Section 2: Live and let live

Perceptions and retrospections


Mandatory begging pardon

I was standing in a Buddhist cave of Ajanta, very much echoing and resonating, in 1985. It fascinated me to recite and chant a Sanskrit verse concluding with “may there be good everywhere through Brahmins and cows’. Buddhist spirits in the cave choked my throat as narrated elsewhere (1). Neither the spirit of Mandan nor the confronting charged psyches of Buddhist of the cave could forget what happened 1200 years ago. I provoked them for confrontation once again, unaware that the caves were not empty; Buddhist psyches and the spirits still dwelt there. They mustered strength to silence me even in absence of a single living monk.

The case above reminds me of a scene of confrontation between opposing rows of large black ants. Fighting ants were cutting the heads of their rivals in the opposite row through their sharp pincers for their community without hesitation instinctively.

 All religions preach nobility but deeds of the pursuant and preachers differ. Subjugation and killing of the rival men is quite common among religions; and, examples of revenge in the name of gods run in hundreds. There is an exception among religions, however, where the followers have not to confess their guilt and beg pardon from their gods like most religions. They beg pardon from the individuals hurt by them and request for forgiving.  A case is here.

Dr. Anil Bhandari, a General Manager in ONGC, was a younger colleague of mine once. Jainism is his family cult. On October 2, 2003, I received a telephone call from him requesting me to forgive him if he has hurt or made me unhappy during the past year of Jain calendar.

“You are forgiven,” I said, and continued “Ask your father to beg pardon from Rishabhdeo of Shamalji; his problems will come to an end. There is no need to go to the temple; gods are everywhere.”

 Jainism has a tradition of apologizing and asking for pardon for the last calendar year from every individual in contact or transaction. It is mandatory for the other person, as per the tradition, to forgive the one asking for forgiveness.

 Even the Jain gods follow the mandate of forgiving when an erring person or sinner prays for it. It is because the godly tenets are no different than the tenets and community thought regime of the religious group. Jain gods follow the conduct of forgiving since they are the entities made only of community thought-fields. A person has an advantage with the gods, however. They are living for time immemorial and they can even forgive, therefore, vile acts of a person’s past life, as the present case was.

Dr. Budh Raj Bhandari, a Doctor in Jainism and father of Dr. Anil, followed my instruction. He did not suffer any more from fracture or dislocation of his backbone due to a sudden involuntary and forced falls. His suffering of remaining bedridden for months on account of falling down unexpectedly came to an end.

Rishabhdeo forgave Dr. Budh for what had he done in an earlier life as a Hindu. The person died and has another body now in another religion. But his misdeeds are on his soul and Rishabhdeo cannot forgive him till the man asks for forgiveness. Another body is irrelevant in connection with begging pardon from a god. A soul could request for pardon from a god for its past mistakes irrespective of its present body and religion. A Jain god like Rishabhdeo is bound to pardon the soul because the cult so dictates. If men forgive, their gods too must  exemplify the tenet of the religion.

There is no other religion except Jainism with such a compelling mandate for its followers – to beg pardon and to forgive if some one is begging. There is no other religion, even if it talks lofty about itself as a religion of peace, where gods can pardon a hurting man.

If followers of a cult are fighting crusades or jihads, their gods could only coerce or kill but they can never love or forgive.

Jainism is a cult closest to Yog, Brahm and accelerated growth of soul. A Jain is vegetarian, observes Five Mahavrats, and walks a lot besides pursuing rigorous penance and self restraint.

 ‘Live and let live’ is the tenet of the cult.

There would have been no Mandan and no Malun, no Sankar and no Guplong, and no hatred and no suffering for them to recount at Kedarnath if only had they practiced ‘live and let live’ in their past lives.