Peace Through Dialog 2007 - HH Amrender Muniji - Peace Only Possible Through Dialogue

Posted: 18.10.2007
Updated on: 23.03.2017

JAINA Convention 2007
Federation of Jain Associations In North America


HH Amrender Muniji

Peace Only Possible Through Dialogue

HH Amrender Muniji is an accomplished scholar and had written his thesis on the history of Jains travelling to East and North China. He regularly visits North America and gives lectures to Jains and non-Jains alike.

He is widely travelled and a speaker in interfaith programs and international conferences. He has authored the book 'Yoga-Siddhi'; conducted numerous yoga camps; and organized medical camps to help the needy; and preached compassion among numerous prisoners. Muniji was a close associate of the late HH Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj of Siddhachalam.

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Repeated efforts to bring peace seem to have failed. The situation relating to existing conflicts are moving to a point of no return. New conflicts are sprouting all over the world. Each of these conflicts is threatening to take the centre stage. No one seems to have a clue as how to reduce tension and manage the conflicts within a local area, to contain it and then to bring peace by due process of dialogue. The missing link has been the non-involvement of the intellectuals to take up the responsibilities to find a solution. It has been often seen that whenever intellectuals have participated in the dialogues, emotions have given way to reasons, and a solution has emerged only after a due process of reconciliation through dialogue.

The participation of intellectuals brings rationality and the ability to evaluate the actual causes without biases. Fairness in the judgment process is the key for success. Intellectuals also bring freshness in the thought process. The positions that conflicting parties took earlier, normally melts down in the presence of truthful thoughts.

Most of the conflicts are built on small differences. As time elapses, supporters on both sides of the fence keep adding on series of small differences to inflame passions. The issue, over a long period, becomes very complicated, not easy to unwind and difficult to solve. Do you remember the Punjab problem in India? It started by two States of the Federal Government claiming Chandigarh city as their capital. The issue blew up to demand the separation of Punjab from India. Later after a long battle and bloodshed, the matter was sorted out. Peaceful negotiations and long deliberations have resulted in the two States sharing the same capital.

It has to be understood that baseless talks are generally the cause of misunderstanding. This is to be avoided by all means. It has to be kept in mind that as soon as we realize that we are deviating from our path of understanding, we should immediately reconcile to the deviation and revert back to peaceful dialogue.

Bhagwan Mahavir, who established the present order of Jainism, has clearly spoken in favour of self appraisal of the deeds and speeches of the day. According to Him, if any one realizes that by his thought, speech or deed, he has created violence in the society, it is imperative that he rectifies his mistake immediately. He is supposed to publicly acknowledge his position and to clarify the causes for misunderstanding. If for any reason, he is not able to discuss ana resolve immediately, every effort must be made to achieve reconciliation within a week, or a fortnight, or a quarter, or at the most within a year. This teaching of Jainism specifies a time limit to resolve a dispute, which is one year. Admission of guilt has to be accompanied by a declaration that one has no more ill will and no enmity with others. This is the back bone of mutual discussion.

Dialogue in a peaceful way has been a very successful method for resolving disputes. If this is coupled with little acts or kindness and a bit of surrender of one's position, pace of settlement quickens. This has been often repeated in history. Many countries have fought wars for a small piece of land that both countries thought belonged to them. In recent history, wisdom shown by the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain is commendable. Through mutual dialogue and help of an international arbitrator, both countries have settled their border dispute by reconciliation, and give & take process of sharing. This has avoided toughening of attitudes in both countries, and any possibility of war.

There are many examples in Jain and Buddhist scriptures which confirm the statement that many criminals have undergone metamorphism when confronted with rational arguments of wise men. Gautam Muni had gone to meet Bhagwan Mahavir with a view to defeat him. Through a process of dialogue, Bhagwan Mahavir dissolved the violence in Gautam Muni's thoughts, and he ultimately became his first disciple. The complete dialogue resulted in a scripture called Bhagwati Sutra. Chandkaushik met Bhagwan Mahavir in a very aggressive posture. In response he heard soft words from Bhagwan Mahavir. After a long interaction and Chandkaushik got his answers. Jayanti Shrawika fired a series of questions to Bhagwan. Ultimately all the questions were answered to her satisfaction. There were soft words when she again met Bhagwan Mahavir.

Such occurrences are also mentioned in the testaments of other religion. Anand confronted Mahatma Buddha. After a long deliberation, Anand understood the purpose and truth of life. Geeta, the famous religious book of Hindus, is also a recording of the speech of Shri Krishna. Arjuna, his disciple, suddenly developed cold feet in a battle and started asking a series of questions. Sri Krishna gave a discourse that led to a proper understanding of the situation. This discourse is over 5,000 years old, yet so contemporary as it answers the rational thoughts for conflict resolution.

I have been fortunate to be a disciple of Pujya Shri Gurudev Acharya Sushil Muniji. I have seen him resolving many conflicts through the process of dialogue. He taught me the value of positive attitude. According to his teachings, most disputes disappear if non-aligned intellectuals support discussions and lead it to fruitful conclusions. He was also an instrument in the settlement of the problem that I mentioned earlier between Punjab and Haryana, the two states in the Federation of India.

The current level of conflicts in the world indicates a troubled time ahead for mankind. Violence, fear and terrorism have overtaken the world. There are so many flash points all across the globe. Any one of these could escalate to another world war.

We also see a disappearance of the virtues of empathy and concern for society. One is so worried about his own safety that one just ignores all acts of violence until it affects them. General apathy to the ills of society has become an acceptable form of living. One avoids getting involved in any dispute, lest it causes harm to oneself. Such an unacceptable behaviour in society by intellectuals gives an open invitation to rowdy elements to take law in their own hands.

It is high time that the intellectual people wake up to their responsibilities, and courageously take up the crusade for bringing peace in society. It has been said that a lie, if repeated several times, appears to be true. If this is so, then why is not truth repeated several times. If nothing else, at least it will prevent untruthful thoughts from taking birth. We have to remember always that those small misunderstandings are the cause for major conflicts in society.

I will like to sum up with the thought that it is imperative that we believe in peace, truth, love, goodwill and service to humanity. Unless these virtues are recognized and nurtured, it is not possible to achieve peace in any part of the world. So my wise men, please wake up and perform your duty to the society. Never let the evil elements score a victory over you. Lead the society with your wise thoughts and unbiased position, to create long lasting peace.

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