Let’s give it a try
As an inquisitive being, it feels instantaneous, but how long does an idea last? Well, as it seems, an idea per se does not have a life beyond the time it influences society. The defining quality of a dynamic idea is its relevance. While responding to Gautam Swami, Lord Mahavira not only answered his question but also gave a new thought, model, experience, and insight for truth. Since those ideas were highly practical in nature, they survived the test of time. After all, the life of a long-lasting idea depends not on the intellect or person but the essential roots. It just needs an internal calling, and that’s it! Invariably, we are likely to remember Gandhiji on October 2 every year, along with the fact of how Shrimad contributed to the making of Mahatma. Besides, we celebrate it as ‘the International Day of Non-violence’ by remembering Lord Mahavira’s ideas on nonviolence. We should consider not hurting anyone in any which way, but what about the subtle feelings for other beings?
Jainism stands for the truth that the existence of all living beings, including humans, should be respected, protected, and sustained. To see that, we need to keep our eyes open! The symbiotic relationship between science and spirituality enables human life to prosper multi-fold. The definitive function of religion is to make us experience peace, simplicity, and blissfulness rather than to hate others or separate us in any way. One that compels us to compete on who is superior is anything but not a religion. Lord Mahavira had enormous love and affection while answering the questions of Indrabhuti, and we had Gautama as a result.
Similarly, while responding to Gandhiji’s queries, Shrimad was full of compassion, and friendly feeling, which is why to see can trace Jain elements in Gandhi’s philosophy. Naturally, we feel proud of it! If we had such clarity, the new generation would have inherited it, and we do not have to “teach” them Jainism, humanity, compassion for all living beings.
I cannot misuse my powers to fulfil my desires and cravings. Even Lord Mahavira could show miracles and could have easily stopped the cowherd. However, he was on a broader spiritual mission to win over his senses and body. There is no question of using his powers, is there?
Similarly, how can I eat other animals just because I have the money or powers? Broadly, the present issue of the deals with VEGETARIANISM because so far, we have understood it very lightly. We remained aloof from the scientific analysis of the idea, which is why we failed in spreading the message in the right spirit. Today, vegetarianism is accepted across the world, upholding great humanitarian values. Despite that, plenty of “ifs and buts” tempt us not to practice vegetarianism!
There seems to be an illusion that practicing vegetarianism is impossible because we have finite resources of land and green food. Padma Shree Kumarpal Desai has beautifully addressed all such issues in his article. On the other hand, Phillip Wollen’s article significantly triggers our deeper feelings. Aniket Jain shows a similar path for practicing nonviolence and peace. Vegetarianism is not limited to food only; it is an integral part of our thoughts, behaviour, culture, and tradition. It is our duty to maintain the ecological balance of the planet.
Essentially, every living being has a right to life. How can a powerful being even think of killing and eating its subordinates? Unless we practice nonviolence in all its forms, we will not be able to uphold the great legacy of humanity! We should not be proud of Shrimad ushering a path to Gandhiji if we fall short in imparting the same ideas in the new generation. The magazine aims to celebrate the best of humanity, nurture life per se, and explore practice insights with science and spirituality.
A true understanding of religion would never limit us. It is a flywheel on the path of the spiritual and cultural path. It enables us to live blissfully even in the era of Artificial Intelligence by facilitating a refined sense of judgment on the path of materialistic development. We can easily lower ourselves beyond the standards by fighting with our neighbours, kicking our parents out of the home, suing siblings on property matters, killing, and eating other living beings, etc. It is because we are intellectually so competent that we can walk on the moon, find life on Mars, and make robots. The most powerful life form in the known universe!
Let us save the nature by preserving and practicing our compassion. Let us understand all the dimensions of our nonviolence and value the availability of food. Let us be true Jains by being true human beings! Let’s give it a try…
Editor – Sejal Shah (ph. d)