03 August 2009

Human Beings and Relations :- HH.ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA JI

Human Beings and Relations
The human religion enunciated by Anuvrat Anushasta Tulsi, provides a solution to the problems pervading the whole society, a solution that does not create new problems and therefore renders violence unnecessary. Various forms of violence are striking terror in society. The increasing bitterness in human relations is also a product of violence.
Let us examine the two terms 'human being1 and 'relation' in the above context. First, it is necessary to understand the meaning of 'human being’. Many branches of knowledge including sociology, psychology and philosophy have interpreted the term and tried to understand man. Sociologists hold man to be basically a social being. Psychologists have explained man and his behaviour on the basis of his unconscious and basic instincts. Philosophers have made karma the basis of their interpretation. Spiritual teachers have defined man on the basis of intellectual awareness. Aristotle defined man as a rational animal. This kind of ability to reason is not found in any other being. I feel that though none of these interpretations is wrong, none is entirely right either. With a partial or one-sided viewpoint, no single view or opinion is either fully right or wrong.
Individuality: Communality
It is true that man is a social living being but it is not true that he is only social and nothing else. He is as much individual as he is social. Existentialist philosophers lay emphasis on his individual features, not on common or universal features. In their opinion, individuality is man's exclusive quality and he cannot be understood by underplaying it. Sociologists hold the view that man cannot survive, much less develop, without society, even as fish cannot survive without water. Here we have two diverse views - premium on individuality by existentialists and that on communality by sociologists. It is only by combining both that we get a total view.
The Psychological View
Psychologists say that man is governed by the unconscious. All his activities and behaviour are conducted by the unconscious. It again is a partial truth, because there is much besides the unconscious which also acts as conductor. Our wakeful awareness or the conscious has also something unique about it. Further, the soul, which is beyond the unconscious, has its own importance too. We can thus treat the unconscious as a midpoint with the soul at its back and intelligent awareness in its fore. Between the two ends operates the unconscious. Man has countless aspects and it is extremely difficult to define him in a few words.
Society and Relations
Let us now consider the nature of relations.Society is a chain of relations. Relation means social orientation or orientation towards society. Anyone who is oriented towards society is relation-oriented, i.e. characterised by relations. These relations start with the very birth of a child. He gets related to parents, brothers, sisters, etc. One who is beyond relations is a sanyasi or mumukshu (an ascetic who has renounced the world or one who is desirous of salvation). The first characteristic of a muni according to the Uttaradhyayan Sutra is freedom from relation. But on the worldly plane, the child is surrounded by relations right from its birth. A relation is based on duality.
The Philosophical Context
Three streams emerged in Indian philosophy:
1. Advaitavad Monism
2. Dvaitavad Dualism
3. Dvaitadvaitavad Dualism and Monism
The first Shankaracharya and his guru Gaurhpal gave birth to advaitavad. According to this doctrine, God or the Eternal Spirit alone is real; the world is unreal - an illusion. Supporters of the doctrine of Dvaitavad are the schools of Buddhism, Samkhya and Nyaya. According to them, both the animate and the inanimate exist. By conceding advaita, one wonders how we can function in daily practical life. What will be the relation between the individual and society ? Advait would rule out all behaiour, language, ideas and thinking. So the believers in Advait had to put forward the concept of Maya - mere appearance or illusion. Whatever is going on is unreal. Thus conceding the inanimate installed Maya on the royal pedestal. This is idealistic thinking.For the realists, positing the concept of Maya is essential. Both the animate and the inanimate are real. But here too there is a problem. By conceding dvait we lend weight to the notion of difference. Therefore, it is essential for us to concede advait at the back of dvaita and dvaita at the back of advaita.
Coordination between Dvaita and Advaita
The philosophy of anekant subscribes neither to dvaita nor to advaita. It coordinates the two. We cannot explain relations purely on the basis of advaita, or on the basis of dvaita alone. We have to resort to both in order to explain relations. An exclusive allegiance to dvaita will mean perpetual bitterness in relations as a result of accentuating difference and distance. It will be impossible to remove that bitterness. In fact advaita is inherent in dvaita. It is on the basis of the advaita tradition that one treats everyone else like oneself, that self-realization takes place and one observes equanimity in both joy and sorrow. But advaita alone is not adequate and one has to resort to dvaita. If the 'other' is there, dvaita will have to be explained and human nature and behaviour will have to be understood on that basis.
I and My
Let us discuss the ways of improving relations on the basis of both advaita and dvaita. It is the basic instincts which are responsible for relations. Two of our basic instincts are ‘I’ and 'my', ‘I’ represents selfishness and 'my' represents relation. All relations are built on the basis of the instinct of possession. As the instinct of possession extends in scope, the relations multiply. There would have been no relation in the absence of that instinct. An extension of that instinct is an extension of relations. But if there had been no ‘I’, there would have been no problem in relations. The problems we face today in respect of relations have ‘I’ at their back, because the ‘I’ instinct breeds increasing selfishness. The 'my' instinct gets divided into many categories. If it is my son or my family, thay can be partners in the profits I earn. But my servant cannot share my profits. Again, the factor influencing such a categorization of relations is the ‘I’ instinct. Once ‘I’ ceases to be narrow and confined and spreads out to others, all problems pertaining to relations come to an end. ‘I’ in its narrow form breeds bitterness in relations resulting in complicated problems.
Causes of Violence
Violence and crime are two major problems we face today. Violence has a myriad forms. One major factor behind violence is the individual tendency to grab more and more, denying others their share. The latter react with violence, which sometimes assumes the shape of terrorism. Even as one man is busy earning, he wants to earn at the cost of others. This exploitation is an important cause of violence. If we analyse the phenomena of thefts, robberies, kidnappings and murders, we find that one man's instinct is encouraging the instinct of another person. Greed and selfishness as individual instincts give birth to savage cruelty. In fact, one man's cruelty shifts to the victim and makes him cruel too. Many of these problems would not have appeared if there had been no greed in man. Man has not grasped the true import of the instincts of ‘I’ and 'my'. In fact, he has fed them to such an extent that they have made all other instincts secondary.
Material Objects and Peace are not the Same
Let us elaborate the above proposition, for it is essential if people want to lead a happy and peaceful life. Society has come into being so that man may live in peace, and be free from all worry and anxiety. There can be no happiness in the absence of peace. One can pile up items of comfort, but not of peace and happiness. We should never forget the fact that material objects and peace are not the same. Material objects and happiness are not the same. We should also remember the fact that problems and unhappiness are not the same. A problem may occur at the physical or mental level. However, intellectual awareness transcends these levels. If we cling to a problem, there can be no solution. If we are genuinely interested in improving human relations, we should refine the instincts of ‘I’ and 'my' so that selfishness is not fortified and the freedom of others is not transgressed. If someone is mine, it does not mean that he or she has no independent existence. Every living being has a right to live in freedom. A relation is justified only to the extent it is useful without trampling on someone's freedom.
Life's Relativeness
Our life is relative. Life cannot be led in isolation. Everyone requires someone else. For sustaining one life the labour of thousands of people is needed. The labour of a large number of people is involved between the time a seed is planted and its product is cooked in the kitchen. It is only thereafter that someone eats a meal. Being so much relative (related to others), it will be the height of unwisdom on the part of a man not to closely deliberate upon relations and not to make them cordial. To consider the problems of those related with our life amounts to considering the problems of relation, adopting an attitude of sensitiveness and compassion towards others, making relations cordial and refining them.
World Created by Resoluteness
It is very difficult to know how to improve relations or how to make them cordial. The difficulty is caused by the persistent presence of the ego or the 'I'. As long as the ego is uncontrolled, selfishness will grow strong and will prevent cordiality of relations. They would be like the seawater, which cannot be made sweet even by mixing sugar in it.
Religious teachers have discovered the ways of curbing the ego. Anuvrat has given a philosophy for this purpose. The first step is to resolve or to take a vow, which symbolizes great strength. With the awakening of a resolve, the process of transformation commences. Our world is born of resolves or vows. It takes shape according to the resolves we make. It is a major resolve that "I will not kill anyone deliberately or will not practise inessential violence". A little violence now and then may be essential for survival, but if the resolve to commit violence is given up and the resolve to practise nonviolence is made, a strong base for making relations cordial is built.
The Principle of Equipoise
Lord Mahavira gave a principle for rousing self-awareness:
‘weigh all living beings with your pair of scales’.
Vyas gave a similar principle:
‘we should not do to others what we consider bad for ourselves’.
By practising these principles we generate compassion. If pain is unfavourable for us, it is equally unfavourable for others. Robbing others of their bread is bad, >because I do not like my bread being robbed. By balancing the two scales we refine our disposition and the ego is curbed. If I had been alone in the world, the world would have been mine - my ego would have expanded. But the world is peopled by countless others like me - this thought puts a curb on my ego, limits it within well-defined confines.
The Issue is one of Refinement
Using contemplation of compassion is extremely important to awaken the intellectual awareness of compassion and sensitivity. Practice is essential for bringing about a change. It refers to our individuality or internal change. By being merely social and opportunistic, we should not devalue its importance. Socialization cannot be useful beyond a point for refinement, though it does prove useful when it comes to building an organization or system. Practice is a long-term process; one cannot expect transformation to occur in a short time. Changing an attitude and developing another does take a long time. Maharshi Patanjali has rightly exhorted - Practice changing acquired or inherited traits uninterruptedly over a long period and that too with deep faith. Following such practice we can succeed in removing the disposition of cruelty and restoring the disposition of compassion.
Practising Equality of Distribution
One of Schumaker's books is entitled Small is Beautiful. It can guide us in the right direction. Again, a Scottish company experimented with distributive justice and it yielded positive results. Cruelty in society is likely to decrease if the principles of distributive justice and worker participation in management are practised., Does it not encourage violence when a man earns huge profits and squanders millions just on an ordinary celebration ? Does it not generate a strong reaction? Human relations can certainly be improved if the principle of distributive justice is practised in society.
Who will provide Protection?
It is likely that we may understand properly and transformation may come about if we adopt and practise social change and spiritual experiments and be aware of the consequences of violence. Violence is constantly increasing and man feels insecure wherever he may be. Millions are being spent on providing security to a single individual. It is frightening to imagine a time when each individual throughout the country may need commandoes for personal security. Who will then remain secure and who will provide security to others? Such a vicious circle can only be imagined. If serious thought is not given to this problem and appropriate and timely measures are not taken, no one should be surprised to see the law of the jungle prevail in society, where large scale mutual killing will become the order of the day. To avoid such a frightening eventuality, we should act wisely and learn to eschew disproportionate and unjust consumption, denying others their share and as a result making them a frustrated lot.
The Solution
Bearing all these things in mind, one concludes that the solution lies in adopting the principles of anuvrat and following the exercises of Preksha Dhyan. What can cause a bigger surprise than the fact that in this scientific age, intellectually aware and intelligent people are unable to transform themselves or even to think of its need, while daily new inventions are being made and radical material changes are taking place unabated. It is therefore imperative that steps are taken with a view to ensuring a bright future for humanity and a life led with sublime human qualities. One prior condition of such a consummation is an equal and simultaneous emphasis on a change of social order and refinement of attitudes. It is possible through reflection, firm resolution and persistent practice. Let us therefore move forward in that direction.

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