The following post is a translated part of Acharya Shree’s book Shanti ka prashn
If there was only one human in the world, there would have been no clashes or any struggle.But this is not the case. There exist many people. Many can refer to five arab or even ten arab people. The existence of two means duality. In the Sanskrit dictionary, duality is defined as a couple. Another definition of duality is a fight. Thus, the word “two” and the word “fight”, are synonyms. So, where there is a two, a fight will necessarily take place. Two makes an implication for two different interests, two different points of view, two different thought processes and ways of performing an action. Now, everybody is not intelligent enough to not let a difference in opinions turn into an ideology clash.
Living as two is a life of struggle and that is the biggest trouble. A solution was found: live as two or many but live together, thereby preventing all sorts of fights and clashes. A question arises: how is this possible? One solution is dharma. The one who has understood dharma, he/she can live peacefully even among a diverse set of people. Non-violence is the key practice involved here. A society created on the basis of non-violence; its working principle is living together: you also stay and I also stay. The thought of either me or you breeds violence.
The philosophy of Anekantavada has been developed on the principle of non-violence. According to the Anekant philosophy, fire and water, heat and coldness, light and darkness can co-exist together.
An example of a real situation can illustrate this better. Consider a hypothetical situation of a man sitting in a room when clouds appear and cover the broad daylight of the afternoon. Somebody suggests the man read a book. He replied that the darkness in the room won’t let him do so. At that moment, somebody handed him a glass of water, which he drank easily. So, drinking water in that limited amount of light was possible while reading small letters in the same amount of light was difficult.
So, events are a matter of relativity. Light and darkness, both can co-exist together. Thus, two seemingly opposing view points and philosophies can also co-exist. In a conflict, one has to establish some sort of adjustment.
In a family, one who cannot adapt with others, cannot live with peace. A family is a small unit and provides a small experiment for the practice of non-violence. The one who cannot practice non-violence in a family, cannot be religious in the true sense. Once, a young boy came to me and said- “my father thinks he is religious and so he performs 5-7 samayik per day and spends most of his time with saints but he is the one who fights the most in our family. If I have to learn how to fight, then why should I go to a religious place? The marketplace is quite huge.”
This is not just one story. Many people go through the same problem. Daughter in law can have a similar notion about her mother-in-law and vice a versa. Samayik and fights, both cannot go together. If they do go together, then what is the purpose of religion?
A religious or spiritual person must first learn the lessons of non-violence and Anekant. Anekant implies accommodating two different points of view. In the absence of anekant, even a small matter can turn into a big fight.
Why Does A Clash Occur?
Assume an instance when dinner is to be prepared. One person wants to eat bitter gourd and the other wants to eat something else. Such a small matter can escalate into a fight. This is the kind of clash that is based on differences in interests. A clash can also have an imaginary basis. A fight breaks in between a couple. Wife says that she will make her son a doctor while the husband says that he will make him a lawyer. A wise man interrupted – why are you fighting? At least know your son’s mind before deciding. To that, the wife replied-“the son is not born yet.”
Such baseless fights take place because of the absence of adjustment and an arrangement in place. I have seen the case of two brothers who had so much love between them that people would call them Ram-Lakshman. But when the question of money rose, the love turned into the kind of bitterness that could be compared to the bitterness between Ram and Ravan.
Where there is no system in place, a struggle will necessarily take place. In an absence of a system, there will always be chances for fights to take place. I am reminded of a real life instance. A man in Delhi regularly participated in politics. One day, he said- Maharaj, I am completely lost. I asked, what happened? He started crying and responded- we are four brothers and we had a family business. But I have been involved in politics, all this while, and my brothers worked at the shop. Today, my brothers say that you have so much debt that there is nothing left for you and that you must leave the family house now.
The man was a good man but still had to face such troubles. But such situations do take place, mainly because of an absence of a system.
Adjusting with one another and concluding a compromise is the second point. If a person cannot accept a compromise in a situation, he/she will create a grudge out of a small incident. Nothing works in this world, without a compromise. Big wars and fights, all of them are concluded with some adjustment and agreement. Common people, also hold on to their notions and ideas so tightly that they begin to think along these lines-I do not want to do this at all. Cannot listen to this only. Where there is so much attachment to one’s ideas and desires, there cannot be a state of mind that can adjust and move forward. Even a carpenter has to cut and finish pieces of wood several times before creating a perfect window frame.
The most important point is tolerance. It is the basis of non-violence and peaceful co-existence. Today, men and women cannot tolerate one another. Leave grown-ups, even a four-year-old lacks the ability to tolerate. If he has an opposing viewpoint of that of others, he would burst with anger. Without accepting and tolerating each other’s weaknesses, incapabilities, states of mind, problems and diseases, how can two people live together? Unless the ability of tolerance is not developed, peaceful co-existence cannot be even imagined.
Today, people have a wrong understanding of tolerance. It does not imply fearfulness or weakness. Instead, it implies great strength. Only a strong person can be tolerant. His holiness, Acharya Tulsi said- an Acharya needs to have a greater ability of tolerance than a muni. When a muni is in anger, an Acharya must necessarily maintain his calm. This is the way of grandiose maturity. Its underlying principle is to sprinkle water on boiling milk so that it does not fall and spoil itself. Only a mature person can have such an intellect. If the head of a family is not a tolerant person, the family will see frequent fights, gradually breaking the family.
The President of China, once, said-“Dinner of thousands of people has been prepared only because I tolerated a lot.” Imagine, the preparation involved in producing a thousand plates of food. These days we do not even see such a huge number of wedding guests. That is impossible now. I have known families where dinner of 100 people used to be prepared daily. Finding such a family, today, would be next to impossible. The reason is clear: families are not big anymore and people, now, do not know how to live together. Camps of Prekshadhyan see the preparation of lunch and dinner for hundreds of people. A camp also becomes like a family. So many people live together because the art of living together is taught. Living together is an art and the ones who do not know this art, cannot enjoy the joys that come along with living together peacefully. The underlying principle of a peaceful family life is, thus, tolerance. Practicing it is the most valuable art and science.Without the art of tolerance, a person cannot live in peace.
Jainism gives great significance to humility. Today, many think that being humble is being servile. This thought process is causing egos to become bigger. In every religious tradition and societal sect that is based in India, humility has been given utmost importance.
Therefore, it is written- vidya dadati vinyam (ie education gives humility). Seeing the trends of our current time period, we can probably say – vidya dadati avinyam.
Humility was once the essence of the Indian ethos and culture, but today, this is being forgotten. In a family, where humility is absent, there can be no peace.
Being humble towards elders is one point. The other aspect is concern and love for the young. Both go hand in hand. If one gives respect and the other does not reciprocate with care and love, the respect will automatically decline.
Thus, practicing these five principles of establishing and abiding by a system, adjustment, tolerance, humility, and concern with love, can ensure a peaceful family life.