Coming back after a visit to Nagasaki soon after the end of the Second World war, the late Jacob Bronowski proposed that Nagasaki should be preserved exactly as it was after the nuclear holocaust and that all future conferences on disarmament and other issues, which concern and weigh the fato of humanity should be held in that ashy sea of rubble He did not succeed in his mission, but his pursuance was deeply meaningful and significant. His expostulations went down unheeded. Let us take and cite another view planet-the Earth is hopelessly over-crowded and one of the biggest dangers that confront us is the growth of human population. It took us a million years to reach a population of one million and today the world population is more than four billions, By 2030 AD it will be fifteen billions and at this rate, by 4000 AD, the mass of mankind will be greater than the mass of earth itself. means an uncontrollable, disastrous and total collapse of human society. 11 was revealed at the Regional Conference of the United Nations Association in Asia and the pacific at New Delhi that if the world were to forgo one day’s military spending, it would enable the crisis-stricken UN to survive for a year About two million dollars are drained out on arms every minute. In dismay. one shudders to learn that 14000 children die of hunger on an average every day in Africa alone (Ruth Sivard). In view of this malady. Johan Galtung is right when he says that our planet is burning already. This is the societal view of the impending dangers that may result in total human annihilation
Let us now consider the disrupted and disgruntled individual. There are thinkers like Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape), Robert Ardrey (The Territorial Imperative) and Konard Lorenz, who hold (on Aggression) that human being is basically aggressive and that this impelling and offensive violence is collectively uncontrollable. They say that there is no contrition for this. because the tendency to aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man. Psychologists like Eric Erikson has introduced the cliche identity crisis’ which every adolescent is prone to, resulting in boundless internal stress, as there is a phenomenal confusion of roles, ‘a sense of not knowing what one is, where one belongs or where one belongs to ymptom in delinquent young people Such confusion is Pervasive pessimissim is there all around because the time is out of joint and because all coherence is gone. There is both an internal and external pollution with nervous breakdown and Hysterical paralysis of mind and body. It is painfully disparaging to note that at the present rate of growth of psycho and sociopaths, USA will require mi asylums then schools after a decade or so.
Therefore the cogent question is whether there is any way out of this predicament 2 Can mental and physical equilibrium be restored and psychology of faith revived and regenerated? This is the crux of the problem and herein lies its solution too It is my considered opinion that Jainism bears the inner and outer strength and potentiality to cure these evils and maladies that have besieged our present life Science has This moral degradation can only be stopped if we Man is lost in the mire of egoistic reimbibe and reinculcate collective goodness and moral values. brought us close to a dangerous precipice. fulfilment with an insatiable thirst for material prosperity and acquisitive individual hedonism. Einstein realised it and maintained it is my firm belief that the problem of bringing peace (and harmony) to the world on a supernational basis will be solved by employing Mahatma Gandhi’s method of Non-violence on a large scale.” Victor F. Waiskoff too corroborates this when he says-impor- tant parts of human experience cannot be evaluated with the scientific system To a man fuddled with vanity and sanguinary battles for power over others. principles of Non-violence (in thought, word and deed) Truth, Non-Possession (Aparigraha), Chastity (Brahmacharya) and Honesty (in means and end) are universal panacea, Must cease the vices that pander to the selfish and super- cilious demeanour. Apart from its philosophical, psycho-spiritual and metaph ysical depth, Jainism provides an all-time moral values with a perennial ethical import. It is a religion, a creed and a conviction, whose success lies in a state of internal and external, mental and physical discipline with principles of good behaviour and high morality for individual as well as for society. It bears an intrinsic as well as instrumental value for the entire mankind. Let us consider some of the concepts and precepts of Lord Mahavir. He said ‘Desist Ye from sin at once, for transient is the life of men. Those, who are engrossed here and given to pleasures (and to salacious thoughts) for want of control will be deluded. Further, He who for his own gain and pleasure, hurteth others and stealth their property will come to grief in the end. Then again, ‘Anger killeth love, conceit humility, deceit amity and lust everything. He preached equality (Samata) and regarded Truthfulness as the highest virtue. Every man is his own steward, captain and master of the soul. In him lies ‘the Kingdom of God. Oh Man ! ‘You are your friend. For a good social conduct and characterWord, Thought and Deed must bear full concordance and Hwxhorted that Do unto others as you would do unto you Live and let live was his homily Love, compassion, fearlessness, fortitude, moral awareness and universal good ness were his prescriptions for our perverseness and morbidity He said frail mind with broken images and languid energy with devitalised and split per sonality cannot store up clear-cut ideas and wisdom and, therefore. He antreated us to awake, anae and unity the individuality with universality The Lord disdained pessimism and defeatism, Perceptively. He said ye have crossed the great ocean Why do you falter when so near the shore? Hurry to get to the otherside. Be not careless oven for a while, True. sinners will always suffer from eternal perdition and the virtuous will resuscitate like the phoenix He commanded that supremacy does not lie in birth but in the code of conduct and, therefore, by acts. one becomes a Brahmin or a Ketriya or a Vaistry of a Sudra To do away with the fragmented thoughts, deeds and actions; it is imperative that our internal and external life should be identified. The key to salf-realisation lies in your self-consciouness, as your character is the first religion, the first penance and the first knowledge. Forgive and be polite. Revere others, regulate your desires with a collective moral force, for the who follows forgiveness, contentment and simplicity and politeness, which are the gates to religion, breeds love and happiness for all. The Lord has urged that live and think of the present because that past is doad and the future, unborn. Ethics and psychology of Jainism is wide and deep-it is a cure for the mali- gnant disease we are suffering from. Jainism is not passive, nor is retirement from the challenges that we invariably face in the struggle of life. It alerts us. for the moments are treacherous. The wise should, therefore, seeek Truth and keep amity with all creatures, Mahavira always advised us to choose the right path with prudence and wisdom.
It is needless to repeat that in the present times the well-knit human family is under dissolution, brotherhood is dead, moral tenets trampled. Impersonality and anonymity have taken the place of human ties. Self-centredness and racist arrogance reign supreme. Visions that create harmony and rapport are no more in sight Rancour and hatred with a violent temper has made us estranged with anomie and alienation. The psychic and the social states are depraved. There is a breakdown of normative structure of individual and society. What prevails is a state of anarchy, social disorder and cultural con- fusion with higher rates of crime, suicides, drug-addiction, deviant life-styles and disruptive anti-social behaviours with personal demoralisation and psychic disintegration with feelings of, powerlessness, meaninglessness, rootlessness and isolation. There is a complete loss of the sense of moral involvement. purpose and attachment. We demonstrate apathy, distrust, aggression and withdrawal symptoms (M. Francis Abraham) The time is on and ripe to realise that we must now reorganise ourselves and the human nature. Technologcal advances, computers and robots, space shuttles and interplanetary explorations may profess much but signify little. Resuscitation lies in recomposition of our personality with sincerity of purpose. A great responsibility lies on every one of us Here Jainism comes to our rescue, its ethical code, psychological depth, spiritual methods and religious tonality has won spurs, because it urges us to realise that the character of an individual must be integrated by self-illumination, call it Svadhyaya, Preksha Dhyana or Anuvrta or Vipashyana. It assures us that we have that inborn ability to reclaim the lost land if we open up the windows of our souls and acquire values that intensify our consciousness Lord Mahavira himself set forth his life to fight against evils-he practised and then preached. to our proper destiny. Jainism cautions against the beast in man and guides us Therefore, the formidable task before us is to help new generation grow into integrated human souls and thus, requires a greater stress on our intuitive and supra-conscious faculties. Jainism is a powerful medium for all this. I sum up in the words of the great saint, Cidananda-
It is now dawn.
Wake, oh traveller
Sun has risen
Lotuses are in full bloom
Illusion has vanished
With the darkness of night
Be sleeping, ye won’t
reach the Destination
Move on oh traveller I’
(All renderings in English are taken from translations by Sri Ganesh Lalwani).