VIOLENCE AND WORLD PEACE
Training in Non-violence
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
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.
(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,
(4) Never force your principles on others.
(5) Narrow feelings of community, sect or caste should not be encouraged.
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
(1) Ninety per cent of the people in the village should be
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.
(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)
(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
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.