Ch:2 - Root Of Non Violence
In the case of every problem man wants to search its root and
is not content until his search succeeds. Where and in what
does the root of violence lie? Geneticists will locate it in the
genes inherited from one's forefathers. It would mean that
man is helpless in the matter since he cannot control his
heredity. Psychologists trace violence to one of the basic
Instincts. Environmental scientists blame it on the general
atmosphere or circumstances surrounding a human being since
his childhood. Some philosophers attribute it to karmas.
Thus we are confronted with a plethora of views on the
subject. If we pause and think for a moment we find that each
one of them is partial or one-sided, though none of them can
be termed wholly untrue. We must take a holistic view. But
even this might not provide the ultimate solution. More serious
thinking is needed. Each of the theories based on genes, prime
instincts, environment and karmas has a more or less
deterministic ring about it, which leaves one both, pessimistic
and helpless in the face of the Inevitable. However, the
doctrine of karma also suggests the possibility of changing the
karmas. Then why can't other factors be changed ? The
genes, the instincts, the environment-all can be changed. The
possibility of change kindles new hope in the heart. After all,
we can change; violence can change.
The key to change is the development of non-violence. Both
violence and non-violence inhere in us. Our mind also works in
two ways: one dictates anger; the other counsels patience,
puts the brakes on anger. Both the instigating and the
restraining tendencies are there. Good and evil are both
present in us. The real question is which of the two we shall
develop. Which one shall we awaken and which one shall we
put to sleep ?
It is here that meditation has its role. Through it we can
awaken non-violence and put violence to sleep. It is then a
question of proper awakening. Unfortunately we are fully
conscious of things material but totally unconscious of our
selves. Meditation makes us conscious of our selves. It
develops self-awareness. Once self-awareness has dawned,
We talked earlier of genes, instincts, environment and karmas.
Of these four, environment or the general atmosphere has an
immediate impact on us and so deserves our attention first. In
this connection it is noteworthy that right from childhood man
is exposed to violence, crime and immorality through the mass
media-radio, television, cinema and newspapers. No wonder
crime and violence permeate modern society since the whole
atmosphere is charged with them and nothing or very little is
heard of non-violence in general. The worse the crime the
bolder the banner headlines in newspapers. What could be a
better source of free publicity ? A radical change of policy is
needed to reverse the situation. The general atmosphere must
improve minimizing people's exposure to undesirable activities.
Sex, greed, fear, suspicion and anger-they all breed violence.
However, while trying to improve the general tone of the
media, it will have to be remembered that the root cause of
violence can be removed only through spirituality or a
knowledge of the self. In non-violence we veritably have the
philosopher's stone that can change all dross into gold. It is
said that genes and instincts cannot be changed but karmas
can certainly be, else there will be no relevance of penance,
austerity and the like. The need to change remains crucial.
Both the root and the branches have to be changed. And as
stated earlier, the most important and powerful means of
bringing about complete change is meditation. It alone has the
power to develop non-violence, self-realization and the sense
of unity and equality of all sentients.