The perpetual peace formula

Saint Mahavira, who made the ideal of compassion and nonviolence the basis of his teachings over 2,500 years ago, inspires devotees and followers with his erudition and wisdom

Published: 24th November 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2019 03:41 PM   |  A+A-

Saint Mahavira

Saint Mahavira

Anger, pride, attachment, greed and such other longings of the senses keep the soul attached to the physical world.

Only by being honest, humble and destroying desire can one overcome the senses and work towards peace and contentment.

One must destroy the longings of sensual pleasures, passions and the ego. Anger, prejudice, thanklessness and wrong faith destroy all the virtues in a person.

One who is short-tempered, ignorant, proud, harsh, hypocritical and deceitful drifts in the worldly current as logs drift in a stream. Conquer anger by forgiveness, pride by humility, deceit by honesty and greed by peace.

He who is rid of delusion destroys his sorrow; he who is rid of desire destroys his delusion; he who is rid of greed destroys his desire; he who owns nothing destroys his greed.

The mind of man is fickle. He wants to fulfil all his desires, which is as likely as filling a sieve with water. Banish all inauspicious thoughts from the mind; let auspicious thoughts flow in from all directions.


Anger destroys the self; it destroys wealth, pleasure and righteousness; it arouses acute hatred and enmity and drags the soul to lower existences.

Intense anger that lasts forever drags the soul to hell. When anger and other passions get more inflamed, character begins to decline.

One who is blinded by anger does not hesitate to kill even his mother, sister or children. Anger is favourable to the enemy.

It brings grief to the person (who gets angry) and to his relatives. It defeats the person (who is angry) and ultimately destroys him.

Just as a spark of fire destroys the stock of grains, so also the fire of anger destroys all the divine qualities of a monk. Anger spoils good relationships. A person blinded by anger loses good conduct and humility. By conquering anger, the soul attains forgiveness.


A person of humility is beloved by all. Such a person acquires knowledge, fame and fortune and meets with success at every step.

Pride destroys humility. Pride, which is like a pillar of stone, prevents a person from being humble and drags the soul to hell. One who humiliates others out of pride is ignorant.

Delusion and detachment

The most offensive enemy does not cause as much harm as do attachment and aversion. If you desire to cross the terrible ocean of worldly existence, quickly board the boat of austerity and self-restraint.

To attain liberation, one must block the entry of karmas through mind, speech and body. One should neither commit sin, nor cause it to be done, nor approve of the sinful activities of others. Just as a little sourness curdles milk, attachment and aversion destroy an ascetic.

The tree whose roots are arid will never flower, no matter how much it is watered. If delusion is conquered, the karmas will never bear fruit.

A little water can extinguish fire. But the waters of all the oceans will not be enough to extinguish the fires of desire and delusion.

A person under delusion suffers from the cycle of birth and death. Everyone knows of the acute suffering of birth, old age and death; but nobody develops detachment from sensual pleasures. How severe is the knot of illusion?

Shed all attachments as a snake sheds its skin. He who walks about unclad and grows thin, he who eats only once after months of rigorous fasting, if he is filled with deceit, he will be reborn several times Illusion is enough to exterminate all truths.

Detachment controls the senses as the mahout’s hook controls the elephant and the moat protects the town. To conquer the senses, freedom from all possessions is a must.


The more you get, the more you want. Desire increases with every acquisition. Greed increases when there is deceit and falsehood.

Just as a crane is produced from an egg and an egg from a crane, delusion springs from desire and desire from delusion.

If there were numerous mountains of gold and silver as large as Mount Kailash, they would not satisfy a greedy man—avarice is as boundless as the sky.

This entire earth with its crops of rice and barley, gold and cattle will not satisfy a greedy man. Knowing this, one should practise austerity.

Influenced by greed, a person resorts to telling lies. When greed is not controlled, it sticks to the soul like a permanent stain on cloth, and drags the soul to hell.

By conquering desire, you achieve peace. Can one who is always greedy, discontented and mentally unhappy obtain happiness?

In adverse situations, others take away the accumulated wealth. The evildoer must suffer the consequences of his evil deeds.

A person commits violence, tells lies, commits theft and develops a yearning for unlimited acquisitions on account of greed.

Those greedy to amass wealth cause more and more enmity. External renunciation by a person is of no use if his inner self is bound with greed.

(Extracted with permission from ‘Live and Let Others Live’~Life Lessons from Mahavira, edited by Nanditha Krishna. Publisher: Aleph)

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