Shri Gani Rajendra Vijay is a Jain monk and spiritual leader. He runs a project called Sukhi Parivar Abhiyan to promote ahimsa, peace and brotherhood. He is a votary of joint family system, as it contains stability and freedom from anxiety. A creative saint of versatile personality, he has sensitised the masses about human values through his discourses and thoughts. In an interview to Lalit Garg, Shri Gani Rajendra Vijay elaborates on the philosophy of Jain faith, Indian family system and his own vision for the future. Excerpts:
Everyday new sects and sub-sects are developing. What is your view?
There is nothing to think about. It'sall the result of individual egos. Moral values and a disciplined life are important for all and not the position of an acharya or any other position. All this is politics and egoism, giving birth to confusion and nothing else.
What are your efforts for peace and ahimsa? What message do you have for the world?
For peace, we have to keep on making our efforts all over the world. This is our experience that without training and development, the message of peace and non-violence cannot be applied. In principle, we accept that some progress is being made but when it comes to practice even the teachers of ahimsa have to become non-violent. That is why, to train individuals a programme has been chalked out. All persons who believe in non-violence should first undergo training in ahimsa and also convince others to undergo the similar training. If we can apply these principles in our life, lot of problems will automatically get resolved.
The tradition of joint families is breaking down; families are disintegrating. What is the main reason for this?
The head of the family is not as much tolerant and balanced today as he should be. This is the first aberration. Acharya Srimad Vallabh Suriji and Acharya Srimad Inderdin Suriji had given a formula concerning the capability of, and the affection for, the head of the family or society. If these two things were there, the family would never disintegrate. The head of the family should possess a sense of equality. His attitude should be inspired by equality. If there are four sons in the family, his treatment should be the same towards all. He should also possess competence and tolerance. A family is constituted of people with different likings and different dispositions. All these should be accommodated as far as possible. Affection and feeling of affinity towards all should prevail. This is essential for keeping the family united.
In the modern concept of development, character development is vanishing. What should be done for it?
Quantum of production and consumption has become a yardstick of development. You might be aware of the fact that in those countries where this concept of development was formulated, internal conflicts have started. Discussions about it are taking place continuously? whether this concept of development is valid is the moot question. It is essential that the prevailing concept of development will have to be changed. To the concept of development, the element of character will have to be added. As new articles of consumption become available, character also develops along with it. This partial truth, a partial concept, has vitiated the character of people and eroded human values to such an extent that even those who defined development in those terms have started thinking anew.
On the one hand, we talk of nature and it is said that life maintains itself on life. On the other hand, we talk about non-violence. Why this mutual contradiction?
Our difficulty is that we do not see things from the point of view of reality. That life sustains on life is a relative principle. Life sustains on life is applicable to the fish in the sea. There, one form of life is the food for another form of life. This principle is applicable to wild animals and ferocious beasts, and not to man. While it is true that the big fish eat the small fish, it is maintained that such a concept should not be applied to man. To do so would be to apply an aquatic type of justice. The principle is for those creatures that do not have any other option. Man'sglandular and nervous mechanisms are so developed that he can bring about a big change. For him this rule does not apply.
Although India is a big country, why is it afraid of a small country like Pakistan?
Both are afraid of each other. India has the fear that Pakistan is arming itself with modern weapons. Only a few years ago, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan had accepted that her country possessed nuclear weapons. After this, they conducted nuclear tests in no time after India'snuclear tests. The fear is that whenever those weapons are used, it could only be against India. Pakistan also has the same kind of fear.
In the new economics, what is the place for population control?
In my view, if man is not starving and poor, population will not increase. Poverty has a close correlation with demographic growth. Population increases as poverty increases. The day starvation is prevented and proper nutritious food is available to the people, the rate of population growth would go down. Malnutrition and population growth are closely related. Anybody can verify this. An average common man does not have as many children as a poor person.
From the point of view of ethical conduct, what is the profile of a good man?
If we want to visualise man from the point of view of ethical conduct and economic systems, the code of conduct, prescribed by Sukhi Parivar Abhiyan, arises before us. It presents the full profile of a man.
Does the principle of non-possession flourish from non-violence or non-violence flourish from non-possession?
That ?non-violence is the supreme religion? is regarded as the great saying of the Jain faith. How can I say that there is no truth in this? But I look at this truth the other way round. The first truth is ?non-possession is the supreme religion?, then comes another truth which is ?non-violence is the supreme religion?. This is totally a psychological phenomenon that man does not acquire possessions for violence, but develops and acquires non-possession. The central point of possession or acquisition is man'sown body. From there the awakening of possession/acquisition spreads. A religious person starts practising religion with kayotsarga, or with freedom from physical misperceptions. As the sense of attachment with body goes on decreasing, the blind desire for possession also goes on diminishing. Only he who abandons the illusion, the state of the body can be clothed or unclothed.