Call for Global Unity
Mr. C. N. Sanghavi, The founder of the Jain Social Group's International Federation, recently delivered a radical call for unity and active co-operation at the 7th Biennial Conference of the federation, held in Jaipur. Singhvi, speaking at the inaugural session of the conference on 30th December 1999, spoke of the fragmentation of the International Jain Community, referring to the increasing tendency as "Suicide for Jains". The Conference reacted positively to this call, and resolved to become a catalyst for the organization of a global organization of Jains, under the leadership of Dr. L. M. Singhvi. Below are excerpts from Singhvi's speech.
"We are now on the threshold of the new millennium. What will Jainism look like as we wade through the 21st century ? I have heard boys and girls born and brought up in U. S. A., when asked about Mahaveer raise a counter question "who is Mahaveer ?". Are we going to land in this situation in India also by the end of 21st Century?
"We should be averse to purposeless rituals,
particularly when it is accompanied by the extravagance,
showmanship and exhibitionism."
What is the position of Jainism today? We are about 10 million Deravasis, Sthanakvasis, Digambars or Terapanthi in the world. But there are very few Jains. We are fragmented beyond recognition. It is said that there are four sects of Jains. Broadly speaking it may be so but otherwise there are hundreds of sub - sects - Dashashrimali, Oswal, Khartargguchh, Gondal Sampraday and what not. Each sect has their own sadhu and own sadhvis, own beliefs, own rituals and own projects. This is further spreading like epidemic. this parochial and divisive tendencies are never ending. Parochial loyalties and, fundamentalism and fanaticism will be suicidal for us Jains if we remain silent spectator to those tendencies. It is said that the inaction of good people is worse than action of bad people.
The forces of divisiveness are at work. If there are nothing to our crooked , mind will invent something , which can possibly feed our divisiveness.
I have an action plan for future. We should set up a global federation of Jains, under the guidance and able leadership of Dr. L. M. Singhvi.
Firstly the future of Jainism, like the future of any country depend upon young people. Young generation is not dogmatic and is really to adapt new ideas. If proper motivation and guidelines are given to them they will follow the same. Secondly unlike the other religions, Jainism give equal status to women. They have to be involved at all levels. It is aptly said that for Indian women, sky is not the limit. There is no doubt that the information revolution will totally transform the environment for women if the opportunity is given to them.
One of the main objects of the organization should be to promote fellowship and fraternity among Jains, to strive for their progress and prosperity, to foster unity of all Jains and generally to propagate the fundamental principles of Jainism.
In doing so we have to take care of that we do not enter into sectarian controversies. We have a great role to play not only in spreading the message of Lord Mahaveer but also in propagating the social, religious and cultural values. In this respect we have to be slow and steady , cautious and enlightened, liberal and progressive but at the same time idealistic and positive.
We Jains do not believe in any superstitions and our attempt should be to free the society from superstitious beliefs. "We should be averse to purposeless rituals, particularly when it is accompanied by the extravagance, showmanship and exhibitionism or when it is performed without understanding, because this does not fit in with our philosophy of cultivating a broad mind, broad vision and broad outlook.
I have therefore very long term plan. Confucius wrote that "if you plan for a year, plant a seed, if for 10 years, plant a tree, if for 100 years, educate the people. It is not only literacy that I am talking about, but it is knowledge and wisdom. that is necessary. It is said.
'what is Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?'"
Source :- From Jain Spirit, London, U. K.
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