Culture of Peace through Integration

Posted: 29.12.2008
Updated on: 20.08.2009

1st Planery Session
Keynote
10th November 2008

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/persons/Prof._N.R._Kapoor/Prof._N.R._Kapoor.jpgAt the outset I must congratulate Dr S.L. Gandhi and ANUVRAT for their consistent efforts to promote Peace and Nonviolence for the past several years. Initially the League of Nations had put their might to keep worldwide peace, but their failure in preventing World War II gave rise to a new concept of United Nations. Several developed and powerful nations like USA; China; France; USSR, U.K. fully armed with nuclear weapons, joined hands to create the United Nations in 1940’s again for almost similar objectives. In their Charter for a better World on June, 26th 1945, prepared in San Francisco, it was emphasized that for maintaining peace and security, the United Nations should take effective measures for prevention and removal of threats to peace and for suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace. During the past six decades, the UNO has made commendable efforts through series of charters and declarations, discussions on implementation of declarations and through the Foundation of Peace Research etc. Educational projects for a culture of Peace and Nonviolence launched by UNESCO has also been a laudable effort. Likewise the International Congress on Peace of Minds in the heart of Africa had also been a commendable effort of UNESCO. Around 20 Nobel Peace Laureates including Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama had recommended the UN to observe 2000 to 2010 as International Decade for Culture of Peace. In 1997 the UN proclaimed the year 2000 as the first year for Culture of Peace to be meant to become a global movement and ensure the transition from a culture of war to a culture of Peace. Wars and violence can never be a culture of people as it is the law of brutes. In fact culture is sum total of the learned behavior of a group of people which is generally considered as the tradition of that  group and transmitted from generation to generation. The global movement has to be founded on a broad definition of a culture of peace based on “respect for human rights, democracy, tolerance, education for peace etc. It is implied that all this will be through actions of individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and governments. How is it that all these well meaning efforts have failed to produce the desired impact on the world? The present study reveals that the world situation is moving from bad to worse at an alarming rate posing danger to the existence of mankind. It appears that the 20th century has been the worst killing century in the history of humankind. Only humans can stop killing in the community as well as family. A ban on nuclear tests and chemical weapons by disarmament committees does not have any impact on the world and it is feared that even terrorist groups are getting equipped with these dangerous weapons. Increasing intolerance, terrorism, loss of innocent lives is spreading all over the world. All this is indeed a potential danger for the survival of humankind. We must go to the roots of these happenings and find where we went wrong and what really needs to be done.

When I was a child, my grandfather told me a story of a very renowned doctor famous for curing even chronic diseases with only suggestions or simple home made medicines. Once a lady brought her child and complained that her son was eating jaggary (gur) the whole day and she was not able to stop this harmful bad habit. The doctor kept mum for a few minutes and told the lady to come after 10 days as the problem was quite complicated for him to answer and treat immediately. The lady went back and again came after 10 days but the doctor was still not prepared for suggesting any medicine and wanted more time and requested her to visit again after 7 days. The lady returned and again came to the doctor after 7 days and this time the doctor spent several minutes with the child and tried to explain that he should give up this bad habit of eating jaggery all the time and gradually give it up as it was very harmful for his health. The lady was quite disturbed and asked the doctor why he could not say all this on the first day and why he took such a long time to suggest all this to her son. The doctor smiled and said that at that time he was himself eating too much jaggery and he took this long time of 17 days to give up his own bad habit and gain enough strength to stop the child from eating too much jaggery. He could only preach what he really practiced.

Proper integration of body, mind, intellect and soul can certainly develop an ideal enlightened human being, but where are such teachers available who are so enlightened and have successfully integrated their body, mind, intellect, and soul? How to get such teachers who will teach what they themselves practice? Can present leaders, charters, declarations, universities and colleges develop such human beings? UNESCO’s plan to involve educational institutions is very good, but how can it transform the society without such enlightened teachers? We essentially require the scarce enlightened teachers for transformation and reconstruction of the present society.

About 2500 years back, among several universities in India, the largest was NALANDA University in Bihar. This university had its library situated in 3 nine storied buildings and had more than 10.000 Indian and foreign students with 1200 monks as teachers living with the students. They taught what they actually had , and lived a transparent life. This University, like many others, was destroyed around 500 AD; the good news is that a consortium of a few countries is now reviving it as an International University. I am sure that huge funds, buildings, modern equipments will be available for reviving the ancient great university. Will all that be able to produce enlightened integrated human beings – as in the past Nalanda could successfully develop? The crux of the problem is to find the well-integrated enlightened group of teachers who can live with students and develop real integrated enlightened human beings. There is no shortcut for multiplying and developing such human beings. I am fully aware that never in the history of humankind was everybody an enlightened soul, but goodness is more infectious than badness and a small lighted candle breaks the darkness of a big room.

I am quite optimistic that despite all that I have stated above, a humble beginning can certainly be made by accepting the worst and improving upon it. Fortunately, this conference has been organized by in a very appropriate place. Anuvrat is reasonably equipped with centers and team of teachers available for imparting the desired training and education and develop the team of enlightened integrated human beings. They can initiate centers of peace and nonviolence for people of all religions, creed and caste for the noble cause. These Centers can share and discover nonviolent spiritual and scientific skills and artistic resources with institutions and individuals and also harness the immense potential available with elderly and retired people.

A fast growing graying population is increasing at an alarming rate and elders will RUST if they REST and remain idle. These centers can be strengthened with departments for ageing also, and plan to harness and train this great experienced potential for serving the society and developing youth and children. Global organizations like World U3As; Indian Society of U3As and the International Association of Universities of Third Age (AIUTA) and Senior Citizen Associations can be linked and motivated to join hands for this noble cause of reconstruction of the society. Elders can be used in bringing the desired social change and development of the enlightened manpower.

Develop a new era of integration at all levels and remove the present pollution of disintegration.

Integrate human beings, society, religions and nations.

Darkness can never be removed by sticks or arms and it is better to light a candle.

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