Views and Perspectives:
Historical shifts in socio-economic and socio-political thought during the 20th century have provoked tremendous changes in law and legislation worldwide. However the increasing clamour for justice, liberty, equality of opportunity and protection of fundamental human rights have unfortunately been equalled by increasing crime and litigation. All of our courts of law and penal systems have failed to thwart human rights violations, deter crime or bring swift and affordable justice within the reach of the ordinary individual.
The legal system and the profession of law today are themselves handicapped by many internal injustices. Litigants commit perjury on oath, often at the advice and guidance of their advocates. Lawyers practise law as though playing a sport, using delaying tactics, influencing witnesses, and putting obstructions in the process of law in order to win their cases. On the one hand there are judges who are sticklers in upholding the letter and grammar of the law; on the other hand there are judges who ignore the principles of justice and allow their decisions to be influenced by popular opinion. The judiciary process is lengthy and fraught with interpretations of evidence and incessant appeals. The clever and the rich slide through legal loopholes provided by outdated precedents that have no real bearing on present circumstances.
Society is becoming increasingly criminal, whether or not the crimes are of subtle theft or of gross terrorism. Why are our systems of justice and jurisprudence unable to make an effective contribution to the safety and stability of society? Why-in spite of a plethora of advocates, vast libraries of legal books, mountains of cases heard and decided, lakhs of the taxpayer's money being spent to sustain police officers and penal institutions-is crime more than ever on the rise?
The obvious causes of the rise of crime are economic disparity, ethnic, religious, and racial hostility, and mental and emotional imbalance.
Astute observers will perceive that underlying these apparent causes can be seen the triumph of greed, anger, lust, ego and possessiveness over the innate goodness of the human soul.
The Call of Time across the legal landscape is for a spiritually empowered jurisprudence, i.e. one that is tempered by spiritual prudence. In fact, both jurisprudence and spiritual prudence have a common aim: the promotion of truth and justice and the reduction of crime. Both believe that people suffer because of their own evil actions. One calls it 'crime', the other calls it 'sin'. Both view crime as deviant behaviour resulting from emotional trauma, or mental stress or depression, compounded by lack of self-control. It is in the attitude towards and treatment of offenders where spiritual prudence and jurisprudence part company.
Jurisprudence throws the offender behind bars, condemns him to stiff sentences, hard labour or capital punishment, and makes of him a public spectacle in the name of deterring further crimes. It is not hard to see that the ultimate manifestation of such jurisprudence is a police state or a military regime.
Spiritual prudence adopts methods to awaken and enlighten the core consciousness of the offender, teach him the practice of meditation so as to free him from stress and trauma, and enable him to live a meaningful and productive life.
If the Law, the lawyer and the judge take this view of the criminal, then jurisprudence will become a healing art, the police and the jailer will not adopt third-degree methods, jails will become reform centres and judges will become social engineers and spiritual doctors. Of course, society must be protected from the unlawful acts of criminals until such time as their reform has taken firm and evident root in their character and conduct. But spiritual prudence considers that such reform is a worthwhile and achievable effort because it believes in the original divinity and ultimate redemption of every human soul. It holds that people have an inherent inclination and predisposition to be lawful and that the very existence of conscience, however eclipsed it may be, is evidence of this. If this were not the case, then there would be no point in working towards the creation of a culture characterised by peace, social well-being and law-abiding, righteous citizens.
Spiritually empowered jurists will be moved by the spirit and not merely the letter of the law. They will, "See the motive, not the move; the heart, not the words." They will offer solutions, not judgements, restore clarity in misunderstandings, foster love where hatred festers. They will suggest measures which prevent repetitive cycles of crime, punishment, release and crime again, and thus save at least the first-time offender from adopting crime as a career. When juris-prudence reflects a legal mindset that is balanced by love, society will then make headway towards the ideal of a crimeless society and a culture of peace.
The Jurists' Wing proposes a new science of law called 'Om Shanti Jurisprudence'. Based on an understanding of natural and divine laws, this spiritually empowered juris- prudence takes a fundamentally holistic view of the universe. It requires an understanding of how a human being can be transformed so that whatever he or she does is righteous, that is, the right thing to do. This new jurisprudence will include preventive measures that increase the psychological and spiritual immunity of people to stress, temptation and the passions. It will also include remedial measures proven effective in reforming persons with criminal tendencies.