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Economic Disparity and Aprigraha

Keywords: aprigraha , altruism , economic disparity , consumption , corruption

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To be born as human being is an important achievement. In entire experienceable world only human beings are gifted with reason. But to have this faculty of reason does not mean that reason should be employed to make others suffer. The meaning and significance of life is contained in harmonious self-development.There are two directions of life, namely spiritual and material. Enjoyment (gratification of senses) and renouncing are the two diametrically opposite realms. None of these exclusive poles can alone be a constructive element of society. A social being can neither be exclusively an enjoyer of the senses nor can he be exclusively away from all and every sort of attachment and indulgence. A materialistic life is a life of selfishness and a transcendental life is a life of renunciation. The life of a combination of both is necessary for a social being. To express this, Jaina thought offers a maxim—'parasparopagraha jīvānām'. This maxim pertains not only to the individual to lead a social life, but is actually a maxim pertaining to the entire human existence in the world. Aprigraha means not only non-over accumulation of wealth but also giving up all attachment to things or abstaining from attachments. Mahāvira was one such man of contemplation. He had risen above home, family, society, nation, etc. He was thus not an exponent of economics. When there is no accumulation or possession there is no meaning of economics. But Mahāvira knew that all man cannot attain such perfection and such a state of absolute renunciation can be attained only by few, so he gave the maxim of icchā-parimā a with a view to checking or limiting the tendency of parigraha. This maxim is not total annihilation of the tendency of parigraha, but urges its limited use. From this point of view there are two meanings or forms of aparigraha, namely absolute inexistence of parigraha and second restrained or limited existence of parigraha. This limited, controlled or regulated parigraha can be called the economics of aparigraha.


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