Jain Unity

By Dr. Nitin Shah, MD
Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, UCI Medical Center, Irvine, California, USA
Board Member and Immediate Past President, Jain Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

 

The religious systems of mankind are not divided one from another by essentials of faith but rather by elaborate and complicated theological systems. People who have worked together, suffered together, and died together have been divided by schismatic technicalities. There can be no fellowships of faiths while the great religions of the world ignore the unity of their spiritual aspirations and emphasize only their sectarian difference and the erection of creedal barriers.

The differences that have arisen in practice did not exist in the original revelations but have crept in through efforts at interpretation. The narrowness to be found in various creeds come not from the founders but was inculcated afterwards by zealous but bigoted followers who had no comprehension of the original vision.

We fail utterly to be religious because we fail to realize that Zeus and Brahma, Jehovah and Allah and God, Shwetambar and Digambar, Murtipujak and Sthanakvasi, Terapanthi and Beespanthi are not different entities but the same essential interpreted through the language of these different races. People pray to their gods with many words. They beseech divinity to be particularly observant of them and to elevate their concern above the general good and be united!

Unity is a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. Unity is important for peaceful existence of every family, race, community, state, country, continent, and the whole world. Thus it is extremely important for Jain doctors and all Jains from various different faiths to be united. Many parts of the world are torn apart for multiple reasons including religious preferences of people. Ahimsa is one of the main tenets of Jain Dharma and Jains can do an invaluable service to mankind by spreading the practice of Ahimsa/Non-violence, the message of Lord Mahavir to the world.

A religious man is not one who merely subscribes to a certain system of theological dogma. Religion is idealism in action and the idealization of action. A religious person is one who perceives a code higher than that of animal kingdom and attempts to live by this law and to elevate his concerns from the animal to truly human levels.

Religions are not great because of the vastness of their memberships, the wealth of their orders, the complexity of their dogmas, or the smugness of their clergy. Religions are great only when they apply spiritual principles to the material problems of the Race and make an honest contribution to the spiritual and ethical betterment of mankind!.

Jains form a very small fraction of world population and yet has a very powerful message of Ahimsa & Anekantvad that can help resolve world conflict. We should broaden our vision and think more globally for the benefit of entire world population.

I will parlay my experiences of resolving conflicts amongst members of different faith in a Jain Center in USA. Furthermore, I will present some of the ideas that we utilized for the benefit of people in their religious organizations.

 

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Article Courtesy : Ms. Raksha Shah, Email : shahraksha99@yahoo.com

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Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation
www.jainsamaj.org
R210405