Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 71 ►Socialism, Individualism and Non-violence

Published: 07.07.2020

In the twentieth century when exactly technological advancement gradually spread its roots has remained unknown. Change is necessary for modem existence but it is also desirable to remain aware of the problems that go along with it. A person can remain aware of every incident happening around him when he develops the right perception.

A dealer of meat tamed some sheep. He was well adept in the art of hypnosis. He had many sheep in store. He would feed them and make them strong. When they put on some weight and fat then he killed them. Seeing the fellow beings being killed the other sheep would also suffer the dread of it. This would increase their weight at a very slow pace. Some sheep seeing the opportunity would also flee. The dealer could unfold this secret. He started applying the power of hypnosis over them. After having put them in a trance or sleep he would give them suggestions, ‘You are not sheep you are tigers’. After having heard this statement repeatedly the notion get ingrained in their mind that they were not sheep but tigers. The other sheep would be killed before their eyes but they were under the impression— ‘We are tigers, no one would kill us,’ When their tum came to be killed the time to escape would be over. If they had considered themselves sheep before then they could have found a way to escape.

Parts of Universal Truth

All the wise men who were born in this world had laid forward a new principle keeping the age and environment in mind. The point of balanced perception was there in everyone’s mind. Had it not been so their thoughts would have ceased there. Those thoughts would not have been beneficial for others. Whether he was Acharya Bhikshu or John Ruskin, even having the power of thinking fundamentally and independently they never renounced the universal truth. If their thoughts are compiled together, the fragmented parts of universal truth that were revealed if expressed through the medium of language, then a few sutras regarding it would be like these points—

  • Human race is one.
  • There is no difference between the rich and the poor.
  • No one can be great on the basis of power.
  • Everyone’s well-being leads to one’s own well-being.
  • Every living creature wants to be happy.
  • No one must be exploited.
  • Law is equal for all
  • If the bigger creatures have the right to live then the smaller creatures also have the equal right to live.

Religion of Non-Violence and Religion of Society

There are some questions which were asked addressing Acharya Bhikshu— ‘The cow is hungry. Is it religious to feed the cow with grass or is it a sin? The pigeon is hungry. ls it religious to spread grains before him or is it a sin? The buffalo is thirsty. Is it a sin to offer him water or religious?’ Acharya Bhikshu instead of answering these questions raised forward a counter question—’A tiger is hungry. Is it religious to feed him meat or is it a sin?’ Shortly after hearing the statement of feeding meat some people were shocked. They said- ‘Bhikhanji’! What do you say? How can there be religion in feeding meat?’ Acharya Bhikshu said, ‘If feeding meat is not religious than how feeding grass can be religious? Although it is a different issue that a family person may have to feed both of these things to anyone.’

If the aforesaid question is contemplated upon seriously then the conclusion that is drawn is that the question is not of eating or feeding or causing violence or making someone cause violence. The sole question is of the principle. Acharya Bhikshu had never said that famished must not be fed or thirsty must not be given water. A person living in society cannot possibly get over the instinct of feeding or drinking. He wanted to mean that it must not be associated with religion of non-violence or Moksha. As far as the religion of society is concerned there is no problem in accepting such activities.


Unnecessary Violence is Worth Renouncing

Food is accumulated through violence. Without food human beings cannot survive. Should human beings not remain alive then? As taking food will lead to violence. I would like to tell those people who ask such questions whether it is a proper question to ask. Why should we consider that all the people of this world would tum non-violent? Not to be non-violent also doesn’t mean that people keep on causing violence unnecessarily. If there is a limit to non-violence then there must be a limit to violence as well. Escaping from violence is necessary for sustaining life can never be favourable for a family person. At the same time everyone can save oneself from causing violence to innocent mobile creatures. A dog bites someone. If he hits the dog for his self-defence then it can be understood. But what is the point of hitting innocent creatures. Some people unleash hunting dogs after rabbits for sheer entertainment, buffaloes are made to fight and such other animals are also tortured. This kind of violence falls into the category of unnecessary violence so it is worth renouncing.


Gruesome Form of Violence

Human beings have been categorized into three classes— Maharambhi, Alparambhi and Anarambhi. Maharambhis are those who have no limit of causing violence. Alparambhis believe in reducing violence. Anarambhis are those who never get violent under any given situation. Even to full the indispensable demands of life they never take refuge in violence. Such people renounce their house and sustain their life through begging.

A saint observes five greater vows (Mahabratas). The first vow is non-violence. Taking someone’s life or even to hurt any living creature mentally or emotionally is also violence for them. Even if a saint is beaten, hurt or thrown stones, he never responds violently.

A brother once discussed philosophy at length with Acharya Bhikshu. When he was defeated in the arguments he hit Acharya Bhikshu on his head and left. The saints did not like his behaviour. They told Acharya Bhikshu, ‘What is the point of discussing with such an undeserving men?’

Acharya Bhikshu smiled afier hearing the words of saints and said. ‘A man buying a cauldron worth one or two paisa also tests it by striking on its surface once or twice. The questions here are of making someone a guru (preceptor) for one’s lifetime. What would he do except striking me?’

Selfish State of Mind

A person observing the penance of five greater vows always carries a high ideal. However, everyone cannot be a Mahabrati (one who takes a greater vow). For lay persons following a middle path has been recommended. A layman cannot refrain completely from violence but he can take the vow of not striking someone on his part. Even this small vow can solve many problems in this world.

There are two kinds of perceptions—individualistic and socialistic. Man is a clever creature. He works on the basis of both these perceptions. But whatever he does that brings a disaster. When the question of penance for restrain or renouncing negative traits arises then man must own an individualistic attitude. Instead of thinking over what others say one must devote one’s energy to observe the penance of restrain. But in such contexts he says, ‘What can I do alone? One has to move with others. Whatever others do I shall follow them and so on.’

In the contexts of social relations if man develops a perspective of socialism then it is necessary but at the time of accumulating money he becomes a full-fledged individual. Even he ignores social obligations to- give importance to his personal accumulation. In a similar way when he spends his money for any social cause then also the main question that arises is of publicity. If a person is given importance and his name is praised then he can even donate some hundreds and thousands of rupees. Where there is no chance of publicity spending Rs. 100 also seems to be difficult. In the following stanza this feeling is revealed-

आप अकेलो अवतरे, मरै अकेलो होय |

या कहूं इण जीव रो, साथी सगो कोय ||

Jaina Lifestyle

In the auspicious.year a kind of lifestyle was thought over keeping the family persons in mind. After long contemplation and discussion the schedule that was determined was given the name-‘Jaina lifestyle’. There are nine factors governing the instructions. From this point of view it can also be named as nine dimensional lifestyle (Nav-ayami Jeevanshaili) There are nine dimensions of it— balanced discommend, to seek one in many, non-violence, saman Sanskriti, controlled desires, balanced way of earning one’s livelihood, balanced values, pure diet, freedom from ill habits and spiritual affection. In these factors individualism and socialism— both these perspectives have also been incorporated.

In Jaina lifestyle the first governing factor is balanced visualization. As long as man’s perspective is not balanced positivity in thoughts is not developed, he cannot think properly about his life. The journey that begins with balanced visualization the last destination of it is spiritual affection. This sutra is a symbol of the development of social feelings.

A person was sleeping in his cottage. The clouds spread across the sky and it started raining. Suddenly the door was knocked. He rose up and said, ‘Who is there?’ The stranger said, ‘Brother! I am getting drenched. If you open the door then I may come in.’ There was limited space in the cottage that could accommodate only a person. But still he rose. He opened the door and said, ‘here only one person can sleep but if we keep sitting then both of us can be included. The stranger came inside. They sat comfortably beside each other and started talking. Some time was spent. Again a knock could be heard on the door. The person standing outside said, ‘l am getting drenched. I want to spend some time. I know you would be having some inconvenience but I am helpless.’ The cottage that could accommodate only two persons to sit how the third person would come there? Knowing it very well he still opened the door and all three of them having stood, could save themselves from getting drenched. This is a new form of maintaining social relations.

Mahavira was not a Jaina

Spiritual affection is a factor that develops the feeling of socialism in a person. People of the same stature can only share joy and misery of their fellow beings and this active process can only retain the culture of society and glorify it, otherwise the disintegration of society and family and the problems emerging from them would be difficult to solve.

The factor related to Jaina lifestyle is confined merely to Jaina society, to think like that would be an instance of narrow-mindedness. The fact is that the truth cannot be made confined to any religious sect. In my view Mahavira was not a Jaina and Krishna was not a Vaishnava. Their mission was to spread welfare among all so they belonged to all. To consider them a Jaina or a Vaishnava and to limit their words of advice to their respective sects would be to shrink their universal self. It is desirable then to get over religious controversies and move ahead in the direction of welfare of the entire human race.


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. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Bhikhanji
  4. Bhikshu
  5. Contemplation
  6. Environment
  7. Guru
  8. JAINA
  9. Jaina
  10. Krishna
  11. Mahavira
  12. Moksha
  13. Non-violence
  14. Saman
  15. Space
  16. Sutra
  17. Violence
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