I And Mine: [03.10] - 8 Brief Rules of Group Spiritual Practice - 2. The Extension of Love

Published: 22.12.2005
Updated: 06.08.2008

Extension means spreading, jumping over the bounds of the 'self and entering the domain of the 'other', or putting an end to the boundary between the 'self and the 'other'. Businessmen expand their business to satisfy their lust, to get sexual pleasure not until then available. There is thus one kind of expansion, which earns demerit and another which causes it to be abandoned. Hatred is a demerit. People think themselves to be superior and others to be inferior. Such a discrimination produce hatred. The love of one's own person deepens and nothing but hatred remains to be directed at others. The best way to remove hatred is to expand love to such an extent that no room is left for hatred at all.

Of two men we like one and dislike another. We give love to the former and intense aversion to the other. In this state there is no universality or depth of love and so there is room for hatred. Wherever there is hatred, there is malice too, and wherever there is malice, there is mental unrest. It is impossible not to have mental unrest where there is hatred. Hatred and peace of mind are incompatible.

Question:

Should we love a contemptible thing also?

Muni Shree:

Hatred is not in the thing but in one's mind. It is not possible that all objects of the world should become beautiful. There will always be a dual state. But that does not necessitate hatred. Is what we like beautiful? Its true answer lies in Anekant (the doctrine of manifold aspects). There is a thing, which is liked even though it is not beautiful. There is another thing, which is beautiful and yet not liked. Another thing is both beautiful and liked. There is no absolute relationship between beauty and likeableness.

Jainendra:

Is beauty independent of looks? Does it have an independent existence?

Muni Shree:

Beauty lies in form and appearance, whereas likeableness lies in the mind. Even the bitterest thing can be in the mind but that may not be likeable. There is a beautiful woman but her husband does not like her. Why? He could not develop a mental liking for her. Where there is a liking there is no hatred. If love expands in the heart it becomes secondary whether the thing facing us is attractive or not. The extension of love encompasses everything. It does not depend upon 'towards' but upon itself. And if it comes to 'towards', it means 'towards all'. Love does not extend a relation but the self.

Jainendra:

Possibly there is no discrimination in love?

Mohan:

A man has four sons. There is no uniformity in giving to and taking from them. Why?

Jainendra:

That kind of difference too can be there. It is not caused by love. The real reason for it is wisdom of distinguishing. In the expansion of the self wisdom of distinguishing does not get lost; not everyone and everything is equal.

Muni Shree:

A sadhu sought permission to spend the four rainy months at the house of a prostitute. The guru had earlier permitted Sthulibhadra to do so, but in this case he refused it. But behind the withholding of permission was nothing but love. You may call it wisdom of distinguishing if you like. The permission was not granted because it was in the interest of the sadhu not to go there. A mother does not hand over the key to the main lock to a four-year old child but gives it to an adult. It does not show lack of love but the use of the wisdom to distinguish. Without there being any discrimination in regard to love, wisdom dictates difference in treating different people. The discrimination is not caused by the bad behaviour of a person but by the wisdom that should a specific work be entrusted to him, he would be harmed. Wisdom to distinguish is relative to the 'other'; love is not so.

Mohan:

One's mentality reflects the character of the thing perceived.

Muni Shree:

Purity will not bear fruit even though one is confronted by a high ideal but one's thought is impious. No beneficence will be received if there is no faith in the idol. In itself the idol distributes neither love nor hatred. Every instrumentality has this character.

Jainendra:

Is there no place for wisdom to distinguish in love?

Muni Shree:

Distinguishing wisdom results in behaviour, whereas love should be uniform. Somebody may behave with me properly in five per cent cases and another person may do so in ten per cent cases. But love will disintegrate if it too were to be given in different proportions.

Jainendra:

Relativization is quite opposite to loving others.

Muni Shree:

One can naturally ask what the process of extension should be. Its first maxim is clarity of thoughts or right faith. The second maxim is use of resolution. The language of the resolution should be definite and the time span should be long, as long as would result in total identification through its steady repetition. The use of the same language brings in increased clarity. Varying notions will be formed by changing the language from day to day. We are recognized only by a definite form. Uniformity of form strengthens the nation. Definiteness of language, idea, place and time produces effective results.

Jainendra:

Agency proves not a help but a hindrance to resolution. ‘I am for love, I am for love' - saying so gives importance to love. 'My love is growing' - has the notion of agency, which will finally prove a hindrance. If agency does not remain with oneself, competence can extend. In devotional singing one gets satisfaction out of the feeling of obeisance. The devotee thinks the Supreme to be all pervasive and himself to be nothing. It proves the way to spirituality and identification with the Supreme. I (the devotee) extend my hands to become all pervasive.

Muni Shree:

This is indeed the process of meditation. There is only one aim - let me create such a vacuum in me that I am filled with my aim. To be charged or filled with the object of meditation is
meditation. Acharya Ram Sen has given great importance to this process of creating vacuum in oneself. He says:

(The meditator renders his body into a vacuum through the power of meditation. Then he gets completely engrossed in the aim and becomes one with it.)

This is also the maxim of extending love. Love for the self (soul) should be so intense that both body and mind become totally free from all other sentiments and get filled with love.

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. Acharya
  2. Anekant
  3. Body
  4. Guru
  5. Meditation
  6. Muni
  7. Ram
  8. Sadhu
  9. Soul
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