Peace Through Dialog 2007 - Acharya Mahaprajna - Preksha Meditation: Individual & Social Upliftment

Published: 16.01.2008
Updated: 09.01.2009

Jaina Convention
Federation of Jain Associations In North America

Preksha Meditation: Individual & Social Upliftment

Acharya Mahaprajna

Jain Vishwa Bharati University, Ladnun, 341306 Rajasthan, India.
Phone +91-1581-2221 10

Acharya Mahapragya is a Jain religious leader. He is tenth and the current Acharya of Terapanth sect in succession to Acharya Tulsi. He is a writer, poet and a philosopher; and is known for Preksha Dhyan and Ahimsa Yatra. He has authored over 350 books on Philosophy, Literature, Yoga, and Religion in Hindi and Sanskrit.

Indian philosophy has discussed truth, which is bound by time, and also the eternal truth, which is not limited by time. The eternal truth is relevant in the dimension of the past, the future and the present moment. Nowadays everybody is short of time. Most people have no time for self-study, meditation and many important things. The paucity of time is observed among one and all - industrialists, managers and laborers, without exception. I have deeply pondered over this aspect and concluded that it is not basically deficiency of time but ignorance of time management. People do not know how to organize their time properly, though they have ample time. There are twenty four hours in one day and a person can organize and do what he feels like in this time. Because of ignorance of time management, the problem of lack of time cannot be tackled effectively. We should divide the time in two parts - holistic and integrated.

Two Aspects of Life

The holistic and integrated aspects are important in their respective fields. In case one wants to seek the truth, he has to integrate himself because the truth is holistic in the sphere of utility and behaviorisms. We divide everything in the material world, so life also has to be divided. We divide life into two parts, namely, individual life and social life. Today, there is a big discussion going on regarding socialism, its end result is that the individual is being ignored. In olden times, the individual was very important, discussion was mainly centered on the individual and society was ignored. There is incompleteness in both the outlooks. We are always inclined to ignore one thing and develop a one-sided outlook. Today, there is much discussion on society, so an individual is being marginalized. It is important to give equal importance to both the parts of life. Individual life and social life should be equally attended to. If the individual is not healthy, society will not be healthy, and if society is not healthy then the individual will not be healthy.

Essentiality of Individual Development

Individual life has three aspects, namely physical, mental and emotional health. If the body is unhealthy, it creates obstacles. If the mind is not healthy, it is bad; if the emotion is not healthy, it is the worst situation. First of all our emotions should be healthy so that our capacity to control our impulses remains effective. Many people are not able to control their impulses; they easily get tempted by impulses. Though anger, greed, fear hate and lust exist in everyone, only healthy people are able to control their impulses. And those who cannot control their impulses often get provoked by impulses, thereby creating negative health.

First of all there is a need for individual health, which is achieved by restraining the emotions. People practicing Prekshadhyana should clearly understand its purpose. The primary objective is to achieve emotional health, physical health is secondary. We should enhance our capacity to control our impulses, though it may take a lot of time to reach that state, where there is no existence of impulses at all in the mind. It is possible that though impulses exist, they do not impress. For this we should be able to control them which are a big achievement. Prekshadhyana means purification of emotions. The emotions should be so pure that anger can be controlled. Even if anger crops up, it should not be exhibited. The lips should remain sealed. Practice which is used to reduce the restlessness of the mind is the same as the one adopted to render anger fruitless. When anger rises, turn your tongue up towards your palate. Then anger will be ineffective. By speaking, anger gets aggravated. If one is speaking angrily and the other also responds in the same tone then anger gets strengthened. If one speaks and other keeps silent, then the anger becomes weak, ineffective and unsuccessful. The angry person enjoys himself only when the other person responds angrily. If the other person does not respond angrily person feels alone and so he clams down. This is the application of controls. It is applicable for all the waves of impulses, not merely for the spurt of anger alone. Your emotions will be calmed. The first segment of individual health is emotional health. If emotions are healthy, then only mental health will be good and the mind will be calm. When anger erupts, the mind gets totally disturbed. Various thoughts arise and provoke unrighteous acts. When there is no anger and fear, then the mind will not be misguided. The mind will remain calm, composed and healthy. Emotional health promotes physical health automatically. Commonly, the case of physical sickness is mental and emotional disturbance. Though simple disease may be caused by germs and viruses, chronic ailments are caused by the mind and its imbalance. The practice of Prekshadhyana improves three aspects of health, namely physical, mental & emotional. Therefore, the practice of Prekshadhyana is the process of individual development.

Meditation for Social Health

One cannot live without society. If a man is a businessman and deals in cloth, then where does he get cloth from? There are lots of processes involved in getting things. Let us examine the breathing process. It sounds simple but several muscles and organs collectively work to enable us to breathe. In one breath, about seventy to eighty muscles have to work. Similarly, thousands of people collectively work and then one can get a piece of cloth, milk, bread or water. An individual's life depends upon society. Thus if society is not healthy, then how can the individual remain healthy? The practice of Prekshadhyana improves individual health and simultaneously nourishes social health also because the reform in individual tendencies promotes the general reform in social tendencies also.

Basically, greed, possession and selfishness render the society sick and unhealthy. Dr.Lohia, a well-known socialist revolutionary leader of India, was a very clear and outspoken personality. During discussions, he made a statement that if his social revolution succeeded, then many people would loose their money and life. However, Mr. Prabhudayal, a businessman who was working for the welfare of the poor people, might loose his money, but he could not loose his life, whereas other businessmen may loose money as well as life. I was stunned to hear this. There was a revelation in what he said. At the onset of the economic and violent revolution, the person who is away from the society and does not know social life finds it very difficult to protect his life. But the one who is working for society will never find his life endangered, for he is fully respected. Therefore, individual mental personalities which create obstacles in promoting social health should be given up totally. Meditation can help to rectify the personality.

Emotional Reformation

Our psyche should be purified so that cruelty does not exist in it. In the absence of cruelty, selfishness will not exist. Selfishness, cruelty and greed are interrelated. If greed is present, then selfishness will exist and cruelty will also be there. The greatest fruit of meditation is to awaken sensitivity in man. If he has no compassion towards others and he does not consider other's grief as his own, then it is obvious that meditation is nothing more than intoxication for him. Intoxication just provides simple peace by suppression of worries without curing them. Peace descends even in the state of sleep but this peace is not meaningful. Meditation is not meant just for peace, it is also meant for reforming emotions. After practicing meditation for an hour, if you start a quarrel, then what is the use of the so-called peace? The end result of Prekshadhyana is to reform the emotions, the tendencies, the habits and one's nature. This reformation obviously enhances the value of meditation.

In a nut shell, if one will practice Prekshadhyana then he will meet success in life. The meditation will provide a harmonious and happy life. There will be birth of a new man and new society. There will be upliftment of individual and society in real sense. Ultimately, this would lead to the welfare of the individual, the family and the society.


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        Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
        1. Acharya
        2. Acharya Mahapragya
        3. Acharya Mahaprajna
        4. Acharya Tulsi
        5. Ahimsa
        6. Ahimsa Yatra
        7. Anger
        8. Body
        9. Dhyan
        10. Fear
        11. Federation of Jain Associations in North America
        12. Greed
        13. JAINA
        14. JAINA Convention
        15. Jain Vishwa Bharati
        16. Jaina
        17. Ladnun
        18. Mahapragya
        19. Meditation
        20. Preksha
        21. Preksha Dhyan
        22. Preksha Meditation
        23. Prekshadhyana
        24. Rajasthan
        25. Sanskrit
        26. Terapanth
        27. Tulsi
        28. Yoga
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