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Abstract Thinking: [22.02] - Anupreksha Of Secularism - True Philosophy Is That Which Can Be Lived

Published: 24.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Jain Acharyas developed a Science of Politics which is founded on relativity and synthesis. We have before us the individual and society. Some people have an absolutely individualistic mentality. They make the individual wholly responsible. Others emphasize the role of society. In political systems, particularly in the socialist and communist ones, the entire responsibility is placed on society, whereas for an individualist, the development of the individual is of supreme importance, for a political ideologist, social progress is all that matters. But unless we have a relative approach, the relationship between the individual and society cannot be rightly defined. An absolutely individualistic society and an absolutely socialized individual have little worth. Socially-oriented individual and individual-oriented society are what really matter and with them alone can the process of right development be advanced.

The principle behind the truth-oriented approach is - relativity. This, relativity is also developed through self-identification and logic. Not mere logic, nor insight alone. Not only spirituality, nor conduct alone. Stress on conduct alone, gives rise to grossness. So much grossness that truth is left far behind. With transcendentalism alone, spirituality stands weakened. Both are necessary-the transcendental and the empirical. In other words, the sect is necessary; so is spirituality. Spirituality unrelated to the sect may be useful for some individuals, but it is of little use to the public. A person might retire into a cave to do sadhana, but other people can derive no benefit there from: their path remains undetermined, community is necessary, so is the Order. Organisation is as necessary as the sect. Those who oppose organisation, oppose the sect and the Order as well, those who talk of being alone, of solitariness, are also not able to grasp the truth. They seem to be prejudiced in favour of solitude. One or two persons might benefit from being alone, so what? Can a person live in complete isolation from the world? One comes to take it for granted that by retiring into a Himalayan cave, one will be able to lead a peaceful life. But on one side we have the terror of atomic weapons, while on the other side the whole atmosphere is polluted. There is not a spot in the world which is free from contamination. Where could an individual go to? In what cavern will he seek refuge? To what hollow will he retire in search of solitude? It is a contagious world. A thought arises in the mind of a person sitting here, and the atoms of that thought spread throughout the world. Nothing is spared - neither the Himalayas nor any cave. In this world of fast transmission, what armour have we to protect ourselves? In this direction, the Veetaragis have endeavoured to create a good world, where people might live righteously, and where an order of noble men, an exemplary, ethical society and community might come into being. If this does not come about, a dreadful situation might arise. Even a veetaraga is obliged to live out his life. His mind may remain unsullied, but his body will certainly be affected by the state of the world. He will not be spiritually sick because of ill thought, but he could be physically ill because of the vitiated atmosphere. The food he is given might make him ill. The world in which he lives, the people in whose midst he spends his life - it is a veetaragi's duty to inspire them to move in the direction of veetaragata, so there is nothing evil about an organised order or community. It is even very necessary to have some organisation. But if we remain confined to a mere Order, organisation or community, it is productive of evil. We should accept the truth to be found in an Order or community, derive inspiration and support from a transcendental view, so as to develop spirituality in ourselves. Without spirituality and transcendentalism, the Order or organisation will be reduced to a mere skeleton devoid of life, glory and consciousness.

The relativity of the two dispositions can be a pointer. Neither a solitary individual nor society by itself - neither individualism nor collectivism - can show us the way. Only a combination, a synthesis of the two can become the path of our evolutionary pilgrimage. Truth - oriented approach, as it develops further, leads to a fusion of knowledge with action. Who says a philosophy cannot be lived? I think that a philosophy which cannot be lived is like building castles in the air, a thing of imagination, with nothing real or factual about it. Only that philosophy is real which can be lived. An ideal which cannot be put into practice has little value. Likewise, a practice which does not help us to realize the ideal is valueless. What is required is a combination of the ideal and the practical, a harmonious union of the two.

Acharya Sri has greatly extended the frontiers of Terapanth. He has set up religion on the altar of the age and this has benefited all communities. During his Southern tour, people said to Acharya Sri- "Many religious teachers have come to us, but you are the first religious teacher who talks of humanity. Other religious teachers talk of their respective sects, but you are the first to transcend sectarianism and talk of mankind as a whole." There was no Jain (by birth) among the audience, but it did not seem to us that they were not Jains. Acharya Sri has brought about a revolution in the field of religion. He has taught his disciples to be objective and impartial, so that they are completely free from any thing of communalism. In the field of philosophy, too, Acharya Sri has propounded new values. He has established contact with lakhs and lakhs of people. In this sphere, Acharya Sri and his disciples have put in a Herculean efforts, with the result, that some who were near gotestranged, while many who stood far away, have come closer. Great men never follow a beaten track. There are many who follow a tradition; rare are those who further develop a tradition even while keeping in it. Acharya Bhikshu, Jayacharya and Acharya Tulsi are among those great men who have through their achievements extended the frontiers of traditions.
  • 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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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Acharyas
  5. Bhikshu
  6. Body
  7. Consciousness
  8. Jayacharya
  9. Sadhana
  10. Science
  11. Terapanth
  12. Tulsi
  13. Veetaraga
  14. Veetaragata
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