VIOLENCE AND WORLD PEACE
The Foundation of Training in Non-Violence
it possible to train people in non-violence? The question is neither unnatural
nor irrelevant. It is a certain disposition of the mind which results in
Ahimsa or non-violence. The former can be the subject of training; not the
latter. The same logic will apply in the case of violence. A disposition
can be got rid of as well as transformed. Its outcome can neither be removed
The Origin of Violence
Man by instinct is given to acquisition and
accumulation. It is here that violence is born. Transforming the above instinct
is the best means of bringing about non-violence. Training in non-violence
lies solely in making efforts to rouse the awareness of non-acquisition.
We can't even think of training in non-violence
without a thorough discussion of and reflection on concepts like individual
ownership, collective ownership, state ownership, co-operative or mutual
ownership, centralised economy and decentralised economy. The tremendous
attraction held out by individual ownership has been responsible for the
success of the above system for economic development. Both collective and
state ownership have beaten a retreat as is evident from the development
of the past one decade. Co-operative ownership has fared no better, either.
The reason is not far to seek. The instinct for ownership is at its strongest
only at the level of the individual. In all other cases it gets enfeebled.
This means there is a direct relation between acquisition and violence.
The instinct for ownership leads to acquisition, which in turn breeds violence.
Training in Non-violence : The Beginning
The solution to the problem of violence, lies
in answering the question: where does one begin for training people in non-violence?
The first step to non-violence is fearlessness. Even a thousand repetitions
of the mantra 'Do not fear' will not rid an individual of fear so long as
he is attracted by the body and infatuated by wealth and material objects.
How can the aim be achieved by nursing the cause of fear in the mind and
repeating the lesson of fearlessness orally? In what way can one block the
flow of fear or abort its rise? A proper and practical understanding of
these issues is vital. Then only can fearlessness become the first stage
of training in non-violence.
The Seed of Non-violence
Proprietorship, accumulation and fear are
interrelated. It is not easily possible to get rid of them. However, they
can be cleansed refined and disciplined. Therein lies the seed of non-violence.
The search for the means of refinement is difficult. Short-lived discipline
or refinement is easy; making it lasting is very difficult. But, though
difficult it is not impossible.
The First Practical Step
The violence takes its course from affection
to thought and from thought to action. Therefore, the first step on the
road to training in no-violence is sublimation and refinement of affections.
The mind has to be trained to ensure that only positive, and no negative,
affections are generated.
The Formula for Physical Training
It comprises Yogic Postures (asanas) and rhythmic
control of breath (pranayama): Padmasana (Lotus Posture), Shashankasana
(Moon Posture), Yogmudra (Scaling Posture), Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Posture),
Sarvangasana (All limbs Posture), Matsyasana (Fish Posture), Godhikasana
(Posture adopted while milking a cow) etc. affect the Nervous and the Endocrine
systems. They weaken the physical factors responsible for violence. Anuloma-Viloma,
Chandrabheadi, Narhishodhan, Ujjayi Shitali (Pranayam that cools the system)
and similar Pranayam purge the body of the causative factors of violence.
The Formula for Mental Training
The formula for mental training is Meditation.
Kayotsarga (total relaxation) Deerghashvas Preksha (Perception of Deep Breathing
or diaphragmatic Breathing), Samvrittic Shvas Preksha (Perception of Exhalation
and Inhalation alternatively through Right and Left Nostrils) and similar
meditational practices contribute to the development of concentration. Violence
increases directly in proportion to the degree of distraction. So, the less
the distraction, the less the violence.
The Formula for Affective Training
More important than physical and mental training
is the training of affects. The formula for practising it consists of meditation
on the Chaitanya Kendra (Psychic Centres) and on the Abhamandal or Leshya
(Psychic Spectrum). Contemplative practices are useful for all types of
training --- physical, mental and effective.
The Base and the Field of Application
What has been expounded above is a method
of individual training. In fact, training in non-violence is given only
at the level of the individual. Its application, of course, takes place
at the level of society. It is therefore, not inappropriate to say that
the above training has the individual as its base and society as its field
of application. The same holds good of violence. Accordingly, the most important
way of bringing about a non-violent society is making individuals non-violent
and all training should be directed at this end.
Family Life and Non-violence
Society implies inter-relatedness of and interaction
among individuals. Human relationships and rectitude in behaviour constitute
training in non-violence. Its beginnings are best made in the family. It
is not proper to view violence as being limited to wars and terrorist activities.
Wars take place only sometimes and in some places, whereas violence manifests
itself within the family almost daily. It erodes mental peace, which in
turn contributes to the spread of violence on a wider scale. Peaceful coexistence
within the family is an important guarantee of the success of training in
non-violence. Intolerance, lack of self control and overreaching ambition
poison the peace and happiness of a family. A curb on them and practice
in avoiding them will automatically rid the family of the prevalence of
Non-violence in the family means Training in Anekanta (non absolutism)
For there to be non-violence within the family,
one major requirement is the spirit of reconciliation. It is possible to
reconcile diverse thoughts and, tastes. To achieve it, training in Anekanta
can be exteremely useful, for Anekanta admits of autonomy only in a relative
sense. It accepts coexistence only to the extent that such acceptance does
not, condone injustice. It approves of quality without disregarding unequal
degrees of competence. The pillars of peace should be strong enough to withstand
the strains of diversity. Training in Anekanta gives due place to diversity,
so long as it is not at the cost of unity. Making people aware of this coexistent
duality---diversity and unity--- will be an important step towards building
a non-violent society.
Causative Factors of Violence in Society
There are innumerable social factors, some
of them having come down to us since a long time past, that cause violence
in society, casteism, racialism, apartheid, regionalism and mass poverty,
to name but a few. Time and again they result in social conflagrations.
Racialism and discrimination based on colour can be best tackled by inculcating
all the people with the spirit of common humanity. However, the problem
of poverty is a bit complex. One aspect of the problem lies in the disparity
between an inadequate supply of consumer goods and an ever increasing number
of consumers. The problem gets compounded for want of a proper and just
sense of sharing. A high premium, is placed on individual's comfort and
acquisition, while the desire to share things equally and justly is at a
The Basic Unity of Mankind
The basic unity of all the people of the world
should not be disregarded while conceding the usefulness of the territorial
integrity and independence of each nation. The instincts of self aggrandizement
and over ambition prove subversive of world unity. Of course, man has not
yet developed enough to be able to practise equity and justice in his treatment
of others. This keeps the regional and geographical divides in the world
alive. Extirpation of geographical boundaries is not a prerequisite to the
creation of a non-violent society. But it is imperative that these boundaries
are not allowed to snap the tender thread of humanity.
Training in Non-violence : The Basic Element
The basic element of training in non-violence
is a change of heart or mental training. The following specific principled
formulas are required to be pail of the training for bringing about a change
of heart Factors Causing violence Effects
1. Greed Tendency to acquire
These instincts turn people violent. Change
of heart means overcoming these instincts and cultivating new refined habits
2. Fear Manufacture and use of armaments
3. Hostility Tendency to take revenge
4. Anger Internecine quarrels 5. Egoism Hatred and discrimination based
on considerations of caste and colour
6. Cruelty Exploitation and killings
7. Intolerance Sectarian strife
8. Absolute(as opposed to relative) Obduracy and the tendency to thinking
disregard the viewsof others.
9. Absolute behaviour Tendency to practise non co-operation in communal
Formulas of Mental Training
The antidote to greed:
Training in freeing oneself from the infatuation for material objects and
The antidote to fear:
Training in cultivating fearlessness and in strengthening the will not to
manufacture or trade in armaments.
The antidote to hostility:
Training in cultivating friendship and in eschewing the tendency to take
The antidote to anger:
Training in learning to forgive.
The antidote to egoism:
Training in practising humility, non-violent opposition and non co-operation
The antidote to intolerance:
Training in cultivating goodwill for other
sects and the ability to put up with diverse views.
The last two factors causing violence can
be countered by training people in relativism of thinking and behaviour.
Negative feelings are to be countered by training in feeling positively.
Stopping Non-essential violence
Training in non-violence will have as one
of its constituents making the people aware of the need to give up nonessential
violence. Wastage of water, overmining, killing innocent creatures and people
are examples of non-essential violence. It has made man cruel and has disturbed
the balance of nature.
Physical Health and Non-violence
There is an intrinsic relation between physical
health and non-violence. Ill health generates violence. One of the factors
responsible for people committing suicide is inadequacy of sugar in the
blood. Likewise, disorders of liver and spleen also contribute to violent
thoughts. Therefore, training in differential dietetics and Science of Healthy
Living is a vital component of training in non-violence.
Economic Health and Non-violence
Training in the following subjects is necessary for the economic health
of an individual as well as society:
Voluntary parting with wealth
It need not be emphasised that the, physical
mental, emotional and economic health have all to contribute to the creation
of a non-violent society. They have, therefore, to be the bases of training
Decentralisation of the economy
Economics and World Peace
Economics and a Healthy Society
Legitimate Means of Making Money
Just Distribution of Wealth
Restraint in consumerism and limitation of wants
The Base and Fields of Experimentation in Training in Non-violence
The success of the methodology of training
in non-violence depends on the development of an individual mentality irrevocably
committed to non-violence. This has to be practised in the following areas:
Individual as a member of the family.
Today people are divided ideologically and
regionally. But non-violence requires a unified and integrated personality.
In order to develop it, a multipronged programme of training is necessary.
The thought of a non-violent society disregarding the individual is as illusory
as that of a non-violent individual without a non-violent society. The two
are relative to each other. This basic fact should not be ignored while
thinking of the training in non-violence.
Individual as a social being.
Individual as a citizen of a nation.
Individual as a citizen of the world.