Abstract Thinking: [29.01] - Anupreksha of Co-Existence

Published: 31.07.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

The conflict arising out of difference of opinion can be ended through synthesis and coordination. Let there be many individuals and different opinions. This need not lead to a collision. On this basis, Lord Mahavira has given us the maxim of co-existence. It is possible for rival individuals, opinions and religions to co-exist. Generally, it is believed that two contrary religions cannot exist together. Lord Mahavira said, "Two contrary religions can exist together." In philosophical terms, the eternal and the transient, the general and the particular can co-exist. The eternal is the opposite of the transient; similarly, the general and the particular are opposed to each other. Yet they are found together. To be or not to be are contraries, yet they co-exist. While propounding their co-existence, it has also been made clear that what we consider to be opposite, are not really so. There is not a single element in the whole world, which may be said to be wholly contradictory or wholly non-contradictory. What we look upon as contrary is also non-contrary. Both go together. Both co-exist.

On the ground of practical behaviour, Lord Mahavira propounded co-existence: "It is possible to exist together." We know that what is hot cannot be cold and what is cold cannot be hot, but that is not the whole truth. Between the hot and the cold, there is the difference of degree only. When the temperature of the body is 98, we say it is normal. When the temperature rises to 100, we call it fever. The hot and the cold, the good and the bad - all there are concepts determined on the basis of relativity. If we ignore relativity and think in absolute terms, we cannot call anything in itself as being hot or cold, good or bad. All these are related to our need. All our analysis is comparative. It is on that basis that we say that a particular thing is particular hot, or 'cold' or good or bad.

Fire can be said to be cold and ice can be said to be hot. We cannot view anything from only one point-of-view. Mahavira said that we cannot propound reality without relativity. Where we expound truth relatively, it naturally leads to co-existence

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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