Bhagwan Mahavira’s Creation Of A Wholesome Society

Published: 25.04.2008
Updated: 20.09.2011

Organiser Online

Sunday, 27 April 2008 issue 

Man is imperfect. Because he is imperfect, he tries to complete himself through the acquisition of material objects. He is confronted with many problems such as suffering, unrest, poverty, etc. To come out victorious in his struggle, he wants other people’s support. He looks around for shelter and refuge. He does find some support and refuge in the social world, but such refuge is only temporary. The truth of all times is that a man can definitely rely only on his own valour and exertion. In fact, shelter or refuge lies only in one’s own endeavour, nowhere else. On the basis of this ultimate truth, not to repose too much or exclusive trust in other people’s protection, constitutes the bhavana of not seeking refuge outside oneself. The man who is permeated by this bhavana develops a strong sense of responsibility and his equanimity is not disturbed even when others betray him.

He, who is not fully acquainted with his own being, cannot feel secure anywhere. Wealth, material possessions and family all these are different from one’s essence. That which is alien, can provide no refuge.

Lord Mahavira said:“ He who mistakes insecurity for security and security for insecurity goes astray.” One’s security lies in one’s own being. To seek refuge in oneself is the quintessence of the anupreksha of insecurity.

Hurt is caused not by another person’s conduct, but by one’s own forgetfulness of the law. When one accepts behaviour, some material object or person, to be the ultimate truth, one is bound to suffer. This constitutes the anupreksha of insecurity. In practical life, one may seek refuge in various objects, but one must never be oblivious to the truth that real or ultimate protection lies in one’s own knowledge, one’s own perception, one’s own conduct and behaviour. Ultimately, no one can be a refuge to another.

This bhavana is an attack on our mental culture, which looks for outside support. If one thoroughly grasps the fact that there is no refuge outside, one’s involvement with the outside material world is naturally relaxed. A man holds on to his fortune, family, wife, son, friend, house, etc. He believes that ultimately someone or the other would provide him support. It is this illusion, which is responsible for accumulation. Religion says: “There is no refuge; Let go your belief. Why accumulate attachment, delusion and sin for nothing? Just relinquish your hold. That’s all. No need to escape from life”.

When Valmiki saw this truth, he instantly found salvation. When Anathi Muni realised that nobody was able to cure him of his disease, that all had failed him, he turned his gaze inwards, and saw that the eternal is beyond all disease, beyond death, and nothing could touch it. Why should he not then make it his refuge? And he went away in search of the eternal. Emperor Shrenik said to him, “I shall be your master.” Anathi Muni said, “How can you be my master; you must first become a master of yourself. Right now you are a slave to the very people you call yourself master of. I have found the master - within myself. When you too find the master, all your present estate will dissolve and a new estate shall come into being.”

A thinker of Denmark has written: “You are genuinely worried when you feel that the ground has slipped from under your feet. This is the moment, which decides one’s future. But if before that one has had no direct experience of truth, one generally renders one’s future darksome. Even in the moment of surrendering one’s body to death, one’s consciousness hovers like a kite around one’s own people and things; consequently, after death, one is reborn in the same old environment”.

Lord Mahavira, Buddha, etc. have said, “Seek refuge in yourself.” Seek refuge in nature. Let the sadhak observe the total lack of protection outside, and also observe what lies within. That which lies within is eternal. Salvation lies only in holding on to the eternal. Let not the eternal be forgotten even for a second. This is the yoga of remembrance.

Guru Nanak says, “He who never forgets Him, is really great.” That is the only true estate we may carry along with us.

Mahavira gave us the maxim insecurity. He did not declare anyone to be safe. He said, “He who seeks refuge where there is none, is destroyed.” There is nothing secure. How can another provide any protection? An enlightened soul represents the purity of the soul; a perfected soul embodies the perfection of the soul; a hermit embodies the aspirant nature of the soul and religion embodies its consciousness. There is no other refuge. One’s salvation lies in one’s own soul, in knowledge, in perception and in character.

  • The trinity of knowledge, perception and character (veetaragata) is—an enlightened soul.
  • The trinity of knowledge, perception and character is - a perfected soul.
  • A monk represents the practice of the trinity of knowledge, intuition and character.
  • Religion represents the conduct of the trinity of knowledge, perception and character.

All these are not different from the soul. Let us shed this illusion that we are seeking refuge in another. In seeking refuge in them, we are seeking refuge in ourselves, in our own being.

The person who practises this anupreksha, this wholesome thinking, cannot be unsocial or impractical. All refinement in conduct, reformation in society, revolution and welfare is effected by such persons only. Those who are caught in attachment and illusion, cannot reform society, nor accomplish good works, nor can such persons bring about a social revolution. They cannot take society to the summit of progress. How should they? A person who is deeply attached to material things, who considers matters to be something eternal, struggles so hard for material objects so as to involve the whole society in endless strike. On the other hand, a person who is wholly given to social and group conditioning, follows the group blindly, says to himself, “Whatever happens to others will happen to me”. This collectivism then becomes the means of taking one into dense darkness. The individual who seeks security and refuge in others becomes a cypher in oneself. He always depends upon others to save him. So he follows others. He never tries to stand on his own feet, if these truths are realised by a social individual, the very face of society is altered. Society then assumes a form, which it had never assumed before. A society erected on spiritual foundation and based upon these truths, will be a revolutionary, orderly, peace-loving society, well disposed towards all.

Organiser - by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.
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