The world we live in is dualistic, compound of separateness
and oneness. The latter lies concealed, the former manifests itself clearly.
Men differ from one another in several ways:
1. Differences of beliefs and concepts
2. Differences of ideas
3. Differences of taste
4. Differences of temperament
5. Differences of emotion
Differences of Beliefs and Concepts
Differences of beliefs have led to the creation of many
sects and their innumerable followers. Sectarian differences are a sign of
freedom of thinking. Man is not a mechanical but a thinking being. He has his
own ways of thinking, postulating new doctrines and accepting them.
But, besides being thoughtful, man is emotional too. If he
had been thoughtful only, differences would have remained just differences and
nothing more. They would not have led to strife due to sectarian malice and
cancour. So, it is not only differences of beliefs that cause sectarian
provocation, but also certain obduracy born of emotions.
Differences of Ideas
Every man is an independent being. So differences of ideas
are but natural. If he were a machine or if he was governed mechanically, he
would have thought uniformly. Since it is not the case and since each man has
a different kind of awareness, individual differences in thinking are not
unnatural. However, these differences of ideas cause strife only when
aggravated by emotions.
Differences of tastes
All people are not uniformly sensitive. The same thing can
give the sensation of joy to one person and that of grief to another. Having
these different sensations does not cause strife. The spark of strife is
kindled by emotions.
Differences of temperament
There are as many temperaments and habits as there are
individuals. It is the inner chemistry that is responsible for temperamental
diffferences. But here too, these differences become a cause of strife when
they are impregnated with emotions.
Types of emotions
Though the cause of individual difference is emotion, not
all individuals have the same degree of emotion. Differences are caused only
by the ascending or descending order of the degree of emotion. From this point
of view there are three main orders of degree and nine secondary orders of
1. Mild-emotion in a low degree
2. Medium-emotion in an average degree
3. Strong-emotion in a high
There are three degrees of mildness:
The medium also has three degrees:
Similarly, there are three degrees of the strong:
A mildly emotive man believes in peaceful coexistence. He
does not take part in activities involving destruction and malice and can
never think of lolling either himself or others.
Men of medium emotions are malicious and take part in riots
and destructive activities. Men with medium-medium emotions practise hatred
based on caste and colour, believe in untouchability and aggravate and spread
People with upper-medium degree of emotions contribute to
sectarian provocation and wilfully cause sectarian strife.
Those who have strong emotions indulge in violent
activities like suicide and homicide.
Man with medium-strong emotions provoke violence on
casteism and sectarian bases.
People with highly-strong emotions create a war mania in
Violence and exclusive or one-sided viewpoint
The intenser the emotion, the more compulsive becomes false
tenacity and obduracy based on one-sidedness. And false tenacity and obduracy
based on one-sidedness are the main characteristics of violence. Violence is
not confined to armament and war. Family quarrels, bitterness in human
relations, racial, sectarian and regional conflicts, separatist thinking are
forms of incipient violence which ultimately lead to armament and war.
Disarmament and banning of wars are good principles, but we will have to first
pay attention to the basic causes of violence. False tenacity pushes a nation
into cruelty and opens the doors to violence. To reduce false tenacity
Anekanta provides an important alternative.
The Basic Principles of Anekanta
Anekanta is an experiment in freeing oneself from false
tenacity and obduracy. It has five basic principles:
1. Dialectical Relation
being is independent and absolute, but our personality is relative. Within the
limits of personality our freedom is also relative. Therefore no man is
absolutely free and since he is not absolute he is relative. The theory of
evolution bases itself on struggle and strife. Anekanta bases itself on
interdependence. We survive on the basis of mutual support.
Practical aspect: Those whose thinking is
one-sided, view the individual and society separately in a fragmented manner.
Some of them give absolute importance to society while some others give it to
the individual. Anekanta has a holistic view. According to it both the
individual and society are relative. If society were all important, individual
freedom would become meaningless and if the individual were everything,
relativity would have no meaning. Freedom operates within the limits of
relativity and the latter acts upon and applies to the relation between the
individual and society.
It is the absolutist standpoint that is responsible for
embittering human relations. Even chauvinism and war are the products of the
same standpoint. Human relations can be viewed in a much wider perspective on
the basis of relativity. And properly understanding one's relation with
objects, thoughts, dispositions and the body is very necessary for cultivating
non-violence. If relations with men are governed by cruelty, those with
objects by attachment, those with ideas by obduracy, those with dispositions
by lack of restraint and those with the body by disposition, violence becomes
Reinforcing practice aspect: Repeated practices are
essential for changing a one-sided or absolutist viewpoint. Mere knowledge
cannot bring about a change. Long and sustained practice is necessary for it.
Mental reflection on relativity is essential for developing a holistic and