Saturday, April 8, 2017

Do the jains really know their religion?

According to the concept of Anekantavada that is a main tenet of Jainism, uncertainty is accepted, and it is postulated that any philosophy that claims to be the custodian of the absolute truth is false. Jainism itself was a product of its times, in combining different school of thoughts into Anekantavada.

In recent times, Jains have been seen taking an aggressive posture with regard to how society is to respond to Jain festivals. For Mahavir Jayanthi today, there is a closure of wine and meat shops in Tamilnadu. These aspects seem to be quite removed from the thinking and theories of Mahavira.

Mahavira was born in the Bihar of today, 2616 years ago, in 599 BC. He left his home in the year 569 BC, at the age of 30. He is said to have achieved omniscience twelve and a half years later, which would be 557-556 BC. The principle of uncertainty was given by him.

On the day of his death at the age of 72, his disciple Gautama Swami is said to have achieved omniscience. Among the chief aspects of Mahavira's teachings were that of not causing injury to animals as it would be an infringement of their dignity.

While the Jains of 2017 are vegetarian, the question that needs to be asked is whether they are really existing at the level that Mahavira advocated, with the other concepts such as Truthfulness and Restraint. Would the Jains ask for a ban on the consumption of meat by people of other beliefs if they followed the teachings of Mahavira with respect of restraint?

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