Justice T.U.Mehta

Will and Eagerness

The basic question is that the basic postulates of every spiritual development, i.e., will and eagerness to realise the real nature of self cannot be developed through any mechanical formula. They emanate from within only by experience which in turn is gained mainly by thinking process. Capacity to think and to distinguish, is the only feature which distinguishes a human being from the rest of the animal world. It follows, therefore, that the more we develop our thinking process the more we are utilising our existence as a human being. If an intelligent survey of human behaviour is carried out it will be noticed that most of us do not bestow proper thought and study our day to day experiences in life. We take many things for granted and do not bother to analyse the factors leading to a particular happening in our life or in the lives of those around us. So, to develop the habit of objective observation of everything that happens to us as well as around us is the first essential. This habit of objective observation will naturally introduce in our thinking process the principle of Nayavada (doctrine of multiple aspects) and our power of tolerance and understanding will go on increasing.

Thinking process has its own dynamism. By its very nature it can never remain stagnant. Therefore if a human being, allows the thinking process to go on, is bound to reach a stage of approaching reality. At that stage he realizes the real cause of his pains and pleasures, and once he realizes he tries to adjust himself to the situation. He is now ready and willing to experiment. Every experiment in the spiritual field brings unique and interesting results, giving further impetus to make progress. This surely results in ‘will and eagerness', referred to above as ‘basic postulates of spiritual progress'.

Anuvrata-Mahavrata - To those who are able to develop will and eagerness to go further in the spiritual journey, the Jaina seers have provided a sort of modus by the operation of which a positive achievement can be made. This modus covers the whole range of actual living. Distinction is, however, made between the life of a monk who has renounced the world, and the life of a house-holder who has to discharge all worldly duties and at the same time, wants to be free from the shackles of karmas. However, since the destination of both the monk as well as the house-holder is the same, the basic practice, they are prescribed to follow is the same. The difference is only in the degree, considering that one has renounced the worldly affairs while the other has to encounter all sorts of worldly conflicts. The milder form of practice prescribed for a house-holder is called ‘Anuvrata' and highest and strictest standard is prescribed for the monks having renounced the world and aspiring to attain emancipation. This is called ‘Mahavrata'. Before discussing the details of these practices, it would be quite necessary to understand the process by which a proper mental and emotional attitude can be prepared for performing these practices in true spirit.

Objective observation - It is easier to observe objectively the phenomena which are impersonal to us than to bring objectivity to the personal phenomena which come only by cultivating a habit. The cultivation of this habit remains not so difficult if on every occasion of pleasure and pain we seek within ourselves their causes and try to go deeper in our enquiry as to their propriety and their impact on our character building. We are bound to experience that once this process of objective observation becomes habitual, the impact of emotional upsurges of pleasures and pains on our psyche becomes blunted. So the first requirement is the habit of objective observation of all the personal and impersonal occurrences in life.