Glimpses of the July-September 2010 Issue

Quotations from scriptures:

Acharya Umasvati, in the ninth chapter of TATTVAARTH SUTRA, discusses the stoppage of influx (SAMVAR) and shedding (NIRJARA) of karmas.  These aspects too involve mutual interactions between soul and matter. There is one more important aspect of these interactions.  Although the animate as well as inanimate environment influence the events in the life of a worldly being a certain extent, the stoppage of influx and shedding of karma occur due to the self-endeavor of the worldly being.

In the present segment, Acharya Umasvati discusses patiently tolerating afflictions for the sake of shedding of karmas.

 

Quotations From Acharya Umaswati's TATTVAARTH SUTRA

The life of an ascetic is exacting.  It imposes hardships and strains.  An ascetic accepts food and drinks according to an uncompromising code. An ascetic endeavors to live in harmony with nature.  He/she keeps few possessions and lives in an ordinary residence with meager facilities and protection from the elements.  It is expected that an ascetic will encounter afflictions of hunger, disease, reviling, and the like. As part of ascetic discipline, a mendicant voluntarily and patiently undergoes painful experiences such as hunger and thirst, heat and cold, and, discomforting posture and uncomfortable repose.  Through such trials and tribulations, the sage becomes conditioned to face unforeseen afflictions, physically and mentally.  When afflictions befall at random, due to past experiences, he/she maintains equanimity and does not falter from the path of spiritual pursuit.  Confronting hardships patiently strengthens the resolve of aspirants to pursue asceticism.  It also leads to stoppage of inflow and shedding of karmas.

Link to Complete Article

 

 

From Religious Books:

An interesting article by an eminent scholar of philosophy and religion, presenting some concepts of western philosophy related to Jainism.

 

Bacon And Scientific Method: An Aspect Of European Thought

By Prof. A. Chakravarti

 

This elimination of consciousness, completely, from the field of research ultimately resulted in scientific reconstruction of nature as a huge mechanical system in which the law of causation was the only principle of operation.  In this mechanical system all events are guided by necessary causal conditions. There is no scope of intellectual interference either to modify or to suppress the occurrence of natural events according to the desires of man. The old thought which entertained the possibility of interference with the natural events by supernatural agencies was completely discredited as a pure mythology having no place in the realm of nature, whose constitution is revealed to the student of science.

 

[According to Jainism, all events and transformations in nature follow the intrinsic attributes of the entities involved without the interference of a human or superhuman entity.        - DCJ]

Link to Complete Article

 

 

A Gem From July 1998 issue:

 

In this article, Shri Abhaya Prakash Jain points out that significant changes have

occurred in people's thinking on account of scientific and technological advances.

 

Revolutionary Thinking: Who Should Take the Lead?

By Shri Abhaya Prakash Jain

Today, the spectacular advances of modern science have brought the human intellect to such a level that many questions have arisen concerning our accepted beliefs. Simultaneously, social ills such as hatred, lack of trust, zeal for religion beset with blind faith, sectarianism, suspicion, duress, lack of faith (in morality), and the tendency to raise questions and concerns, have generated an unusual sense of agitation and mental tension in the lives of individuals. Even some Jain thinkers of today are promoting disregard of the moral principles and neglect of the code of conduct. Instead of human decency, cooperation and the theory of karma, ineffectual and unhealthy customs and practices embracing extreme material pleasures, are escalating.

Link to Complete Article

 

 

True Stories:

Glimpses of the life of two individuals who followed the spirit of Jainism.

 

Tyaagi Babba And Mithaini Bau

Once some individuals accused a Jain pundit (Jain school teacher) of offensive conduct.  The assembly of Jains (PANCHAAYAT) investigated the matter but it was not possible to reach any decision. TYAAGI BABBA suggested that the Jain community should graciously give the pundit a certificate of appreciation for his services and let him go without any mark on his character.  Everybody agreed.  That was the sensible way to resolve the controversy without any mental violence.

The head of the dacoits asked my grandmother to give him all her ornaments and money.  She did not have any fear.  She was not angry.  She had little possessiveness.  She remained calm and quiet, took off all her ornaments and placed them in front of the dacoit. She was not concerned about her well-being and had no attachment to the ornaments.  The dacoits were greatly impressed by her mannerism and conduct.  Their head returned all the ornaments, touched her feet as a mark of respect and left.

Link to Complete Article

 

 

Equanimity and meditations are not rituals – they are meant for understanding and practicing the true spirit of religion:

 

Equanimity (SAAMAAYIK) and Meditation (DHYAAN)

By Prof. Sagar Mal Jain

In its general sense the word SAAMAAYIK means a particular religious practice through which one can attain equanimity of mind.  It is end as well as means in itself.  As a means it is a practice for attaining equanimity while as an end it is the state in which self is completely free from the flickering of alternative desires and wishes as well as excitements and emotional disorders.  It is the state of self-absorption or reposing in one's own self.

Link to Complete Article

 

 

Observations & Views:

Our readers are expected to enjoy the thought-provoking concepts presented in the following items:

 

Contentment Is Bliss

 

How can these two concepts, affectionate regard and mutual assistance, be reconciled?  Well, the fact is that possessiveness (just like violence) cannot be avoided completely.  We can only minimize it so as to reduce the impact of our activities on our animate and inanimate environment.  Instead of inordinate pursuit of materialism, we should limit our desires and be content with what we need, and enjoy the bliss of contentment.  We should also realize that others may see things differently and are free to make their choices.

 

Voices Of Reason In Contemporary Society

 

Jainism impels us to consider the overall impact of our actions on humanity and the environment. This is real compassion (JEEV DAYA). May be the Jains all over the world will learn from Mr. Rooney's remarks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Hidden Faces of Hunger Despite Economic Boom

 

Both articles list the names of various charitable groups helping to deal with the problem. Some of them are nationwide organizations. Their approach is to treat the symptoms and not the root causes of the problem. Treating the symptoms through making appeals for donations of various kinds is commendable. However, is it not necessary to pay attention to the root causes of the problem - widening gap between the rich and poor fueled by rampant greed which, in the name of prosperity, totally disregards the impact of some normal business practices on individuals and families?                  

Some people, who do not even think about the overall impact of their personal and business activities on other people and on the environment, seem to clear their conscience by indulging in charity by donating money and material themselves, and/or by raising funds for various organizations.

Link to Complete Article

 

 

 

From the Jain Study Circle:

 

Readers Comments

Jayant Sanghvi (by email):

Without going through the entire April-June 2010 issue of the Jain Study Circular, I was very excited and extremely happy to see the article “Selections From Acharya Umasvati’s TATTVAARTH SUTRA”.  It presents a discussion of means of stoppage of karmic influx.  The discussion of the fourteen stages of spiritual development (GUNASTHAAN) and elimination of causes of karmic influx in various stages is excellent and easy to understand.  The presentation has utmost clarity.  This is extremely useful for our young generation as well as adults and senior citizens. No words are enough to express my gratitude!   Keep up the good work of bringing Jain scriptural knowledge to modern Jains.   Regards to the editorial advisors.

 

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