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Thus Spoke Mahapragya - Vol.1: 01. Ahimsa Yatra: A Journey Towards Non-Violence

Published: 25.03.2011
Updated: 29.03.2011

Ahimsa Yatra: A Journey for Non-Violence

I am glad to see so many sadhus-sadhvis of our religious order. Most of the singhade (groups) have come to Ladnun after three or four years. I am happy to be in Ladnun today. Four years ago there was a programme in the Oswal Panchayat building. I had said that time, that the soil of Ladnun was special and hence could be the reason for Acharya Tulsi’s birth here.

I am happy to have come to Jain Vishwabharati. Jain Vishwabharati is like an encyclopedia of memories to me. I have memories associated with every corner of it. Whenever I am here, they come alive and vivid. I arrived at Bhikshu Vihar and sat there. I told Mahashraman all the conversations I used to have with Gurudev Acharya Tulsi then. I could recollect all the discussions that we had and the decisions that we made. For a moment the entire experience came alive. In the hall I was sitting, I could recollect how Acharya Shri was walking around in the same hall. Acharya Shri had said “We have come a long way in this journey. If we had to do this now, I don't know how much work could we accomplish?” Whatever work has been accomplished, I sincerely believe that it was his inspiration that has brought us so far. At that point of time the only work that had started was the Anuvrat Movement (vows of small restraints). There was no Preksha Dhyan, Jeevan Vigyan (Science of Living) or any other significant religious work going on at that point of time. Through Anuvrat we have achieved significant milestones.

It was beyond my imagination that I could make it to be here at this age. Acharya Shri had completed his journey before reaching sixty years and my journey began when I was over seventy-five. There was an inspiration inside which was being nurtured and growing within, which made this journey possible. Acharya Shri's dream and his imagination were so vivid that it inspired me for this journey. His internal desire has come true. During this journey I have often said had Acharya Shri seen all this progress of today, how happy he would have been. All his dreams have come true. Acharya Shri always used to say that speaking to a gathering of a single community is not very encouraging. He always wanted to address the gathering that consisted of people belonging to different religions like Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsi’s.

The above dream of Acharya Shri has come to reality. While we were in Mumbai and the Ahimsa Yatra was going on. There were over four hundred Muslim people who were marching ahead of us holding flags. People from other religions like Christian’s, Parsi's etc also had joined the rally. One day, the Home Minister of Maharashtra Shri Rajendra Darda approached me. He said, he still remembered Acharya Tulsi's words. Acharya Tulsi had said “People come to me because I keep spirituality at priority over case, creed or sect. If I keep sect or community as a priority then nobody would come to me”.

We were in Preksha Vishwabharati situated at Koba, Ahmedabad. One day, suddenly the news came that Honorable President of India would drop by the ashram any moment. There was no such program planned. After ten minutes, the President arrived. All the formalities had been brushed aside when he visited us. We had known each other and had been in touch for a while. We had a detailed discussion earlier when we were in Delhi. The President just walked up towards me and we started discussing. I told him that Acharya Tulsi believed in placing the spirituality at the first place and community at the second. I would like to rephrase the statement - “Nation takes the first priority and political parties the second.” After hearing this, the President rose from his seat and said “Acharya Ji, whenever any politician meets you please tell him that nation is first and then comes the political parties”

Whatever I am doing today is not new. Acharya Tulsi had laid this foundation and I am just following it and as a result people who meet me leave their caste and creed behind. I do not know who is a Muslim, Sikh or a Christian. I only see them as one human being. Acharya Shri had bestowed his blessings on me on numerous occasions during the meetings held in Jain Vishwabharati. He always said “Acharya Mahapragya will certainly deliver more than I do”. I do not know how one will interpret this. However I interpret this as a relationship between father and a son. If father's height is six feet and the son stands on his shoulders their total height reaches about nine to ten feet. Acharya Shri had already laid the foundation and the results were in front of us. I only gave an extension to it. People thought that I delivered more. Hadn’t Acharya Shri laid foundation for me, I would have to start all over again which would have resulted in my spending more time and energy.

I believe that if you are not a religious fanatic, everybody is yours and if you are a religious fanatic, whatever is yours also doesn't remain with you any more. We have to think over self-governing and avoid Virodhabhasa (conflict of thoughts). Two drunkards had met. The first person said - “I have a big problem.” The second person asked, “What is the problem?” The first one replied “The problem I have is when I try to sleep, I do not get sleep for two to three hours”. The second person said “I can get sleep but the problem is that it takes me at least two hours to search for the bed.” There are numerous such Virodhabhasa in the world and they are mainly because of the false belief. They run because of intoxication. We have to protect ourselves from this Virodhabhasa and when we lay our feet on a practical ground, we will be able to see the truth.

There was a bomb blast in Mumbai and there was a fear of riots breaking out, but it did not break out. We were in Surat when this blast had taken place. We were asked to send a message to address the situation. The message was read amongst the public. It created and brought about an atmosphere of peace. The Muslim brothers were surprised when this message was read in the presence of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mohammed Sahib. They were surprised and asked whose message was being read. Later, we visited Khwaja Sahib's Dargah in Ajmer. They spoke about Ahimsa Yatra and lot of good things about us. It is not possible to give the complete details of that over here. However I could experience the message of unity and brotherhood being sent out. We had similar experiences with the Christian and the Parsi communities. When the President visited Surat, fifteen more religious heads representing Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Prajapati Brahma Kumari’s and few others had joined and the 'Unity of Mind' and 'Surat Spiritual Declaration' was formed. This was an immense outcome and today tremendous work is being carried out under this and will be carried in future as well.

During these three years of our journey by walk, we have visited many villages, towns and cities and met numerous people on the way. During the journey, I used to give pravachana (spiritual talk) only once a day, but Mahashraman at times had to deliver four to five pravachanas. Whenever we passed by a village, the villagers and the people around that village would gather around us and we had to give a pravachana for them. The atmosphere that got created was something that I am unable to express in words. Nevertheless I am sure that the people who had witnessed with their eyes would understand my feelings.

India Vision 2020

To realize India’s dream of becoming a developed country by 2020 you need to complement science with Adhyatma to realize this dream.

We travelled for three long years. After a long journey, when the elder person returns home, the members of the family curiously ask him what he has brought for them. You too can ask me the similar question “What have I brought for you?” I would certainly like to answer this question and my answer is “I have definitely brought something for you. I have not returned empty-handed. What I have brought with me is the Training of Non-Violence.” If we talk purely about Ahimsa then we would not have achieved much. What we have done is that we have started the Training of Non-Violence in the villages and cities, which aims at generating employment.

Thousands of people got associated with the Anuvrat Preksha family. There are numerous training centres, which are running now. We tried to find out the root cause of the reasons for violence. When we discussed at length on this, we discovered the following reasons:

  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Hunger

In our training of non-violence, we bridged these three reasons with “Training for Employment” program. This generated lot of positive excitement among the masses. The first training centre was opened in Indore. Lot of local politicians approached us and requested for a training centre to be opened in their constituency as well. Today there are twenty-five training centres in Indore alone along with few more in Jharkhand, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh. There are training centres running in places where there are terrorists. There is a place in Jharkhand called Bahul, which is predominantly a Muslim village. This village was considered to be the centre of terrorist activities. The women folks of that village joined and started this training centre. As a result of their efforts, the outlook of village has changed drastically.

Ahimsa and Dharma

You have to combine Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Dharma (Religion) with the practical problems of life, till then the religion will be a topic on which one can debate for hours.

You have to believe sincerely that until you combine Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Dharma (Religion) with the practical problems of life, the religion will only be an imagination, a topic on which one can debate for hours. One has to bring about a change in his mindset about the religion. One has to change the misconceptions related to religion and place it on a practical platform and then only one can realize its effectiveness.

I have discussed only in brief about what I have seen and experienced during these three years of my journey. I sincerely believe that the vision and dreams that Acharya Shri had for years in his Antarman (inner mind) have been realized. These visions and dreams have now taken a concrete shape.

Today we have a lot of questions to be pondered on. During our stay at Ladnun, many religious heads from South India, met us and we became closer and we are working together with them. The 'Surat Spiritual Declaration' has taken the form of an institution. With this institution myself, Honourable President and other religious heads are associated. Our plans are ahead to accomplish them in a big way.

For the development of India, the following factors are of prime importance:

  • Adhyatma (Spirituality)
  • Vigyan (Science)

For science, our President is the person who will give us the right guidance, directions and for spiritualityit is we, who will drive. A conglomeration of spirituality andsciencewould form a new dimension and results will be evident in the days to come. To realize India's dream of becoming a developed country by 2020 you need to complement science with spirituality. People across the world have started realizing the importance of science and spirituality. One can see spiritualityas the panacea of all the issues and problems of the world. Lack of moral values and spirituality, renders the religion merely a tradition which has been followed and one cannot expect any major transformation with that.

During the stay at Ladnun for the next two months, people who are from Ladnun and outside, should try to understand the reality of the changing world and bring about a change in themselves with the time.

The next two months of stay at Ladnun will be beneficial and useful to the people. The moment one arrives at Ladnun he gets a feeling of happiness. I am also glad to be here. At times, I feel something is missing here. The place where I and Mahashramanji are seated, Gurudev Acharya Tulsi used to sit here and discuss on various topics. I miss this now. I recollect many things and those memories come alive to me like vivid images. I wish I could write everything about what we discussed. Looking at those vivid images, I cannot recollect but can recall some.

Jain Vishwabharati always brings me a mixed feeling of thoughts: some pleasant and some unpleasant. I was supposed to begin my journey for Chadavas Maryada Mahotsav (festival of rules). Gurudev came to see me off at Sanjay Varsha Bhawan despite his bad health. Whenever this memory comes alive, it brings a mixed feeling of pain and pleasure.

During the twentieth century, Acharya Tulsi talked about the religious revolution. He gave a definite and a firm shape to the religion by separating ethics and spirituality from sectarianism. This spiritualism can provide the solutions to the problems of human race. The religion and spirituality that is in practice today is confusing people. I would like to conclude my talk today with a story. In the ancient times there was a competition and some of the artists were asked to sketch some paintings. The artists painted some beautiful paintings. The King was supposed to judge the best painting and award the winner. One artist had painted a lotus. The painting appeared so real that a moth started whirling around on the lotus flower looking for nectar. Everybody thought that this painter would bag the first prize. There was another beautiful painting of a cock. The real cock got confused and started fighting with the cock in the painting. The third painting was that of a frog. The real frogs lined up to join the painted frog. Then there was a fourth painting. It looked that it was covered by a curtain. The king extended his arm to lift the curtain to see the painting. So it was not the curtain but the painting of a curtain that had confused the king himself. The King decided to give the painter who had painted the curtain painting the first prize. The lotus painting had confused the moth. The cock painting had confused the cock, the frog painting had confused the frog, but the curtain painting had confused the king himself. Hence the painting that confused man himself, rightly deserved the first prize.

When there are so many illusions, the person who makes the decisions himself, if he gets confused one can imagine the innumerable curtains that must be coming in front of our eyes in our daily life. Humans are bound to get confused. There are curtains of religions, curtains of sects, curtains of beliefs, curtains of traditions etc. So why will not one get confused? If one has to see clear through these illusions, then one has to follow the path suggested by Acharya Tulsi. It is because of this path shown by Acharya Shri, everybody has embraced us today. Unless everyone accepts us, we cannot say that we have embraced everybody. In these three years of Ahimsa Yatra, I have implemented the path shown by Acharya Tulsi and seen the results. I wish, if Acharya Tulsi were in front of me then I would have asked “Acharya Shri! You had vision for the Yatra and I have completed the Yatra based on your vision. Kindly tell me, how was my yatra?” How I wish, if somebody could tell me and decide how my yatra was.

I believe that the direction which Acharya Tulsi gave was such an effective one that even the things that looked impossible became possible. The solution to the communal frenzies was a very difficult one. Nevertheless we made an attempt and we were successful. All this has been possible only due to Gurudev's blessings.

Every society has a mix of good and bad people. If we are able to identify the bad people and link them with the good people, then hopefully everything should turn out to be good. Based on doubts one cannot expect everything to be good. I have experienced the feeling of being in proximity with everybody and hence I did not find anybody an outsider.

During our yatra we entered a village where communal riots were expected to break out any moment. People were equipped with all types of weapons. Situation was very sensitive. We were supposed to go to the next village. I was there for some time, called some of the prominent people in the village and discussed the situation. I told them about the harmful effects of such riots. We asked Muni Sukh Lal ji to stay back in that village and we continued our yatra. After two hours around two hundred people belonging to both the Hindu and the Muslim communities from that village came to me and said “Maharaj! We have decided that we will not allow riots to happen in our village and ensure that it does not happen in any of our neighbouring villages”.

About these three years of journey, what I have told you is a very short account of it so that you know what dreams Acharya Tulsi had envisaged for the society. To an extent, I am successful in fulfilling them and I have received everybody's co-operation and full support. I would really like to thank Mahashraman for his efforts. Sadhvi Pramukha despite suffering from severe knee pain travelled with us. The Sadhus, Sadhvis who accompanied us, the Samanis, the people who joined us on our way, the team of Ahimsa Yatra and with everybody's co-operation, we were able to complete our yatra of three years successfully. In this long journey from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Daman and Maharashtra, the support and help that we got from people and the mission that we could accomplish by this Ahimsa Yatra can only be achieved by next seven generations.

After the Yatra, when we reached Jain Vishwabharati, we really felt “Have we come back from the Journey”. I had the confusion if we really came back, after the journey or we were here only. This situation was something comparable to when King Janak was confused “Whether this is true” or “That is true”. Whether I had completed my journey or I was very much at Bhikshu Vihar? One needs to examine this truth. One must understand the truth with a liberal and a broad mindset. With these thoughts in mind, I am sure that your stay at Ladnun will be very beneficial.

Ladnun (Rajasthan)

On a 6th January


Mahapragya ne Kaha - Vol.1 Translated by:
Rakesh Kumar Jain Online Edition: 2011

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahapragya
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Adhyatma
  5. Ahimsa
  6. Ahimsa Yatra
  7. Ahmedabad
  8. Ajmer
  9. Anuvrat
  10. Anuvrat Movement
  11. Bhawan
  12. Bhikshu
  13. Bihar
  14. Brahma
  15. Chhattisgarh
  16. Daman
  17. Delhi
  18. Dharma
  19. Dhyan
  20. Fear
  21. Gujarat
  22. Gurudev
  23. Indore
  24. Jeevan Vigyan
  25. Koba
  26. Ladnun
  27. Mahapragya
  28. Maharashtra
  29. Mahashraman
  30. Maryada
  31. Maryada Mahotsav
  32. Mumbai
  33. Muni
  34. Muni Sukh Lal
  35. Non-violence
  36. Oswal
  37. Preksha
  38. Preksha Dhyan
  39. Rajasthan
  40. Sadhus
  41. Sadhvi
  42. Sadhvi Pramukha
  43. Sadhvis
  44. Samanis
  45. Science
  46. Science Of Living
  47. Sukh
  48. Surat
  49. Tulsi
  50. Vihar
  51. Violence
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