Man in the Twenty First Century
By Acharya Tulsi
India’s culture is multi - coloured. People believing in several religions live here. Every religion has its own beliefs. There are firmly-rooted traditions of undertaking pilgrimages and having holy baths. Millions of people bathe in rivers on special occasions. Some people believe bathing in the Ganga particularly important. The Yamuna is the important river to some people. There are also people in India who have faith in the Saraswati. The Triveni-Sangam, which is the confluence of these three rivers, the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati is reputed to be a special pilgrimage centre. The significance of the confluence is not for any one river. This is the worldly view.
If the Triveni is regarded as a symbol, then the combination of anuvrat, preshadhyan and jeevanvijnan can be called a Triveni Sangam. Anuvrat has its own program. It attracts all classes of people. Prekshadhyan also has its own process and is beneficial to everyone. But the enlightened people accord greater value to it. The science of living too has its own principles and practical applications. These three programmes, in their own respective fields are quite effective. How they would become much more effective through experience.
Union is Strength
There is a popular adage that "One person is alone, but when there are two they are valiant fifty two. How this adage came into vogue is subject for research. But if there are two persons instead of one, they would be stronger. A single individual can meditate, but in the pursuit of knowledge it is more convenient if there are two. Singing is also more effective when many persons are involved. Similarly very favourable results are possible with the coming together of three forces.
Milk, rice and sugar are three substances. Milk can be drunk. Rice can be eaten. Sugar can be put straight in the mouth. These three substances have their independent uses. But there can be no kheer if they are kept separate. These three substances would have to be mixed together to make kheer. Milk, rice and sugar, when separate do not have the taste of kheer.
Triveni in Gita and Jain Philosophy
In the Gita there is a discussion about Jnanyoga, Bhaktiyoge and Karmayoga. These three yogas are important in their own places. None of them is inferior to the other. But when the three yogas are combined together, their effect becomes not only threefold but multifold. Can a person be ever successful if he regards only the path of knowledge as the only path to be followed? Similarly, no achievement is possible merely by following the path of devotion. In the same way, those who follow the path of action without knowledge and Devotion, have only to face disappointment at some stage in their lives. From this point of view, the pursuit of these three paths in a combined manner becomes effective.
The path of moksha has been thus defined in the Jain philosophy: "The path to moksha comprises of the trinity of faith, knowledge and conduct."Right faith is one of the essential means for attaining moksha, but faith without right knowledge is incomplete. Right knowledge has its own use, but it is lame without right conduct. A crippled person sees everything, but he is unable to walk. The conclusion of this whole exposition is that faith knowledge and conduct together constitute the way to moksha.
Anuvrat, prekshadhyan and jeevanijnan are the three widely conducted programmes. Each of them has its value individually. But all the three when combined, become an independent programme. It may well be asked which among them is superior. This question can be aaanswered in relative terms. Usually all energies are directed towards carrying out the programme which is relevent at that particular moment. That way none of them is superior or inferior. If all the three have to be evaluated together, anuvrat is regarded as the foundation of all the edifice of other programmes. Prekshadhyan is the edifice itself in which live the students, the teachers and the guardians. The programme conducted between them is jeevanvijnan. None of them could be given less significance.
Jeevanvijnan is directly related to the students. But what would the students do by themselves in the absence of the teachers who would give them the appropriate training in the absence of the teachers who would give them the proper training in jeevanvijnan? They would be burdened only with books. If by chance, proper teachers are available and the students acquire training whole-heartedly, what they learn would remain only in their school, if the atmosphere at home is not correct. A triangular campaign is necessary to provide a practical background to the principles of jeevanvijnan The grasping power of the trainees, the endeavour of the trainers and the alertness on the part of the guardians, when combined together, can bring about the expected results.
Anuvrat is the Foundation-stone
Anuvrat is the basic element in our public programmes. It is because of anuvrat that we came closer to the people and the people gave importance to our programmes. Before anuvrat, I was identified as a Terapanthe Acharya, and that too as a dogmatic Terapanthi who functioned in a very limited area. If any reformist urged me to adopt some programme of social reform, I did not agree. I used to think that all I had to do was give discourses and direct the practices of samayik, paushadh etc. What did I have to do with the evils prevailing in society or family? Because of such ideas, I did not even preach about ending social evils. But ultimately, while thinking in the context of anuvrat, my outlook broadened. I began to think that no matter in which field the evil existed, fighting against it came within the purview of religion. As a result of actin according to this line of thought, I started working in social, political, educational, religious and other fields.
I undertook long tours in connection with anuvrat. I developed wide public contacts during these travels. Enlightened and thinking people of the country met me. I had interaction with them regarding many questions. Suggestions made by some of them proved to be very interesting and useful for me. A lot of writing was done about anuvrat. Through the anuvrat teacher’s association, anuvrathas become to be widely known in the fields of education. Today, the situation ha reached a point when I have come to be known on account of anuvrat. People recognised me through anuvrat and anuvrat through me. So much identity between the individual and the programme is possible only when there are some good results to see.
Anuvrat and Prekshadhyan
Anuvrat is a movement to raise the level of national character. It is the supporting base for individual reform. If the character of every individual is of a high order, ther would be no need to do anything especially for character-formation. The respect which anuvrat has acquired as a non-secretarian programme is something, which any moral movement has rarely received. Ever since it has been linked with prekshadhyan, anuvrat has grown in strength. Anuvrat is incomplete without prekshadhyan and prekshadhyan does not have a solid base without anuvrat. From this point of view, the two are complementary to each other. Any person adopting the path of anuvrat should necessarily practice prekshadhyan. Only by practising mrditation, the anuvrat code of conduct can be easily assimilated. Similarly, for the one who takes to prekshadhyan, it is necessary to follow the path of anuvrat, because without the moral foundation, any talk about spiritual attainments becomes a mockery. There was a person, who wanted to adopt the path of anuvrat. But there was one obstacle. He was in the habit of using drugs. It was not possoble to conduct himself to the anuvrat code of conduct without giving up that habit. He joined a prekshadhyan camp. He became free from the habit after a little initial difficulty. He experienced new freshness in his life after freeing himself from the habit of taking drugs.
The Quest of Truth is on
Some people went to Acharya Bikshu. They said, ‘Swamiji, your sadhana is wonderful. You are a great ascetic. But there is no dearth of great people in the world. Suppose there is an ascetic who is greater than you, how would you behave with him?" Acharya Bikshu said, "My dear man, you have said something very valuable. In fact I am looking for some such persons. If they are senior to me in age, I would prostrate myself at their feet. And if they are junior to me as ascetics, I would embrace them."
We have inherited this generous outlook from Acharya Bikshu. We are spreading the message of anuvrat, prekshadhyan and jeevanvijnan in human nterest. But we do not insist that only our programme is the final word. We have no objection to any other path if we find it. In our view nothing is stagnant anywhere. We are the people engaged in a quest. We are marching on in our quest of truth. We do not object to accept the light of Truth appearing anywhere. Even anuvrat and prekshadhyan are not the complete truth. We would be happy if with the help of all these things, someone finds even a little light of Truth.
Between Two Extremes
We are living in the last decade of the 20th century. We are making fast progress towards Truth. We are hearing the ringing bells of the 21st century. How should man enter into the 21st century? After the miraculous discoveries of computer, super-computer, robot and super-robot, masn is now trying to find out ways to become superman. For that purpose research is going on about DNA (dexybocnuclic acid). The scientists are conversant with the manner in which DNA works. When man comes to fully understand how DNA functions, he would acquire complete control on working of the cells. After that, he would find the formula to develop the desired qualities in the human body. It would be man’s very great acheivement.
On the one hands, man is dreaming of creating a superman, on the other hand, the dark clouds threatining the very existence of mankind are hovering. Very ambitious plans are being made for material progress, but ther is no time to give thought to the preservation of human qualities. Everyday there are new discoveries to provide material comfort to man, but no one is concerned about his character. Power to think plays the most important role in shaping his character. But since the last few decades, man is gradually losing his ideological and cultural identity.
Not Reformation but Transformation
There was a time when India had its own way of thinking and way of life. Today, the people of India are beginning to get used to see the foreign trade mark not only on their fascination for imported ideology, the eternal principles underlying the culture of India appear unattractive. In this context, it is necessary to create the new man. There have been attempts in every age to reform man’s character. But now it seems that reformation would not be of much avail. A through transformation is necessary for a new creation. How many patches could be stitched on a worn out garment? The ultimate solution lies in changing it altogether. If a practical way of creating the New Man based on the threefold programme of anuvrat, prekshadhyan and jeevanijnan can be worked out, then the ushering of the new century or the new age would be meaningful in the true sense.
By the new age I do not mean the age of computers and robots. Computers and robots can have their own usefulness of man. That is why, it is possible to make the coming age the age of non-violence, anuvrat or prekshadhyan, then it would be possible to bring about a natural change in man style of living and working. In that age, man would not be divided in the narrow limits of casteism, provincialism, linguistic considerations or communalism. Only the age which evaluates man in terms of his humanenes would be able to really usher in a new era.
Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation