Creation Of A New Mind

The following post is based on Acharya Shree’s hindi book naye mastishk ka nirmaan

Everyone today wants a new world. The current world does not seem to give happiness. The formation of a new world, however, requires  the formation of a new brain. With the kind of brains we have today, a new world cannot be conceived.

In the words of psychology, our brain is a conditioned mind. It works on the basis of some present notions. Unless the force of beliefs and notions does not break, formation of a new society cannot even be thought of.

During the second stage of life, which spans from eleven years to twenty years, the brain is fully developed. Till fifteen years of age, the brain is fully developed. Afterwards, personality is developed, not the brain. Therefore, the brain can be changed till fifteen years of age. Afterwards, it is impossible.

There are many revolutions needed today, out of which the psychological revolution is the most important one. The meaning of a psychological revolution would be the formation of a new brain. One part of the brain is – animal brain. It is the most active today. And that is why society witnesses a lot of criminal activities.

The animal mind creates greed, which further creates selfishness. With selfishness, cruelty arises, which further creates a criminal mindset.

Greed is a basic tendency. It has been with us since eons. Changing our brain/mind means refining the tendency of greediness. Meditation is a prime mode through which this can be accomplished.

The world has just one root problem – that is, greed. All else are its accompaniments. And our brain is conditioned with greed. All our thoughts revolve around it. Every person first thinks about their self-interest.

Greed – The Cause Of Struggle Between Classes

Today there is struggle between classes. The root cause of this struggle is greed. Mill owners want to pay the labourers less and get more work done. And a labourer wants work less and get maximum payment. Can the mindsets of the two groups of people be changed? If the change does take place, then there would be no Marxism nor any violent activities would take place. But the struggle continues. The question is – can there be a solution?

Lord Mahaveer proposed a principle which can solve the problem. He proposed that one should not cut an individual’s livelihood. How much ever someone owes, that much should be given to him/her. Taking a portion of someone’s livelihood is an act of violence. The principle can only be developed when a new brain is created.

A relationship can be based upon two bases – selfishness or idealism. In the present era, relationships are formed on the basis of selfishness. Idealism is absent or minimum. The basis of an ideal relationship is truth. A mill owner would say, this much is mine and so, I’ll take only this much. And a labourer would say, this much is mine and so, I’ll take only this much. This is only possible when the minds of individuals change.

Changing Of  Minds

Everybody wants others and the society to become better. Parents want their children to be good. Children want their parents to be good. Expectations are in everybody. The fulfilment of these expectations can only be achieved with a new mind. However, no one is prepared to carry a change on their own mind.

Refining the mind requires meditation. When we begin to observe our own selves, then beliefs start changing. The notions upon which life runs change. When beliefs change, human relationships also change. Inside us, there are several beliefs. All of these must come out one by one. The more deeply we look within ourselves, beliefs will weaken to that extent.

The weight of beliefs which a man carries, even a donkey does not carry. Beliefs are very weird. Once, Acharya shree was leaving a village. A widow came in sight. A sister started shouting ” go away! go away! don’t be a bad omen.” The widow was bewildered. She moved to one side. Acharya shree asked – what happened? The sister replied ” You are leaving and the woman in front is a widow. Her coming on your way is considered a bad omen.” Acharya shree replied ” This is a wrong belief. We will leave with the good omen of this sister. A widow sister living with good conduct, is an individual of purity. How can she be a bad omen?”

Our beliefs make our minds narrow, which further disallows us to see the reality. When an individual steps within and looks at these beliefs, then the truth emerges, the mind becomes empty.

Meditation – The Way For Life Transformation

Meditation changes beliefs. And when beliefs change, the mind changes. When the mind changes, personality changes. When personalities change, the society changes for good.

In one sentence, for change to come, formation of a new mind is necessary.

 

 

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Brain Training

The following post is based on Acharya shree’s hindi book, mastishk ka prashikshan

Our brain is a store house of powers. Many people have strengths and abilities but they are not awakened, which is so because they haven’t practiced to awaken them.

The awakening of strengths is dependent on practice. Nothing can be learnt without practicing. Through practice, animals and birds can also be taught many things. All arts and studies have been made possible through practice. Through practice the impossible becomes possible. Practice holds great importance.

First principle is that the brain is very powerful. Second principle is that through practice mental abilities can be developed. And the third principle is that through awareness anything can be achieved.

Unawareness and sorrow are companions. With laxity/unawareness sorrow comes, energy dwindles.

When we have faith in our energy, know the importance of practice, and there is awareness, dormant energies can be awakened. To awaken our energies, the first thing to be practiced is – comprehension. There are two types of comprehension – comprehending many objects, and comprehending the nuances of one or more objects. Both are important principles of practice.

Our five sense organs comprehend corresponding sense objects. Their ability to comprehend can be developed. A single object is a mixture of many objects. After sharpening the ability of a sense organ, each of these objects can be comprehended. For instance, one’s hearing ability can be sharpened to such an extent that words from a single source in a cacophony can be heard and understood.

The ability of sense organs comes from the ability of our brain, which can be developed. Many can be seen, many can be heard, and many can be smelled.

In ancient times, training of detecting the source of sound (dhwanived) was famous. Acharya Kaalak was a famous acharya of our generation. His sister was once kidnapped. She was a saint and was very beautiful. The kidnapper king was skilled in gardbhi vidya, in whose effect wherever the sound of gardbhi reached, there doors would become so strong that nothing could destroy them. Kaalkacharya got to know about this. He thought of an idea. He readied his devotee kings. It was decided that when gardbhi’s mouth opens for speaking, his mouth be attacked with arrows, so that no sound comes out. This was only possible through dhwanivedh. Shooting an arrow on the basis of sound was its speciality.

This is just an example of how the brain can be trained. Bahuvidhgrahan or the ability to comprehend a variety of objects is also special. Prekshadhyan provides brain training in the forms of deerghashwas preksha and samvruttishwaas preksha. Breath comes in and goes out – knowing just this is not bahuvidhgrahan (comprehension of variety) But, knowing a variety of aspects about it is. A variety of aspects include, if the breath is cold or hot, dry or wet, strong or light, and if there are many or few atoms in the breath.

On the basis of sound and speed, many kinds of sciences have been developed. Svaroday vigyaan is based on the speed of breath. Through this science one develops the ability to know the past and the future. This was a miraculous science. The brain would become so trained and active, the gyantantu would become so sensitive that one would have the ability to sense the past and the future.

On the basis of speed of breath some principles were established, prophecies were made. The science is an example of bahuvidhgrahan.

Meditation is spiritual. With the purity of spirit, meditation also brings benefits in worldly aspects such as inter-personal skills, personality, focus, and etc. Through meditation, one can find success in many areas of life. Earlier there was a belief that one who wants liberation or wants spiritual development should meditate. But the reality is that meditation has benefits both in the worldly and otherworldly planes.

Meditation is a prime factor in training the brain and awakening its dormant energies.

Jain philosophy has a unique assertion of every object having many facets. Among these unlimited facets, if we understand fifty to hundred of them, it will be a miraculous learning. Through subtle understanding we can know about the colours of breath – when we breath in, its colour is red and when we breath out, its colour is black. This can be learnt through subtle practice.

There is a sequence of the development of five sense organs. First, the sense of touch, then taste and then smell. After these three senses are developed, eyes and ears are developed. Organisms in which the eye and ear is not developed, those organisms sense the world through the sense of smell. Smell is a very important feature. By discerning a person’s smell, one can know about their character, behaviour, and health.

An enlightened being can be identified through their smell. Their body and breath smells like lotus. A great yogi has a fragrance which is different from ordinary men and women.

The breath of every creature has a particular smell. And on the basis of a person’s smell, their personality can be analysed. There are instances when someone comes and sits near you and you wish that he leaves. Similarly, there are instances when someone sits near you and you wish that they stay. This change of feeling occurs on the basis of difference in smell.

The practice of identifying the breath’s smell, touch, colour is an idea of training the brain. The more trained the brain becomes, one’s comprehension ability increases, further making a person distinguished.

Skill in Action-3

The following post is based on Acharya Shree’s book karya kaushal ke sootra

One of the most important principles of skill in action is emotional balance. I once came across a book written by a professor of Harvard University – “Emotional Intelligence”. The author performed many surveys and experiments and concluded that the ones with less educational qualification but a high level of emotional balance are heads of organisations. While highly educated people who have a low level of emotional balance are the ones working under the former.

This means education is just one parameter. In addition to intelligence, one’s emotional intelligence is also considered while hiring.

If one’s emotions are too volatile, neither anybody can stay near them nor they can stay near anyone. There is no question of skillful work when one’s emotions are volatile. The most conducive state is when one is able to work along with others and others are able to work along with them.

The kingdom of emotions is huge. We’ll focus on a few aspects. The first principle of emotional intelligence is the development of endurance or tolerance. Only one who knows how to bear with others can be skillful in his actions. Only he can take others along with him/her. The one who cannot endure can neither walk himself nor can he take others along with him.

One day, Acharya Tulsi said – Nobody has to endure as much as the Acharya. A skillful Acharya (ie the head of munis) is one who has kshamta (ie ability), mamta (ie mine-ness), and samta( ie equanimity). One must have endurance, love, and a neutral view point while working to become an acharya.

The one who cannot tolerate people who are near him and people below his position, he cannot be skillful. In the camps of Prekshadhyan,  tolerance is contemplated after meditation sessions. Through contemplation, tolerance can be developed. Some people have a natural ability to tolerate while some don’t. But, with practice, the ability to tolerate can be developed.

A person who has learnt to tolerate is indeed very skillful. He knows when to speak and when not to speak. For instance if a colleague or family member is angry, at that time one must keep silence and must be able to tolerate the other person’s anger. If instead one also reacts in anger, the situation can worsen.

The second quality we must inculcate within ourselves is that of the ability to adjust. Once I was sitting in a room where a window was being installed. The labourer would make a latch, try fitting it, and if that din’t fit, would keep making efforts through wood cutting. I observed – so many efforts need to be put in order to fit a non-existent thing. For a living being to fit in, the difficulty level is more. But, if one knows how to adjust or harmonize, they can stay with two more people and even a hundred. The ability to establish harmony is an important key for emotional intelligence.

The third important quality is focus. A scientist wrote 900 scientific papers. But, could not complete even one. Somebody commented – if he had completed even one paper, he could have been a great scientist of his times.

Many people face the same difficulty. One day, they say they’ll start this business and after few days, they change their mind and venture on to another. One cannot be skillful when one is not focused. If we take one problem and invest months to solve it, eventually the problem will be solved.

The question is, how does one develop focus?

The practice of  prekshadhyan which includes the practice of deergha shwaas results in an increase in focus. After attending meditation camps, one must gauge their degree of focus. Has it improved or not? Results should be measures. Efforts alone do not hold any meaning.

There has been a worldwide reflection on the principles of skillful work. Many principles have come into the picture. We must take them into account as well. What we get out of practising Prekshadhyan is also important. Reaping the benefits of the practice can help us immensely to become skillful in our behaviour and work.

 

 

 

Skill In Action-2

(Following post is based on Acharya Shree’s book, karya kaushal ka sootra)

There are different facets of life. Attending to a single facet does not bring fulfilment. For a sense of fulfilment, one must attend to several dimensions, which can be compartmentalised into : spiritual progress and development of worldly skills.

A human being possesses skill- that is the second aspect of life. Through meditation, one’s spiritual dimension grows. This is the main result of meditation. However, meditation also leads to the development of worldly skills. If despite practicing meditation one sees no development in worldly skills, then one must realize that there is some lack in their practice.

A man is a societal being: he lives in a society which has various units. Family is a unit. Organisation is a unit. Nation is a unit. All of these units are a societal. He lives in all of them – is related to all of them. When one lives in a society, the question of behaviour comes into being. A t the level of soul, there is no expectation of behaviour. But, at the level of relationships, the question arises- how one should behave with each other and whatever we’re doing, how do we do it with skill?

The first principle of skillful behaviour is – change of perspective – development of a many sided perspective. Anekant is instrumental when interacting with the world. Therefore, Acharya Siddhsen writes in sanmati tark , without anekant, even worldly interactions don’t work.When our point of view is just one-sided, our interactions in the world don’t work.

In the context of skillful work, two principles of anekant must be taken into consideration: inter-dependence and adjustment. A skillful person is one who understands expectations. A manager, director needs the contribution of many people. If he doesn’t know the principle of inter-dependence, then he cannot perform his duty well. We’re all inter-dependent. Without a helper, the central authority cannot work.

A muni approached acharya Kalugani and exclaimed-  Gurudev, this muni says that he does’nt need me. His holiness Kalugani, asked for that muni and told him- my work does not happen without a sadhu. You may not need him, but I need him. I cannot separate him.

If we experience that we need a particular individual, our behaviour towards them will also be nice.

The struggle between mill workers and labourers is because of the limited perception of mill owners. They want to boost their profits by giving less to labourers. This one-sided view point results into the exploitation of labourers. A skilled person is one who achieves his and other’s means, both.

The second principle is adjustment. Due to differences in viewpoints, there are fights or struggles. When there are differences in viewpoints, no work can be done. At such moments, the principle of adjustment must be applied. One should be as skilled as the potter who learnt to establish adjustment.

The potter had two girls. One girl was married to a farmer and the other was married to a potter. Some time later, he went to see both the girls. First, he went to meet the girl whose husband made pots. He asked her, how is everything going? She said-everything is fine but a problem has come our way. The pots are drying and the clouds have arrived. If the rains come, all the pots will be damaged. Please pray that the clouds don’t rain! The potter went to his second daughter and asked her about her life. She replied – everything is fine but it has been a while since the rains have come. If they don’t come, we won’t get a good harvest! Please pray for me that the rains come soon.

Both daughters wanted opposite things. The potter was an intelligent man. He called both the girls and said – “if the rains come, her fields will yield crops and your pots will be damaged. If the rains don’t come, her pots will dry up and your field won’t yield anything. So, if the rains do come, you, the farmer’s wife, must give half the yield of your field to your sister. And if the rains don’t come, you, the potter’s wife, must give half of the pots to your sister.”

In the world, opposites exist. Everything has a different quality. And thus, the existence of opposites is natural. Establishing adjustment amidst opposites is a trait of the skillful one.

 

 

Skill In Action

(The following post is a translated excerpt of Acharya Shree’s book कार्य कौशल के सूत्र )

A famous sentence of the Bhagwad Gita is- योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् ।
The sentence means that skill in action is called yoga. This is one definition of yoga. It can also be said that yoga is a tool to achieve skill in action. The question of skillful action or work comes into being when we know the purpose of the work we do.

Purpose of Work
Doing something is not a necessity. One’s need makes doing something a necessity. Without a purpose, an action has no significance. It is said- प्रयोजनमनुद्देश्य मन्दोपि न प्रवर्तते। This means without a purpose even a mad man does not do anything. What is our purpose? Fulfilling the various needs of our lives- food, clothing, education, medicine and etc. However, with the rise in needs, today, work has expanded.

What Is Skilful Action?
The present era has seen the expansion of businesses, the variety of work, and workload. With this expansion, the question of efficiency has arisen. However,  how to become efficient or skilled in action, is not just a question of our modern times but was a persistent question in our ancient times as well. The question is- what should we consider as an action of skill? A work that does not obstruct someone’s good is skillful work. If an action is performed to perfection, but at the cost of one’s health, then that action is not skillful in totality. Today, work has grown so much that people’s health is getting affected. More than physical health, mental and emotional health is getting affected. Skill is that, which gives some benefit but no or minimal loss. It should not become an Allopathic medicine that removes one disease and creates ten more diseases. A skillful treatment is that, which uproots a disease but doesn’t create new ones in the process.

The Question Is Of Limits
In the context of Indian thought, an important question is- what should be the limits for dharma, artha, kaam and moksha?( ie duty, wealth, desire, and liberation) It is said that the desires that obstruct the creation and collection of wealth, are not good. Collecting wealth is necessary for life, but a person should not get so stuck in the act of collecting wealth, that he cannot tend to his desires. And when one cannot maintain the purity of his soul and perform his duties, then desires and wealth become of a low status.

Another Aspect
We must ponder over various aspects when we talk about one’s capability or skill. Even if our skills and work have grown, we must pause and ask – is the work we’re doing affecting our health? Is it increasing our anger? If that is happening, then we cannot call it skillful work. In the context of a nation, it is often, said – the country is very efficient and it has thus, established its supremacy over the global market. There is no trouble in accepting this but we must look at its other aspect as well. If the same country has seen an increase in suicide and divorce rates and sees a rise in health problems, then can we really consider that country a skillful one too?  If work efficiency increases, so should the quality of physical and mental health. There must be a balance.

The Notion Of Development
Today, the notion of development has found a sole basis in things. The more we create and possess materialistic things, the more one is considered developed. Facets of consciousness have been ignored. Its value in comparison to things has been reduced to zero. There is development in every field of life, but there is no effort being put in the direction of making good human beings. Despite the lack of peace in our human race, there seems to be no concern for alleviating it. Whatever little concern is there, has fructified in the form of medicines and drugs. In this state, understanding the significance and art of skillful work is very difficult.

Test of Emotional Health
Poor emotional health removes the possibility of skill in action. Though there is no parameter by which one’s exact emotional health can be discerned, a person’s behavior can guide us into getting knowledge of one’s emotional state . Following are the four facets of behavior which can give us insight into one’s emotional health:
1. Peace of Mind
2. Humility
3. Unselfishness
4. Contentment
We must see whether one’s work  is taking away one’s peace of mind? Or is it obstructing one’s humble behavior? Is it making one egoistic and angry? Is it destroying our simplicity? Is it raising our greed to such an extent that the desire of possessing the whole world could also arise in us?

If you get any of these answers as yes, you are not doing your work with skill.

What is the purpose of our capabilities to work? At the end of the day, for what purpose is everything being done? If we look carefully, we’ll see that everything is being done for the comfort and happiness of people. But ironically,  people themselves are breaking down, meaning that there is no meaning to what we do.

Thinking, Deciding, and Acting
We must think different ways to achieve the ability to act skilfully. For this, we need to create a plan. Whatever work is to be done, do it with a plan. There is a famous sutra which gives guidance to achieving a task with skill. It says, there should not be much time gap between the stages of taking a decision, thinking it through, and executing it into action. Thinking about it today, taking a decision after an year, and executing it into action after five years, won’t do. There is a story in sanskrit literature- a few scholars were invited to dinner. Noodles were served. A scholar looked at the long noodles and thought – दीर्घसूत्री विनश्यति। Meaning one who thinks over a lengthy period destroys himself. The person fails at the work. Time sucks the juice out of an idea’s potential.

I am reminded of a story. Once a cow’s capacity to give milk reduced. She started giving one kilo of milk instead of five. The owner thought- there is a wedding after a month. Fifty kilos of milk will be needed in the wedding and the cow is only giving a kilo. Let me stop milking the cow for now and milk her for fifty kilos straight, on the day of the wedding. And so he waited but on the day of the wedding, it turned out that he could not even obtain a drop of milk in the container. He got confused as to where did the milk go?

When a work is performed post the apt time, it will most likely result in a failure.

The second principle of skillful action is- do not do anything in a hurry.
सहसा विदघीत क्रियाम् । Don’t do anything without thinking through.

Skillful Action Defined In The Context of Prekshadhyan
Let us now think in the context of Prekshadhyan. The first stage of skillful action would be- doing something with focus. The second stage would be- be thoughtless while you are doing something, go beyond the mind. We must first, learn to stay on a single point. Work towards a single goal and become one with what you are doing. Put your mind fully in whatever you are doing. There should be no separation between mind and work. There should be no emotional distance also. A person sits to work. If he feels anger or egoism while doing it, then the work will also get affected. When we are doing something, all kinds of emotional activities within us should be surrendered for the work. Unless there is no surrender, one’s skill in action does not rise. After surrendering, nothing is left.

The Kind Of Surrender That Is Needed
In an Arab market, slaves were being sold. A customer asked a slave- “will you come with me?”

“Yes.”

“What will you do?”

“Sir, whatever you say.”

“Where will you stay?”

“Wherever you keep me.”

“What will you eat?”

“Whatever you give me.”

“Where will you sleep?”

“Wherever you ask me to sleep.”

The master continued to ask and the slave just gave one answer- whatever you say. A Sufi saint was standing nearby. Hearing this conversation, he was stunned. He thought to himself- a slave is so committed to his master and despite being my lord’s servant, I don’t even have comparable commitment. I must be surrendered to my lord to this extent. Only then will I meet Him. The one who wants to be successful in the path of spirituality, (s)he must pay attention to these words- तच्चिते, तम्मणे, तल्लेसे, तदज्झवसाणे, तदत्थोवउत्ते, तदप्पियकरणे ।
Meaning that when one ascends from the state of complete oneness to the state of complete surrender, then complete success will come.

Our focus takes many forms- focussing at a point or becoming one with it, dissolving the way sugar dissolves in milk, and complete surrender.

Live In The Present Moment

The Story of The Muni Rajrishi
Once upon a time there was a muni named Prassanchandra Rajrishi. He stood under a tree in the mudra of kayotsarg. Shrainik, the king of the country was passing by. And so did  a man by the name of Durmukh ( ie bad-mouthed), whose character coincidently matched his name. As soon as he saw the muni, he said- “So, he has become a muni. Now, he stands here with deceit. His son is losing against enemies in the battleground, and he is meditating .”

As soon as the muni heard this, his mind stuck at the fact- son is losing the battle. Not only did he lose his focus, the war scene started in his own mind. The war continued for hours. Despite the fact that there was no enemy, no army and no battle,  an intense war started happening within him that his life got associated with a war.

King Shrainik reached lord Mahaveer, and with a prayer asked him – dear master! Muni Prassanchandra is in deep meditation. If he dies at this point of time, where will he reach? Lord Mahaveer replied- in hell. Shrainik was surprised. He was neither able to believe the lord’s words nor disbelieve them.

On the other hand, a man named Sumukh (ie good mouthed) passed Rajrishi’s way. With praise in his voice, he exclaimed – “how great of you, Sir! Leaving your kingdom, you have chosen to become a muni and now, you are so absorbed in your meditation.” As soon as the word, saint, reached his ears he realised – oh! I have become a muni now. Whose kingdom? Whose son? Which war? His mind stabilised. He remembered his true nature and the whole situation changed.

Meanwhile, Shrainik asked Mahaveer again – “Sir, what is the state now?” Lord Mahaveer replied- “he has reached the ultimate. He has reached where he had to reach.”

Pure One-Pointedness
A lot of problems arise when we want to do something. Thoughts of memories and the imagination thereof,  one’s emotions, all of them obstruct a work. In order to augment skill in performing an action, it is necessary that we practice pure one-pointedness. One-pointedness should be there at a pure goal. Make your goal pure and focus on it. In terms of behaviour, purity means that one’s focus should not grow towards actions that have ill- bearing effects on others.

One way of inculcating pure one-pointedness is taking your attention towards the vishuddhi centre of our body. It helps in increasing one’s skill and efficiency. A very appropriate name has been given to it in yoga- the centre of vishuddhi or purity. The centre has several uses. The main purpose of the centre or chakra is to maintain a balance in the activities of elimination. It has been given a place of the Acharya. The meaning of Acharya is – being skilled in conduct and making others skilled in it. The chakra is very significant for purity and one-pointedness.

The Heart Of Skillful Action
That kind of skillful work must be developed which does not harm or exploit someone else, and does not hurt other’s good. In the context of Prekshadhyan, only this kind of work can  be called a work of skill. In the words of Gita, only this can be called yoga or skillful work. If we increase our work efficiency with respect to this truth, then it will be very beneficial for mankind.

Living With Peace: Living With Happiness

 

 

Whoever breathes, lives. One has to live by breathing, eating and drinking; but living like this has no great value. Living a quality life is valuable. And whoever has peace and strength lives a life of quality. Lack of either of the two leads to a stressful mind, which further diminishes life’s quality.

Once, a sister asked me for the solution, for her distressful state of mind. Upon being asked for the reason for distress, she elaborated, “two sons have passed away. There is one daughter-in-law. People talk a lot of nonsesnse.” I said “if you live on the basis of what people say, then you can never live with peace. In this world, there exists different kinds of people with different beliefs, imaginations and thought processes. So, if we start living on the basis of these diverse set of notions, we cannot even think about living in peace.”

Self-Confidence
The first principle of living with strength and peace is self-confidence. We must have faith in ourselves. The problem is that we have more faith on others. Maybe that’s  why people are fed information about what others speak of them. What the other says, says. The important question is: what do you say to your own self?

Others talking about you is their desire. It is possible that what you do, is not liked by someone. Everybody has a unique thought process. There is so much diversity and freedom in terms of thinking, that nobody can be bound. If we see ourselves on the basis of other’s mindsets, then we can never live with peace.

A weak and fearful person gets influenced by small instances and thus, living with peace is impossible for him. Only people with a strong mind can save themselves from the impressions of events and people’s chatter. The principle of evolution is that only the strong one survives in this world. Only the one, who has faith in themselves, is the strong one. Therefore, tools, through which a strong mind can be achieved, must be found for obtaining peace.

The Truth Of Our Society
People who rely on others for their work and goals can not be strong. Relying on others for your work can never get it accomplished. No matter how close a supporter, their help can only work to benefit when you have faith in yourself.

Society has a problem- one’s capabilities, character and what he must be doing are all decided on the basis of what others have to say. Even in the context of a party, clothes which are liked by others, are worn. It is seen which designs are liked by people. One’s own likes and dislikes do not matter, a dress should just be liked by others. If somebody says something is good, it is good and if someone says something is bad, it is bad even if it is good or right as per their own perception.

I asked several people- why do you do this to yourself? They tell me – “even we know that this is not right.But what to do? If we do not act according to society’s set standards, no one will let us fit in. We won’t be able to walk with our heads held high.”

Do Not Become Puppets
This means that a person is a puppet of other’s hands- a toy that can be driven wherever they want. Becoming a puppet is playing with your own life. Only a person who is devoid of confidence can let such a thing happen to him/her. A confident person will not think what others have to say. She/he will do what (s)he has to do.

First, one must think thoroughly about the decision they have to make; think about the pros and cons of an action and decide with proper care. But after deciding thoughtfully, do what you have to do. Then, you must not stop. What others will say must be ignored.

This is my own experience. His holiness, Acharya Tulsi oversaw a lot of changes in our commune of munis. He, first, thought through and after thinking, he concluded that certain traditions must be changed as they do not hold any meaning in this day and age. If we have done something after thinking over it thoroughly, then what others say does not hold any meaning and doing something without thinking through, has no meaning in itself.

Save Yourself From Poor Thoughts
The second principle of living with strength is saving oneself from whimsical thoughts. Some people build something bad with their own imagination. There is nothing real to it. The mind only imagines and generally, such pieces of imagination are not good. Many people have this habit. Such a habit does not let life become strong.

Another problem is doubts. Some people carry a lot of doubts and come up with thoughts such as these-” Several days have passed, there has been no news. What could have happened?” This is the weakness of our own mind. The mind is so weak that it cannot stand any doubt. Lots of doubts and imaginary talk in the mind makes a man weak.

The practice of meditation is valuable because it teaches one to be in the present moment. When we learn to live in the present moment, then unnecessary imaginary ideas can be stopped. These unnecessary imaginations make one weak from the inside and the outside, both. The meaning of strength implies the strength to stop one’s flow of imagination.

Let the discriminatory power remain awake- this imagination should be developed while this should not be developed further. As soon as a bad imaginary idea appears in your mind, it must be thrown out.

Why Does A Mind Break?
Bad imaginations and fear weaken the mind. When the mind is weak with fear and imaginations, how can you talk about peace? The mind must be saved from thoughts that weaken it. If we can do that, the mind will automatically be peaceful and when the mind is at peace, it can stand any amount of difficulties and troubles. A strong new piece of cloth can withstand the impact of a stone thrown on it from above but if the cloth is of poor quality, even a little impact can tear it away. Similarly, if our mind is weak, even a small problem can make the mind very unrestful.

Thus, in reality, no incident creates sorrow. A weak mind creates sorrow. We often think along the line- such a major incident has happened, and that is why the mind has become so much at unrest. We forget that there is another incident creator in between, which is the mind. Every event is filtered through the mind. If the mind is powerful, then it can even turn a troublesome incident into a small one.

We have no control over events. But we can surely make our minds so strong that no incident steals the innate peace within us or at least an incident should not have such an effect that life becomes burdensome.

Will You Survive?
In the olden days, there was a prince who behaved with cruelty towards everyone. The public was troubled by him. In a monarchy, the king is the most powerful. Complaints of the prince’s cruelty reached the king. He was the only son. The king got in a dilemma. He thought to himself, “he won’t listen to me; let me go to our Guru. He will definitely put him on the right road.” So, the king went to the Guru and told him, “Maharaj! My son has a bad habit. He behaves very cruelly with others. Please teach him a lesson.”

The saint assured him and made a plan. The saint accompanied the king, the prince and guards to the forest, indicated to pluck a few neem leaves and, asked the prince to consume them. The prince’s tongue caught the bitter taste. The prince disliked it but since eating the leaves was his Guru’s instruction, he didn’t say anything. As per the plan, the saint, the king and the prince went to the forest, the next day too but the tree from which the prince had consumed the leaves was nowhere to be seen. The prince told everybody -“Gurudev! I had the tree cut.”On being asked for the reason, the prince replied- “this was a very bitter tree.What is the use of such bitterness? Thus, I had it cut.” On this, the saint said- “you did a good job. A bitter thing should not stay in the world. Even your behaviour is bitter. In the public’s view, even you are bitter. So, if they also think like you, will you  survive?”

Strength, Peace, and Happiness
This saint’s nugget of wisdom completely changed the prince. Even if one nugget of wisdom touches you from within, life can be transformed. We must consider this seriously- that everyone wants to live with peace and happiness. Happiness comes with peace and peace comes with strength. The three are inter-related. If the mind is not peaceful, one cannot appreciate a good thing that is in front of them.

Now, since peace is related to one’s state of mind in a big way, the source of strength is one’s emotions or a control on their passions. In psychology, it is called emotional development. The chief element that destroys one’s strength is emotional disturbances. All passions, be it anger, egoism, lust or desire, ultimately destroy one’s strength. So, in order to be powerful, controlling one’s passions is very important.

 

Good Conduct v/s Miracles
There are two attractions in the world- good conduct and miracles. People like miracles even though there is nothing in them. Strength comes with good conduct. A person walking on water is a miracle. Whoever sees somebody walking on water, will be surprised but what will the sight-seers gain out of this? Nothing! If you want to gain strength, then make your conduct pure. Good conduct is powerful and miracles are just show-off activities.

The worrisome question is what does a common man get with such miracles? Babas performing such miracles do get benefitted as they are worshiped. In the midst of their miracle shows, they take advantage of people’s faith and in the process, obtain monetary benefits.

But if good conduct comes in life, strength comes. Even if one learns to focus the mind for five minutes, the mind’s willpower and strength will increase. If we spend our life by witnessing miracles, nothing will really come in our hands. These are two roads.Which road do we want to take is in our own hands. To make the mind strong and powerful, we must choose the road of good conduct. The question is: how can we make our conduct better? For this, we must develop pure emotions, continuously. Pure emotions create good conduct in one’s mind and thus, create strength.

The Solution is Within
To become sufficiently strong, an important thing is to find the solution to your problem, yourself. Problems come in everyone’s life. Nobody can assume that no problems will ever come in their life. There has been no person on this Earth, who has not faced any problems. It’s a principle of this world that a person has to face some or the other difficulty. The question is what can be done? Spirituality commands that one must find the solution to their problems, themselves.

There is a famous sutra which says it succinctly- अप्पणासच्चमेसेज्जा।

This means- find your own truth. The truth found by others cannot be much useful to the other person. I myself think that whatever I am telling you, is not directly useful to you. Unless you do not have your own experiences and put in your own efforts, how will my saying anything will help? If you make my truth, your own, then you will see results. Otherwise, this knowledge will be like a loan, which you will have to return someday.

Unless we do not have the mindset of finding solutions to problems, ourselves, no power in this world can solve our problem. For instance, somebody, who is suffering from the problem of obesity, can thin down only after their own self-efforts. The person will have to change their diet, keep a control on their diet and exercise, themselves. Nobody else can do it for them. If a problem could be solved on rent, rich people would never have to face any problems.

Solution to a problem is not anywhere outside but is within us- the day, we firmly place our faith on this belief, we will be accomplished with strength and peace, which will remain with us throughout our lives.

A Peaceful Co-existence

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.

System
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.

Adjustment
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.

Tolerance
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.

Humility
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.