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Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 27 ►Non-Violence: Contemplation

Published: 15.06.2020

Violence and non-violence are the two words which are widely used and commonly acquainted terms but there are very limited views on these terms. This is the reason why the same question arises again and again. What is non-violence? Is it just an antonym of the word violence? ls it something that is not non-violent or has it got any non- violence? ‘Don’t do it’ is it non-violence or ‘do it’ is also a part of non-violence? ‘Don’t kill’ is a part of non-violence? This question is very precise but keeping all the views in mind and accepting an impartial view, I would like to elaborate the answer ‘to the question.

Where there is no violence there is non-violence—this is the only conclusion that law draws. There is no substitute of it. Ordinarily violence means to kill someone or taking someone’s life.

Whatever negative instincts that a person carries all come under the purview of violence. This definition points out the subtleties of violence. Whether itis gross or subtle, indispensable, necessary or unnecessary, bound by society, politics or economics, violence is after all violence. So from religious perspective violence can never be accepted.

Violence can never be Moral

In social science two forms of violence have been defined-moral and immoral. Violence that is absolutely necessary or rather indispensable has been defined as moral violence and violence that is unnecessary has been defined as immoral violence. Immoral violence is surely such an evil act that creates a split within a person and tums the society chaotic. Therefore it must be avoided. There is no room for any contemplation regarding this matter. If something needs pondering over then it is about moral violence that is accepted and approved by the society.

In my view violence can never be moral. It is immoral and always will be. To lead a life whatever little violence is caused can also not be called moral. Although violence is not an indispensable law of life but as long as one doesn’t reach the pinnacle of non-violence it keeps on happening some way or the other. As long as life is not controlled one cannot simply go beyond the violence that is necessary or indispensable so a family person must set a goal in life that he must try to cause violence to the least. In the religion of family person one cannot save oneself from Arambhja violence but whether indispensable or necessary it cannot be called non-violence.

Excuse of Situation

Non-violence must be practically implemented in life and violent traits must be removed, that is mostly desirable, but even before that it is very important that a person must take violence as violence and non- violence as non-violence. Without developing this understanding there is no possibility of any progress. It is because of the simple notion that most people carry and that is to cause violence when there is utmost necessity. As per this view it automatically becomes a non-violent act. According to such people if it is otherwise then defending one’s nation, religion and culture would not be possible. Quoting the scriptures they believe that violence caused in a hostile situation is religious an act and they advocate the cause as well.

The aforesaid statements must be analysed with minute awareness. Before a person starts moving in that direction it are imperative that he must try to get into the root cause of violence. It is almost impossible to find someone who causes violence without being forced by the situation. But whether we take it as a human weakness or something else, he is well adept in advocating his cause. He is into the habit of putting all the blame on others. He puts all his arguments and tries to prove himself innocent. As an ideal example, a thief may be presented. He cunningly puts the blame on situation and tries to set himself free of the accusation. His complaint is that it is all due to the wrong system of society as a millionaire or a multi-millionaire lives happily whereas someone hankers for a bread to satisfy his hunger. This difference is the root cause of all crimes. The society must stop this discrimination otherwise a person will be forced to commit an act of stealing, Based on this argument communists support crimes like stealing, plunder, exploitation and other violent acts. Their view is-clearly expressed in the following lines—

जब तक मनुज का श्रमभाग नहीं सम होगा |
शमित  होगा कोलाहल, संघर्ष नहीं कम होगा||

Even in ‘Manusmriti’ it has been said'नाततायिवधे दोषो हन्तुर्भवति कश्चन:' (one who kills doesn’t become responsible for the crime of killing the victim.) The aforesaid statement advocates the punitive measures of our society. Keeping time and place in mind the victim’s violence has been supported and has been deemed appropriate for the situation. But before such thoughts are transformed into action it is very important to realize whether the purpose of society is to defend itself or to enlighten people with religious principles. The scriptures where violence has been supported may be scriptures of society as religious scriptures. This is beyond all arguments that religious scriptures can never advocate violence.

Violence Remains Violence for Ever

If the lines are drawn between violence and non-violence, based on situations, then non-violence would turn into a plaything of a child. If the situation turns a little hostile then violence would be allowed. Someone is accused by someone and violence would be the natural response. This would inspire parochial feelings in people along with difference in views, this would create psychological differences too and killing the culprit would certainly look awkward for the person advocating the religion of non-violence. It may deem fit for the society or a nation to introduce punitive measures, but at the pretext of any peril or crisis considering violence as non-violence would not be justified for a non-violent man.

A It is true that by non-violent means it is quite arduous to defend oneself, one’s family or property. It may even be possible that one must be deprived of material bliss in the process. This fact is also equally true that every person does not carry so much of moral strength, nor does everyone have so much of courage that’s why the scriptures of society have introduced some punitive measures. Tit for that became its ideal. In that case it will be considered violence caused to the antagonist or the culprit but never non-violence.

There is no dearth of such people who cause violence without any specific purpose. From this point of view in day-to-day living and in different spheres of society and nation, violence is being caused and there are different forms of it.

The Positive Form of Non-Violence

Non-violence is not merely negative, it is positive as well. Non- violence doesn’t merely say ‘Don’t do it’. One aspect of it lays stress on—don’t get involved in any dishonest work, don’t be entangled with resentment or don’t get allured and deluded to become self- centered. Be righteous, renounce jealousy, get over selfishness—are some ideals that reveal the other aspect of non-violence. The way the first aspect of it is important the second aspect is equally influential. ‘Don’t do anything’—this ideal of non-violence is very meaningful but it represents a higher state of penance. Such a state cannot be attained in the initial stage of penance. This truth cannot be ignored.

Based on this discussion non-violence can be classified into three forms—don’t be over ruled by dishonest tendencies, be righteous and don’t do anything at all. Apparently seen, a pers0n’s eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, sitting and such other activities are not violent. It depends on the person getting involved in all such activities that change the nature of any particular action. When a non-restraint person eats it becomes violence but the same activity in the life of restrain becomes non-violence because non-violence depends not merely on the yardstick of measuring the ingredients of the food but the trait of a person indulging in the act of eating, his entire lifestyle. From this standpoint it is easier to understand the positive aspect of non-violence and also becomes essential to reveal the traits free of resentment, jealousy and other negativities.

Main Edifice of the World

The goal of an ascetic is to renounce all kinds of violence in every possible way. The question might arise that if all tum into an ascetic then what will happen to the world‘? How would the world run? As it cannot run without violence so it seems this question has been raised for the sake of asking question only. Therefore, in this context it would be sufficient to say that every person cannot become an ascetic. If it happens then it is well and good because then no one would be attached to run the world. In the state of being an ascetic this attachment is not present.

The second point is that violence is certainly caused in the world but the world doesn’t depend on it. If violence had been the main edifice then everything would have been ended by now. It would be difficult for the world to move ahead even for a second. Like Sunda and Upasunda everyone would have fought with one another and died. Non-violence would have been completely erased. The reality is somewhat not like this. The inspiration of non-violence is only the main edifice of the entire world.

‘Don’t kill others’ is an advice of non-violence and it must be followed as well, but for a family person it is not possible to abide by this ideal fully. He wants food and for that he needs to cause violence to fire, water, plants, air and other living creatures. He is a citizen of some nation. To secure his nation he needs to fight with his enemies or his ego might be put at stake. Therefore for the sustenance of his life he needs to fight.

The crux of this entire conversation is that a person involved with worldly affairs may have a perception defending violence but the true fact is that violence is not considered good by any person. In spite of it he accepts his weakness and carries on with causing violence. If his weakness is erased then he cannot even think of fighting his enemies. It can be presented this way as well that no one would be left who could be his enemy.

A Non-Violent Person is not impractical

A non-violent man has his own dignity; his own language and he own lifestyle. He has also got his own ideas. He lives according to his own terms ‘but cannot always avoid practical aspects of life completely. He would say—renounce fighting and clashes. Renounce negativities but without any special context he would never say impractical words like renouncing food and drink. The whole world must renounce negativities and dishonest tendencies. Such words of wisdom do not seem unreal but if he says that the entire world must stop eating and drinking then it becomes rubbish. A non-violent person must always aspire to have a world free of violence but he cannot ever think of eradicating violence with violence. The question that is related to one’s eating and drinking is the same one that is related to and quenching thirst of others. The way eating is necessary to sustain life; in a similar way feeding is equally necessary for a society. The social relation begins from here. The cow gives you milk and you arrange for fodder and water for her. This way a mutual relationship and exchange of materials move the social vehicle and the relations expand.

Where is Violence?

The seed of non-violence lies in non-attachment. The word like kill or save is not present there. It finds its application in social relations, human security and insecurity. The question arises where is violence? Those who consider loss of life as violence then saving one’s life can be considered as true non-violence by such people but those who incorporate the development and deterioration of traits in non- violence, for them life is not given so much of importance. After all the attachment to life is also an attachment. The role of pure non- violence is the role of absolute non-attachment.

It is true that a spiritual person’s decision is not favorable to persons with practical perspective. This is the reason why they fail to touch the true essence of a fact and twist the principle to present before the mass. They sometimes also accuse that Terapanth is forbid people to save the life of living creatures. This statement is baseless and is a sign of lack of actual knowledge. The truth is that if someone saves someone’s life and the other forbids him to do so then we consider them violent as well. If someone tampers with someone’s happiness and facilities, creates barriers for him, he is also considered hostile to the religion of non-violence. It is so because I believe that religion does not approve of employing one’s strength, for it purity of heart is required. In my view the pure form of non-violence is - to save oneself from negative traits, to clean one’s thoughts and to lead oneself to the right path.


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. Contemplation
  2. Non-violence
  3. Science
  4. Terapanth
  5. Violence
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