Understanding Dharm through Humanity

Science has progressed leaps and bounds although humanitarian values and emotions are still rooted in the spiritual culture. Jain Avenue aims to find a balance between the two. It provides a platform to discuss the everchanging society. Religion is necessary for the social fabric, however, due to the misunderstanding caused by illusions or conservativism, the true sense of religious thinking has not reached to people and Jain Avenue attempts to contemplate over such issues. Rightfully so, medical science has helped us increase our life span. Now it is pertinent to add meaning or give a purpose to our longevity through spiritual powers. Religion not only enhances a person’s life but also provides the capacity to help others. Nonetheless, due to ignorance and conservativism, we tend to underestimate or completely miss the spiritual path. Hence, we hereby wish to share a few insights on donating organs/body at the dawn of 2021!

Humanitarian values are considered to be the best religion in the world, but then a question arises: What is religion? Essentially, religion teaches us to co-exist peacefully, it is a symbol of cultural dynamism. It is but our identity which is absorbed deeply by people. The human identity should also entail the attitude of donating one’s body after death for the use of others. Hence, such is the method of blending the best of religious practices with the advancements of science. We need to propagate such ideas. Religion provides inner strength and clarity of behaviour. The word Jain denotes one who wins against all the enemies on the path of spiritual seeking. Here, the focus is on the soul and not the body. We need to address bodily desires dispassionately. The body is just a medium for religion wherein the body is used to execute actions. One who endures Upsarg has won over the body.

Jainism, as a way of life, emphasizes the balanced behaviour of a person. Naturally, change is required as per the need of time. Stagnancy and conservativism are against the dynamic nature of Jainism. As a religion, Jainism believes in the principles of ‘live and let live’ which is why it encourages spiritual development. Jainism believes in the theory of Karma. The outcomes of Karma are not related to the body but to the soul.

The present issue is dedicated to organ donation. One might wonder whether Jain magazine should discuss such an issue. The simple answer is: who else, if not a Jains magazine, would talk about it?
Jainism has always talked about charity, compassion, and sustaining life and it also claims to follow the principles of ecology, economics, and science. Therefore, we should also discuss about organ donation. We have understood that Upsarg helps us spiritually detach ourselves from our body. Our identity is our soul. Then even after death, why can’t we give up our love and desire for our body and embrace organ donation as a way of gifting live?

Although science has provided great facilities and comforts to us, only religion and philosophy can keep our humanitarian values intact. Religion not only preaches but also practices spiritual ideas. We are familiar with the stories of many legendary kings who had saved lives by organ donation (obviously, this term wasn’t coined then). For instance, the story of Meghkumar who had saved a bird’s life using his own flesh is really inspiring. Lord Mahavir renounces the last piece of cloth for humanity. These stories not only entertain readers but talk about the Jain tradition wherein the body has always stood secondary to the soul. If required, body can be used for the benefits of other souls. If saving lives matter, then what is wrong with organ donation? With the advancements in science, it is now possible to donate organs to other human beings and save countless lives; the path of making one’s body useful has become smoother. The human body cannot be fabricated in a lab and artificial organs have their limitations. Organ donation is a noble practice that can save innumerable lives. It helps people save lives even after their death. A person’s body cannot replace another. No other organ can perform the task of an eye or a kidney. Only real eyes and kidneys can fill the vacuum. When organs are donated to the needy, they get a new life. Organ transplantation is one of the great advances in modern medicine. People who donate organs are blessed as they give a second chance at life for others. Unfortunately, the need for organ donors is much greater than the number of people who actually donate.

Therefore, let’s contribute to this spiritual call and ignite the collective conscience that runs in all of us. Cheers to life!

Best wishes for the new year!
Sejal Shah