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Non Voilence & World Peace

Jain Books

Moral values and Training in Non-Violence

-Acharya Mahaprajna

The problem of falling moral values is a world phenomenon. Every thoughtful human being is concerned about it. Every man wants to live with dignity---that is his aspiration and need. Why moral values are falling down is a subject of research. How to re-establish these values, pertains to the sphere of our duty. Extreme preoccupation with economic advancement and a hedonistic approach are responsible for the depreciation of moral values. The mentality to procure amenities by fair means or foul and the establishment of moral values do not go together. The more the purity of means is neglected, the greater is the fall in moral standards. Both moral and spiritual values are inevitably linked with the purity of means. In the absence of moral and spiritual values, it is not possible even to clearly define humane values.

Non-possessiveness and non-violence are spiritual values; integrity or honesty is a moral one. Only with the development of a 'purity of means' outlook, can these values be established. In this context it may be said that anekanta, or the relative point of view is the primary value--It is the right vision. The groundwork of training in non-violence is the right vision. Without a change of outlook, the attempt to establish non-violence is as if a person should expect to raise a crop without sowing seeds. Is our approach to money and accumulation of wealth factual? Is our approach to material objects and their use, realistic? If it is realistic, through training in non-violence, the seed of non-violence can be sown.

The present day world is afflicted with the problem of a partial viewpoint. A biased one-sided view of economic and material development has only served to encourage violent behaviour. Without changing this point of view, there is little possibility of promoting non-violent conduct. During the last few decades, interest in non-violence has grown because of the problems created by violence. Murder, terrorism, development of destructive weapons, fierce conflict and war--these problems originating from violence breach the peace of society. World-peace is being seriously disturbed. That is why interest in non-violence has grown. There is a universal feeling that non-violence is the most appropriate method of resolving the present-day unrest.

That non-violence is the solution to problems created by violence, is indisputable. But such a resolution is not possible without the development of an anekantic approach. How can we deny the fact that the modern man's approach is far more materialistic than humanistic. For the sake of material goods, man can be cruel to man and other living beings. Under these circumstances, how is it possible to advance non-violence? No growth of non-violence is imaginable without changing the outlook which has given rise to violence. Is it possible to change this outlook? It can certainly be done if our morale is high and our will power strong. For this, training in non-violence is necessary.

The starting-point of training in non-violence is the change of heart, i.e., the transformation of the mind. This change is, apropos, material objects, not violence. It is our confirmed opinion that we cannot properly look at the problem of violence apart from the problem of possessiveness. If we are constrained to consider the problem of violence in isolation, it would not be productive. The objective of the training in non-violence is the development of equanimity. For this, non-possessiveness, non-violence and anekanta together furnish a threefold value. Through it alone, is it possible to establish the virtue of equanimity. May this modest attempt of ours to impart training in non-violence succeed in opening a new dimension!

Let us all strengthen our resolve and pray earnestly so that we make good progress in firmly establishing the virtue of non-violence in human hearts.