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I And Mine: [03.14.1] - 8 Brief Rules of Group Spiritual Practice - 6. Development of Justice (Nyaya) (1)

Published: 28.12.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015
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What is justice? There is the word Niti and another word Nyaya. Niti means 'that which carries.' Thus, Niti is the path and Nyaya is the goal. The destination is Nyaya, which literally means 'to return.' Birds are in flight during the day but return to the nest in the evening.

The principles of Sanskrit grammar have been compared to an old man's staff:. When necessary the old man uses it as a support, otherwise he carries it in his hand. It is not necessary to use it as support at all places. Perhaps it is true of every rule or principle. The forms of justice keep changing with the times. History bears testimony to the fact that in the feudal age keeping slaves was regarded just - it enjoyed state sanction. The slave's duty was to serve the master. It was unjust for him to live in freedom. His ears, nose or any other limb could be severed at the sweet will of the master, so much so that he could even be punished with death. All these things were not regarded injustice on the part of the master. In that age one could own as much wealth as he liked. Even though others owned nothing, the disparity was not considered an injustice. It was thought that power and wealth went together.

Religious justice meant the wife burning herself alive on the pyre of her husband. This religious practice enjoyed general acceptance. Thus, justice appeared in different forms in social, political, and religious fields.

Today those principles of justice have changed. So far as keeping a slave is concerned, it is unimaginable. Cruel treatment of the servant is regarded contemptible. Even accumulation of wealth is close to being regarded an injustice. It is held to be unjust that while one man is a millionaire another is a pauper.

The basis of justice is equality. To put it in one word, disparity is injustice and parity is justice. Having one-sided view is injustice, having inclusive view is justice.

There should be no mechanical equality. Mechanically produced things can have the same shape and size. The quality of consciousness becomes meaningless if people have mechanical equality. The very existence of man implies seeking liberation from mechanical equality. I have never been impressed by an equality, which manifests itself in external form. Far from being unpleasant, diversity is a pleasant thing. One will not be happy to have only one kind of trees all over Delhi. In ancient times one of the ways of punishing someone by a ruler was to keep him in a house painted all over with the same colour. As a result eyes used to get spoiled. In the absence of a different sight, eyes used to become weak. Man wants variety. A variety of things pleases the heart. If every human being looked alike, there would be no beauty. Individual identification would not have been possible. Seeing one would have amounted to seeing all and there would have been no differentiation. There can be no equality in the external environment, nor is it desirable. Equality should be in the mind and the heart. It is immaterial if external appearances are diverse. External disparity causes no unhappiness if the mind and the heart are inspired by equality. It is inequality inside the mind that causes unhappiness when it shows itself in external effects. A cat seizes both the kitten and the rat with its teeth. The teeth are the same but the feeling in the heart is different in the two cases. One is inspired by affection, another by cruelty. A man embraces his daughter and also his wife. The embrace is common but the feelings of the mind are different. The hand is raised automatically. But its character changes when a finger is raised in order to frighten somebody. Where is the impulse for frightening? In the finger or in the mind? The finger goes up as soon as the feeling of frightening somebody appears in the mind. The thumb is shown as soon as hatred fills the mind. The internal feeling emerges in external behaviour like the swift current of electricity.

The basic cause of disparity is the human mind. It expresses itself through language. Anger makes the eyebrows tense. Hatred makes the nose pucker. Language is meant to express our thoughts and feelings. The mind is a party to Sthayi Bhava or sentiments, Sanchari Bhava (transitory states or feelings giving rise to different Rasas or sentiments like the erotic sentiment) and other states or feelings of this kind. The eyes in themselves are cold and stiff like glass. They are enlivened by the soul.

Look into the centre of the mind. You will find inestimable disparity. Things would have been different today if the internal disparity had been given the attention so far given to external disparity. A preceptor said to the disciple, 'Go and measure the length of the snake.'

He measured the length mark of snake on the ground. The preceptor thought his purpose was not fulfilled. He asked him a second time, 'Go and count the fangs of the snake.' The disciple did not feel bad and did not interpret it in terms of disparity and an effort to kill him. He obeyed the preceptor and tried to count the fangs and in the process the snake bit him. The preceptor asked him to come back. He made him lie down and put a blanket on him. The disciple perspired profusely and the maggots and vermins came out along with the sweat. The disciple was cured of his ailment and became healthy and attractive. This mode does not recommend itself as a rule applied in cases of distress. From the outside it looked like disparity, but internally there was an ocean of love. One does not mind anything where there is genuine internal love. On the contrary, one does not like an ostentatious parity attended by lack of love inside. Therefore, it is vital to develop parity within. One does not feel pained even to sacrifice one's life for the sake of those one is deeply related to.

Law is an external imposition. Spirituality, on the other hand, emanates from out of the heart and affects the external factors. Problems arise because the mind and the heart are not paid proper attention to. One does not mind anything if one is sure that there is no disparity within. External disparity or anomaly is not resented if it is like the gentle stroke of a potter meant for the good of the family and the world.

Injustice is done not only to others but to oneself also. Are we not doing injustice to ourselves through our food habits? Injustice is done to both the teeth and the intestines. Lack of adequate chewing weakens the teeth and causes pyorrhoea. For want of chewing enough saliva does not go into the intestines and they find it difficult to digest the food. Then there are people who drink tea and milk so hot that even the container has to be caught with iron forceps. How will intestines handle the heat we dare not bear with touch? Even though aware of indigestion, a man keeps eating to gratify the palate. He has to bear the conse­quences. Similarly, other senses are also subjected to injustice.

Sources
  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Bhava
  3. Consciousness
  4. Delhi
  5. Environment
  6. Nyaya
  7. Sanskrit
  8. Soul
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