Thursday, July 29, 2010


Parasparopagraho Jivanam (Sanskrit: परस्परोपग्रहो जीवानाम् Parasparopagraho Jīvānām) is a Sanskrit sutra or aphorism of the Jain text of Tattvārthasūtra. It is translated as: Souls render service to one another. It is also translated as: All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence. The etymological root of the phrase Parasparopagraho Jivanam lies in the compound of three Sanskrit words: paraspara (mutual), upagraha (assistance) and jiva (living beings—jivanam is plural of jiva). This sutra has also been accepted as motto of Jainism.

Motto of Jainism

The aphorism Parasparopagraho Jīvānām has been accepted as motto of Jainism. It stresses the philosophy of non-violence and ecological harmony on which the Jain ethics and doctrine—especially the doctrines of Ahmisa and Anekantavada—are based. This motto is inscribed in Devanagari script at the base of the symbol of Jainism wihich was adopted by all sects of Jainism while commerating the 2500th anniversary ofnirvana of Mahavira.

Jain declaration of Nature

The noted Indian Jurist and Jain leader, L. M. Singhvi in his famous “Jain declaration of Nature” notes:
Māhavīra proclaimed a profound truth for all times to come when he said: “One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation disregards his own existence which is entwined with them.” Jain cosmology recognizes the fundamental natural phenomenon of symbiosis or mutual dependence, which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology. It is relevant to recall that the term `ecology’ was coined in the latter half of the nineteenth century from the Greek word oikos, meaning `home’, a place to which one returns. Ecology is the branch of biology which deals with the relations of organisms to their surroundings and to other organisms. The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence) is refreshingly contemporary in its premise and perspective. It defines the scope of modern ecology while extending it further to a more spacious ‘home’. It means that all aspects of nature belong together and are bound in a physical as well as a metaphysical relationship. Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accommodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


People always identify attachment as love. In real, attachment is the cause of bondage and both attachment and aversion binds the soul in the mundane world (Samsar). Because of attachment a soul transmigrates through infinite cycle of birth and death. According to Jain cosmology, time has no beginning or end. Hence, the soul is taking births since infinite time and it will remain in the bondage of karma for infinite time unless it gains right vision. To get release from this tie, one has to identify what is love and what is attachment.

We often see the person shows love to his beloved ones. He says to his wife that he can die for you. And we people call this “love”. Actually, this is attachment. Those who are eager to face truth reflect on the difference between attachment and love. In reflection, they see that attachment always comes with demands or conditions. Imagine, one man is going through a street. He sees a beautiful girl is also going through the street. He doesn’t know her. Now it is natural that he develops attachment toward her. He mentally accepts the girl. Now in the next moment, he sees the same girl talking with her boyfriend. By seeing his heart fills with jealousy and sorrow enters from the next door. Now we can see he himself is the cause of his sorrow. He himself expected a lot and that is the cause of sorrow. He expected for happiness and as a result he got sorrow. The girl even doesn’t know him. In this case she is neutral. There is a beautiful story that tells how attachment can be the cause for one’s spiritual collapse.

It was the time when Lord Mahavir, the last and the 24th Tirthankar of the present era was giving his last sermon. His last sermon lasted for 48 hours. All the listeners forgot their hunger and thirst and they all were dwelt deep and enjoying the Lord’s magnetic words. In that moment, suddenly the Lord said to Indrabhuti Gautam, his chief disciple, “Gautam! You have to go to Brahmin Dev Sharma to initiate him”. And Indrabhuti Gautam proceeded toward Dev Sharma’s house.

Indrabhuti Gautam was Lord Mahavir’s chief disciple and he was possessing four types of knowledge. After approaching Dev Sharma’s home he asked,

“What do you work?”

Dev Sharma: “Farming!”

Gautam: “Is your life endures by farming?”

Dev Sharma: “Yes! We have no problem”

Gautam: “Have you ever thought about your soul?”

Dev Sharma: “No! Not yet.”

Gautam: “See! Lord Mahavir has sent me here to initiate you. Human birth is hard and so rare to achieve. You can purify your soul and attain liberation only in the human form of body. Kindly accept asceticism and come with me, join us. I am sure you will ultimately attain liberation and everlasting happiness.”

Dev Sharma: “Lord! You are right, but I love my wife so much that I can’t live without her even for a moment!”

By saying this, Dev Sharma left Gautam unanswered but when he was coming out of his home, his head crashed with the frame of a door and he died on the spot! Indrabhuti Gautam was shocked by seeing Dev Sharma’s immediate death! When he used his knowledge to see his destiny then whatever he saw was this…

Brahmin Dev Sharma had taken birth in his beloved wife’s hairs as a louse.

This was the result of attachment. And this is the law of Nature. The nature gives you whatever you want or wish. This law is as natural as gravity, as an apple falls or earth affects on the space-time of geometry. You wish for mundane pleasures, the nature binds you with mundane world. You want mundane pleasure, the nature gives you sorrow. Because sorrow is real face of illusory happiness. You expect Liberation, you will attain liberation. But you are still here because you have never expected liberation. You are attached toward your beloved ones and that is why the nature will keep you closer to them but it is not clear that in which form you will remain close to them, just like Brahmin Dev Sharma remained close to his beloved wife but in a form of a louse!

Now let’s see what real love is…

There is a beautiful example of a young monk named Upagupta. It was nighttime during the rainy season, and the path in the forest was covered with a blanket of darkness. Upagupta found his way to a certain tree and sat down to meditate.

It happened at that time that a famous dancer was going through the same forest to meet her beloved. The darkness was so thick that she could not see where she was going. She was still trying to feel the track underfoot when she bumped into Upagupta.

Oh!" she exclaimed. "Who is this human being?"

Just then there was a flash of lightning. In that flash she saw the person she had accidentally come up against.

"Such a beautiful person is sitting there," she thought. "So calm and serene he is. His lovely face and body look as though they were carved out of pure marble. Oh, if I get this man, this will be heaven on earth!"

She was proud of her beauty. She was the most famous dancer of her time and men would flock to her feet. She said, "You are so calm. You have such radiance. Please come with me."

When he did not respond, she shook him and said, "You are meditating on what? See who I am!" Upagupta recognized the dancer. "I know who you are. But this is not the time, though I know that you love me. You go on your way. I will see you one day."

The dancer thought, "He knows I love him, he says. Then why delay?"

So she spoke to him again. "What is the reason for postponing? It will be too late. This is the right time."

He answered, "I know it, but the right time has not come in the right way. I promise you I will meet you. And remember, as you love, I too love. When it is the right time, I will come."

The dancer thought he was not in his right mind. And she went on.

Youth is like lightning, like a shadow, like the flow of water, ever-moving, so swift. Ten years passed. The dancer had overused her energy of youth and was now exhausted. She had not taken care of her body and was now suffering from a skin disease. She was trembling with fever and there were blisters on her skin. Nobody would even look at her, and the king drove her from the town. She was compelled to go out to a deserted village and live in a tiny hovel. There she was wasting away, crying and alone.

The time was right and a man came to see her there. He took her head in his lap. She was shivering with fever as he applied medicine to her sores, mouth, and head.

"Who are you?" she mumbled.

"I am Upagupta. Do you remember? I promised you. I love you. I have come to take care of you."

"Now I don't have anything to offer you," she moaned.

"No," he told her, "at that time you had something to offer which was transient, something which you yourself could not keep. Now you have something real to offer. I love that which is not going to go. Our relation is for that. It is the relation of soul.

"In the glamour and ego of the past years, you did not realize the changing nature of all that--of your body, beauty, wealth, and your circle of partying friends. They were all there because there was that need. They were feeding it and now that need is over. My need is not that. Mine is the need of the soul." (Story courtesy: 12 reflections by Chitrabhanu Maharaj).

The true love is universal. But to understand the true love you have to remain in tune with your soul. The true love is connected by the level of soul. The soul is permanent. It is not connected by the level of bodies, because the body, our relatives etc are transient. Every living being has soul and if you will remain in tune with your soul, you will love every living being of the universe. You will respect every form of life and thus you will never harm any living being. Those who can distinguish what is transient and permanent, he never reacts on hate and love that he receives from the people. He remains neutral in every condition. Like Lord Parshva who remained equal to both Indra and Kamath. Indra praised him and Kamath tortured him. The soul’s upliftment toward emancipation starts from this level of equanimity.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The inspiring story of monk Chand Rudracharya is very popular in the Jain history. Here I have written the story in the biography form.

My name was Rudracharya. But I was very well known as Chand Rudracharya. Do you know why? Because of my angry nature. My nature was very angry that my disciples called me Chand Rudracharya. Chand means “The Angry One”. I could not control my mind and that was my biggest fault. Whenever I see my disciples are making fun or not concentrating in meditation I immediately lost my mind and shouted at them. I realized that in order to attain omniscience one has to conquer his inner passions like anger, greed, deceit and pride but as I said, it was my biggest minus point to control my anger. I was seeking peace but I wasn’t able to diminish my anger. That’s why one day I decided to stay away from my colleague monks and people. Here I got lucky that an event occurred in which I attained permanent bliss.

It was evening time and I was meditating outside village. Then some youths who had set out for fun arrived at me. One young man of them was looking recently married by his dress. These youths, out of mischief, wanted to play some joke on me. Pointing at the newly married boy, other youths said in a jocular tone to me, “Oh monk! This young boy wants to renounce the world! Please grant him initiation!” By hearing this, I realized that they were making fun, so I decided to remain silent. The young boy also said, “Oh monk! Please grant me initiation! I don’t want to lead a mundane life!” I became angry and said loudly, “Who wants to take initiation? Come close to me.” His friends pushed that boy toward me. I quickly hold that boy and started pulled out his hair. On seeing this, the other youths ran away; but that youth did not budge an inch. I think his mind was changed and I initiated him on that spot. After becoming a monk, he said, “Oh monk! Soon my relatives would arrive here. It would be better if we left this place before dark.” I said, “Well! You are right, then go and find the way so we can start the journey.”

The young monk found the suitable way. But it got dark when we started our journey. The path was uneven, strewn with thorns all the way. I got too many jerks that my temper burst out! I said to the young monk, “You fool! Haven’t you seen the way? I told you to find the way but you have chosen the path which is full of bumps and stones. It gives me too much difficulty in walking.” The young monk said, “Oh Monk! It is my fault. Let me carry you on my shoulders. I hope you won’t feel difficulties resting on my shoulders.” He carried me on his shoulders but the path was not plain so I was feeling jerks and my mind once again lost balance. I again shouted on my disciple, “You wretch! Don’t you know how to walk? You can’t walk properly in the way; tell me how would you be able to live a life of a monk? How would you bear hardships in your future?”

Actually I had lost my mind’s balance, because an angry man doesn’t think longer. I forgot that my disciple was walking through uneven path under pitch darkness. He was also carrying me on his shoulders. His feet were bruised with blisters and stained with blood. But I was also in darkness, the darkness of anger! I started hitting him on his head with the stick I was holding in my hand. I said him, “Whenever I will feel bump, I will hit you with this stick. The young monk was in extremely difficult condition. But instead of getting angry on me he started thinking, “How unlucky I am? I cannot give peace to my head monk. He is old in age and he is facing too much problems because of me. Consequent upon his deep repentance, his thinking was purified and soon he attained omniscience. Now he could walk properly even in pitch darkness. I asked him, "How is that? How can you walk so steady now?" The disciple said, “Oh Monk! It is your blessings!” His voice was very calm and sweet. I couldn’t understand what the reason was! I again asked, “Have you gained some spiritual knowledge?” He again said, “Yes Monk! It is your blessings!” I got freeze! I asked him to confirm, “What type of knowledge you have gained?” He said, “I have gained omniscience!”

On hearing this, I quickly jumped off his shoulders and fell at his feet. I started confess in my mind…… “Oh! I insulted an omniscient by hitting him on his head. How great he is! He doesn’t know Jain philosophy; he jokingly got initiated this evening and married this morning! What a power of forgiveness! Just by forgiving me he attained omniscience! On the other hand how fool I am? I know all the scriptures, I am head of too many disciples, and however I am too far from reality! Just because of my angry nature, I remained too far from omniscience! When would the moment come when I will also attain omniscience? When would I get rid of my inner passions? On confessing this I burnt karmas and soon my thoughts also vanished. I then reached beyond mind. My joy was increasing and increasing! How was this joy? There are no words to describe this joy; there are no imaginations that can reach at this level! I reached on the level where no words, thoughts, imaginations can reach! I felt that I was climbing some ladder which was ending to emancipation. Suddenly something unfolded inside me and I became omniscient. The whole universe reflected inside me! I knew all the feelings of every form of living beings in the entire universe! I gained complete knowledge of past, present and future.

I became omniscient is not important. My disciple became omniscient before me is most important and he gifted me omniscience, that is important. He taught me how to overcome your inner passions and how great is the power of forgiveness!

-Rahul Zota (Bhuj-India)