1. Principle of AHIMSA (Non-Violence) - Against Accumulation of Weapons with a goal to rule the world / Expansionist attitude………
Ahimsa is abstinence from any form Himsa i.e., injury or violence to any living beings. One of the biggest malice human race is facing today is an unchecked desire to become the superpower of the world and to prove supremacy over every living being in the world. This burning desire has given rise to a mad race for accumulation of arms and weapons at any cost. This is creating a war like situation amongst nations, amongst religions, amongst communities and amongst otherwise peaceful human race. The nuclear weapons may not be used against one another but is capable to destroy the entire mankind. Jainism explains that this desire to originate from insecurity within us and results in the accumulation of weapons & arms.
As humans, it is our pious duty to evoke a sense of security among fellow beings. In Sutrakritanga, it is clearly written that there is nothing higher than the sense of security which a human being can give to every living being and this is only possible by practicing the philosophy of “Live and let Live” - the main pillar of Ahimsa.
The principle goes on to state that real enemy is within oneself and not outside. They expound the idea of ARIHANT (“ARI” means enemy & “HUNT” means that kills). The enemies of soul are, “raga”, “dwesha’ (like mental affection to anger, sorrow, joy, love, etc) & Ahankar (“me, the best”) & if one can conquer them, he will achieve the path of SALVATION.
Now, all over the world, class- conflicts are becoming furious day by day, thus disturbing the peace and harmony of human society. The Acharyas have always held that the secret of living is mutual co-operation and not the conflicts. It is only through mutual faith, co-operation and unity that can pave the way to prosperity and peace of mankind.
2. Principle of Aparigrha: Limiting One’s Needs – Resulting in Economic Inequality, Materialistic Consumer Culture
Economic in-equality and gap between rich and poor are the two big curses of our age. It disturbs our social harmony and causes class-conflicts and wars. The main cause of this socio-economic inequality is the human greed to hoard much more than necessary. Accumulation of wealth on the one side and the lust for worldly enjoyment on the other are responsible for the emergence of present day materialistic consumer culture. Even at the cost of health and happiness, the mankind is madly after this. The vast differences in material possessions as well as in the modes of consumption have divided the human race into two categories of ‘HAVEs, and ‘HAVE NOTs’. At the dawn of human history these existed undoubtedly but never before, the vices of jealousy and hatred were as alarming as they are today.
Wealth may be used to lead a good life and not a destination. In Uttaradhyayana Sutra it has been rightly said "Wealth will not protect a careless man in this world and the next”. The utility of wealth, is a means to ensure the welfare of society, without getting attached to it. It is the pious duty of a house-holder is to fix a limit to his possessions based on his needs and to use the extra money for the service of living beings. It is through the observation of this vow of Aparigraha, that we can restore peace and harmony in human society and eradicate economic inequality and class conflicts.
The recent spread of Corona virus in the entire world has shown the difference – “living for money or leave money for living”? And the world is shut down for living, foregoing the money.
3. Principle of Anekantvad – Acceptance of Existence of Other Faiths - Problem of Conflicts in Ideologies and Faiths leading to Extremism & Fundamentalism……….
The principles of Jainism holds that reality is never just one-sided. It can be looked at and understood from diverse view-points or angles if one tries to dig deeper. One who follows his own convictions, has no right to discard the other views. The theory of Anekantavada emphasises that all the FAITHs try to find the TRUTH and owing to this, we should have regard for other ideologies and FAITHS. The Anekantvad forbids to be dogmatic and one-sidedness in our approach. The spirit of Anekantavad is very much necessary in today’s society, especially now, when conflicting ideologies are trying to assert supremacy aggressively by mis-interpreting the teaching of any particular FATIH. Anekantavad brings the spirit of intellectual and social tolerance.
For the present-day society what is awfully needed is the virtue of tolerance for everyone to co-exist and practice their beliefs peacefully.
The saints have tried all the times to maintain the harmony in different religious-faiths and tried to avoid religious conflicts. The basic problems of present society are mental tensions, conflicts of ideologies and use of terror to impose forcibly one’s FAITH on others. The philosophy has tried to solve these problems of the mankind through the basic tenets of non-violence (Ahimsa) and non-absolutism (Anekanta). If mankind observes these principles, peace and harmony can certainly rule the world.
For Acharyas unity is 'unity in diversity'. They maintain that every race, every religion and every culture has full right to co-exist, with all its beliefs and peculiarities and at the same time, it is their pious duty to work for the welfare of the whole humanity and be prepared to sacrifice one’s own interest in the larger interest of humanity.
4. Problem of the Preservation of Ecological Equilibrium. Rampant Abusee of Nature, Mindless Growth, Air & Water Pollution, Bush Fires, Killing of Water Bodies, Melting of Glaciers, Man Made Life Style Diseases………
Systematic ecological imbalance or destruction for human greed and mindless notion of growth is a problem of our age and for coming generations. Only a half century back, we could not even think of it. But today every-one is aware that ecological imbalance is directly threating the very survival of human race which undoubtedly the mother nature that includes the preservation of environment, animal and plant-life as well. The principles presents various solutions of this ecological issues through its theory of non-violence. Jains hold that the mother earth, open sky, clean air, water, vegetation not only belongs to the humans but also to the animals and all living beings. The act to pollute the air and water, to disturb, to hurt and to destroy the mother nature means a sinful act. As a rule, the industries that pollute air and water and lead to the violence of animal and plant-life are not permitted. Manure to be used to maintain fertility of land instead of the pesticides in the agriculture. As a matter of fact, pesticides not only kills the insects but also pollutes the atmosphere as well as poisoning the produce for human consumption.
The principles as answer to the worldy woes…
• Go back to nature, it has given us many warnings in forms of devastating earthquakes, floods, Tsunamis, cyclones, in last 100 years, starting from 1st world war - Cholera, Plaque, small pox, Ebola, Influenza, SARS, etc. and the last but not least the latest one Corona (COVID-19) killing hundreds of thousands of humans, not to speak of other living beings that are disregarded at our own peril.
• Preserve Ecological balance or face Bush fires, de-forestation, melting glaciers, rising sea levels-by one estimate low lying areas like California, Mumbai will be under water in 50 years– killing millions of humans, animals, vegetation, causing weakening and erosion of Planet Earth.
• Right kind of eating habits, peaceful life, limitation of needs, wealth creation by right means & use of excess for the benefit of man kind - mad rush of materiality, increase in stress levels, unlimited growth and the greed – causing life style diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, mental disorders like alzimers, parkinsions, heart attacks at young age. Many have now rejected killing of animals for food & turned vegans.
• Non-violence, fearlessness & “Jiyo aur Jeene Do” – abandon mad rush of weapons, particularly nuclear ones instead of self destruction and use the funds for betterment of mankind.
• Anekantwad – get rid of fundamentalism, acts of terrorism, respect all FAITHS.
• Michhami Dukkadam– Last but not the least, the most important legacy and beautiful teaching is to forgive all the living beings of the universe and to seek forgiveness for any harm caused by any act or deed to all living beings, with complete unity of mind, body and soul - in such a way that there is no animosity towards anybody. There is only and only friendship and love for all living beings. This great philosophy is beautifully captured in the below verse.
LORD MAHAVEER preached love, compassion, respect and well-being for all living beings “SARVE JANAHA SUKHINO BHAVANTU”.