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The Quest for the Royal Road: The Power of Non-Violence

Published: 27.01.2016

Non-violence is the gate leading to Truth. No one can realise Truth without entering that gate. Its gate-keeper is self- restraint. A sadhaka who does not practise self-restraint, commits violence every moment even though he may have abstained all his life from taking any life. His mental inclinations are inspired by feeling of violence. Such a person feels himself insecure all the time. This is because he is deprived of the protection of non-violence which is beyond time and place. It is impossible for anyone who believes in the power of violence to fathom the power of non-violence.

A person who has lost protection of non-violence is unprotected from all sides. He is afraid even of himself. His psychological weapon becomes so deadly that mounted on its sharp edge, he begins to feel doubtful about his own security. Non-violence is the only way to get rid of fear, doubt and insecurity. Analysing the capacity of non-violence, the authors of the Agamas have said —

Non-violence is "protection for the terror-stricken"[1]

A person struck with terror wanders in search for protection and as he wanders, he finds the soldiers of the enemy's army glaring at him. He runs with redoubled force and starts panting as he runs, and his body is pathed in the sweat. His legs become limp and he loses all hope in life. In a trying time like this, he became free from anxiety after protection of a powerful king and assurance of security at all costs. In the same way, non-violence is the safe refuge, for a person afflicted with all kinds of fears.

"The sky is the protector for the birds. '[2]

A bird has been imprisoned in a golden cage. Sweet and luscious fruits are laid before it and in a silver bowl there is sweet, pure water. The master is trying all ways of persuasion. Still the bird does not open its beak. It is fluttering its wings, glancing obliquely at the open, boundless sky. The master's daughter realises the bird's anguish and she opens the door of the cage. Expressing its gratitude to the girl, the bird becomes a free sojourner of the sky. Its eyes glow and its face shows the indescribable happiness of an unhindered flight. Non-violence is the only power to provide an open sky to the birds of life imprisoned in the body.

"Water is the protection for the thirsty."[3]

A hot afternoon of June. The sun is shining with its harsh and youthful brilliance. One is fatigued after a long journey on foot and he writes with thirst. It is impossible to walk even a couple of steps more. At that moment when death seems close, cool, sweet water revives the sinking breath. There is newborn sprightliness in his steps. Non-violence has a similar affectionate message which has the power to infuse life in us.

"Food is protection for the hungry."[4]

The pangs of hunger are so painful in the freezing winter winds: There is an expression of helplessness on one's face when all hope of getting a meal is lost. The limbs become slumpy. There is darkness before the eyes and repeated spells of fainting. In such a pathetic state, one feels revived by getting an appetising meal. But he feels more revived by the conscious pursuit of non-violence.

"The drowning man needs to be carried in a boat."[5]

How long can a man, sinking and drowning in the ranging sea, struggle against the stormy waves? As the distance from the shfcre increases, he becomes more and more dispirited. At such a moment, how happy he would be to find a boat nearby? Being close to non-violence can give him infinitely greater happiness and joy.

"Frightened animals seek protection in this hermitage "[6]

When the animals, harassed by the feroceous wild animals reach the hermitage of an ascetic, they move freely without fear. Their harassment and fear vanish. Similarly, the pursuit of the path of non-violence assures a person against fear and makes him carefree.

"A patients needs medicines "[7]

When a person is suffering from prolonged and incurable illness and the doctors are negligent and medicines and salubrious diet are not available, he feels completely fed up with life. In those moments of despondency, the medicine administered by a compassionate doctor act on him like a sanjeevani (elixir), the patient then feels greatly reassured. For greater reassurance come from non-violence.

"Going in company while passing through dense forest."[8]

The dark amavasya night in a frightening forest. There is no path, no food for the journey and one is left with no courage. Danger of being attacked by wild animals and unknown destination. The way farer feels defeated. Right at that moment he finds the company of a caravan and that makes his journey comfortable. In the same way, if one finds the caravan in the form of non-violence in the course of one's journey through life, it becomes easy to pass through the dense jungle.

The capacity of non-violence to provide the sense of well- being is incomparable and unique. For those who are afflicted with fear, it is a refuge, for the innocent animals, it is like a hermitage, for the birds it is the boundless sky, for those writhing with thirst it is water, for those suffering the pangs of hunger, it is the meal, for those drowning in the sea, it is the boat and for the traveller who has lost his way in the jungle, it is like a caravan. However, non-violence is far more valuable than all these, because it provides greater strength and refuge.


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Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agamas
  2. Body
  3. Fear
  4. Non-violence
  5. Sadhaka
  6. Violence
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