Non Voilence & World Peace

Jain Books

Training in Non-violence

-Ganadhipati Tulsi

Non-violence is an inborn trait (samskar) of mine by virtue of being brought up in a Jain family in an atmosphere of non-violence. At the age of eleven, I was initiated as a Jain monk. Non-violence is the first Great Vow to be observed by a Jain monk and I started practicing it in my day-to-day life. In the course of my studies I got an opportunity to understand it minutely. I realised that it is efficacious in solving present day problems too. Where violence fails, non-violence proves to be a potent force. Every battle or tense situation of strife invariably ends in peace and reconciliation.

World War II had just ended, and its after-effect was still there in the form of ruins. An International Congress of Faiths was held in London on June 22,1945, in which my message entitled "Message of Peace to a World full of Unrest" was read out. That was my first step towards mass contact for the sake of non-violence. A burning desire for world peace occupied my heart. I kept meditating on the ways and means as to how unnecessary violence, armaments and warfare could be eliminated. At the Peace Congress held at Shanti Niketan my message entitled "The Path of World Peace" containing the following points was read out:

(1) Truth and Non-violence must form the sound foundation of society.

(2) Non-violence should be practised instead of merely being theorised.

(3) Every individual should be oriented to the importance of observing restraint and spirituality in life. As a social creature, man cannot overlook materialism in his household affairs, but it should be kept in check reasonably, through spirituality.

(4) Never force your principles on others.

(5) Narrow feelings of community, sect or caste should not be encouraged.

While intensive thinking and discussion on non-violence continued, the foundation was laid for the Anuvrat Movement in 1949 which I regard as an important step towards training for non-violence. 'Vow' means determinate resolution. If we have no firm resolution about non-violence, there is no possibility of its successful implementation.

At the First International Conference on Peace and Non-violent Action at Ladnun in December, 1989, I floated an idea that 'there was no powerful forum to propagate non-violence and that there was no co-ordination among the people working for it. Even the countries with conflicting ideologies had formed the UNO to resolve their problems. There they meet together, discuss and find a way out for the issues under discussion. It is a pity that those who have faith in non-violence never get together and find out solutions collectively.'

Conferences will be historic, if they are likely to provide a forum to the champions of non-violence where they may discuss various problems, find solutions for the eradication of violence, and lend strength to the ideals of non-violence in the world. It will, of course, prove to be a powerful step in the direction of world peace.

We find that people devoted to non-violence are not properly trained. Therefore, a programme should be chalked out to involve seasoned workers in this movement and disseminate the message of non-violence to all and sundry.

The Anuvrat Movement is a movement of non-violence. Faith in non-violence is its foundation. Man is a social being though he has his individual existence too. Non-violence explains in spiritual terms how one should deal with one's self as well as with other human beings. The Anuvrat Movement has taken both these aspects into consideration and upheld that neither should there be violence against one's self nor against society. Under fear or anger people commit violence against themselves. The training in non-violence forms an important aspect of adjusting oneself under such instincts.

Unfortunately, killings of innocent people and aimless violence are on the increase. The reason is that man is blind to violence at a personal level. He himself is responsible for violence in profession, entertainments, and cosmetics. Without transforming the individual, such violence cannot be checked.

The Anuvrat Movement is an effort to check violence from becoming a habit. Before committing violence, one must think that violence is not desirable and one is committing it out of compulsion. It is a very grave situation as violence is increasingly becoming a habit with many people. Terrorism is flourishing in our sentiment due to violence. Serious thinking to this problem is the need of the hour.


Building a non-violent society

For many decades, efforts have been afoot for building a non-violent society. Many organisations and institutions with their inherent faith in non-violence have helped in promoting this idea. But their efforts have not met with any success mainly because people propounding this concept have not come out of their narrow boundaries. Unless they decide to go to the masses and inspire them to practise non-violence in their lives, we cannot build a non-violent society.

To give shape to their theory, Anuvrat exponents made some efforts for forming Anuvrat villages in Rajasthan with the following minimum programme:

(1) Ninety per cent of the people in the village should be anuvratis.

(2) There should be no court-cases and the people must resolve their differences through mutual goodwill.

(3) There should be no room for untouchability or ignorance (illiteracy) and superstitions.

(4) None should be idle, unemployed or landless.

(5) It should be a clean village.

(6) People should be oriented towards scientific advancement.

(7) There should be complete prohibition of alcohol and all other intoxicating drugs.

In Gujarat, work is still going on for building 'Anuvrat-grams'. But it is a limited experiment. We need to train people on a larger scale in order to build a non-violent society. It is impossible to bring out a major change by slipshod work.

Training in non-violence should be an integral part of education. We need to make a triangular effort involving parents, teachers and students to make this campaign successful. In this regard we have started the "Jivana Vijnana' (Science of Living) course to Supplement the present traditional system of education. The programme envisages mental and emotional training with intensive experimentation.

For transformation of the human personality, we have evolved the Preksha meditation technique which changes the heart and feelings of the individual and bring about a social, political and economic transformation in society. The Science of Living contains in its fold the entire range of training and experimentation in Anuvrat and Preksha-dhyana.

To our mind Anuvrat, Preksha-dhyana and Jivana-Vijnana is the threefold path for transforming the human personality. The person trained through this trinity will surely develop a balanced personality and succeed in all walks of life.

As early as ten years ago we had formulated a three-point scheme for the effective propagation of non-violence. Now we see that merely discussing it will be of no avail. If research, training and experimentation are done simultaneously, non-violence may be embedded in peoples thoughts and actions.

We find that violence is being encouraged everywhere. Researches and investigations in warfare are being conducted day in and day out. It is, therefore, our duty to carry on research and training in non-violence and protect it from being uprooted.

We should resolve collectively to force Government to train people in non-violence as well as in war. Even armies should be trained in non-violence along with their training in warfare. The UNO too must take up this task in the interest of world peace. In this case, if wars or violence take place, they may be inevitable from some consideration, but they shall not be the product of madness or anger. The discriminating co-ordination between violence and non-violence shall save the world from unnecessary or extreme forms of violence.

It is surprising that universities throughout the world have so many faculties of teaching, but nowhere do we find any faculty of Non-violence. We must decide to convey the message of non-violence to every nook and corner of the world and evolve an effective strategy for that. Only then would our idea be fruitful.