again concerning Anukampa (compassion)? AcharyaBhikshu said, ‘My job is to make people understand the fact. After having understood it what you do and what you don’t is not my concern. You are free to do whatever you feel like. Sitting at the summit of responsibilities a family man has to do a lot of work. An act being indispensable doesn’t become spiritual necessarily. A person needs to call up his conscience, regarding this fact he needs to draw a line of distinction between spiritual and social.

A man spends some quality time with his family members sitting in his room and if a thief enters or a bandit starts plundering the house. If someone gets desperate to strip off the dignity of his mother or sister, what will that man do? For self-defence and in order to defend his wealth, his mother and sister if he combats, strikes someone with a stick or use any other arm then also he cannot be considered a violent man. He defends himself in a public language. A person is considered violent if he becomes a terrorist and kills someone. This is a social point of view. _From spiritual point of view causing someone harm even to defend oneself is violence. The way Lord Mahavira and AcharyaBhikshu have subtly defined violence and non-violence and the distinction between them delving deeper into it the difference between spiritual and social compassion can be perceived.


Title: Ocean Of Problems
Author: Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anukampa
  2. Arishtnemi
  3. Ayaro
  4. Bhikhanji
  5. Body
  6. Brahman
  7. Buddha
  8. Buddhism
  9. Delhi
  10. Fear
  11. JAINA
  12. Jaina
  13. Jainism
  14. Jayanti
  15. Kalugani
  16. Karma
  17. Karmas
  18. Mahavira
  19. Meditation
  20. New Delhi
  21. Non-violence
  22. Satsang
  23. Shraman
  24. Shrenik
  25. Soul
  26. Swadhyaya
  27. Terapanth
  28. Violence
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