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Part 6: Jain Reform Movement

Srimad Rajacandra

Biographical Sketch

Rajacandra was born in 1867 A.D. to Ravjibhai and Devabai of Vavania in Morbi. His grandfather was a devout Krishna worshipper and his mother came from a Jaina family. This blend of two religions in Srimad’s life played an important role. He had four sisters and one brother. Srimad’s paternal grandfather was a major influence on him. In his autobiography ‘Samutchaya Vayacharya’, which he wrote at the age of twenty-two he says that he was “deeply dyed in the more colorful mode of worship of Krishna cult”[1]. He listened eagerly to the verses consecrating the image of lord Krishna as also to the lore of various adventures and miracles attributed to him in the different avataras. This had a profound effect on young Rajacandra. He even mentions his having been formally initiated while he was yet a boy of less than ten, by a Sadhu named Ramadasji. In SamutchayaVayacharya, however he mentions this only as a phase which he later was to outgrow.

He is said to have had astonishing powers of intelligence and memory. At the age of seven he started going to school and it barely took him a month to master the numerals. At the age of seven, when he saw his neighbor being cremated, he obtained jatismarana jnana (knowledge recollecting his past births). By the time he was eight years old he is known to have composed some five thousand lines of verses.

In this youth he earned the reputation of being a Satavadhani (one who can attend to a hundred different things at once). He even gave public performances of these rare feats in Bombay in 1886-87. The ‘Times of India’ on 24th January 1887 published an article it. In his 20th year, he renounced these powers, deeming them as obstacles to his spiritual progress.

He never shirked any of his responsibilities or duties. On the contrary, he took utmost care in performing them. Even in business, he could have attained the highest positions, but he declined any such opportunities.

Srimad once had an occasion to read Pratikramana sutra and other books of the jainas. He writes, “… and so it happened that I came to cultivate a liking for this while at the same time retaining a similar feeling for the other one. Gradually this contact deepened. It was about this time that the Kanthi (thread) got snapped and I never wore it again”[2]. The number of books, which he has deeply studied and has referred to in his writings, is about 125. These books belong to different faiths and systems of Indian philosophy and spirituality. They are in different languages like Ardhamagadhi, Sauraseni, Apabhramsa, Sanskrit, Gujarati, and Hindi etc.

Exposition of Srimad’s Views

(A) As a Critique of Intellectualistic and Ritualistic Religion

In the present age, some aspirants try to find their salvation through mere observances of rites and some others through dry intellectual knowledge (suska jnana). Merely following the rituals and overlooking their spiritual significance, the ritualists denounce the path of knowledge as they hold that practicing rituals alone is sufficient. This is so because the traditional Jainism holds that once the knowledge obscuring karmas are shed off through the 12 forms of nirjara one does not feel the need to aspire for Samyag jnana of which Srimad was critical.

He therefore says that “Samyag darsana is necessary to attain samyag jnana”. Therefore according to Srimad any action and mere knowledge devoid of samyag darsana is not worthy to follow. Mere external kriyas or dry intellectualism leads to the development of egoistic attitude. Therefore in terms of Srimad Rajacandra, self effort and intellectual understanding are both insufficient for the self- realization.

“Besides a religious bigot mistakes the spiritual descriptions of the size etc of the body of the Jina and also those of the gorgeous decorations of the assembly halls where the Jina held congregations for the real descriptions of the Jina himself and his intelligence is so much engrossed in these externals that he neither knows the real nature of the Jina nor does he make sincere effort to comprehend it. A bigot, not knowing the metaphysical meaning of the scriptural descriptions of heaven and hell, take them as revealed knowledge. He also thinks that salvation can only come to him by his staunch adherence to his own religious opinion and adopted dress.”[3]

The fanatic observes a vow and performs penance more with a view to earn respect from others and to be praised as a highly devout man than for the purpose of self-purification. Some other people may formally read scriptures and articulate descriptions of the nature of the self in words, yet they do not make any effort to realize the truth described in the scriptures in his own life. Commandingly, he repeats like a parrot that the self is ever young, immortal and pure, and never bound, hence there is no question of its freedom. He, therefore, feels that he need not go to any guru to save his soul nor does he need to read spiritual scriptures or be afraid of any behaviour, either good or bad, since a naturally pure self can neither be elevated in status by good deeds nor be degenerated by bad deeds. With such intellectual decisions, such people reject all means of self-improvement and behave whimsically and immorally. Thus Samyag darsana, samyag jnana and caritra are difficult to attain. There is no self-experience (anubhuti) which Srimad is emphasizing. Srimad emphasizes that both action and intellectual knowledge are barren without self-experience (anubhuti)

The pedantic theorist described above is also to be rejected as a bigot. As between him and the mechanical ritualist the common point is that both insist that their stand is correct and that they would not leave it. Both feel that purely by their methods alone can truth be realized. None of them is fit to be a seeker of liberation. Both run after pride and personal fame and so they run in radically contrasting directions. Instead of becoming detached they are attached to their personal beliefs and egoistic attitude.

(B) Srimad’s Interpretation of Dusama Kala

Srimad considers the traditional understanding of the Dusama kala. Srimad has not written about the 12 Aras of the time cycle, yet he has referred to the Dusama kala.

It is said in the ‘Jambudweep Prajnapati’ that there is no moksa in the present times. Srimad brings out the real significance of this view. He points out that “the possibility of moksa is understood in the sense of abolishing the mithyatva. But, complete moksa, as disembodiment is not possible at present times. He also holds that complete Kevala jnana is not possible but it does not mean that samyaktva is not possible in the present times.”[4]

Srimad’s explanation of the present Dusama kala is that, there are very few persons, who have realized the soul. However, spiritual accomplishments are possible in this era too, according to ancient enlightened persons. No doubt there is scarcity of sadguru. Even if there are a few persons who are qualified to become sadguru, it is very difficult, firstly, to recognize them as sadguru, and secondly, to follow their commands. In this era things like genuine urge, simplicity of mind, non-attachment, and satsanga are also very rare and that is also the reason why this era is called Dusama. In his letter No. 453, he says that the only way to be successful in sadhana is to worship and be a devotee of a pious person. In his letter No. 831, he says, “that even in this era, if the aspirant is unshakably firm in his determination and is mentally engrossed in the observance of the commands of a sadguru and practices valorously right knowledge, faith and conduct, he is entitled to the path of highest peace.”[5] On the basis of these writings one can extract the concept of samyaktva according to Srimad.

(C) Sadguru, Satsanga, Bhakti

In the order of Panca Parmesthi, Arihant and Siddha are the supreme and those who have attained liberation. Therefore the aim of the sadhus, upadhyayas and acaryas is to attain the supreme state. Even though they may have highest of the scriptural knowledge, they may be less self – enlightened. They are in the four-fold samgha, the part of organized institutional religion. Even though they guide people through their discourses, Srimad Rajacandra has seen the lacuna in such a way of guidance. Since they are ordained in a particular institution they have to follow the set of prescribed rules. They solely follow the external kriyas mentioned in the agamas. The time required for sadhana is wasted in mere performance of external kriyas. They cannot guide people properly about spiritual development due to their inability to grasp the spiritual level of the people. Rajacandra, therefore stresses the need of a sadguru or satpurusa, to whom an individual can completely devote themselves. The sadguru is a real self-enlightened person who is far away from external rituals, passions, completely engrossed in self. At no moment he is away from the self. Such a satpurusa can thus guide the person rightly on the spiritual ladder.

Srimad laid very much importance on Sadguru. According to him, the teacher who is sanctimonious and enlightened, and has self-experience, is like God himself and devotion to him is devotion to God. Hence, the individual who has found such a teacher should totally surrender to him and obey all his commands. The study of scriptures also should be done under the guidance of such a teacher; otherwise a person is likely to be misguided.

An aspirant who aims at attaining liberation has to follow the right knowledge, faith and conduct. Rajacandra says that spiritual knowledge consists of realizing with the guidance of the preachings of a pious teacher – (a) that soul is different from body; (b) that it has the inherent quality of knowledge; and (c) that it is indestructible. Here what he tries to clarify is that in the process of acquiring right knowledge a teacher plays an important and significant role.

In part 3 of upadesa chaya, Srimad says that respectful surrender and submission to a pious teacher is itself samyaktva, because he is a person who teaches and makes us understand what is real god (Sat – Devata) and real teacher (Sat – Guru). Samyaktva or Samkita can be divided into two types. First is practical (Vyavahara) samkita, which means an aspirant listens to a pious teacher’s preaching, broods over them and tries to practice, obey and experience them. Second type is spiritual samkita or samyaktva, on acquisition of which one comes to recognize one’s self. Such samyaktva brings internal transformation in an aspirant.

In his book ‘Moksa Mala he has stressed on the importance of satpurusa and his satsanga. Rajacandra explains that good company helps the person to be free from passions etc. and helps to lead him to the path of self-realization. Rajacandra seems to be right in saying that only an experienced person can be forceful in giving explanations to us, which are right. Here Srimad was really right in asking people to follow the right teacher. Then only his discourse affects the person and makes him stable in his thoughts. He also stresses on meditation. He himself would go away to a secluded place and meditate.

According to him, meditation is the best means of sadhana for spiritual progress and realization. The aim and object of realization is to know one’s own self.

He says that an aspirant should have a dialogue with the sadguru. Then after having got the doubts cleared he should go to a place where there is no disturbance, contemplate on the real nature of the self and thus know the true spirit in one’s own self. When one’s knowledge is purified it is nothing but Kevala jnana. This knowledge according to Srimad is not the knowledge of the substances, but the purified knowledge of the self.

Srimad asserted that, “one cannot be free from misery unless one is free from passions and ignorance; and one cannot be free from passions and ignorance unless one acquires Atma – jnana. Therefore one must surrender to and obey a pious teacher. This is so because such a teacher, and not the so-called preacher, is one who knows and realizes what soul is, and is always engrossed in its true nature”. He is calm, passionless, a master of his senses and mind and an embodiment of pure spirit itself.

Srimad says that an aspirant should follow a pious teacher who has realized the self or reality, so that one day he himself can accomplish that goal. In another letter he warns an aspirant that to meditate or preach without the order of a sadguru is nothing but a wave. It will disappear the next moment. He says that spiritual transformation (samyaktva) can take place only in satsanga of a pious teacher, because he alone can make us understand the true meaning of religion.

He asks the aspirant to move further in the inner development. The seeker should constantly remember that he is self or soul, not body, mind, intellect, and he must constantly remain and be with the self and remain in its nature.

According to him, self-realization or realizing the true and pure nature of soul is religion. Religion is to be aware of the soul’s internal characteristics of unlimited knowledge, faith, power and bliss.

Srimad has pointed out that the enlightened sadguru does not desire any devotion, but an aspirant, who desires to be liberated, has to be a devotee, because, without, devotion the sadguru’s preaching does not yield any fruit. Many have followed the path and attained deliverance by submitting to the sadguru. Srimad himself admits that an aspirant always submits to the satpurusa; because he believes that nothing else can destroy the suffering and greed except the preaching of sadguru. Such a person is a great support, a solace and a refuge. Not only that, but whatever peace an aspirant experiences in life is due to auspicious deeds, which in turn are due to the favor of such sadguru who alone is instrumental in attaining peace as supreme happiness.

Despite possessing such miraculous power, a satpurusa harbors no ambition, pride, selfishness, over-confidence or arrogance.

1. Satpurusa: A satpurusa is one whose mind is under his control, and does not fluctuate, one in whose mind roots of passionlessness have grown deep, one who is free from the cause of mental distress, one who forms opinions and viewpoints after considering and respecting all other viewpoints and aspects and whose mental state is very pure. His teachings are always devoid of anger and pride. He will preach only spirituality, which is extraordinary.

He holds that it is such a person who is capable of becoming a sadguru. Therefore, if one wants to eliminate one’s own ego, such an aspirant must neither rely solely on mere kriyas, that is self effort, nor on intellectual understanding because they only generate ego that “I am the doer”. Therefore, the only hope, according to Srimad is to go to a sadguru who is completely egoless and surrender to such a satpurusa alone will be the cause of the liberation of the aspirant.

Following and obeying the commands (of a pious teacher) is itself religion. He even clearly says that religion is to be in a passionless state, a state devoid of raga and dvesa, aversion and craving. He hence said that he did not believe in any sect or philosophical system but he is always with or in his self.

Where there is complete knowledge, there, even the possession of women etc. is not possible. But in fourth and fifth gunasthanas which are lower states then Kevala jnana, a person obtains Samyagdrsti and he is entitled to be a sadguru inspite of being a householder. This is not acceptable to traditional Jainism but Srimad very emphatically holds this position and he himself is a concrete example of samyag jnani sravaka sadguru.

A true seeker of self who sets asides his personal views and prejudices and engages himself in the undivided devotion to his enlightened guru, rightly understands the teachings of his guru and gets a clear idea of the nature of soul’s salvation. He finds that his guru has knowledge of the self and he sets out to obtain the same. A seeker renounces his personal whims and religious stubbornness and strictly obeys the advice of his living enlightened guru. Thereby, he quickly develops right faith and he rightly follows the scriptures.

Supposing a seeker obtains absolute knowledge of self by assimilating the teachings of a living and enlightened guru and the guru himself has yet to obtain it, as he is not free from certain removable limitations then the seeker who has become a lord continues to pay respect to his guru and no sooner the guru marks the lordship in his disciples he begins to worship his own disciple. Thus, by mutual humility and reverence, both the seeker and his guru are benefited. This is an unusual phenomenon in Jainism because once he attains the status of a guru he will always be on a higher level. For such humility, the guru worships his disciple which Srimad expects is never found in his sect.

2. Bhakti: Rajacandra’s teachings were full of devotion.It means that a person true to his teacher is fully devotional to him and devotion to teacher is devotion to God because only a pious teacher can impart the true teaching of Tirthankaras and the scriptures. This devotion, which Srimad’s teachings express, is the devotion to a living person. Dr J.C. Jaina in his book, ‘Studies in Early Jainism‘, remarks, “The period from the 13th or 14th century to the 17th or 18th century A.D. is considered of great significance in Indian religious history. There were galaxies  of medieval saints such as Dadu, Sura, Tulasi, Mira, and Guru Nanaka in North India, Jnaneswara, Tukarama, and Ekanatha in Maharashtra and Narsi Mehta, Akhaibhagat and others in Gujarat. This movement had a great impact on religions of India. Now religion was not confined to jnana (knowledge) but it reaffirmed Bhakti, emotional feeling, devotion, adoration, glorification and paying homage to God”.[6] “The Bhakti cult had a great impact on Jainism and Buddhism. Neither hold that God is the creator, preserver and annihilator of this universe. According to the Jainas, God (or Gods, they are many and any one can achieve Godhood by practicing penance thereby annihilating one’s karmas) is free from attachment and aversion is not eternal and omnipresent, is not capable of doing or undoing things at his sweet will, therefore, really speaking, devotion towards him cannot lead to the achievement of liberation. Vattkera (circa 2nd century A.D.) a Jaina acarya from South India has supported this view in his Mulacara (7.69-70). He has stated that a saint who, out of his devotion to God Jina, wishes freedom from birth and death, achievement of enlightenment (bodhi-labha) and preservation of auspicious thoughts at the time of Samadhi Marana (death while in meditation), does not do it as a reward to his penitential act, but this devotional language should be considered as a false speech (asatya- mrsa). Almost the same idea is conveyed by Samantabhadra, another renowned Digambara jaina author of the 5th century in his Aptamimasa.

The association of such sadguru must result in changing one’s life in due course. This change of life suggests the attainment of samyaktva. Srimad says, “An aspirant must find out a satpurusa at any cost and totally surrender to him and devote himself with all his might. This will destroy all his passions and desires because such a person, who has realized his soul, can only help him achieve self-realization. He further says that to accomplish sat (truth), one has to come in touch with the embodiment of sat, and that is the satpurusa.”

“He unconditionally declares that it is not essential to belong to any faith or system or religion because anything, which helps us know our self and remain with and realize the self is the best of religions for us and whatever distracts us away from our self, is non-religion for us. The moment we forget ourselves, we go under the control of our mind, desires and passions, which are the sources of misery and unhappiness”.[7] By emphatically emphasizing only on the immutable atma dharma, Srimad hits hard at those religious doctrines, which preach that only their way is the right path. This deconditioning liberalizes the approach of religion because then religion will overcome religious differences and set beliefs.

It does not mean cramming or reading of the religious texts or believing all what is said in them, as gospel truth. Religion will remain the spiritual quality of the soul, embedded in human nature in soul visible or invisible form. By religion we are to know the duty of man; by it we are able to know our relations (or kinship) with other living beings. But all these require the capacity to know one’s self. If we do not know ourselves we cannot know others rightly. By religion one can know one’s self. Such a religion can be adhered to whatever is found.” [8]

Dr. Saryuben Mehta in her PhD thesis (1965 A.D) Srimadni Jivansiddhi has pointed out Rajacandra’s emphasis on Bhakti as the most efficient means of self-realization. She also underlines his urge for propagating the doctrine of atma jnana, irrespective of any sect, his attaching utmost importance to the role of sadguru etc.

This entire approach of Jainism is neither envisaged in the early Jaina scriptures nor in tattvartha sutra.

Srimad Rajacandra has taken up one issue for discussion. He mentions the Vedic view that a person who has no son is not eligible for gati. Therefore he argues that if human birth is difficult to obtain and moksa is available only in human birth it is our duty to see that children are born. Therefore, how this can complete celibacy be the sermon of the Jina, argues Srimad. On this ground, he appreciates Vedic view that even the householder can be qualified for moksa provided he has atma jnana. The superiority of human life consists in the capacity to realize oneself. If an individual does not have desire for moksa and does not follow that path, but instead follow sensuous pleasure then such a life is no way better than animal life. The essential point therefore is that a householder’s life lived in righteous way is far better than the life of a monk.

It therefore shows that one need not necessarily be a muni, to attain the knowledge of the self. An atma jnani sravaka is better than a jnana rahitmuni. This is the internalization of spirituality.

(D) Six Tenets

Srimad has preached his philosophy of atma dharma or self – realization in his poem, called Atma Siddhi.

He composed Atma Siddhi at the age of 29. Here he has formulated the six tenets. Firm belief in these six tents leads an aspirant to achieve samyag – darsana which means one becomes introvert. He comes to acquire general knowledge of soul and non soul (soul as different from body). He has firm faith in those things and also develops great sensitivity and discriminatory knowledge to decide what is good for his soul or for self – realization and what is not. The text is in the form of a dialogue between an aspirant and a guru. The aspirant who is in search of the transcendental reality has certain doubts. This shows that the six propositions regarding the self; earlier given by Siddhasena more recently by Srimad Rajacandra can be said to have their genesis in the Acaranga.

Rajacandra has expressed spirituality in his Atma Siddhi without involving in any rituals. It is purely a spiritual poem. Srimad’s Atma-Siddhi consists mainly of six tenets, which are sure to help him achieve his goals. It unfolds a mystery about the soul. These six propositions can be said to be the metaphysical basis of Srimad.

The six tenets on which the whole edifice of Srimad’s philosophy of Atmadharma is built are about of right faith, which is the foundation of all spiritual progress.

1. Soul Exists: Soul is a substance. Its existence can be proved because of certain qualities like its realization and knowledge which make its existence felt and thus it knows itself and also others. Srimad thus avoid skepticism and affairs that the existence of soul can be proved.

 2. Soul is Eternal:Soul is indestructible and permanent. It is an independent substance, cannot be produced and therefore cannot be destroyed at any time.

3. Soul is the Author of its Own Acts: When it acts spiritually, it can realize its nature and hence it is doer of its own nature.From a practical point of view also it is the doer of things.

4. Soul is the Enjoyer of its Own Actions: Every action has a reaction or effect. Cause effect – relation is a common experience. Eating poison has its effect and eating sugar has its own effect.If the soul acts under passions it attracts inauspicious karmas and if it is the doer of good and auspicious thoughts and acts, it attracts auspicious karmas and enjoys their pleasant fruits.

5. The Soul can be Liberated:If there is a cause, the effect is bound to follow. The soul can attain Liberation if the cause of bondage is removed by stoppage of influx of karmas and by efforts like austerities, non-attachment, and meditation. Liberation is a natural state of Soul-pure consciousness.

6. There is Path to ‘Liberation’: Soul can be freed by realization of soul and by practicing religion.

Through such a composition it follows that one cannot merely have blind faith in spiritual matters. It becomes more essential to become doubtless (Nisankit) by raising doubts (sankha). It becomes all the more necessary in spiritual matters to purify the intelligence through proper guidance. Therefore one cannot deny the importance of knowledge as a precondition for right faith. According to Srimad, intellectual knowledge can be purified by submission to a sadguru.

(E) Reconciliatory Approach between Conflicting Principles

Srimad’s main emphasis on sadguru, bhakti, satsanga, and swadhyaya suggest that with such an approach he evoked the inner feelings of the aspirants. Such an emotional growth would on the contrary lead a person to overcome a feeling of apathy to its opponents and that is what Srimad has suggested, bringing about a reconciliatory approach between incompatible views.

1. Niscaya and Vyavahara Naya: Srimad is critical of those who are performing a good many rituals and observing penance etc. without remembering the very purpose of it, namely the realization of the soul. He is also critical of those who cling to the theory that the soul is ever pure and not doer of any action and therefore such individuals think that it is not necessary to perform any rituals, penance etc. Srimad has advised aspirants to avoid both the extremes. He advocates aspirants to perform rituals, be ethical and observe all such things, remembering the purpose and aim of such activities, namely realization of the self. It is the ritual, satsanga, swadhyaya, ethical practices etc., if done with constant awareness of their object, which do help an aspirant to keep the soul in check from going in perversity (vibhava) and remain in svabhava (its own nature). This preaching is very important for sadhana, as it helps in achieving the goal. We may profitably refer to the verses 29 and 131 of the poems “Atma – Siddhi” for appreciating his views in this respect. Srimad has laid great stress on an aspirant practicing and doing purushartha or valor in his sadhana. One can achieve anything, even liberation by valor and sadhana. He can achieve in one hour what others may take years to achieve. The scriptures say that destruction of karma – bandha, realization of “one’s nature” and arresting the cycle of birth – death can be expedited by vigorous efforts. The important reason, why one suffers for limitless time, is that he has been adopting wrong means for achieving the goals. If one adopts the right means and practices with strength, one can achieve one’s goal in no time. According to Srimad, the right means is to submit oneself to the sadguru. One is always taking shelter of karma – bandha, adverse time etc. But those are false excuses, as one does not want to practice sadhana valorously. Others, who completely deny the kriyas, only read the spiritual books on the basis of one’s own interpretations. These according to Rajacandra are hurdles for satsanga.

Tapa is understood as mere fasting, which is followed superficially. Rajacandra emphatically states that in following the moksamarga, neither can one achieve by merely fasting, nor can one achieve solely by performing kriyas without the right understanding. Even if one does, one can do it not by being an extremist, emphasizing only vyavahara or niscaya as leading to moksa.

According to Srimad, Bhakti is the cause of knowledge.

Knowledge is the cause of moksa.

Jiva is of the nature of knowledge.

Knowledge is purified due to devotion.

Such purified knowledge is the cause of moksa.

Such knowledge should not be understood as knowledge of scripts.

Bhakti, here, therefore can be equated with the samyagdarsana, which is a precondition for knowledge. Such a purified knowledge is the cause for moksa.

Normally, jnana is identified with the knowledge of the world and darsana with its vision. Therefore, Rajacandra emphatically rejects the traditional viewpoint that Kevala jnana is knowledge in which one cognizes all the substances with all its modes.

Those who hold the opposite view, denying the external kriyas like dana, misunderstand that particular part of Sastras. Those who follow the external ways like dana, with ego or with desire to earn merit, contribute to the increasing world cycle of birth & death. This is the main content of the Sastras, but the complete denial of it is not the aim of Sastras. These people deny such activities only on the basis of their own imagination. Commenting on ‘Moksamarga Prakasa’ which denies the authenticity of Swetambaras agamas, Srimad says at some places, there are doubts in the agamas, which can be solved with insight of Satpurusa rather than completely denying its validity. This could reduce the tension between the Digambara and Swetambaras.

2. Idol Worshipers and Their Critics: We have discussed in chapter four, there emerged owing to Lonka’s reformation the sect rejecting idol-worship. In the due course of time there emerged hostility between two groups; the murtipujakas and the non-murtipujakas. Each tried to prove its opponents to be false and its own view as the sole path in consonance with the agamas.Yet, after four hundred years, Srimad, a man who relied on his own capability and personal experience proclaimed that he was once regarded as an idol-worshipper. He said, “His sole aim is to follow the order of the vitaraga; hence he later on said, the former view is correct because idol and its worship is based on Sastras, pramanas and experience and it is to be experienced. Those things, which I experienced (understood), the doubts related to those got solved. Anybody who rethinks the two contradictory views; for e.g. to worship idols or not to worship, and experiences any one, can follow that view, which the individual thinks appropriate for himself. This can solve the individual’s conflicting views.”[9] Therefore Srimad Rajacandra, for the proper understanding, suggests the following viewpoints for the Idol Worship.

”‘I’ believe in Idol, hence all must believe, I do not say thus; but the order of the Jinas can be followed by it, then, one should follow. But, also, remember to check the validity or pramana (views) expressed in Sastras, for that, one traditional understanding (and experience) etc are required.” [10]

The truth can be established through pramana and experience due to which the seeker will forgo his adamant views. In Srimad’s opinion the pramana would here mean samyag jnana and experience would be samyag darsana. As a consequence it subsequently follows that this would result in the development of samyag caritra. Till such awakening one should keep silence. He therefore states that, “I do not held any of these different views, but my aim is to be devoid of raga and dvesa, and for that, whatever means are desired and hence to be done, that is the way, and for that I solely rely on the words of Lord Mahavira.”

Therefore, Srimad Rajacandra suggests the following five types of Pramanas:

  1. Agama
  2. Historical
  3. Tradition
  4. Experience
  5. Pramana

Unfortunately, there is no further elaboration on these concepts.

He then says, “You and I both are interested in crossing this cycle, both desire to understand the sermons (bodha) of Mahavira, which is benefit for the soul, and which is appropriate. Hence, when truth appears, one should express it without taking specific or ekanta views.

Do not try to establish one-sided views, but see to it that truth appears as the truth. By worshipping idols, or by not worshipping them, one attains moksa; to understand this appropriately, one should keep silence.

Do not be one-sided and egoistic and therefore do not preach against the saili of Sastras.

Till one states the truth on the basis of faultless arguments, the individual should adopt a viewpoint of middle path.

Sastras do not preach that the followers of any particular sect will attain moksa but that who will accept the religious path he will attain the Siddhahood.”[11]

This reconciliatory approach is applied by Srimad to all the spiritual matters. He holds that, it is not possible to follow Digambara way of nudity by all the persons due to the decrease in physical structure / strength of body. Hence, it is wise to follow Swetambaras way with some restrictions according to the present times, and not to deny it. Srimad denies the Digambara emphasis on nudity. At the same time, he warms the aspirants that permission of wearing clothes should not become a cause of spiritual downfall.

Viewpoints of Digambara and Swetambara should be followed according to the time, place and the individual. Hence, behave in the ways, which knowledgeable have propounded for the sake of soul. That is to say that Srimad asks the aspirants to live a life which does not stress any external means as important prerequisites for religion. Rather, he suggests the inner development of the individual as the most important means of self- realization. According to the person’s inner growth, the aspirant will follow the external ways of living.

[1]DigishMehta, SrimadRajacandra A Life, p. 15.

[2]Ibid . , p . 30 – 31.

[3]Ibid. , pp. 13-14.

[4]SrimadRajacandra, p.720.

[5]Ibid. ,p.620.

[6] J. C. Jaina ,Studies In Early Jainism, p. 173

[7]U.K.Pungaliya, Op.Cit.,p.

[8]Ibid. , p.79.

[9]SrimadRajacandra, p.

[10]Ibid. , p.

[11]Ibid. , p.

Jain Reform Movement

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