Friday, December 31, 2010

Friendship for all

Lord Mahavir, the twenty fourth and last Teerthankara or Path-finder of the Jains, had said in Prakrit, "Khammami savva jeevanam, savvee jeeva khamantu me; mitti me savva bhooesu, vairam mejham na kenai", i.e. "I forgive all living beings, let all living beings forgive me; I have friendship for all living on the earth and enmity for none."

For me these fifteen words in Prakrit carry in them the essence of religion. In fact, I may go a little further and say that just four of them - Mitti me savva bhooesu (I have friendship for all living on the earth) - make the essence of the essence of religion for me. But I must reconcile my intrinsic and instinctive hostility for the corrupt to the sacred idea of friendship for all. Not an easy task but let me try.

I do want that the corrupt, who deny the others of their due and weaken the nation by their unfair and unjust acts, should be caught, tried and adequately punished for their crime. But only in this their real welfare and rehabilitation lie and not in stashing away their ill-gotten riches in the banks in Switzerland or other tax havens. Since I care for their welfare, I am their true friend.

So, all ye corrupt of this land, listen to this true friend of yours! Surrender to the nation all that you have looted and happily accept whatever punishment is meted out to you after a due process of the law!

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