In Jainism, there is a concept known as Moksha where one annihilates all karma (good and bad) and become a Siddha (one that has attained the ultimate goal). They can then go on to Moksha where their souls are finally freed from the endless cycle of birth and death (reincarnation), and ultimately achieve it’s pure self.
At a young age, I asked myself one question: “What if I don’t want to go to Moksha?”
This question plagued me since that young age. Every day was a struggle to find the answer because I had so many doubts.
I have never been one to follow something simply because I was told to. I am a truth seeker and being so compels me to question everything before I believe it. I went from book to book, one school of thought to another, trying to learn about religion and what my purpose was on this planet.
Eventually, I settled back into Jainism because it was simply too scary to even think about converting to another religion. So I began to follow Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu and focused my efforts on meditation.
The first few times, I felt really amazing. If felt this internal power within me, and I was happy. I thought I had achieved a “higher level of self”. As I went deeper into meditation, I began to use it as a means to run away from my problems. I buried my problems deep within, and pretended that they didn’t exist.
If I were to use an analogy, I would say that I was like a car. Most people take pretty good care of their cars and they notice if something were to go wrong. Now imagine if something was to go wrong with your car but you ignore it and keep going. Slowly, other parts of the car begin falling apart but you refuse to acknowledge that something is wrong. The door begins creaking, the rear view mirror cracks, etc. Eventually, the damage grows inward and your engine starts breaking down, and you continue to ignore the problem. There are only two options available at this point. Either you continue to ignore the problem until it all falls apart one day and the car stops running altogether or you realize that something is wrong and address the problem.
That is exactly what was happening to me. I kept ignoring the major problems in my life…and eventually became the victim of my own ignorance.
Since the age of 13, my belief in God was slowly disappearing, to the point where I eventually considered myself an atheist. In Jainism, there is no clear-cut definition of God, which is why it can be considered polytheistic, monotheistic, non-theistic, or atheistic – depending on who you ask.
A religion with no clear-cut definition of God is like reading a math textbook that gives you multiple formulas for one “problem”, all leading to a different answer. The catch is that there is no answer key, so no one, not even your teacher, knows whether or not your answer is correct.
God was quite a big problem for me. On one hand my reasoning would not allow me to accept anything that I could not see. And yet, there was so many things that Jains believed in which were unseen and unknowable (karma, reincarnation, moksha, etc.) So could the idea of an all-powerful God which created the entire universe really be too far fetched of an idea?
Explaining the philosophical questions and arguments battling in my mind will be covered in a different post. However, what eventually led me accept the possibility of God were two things:
- Occam’s Razor – this is a principle from philosophy which states that when presented with multiple explanations for an occurrence, the simpler one is far better. Karma theory and Jain cosmology are far too complex when pitted against the simple idea of a Creator God.
- Argument from Probability – related to Occam’s Razor, the idea that both large scale and small scale events in life could not simply be based on chance. Meaning that a coincidence is more likely to be a miracle due to the probability of it occurring is extremely small.
The Case for Christ
What immediately followed was a gift from a friend through their sunday school teacher, who would later become my teacher. It was a book called The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. In the book, atheist Lee Strobel investigates the truth claims of Christianity by interviewing a dozen experts in the areas of old manuscripts, textual criticism, and biblical studies.
Although the book did not convince me of Christianity, it did surprise me that one can thing so logically about organized religion. Previously I had thought that all religions were based on traditions and outdated rules. Although you could make philosophical arguments in areas of God’s existence and morality, there was no way that you could logically prove one religion over the other.
This book opened up to me the world of Christian apologetics.
My inquisitive mind was in full charge mode. I had to find out for myself if the claims made in Lee Strobel’s book were true. In one my Google searches, I came across the testimony of Sangeeta Jain and her family.
Sangeeta Jain is a Jain who found Jesus Christ. Her entire family converted! When she was ten years old, she was in an accident that left her crippled. Her parents tried everything and took her to every priest they could find.
A Christian neighbor then invited the family to church with him. Since they were desperate, they went. The service felt alien to them and they expected nothing. When the pastors prayed for Sangeeta, she was filled with a spirit the family could not explain. The church members told them that she had been filled with an evil spirit which had to be eradicated. They returned to the church a few more times so that the church members could remove the spirit
During the times she went to church, Sangeeta’s mother recited Jain prayers. She didn’t put her trust in Jesus. In the article, out of complete frustration, her mother finally said, “Jesus Christ, I need your help,” and in that instant, she felt joy like never before. All her fears had disappeared. They later found out that the spirit within her daughter was not an evil spirit at all, but the living spirit of God.
There was a moment where I finally closed my eyes, and said “Jesus Christ, I need your help.” That was the moment of my final surrender, where I felt the Holy Spirit fill me with joy beyond imagination.
God had spoken to me. He had been speaking to me for years through all my philosophical quandaries and exploration. This was the way that He brought me to His doorstep. When my mind could no longer make sense of the world around me, when confusion filled every crevice of my soul, I surrendered my life and my wisdom to God, who showed me the way to His son.