Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 07 ►Base of non-violence

Published: 05.06.2020

The exponents of non-violence have been pondering over the subject from time immemorial but even then this subject never seems old. Even today when someone contemplates over it newness is felt. We often reiterate a cliche that no matter how many times ‘Ramayana' is read it appears new every time. The same law applies to non-violence as well. It is for the simple reason that non-violence is an important factor of life’s philosophy.

Non-violence is also positive

In Jaina Aagam Texts some sixty synonyms have been assigned to Non-violence. It clearly proves that non-violence doesn’t merely rest on negation. It has got some positive aspects as well. Etymologically non-violence is defined as negation of violence or is replete with negative connotation but the more negatively it has been defined, no less emphasis has been laid on positivity either. The way not killing a living creature, not traits but defined negatively, in a similar way equal stress has been laid on friendship, kingship and such other positive traits. Non-violence judges both the aspects from equal point of view. To lay emphasis on its negativity only will be to judge the point from a glass that is tainted with partiality.

Universal Religion

Non-violence is not merely restricted to the aspiration of attaining to Moksha (freedom). In every walk of life it has its equally important role. Non-violence is the natural outcome of life whereas violence is abnormal. Non-violence is religion in the true sense of the terms whereas violence is irreligious. From Tattvik point of view violence cannot be incorporated in religion. But as people prefer or love the word religion (Dharm) so some violent activities have the also been incorporated in it. Therefore to cater to the needs of nation and Society the violent activities that are being done have also been treated as an act of religion. Samajdharm (religion that preaches one to be an ideal member of the society) and Rashtradharm (religion that preaches one to be an ideal subject or a citizen of a nation) are appropriate examples deeming fit for such acts. In reality the duties that lead one to resort to (violent means even while rescuing one’s nation or society never get universally accepted. In such religious texts like Gita and ‘Manusmriti’ some violent activities in important situation have been praised and been" commented as an ideal act, but to sing its glory or over exaggerate it is not a logical inference. At some point of time committing an act of violence at perilous situations might have been regarded as a religious activity. That was not religion in the true sense of the any but a moral code of a nation of society. Morality and religion are not the same. Religion is enteral but moral values are changeable. Even with the change of government, time, space, religion remains unperturbed, whereas the moral codes change with the change of time and government. They remain affected by all these changes. So the universal religion is non-violence which like a glowing torch keeps on showing us the right path always eternally like ‘Gita’ and ‘Manusmriti’.

Jaina scriptures also comprise of some acts that are not treated as violent activities in spite of being one. One such example is being discussed here.

Some Jaina sects believe that to secure one’s Sangha (association) if one has to encounter and destroy the army of Chakrabarti then also it will not be regarded as an act of violence. It is strange that even in Jaina religion which is being revered as a non-violent religion such beliefs have been entertained. As a matter of fact such notions are the by-products of situation; such acts must not be regarded as non-violent activities nor can they be regarded-as religious activities.

Purpose of Non-Violence

The sole purpose of non-violence doesn’t merely rest on securing life but its sole purpose is to cleanse one’s self, the soul that has been tainted with the sinful acts for ages has to be revealed. Some people forget this sole purpose and believing that securing life is the biggest virtue, start providing it much importance. They lay this ideal forward and adhere strictly to it.They sometimes move into the foresting search of ant holes and put flour there to save these poor ants lives. The sole purpose of this effort is to save the little, ants from dying. Here, a point needs to be understood and that is if ' a living creature dies anywhere is this an act of violence? This is not the true essence of non-violence. Non-violence is not associated with someone living, to keep someone alive or someone dying. The sole essence of non- violence lays on transforming basic instincts and tum a violent man into a fearless person. Therefore, it is not so important to save a life, as important is the act of timing a person non-violent, to help one trigger the traits of non-violence. In the presence of a non-violent man not a single but numerous creatures turn fearless. Whereas saving a life of a sheep is an act of failure and futile, but to inculcate the non-violent traits in its butcher would be regarded an act of great significance thus providing fearlessness to every sheep and would be praised as a symbol of steadfast devotion to non-violence.

Belief in Different Religions

There are some people who ardently believe in the ideals propounded by different religions. They say, in the penance of non-violence some acts of violence are also required. I do not agree with this view. What kind of non-violence it would be in whose contemplation violence has to be indulged in? Non-violence is a means to one’s self emancipation and self-purification and violence is a means to one’s downfall and self-perversion. It needs understanding that to attain authentic fruits the efforts laid must also be pure and authentic. In this situation if violent means are resorted to in the penance of non- violence it goes against scriptures. To attain to pure and authentic fruits of realizations the efforts laid must also be authentic. To bring different ideals of different religion and to mix them up is not justified. Where there is religion, religion exists and where there are irreligious activities chaos exists. Such mixing together of different religious views have been strongly criticized by Acharya Bhikshu; He said-

सांभार केरा सींग में रे, सींग, सींग में सींग
मिश्र परुपे तिणरी बात में रे, धींग, धींग में धींग ||
बाजर केरा बूंट में रे, बूंट, बूंट में बूंट
मिश्र परुपे तिणरी बात में रे, झूठ, झूठ में झूठ ||
बावल आवे तेह में रे धूड, धूडमेंधूड
मिश्र परुपे तिणरी बात में रे, कूड, कूड में कड ||

If contemplated deeply then we find that mixed religious views are very week. To abide by them is not wise.

Merge of One into Many

From one point of view if it’s perceived then it seems that unless every individual soul comes to realize non-duality then non-violence cannot be followed. Although Jaina philosophy doesn’t merely accept the existence of only one soul, it also accepts the existence of individual souls but still it doesn’t strictly adhere to this point of view. Judging from different point of views other perceptions are also accepted while supporting the view of Anekantvad’ (existence of many souls), it also accepts the view of individual soul. In Sthanang sutra there is a lineएगे आया’—soul is one. Jaina philosophy, accepts this view of ‘Ekatmabad’ too from some different angle.

Where the view of anekantavad is revered, there is no room left for any complication. The differences and quarrels emerge because of the view of ‘Ekantvad’. The mistake lies in overemphasizing any view. If it is said that soul is one or there are many souls then this statement is enough to create all sorts of confusions and differences. In reality Jaina philosophy is a philosophy of ‘Anekantvad’. The view of the existence of many souls is a symbolic representation of synthesis. Its ideal is to establish peace between the supporters of different views. From this great point of view Jaina philosophy accepts the perception of an individual soul and Ekantvad from the perception of society or community. Even soul is free. Every soul has got its own existence. From this point of view there are many souls and all the souls are religious. In every individual soul the presence of consciousness is there, every soul feels happiness and misery, every soul aspires. In every individual soul there is an existence of self. In this manner Jainism accepts both the view of Ekatmavad and Anekantbad’.

Intelligence of Establishing Oneness among Many (Atmapaumyabudhhi)

As far as non-violence is concerned ‘Ekatmabad’ has a special significance. Jainism says—‘आयतुले पयासु'—without understanding this preaching one cannot perceive the true essence of non-violence. While revealing the true nature of non-violence in Jaina philosophy it has been said—Hey man! If you wish to be non-violent try to perceive one in every soul. Without perceiving oneness you can never reach the ultimate limit of non-violence.

Shedding more light on the subject it -has also been ‘said, ‘Hey man! Think deeply. One whom you want to kill is none other than yourself. One whom you want to dominate is also you. From that point of view it can be accepted that in the-penance of non-violence fully or partially the realization of one in many must be sought. If the principle of ‘Ankentvad’ is practically implemented and if this view is internalized then the path ahead will become clear and free of barriers.

Claim or Behavior

People become proud beyond limits thinking our preachers, our saints and gurus have gifted non-violence to the world. They also claim that non-violence has been passed down to them as a legacy. If non-violence this way is best confined within claims and bragging and if it doesn’t become a part of thoughts and behavior then nothing goodwill come out of it. Its true accomplishment is in applying it in one’s life. If it is not applied in life than mere bragging become a kind of pretension and nothing else. If it is not so then why people contemplate over non-violence in religious enshrines and forget all about it in the market place. So non-violence doesn’t belong to any individual or sect but belongs to those who apply it in life. There is a big opportunity for non-violent people today. The world is sick and tired of violence.The steadfast faith in violence is already shaking. Whatever deadly weapons are being manufactured, the dire consequences that these deadly weapons may bring in future are affecting modern man which is enough to make him afraid. He is looking fora support. Non-violence certainly has got capabilities of supporting the world full of lost expectation.

The only hope is that those who believe in the power of non- violence must practically implement it in their own life and spread it all around. Non-violence is such nectar that will provide relief to a broken, dilapidated and anguish affected world. A new path will-open for all of us and we shall all taste a new success. Will those who follow the ideal of non-violence ever ponder over such factors?


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. Aagam
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Bhikshu
  4. Anekantvad
  5. Bhikshu
  6. Consciousness
  7. Contemplation
  8. Dharm
  9. Fearlessness
  10. Gita
  11. JAINA
  12. Jaina
  13. Jainism
  14. Moksha
  15. Non-violence
  16. Sangha
  17. Soul
  18. Space
  19. Sutra
  20. Violence
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