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Chapter 7: Death and Discipline

And these five vows are not to cut you from life, they are to join you. That emphasis has to be remembered because many people have used these five vows to cut themselves from life. They are not meant for that - they are meant for just the opposite.

For example, the first is ahimsa, nonviolence. People have used it to cut themselves from life because they think if you are in life there will be some violence or other. There are Jainas in India; they believe in nonviolence. That is their whole religion. You see a Jaina monk: he escapes from everything because everywhere he finds there is a possibility of violence. Jainas stopped cultivation - gardening, farming - because if you are doing farming, gardening, cultivating, then there will be violence because you will have to cut many plants and every plant has a life. So Jainas completely dropped but of agriculture.

They could not go to war, because there will be violence. All their teachers were warriors; they came from the kshatriya clan. Mahavira and all other tirthankeras, they all came from the kshatriyas, but their followers are all merchants, businessmen. What has happened? To war they cannot go; the army they cannot join. So they cannot be warriors because there is violence; they cannot be agriculturists because there is violence. And nobody wants to be a sudra, nobody wants to be an “untouchable” and clean other people’s latrines and wash other people’s houses - nobody wants - so that they cannot become. Brahmins they cannot become because their whole religion was a revolt against brahmins. So the only possibility that remained was that they become only merchants.

There are Jaina monks who are even afraid to breathe because in breathing many lives are killed. Very small lives are moving in the air. It is full of germs, very minute germs; you cannot see them with the naked eye. When you breathe in, they die; when you breathe out, your hot air coming out kills them. So they have even become afraid of breathing. They cannot walk in the night because maybe some insect in the dark.then there is violence. They cannot move in the rainy season because in the rainy season many insects and many flies, many ants, are born, and everywhere life is alive. If you move on wet ground there is a possibility.. It is said that a Jaina monk should not even turn his side in the night while asleep, because if you turn your side too many times you may kill a few insects; you should remain on one side.

This is moving to the extreme. This is moving to absurdity. So remember, people have used nonviolence against life. And nonviolence means such a deep love of life that you cannot kill: you love life so much that you will not like to hurt anybody. It is deep love, not rejection.

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