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Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 04 ►Non-Violence: A Short Analysis

Published: 03.06.2020

The religion is one but it has many classifications or forms. Like the vast sky is one and infinite but still it is often categorized as Lithosphere, Stratosphere, and Ozone and so on. In as much the same manner religion is one and the same but it can be classified into different virtues such as non-violence, truth, celibacy and so on. It has got a great utility. If we analyse one part of religion and generalize it for people then it will not be suitable for all. It is for the simple reason that people have varied tastes. Even the taste differs among people when it comes to food or drinks. In Bengal and Bihar people generally prefer rice whereas in Rajasthan people thrive on Bajra.

Different Categorization of Religion

In the field of religion also people do not have the same choice. Someone prefers penance and someone enjoys chanting or counting beads. Some may prefer teaching and learning while some others may prefer consuming the right kind of food necessary for spiritual emancipation. Some devotees may enjoy delving deeper in meditation while someone else may take interest in serving others. There are different ways of observing penance. There is no hard and fast rule to strictly stick to only one rule. There is no need to imitate someone blindly one who has found his way of penance suitable for his nature.

A seeker is free to choose his path. He may choose the path according to his taste and nature. It becomes imperative then that he should not be an impediment for others. Like him, others also have the freedom to choose their own paths. In a situation akin to this if someone compels anyone to follow his path or tempers with one’s freedom then he ceases to be a true seeker and becomes a problem maker. Although there is no difficulty in praising one’s chosen way of attaining to self and inspire others to do so, if they feel convinced of the utility and suitability of his chosen path. To impose one’s choice is surely an unethical practice and is a sort of violence. In the field of spirituality it is never going to receive approval. From this point of view it is said that people have varied nature and they have different ways of observing penance. Whatever path suits oneself he must go ahead with that. The sole concern is to reach the destination through whatever path which helps one to reach one’s destination is favourable. On the contrary, any path that leads one to oblivion and gets him entangled in a lot of complexities is not a right path.

According to Jaina religion every thought can be made right from Apeksha bhed (from the point of view of Anekantvad) there is no attachment. Contrary to this point of view every thought or ideal can become pointless; if there is interest attached to it. Attachment to thoughts is one of the most dangerous factors. Whenever the emphasis is on thoughts, truth is lost. From one point of view Anagrah (detachment) is synonymous with truth, Lord Mahavira laid special emphasis on Anagrah. The view of Anekantvad rests on this Anagrah, Attainment of Moksha and cult.

I am being asked time and again whether one needs a-stamp of Jainism in order to attain Moksha. In reply to this question I always say that enlightenment or Moksha is independent of any religious cult. If a person is not associated with any particular religious cult but is a true seeker, authentic, moral and possesses a good character then nothing on earth could be a hindrance on his way to attain to Moksha (liberation). On the contrary if he is walking in a wrong direction, his life is full of corruption, is full of impulse thoughts and actions, then no matter what religious stamp he carries will never attain Moksha.

In my view carrying the stamp of any particular cult or not carrying for that matter both represent Anekantki point of view. I never lay emphasis on carrying a tag. When there are numerous paths that lead oneself to the destination and the person is immature, then to prevent wandering one must stick to a particular path otherwise the chances are that the seeker may start groping in the dark. Even if he doesn’t wander then some egoists may divert him from his chosen path; A seeker who is mature and in an advanced stage no matter what state he is in, would never wander and would never get misdirected by anyone. At this stage there is no particular need to adhere to any particular cult. Therefore, there is no need to show any personal interest.

Dissolution of a Misconception

Non-violence is a much debated, discussed and thought out subject. Non-violence has always been a subject of deep contemplation but when it got entry in the sphere of politics, and then it became a topic worth more discussion. In the old tradition non-violence was restricted to the field of religion. Other than the arena of religion it wasn’t allowed anywhere. I feel that there was a bigger misconception regarding non-violence and applied the laws of non-violence in political sphere. It is equally true that the bigger the misconception regarding non-violence. Gandhiji broke this notion and applied the laws of non-violence in political sphere. It is equally true that the bigger misconception is the better; it can be erased by great men. A lamp can dispel darkness a little here and there but for its complete dissolution only the sun is required. With unrelenting efforts of Gandhiji, people came to realize that non-violence is one of the biggest factors of life and to lead a fulfilling life it cannot be ignored.

What is the Utility of Non-Violence?

Those who have not been able to conceive the principles of non- violence properly, for them non-violence has still been a question. I was in the village of Dabri a few days earlier. Some ten formalists had come there from Delhi. One of them managed some time for an interview and asked—‘Our India is a nation of non-violence and do everything based on it. But, I’m unable to understand what good it may do for us. When our nation is going through a lot of crises at present, what is going to be the utility of non-violence? If China or Pakistan attacks and our country doesn’t resist or raise weapons, soldiers do not step ahead, is it fair?

As a solution to his problem I said—‘Perhaps you are not familiar with my thoughts. That is why you have become a victim of so many false notions. In my view non-violence is a way of making one’s life pure. Whatever a person feels, the need of developing his life have a firm control over his instincts. He has to take refuge in non-violence where the aim of a person is not to make his life pure then non- violence cannot be a refuge. Some other nation wants to capture your nation, wants to attack you, how could you sit idle at this stage? Then raising weapon may be the only choice left. One may have to use violence. Although violence remains violence, it cannot be otherwise. But, a person limited by the Parigrah (accumulation) violence sometimes becomes imperative. It is not possible that you bind yourself to Parigrah and try to escape from violence all the time. If you try to secure your possessions, your prestige, your post and your self-esteem with non-violence then it is your fault. The nation is yours you possess it, so the responsibility of securing it also goes to you. Now, in the name of non-violence if you shirk your responsibilities of securing your nation then you simply defame it. Where there is possessiveness there is no violence. The lesser the degree of possessiveness, the greater is the possibility of progress of non-violence.

Non-Violence and Fearlessness

I extended my conversation and told the journalist—the sign of recognizing a non-violent man is that he cannot be ruthless nor can he be coward. Ruthlessness is surely bad but cowardice is also of no value. If intimidating someone is violence then getting intimidated is also violence. It is essential to get over fear in the penance of non- violence. Who said that non-violence is a religion of cowards? If this question is pondered over then it becomes clear that the root cause of violence is fear. You are going somewhere; you come across a buffalo on the way. Having seen you it gets into an attacking mode. The reason is that he is afraid of you. For his own defines he becomes violent. If he is not intimidated by you then there is no cause of his being violent. So, violence and fear have a relation of identification so is the relation of non-violence and fearlessness. The notion that generally persists among people is that to be non-violent is to be in fear.

Conscience is Indispensable

I touched the other side of my argument and said, ‘In this context a point needs to be emphasized. In family life a person cannot fully avoid violence but that doesn’t mean that he should never ponder over non-violence and try to make it his part of living. It is very important that a strong edifice of non-violence should be laid even in the life of a family man. He must always try to avoid violence to a certain extent. A person covered by his conscience can avoid violence to a certain extent while running his family. He can implement certain laws of non-violence in his life. The violence that is caused by ignorance or lack of awareness can be easily avoided. In every house corns are being crushed but if precautions are not taken then there is a high possibility of crushing innocent worms along-with the corns. Even while working, if one is not aware enough then many such innocent lives may lose their lives. A woman house-maker from this point of view who is not ignorant of this fact is easily spared of the accusations of such violence like not keeping water clean and filtered, wasting water unnecessarily and so on. If one is aware of such significant factors then he may avoid happening such violent activities. The farmers cultivate the land. Innumerable insects come underneath their harrow and lose their lives. If at this point farmers take care then violence can be avoided to a great extent. Jainism has laid emphasis on Vivek (conscience) more insistently. In scriptures it is written—’ Viveke Dhammammahiye’—Vivek is religion. I believe if people come to realize the role of conscience we may create a strong edifice of non-violence in life.

I further added-—the role of conscience is not merely confined to practicing laws in the field of non-violence rather it can be practically applied over every instinct. A person devoid of conscience cannot think what’s good or bad for him. He also doesn’t remember why he is taking food. Just to tantalize his taste buds or to satiate his hunger, just for the sheer taste of the food or to live. If he gets the dish of his choice he forgets the limit.

Once a man went for a feast. ‘Laddus’ were distributed in the feast. He ate so many of them that there was no space left for drinking water, even to breathe normally became difficult. In such a state of restlessness and inconvenience he lied down on the spot. People called for a doctor. The doctor examined him carefully and said—‘There is nothing to worry about. Due to overeating there has been a little indigestion. I am prescribing him these two tablets. If he takes them he will be alright’. He heard and said lying over the spot, ‘Doctor, had I had a little space in my stomach, wouldn’t I have mind taking one more laddu?

I cracked a joke on my own statement and said—the laws concerning violence and non-violence have become extremely important for all of us to understand. In the context of war it is even more important. I fully agree that a person bound by so many responsibilities of his family, society and country commits many acts of violence. In the same context rising weapons, waging war and more such traits fall within violence or cause violence, even it is clear that they cannot be regarded as act of non-violence. It is even very clear that these are not an act of murder. Raising one’s weapons to defend one’s motherland and committing an act of murder is not the same act. A person defending one’s own nation cannot be regarded as a murderer. Even in war, killing of innocent men, women and children of the opponent is being regarded as an act of non-violence. While discussing non-violence, it reminds me of Pandit Nehru’s words. He said—‘Let our soldiers fight China and Pakistan but there should be no cruelty in them. They must not canny the seed of animosity for their enemy in their heart. We are not against any person or community. The conclusion is that the field of non-violence is a parigrah (non-accumulation) and Anasakti (non-attachment). Non- violence can easily take the responsibility of defending them. But, when nation itself is part of accumulation, all your ego and attachment is associated with it, then how to defend it with non-violence becomes a prime question. How could someone save himself from violence?

After having listened to my speech on non-violence at a considerable length he replied, ‘I have heard this interpretation of non-violence for the first time. I have gained a new perception. The more this notion spreads the better it will be for an individual and nation. I said, ‘The act of spreading thoughts is solely assigned to you journalists. A flower contains fragrance in it but it depends on the air to spread it everywhere. I am stating my own view, now it depends on you how far you spread it. It is none of my concern. This solely depends on your thoughts and pen.

True Nature of Violence and Non-Violence

Violence and non-violence cannot be defined according to one’s convenience.  हि भैषजमातुरेच्छानुकारि’ Medicines are not prescribed keeping patient’s wish in mind. It depends solely on the doctor. Therefore, it becomes very important for us to understand the true nature of violence and non-violence. Violence is not merely confined to take someone’s life. Abusing, beating, showing indecent gestures and so on comes under the purview of it. Suppose a person is sitting here and there is another person who is residing in Kolkata. The person from Kolkata thinks ill of this person who is here. It is not the question whether the person sitting-with negative thoughts would surely become violent.

Violence is strongly associated with a person’s instincts. If these instincts are left unguarded violence is going to be the final outcome. If the instincts are not replete with any ulterior motive then there is no violence at all. If I do something with the aid of my reasoning (conscience) and it caused harm to innumerable people then also I don’t become responsible for it. I took the example of consumption of tobacco and hit hard at the point. As a result many of my listeners gave up the habit of consuming tobacco. There was a tobacco stall just outside the pandal. Many of my listeners quit the habit of consuming tobacco and didn’t visit the shop. This action of mine certainly caused harm to that tobacco seller but I ’m not to be blamed for it. My intention was to set these people free of bad habit not to put a stab to this poor man’s business. Now if I do the same act with an ulterior motive of causing harm to that shopkeeper so that the shopkeeper incurs heavy loss in his business thus preventing people to visit his shop, then it is certainly an act of violence. As a matter of fact the shopkeeper was in a wrong business so he had to bear the loss. This point can also be conceived from this perception that is lack of restraint over mind, words and body. If mind, speech and body are not governed by one’s conscience then the activity becomes a sort of violence. Non-violence is control over mind, speech and body. Every instinct must be controlled by conscience.

Committing Suicide is a Dangerous Sin

There is another point that needs to be understood. The way killing someone is an act of violence so is killing one’s oneself is equally an act of non-violence. In fact it is else’s life. This is the only reason why in scriptures this tendency has been highly undermined.

A student having failed in his exam contemplates suicide so is a businessman when he bears any financial loss. Sometimes sister’s fight and chooses the path of committing suicide. This is not a solution either. Some poet once said-

अब तो घबरा के कहते हैं मर जाएंगे।
मर के भी चैन नहीं मिला तो कहां जाएंगे?

The best way to deal with such problems is to face them boldly, no matter how hostile the situation is, one must bear it and cease indulging in such thoughts.

Ideal of Non-Violence

Lord Mahavira had said—Treat the person as a friend who tries to beat you. Even the enemy provides us with an opportunity of for- balance. A similar statement was uttered by Christ as well. If someone slaps you tum the other chick. Lord Krishna had said in Gita आत्मैवात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन:' Soul is our friend and soul only tums enemy. These are all the statements of higher ideals. Only a seeker who has attained a higher state of consciousness can abide by these ideals. A layman cannot implement such ideals in his life.

Behavior of Non-Violence

For a lay person the following behavior have been regarded as ideals. They must not kill innocent creatures. They must not participate in violent activities. They must not lose temper and get bewildered. They must not be dishonest in their business transactions. They must not deal with any contaminated foodstuff. They must not be parsimonious in business dealings. They must not tell a lie that may cause a greater harm to anyone. Even while eating they must discriminate and judge the purity of the food. They must not indulge in consuming meat or liquor.

Religion must be Practically Implemented

In my view if a person sets his limit even in small matters, life can become much better. If we delve deep into the matter then we find that it is the practical application of religion in our life. This is for sure that if religious ideals are not implemented or applied practically a steadfast faith on it cannot be established.

At present science is far ahead than religion. It is for the simple reason that it is based on practical application. It establishes its facts based on as application. The day when religion will get a strong foothold for its application then religion will also get the same status as that of science. But as long as religion remains confined to scriptures and holy books, remains submerged in pre-conceived notions and superstitions we can least hope to make it practical. So the bigger achievement would be to make religion practical. This would be good for both religion and individual.

We must not build castles in air while mentioning religion, because they have got no real existence. Anubrat (small vow) is not a castle in air hence its attraction is great. If people make it their yardstick of judgment then practical implementation of religion can become possible.


Title: Ocean Of Problems
Author: Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anasakti
  2. Anekantvad
  3. Bihar
  4. Body
  5. Celibacy
  6. Consciousness
  7. Contemplation
  8. Delhi
  9. Fear
  10. Fearlessness
  11. Gandhiji
  12. Gita
  13. Harrow
  14. JAINA
  15. Jaina
  16. Jainism
  17. Kolkata
  18. Krishna
  19. Mahavira
  20. Meditation
  21. Moksha
  22. Non-violence
  23. Pandit
  24. Rajasthan
  25. Science
  26. Soul
  27. Space
  28. Violence
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