Worldpeace - Acharya Mahapragya And Non-Violence

Published: 03.04.2007
Updated: 30.07.2015

Never before in history did the suicidal evil of violence manifest itself so abundantly as now. Never before did it assume such ugly and varied forms. Morality and spirituality have taken a back seat; brute force and vulgar materialism hold sway over a large number of people who practice unashamed violence in its multifarious forms to seize power and wealth. Violence against living beings and against nature has put a curse on entire universe.

It is in the above context that saints like Acharya Mahapragya assume the status of a likely saviour of mankind. The Acharya's views on non-violence and his Ahimsa Yatra be taken a silver lining on the cloud of gloom. In this article I am going to present some of his views, as far as possible, in his own words on the importance of non-violence.

According to the Acharya non-violence and peace cannot be separated. Non-violence is peace and peace is non-violence. They work in tandem. Today we think a good deal about world peace, but we forget that without mental peace world peace would remain a mirage. The problem has two aspects - material and mental. The former can be taken care of by a balanced material order and the latter is possible only on the level of consciousness.

The question ‘How was violence born in man? If seen in purely social terms shall remain unanswered. For a proper understanding of the whole matter, we have to first understand the concept of spiritual nonviolence. Merely living together on the basis of practical non-violence is no guarantee of true and lasting non-violence. Let us try to understand the concept of spiritual non-violence. It is based on the unity and equality of all souls - souls of all sentient. Once we know that every living being is subject to pain and pleasure in the same manner as we and that therefore we must never inflict any pain on them, never oppress and exploit them, never rob them of their rights, we are on our way to realizing the meaning of spiritual non-violence. And it is only this non-violence that can prevent the arson, loot, rioting and killings going on in society. No relation, no tie based on selfishness can create non-violence.

For the above reason behavioural non-violence or practical non-violence is motivated by the principles of utility and/or selfishness and can obviously never prevent violence. It is only non-violence steeped into and motivated by beneficence, which can usher in peace. Today, if we observe the world, we find that psychologists, sociologists and practical philosophers talk merely of behavioural rectitude. They completely neglect, or are unaware of, beneficent non-violence.

Beneficent or spiritual non-violence cannot be explored on the basis of scientific instruments, historical evidence and perhaps even genetics. It can be explored only by studying and analyzing the inner being. Such a study will throw up questions like the following:

  • What am I?
  • What is inside me?
  • At which level of inner dispositions am I living?
  • Which of those dispositions stimulate violence?
  • Can they be quitened and extinguished?

Such a spiritual analysis is a must for exploring true non-violence.

Regarding violence genetic or an inherent, original predisposition rules out its termination. If violence is rooted in our karmas, it can be said that we have to reap their fruit, but at the same time they can be changed also. It is a philosophical principle that genetics traits, original dispositions and environmental effects can all be changed. This principle makes it possible to transform violence into non-violence. In this connection it should be remembered that both violence and non-violence dwell in the mind or brain. The roots of both are there in the brain. The brain contains both heaven and hell, it contains both light and darkness. It is upto us to decide which of the two we want to awaken.

Here comes the prime importance of meditation. We have to first direct our attention to our surroundings - the ecology, the physical situation, the media and so on. Unless we change our surroundings, the where withal of provoking violence will remain intact. We have also to remember that the only element, which prevents violence, is spirituality, the knowledge of the inner self, the experience of the inner being and the sense of unity and equality of all sentient.

Acharya Shree says that the roots of violence are deep and extensive and therefore to destroy them is very difficult. However, it is not impossible. The best way to do it is meditation. Before discovering the relation between meditation and non-violence. It is necessary to find out the root causes of violence. The Acharya mentions stress as the first factor and suggests that there are two kinds of stress: that which is born of a sense of arrogance and another born of sense of defeat. Here comes the importance of meditation - Kayotsarg (abandonment of the body, a motionless posture of meditation) and Anupreksha (contemplation or reflection) are both a part of meditation. The former quickly relieves muscle-tension even as Dirgha Shvas Preksha (perception of breath involving slow and complete exhalation and deep inhalation) totally removes all mental tension.

Another factor involved in violence is chemical imbalance of glandular secretions in the body. Chaitanya Kendra Preksha (perception of the psychic centres of the endocrine system) is an effective means of curing the imbalance. Again, concentration on Jyoti Kendra (the pineal), Darshan Kendra (the pituitary). Vishuddhi Kendra (the thyroid) and Tejas Kendra (the adrenals) balance the flow of these glands.

The Acharya goes on to say that the third factor involved in violence is an imbalance in the Nadi Tantra (nervous system). Its cure lies in Samvritti Shvas Preksha (exhaling breath through one nostril and inhaling through the other). Here the positive and negative attitudes also come into play. All ills like racism, casteism and others are caused by negative attitude. An antidote to it is Anitya Anupreksha (Contemplation of Impermanence).

The fifth factor is overexertion - mental, vocal and physical. Though essential for life, there should be a limit to these exertions. Overexertion breeds violence. Nature has ordained a balance between work and rest, both mental and physical and between speech and silence. Physical, vocal and mental discipline can together severely restrain violence.

The Acharya has extensively spoken on non-violence and food, non-violence and yogic postures, developing a non-violent personality and fearlessness. These views represent the most scientific and most practical way out of the greatest curse of today - the hydra headed violence prevalent in society.

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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. Ahimsa
  4. Ahimsa Yatra
  5. Anitya
  6. Body
  7. Brain
  8. Casteism
  9. Chaitanya
  10. Chaitanya Kendra Preksha
  11. Concentration
  12. Consciousness
  13. Contemplation
  14. Darshan
  15. Darshan Kendra
  16. Discipline
  17. Ecology
  18. Endocrine System
  19. Fearlessness
  20. Genetics
  21. Jyoti Kendra
  22. Karmas
  23. Kayotsarg
  24. Kendra
  25. Mahapragya
  26. Meditation
  27. Nadi
  28. Non-violence
  29. Nonviolence
  30. Preksha
  31. Psychic Centres
  32. Shvas Preksha
  33. Shwetambar
  34. Shwetambar Terapanth
  35. Tantra
  36. Tejas Kendra
  37. Terapanth
  38. Violence
  39. Vishuddhi Kendra
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