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Happy And Harmonious Family

Happy And Harmonious Family

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Happy And Harmonious Family

208 pagine
2 ore
Jul 17, 2012


At the heart of peaceful coexistence in today's fissured world lies the family. It is here that the individual first learns to interact with people, and picks up the valuable trait of tolerance. For, as in the family, so too in the world outside, no two people are the same. Differences are inevitable, and to surmount them tolerance is a must. It is this and other aspects of living happily and harmoniously in a family and how these attitudes can be replicated in society that Acharya Mahapragya discusses in this book. The subject is all the more important today as the family is itself facing a crisis as it struggles to survive against a rising tide of individuality and self-centredness. The Happy and Harmonious Family provides a number of solutions to everyday familial problems, and various practices of contemplative meditation which will enable a reader to overcome negativity within the family. With its emphasis on time-tested values and practical solutions, this book is a valuable guide to helping shape a better life.
Jul 17, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Acharya Mahapragya was the tenth Acharya of the Jain Swetambar Terapanth sect and one of the most widely respected Jain thinkers in the world. He got his education under the guidance of Acharya Shree Tulsi, who launched the Anuvrat movement in 1949 to rid the world of violence and hatred and free religion from sectarianism. A multidimensional personality and a renowned scholar of Indian and Western philosophy and religion, Acharya Mahapragya walked more than 100,000 km on foot over his lifetime and visited 10,000 villages to spread the message of non-violence. He recently passed away at the age of eighty-nine. He is the author of numerous books, including Understanding Joy and Sorrow, Transform Your Self, The Happy and Harmonious Family, and The Family and the Nation with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Sudhamahi Regunathan is a writer who has traversed the world of classical Indian dance, education, literature, religion and philosophy. She was Vice-Chancellor, Jain Vishva Bharati University, Ladnun, Rajasthan, and is currently Member Secretary, Foundation for Understanding of Religions and Enlightened Citizenship. She has authored and translated several books.

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Happy And Harmonious Family - Acharya Mahaprgya


Acharya Mahapragya



Title Page


Translator’s Note

1 - How to Live in a Family

2 - How to Maintain Peaceful Co-existence

3 - How to Maintain Harmony

Contemplative Meditation for the Virtue of Amity

4 - Learn to Rectify: Don’t Fight

5 - Family Life and Managing Techniques

6 - Nine Factors for Peaceful Co-existence

Contemplative Meditation for the Virtue of Co-existence

7 - Peaceful Co-Existence and Courtesy of Discourse

8 - Sweeten Your Relationships

9 - Joyful Co-existence Is Possible!

Contemplative Meditation for the Virtue of Tolerance

10 - Peaceful Life and the Vision of Harmony

11 - The Effective Mantra of Peace in the Family

12 - Build a Spiritual Family

Contemplative Meditation for the Virtue of Compassion

13 - Developing a Spiritual Home

14 - How to Instil Good Values

15 - Family Life: Problems and Solutions

16 - The Vice of Dowry: A Revolution Is Necessary

Contemplative Meditation for the Virtue of Reconciliation




There are two important values for leading a successful and satisfying family life. These are assurance and trust. Relationships cannot be sustained without these. In order to lead a blissful and peaceful life, we must nurture the seeds of trust within our families. The system of joint family has always been based on these values. Family life should be organized in such a manner that no member feels left out or isolated.

Tolerance is the protective armour for any joint family. Mutual understanding is the vital force behind it. Unfortunately, the power of tolerance and the feeling of mutual dependence are reducing day by day.

With development of the virtues of tolerance and peaceful co-existence, one can individually and collectively bloom in a joint family. We can imbibe these values by learning, practising and sharing them with our family and friends. That is why ‘contemplation’ has been incorporated to develop the values of amity, compassion, tolerance, co-existence and reconciliation in this book.

This book is a humble effort at moving one’s thoughts towards and strengthening one’s conviction regarding the many benefits of a joint family.

Mukhya Niyojika Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha has translated the text into English. I hope that this book will encourage people to understand the true meaning of a happy family.

I am happy that HarperCollins has taken up this book for publication. I hope this will help the book reach out to a wider audience.

Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun

27 August 2009

Acharya Mahapragya


Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a great scientist and former President of India, once said, ‘If someone asks me what are my plans for the year 2007–08, I would say, last year was the year of knowledge enhancement, but for the next year, and all the coming years I would ask people to concentrate on the unity of the family. If the family is united, the establishment of a beautiful society, beautiful nation and beautiful world is possible.’

In fact, the family is the foundation of a beautiful nation. It is not merely a group of people but an institution where one learns the lesson of living co-operatively.

The modern age is the age of economic competition. There is a question mark over the future of a healthy family. Today, relationships have become distant and families are dispersing within the country and across the world. Even while sharing the same premises, everybody is isolated within himself. The nature of conversations between parents and children is deteriorating. Each house seems to be burning with restlessness and belligerence. People living in metropolises are progressing swiftly, but the internal struggle within the family is ever increasing. It seems that prosperity and peace cannot live together.

The Happy and Harmonious Family will direct you how to live a happy and peaceful life within a family. Merely theory will not serve the purpose. It is necessary to practise the solutions mentioned in the book. This is why we have added some practices of contemplative meditation, so that everyone can actually implement them and make the atmosphere of the family healthy and peaceful.

The Hindi version of this book, Parivar Ke Saath Kaise Rahein, became very popular. It was edited by Muni Dhananjaykumarji. In Udaipur, in 2007, he requested Acharya Shree to have it translated in English. I asked Acharya Shree, ‘If you allow me, I shall try my best to work on this translation.’ Acharya Shree agreed. Though it was an arduous task, I still made a tremendous effort and completed the translation within four months. Lalita Dhariwal and Praneta Rajeshbhai Mehta edited the text. The final touches were given by Samni Charitra Pragyaji, who is a visiting professor at Florida International University, Miami (USA). Sanjeev and Shivani Bothra did the layout and design of the book’s first edition. I am grateful to all of them.

Finally, I am indebted to Acharya Shree Mahapragya, Yuvacharya Shree Mahashraman, and Sadhvi Pramukha Kanak Prabha who motivated me to accomplish this translation.

Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun

7 August 2008

Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha



The development of spiritual consciousness is the stepping stone for peaceful co-existence within any family or society.

Man is a social being. He lives in society. The smallest unit of society is the family. If an individual can live peacefully with a few people, he can possibly adjust with a larger group as well. However, if the atmosphere within a small group itself is quarrelsome, life becomes a hell for him. For a calm and quiet life, it is necessary for an individual to live with others in a family in a peaceful manner.

The main objective of peaceful co-existence in the world is that a nation deals non-violently with other nations and accepts peaceful co-existence for itself. However, it will be difficult to accept this broad view if a man is unable to maintain peace within his own family.

The desire for peace is an inherent part of human nature. It is what man desires the most. But somehow, man is not able to maintain such a state. He needs to be trained for leading a peaceful life. The first lesson of this training is ‘Peaceful Co-Existence within a Family’. This, though desired by all, is not achieved by many. Why? What are the reasons? Let’s try elaborating them. We cannot proceed without understanding the root cause of the problem.

All human beings are gifted with three miraculous powers— mind, body and speech. Through these a man interacts with the external world. However, the inner world of consciousness is beyond these. The cause of all our problems lies within our inner world. The cause of its agitation is an unbalanced consciousness. All our senses are directed by consciousness. Unless and until our consciousness is balanced, our senses—mind, body and speech—remain disturbed, and our discerning power doesn’t awaken to develop the knowledge that can lead us to the truth.


There are two forms of consciousness:

Individual consciousness

Collective (Communal) consciousness.

Individual consciousness is further divided into two parts:

Spiritual consciousness

Selfish consciousness.


‘I am alone. I was born alone. I experience joy and sorrow alone. My soul is alone and has no company.’

Such thoughts are produced by ‘individual consciousness’. It is true that we cannot share anyone’s joy or sorrow. We can only sympathize with others but cannot actually experience the same emotion that the other individual might be experiencing. Suffering is personal and a reality related to individual consciousness. Joy, sorrow, birth and death are all related to the soul.

According to one perspective, individual consciousness can be described as ‘spiritual consciousness’. Acharya Kundakunda has given a beautiful description of individual consciousness: ‘I am alone. I am free from passion and endowed with faith and knowledge.’ When engrossed in its real form, the soul achieves the state of elimination of inflowing karmas.

The description above highlights the concept of detachment from the external world. ‘I am alone and a pure soul. I own nothing, no wealth, no asset, no family, no friends nor relatives.’ This seems to be an odd concept. An individual has a sense of belongingness for his friends, family and wealth. Society is formed on the basis of attachment. However, the gist of individual and spiritual consciousness begins where selfish feelings and attachment end.


Individual consciousness and collective consciousness are two contradictory terms. One is a life full of belongingness and the other is a life where the roots of attachment have been cut, where neither do I belong to anyone nor does anyone belong to me. The behaviour of a social life is not fulfilled by spiritual or individual consciousness alone, but it is also true that without spiritual consciousness, our life will not be fit for social performance. The other form of individual consciousness that has developed in society is ‘selfish consciousness’. So, now, we have two aspects of individual consciousness—spiritual consciousness and selfish consciousness. Someone with selfish consciousness is concerned only with himself. He desires to lead a happy life, gain profit and have all his wishes granted. But all his desires are confined to himself. Such a selfish attitude gives rise to many problems within a family.

Let me give you a brief summary of the basis of the problems prevailing in the family at present. The very prime stage of development of children begins with the education of selfish consciousness. The only education provided to children is about accumulating wealth and material comforts. This engenders the seeds of greed, possession and accumulation, thereby strengthening the effect of selfish consciousness.

The purest form of individual consciousness is spiritual consciousness. But, hardly anyone ever pays any attention to it. The importance of spiritual consciousness in the formation and sustenance of a family is highly neglected. This negligence has facilitated the rise of selfish consciousness.

Analysis of a joint family will give us a clear picture of the above mentioned facts. A joint family is formed when a group of people closely related to each other lives together. Ideally, everyone would live peacefully. However, even if one of them starts thinking with a selfish motive, the complete family falls apart. Strengthening of selfish consciousness separates even the most loving brothers, whose affection for each other may once have been compared to that of Ram and Lakshman.


In order to live in a community, it is very important to develop the spirit of collective consciousness. The collective consciousness will possibly rise only when we make our mind more community-directed or empathetic than selfish. If not, we can never develop the spirit of collective consciousness. In order to inculcate the appropriate values associated with collective consciousness, we have to impede our selfish consciousness, which is possible only through spiritual consciousness. Once the spiritual consciousness is instilled in us, we can understand that ‘everything in this world is transitory and nothing belongs to me’. It is only after this realization that we will sow the seeds for the decline of our selfish consciousness. If each and every child is made conscious about the truth that ‘I am alone, my soul is alone, yet powerful, my soul is a reservoir of knowledge, it is full of energy, this is my sole belonging, nothing else is mine, I am born alone and will part alone, everything that I own is a mere coincidence,’ then it would be possible to develop collective consciousness.

With the awakening of spiritual consciousness, our selfishness turns humane and we realize the truth of solitude that ‘I am alone.’ With this realization, no man will ever think of grabbing others’ rights and belongings.


We should make our family the experimental field of non-violence. The family is the smallest unit of society and the most pragmatic field for non-violence. Violence cannot prevail in a lone soul, so non-violence will never be in the picture where only an individual is concerned. However inconsistent an individual may be from within, he will not realize the effect of violence or non-violence when alone. The existence of violence can only be felt when you are in company.

The family being the smallest unit representing a complete society, it can become the most suitable field to experiment with non-violence. If we fail to implant the feelings of compassion amongst the family members, we cannot even think of living together in a society. If a group of people can be trained to live together peacefully, we can say that they have learnt the first lesson of non-violence. Tolerating each other instead of making differences prevail is the first step for peaceful co-existence.

Lord Mahavir propounded two views of non-violence:

Nischaya Naya1

Vyavahar Naya2

Nischaya naya is the thorough knowledge of the abstract, while vyavahar naya is the knowledge of the tangibles. To know the potential of a seed to turn into a tree is nischaya naya and knowing the seed as the seed of a tree is vyavahar naya. Nischaya naya throws light on the hidden potential of the banyan seed as a huge tree.

A scientific discovery that supports the above philosophy shows that death can be seen beforehand and the moment of death can be predicted. It is also possible to predict the time and type of disease that may occur in future on the basis of ‘aura’. The process at work within can be known by nischaya naya before it is actually visible by vyavahar naya. Nischaya naya helps us know the subtle inherent form while vyavahar naya helps us know the visible form.

Implementing the concepts of nischaya naya and vyavahar naya can help resolve many problems or conflicts in a family. Nischaya naya will help us understand the ultimate truth of solitude, ‘I am alone and not related to anyone.’ On the other hand, vyavahar naya helps us think in unison. If a group of people can live in unison and tolerate each other, no room will be left for any conflict. The problem usually arises when there is disagreement among the family members. The elderly members might expect the younger to obey them and follow their beliefs and when this doesn’t happen, they fight.

One should realize the ultimate truth of solitude and detachment. ‘The more I become attached to him, the farther will he go

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