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 practice
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
(2) Research in non-violence
(3) Training in non-violence, and
(4) Experiments in application 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.
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:
(3) Fear (i.e. apprehension of insecurity)
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 believe that there is a boundless
power in non-violence and that training in non-violence is feasible.
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 understood.
There are five points which confirm the value of
non-violence on metaphysical basis, namely--
(1) Reality of Soul : There is a real existence of
(2) Independence of Soul : Every soul is responsible
for its own sufferings or pleasures. From this point of view, the soul is
(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
(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
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
(2) Expansion of Relations with Nature/All Living Beings
(3) Limiting the Relations with Material World
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.
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 is possible.
(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 beings.
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
(2) Materialistic Attitude
(3) Cruelty in Human Relations
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.
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
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 be initiated.