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MOKSHAMALA AND BHAVANABODH
Shrimad Rajchandra had composed Mokshamala at the age of sixteen years and five months and it was completed within three days in Vikram Samvat 1943 or 1887 A.D.
He wrote this book in an easy style understandable to young boys and girls with a view to turn their minds from trash readings to reading of good books by which they can obtain the invaluable results of Self-liberation.
In the opening lesson he requests the reader to read the book with due care and consideration which it deserves as its goal is very high. While other books deal with worldly life, this book deals with Self-liberation. All religious readers have agreed in liberation as the goal of life and discrimination of the different natures of the soul and the body as the means to its realization. Hence, as a sound educationist interested in the lasting benefit of young minds he has offered this book to his readers.
He suggests his reader to think of the inequalities of life and thereby to reflect all the good and bad deeds as causes of these inequalities. Human birth is the only stage opportune for a soul to think of and work for its salvation. If it is misused in doing other things, a golden opportunity is lost. Hence, with the intense desire to work for the spiritual salvation of all living beings, this book and such others are written by Shrimad Rajchandra. Those who write such books are called men of unqualified sympathy and compassion and they live for the benefit of other souls. The soul gets human birth as a result of many good deeds done in previous births and therefore it is very precious.
If a man controls his mind he can attain Godhood.
Shrimadji says, every word of Mokshamala has been properly considered and after much thought it has been composed.
He holds that his readers should not be guided by his writings simply because they flow from his pen. Every reader should weigh the thoughts expressed and should develop the habit of discriminative thinking. The writer should stimulate the reader's thinking but not substitute it.
These expressions indicate the high maturity and balanced views on education on the part of Shrimad Rajchandra and that too at a very early age.
Though Mokshamala was composed in three days Shrimad Rajchandra found that it would take a long time to publish it. So, he composed a small book of 50 pages called Bhavana Bodh or the instructions to cultivate twelve sentients necessary for leading the life of non-attachment to the world; and gave this book to his readers in anticipation of the delay in publication of Mokshamala.
The twelve sentiments to be cultivated are briefly as follows:
1. Everything in the world except the soul is transitory and subject to destruction. The soul alone, is, in its nature, eternal.
2. In the world none can protect a living being from death. Therefore the only shelter one should seek in life is true religion. Religion alone can be man's savior.
3. The soul has been passing through a chain of births and deaths and it is high time for it to think of its freedom from Samsara - a cycle of births and deaths. One should consciously realize that the soul's nature is freedom and so it is but natural to think of its salvation from Sansara.
4. This my soul, has always been and, is alone. It will suffer the fruits of its deeds and it is the lone pilgrim.
5. All souls are independent and none is really related to the other.
6. This body is unholy, it gives out and absorbs many unholy and impure substances. I, as a soul, am quite independent of my body which is subject to disease and death.
7. Attachment, avarice, ignorance, sense of futility, etc. are binding the soul.
8. One should devote his time to acquiring knowledge and meditation and thereby save oneself from the bondage of fresh actions.
9. To act with full knowledge of the nature of the Self is the way to cut the knot of binding actions.
10. To think of the fourteen worlds in which the soul wanders in bondage.
11. To determine that a man cannot attain the right knowledge of the nature of the Self while living the worldly life. Even if such knowledge may be had, conscious abidance in the true nature of the Self will become difficult. Hence, one should feel intense obligation of the enlightened Guru who explains the true nature of the Self.
12. Therefore one should appreciate the rare possibility of obtaining the right preceptor of religion and one should lose no time in following his advice, should he be available.
Shrimadji writes about the Mokshamala that a reader, on deep thinking and reflection on the subjects discussed in it, will find his way to salvation.
The book is an impartial composition on philosophy and ethics. Its aim is to retrace young minds from acquiring wrong information of truth and reality and to put them on the path of right knowledge and action leading to liberation.
Shrimadji himself stated that his spirit of non-attachment, at the time he composed Mokshamala, could only be compared with the spirit of non-attachment that was found in Shri Ramchandraji as described in Yoga Vashishta. He said that he studied all Jain scriptures in fifteen months and during the study the index of his non-attachment was extremely high to such an extent that he would not be aware whether he ate or not.
In Mokshamala Shrimadji explains:
* The nature of true God, true preceptor and true religion. He protests against the description of Jainism as a skeptical religion. To him Jainism is the true appreciation of God, man and the world. It does not deny Godhood, it only denies God as the creator of the world.
* That the man's true greatness lies in the practice of truth-telling, universal sympathy towards all living beings, celibacy, benevolence and equanimity of mind. Vanity and self-pride block man's progress. Man can be great by removing these elements from his nature. Keeping to truth is essential to the maintenance of the world. Hence truth-telling is the first of the great religious observances.
* Company of the good and the great is the source of all happiness. It purifies man. It brings him nearer to the knowledge of the Self and the final liberation.
* Reading and reflecting on the teachings of the religious scriptures also serves the same purpose namely soul's salvation.
* Solitude does not necessarily mean keeping aloof from all company. Keeping company of persons of similar aims (liberation) and practice is also known as solitude. Company of the Saints is a powerful purifying force. As you can't swim on earth, you cannot sink in good company. Hence, it is the sure medicine for the ailing soul.
* Covetousness and greed, oppressive acquisitiveness, result in the performance of sinful deeds. The Shastras should be read, understood and practiced. Parrotlike cramming of scriptural texts leads one nowhere.
* In the lesson on Kapilmuni, Shrimadji shows the desire as the root cause of endless miseries. Desire grows on what it feeds. There is no end to the mind's desires. The world-tree grows on the seed of desire. Desire is ever young. True happiness springs from the abandonment of all desires. Real peace lies in contentment. By contentment the soul obtains equanimity, discrimination and lasting joy.
* The soul has lost much by infatuation and sloth due to ignorance of its true nature. It is advised to wake up from killing slumber and lose no time in expediting its salvation. Wisemen do not wait for future opportunities, they strive for liberation in the present by all possible religious ways and leave the future to its own future. Their sense of the value of time is admirable.
* Discrimination is the light to recognize the soul in darkness. By discrimination religion is sustained and maintained. Religion without discrimination is meaningless. To understand truth and untruth as they are, is known as discrimination.
* Non-attachment is the only guide to the soul to its lasting happiness. To aspire for lasting happiness in the pursuit of the pleasures of the world is to live in a fool's paradise.
* In the lessons on differences of opinion and beliefs of different religions of the world, Shrimadji argues that while all other religions are incomplete or imperfect paths to Self-realization, Jain religion is complete and perfect as it has elaborately described the nature of reality and the sure method of soul's salvation. The founders of Jain religion where omniscient. Their description of sympathy, celibacy, chastity, discrimination and non-attachment is unique. Besides, it contains minute descriptions of pure knowledge of the Self, its hierarchical gradations and the mutations of the soul's states in Sansara.
* In the lesson on celibacy he states nine prohibitions conductive to the observance of celibacy.
* The lessons on Jain philosophical doctrines are lucid and simple expositions useful for every student of Jain philosophy and religion.
* He has also enumerated the eighteen obstacles to the control of mental modifications which a seeker of the Self-realization should remove from his life.
* He has also described fourteen mental states which make gradual development of the highest virtues.
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