Oh! Forgiving Gurudev, I am giving up all my wrongful acts with all my strength and bow down to you with my head near to your feet.
The festival for asking forgiveness and to forgive.
The festival of celebrating life with a different perspective.
The festival of coming together and abiding.
The festival to follow and uphold the tenfold path of
1. KSHAMA (Forbearance)
2. MARDAV (Modesty)
3. AARJAV (Straightforwardness)
4. SATYA (Truth)
5. SHAUCH (Purity)
6. SANYAM (Restraint)
7. TAP (Austerity)
8. TYAGA (Renunciation)
9. AKINCHANYA (Non-attachment)
10. BRAHMACHARYA (Celibacy)
Before treading on this Ten-fold path, let me share with my non- Jain readers, that Jainism is one of the most scientific way of living and thinking. The way of worship is the same, except for the Sthanakvasi fold of the Shwetambar sect, that is everyone follows Idol worship.
Jainism, itself is divided into two big sects, the Shwetambar’s (the ones whose sadhus clad in white) and Digambar’s (the ones whose clothes are the sky, ie their sadhus accept and live a life without clothes). Shwetambar’s are further divided into 2 folds, the Deravasis (one who go to temples ie follow Idol worship) and the Sthanakvasis, as already mentioned before (one who do not go to temples and do not believe in Idol worship). Even with these outward differences, the thought of Jainism is followed uniformly in any part of the world. It is the uniqueness of the thought process in India, that even after having different ways of worship, we all are one.
Secondly, my readers might know Lord Mahaveer as the one who established Jainism. Again that’s not the complete information. Mahaveer is the 24th Teerthankar belonging to lineage of Rishabhdev or Adinath, as He is called, being the first. A Teerthankar is the one whose soul is sublime and one who has compassion towards all living beings. He is the realised one. And Jainism believes that anyone and everyone can transform his life to become the sublime self. All the 24 Teerthankars command the same devotion as any one of them.
I have decided not to go into the historical part of Jainism nor it’s cultural impact. I want to talk about the Ten-fold path propagated by these 24 men, for which the following eight days/ten days are to be celebrated. I said it’s a celebration of life because during these days one needs to sit back and brood over the above virtues and think about how to imbibe them into our life. All the 10 virtues mentioned above are equal with none more important or less important. All are equally important. We will talk about the first three today and during the course of 8 days, will talk about others, as and when the Lord permits.
1. KSHAMA (Forbearance) – My readers must have read the small prayer at the starting of the blog. It asks for forgiveness. Forgiveness is asked by bowing one’s head onto the feet of the person who is expected to forgive. As a mortal with lots of ego it is difficult for a person to bow down onto the feet of the person whom we have wronged. So we begin by bowing down to our Guru, the Teacher. If this becomes our routine, the person sheds all his inhibitions and attachment to self and will be brave enough to ask for forgiveness from the person whom he has wronged. And slowly we all can ask for forgiveness from all the creatures in the world. He is Mahaveer. This is what is Samyak Darshan. (Right Belief).
Forgiveness is like the oil to the machine, it helps us live in harmony with our fellow beings. Forgiveness begins with self. One should learn to forgive oneself. We all are sometimes too tough with ourselves. It is necessary in today’s world, but at the same time we need to be forgiving ourselves for our own spiritual development. We may be wrong in our way of living and thinking, but the day we realise we have been wrong, we need to forgive ourselves and move ahead in life. Do learn from our mistakes so that we do not repeat them, but forgive oneself too.
Forgiveness is the pain we inflict upon ourselves so that we may learn from it and brighten our lives with better karma. People have a wrong notion about forgiveness. They feel that it means to forgive others. But here the Jain darshan guides us to forgive oneself. It is only then, one can realise his true self. Forgiveness (Kshama Dharm) teaches ones soul to correct one’s identify oneself by encouraging to contemplate its true nature and hence achieve state of right belief (Samyak Darshan).
2. MARDAV (Modesty) – Humility is the diamond amongst the virtues. It is humility that makes great people, great. They never boast of their greatness nor talk about it or even give a hint about it. Sometimes our looks, money, social status, the virtue of forgiveness may make us a little / lot self-centered. Hence Kshama is followed by Mardav. There should be modesty in life after forgiveness. People believe in themselves being superior to others. We all come across such people in our lives. We might be like them too. We measure everything by temporary material objects. But this dents our life in the most dangerous way and makes our penance full of ‘Rajas’ gun. So we need to be very alert about this. The Paryushan days remind us of Humility.
All souls are born equal. No one is superior nor inferior. This is the true nature of our soul, every soul. Each soul is born divine. And the most important aspect is that every soul has a potential within to liberate itself. This belief will lead us to Mardav.
3. AARJAV (Straightforwardness) – People are deceitful. They deceive others and think that they are something great. But in doing so, they are deceiving themselves. One thinks different, speaks different and acts different. Our scriptures tells us to stay away from such people. Deceitful people loose the trust of others and they are considered less credible. Such people are a curse to the society as a whole. Whereas straightforwardness makes a person trustworthy. Such straightforward people are considered to be reliable and slowly they win the hearts of the people around them.
A straightforward person realises that the countless qualities with a being are an instrument to attain his final destination. Again the thoughts, the karma, are different from the realisation of self. So Arjav helps the person to tread on the path of realisation.
My dear readers, it’s a path we have got due to our karma’s of last lives and we need to make everything of this opportunity that we have got. We are on the path of Jin. On the path of Arihant. On the path of Siddh and Upadhyay. Let us all together decide to stick to this path and abide to live by the teachings of the Teerthankars. Then we can become true Jains.
Jainam Jayatu Shashnam!