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The Essence of Jainism

Parsvanatha, who preached before Mahavir Jina, had given four principles for as pure life. Those were, non-violence, truth, non-stealing, and non-possession. Mahavir Jina added another principle namely Brahmacharya or celibacy. According to him, these five qualities were necessary for leading a life towards perfection and to cross the stream of existence. Mahavir Jina gives up all attachments towards worldly things. He even gave upon the use of clothes.

Tri-Ratna:

Jina asked his disciples to follow three conditions for as nobler life. Those were Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Action. These conditions are known as the Tri-Ratna or the three-jewels.in Jainism, man is required to regulate his life under those conditions. It was through faith, knowledge and action that man could realize his own soul. In the Jaina faith, the perfection of soul was regarded as the real purpose of life. There were no needs to worship God or Gods or to offer prayers or sacrifices. A pure soul could surely reach salvation without such things.

Karma and Rebirth:

In Jainism, the faith in the theory of karma and rebirth was absolute. Man has to work in order to live. His soul, therefore, is engaged in various works. However, man should also know the difference between good and bad works. Because, he has to face the results of his works. If one does good works in life, the results will be good. If one does evil works, bad results will follow. The results of the action or the Karma are investable. No one can escape the Karma, which results in rebirth. The birth and rebirth are like and unending cycle. Man is born again only to suffer for the sins of the previous life.

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Jainism showed the path to escape fro the cycle of rebirth. By Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Action that man can avoid the sins of life. By escaping sins, one can escape the pane of rebirth. By giving upon attachment towards worldly things, one can escape the sins of greed, lust and possession.

According to the Jainas, no one can escape the results of sins by offering prayers to Gods. It is only by right conduct and action that one can do so.

Non-Violence:

Absolute faith in Ahimsa or the non-violence received the highest place in Jainism. The life of every living being was regarded as sacred. The smallest of the small creatures also possessed life, as did the human beings. It was therefore a supreme sin that man should destroy the life of other creatures. As man himself does not want to been injured or killed, so also no creature would like to be injured or killed. According to Jainism, it was the duty of man to protect and preserve the life every living creature. To Mahavir Jina, the practice of Ahimsa was like the highest duty of every man.

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Jainism carried non-violence to its extreme extent. The Jainis did not cook food after evening in fear that even the smallest of the insects might fall into fire. No other religion paid so much respect to the living being as did Jainism. Kindness towards all kinds of life was as cardinal feature of Jainism.

Salvation:

Mahavir Jina taught his disciples to realize the absolute Truth of existence. Man is mortal. His physical body is an unreality. Worldly attractions are meaningless. The karma or action leads to sins when man is attached to worldly pleasure. It is for the sins that there is rebirth in endless cycle. Unless one attempts to escape the rebirth, there will be no end to his sufferings.

Jina showed the path to man to escape rebirth. In order to realize that the Atma or the soul is real while the body is unreal, Jina advised to give up all attachment to the body. By putting the body to pains, by showing no desire for anything. By giving up all possessions, and even by inviting death by starvation, a man can prove that he has no desire for worldly existence.

It is by such detachment that man can finally realize the Real knowledge or the Kevalin. By destroying Karma, he can liberate his soul and escape rebirth. The liberated soul can at last reach the eternal abode of peace or the Siddha Sila. That is the salvation or Kaivalya. There will been no rebirth and no return to sufferings only earth once the salvation was reached.

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In Jainism, the supreme goal of life was salvation.

Reformism:

Jainism rose as a new religion. Side by side, it challenged many existing evils of the Brahmin faith. Mahavira Jina was one the greatest reformers of ancient India. He raised his voice against many social and religious systems of his time. In his age when religion mainly meant worship of many deities, practice of meaningless ceremonies and sacrifice of animals, Jina drew the attention of man towards higher spiritual goals. According to him, sins of life can not been washed away by worship or prayers. Man can avoid sins by a virtuous conduct.

By denying worships and prayers, Jina gave as blow to the supremacy of the priestly class. The Jains did not believe in Vedas. They denounced blind beliefs and superstitions. While preaching the value of non-violence, they condemned the practice of animal sacrifice.

Jainism believed in human quality. As such, the Jains criticized the cast system.

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The rise and spread of Jainism resulted in as new socio-religious consciousness among the people .its impact only the Indian society and culture became deep and wide.

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