JVBL - Souvenir 2007 - Ahimsa Visions

Published: 31.01.2008
Updated: 07.01.2011

JVB London - Souvenir 2007

Ahimsa Visions

...explains the future challenges and possibilities of promoting Ahimsa

For Jains, Ahimsa is an everyday word. However, for many people, violence is an everyday experience. They would not think twice about arguing with someone or even having a fight. Many do not care how or where their food comes from - they seem to be angry all the time. A non-vegetarian diet is the norm and vegetables the exception. The message of Ahimsa is quite remote from their day-to-day life. Many of these people have not experienced genuine love - ever. To them, it is normal to argue. And the modern world of greed and materialism exacerbates this violence.

This is where the message of Ahimsa is really needed. This is where we have to work at new ways of translating and communicating this message. We need to use creativity and imagination. Media like articles, books, radio, television and internet all can play a useful role. We could put a film on ‘You Tube’ about Cool Ahimsa for its teenage audience. We can write and perform a fusion song with the theme of Ahimsa. We can create a social networking site (like Facebook) based on the principle of Ahimsa for all people committed to a non-violent world. Music is the language of youth today, so to reach them, we need to speak their language, not ours.

Our traditions and rituals are important and will survive. But to engage people, we need to evolve and explain them to people and involve them creatively. As Jains, we have inherited this vast ocean of wisdom, which is very relevant for the modern world - but we can no longer afford to keep it to ourselves. And boy, what resources we have at our command - we are intelligent, articulate, resourceful, wealthy and natural born leaders. However, this is one area of moral and social leadership where we seem to be failing against the modern tide of violence and greed. We also fail at the collective level - we are becoming increasingly narrow in our loyalties.

In business, we see the big picture - we see the entire world as our marketplace. Can we do the same in terms of morality and values? Are we ready to look at Jainism as a 'product' to be promoted and marketed not for the purpose of profit, but for social upliftment? If we create the will, then we can amass the resources and skill to achieve this goal. And who will benefit - our own children; certainly. Society; definitely. The eco-system and the planet; without a doubt.

I ask what use are all our skills and intelligence if we cannot rise to this challenge? What use is all our money and power? What is the price of losing our culture and heritage for our youth? How many of our global celebrity businessmen participate in the community and society and truly seek its betterment? This is a price we rarely calculate but is very real. We invest in education, but our cultural investment is poor or negligible. We save money for ten generations, but do not realise that if only one generation loses its culture, all the money will vanish overnight. We can, we must rise above our small visions to incorporate the broader timeless vision of Jain Ahimsa.

Atul K. Shah, Ph.D. is author of 'Celebrating Diversity' a new hook published in 2007 and Chief Executive of Diverse Ethics Ltd. (www.diverseethics.com)

JVBL, Souvenir 2007
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ahimsa
  2. Atul K. Shah
  3. Diverse Ethics
  4. Greed
  5. JVB
  6. JVB London
  7. JVBL
  8. Jainism
  9. London
  10. Non-violence
  11. Violence
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