A Wake-Up Call - All Jains
By Gp. Capt. V. K. Jain
572, Asiad Village, New Delhi - 110 049
Introduction : The extant ruins and incisive study of history shows that in the past, there has not been any corner of Bharatvarsh which did not have marked rain presence and dominance. From a substantial numbers in the past, the Jains, all sects put together, have been reduced to a miniscule minority of less than 0.4% of India's population and are set to become extinct like the proverbial 'DODO'.
It is a pity that while] their very existence is under serious threat, various sects of Jains are engaged in internecine battles and suicidal blood-letting. We are digging the grave of Jainism at double quick time. The internecine struggle has left the Jain community too emaciated to defend itself against the cultural, social, religious as well as physical attacks of the surrounding milieu. Due to the indifference of the Jains themselves and of course due to their being overwhelmed by other communities, a large number of Jains are lost to its surroundings every year. And then, there are increasing number of transgressions involving attacks on Jain monks/nuns, interference in their legitimate religious activity, vandalisation of places of worship etc. But the Jains are too weak and too divided to do anything about it.
'Ekantic' actions of Anekanta- believers : There is no doubt that disputes and fights bring out the worst in man. The fights between various Jain sects is no exception. Each one of them convinces itself of the 'righteousness' of its stand so much so that they turn a blind eye to their own vengeful actions in utter violation of the basic tenets of J ainism. We talk of importance of "Kshama", celebrate it as a "Parva" and yet proceed with the most vengeful action? 'Anekant' the unique gift of Jain philosophy is the first principle sacrificed at the altar of selfish and parochial interests. We have become a 'laughing stock' in the eyes of other communities. It is rather sad. I am sure, this must be the feeling of many of our other brethren who have given some thought to this issue.
Nature of Differences : Perhaps most of us do not know that Jainism is one religion where there are NO DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES between various sects. There are no differences in the basic principles or the tenets as can be seen from the attached illustrative list of some 'talked-about' differences between Dig's & Shwets; the two major' schisms amongst Jains. The differences amongst other sects are even more INSIGNIFICANT. The GOSPEL is the same, and that is of 'Mahavira". Then what is all the fight about? It is obviously not for 'principles' but for 'power'. Just like the politicians, there are power-hungry people in the community who in the name of religion want to exploit the situation for their selfish ends, instead of working towards "Samanvaya" of all protagonists of Jina Dharma.
There is a saying that you always get a last chance. Perhaps this is that chance for the Jain community. If the cognoscenti & the intelligentsia amongst the Jains do not act now, this chance may be gone forever.
Suggested Measures : When you discuss this malaise, most people point the finger at our religious heads. This may be true to some extent, but I think a major part of the blame lies with the enlightened Shravakas. Why don't we leave the religious heads to their religious activities and take on the onus of the materialistic activities upon ourselves? The Acharyas may be unable or unwilling to do anything in this regard. They may even be at the back of the 'divide'. The enlightened people within the community must put their act together and work for the "Samanvaya" of all sects. That would be the greatest service to the Jina Shasana. Some efforts have been made and are being made by dedicated individuals and organisations. However, unless these efforts are nursed into a 'flood' tide, the desired result may evade us. Some of the measures which could be considered are suggested below.
1. Formation of a forum of all Jain members of Lok SabhaJRajya Sabha with representative from all Apex Jain Organisation of various sects to takeup, plan and formulate policies all National level which affect all Jains.
2. Launch a programme to show that basic principles for all sects are same. There is no justification for conflict.
3. Identify & launch religious programmes/functions which can be done jointly by all sects at all levels right upto national level.
4. Formation of "All - Jain" Mahasabhas/Sabhas, etc, - at all India level, each state level & each city level.
5. Obtain undertaking from all Jain VIP's not to grant any favour unless it comes from "All -Jain" Sabhas.
6. Constituting a Jain Tribunal to adjudicate on disputed issues.
Conclusion : Jainism is perhaps the oldest living religion, which, due to its "Shaashwat" principles has, substantially, remained unchanged over many millennia. If it passes into oblivion, history shall never forgive the present leadership of various Jain Sects. O! well meaning individuals act now before it's too late.
Author : Gp. Capt. V. K. Jain
572, Asiad Village, New Delhi - 110 049, Tele : 26492386