Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 80 ►The Practical Form of Non-Violence

Published: 11.07.2020

Vows are never small or big but according to the stamina of the followers of vows they have been classified into two parts—Mahabrat big vows) and Anubrat (small vows). There are five Mahabratas (big vows)—non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non- accumulation. Like Mahabrat, Anubrat is also of five kinds—-abstain from separating life from creatures due to negligence (Pranatipatviraman Vrata), Vow of not speaking falsehood (MarishavadviramanVrata), Vow of not giving anything without consent (Sthula Adattadanviraman Vrata), Vow to keep carnal ties with one’s wife only (Swadar Santosh Vrata) and Vow of Controlling one’s desires (Jcha-Pariman Vrata)

All Creatures are Equal

Creatures are of two kinds— subtle and gross. For a family person it becomes difficult to save himself from violence caused to the subtle creatures. By this division of subtle and gross creatures it can be asked whether creatures are also big or small. The principle says that 'समया सव्वभूएसु'—every creature must be treated equally. Here an argument may be presented that when God also discriminates creatures of their being subtle or gross, bit or small then how would the family persons dwelling in the environment of discrimination retain the feeling of equality towards them? In reality creatures are neither big nor small.Human beings, animals, birds, ants, insects, plants and soil all their soul is equator one. Every soul has numerous dwelling places. Whether it is a particle of soil, an ant or an elephant, all their souls have many spheres where they can dwell. If those spheres are expanded then a soul can spread infinitely. Some philosophers consider soul omnipresent. According to Jaina philosophy those spheres get expanded and the soul pervades the entire universe. When the soul seeks any particular sphere then it starts dwelling in that sphere thus shrinking itself. This perspective rests on the existence of different spheres of soul where it can reside. Compared to the body the soul is grosser as well as subtler. Every soul is equal; this statement also indicates individual interest. From the view point of the law of relativity what is equal is unequal as well and what is unequal is equal at the same time.

From this point of view the number of brothers and sisters who are present in this seminar/meeting are all equal from one point of - view because they all are human beings and listeners as well (Shravaka) but if all are classified individually then the difference would be found in their form, height, lifestyle, clothes, gender, colour and thoughts.

Non-Violent Resistance

Principally violence only is despicable. But those people who cannot save themselves completely from violence they must at least refrain from causing violence to innocent creatures deliberately. Those who cannot live without having fruits, vegetables and so on they must at least avoid having flesh of animals having five senses. If man cannot save himself from violence required to sustain his life then also he must avoid committing unnecessary violence. Cutting trees without any specific cause, plucking numerous flowers instead of one, to light some fifty lamps instead of two, they, are all incorporated in unnecessary violence.

Some persons ask a question, ‘If someone attacks us, causes pain to us, should we refrain from facing him?’ This question is often raised. As far as renunciation is concerned, a shravaka takes a vow of not killing an innocent creature deliberately. A person who attacks is surely a culprit. Even if a person has the ability he must apply non- violence. There is no hard and fast rule that violence can only be employed to resolve any violent problem. The power that generates from non-violent resistance can also defeat violence. What was Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement other than this? To defeat any immoral action by immorality is weakness. Violence has to accept defeat before positive thoughts and ignorance.

Application of Non-Violence

Bharimalji Swami was with Acharya Bhikshu in religious revolution. He wanted to get initiated by him. His material oriented father Kishorji said, ‘He is my son, I have full right over him. I would keep him with me.’ Bhikshu swami said, ‘He is your son then you are free to keep him with you, I would rather not prefer to keep someone forcibly with me’. The father Kishorji held the hand of his son Muni Bharimalji who was a lad of fourteen year and took him away. Bharimalji had an ardent desire of staying with Bhikshu Swami. He tried to make the father understand that in Sanyas the father-son relationship is insignificant and the relation between the master and the disciple is more important so he must be allowed to stay with Bhikshu Swami.

The father had his own interest. He crushed his son’s innocent feelings underneath his feet and took him away with him. The son went along with his father but he took a vow of not accepting any morsel of food and water from his father’s hand. The father thought— ‘He is just a child, he is being governed by his emotions. The hunger would soon change his mind’. Three days passed this way. Bharimalji refused to take food and water. This power of resistance of non- violence changed his father’s mind. His inner voice told him, ‘Why are you being so stubborn to lead this child into a wrong path?’ The son’s strong determination made his father surrender. At the end he took along his son to Bhikshu Swami and said, ‘You please keep him with yourself and break his fast as he has not eaten or drunk anything from my hand for the last three days. Now I offer him at your feet wilfully. The child’s vow was realized at last. The touchstone of non-violence is very difficult to go through but in the end the victory is of non-violence only.

This kind of non-violent power is inherent in everyone but it is not active. When the power is awakened then only violence gets defeated. Without power the talks of non-violence is cowardice. Without the feeling of sacrifice and the lack of penance of fearlessness the power of non-violence cannot be applied.

The bigger vow (Mahabrata) can be taken only by a handful of people, but the way of observing small vows (Anubratas) is open to all. By associating mankind and morality with smaller vows (anubratas) we have made it colossal. The question can be asked regarding this concept where the place for qualities in an ‘Anubrati’ is whereas the principle points out the fifth position for ‘Anubrat’.

The vow for morality is not confined within a particular place of quality. From the first to fifth position of quality every person is entitled to be an ‘Anubrati’. This vow is not confined to any person, community, religion or cult. Any person from any country, in any situation can abide by these rules and be an ‘Anubrati’.

Feeling of Violence and Non-Violence

To grasp the feeling of violence and non-violence is quite difficult compared to the understanding of violent and non-violent action. The interest of community, religion and so on lies in violence. It is incorporated in the sphere of intellectual violence. To consider oneself superior and consider others inferior is also violence. Some so-called worshippers of non-violence had sung the slogan of untouchability but with the passage of time they took a back seat. The prohibition of untouchability in ‘Anubrat’ movement is not inspired by any social or political perspective but is pure spiritual contemplation.

We do not have the right to consider someone inferior. Parochialism is irreligious and non-spiritual. It encourages violence. Whatever community or social group a person may belong to reverence for humanity is what is desirable.

Communal hatred is also a great violence, but it doesn’t mean that every community must be made one or considered one. To accept things as they are is what perspective of equality is. On the basis of equality making all communities one is wrong.


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. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Bharimalji
  4. Bhikshu
  5. Bhikshu Swami
  6. Body
  7. Celibacy
  8. Contemplation
  9. Environment
  10. Fearlessness
  11. Gandhi
  12. JAINA
  13. Jaina
  14. Muni
  15. Non-violence
  16. Soul
  17. Swami
  18. Violence
  19. Vrata
  20. shravaka
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