Process Of Training In Non-Violence 

Published: 23.01.2009
Updated: 23.01.2009

Central Chronicle

It is very essential to develop non-violence. But how to bring it about?

Non-violence and introspection are not unrelated. Similarly, violence and looking outwards cannot be kept apart. Man is bound to resort to violence if he has always seen material objects and people other than himself. As soon as he starts seeing himself and looking within himself, he gets farther and farther from violence, and imbibes more and more non-violence. Non-violence as a principle and its education and training were elaborated thousands of years ago.

Mahatma Gandhi applied it extensively and gave the world a brilliant example of its practice. But curiosity and awareness about non-violence have been roused all the more in the light of the phenomenal growth of violence during the last two or three decades.

People do know the enormous number of killings that took place during the two World Wars. But very few people know that the magnitude of killings in the post-second World War period far surpasses that during the two wars taken together. Mass massacres have taken place in fighting between small states. What happened in Somalia and Rwanda sends shivers down one's spine.

Innocent people - men, women and children - in millions are becoming a prey to the struggle for power between two tribal communities. What are these small countries up to? Why are they indulging ruthlessly in mass murders on a massive scale? No solution seems to be in sight. Even the great powers and the United Nations are found wanting in displaying enough responsibility for halting them.

When the conflict is between big countries, big powers like America and England lose no time in mediating between them. On the other hand, human life is thought so cheap in Africa that nobody bothers about mass massacres there. Attempts are made to settle the conflicts only between those countries whose market value is greater. No one is worried about those countries which market value is less, which are not in a position to produce mineral and agricultural products, which are backward in every way.

All these factors have compelled people to think and wonder when and where this increasing violence in the world will stop. In this context, non-violence assumes greater relevance. Everyone feels that in it alone lies the answer to prevailing violence and if violence is not stopped, humanity would slowly head towards its own extirpation. Therefore, it is very essential to develop non-violence. But how to bring it about? The ultimate solution unquestionably lies in non-violence, but working out the right process of developing it presents a complex problem.

Once revered Gurudev Shri Tulsi had said that merely discussing non-violence is not enough. It should be supported by research, training and application. With the coming of these three points a new star appeared on the horizon of thinking. The well-known litterateur Jainendraji hailed it as a beautiful idea, and proposed that it be promoted under the rubric of Ahimsa Saarvbhaum (Non-violence Universal). One more plank - Ahimsa Saarvbhaum was added as a new perspective to Anuvrat. The men of letters and Sarvodaya workers of Gujarat saw in it a new viewpoint according to which by confining oneself to nonviolence as a theoretical principle, without adopting the abovementioned three-point programmed nonviolence cannot be promoted. As in science, nothing much can be achieved without research, training and experimentation.

It is very important to know the method of training. How can one be trained in non-violence? There is an ancient book called Brihatakalp Bhashya, in which a very good method of training is indicated. It has four points: first, recitation of the original text/lesson, which in this case is 'I will not willingly kill any innocent being, will not commit suicide, will not kill another person and will not commit foeticide'. The second point is understanding the meaning; the third is learning and constantly questioning whether learning has taken place or not, whether the lesson has been learnt or not; and the fourth is faith-whether the learner has come to have faith in the lesson taught, in the meaning or interpretation given and in his own understanding of it.

Training cannot be promoted in the absence of these four points - original lesson, its interpretation, its learning or imbibing, and having faith in it. These points are relevant for training of any kind. This important formula of training was given by Acharya Sanghdas and Acharya Malayagiri.

Anuvrat is a code of conduct for training in nonviolence. We can rephrase it and say that anuvrat is at once a code of non-violent conduct and a method or process of training in non-violence. A large number of people adopt anuvrat or profess to subscribe to anuvrat, but their adoption or profession notwithstanding; they do not complete its process. Full benefits cannot be reaped without going through the entire process. Hunger and thirst cannot be quenched if the intake is a fraction of what is needed. Similarly, unless a full course of medicine is taken, the desired results will not accrue.

Religion is being subjected to a similar treatment. The entire process of being religious is not gone through. Reading the religious text is deemed enough to be religious. People accept anuvrat, they read its code of conduct which makes them resolve 'I will not wilfully kill any innocent being'. But that is not enough. In terms of training in non-violence, it is but an incomplete part of it. The resolution will be strengthened when subjected to self-contemplation. The resolution has to be repeated for a week, two weeks, even four weeks, in fact, until it becomes a permanent, imbibed habit. Once it has become that, it need not be repeated further.

Central Chronicle - by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Ahimsa
  3. Anuvrat
  4. Central Chronicle
  5. Gujarat
  6. Gurudev
  7. Gurudev Shri Tulsi
  8. Lalit Garg
  9. Mahatma
  10. Mahatma Gandhi
  11. Non-violence
  12. Nonviolence
  13. Sarvodaya
  14. Science
  15. Tulsi
  16. Violence
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