Abstract Thinking: [22.01] - Anupreksha Of Secularism

Published: 22.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Lord Mahavira laid down a religious doctrine. He gave a collective form to sadhana. Yet, he discriminated between religion and sect.

The sect may prove helpful in the attainment of religion. Accordingly, he emphasized the importance of belonging to an Order, but he never confused religion with sect. He said, - Those philosophic people who say, "Come and join our sect, or there can be no salvation for you," have certainly gone astray. Equally confused and mistaken are those who speak ill of their sects. To worship religion, one must rise above the sect and turn wholly towards truth. The sect can only serve as a means, a basis for the reciprocality of living, for mutual cooperation. It can be a source of inspiration to the individual, but does not, in itself, constitute religion, for a discriminating sadhak, the sect may provide religious inspiration, but merely belonging to a sect does not signify the attainment of religion.

A new difficulty has arisen today. People have come to identify sect with religion. They say, religion has been the cause of many wars. How much blood has been shed in the name of religion? How many countries were devastated? However, all this has happened not because of religion, but because of sectarianism. Religion and sect have become so mixed, that the atrocities committed in the name of sect or community are blamed upon religion, giving it a' bad name. If one really attains religion, there is no more any quarrel or malice or any kind of botheration. Religion means living a life free from attachment and aversion. When a man is free from attachment and aversion, there is little possibility of any dispute arising. Quarrels arise on sectarian grounds, not because of religion. Wrapped in the cloak of sect or community, poor religion is altogether lost. That is why the voice of religion is not heard today and the language of religion has become unintelligible. This is a real problem.

To resolve this problem, we have developed a technique where we have avoided the use of the word, “religion”. I recognise that the world-'religion' is very significant. But because of certain circumstances, its meaning has undergone a change. According to philology, words grow obsolete or come to acquire new connotations. From one point-of-view, the word, 'religion' today has come to signify sect or community. Thus its meaning has somewhat changed. That is why we felt the need of a new word for our purposes. We were looking for a word which would be expressive of the fundamental values of religion, a word signifying the evolution in life of religion, spirituality and morality. These words - 'religion', 'spirituality' and 'morality' have become controversial. So we sought a new word which would appeal to the modern psyche, without creating any reaction. Thus we hit upon "The Science of Living". This term is not at all related to any particular religion or sect; it is directly connected with life. Each man must experience for himself the science of living. The word science' has been linked with life, because living entails certain rules/ of its own. Everything is governed by laws, some of which are known to us while others are unknown. We are not acquainted with all the laws; many of these remain unknown. Many laws, hitherto unknown, are coming to light with the evolution of knowledge. Man makes use of the known. But what is known is like a drop of water in the ocean of the vast unknown which remains yet virgin and unexplored. The known is limited; the unknown infinite. Our life, too, is governed by innumerable laws. We know only a few of these, but as we progress ahead, the frontiers of our knowledge are extended. To help us discover the laws of life, make use of them and move in the direction of success - that is the objective of the science of living.

The science of living thus means - the discovery of the laws of life. It means the discovery of those laws through which our approach is refined and our conduct and behaviour transformed. There are three main aspects of living, relating to knowledge, feeling and action. We know - that is the intellectual aspect. We are tied to emotion - that is the emotional aspect. We act - that is our functional aspect.
  • 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. Cooperation
  2. Mahavira
  3. Sadhak
  4. Sadhana
  5. Science
  6. Science Of Living
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