Ahimsa (Non Violence) - A Practical Approach To Conflict Resolution And Peace Making

Published: 11.07.2007
Updated: 15.02.2008

There is a spurt of violence in the modern times. An atmosphere of fear prevails because of the existence of unlimited nuclear weapons. The global psyche is undergoing inner turbulence under the shadow of terrorism and extremism both resulting from training on Non-violence, fearlessness and peace in order to find a way out.

  • Why is violence increasing?
  • Why is there an increasing atmosphere of fear?
  • Why is terrorism growing?

We should find out the root cause in order to get right answers to the above questions.

Society is being badly managed. Poverty and unemployment exist on a vast scale. Population is multiplying and the tendency to monopolize markets through economic rivalry is growing. These are cited as the reasons for the increase in violence.

A number of models for improving social management have been presented. Among them the prominent ones are Socialism, Communism, Gandhism and democracy. However, none of them succeeded in bringing about an ideal social order and no issue could produce an example of healthy social order and no issue could produce an example of a healthy social order.

Many efforts were, and are being, made to solve the problem of poverty and unemployment and yet an unimpeded growth of population robs them of success. From the above it is evident that poverty and unemployment cannot be eliminated in the face of limited goods and unlimited consumption. This provides us a standpoint where we can pause and discover a new non-violent way and that way is restraint. Social order cannot be ameliorated, nor can the problems of poverty and unemployment solved merely on the basis of legal and constitutional measures. It is the awakening of the consciousness of restraint that is necessary to solve them.
We should go to the very root of the problem. Physical development means development of goods. The latter is the demand of the sense organs. The rivalry involved in developing and increasing consumer goods cannot be separated from violence and mental disturbance. There is a close relationship between consumer goods and violence as also between consumer goods and mental disturbance.

Shall we succeed in our efforts to develop nonviolence and peace in a world which survives on the plane of seriousness? Will it be possible to bring nonviolence and peace in a world assailed by mental volatility? Will it be possible to bring nonviolence and peace in a world inflicted with impure and negative thoughts?

Peace and nonviolence need the development of a trans-sensual awareness or spirituality. The elements promoting violence and disquietude are greed and fear. Greed gives rise to mental excitement, agitation and anger. It breeds enemies and builds an atmosphere of collision and war. It is the most negative feeling. Can we succeed in establishing peace and non-violence without refining the instinct for greed or uncurbed ambition?

We cannot make progress on the road to peace and nonviolence through sheer intellectualism. Scientists today have highlighted the critical importance of the neuro-endocrinic system in the light of which the vision of peace and nonviolence cannot be brought nearer to realization without first understanding the central importance of the secretions of the endocrine glands and the neurotransmitter which governs and regulate human behaviour.

I do not know who holds the reins of world peace, but I do know that the reins of world-destruction are in the hands of those who have the power to manufacture and use nuclear weapons. Is it possible for world bodies dedicated to peace to do something important in this field? There is no easy answer to this question. It seems necessary that the present conference addresses itself to finding the proper answer.

Either the lack of consumer goods or their unequal distribution is the main factor behind the problem of poverty. Too much accumulation of wealth or its effect is behind the problem of too much wealthiness. And negative emotions are behind emotional problems.

What is needed to get rid of negative emotions is training in emotion control, problem of excessive wealthiness is training in a lifestyle governed by self-restraint, problem of poverty is training in cultivating the consciousness of equal distribution. People are talking of distributive justice in many fields. There are a few cases of its application also, but the experiment of distributive justice cannot succeed without first developing the consciousness of emotional control and self-restraint.

It cannot be said that we no longer face the prospect of war. But a match worse prospect and a real problem is that of conflict and strife. There is conflict everywhere in the family, in organizations and different institutions. Difference in thinking can cause conflicts, but these conflicts can be prevented by developing the power of tolerance. Tolerance does not imply any onslaught on the freedom to differ in thinking.

There are three emotional causes of conflicts: anger, conceit and greed. Strife takes on a serious form ever so frequently in the absence of a balanced ego. Obstinacy and strife are the products of self-conceit. Everybody relishes in forcing one's superiority on others and in publicizing the superiority. The other party is not able to tolerate it and the conflict aggravates.

The principle of Anekant (non-absolutism) is very important for conflict resolution. Its use builds an attitude of relativism, mutuality and propriety, converts obstinacy into humanity, and gives rise to a viewpoint, which urges one to understand others.

It is well known that greed plays a vital role in domestic conflicts. In business too greed plays no less important a role. The fury of anger is truly dangerous and it becomes manifest mostly in daily activities. Greed and conceit play a major role in building up the state of fury. It is easy to reduce the intensity of anger by developing the consciousness of politeness and contentment. It is possible to refine and balance the above tendencies through spiritual experiments.

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    Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
    1. Anekant
    2. Anger
    3. Conceit
    4. Consciousness
    5. Fear
    6. Fearlessness
    7. Greed
    8. Non-absolutism
    9. Non-violence
    10. Nonviolence
    11. TerapanthInfo
    12. Tolerance
    13. Violence
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