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JAINISM – THE CREED FOR ALL TIMES

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FOREWORD

LIVE AND LET LIVE’ is the credo of Jainism, the faith preached by omniscient Jinas who founded it on the noble principle of non–violence towards all living–beings. It is this emphasis on non–violence that makes it the ‘Creed for All Times’. The eternal principles of this wonderful and eternal creed and the conduct–rules that govern its ethics have been commented upon by various commentators that have left their marks on the sands of time, from time to time according to the demands of their times. However, the need for a good and easily comprehensible book on Jaina precepts and practices, in English language, has been felt for a long time.

I am very happy that Dr. (Colonel) D. S. Baya ‘Śreyas’ has answered this call and has presented the eternally relevant Jaina principles in such simple English language that even a layman will have no difficulty in understanding this noble faith. I am sure that not only the Jaina readers but a large number of non–Jaina ones will also benefit from this work.

An authentic life–sketch of Bhagvān Mahāvīra, that reconciles the beliefs of both the Śvetāmbara and the Digambara traditions, at the very outset, certainly adds a unique dimension to this work that is being published quite close to the 26th liberation–centenary of that noble soul.

The second introductory chapter adds a historical perspective to this faith that was initially propounded by Bhagvān Ṛṣabhadeva who lived aeons ago. Also, it is a praiseworthy effort to introduce Jainism’s indicators, its concept of reality, the interrelation between the soul and Karma and to establish that in spite of its lack of belief in the existence of an Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent God, Jainism is a theist faith that believes in the existence of the soul and rebirth after death. Ahiṁsā or non–violence is the central theme of Jainism and I am satisfied to see that the author has done justice to this theme by devoting an entire chapter of the book to it.

The most important section of this book is its second section that contains its fundamental principles and describes the fundamental verities, the concepts of right–vision and right–knowledge and that of Non–absolutism and its predication. The ‘Jaina Doctrine of Karma’ has been covered very lucidly and it also explains it very scientifically.

The original thinking of Dr. Baya comes out in its third section in which he has explained the Jaina Cosmology with reference to the four variable parameters of matter, space, time and change.

The fourth section covers the two tier Jaina ethics – ‘The Monastic Conduct’ and ‘The Lay Followers’ Conduct’ in an easy to follow manner.

Another feature of this book is its ‘Legendary Section’ that narrates four stories from the abundant Jaina lore. These stories – ‘Aṇḍak’, ‘Mṛgāputrīya’, ‘Nami Pravrajyā‘ and ‘Rohiṇī Kathā’ emphasise the importance of detachment, steadfast belief, knowledge and flawless practice of monastic conduct respectively. They certainly add to the attraction of this work.

The sixth and the last section is rightly entitled ‘Practical Jainism’ as it addresses itself to the problems facing the individuals, the society and the world at large and suggests that the Jaina precepts and practices offer sustainable solutions to these problems. The application of the Jaina principles, specially that of Non–absolutism, to the areas of ‘Leadership and Management’ and ‘Personality Development’ certainly adds to its value for the younger generation.

I must compliment the author for this excellent work and hope that his pen will remain tireless in pursuing similar other pursuits.

Dr. Sagarmal Jain

                      • Founder Director
                      • Prachya Vidyapeeth,
                      • Shajapur (M.P.)

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