Anuvrat and Jivan Vigyan ►As Instruments of Change and Development of Human Heart

Published: 29.07.2015
Updated: 06.08.2015 and Jivan Vigyan - As Instruments of Change and Development of Human Heart

The age we live in is an age of acedia and spiritual torpor. We see gradual decadence of the basic human values on which alone depends the survival of mankind. Though the sustained campaign of NGOs against nuclear weapons has begun to pay rich dividends, the rising trends of racial and ethnic discrimination, chauvinism, fundamentalism, intolerance towards other religious groups, casteism, consumerism, desire for accumulating wealth and a lifestyle rooted in individual comforts and callous indifference towards the needs of others, complete lack of concern for the environmental and ecological disaster closing in on all of us have given rise to a cult of violence and hatred. It is this new cult embedded in selfishness and narrow outlook on life that is responsible for a series of bomb blasts in different parts of the world, prolonged bloody conflict in Bosnia, the exile of hundreds of political opponents in many countries, the Gulf crisis and vandalism in Somalia pushing the country to starvation and diseases. The world scenario spells doom for humanity. The emergence of a new value system based on selfish considerations of individual comforts at the cost of the lives of others and uncontrollable instincts for grabbing resources and greed for wealth has created an unprecedented crisis before humanity. The question before us is whether we can meet the challenge of cruelty and hatred percolating through our social fabric. The answer is yes, we can do that. We have lost sight of the most important component of the so-called civilized society i.e. education and training of young people who become the citizens of tomorrow. The world has become a large family today. We need to inculcate a new value of universal responsibility among the youngsters. Gone are the days when it was enough to teach them that they should be disciplined and responsible. We must highlight the interdependence of one human being on the other irrespective of his caste and colour, faith and nationality. We must tell the young people in classrooms at schools and colleges that all social groups, all countries, all religious traditions, all races and all businesses are interdependent. It is only by allowing them to co-exist peacefully that we can survive and even achieve prosperity. We are grateful to UNESCO for gathering top scientists of the world at Seville in 1985 who exploded the myth that a human being is violent biologically. The Seville Statement has ushered in an era of new thinking. The Statement says, “Both war and peace originate in the mind of man. The species that invented war can also invent peace.” It is a matter of satisfaction that efforts are being made in all parts of the world by people concerned about human survival to create a sense of awareness against the perils of the new cult of violence and hatred. Different methods, strategies and techniques are being developed to bring about a change in the attitude of people towards others and educate them in peace and nonviolence.

There are many groups who have begun to think globally act locally. Consequently we have seen world conferences on disarmament and environment. Robert Muller the former UN Assistant Secretary General and chancellor of the University for Peace Costa Rica has been soliciting support for his proposal to convene a conference of eminent heads of States to consider the question of violence and nonviolence thoroughly. The Rio Declaration is the most significant step to preserve our planet and we are sanguine about the convening of a world conference on Ahimsa.

Like many leaders who are concerned about human survival, Acharya Tulsi, a revered saint of India who presides over a nonviolent Jain religious tradition called Terapanth, has been endeavouring to rid society of violence and hatred by widening the network of self-transformed people. Vow occupies a pride of place in all religious traditions. It symbolizes deep commitment to a certain value. In India we call it ‘VRATA’. Acharya Tulsi was shaken by the most tragic event of nuclear holocaust at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later in his own country he saw thousands of people massacred in the name of religion when India was divided in 1947. He was deeply touched by these events. He formulated a complete plan for individual transformation. He believed that efforts should be made at the grassroots level. Unless an individual is attitudinally transformed, there will be no change in society. He also observed that people by and large do not violate a vow if they have committed themselves to its observance. It is almost impossible for him to violate vows taken publicly. He introduced a new strategy to bring about a change in the behaviour of human beings. It is not possible for people to accept big vows but surely they can accept basic vows called. ‘anuvrats’ in Sanskrit and Hindi. He drew up a moral code of conduct based on essential values enshrined in anuvrats (basic vows). ‘Anu’ means small or basic and ‘vrat’ means a vow. He launched a movement of small vows or what we call ANUVRAT MOVEMENT in 1949. It was meant for all people in the world belonging to all faiths, all nations and all races and castes. It emphasized the values like respect for other religious traditions, reconciliation, harmony, coexistence and observance of Ahimsa in our daily life. It is not possible for people to eschew violence in its totality so he exhorted them to accept an anuvrat of ahimsa that they will refrain from killing innocent living beings. Commitment of individuals to this basic vow alone will ensure human survival. Ahimsa is an environmental ethic.

He walked barefoot throughout the length and breadth of our country inspiring millions to accept anuvrats in their life. The ANUVRAT MOVEMENT was hailed by all leaders and social workers in our country. It has become a popular social movement. It secures individual commitment to certain basic human values. But after some years Acharya Tulsi realized that mere preaching doesn’t work. He directed Yuvacharya Mahapragya to work on evolving a balanced system of education that can refine human emotions and bring about a mass psychological transformation among the young generation. In deference his Guru’s wish he designed a complete system of education called Jivan Vigyan or Science of Living. The young and old must be taught the science of living or in other words we may say that it is a scientific way of living embedded in spirituality.

There are four aspects of science of living i.e.

(1) the pranic balance or balancing the vital force,
(2) biological balance,
(3) faith in individual potentialities and
(4) refinement.

The results will be that a student exposed to science of living will acquire proper physical, intellectual, mental and emotional development. Jivan Vigyan is a course aimed at the training and education of the people in nonviolence. It is a tested technique to enhance one’s emotional competence or what we call emotional IQ.

The Science of Living, or Jivan Vigyan, comprises combined training in the art of worldly success, spiritual progress and yoga. Modern education lays emphasis on physiology, anatomy and psychology. If all the six are combined a complete integrated course for human development can be devised. We do not want to make our students just parrots given to mere cramming or mugging. We should inculcate in them the power of concentration, willpower and determination. Special efforts should be made in this direction. We should not overlook the fact that it is the absence of these qualities that is responsible for India not succeeding in winning gold medals or even silvers in international sports events while even the smallest countries like South Korea are able to wrest many of them.

At an international dialogue on nonviolence education and training held at Ladnun on 26 November, 1992 Acharya Tulsi’s proposal to train and educate people in nonviolence received support from people like His Holiness the Dalia Lama, Dr. Johan Galtung, the most celebrated peace researcher of the world, Dr. Glenn D. Paige, Professor Emeritu of Political Science, Hawaii, USA, Dr. Bernard LaFayette and Mr. Charles Alphin, associate of late Martin Luther King Jr., and U.N. representative Ms. Robin Ludwing. Science of Living attempts to balance the vital force present in each individual and achieve biological harmony in the body of an individual. It comprises both theory and practice. A student has to practice Yoga, pranayam and physical exercised aimed at bringing about a harmonious development of the parts of his body and practice KAYOTSARG - deep relaxation. It is an art to enable a young man to tap his inner strength, channalize his energies for constructive purpose and help him to look within. The world will be saved from annihilation the day the people begin to explore the inner world. Jivan Vigyan has another important component i.e. Preksha Meditation. The students in schools or colleges must study Jivan Vigyan in its entirety. Many experiments have been carried out at different levels and it has been found out that Jivan Vigyan and ANUVRAT change the outlook of students on life. Jivan Vigyan has been divided into eleven units.

  1. dhvani (voice or sound)
    Without voice life becomes dreamy. It can fill our heart with joy or cause bitterness in life. Jivan Vigyan teaches us to harmonize our voice - how to speak, what words we should use and what words we should avoid.
  2. sankalp (determination or resolute will)
    Success in life depends on strengthening your willpower. Jivan Vigyan lets you know how to develop willpower.
  3. samyak vyayoma (right exercise)
    Practice in yogic postures and mudras
  4. swas (breathing)
    Right way of breathing is key to good health. Jivan Vigyan highlights its importance in life and emphasizes practice in correct way of breathing.
  5. kayotsarg (relaxation)
    Man’s life today is full of stress and anxiety. Jivan Vigyan uses the technique of kayotsarg (relaxation) to manage stress and anxiety.
  6. dhyana (meditation)
    It is the most important unit of Jivan Vigyan. It teaches how dhynan can bring about emotional transformation.
  7. sharir vigyan (Physiology)
    The knowledge of the parts of our body is essential so that we may know how to tune them.
  8. sharirik swasthya (Physical health)
    Jivan Vigyan imparts practice in various exercises to keep the body fit and healthy.
  9. mansik swasthya (Mental health)
    Everyone agrees that human mind is a storehouse of good or bad thoughts. Good thoughts keep us healthy and bad thoughts cause illness. Jivan Vigyan imparts training in controlling human mind.
  10. bhavatmak swasthya (emotional health)
    Our emotions play an important role in shaping our personality. Uncontrolled emotion wreak havoic on us.
  11. Mulya bodha (awareness of basic values)
    Jivan Vigyan teaches how to control and refine emotions and keep healthy. Our society is governed by our values. Jivan Vigyan imparts training in basic human values.

Meditation is one of the means of unraveling the mysteries of the mind and of cleansing the mind. This cleansing, purging, and refining is very important. Even the food we eat becomes meaningful to us only to the extent that it has been purged of its dross (what helps the body grow is only the purest and best part of what we eat). Further, energy and health are mutually related. Where one is, the other is. Now for getting energy cleansing the mind of the dress is necessary. And it is also true of our being healthy. The more the cleansing, the greater the energy. For proper and adequate management of all our activities both refinement and nourishment are necessary. Meditation is the process of both refinement and nourishment. Hence, it should be a compulsory component of our education. In fact, education can be comprehensive and inclusive only when it also incorporates the spiritual science and training in meditation. Our present education mainly aims to meet the physical needs. It helps one to earn one’s living so that one’s material requirements are fulfilled. But few people know how to tap the infinite energy that mind treasures. Unfortunately the mind has been greatly neglected.

The solution to our problems will have to be found in our internal secretions. The credit for this discovery should go to the Jain preceptors. In no other literature of India or the world does one find a more detailed examination and analysis of the consequence or maturing of the fruit of our actions. It has already been said that in the modern terminology it is called endocrinal secretion. Such is the chemistry of our actions that we are tied up with their consequences or fruition. This juice that is emitted affects our consciousness. It is the glands that emit it. Hathyoga calls it nectar. In the literature on Hathyoga, as also in the Gorakh system, one very often comes across this theme. One reads about drinking the nectar, or sompan. What is meant by sompan? It is the secretion emanating from our brain. This nectar flows through the median of the palate. It is secreted by the pituitary and the pineal glands and it has tremendous influence on us. Any modern biologist will endorse the view that the hormones secreted by the hypothalamus, the pituitary and the pineal govern the function of the adrenals and the gonads. The sexual, urge and all other drives and dispositions are related to the gonads and the adrenals but they are controlled by and dependent upon the secretions of the upper glands. Therefore by mastering the flow of the latter one can control one’s baser dispositions.

We will be mistaken to believe that mere preaching can bring about a lasting change in someone’s dispositions. But by changing the flow of the secretions or by restoring the balance of the endocrinal secretions the desired results can be achieved. If for whatever reason our attention is frequently concentrated on the stomach, the navel or the regions below it, the endocrinal balance is disturbed. Even scientists and medical experts are agreed that all thoughts good as well as bad - disturb the above balance. Bad thoughts, however, change the nature of the inner secretions. Thus, inordinate fear completely upsets the central nervous system and excessive anger puts the glandular mechanism entirely out of order. Brain nerves are also affected as they are vitally connected with thoughts. From this point of view relinquishing evil thoughts ceases to be merely a religious or spiritual matter. It turns out to be equally important for gaining physical health.

Both Anuvrat and Jivan Vigyan are the most potential instruments to bring about a change in human attitude. The former strengthens our resolve to change and the latter effects the desired change in our attitude through the activation of the psychic centres in our body. They also ensure proper development of human heart and would human character. The following anuvrats are essential for human survival.


  1. I will not kill any innocent creature.
  2. I will neither attach anybody nor support aggression and will endeavour to bring about world peace and disarmament.
  3. I will not take part in violent agitation or in any destructive activities.
  4. I will believe in human unity, will not discriminate on the basis of caste, colour, etc. and will not practice untouchability.
  5. I will practice religious toleration.
  6. I will observe rectitude in business and general behaviour.
  7. I will by degrees develop a pure tenor of life and control over senses.
  8. I will not resort to unethical practices in elections.
  9. I will not encourage socially evil customs.
  10. I will not use intoxicants like alcohol, hemp, heroin, etc.
  11. I will lead a life free from addictions.
  12. I will do my best to avoid contributing to pollution and will ensure environmental ecological harmony.

His Holiness Acharya Mahapragya, successor to late Acharya Tulsi, is credited with having developed Jivan Vigyan at the instance of his preceptor. I conclude my paper by quoting a para from his voluminous writings on Jivan Vigyan:

Jivan Vigyan aims at the balanced development of an individual. Both emotional development bereft of intellectual development and intellectual development bereft of emotional development are lack wholeness. If a person has to get basic amenities to sustain his life intellectual development becomes useful. If he wants to live peacefully emotional development becomes imperative. It is essential to live a life - it is an ordinary or general awareness. It is essential to live a peaceful life - it is a distinctive or special awareness. Jivan Vigyan elucidates this distinctive awareness. It is not possible for a person to live a good life without reconciling both the external and internal aspects of life. The external aspect is fulfilled by material objects whereas the internal aspect is fulfilled by chemical substances, vibrations of the nervous system, vibrations of our actions and purity of our consciousness. Jivan Vigyan is a process to equalize all these aspects. It is a practical process. It has been experimented and tested at behavioural level.

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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. Ahimsa
  5. Anger
  6. Anu
  7. Anuvrat
  8. Anuvrat Movement
  9. Anuvrats
  10. Body
  11. Brain
  12. Casteism
  13. Concentration
  14. Consciousness
  15. Consumerism
  16. Dhvani
  17. Dhyana
  18. Environment
  19. Fear
  20. Glenn D. Paige
  21. Gonads
  22. Greed
  23. Guru
  24. Hypothalamus
  25. Jivan Vigyan
  26. Kayotsarg
  27. Ladnun
  28. Mahapragya
  29. Meditation
  30. Nonviolence
  31. Para
  32. Pranayam
  33. Preksha
  34. Preksha Meditation
  35. Pride
  36. Psychic Centres
  37. Sanskrit
  38. Science
  39. Science Of Living
  40. Sharir
  41. Tap
  42. Terapanth
  43. Tulsi
  44. Violence
  45. Vrata
  46. Yoga
  47. Yuvacharya
  48. Yuvacharya Mahapragya
  49. vrat
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