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 Positive Non-Violence

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Gentleness

 

 

Uvasameṇa haṇe kohaṁ, māṇaṁ maddavayā jiṇe |

Māyaṁ ca’jjavabhāveṇaṁ, lobhaṁ santosao jiṇe |

- Daśavaikālika sūtra, 8.39.

 

That is – Destroy the anger with subsidence, win over pride with gentleness, conquer guile by guilelessness and conquer greed through contentment.

 

Uttamaḥ kṣamāmārdavārjavaśaucasatyasaṁyama-

tapastyāgākiñcanyabrahmacaryāṇi dharmaḥ |

- Tattvārtha sūtra, 9.8.

 

That is – Noble forgiveness, noble gentleness, noble simplicity, noble cleanliness, noble truth, noble restraint, noble penance, noble renunciation, noble nothingness (lack of pride) and noble celibacy are ten manifestations of noble faith or Uttama dharma.

 

Thus, in Jainism, ten manifestations of a noble faith have been mentioned amongst types of means of karmic stoppage. One of these is gentleness or mildness. This aspect of a noble faith can be gained only through giving up pride or haughtiness. As has been said,

Kularūvajādibuddhisu tava-sudasīlesu

gāravaṁ kiñci jo ṇavi kuvvadi samaṇo

mādava-dhammaṁ have tassa

Bhagavatī Ārādhanā, 49/154.

That is – the monk who is not given to pride in his family, handsomeness, caste, intelligence, penance, scriptural knowledge, and righteousness is said to be observing the gentleness part of the noble faith.

Where there is arrogance or haughtiness and there is a feeling of considering oneself as higher than the others, there cannot be gentleness or mildness but there can only be inertia, hardness and heartlessness. The spring of affection and kindness cannot rise in the heart of such a haughty person. On the other hand where there is no pride but humility the feeling of being higher than the others does not arise and the feeling of equality rules. Due to this feeling of equality the humble and mild person can feel for others just as one feels for oneself.

The feeling of kindness arises in the heart of one who has himself felt pain and misery, which removes the hardness from his heart and makes it soft. As has been said

Jā ke paira na phaṭe bivāī, so kyā jāne pīra parāī”.

That is – How can one whose feet have not cracked, feel the pain of others with cracked feet?

 

What is meant is that anyone who has suffered in life such pains and miseries like broken limbs, business losses, losing a near and dear one, can only appreciate the tearing pain suffered by others in similar situations.

The heart of anyone who remains engrossed in mundane pleasures becomes inert to the sufferings of the others. He just cannot feel the pain of others, his sensitivity dies out and his heart becomes hard.

How can those that sleep in air-conditioned mansions wrapped in woollen clothes and wraps feel for the miserable ones who sleep and die in the open in bitter cold and have nothing to cover them selves with? The truth is that attachment to sensory pleasures makes a person stonehearted and at times totally heartless. This hardheartedness is a great hindrance in spiritual development. It is only when one is beset with painful experiences that one can feel as to how painful such experiences can be. One who is given to mundane pleasures remains engrossed in them even when he watches those around him in deep misery. To do so he has to harden his heart. His heart becomes so hard that all generosity goes out of it and his humanity and humaneness vanish. From this standpoint enjoyment of worldly pleasures is the means of a person’s downfall. However, one who knows about pain and misery, one who has suffered in life always shares his means of enjoyment with the deprived ones and always tries to use them for mitigating their pain and misery. The spring of love flows eternal in his heart. Mildness is a godly quality, which dwells in a gentle heart only.

Dharma does not dwell in the heart that is not as soft as butter and such person cannot be called as religious. Only that person can be religious who cannot bear to see others in pain. One’s duty lies in using the means and powers at one’s disposal in trying to mitigate the pains and miseries of others. Whatever means of body, wealth, intellect, strength, abilities, etc., that we have with us here, cannot follow us in our afterlife after our death. Therefore, if a person would not use them in helping others but would either use them for one’s own enjoyment or he would simply waste these resources at his command., this waste would eventually cause him misery. Thus, there is only one proper use of means at our command and that is in employing them in serving others. Therefore, we must employ our resources in mitigating the pain and misery of others wherever we see them. This will result in their happiness and the feeling of inherent kindness will purify our volitions, we would overcome our desire for mundane pleasures and out hearts would become pure.

When the heart is filled with the feelings for others’ pain, the desire for mundane pleasures keeps out. The way to feel for others is to put ourselves in their place and to try to imagine as to how would we feel, if placed in their circumstances? As soon as we place ourselves in the position of the miserable, a picture of his misery would carve itself in our hearts and out hearts would move with their misery, our desires would melt away. However, one who feels others’ pain due to attachment and delusion becomes weak and he becomes distressed and disheartened and cannot do much to mitigate the misery. On the other hand one who bears the others’ pain and misery with a feeling ofuniversal affection does not feel weak and distressed and is able to efficiently employ the means and capabilities in trying to mitigate the pain and misery of others. Even nature helps such a servant in doing his duty, the society also extends its helping hand in his work of rendering service to the needy and the time may come when the entire world becomes ready to help him and feels rewarded in cooperating with him. What is meant is that if the heart remains filled with feelings for others and the inertia and hardness induced by selfishness melt away, and the consciousness manifests itself, the service rendered to those in pain and misery becomes the easiest way to attain emancipation and liberation.

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