Friday, April 15, 2011

Jainism lives on in India

Axis of Jainism
Kailash Vajpeyi (Times of India, April 11, 2011)
With the "Great-Hero Festival" (Mahavir Jayanti) around the corner, here are some salient thoughts about the man who founded Jainism, Vardhaman Mahashraman Mahavira (personal name Vardhaman, description Mahashraman "Great Wandering-Ascetic," title Mahavira "Great Hero").

Prince Vardhaman could recall each detail of his previous births. He was a blessed child. He soon left his family and dedicated his life to meditation [as a wandering ascetic and contemporary of the Buddha]. His philosophical principles are such that they can bring happiness and peace to anyone who assimilates their essence and follows them. His long years of penance [severe asceticism] were so hard that it is a miracle he survived them. And because of this, he came to be known as Maha-shraman (the Great Wandering Ascetic) Mahavira.

Evolution of a philosophy: He conquered sleep and hunger and had no need of spoken words. Twelve years later his communication flowered into spoken words. He observed for the first time that nothing was static [but was impermanent]. We are all forever on the move; we are nothing but flow and flux. Each child, however loved or cherished, will inevitably and surely perish one day. More