I And Mine: [02.19] - A Religious Revolution - Tender-Heartedness

Published: 20.11.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

The attraction and fragrance that a rose has, no other flower has. The existence of exaltation (height) and debasement (depth) is a Law of Nature. With a mountain there is a peak as well as a foothill. Because a mountain cannot think, there is no conflict between its peak and foothill. Man is a thinking being. One who is on the foothill is filled with a sense of inferiority seeing another on the peak. And one who is on the peak is filled with a sense of egotism seeing another on the foothill. For a long time the conflict between inferiority and superiority has been going on in men's minds. Racial riots take place even in a civilized country like America. The whites look down upon the blacks. It has resulted in racial hatred.

Even in a country like India the two classes of touchables and untouchables continue to this day. No one knows how many people cursed by untouchability have undergone and are still undergoing conversion. No class, which got on the top rested content until it had declared others inferior. It is arrogance. Arrogance is the gateway to irreligion. Having entered it, men have always ill-treated others.

Lord Mahavira was once asked, 'Lord! How many doors to religion are there?'

The Lord said, ‘There are four doors to religion.'

'Lord! Which ones are they?' he was further asked.

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The Lord replied, 'Peace, Liberation, Straightness, and Tenderness.'

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Tender-heartedness is one of the doors which gives entry into the mansion of religion. The door comes first and then comes the mansion. No one can enter a mansion without first entering the door. Can anyone be religious without being tenderhearted? To say that a man is religious but not tenderhearted is like saying that it is daytime but without light. When you do not recognize a period of time, ‘day', without light, how will you recognize something as religion without tender-heartedness?

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The world of religion has undoubtedly recognized the importance of tender-heartedness but they give it a very narrow meaning. Tender-heartedness is being understood to mean meekness or humility. Such an understanding though not defective is incomplete. The full meaning of tender-heartedness is abandonment of cruelty. A man who shows humility without a trace of tender-heartedness cannot be regarded as tenderhearted. Only that man can be called tender-hearted in whose heart flows a perpetual stream of compassion. Such a man can never practise exploitation, cannot ignore the happiness and comforts of others in order to keep himself happy and comfortable, and cannot do anything likely to harm others.

Even a lion looks back as he moves forward. Is it not necessary for a religious person to look back? Without retrospection it is not possible to harmonize the past and the present. Without self-criticism the layers settled on religion cannot be removed. Egotism makes a man cruel. Cruelty gives rise to counter-violence. This is what is happening at present. The only remedy is tender-heartedness and tender-heartedness alone.

Once Gautam asked Lord Mahavira, 'Lord! What does one gain from tender-heartedness?'

The Lord replied, 'Gautam! Tender-heartedness puts an end to the feeling of separateness, the feeling that one is separate from others. 'No one in this world has come from God's home? We are all human beings. Therefore each individual expects others to behave humanely.'

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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