Blurring the borders between ‘Religion’ and ‘Life’

Our sense of identity is formed by myriad aspects, gender, caste, community, religion, language, ethnicity, and nationality. Previously, people separated themselves from their identities under the pretext of ‘personal choice’ and believed in exercising individual freedom of doing so. Things have not changed much thereafter. Even today, people are very conscious of their choices of being identified with their faiths. No matter what faith we adhere to, essentially, each of them teaches good codes of conduct. Our faith unfolds the manual of being good human beings, which ultimately builds a welfare society.

Jainism has always guided us on practicing good ways of life and being aware of our ‘instincts’, ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Despite that, we have not been able to establish religion as an important institution for disseminating moral conduct. We should seriously trace the reasons for our failures. To say the least, religion should be a part of the value-imparting system in society. Conversely, we have reduced it to a so-called “personal matter”. What is the point if one’s religion, personal matter, is not enlightening them to a good human being? Besides, intellectual and secular debates too have complicated the true understanding of religion. Now, it seems, religion is limited to celebrating a few festivals and community get-together events! Somewhere, we have lost its depth and comprehensiveness.

What is religion and what is expected from it? Shouldn’t we seriously contemplate these issues? These days, schools and colleges impart value education. Given that, what should religion do in society is a practical question. It is pertinent to ask the right questions with an open mind and work in the right direction. Is religion only a set of scriptures to mug up and keep the tradition going on? Our understanding of religion is only skin-deep! Will it help us ever?

Religion is a set of carefully designed processes for individual and collective enlightenment. It is “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics.” On the other hand, there are people who avoid the religious path and call them “modern”! There is a massive misunderstanding that a person could be either “religious” or “modern”. For all the countries and societies, focusing on the fundamentals of religion is the most urgent issue to address. It is significant to see what is it that people identify themselves with; is it an ethical lifestyle (religious) or the life of all the vices (so-called modern)? Although we are surrounded by digital resources and social medial platforms, what we express is useless noise. We kill the valuable present but there is nothing that we preserve for the future! By doing so, we are risking a whole generation of people!

My point is very simple; religion is a matter of implementing religious teaching in life. A roadmap of the good life should be right in front of our eyes guiding us to the proper conduct of life. We need to follow moral codes taught by the religion for our self, family, community, and country. All the moral values should be seen in a person’s behaviour effortlessly. Unfortunately, we have placed religion at an ideal position rather than a practical way of life. We are heading towards a serious apocalyptic disaster of cultural decline. Religion and house cannot be two separate spaces i.e., religious ideals and actual life are inseparable entities. Each one of us craves happiness, which is rooted not in external pursuits but in a balanced mind. And a truly balanced mind can be achieved by going away from hypocrisy. Life becomes a festival of happiness when one is free from the vices and illusions created by one’s own restless mind. Such an understanding liberates us. Jainism talks about practicing virtues on a day-to-day basis for the betterment of the soul and society alike. Jainism looks at life from a total perspective instead of bits and pieces. It is due to our fragmented worldview that we did not attain the true state of religion. Our ignorance has further complicated our understanding of what religion does. In such a clouded mind, it is not possible to remain focused. One has to learn to maintain distance from one’s thoughts to be at peace.

As the sap of religious teachings, Samansuttam guides us on how to implement moral codes in our daily life. Jain Avenue attempts to bridge life with religion. Amidst many magazines, Jain Avenue advocates for the practical implementation of Jaina philosophy. It is blurring the borders between religion (as an institution) and life (personal matter). We are trying to reach out to the hearts of people.

Jain Avenue aims at bringing awareness of the basic elements of the religion and how to implement them in life. It does not propagate religion but talks about ways in which liberation can be attained. Come, join us on the path that takes us to the light of liberation. Let our religious identity, as a way of life, become a matter of taking pride!


Sejal Shah