VIOLENCE AND WORLD PEACE
Peace and Non-violence Action
Darkness has an eternal existence - it existed
in the past, it still exists and shall continue to exist. Mankind has discovered
the use of 'lamp' to offset the effects of darkness. Lamps were lit by the
man in the past, these are being lit in the present and these would also
be lit in the future. It could never happen that there would be darkness
alone and no means to create light. The relevance and need for light, on
the other hand, would always be more with the increase in the intensity
of darkness. The very fact that darkness can never be extirpated does not
deter man from lighting the lamp. His struggle against the darkness shall
go on and on so long there is a need for light.
The same story holds good in the case of violence
and non-violence. They existed in the past, they still exist and shall always
exist in the future. There had been incessant and untiring efforts to practise
non-violence; there are efforts going on even now and these efforts will
be there in the future as well. Like darkness and light, both violence and
non-violence are eternal entities. The more powerful the violence becomes,
the more strenuous efforts would be needed for propagating non-violence.
The relevance of non-violence would ever increase with the onslaught of
violence. That violence could not be eradicated from the world should not
force non-violence to cease its activities. In fact, non-violence is not
to be conceived in any manner less powerful than violence. The only requirement
is to awaken this supine force. Look at the colossal amount of money being
pumped into experiments, research, training and manufacture of equipments
for perpetuating violence. What matching efforts have been put in to propagating
non-violence? Hence there is an urgent need for:
(1) Comprehension of non-violence
Many of us might be ignorant about the
modus-operandi to be followed for conducting the research and training in
non-violence. But training in non-violence is a reality.
(2) Research in non-violence
(3) Training in non-violence, and
(4) Experiments in application of non-violence
To indulge in violence is an instinct deeply
ingrained in man. Whenever there is a stimulant, this instinct is translated
into action. However the Jain canonical text "Acharanga Sutra" - the bible
of non-violence, enumerated three motives behind indulging into violence.
Whatever the reasons be, there has always
been an organized and systematic training in violence. Billions of dollars
are wasted on these ugly developments. Every day some new weapon is developed,
every time new techniques for perpetrating violence are developed, and these
are proudly and unabashedly displayed and used. The dictum of Jain prophet
Lord Mahavira, 'that there is always a weapon sharper than the other' comes
to be true. On the other hand, as said above, there is no effort whatsoever
put in for 'training in non-violence', leave alone its application. Is it
not unfortunate that people pay lip service in praising and talking about
non-violence but they never think in terms of its training? Then how can
we conceive that non-violence would be adopted as a 'life-style'? Most of
the people these days have no faith in the efficacy of non-violence as a
tool to counter the effects of violence. Unfortunately, they hold an utter
negative attitude towards training in non-violence. But we firmly beli eve
that there is a boundless power in non-violence and that training in non-violence
(3) Fear (i.e. apprehension of insecurity)
Having dealt with the feasibility of training
in non-violence, we come to two important aspects of training in non-violence:
The former comprises the comprehension
of the philosophical theories of non-violence. There are diverse doctrines
of non-violence and if we enter into the polemics, we may get entangled
into futile controversies. Therefore, we shall mention only a few basic
metaphysical ideas without which the very concept of training cannot be
There are five points which confirm the value of non-violence on metaphysical
(1) Reality of Soul : There is a real existence of soul.
(2) Independence of Soul : Every soul is responsible for its own
sufferings or pleasures. From this point of view, the soul is independent.
(3) Equality of All Souls : Speaking arithmatically, the number
of souls is infinite. The states of different souls formed by the effects
of their own "Karmas" are also diverse. But from the point of view of
intrinsic nature, all souls are completely identical; there is no difference
whatsoever. This principle of 'equality' is not confined to human beings
but applies to each and every living being. We can definitely make a statement
that "souls of all living beings are intrinsically identical."
(4) Relativity in All Facets of Living: No one can survive by remaining
absolutely indifferent to, or also, from other beings. Therefore, the
principle of relativity applies to every particle of nature. Even a single
leaf falling from a tree would have its effect on the whole universe.
(5) Co-existence: To think in terms of "Either I shall remain or
he will remain" has no place in the canons of non-violence. Thinking on
the lines of "You as well as I will live; this as well as that will prevail",
is the terminology of coexistence; and ideology of non-violence.
Practical Training of Mind
Having understood the theoretical aspects
of training in non-violence, the trainee is expected to undergo the practical
training which would consist mainly in the training of mind.
The first and the foremost content of
training of mind is the balancing of emotions. In psychological terms, emotions
are mental disturbances. Fear, anger, hatred, sensuality, lust, agony and
pleasure etc. are the emotions which are expressed as a response to particular
stimulus. Although it is difficult for a person to become completely free
from all emotional disturbances, yet he has to attain certain degree of
emotional balance without which he will have to face countless problems.
We may here illustrate the methods/techniques for balancing the emotions.
Take for example - "Anger". It is a type of emotion. It can be controlled
by practising meditation or concentration of perception on the emotional
area of the brain. The techniques of "perception of psychic centers" and
"perception of psychic colours" are proved to be effective for creation
of such equilibrium.
Another example is--negligence/remissness.
It is a result of lack of our alertness and concentration of mind. The technique
of perception of deep breathing in addition to the above ones is proved
to be effective in getting rid of this deficiency. The technique of "Preksha
Meditation" prescribes sure remedies to the maladies like drug-addiction,
tension and terrorism. Again, the complexes of inferiority and superiority
are such emotional distortions that they would jeopardise the development
of integrated personality. Special exercises of "Preksha Meditation" in
which the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems are concentrated
upon have been found useful in overcoming such complexes.
In the world of behaviour, the practical training
in non-violence has a very wide scope. In brief, we have to focus attention
on the following three points in this relation:
(1) Betterment and Development of Relations with Human Beings
As a social animal, man leads a collective
life. He has to deal with other entities in various ways. For that he has
to build relations with them. It is easy to establish relations, but it
is very difficult to maintain them properly. This is because of the selfish
proclivity of man. Man is prone to see everything through the glasses of
selfishness. How can a person standing on the plane of selfishness think
in terms of selflessness? But one who has faith in non-violence would never
try to capitalise on his relations with others for selfish ends. Training
in non-violence is, therefore, imperative to save mankind from the poisoning
efforts of selfishness in the world of human relations.
(2) Expansion of Relations with Nature/All Living Beings
(3) Limiting the Relations with Material World
Betterment of Relations with Human Beings
We can classify behaviour of a person
broadly into two categories - human and inhuman. The aphorisms of social
ethics give us the directives for our behaviour or relations with other
human beings. Those who behave in conformity with them, belong to the former
category. On the contrary, those who totally neglect others well-beings,
who are ready to trample on it, who do not hesitate in exploiting, suppressing,
molesting or inflicting pains to others, fall in the latter category. Such
people are said to possess 'brutal' or 'demonical' attitude. The betterment
of human relations is possible only by purging a person of such an attitude.
The training in non-violence must consist in bringing about this reformation.
The human relations can be classified into
several units. Here we shall discuss only three of them, viz. (1) family
relations, (2) social relations, and (3) professional relations.
(i) Family Relations:
The dealings between father and son, mother
and daughter, husband and wife, brother and brother, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law,
sister-in-law and so on constitute the family relations. If they are imbued
with human attitude, there will not arise any occasion of beating, fighting
with, harassing or degrading anyone.
(ii) Social Relations:
The sphere of social relations is much wider.
It commences from the relations with the neighbours and spread upto every
person belonging to the remotest corner of the society. Now, it is the inspiration
of non-violence that relations should neither be established on the basis
of selfish considerations nor should they be severed off in case the self-interests
suffer. The gap between man and man which is widening on the grounds of
caste, colour, sex, class or creed is the main source of increase in violence
in one form or the other. But we should not forget that amongst all these
differences, there is a common element and that is 'humanity'. "I am a human
being; he is also a human being. The fair dealings which I expect from him,
he also would expect the same from me." Only on this line of thinking can
we build a foundation on which the congenial development of human relations
(iii) Professional Relations:
The dealings between the employee, and the
employer, the boss and the subordinate, different partners etc. are the
relations in the realm of profession which require humanization. If there
lacks a human attitude, the employer would exploit the employee, while the
latter would fight shy of labouring. Such events as an employee suffering
from high fever is compelled to do the work by the superiors, or conversely,
the employee looks for pretexts inability to carry out the assigned task,
would be frequent. The training in developing sympathetic attitude, genuine
concern for each other, mutual respect, giving deserved share and appreciation
to others, and imparting fair and impartial treatment to one and all would
go a long way in solving such problems.
Improvement in Relations with Living Beings :
Conservation of Nature
Human race considers itself to be the topmost
production of Nature. Therefore, his attitude towards other creatures (including
plants) is callous. He indulges in violence to other beings for his own
survival. We may classify himsa (violence) into two categories: (1)Avertible
and (2) Inevitable. The inevitable form is also himsa, and under no circumstances
it can be given the status of ahimsa (non-violence). We may, however, by-pass
it from the point of view of inevitability, but the avertible/avoidable
kind of himsa is the outcome of man's inhuman attitude towards other living
Had mankind been imparted training as to how
he should treat other creatures, there would not be occasions for avertible/avoidable
himsa, cruel treatment and hedonistic outlook to flourish. Knowingly or
unknowingly many people use such cosmetics which involve extreme cruelty
and inhuman treatment to animals in their production. For mere entertainment
some people organize animals fights, camel race etc. All such violence is
nothing short of sadism. The training in non-violence can make man free
from such cruelty by making him realize his oneness with the animal world.
A person having a magnanimous and human attitude
towards the whole animal kingdom will not tamper with Nature. The modern
ecology does not permit interference with any part of nature in any form
whatsoever. But this very concept was propounded 2500 years ago by Bhagawan
Mahavira in his doctrines of non-violence and self-restraint which assert
that not even a particle of Nature should be hurt or disturbed.
Limiting the Attachments to the Material World
One of the basic instincts of man is possessiveness.
Instigated by this tendency, he accumulates possessions. This innate impulse
of possessiveness tends man towards his own extinction. In his book, "TO
HAVE OR TO BE", Erich Fromm suggests man to chose between 'possession and
existence'. If man wants to preserve his existence, he will have to say
goodbye to possessiveness.
Man is in dilemma - on one hand he cannot
do without material things, while on the other his existence is threatened
by the impulse of attachment or possessiveness. Under such circumstances,
one of the important contents of the training in non-violence would be -
development of detachment or freedom from infatuation. As soon as his attitude
towards material world is transmuted, there will be automatic self-imposed
limits on accumulations and consumptions of material objects.
Non-violence : The First or The Last Refuge?
Both the trainees as well as the trainers
of non-violent should bear in mind the declaration of Bhagawan Mahavira,
"Non-violence is wholesome for all living beings." This dictum has more
relevance on the eve of announcement of cease-fire when people terrified
and fed-up with the catastrophic consequences of war take refuge in non-violence.
Had violence or war the capability to give refuge, nobody would ever think
of cease-fire. The ultimate answer is not war, but cease-fire. For this,
it is imperative that instead of calling a 'cease-fire' (i.e. putting an
end of war), let us put an end to the launching of the war.
Some people contend that non-violence makes
a person coward or scared. May I ask them that if non-violence is cowardice,
then why people ultimately take refuge under non-violence? In fact, it is
the other way round. Bhagawan Mahavira has deemed fear and cowardice as
forms of violence. Non-violence is not a weapon of timids, but of heroes.
Only non-violence imbibed with the spirit of fearlessness and heroism can
give shelter to the whole world. Let the whole world recognise this power
of non-violence and accept it as the first refuge.
Training in Nonviolence: A Part of Curriculum
We have selected the above mentioned features
for the training in non-violence, because there are mainly three reasons
for indulging into violence:
In order to get rid of the problems that crop
up in day-to-day life with regard to the above three reasons, the only effective
means is to impart training in non-violence to people. Many a time it so
happens that a person takes recourse to violence only on account of his
ignorance and lack of knowledge of the consequences of violence.
(2) Materialistic Attitude
(3) Cruelty in Human Relations
Therefore, it is essential to intensify the
training activities of non-violence. It is not enough to experiment it by
picking a few persons or villages. This can be accepted on trial basis but
in order to widen the scope of the training programme, it is essential to
integrate it with educational curriculum.
If non-violence is introduced as a compulsory
subject in all schools and colleges and if due attention is focussed on
practical training along with theoretical training, then this subject of
non-violence can be made more applicable.
With a view to making this procedure of imparting
training in non-violence more scientific and easy, critical debates can