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Purushartha Sidhyupaya

  The great saint Amrita Chandra Sűrĩ no doubt recommends the highest full vows of a saint to a Right Believer because as a rule one should always aim at the highest. If however one’s capacity dose not permit him to scale so high, he may proceed on the path of progress by a graduated course of self-discipline, the layman’s path, which is also divided into eleven degrees, graduated according to the increasing capacities of the disciple, the Shrâvaka. There are six daily duties prescribed for a Shrâvaka, the performance of which is of considerable help in spiritual advancement towards the higher discipline of a saint. The six duties are, the worship of the perfect ones, the Arhats; attendance upon spiritual leaders; study of the sacred scriptures; meditation once, twice or three times a day in calm, quiet place; temperance in eating, drinking, bodily covering, and daily engagements; and charity. Charity according to Jaina teachings comprises in giving food and medicine to those who need them, imparting knowledge to the ignorant, and affording protection to all living beings. This book Purushârtha Siddhyupâya is not only a discourse on the importance of Ahimsâ as a basic rule of conduct to be universally adopted by all, but is sufficient to solve all problems which agitate man’s mind, viz. what substance the universe is composed of, what are the natural qualities and functions of each of these substances, what is life, why dose it transmigrate, how can it attain the highest purity and perfection?

   After the usually preliminary salutation, the author lays down the basic rule of universal application, which helps in the complete understanding of things, namely that everything has to be looked at from two points of view, the real and the practical standpoint. Then soul or life is defined, and thereafter the mutual action and re-action between life and non-life, Jiva and Ajiva, Purusha and Prakriti, Âtmâ and Karma.

   The three Jewels of Jaina Philosophy Right Belief, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct are then lectured upon. Himsâ is described in great detail, and its various implications and effects discussed at length. The Real and Practical Right Conduct is then discussed, and it is shown that the principle of Ahimsâ underlies all meritorious actions, and all efforts for the acquisition of the goal of life – Divinity.

   This treatise treats of Ahimsâ in all its varying aspects. It proves to demonstration that all evil thoughts, all evil acts, every immorality, and every sin and crime is covered by the term Himsâ. Even where no harm is caused to another by such thought, intention, word or act, the purity of the soul of the persons who entertain such thought, utter such word, or commit such act is certainly injured, and that in itself is Himsâ. As such it must be avoided, just like the crime of suicide. Causing harm to another may possibly be justified or extenuated in particular circumstances, but voluntarily causing injury to the self has no justification or extenuation. The book lays down a clear method, a royal road, a practical path. The path is simple, easy, straight, and not winding, mazy, steep, narrow or strait. It would be a pleasure to follow it. A person who has not taken to a course of physical exercise, is staggered at the mention of a Sandow’s performances and feels skeptic on hearing what a Râm Mũrti can achieve. He would not believe unless he saw, that a four-cylinder car in full action can be stopped from moving by the unaided physical resistance of a mere man. It is difficult to fix limits to the development of bodily strength, and the expansion of spiritual power is only limited by space and substance. The process of expansion may seem difficult, arduous, hard, impracticable to one from a distance, but when one has entered upon the practice of discipline, there is for him an ever-increasing joy in the consciousness of ever-increasing power and knowledge, and every effort makes the succeeding attempt more pleasant and joyful.

   A Jain ascetic is not an idle fanatic who mortifies his body and soils his soul. He lives a life of extreme activity and joy. His asceticism has a fascinating charm, and what seems a torture of the body to the ignorant is a delicious enjoyment of constantly increasing power and knowledge.

   The joys of Yoga, of communion with the Highest, are only known to those who have experienced them. They are above all earthly pleasures. They lead to heavenly happiness, and ultimately to the realisation, the attainment of Godhood, where the soul is identified with limitless, perfect, direct, complete knowledge of all that is, that was and that shall be, where it is supremely self-satisfied, omniscient and omniscient, for ever and ever, in the unending eternity of time and space.  


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