Monday, May 30, 2016

Are you jealous?


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Are you Jealous? - Exploring Ahimsa, Hinsa and the Stick & Hole Theory

“To conquer the inner self and the outer world, we do not need weapons, wars, greed, malice or exploitation, but we need to practice ahimsa, aparigraha (non-attachment or trusteeship of worldly possessions, as against, hinsa, or appropriation of all possessions) and anikant (multiplicity of views.)”

I found this written on a little card given to me, with the hope that I would send in some donation towards the upkeep of the Sri Sumatinath Jain Swetamber Temple, inside naughar, at Kinari Bazar, Old Delhi, while taking a walk written about in Delhi: 14 Historical Walks, by Dr Swapna Liddle.

Of late I have been contemplating deeply on the three words, “Are you jealous?” and while it is true that multiple answers have arisen, as a true seeker of yet another question, Who Am I, the aforesaid, three words, have taken on a status of high priority to me, in my quest for the root question, Who Am I.

Yog Sutra of Patanjali which dates back to 400 CE, talks substantially on ahimsa as the first most important path to follow for a seeker of Truth. When Jainism and Buddhist borrowed heavily from this, it became a way of life.

As an ardent student of Buddhism as taught by S.N Goenka, I have tried to incorporate the practice in my daily wakeful life, personal and professional. The challenge of a 10 – 21 Days Vipassana retreat is now a luxury, I can’t afford, in terms of time, hence, it is wiser to practice in wakeful everyday life. That certainly does not mean that one is not at all times struggling with the inner kurukshetra/war of emotions and their resultant affect on my own life. It is all too well to say that avarice (greed) is the root of all evils and the resultant Hinsa, or appropriation of all possessions is the cause of the war within and without our living experience of life.

As fellow beings, we tend to share each others’ histories and get included in our shared experiences. This forms the foundation of bonded relationships.

While Vipassana may help me introspect and be watchful, the answer to Are you jealous, I think lies with Freud.  A young man of Indian origin, and a Kolkattan, that too, although living in the US has propounded and made the world very simple taking cue from Freud’s Oedipus and Electra complex. He is kind to explain to us that all of Freud is all about ‘Kathi aar phooto’, which translates from Bangla to English as ‘Stick & Hole’ theory. I would say, that the answer to the profound question, Are you jealous lies in this simple theory that classifies the entire human experience into two simple facts – (a) kathi/stick (b) phooto/hole. Why then bother about the dangerous last requirement of practice of ahimsa, that being celibacy. It would be impossible to achieve higher values of this life, both Buddhist and Jains say, without achieving celibacy. Freud would duly put celibacy, which he hadn’t the vaguest idea of, in the context of our higher philosophies in India, into the realm of failed sexual interaction causing the vibrant, compulsive sexual energy to find its escape in Art etc, such as the case of Van Gogh.

Thus, no matter where I look for an answer to that profound question, Are you jealous, I prefer to take the middle path.

- Yes, I would be jealous, if in the first place, I owned or possessed that which I now have lost to someone else.

- But, if for all reasons, that which I have lost, was not what I possessed or owned in the first place, then i cannot be jealous about what I do not and never had.

- But if the ‘Stick & Hole’ Theory is true, then what i do not have in my possession now, I might aspire to possess it in future.

- But if what I aspire for is not my possession now and never has been, I cannot own up to be jealous, because, right here and now, they never were or are my possessions in the first place. Nor have I lost what I never owned in the first place.

Hence, putting aside the question ‘Are you jealous,’ to the shallowness of Freudian Psychoanalysis brilliantly illustrated by the ‘Stick & Hole’ Theory, I prefer to continue to focus on the questions in my quest for Truth, that being ‘Who Am I’.

Returning now, to the main subject of Jainism in Delhi, the leaflet I picked up, says,

“The prime significance of this place, which is the period of Sri Neminath Bhagwan (22nd Thirthankara, out of twenty-four) is that it was established as the capital city of India by the Pandavas who were the chief followers of Prabhu Nemirath Bhagwan, the cousin brother of Lord Krishna.”

Wikipedia has said that the first Digambar Jainas arrived in Delhi during the Mughal era, when the Agarwals were invited by Emperor Shah Jahan to come and set shop here in Delhi. This was very late but we are aware that Jainism spread widely in Gujarat and Rajasthan, including the south. But in the north, we know that there were temples, even as close or thereabouts in Meherauli, for there is evidence in the stones that made up the Qutab Minar built in 1192. In her book, Delhi: 14 Historical Walks, the author, Dr Swapna Liddle writes about the Qutab Minar Complex:

“Around much of the perimeter runs a pillared colonnade. The pillars are mostly elaborately carved and on close inspection one can see many humans, animals and divine figures. Such sculpture seem out of place in a mosque, since depiction of human or animal figures is unacceptable to orthodox Islam as being akin to idolatry. The answer to this mystery lies in the fact that these are re-used material from twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples that had stood in the vicinity and were mostly destroyed by the invading Turks as an act of war.”

Indeed, before the Delhi Sultanate was overthrown by the Turks from Central Asia, in 1192, the Rajputs, also called the Tomar dynasty in the north, who finally were overthrown by Prithviraj Chauhan, also a Rajput reigned. It is expected that Jainas spread wide in Rajasthan during that period and even before or else the Qutab Minar would not have pillars with Jain Temples.

There are so many histories on the same thing and perhaps all are right. Like anekant (multiplicity of views) one must bear at heart that history is truth told by the historian from his view point which so many times was dictated by the ruling king and dynasty, who wanted history written with them as the centre of the world.

Thus, too with Are you Jealous?'

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