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As You See, So Is The World

by Achrya Mahaprajna


People are practising different faiths according to their concept of religion. Still there is immorality, dishonesty and chaos in our society. Generally people are practising orthodox and meaningless rituals, which are contributing towards an unhealthy and unethical outlook. A materialistic outlook needs to be seriously contemplated upon. A greater awareness has to be inculcated among the masses about the irreversible aspect of old age, disease and death, so that impulses and material cravings of the people are transformed into the desire for salvation and to live creatively, constructively, morally and spiritually.

In spite of so many religious sects and cults in India, why is there so much of immorality and dishonesty? This question has been raised several times and needs to be seriously addressed. Where religion is practised, immorality should not exist and where immorality is prospering, religion does not exist. They cannot co-exist. They cannot move concurrently. Is this not a matter of concern for a religious person? Definitely a spiritual person is aggrieved to witness the present scenario of the world. Though spirituality and religion belong to each other, however, they begin to part company as soon as religion degenerates into ritualism and obscurantism. The goal of spirituality is social and personal tranxsformation. And Spirituality alone has the resources appropriate for it, whereas religion tends to be status quoist. "Do religions have and vigour today?" This burning question needs to be addressed urgently. It may not, however, appeal to the people pursuing a conservative and ritualistic religion. Before religion, faith is generated and before faith, impulse is evolved. Therefore the sequence of development is impulse, faith and religion.

We think of religion, but before that we should think about faith, and prior to that we should have activity. Unless water has activity, it will not move ahead, its activity will not move along waves, then it has to be supported and lifted to enable it to move forcefully. Everybody has activity. Activity is known as passion in the language of work ethics (Karma Sastra) and emotion in the language of psychology. No one in the world can sustain himself without activity. As long as an impulse continues to be pronounced and dominant, religion and faith cannot be thought about. Impulse remains activated as long as delusion is predominant. Delusion and impulse go concurrently; wherever delusion in prevalent, and impulses pervade and vice versa. That is why man suffers from so many problems and still continues doing the same thing solely because he is living in deep delusion and not aware of reality.

We generally move with worldly rules. None of the acts can be explained by a single rule independently. You have to use many universal laws to explain each incident. There is one universal rule of destiny. Many incidents can be explained with the law of destiny. Sometimes without any reasoning and rationale, things occur from destiny. Even though delusion may be profound, destiny rules sometimes clouding the delusion and a change takes place, i.e., impulse is transformed into the desire for salvation. The activity has to be there. The force of activity governs the whole life, whether in the form of desire for salvation or the mere activity of materialism. As long as life is there, some kind of activity will continue. The absence of activity will happen only when you leave this body. Tendencies, actions and activity are part and parcel of a body. Generally, activities do not reduce, in case they retard, then man become lethargic. Perhaps nobody wants to be lazy, everybody wants to be active, vibrant and vigorous. For that matter, activity is mandatory.

Acharya shree Tulsi moves very fast, he does not like anyone moving slowly. He teaches them to move actively. You have to accelerate in order to reach the destination. Unless there is an activeness, sportiveness, you can never attain your goal in life. Basically there are two things associated with activity, either it is an impulse or it is a will to achieve salvation. If the activity is associated with impulse then you will certainly be misled and delusion will intensify. Activity accompanied by desire of salvation will wipe out the delusion and the will to liberation will thrive. Man has been suffering from physical, mental and emotional distress since time immemorial. Budhhism and Jainism explained the doctrine of sadism. Both the schools of philosophy advocated the principle that the world is full of agonies. On being asked, "What is agony?" they said, "The fourfold agonies of life are birth, old age, disease and death." These agonies apply to all without exceptions. Other things of life may have exceptions. Some people possess wealth, some live with prosperity and others live with adversity, this is all possible. Many people are gifted with fulfilment and remain fulfilled till their death. Exceptions are possible, but old age, disease and death have no exceptions. Everybody becomes old, faces some sort of sickness and dies one day. Life has already happened and death is going to happen. Old age and disease exist in between. In the wake of realisation of agonies due to old age, disease and death, the impulse transforms into desire for liberation (salvation). Therefore, the more the maturity gained out of the fourfold miseries of life, the more the desire for salvation intensifies accordingly.

The Samkhya philosophy elucidates three kinds of agonies, namely, physical mental and spiritual. When man is distressed by these three agonies then delusion is shattered and the desire for salvation grows in him. The intense agony shatters the delusion and intensifies a desire to be free from these agonies. A new will is born, which could never come up owing to the intense gravity of the prevailing delusion. The sooner the delusion is slightly shaken, it will generate a new will for liberation. When the delusion is shattered then the outlook towards life changes totally, transforming man. In fact, man does not realise distress and agony in his life. Most of the time, he simply goes on suffering. Due to deep slumber, he does not realise the agony of life. Once a pig was asked if it wished to change its birth. It refused and said, "Let me be here only. I am happy and contented. I have my wife, children and family here. How can I go to another birth leaving all of them here?" Even pigs and dogs do not wish to change their births, as they are under a deep delusion or maya.

The delusion is so intense in man that he goes on suffering continuously but never intends to break this vicious circle of maya. This situation is utterly peculiar and needs immediate intervention and attention. As long as the delusion is not shattered, till then the craving for salvation does not crop up. Our thrust should be to awaken the will for liberation (salvation). Man gets addicted to liquor and cannot abandon it. He definitely cannot give up any bad habit unless the will to fight the evil crops up in him. On developing a genuine desire from within, he will be able to give up the vice.

The question of changing conduct is not so difficult as compared to changing one's outlook. When one's outlook is changed, the conduct is ameliorated on its own, so we have to strive to change our outlook. When our outlook and heart change simultaneously, then the whole world is changed. The adage is,' "As you see, so is the world" (sansara).

As told to Lalit Garg
 
Achrya Mahaprajna, the tenth and the oldest living Head of the Jain Swetamber Terapanth sect, is a learned teacher, a realized soul and mystic. A profound yogi, a saintly ascetic and a distinguished scholar, the Achrya Mahaprajna is also a prolific writer. He has authored about 200 books, many of which are considered classic. Preksha Dhyan, a proven scientific mediation system to transform and awaken the self, and the Science of Living, a value oriented educational programme, are two of his invaluable contributions to human regeneration. His enrichment of Indian cultural heritage, specially the incisive analysis of ahimsa, has earned him universal acclaim


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