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Ocean Of Problems - The Boat to Non Violence: 92 ►A Challenge before Non-Violence

Published: 17.07.2020

Question—can non-violence solve the problem of war?

Answer—The solution of war is undoubtedly non-violence. The never ending arm used in violence is tradition. The tradition of arms can never put an end to war.

The end of war in reality can be made possible by non-violence only. In the absence of power control, the war that stops can never be put to an end. This gap is due to preparation of next war, to accumulate power. Therefore the literal meaning of peace today is the time span between two wars where preparation is taken for the next war.

The solution of war is non-violence only; this is a principle of non-violence. Now if we ponder over the practical aspect of it then war in itself is a compulsion or limitation of time place and situations. The mutual conflicts of situations only give rise to war but the question arises whether war is a solution to all these problems. A solution may come from mutual cooperation and the feeling of friendship. This makes it clear that war can suppress those situations but can never make them calm. Whenever any suppressed trait surges it causes havoc with double force. The Second World War and the sparks of third world war are the burning proofs of it. In a situation like this the assurance can only be found in non- violence.

Non-violence has the power to put an end to hostile situations, but it can become effective only before war or after war, what can non-violence do at the time of war? The answer to this question is not difficult but the application of it is certainly difficult because to apply it, an appropriate role, a strong leadership, a steadfast faith on non-violence and men willing to sacrifice their lives are the few virtues that are needed. As long as they are absent non-violence can never become fully active. Passive non-violence is even worse than violence.

War is a dangerous fever. To calm it down it is very important to bring out the inner heat. From this point of view sometimes war is considered very important. There is no dual view that the heat must be reduced but for that reduction war is only the way needs to be contemplated upon.

The doctors and medical experts are of the view that to stop or reduce fever abruptly and by artificial means is to give rise to other reactions and to invite other diseases along with it. It is better to let that heat come out on its own accord and that is the way to free oneself from many diseases. Fasting, balancing cold and heat and by such means, even fever, that is dreadful proves itself to be a blessing.

If war is imposed upon any nation by some other nation, it is attacked; in a situation like this the principle of non-violence can never be fully refuted because the influence of non-violence over the laws of war is quite effective.

There are certain laws of war that have been formed keeping the humanistic point of view in mind that are as follows-

  • Any attack over hospitals, religious shrines, schools and colleges is forbidden.
  • Bombarding over populated places is forbidden.
  • Attacking non-military zones are not allowed.

This thought can also be developed further. In Rishav age a battle between Bharat and Bahubali became imminent, and then it was thought why the entire innocent crowd would be thrown in the flames of war? When the conflict was between two persons then why the rest of the subjects would be tortured? A wrestling was organized by which the strength would be tested and the mass killing that could have been more than lakhs could also be avoided. At last it was executed and a colossal mass killing was avoided.

The aforesaid application was -also a step forward toward non- violence. In that situation it was a significant application. Today’s situation is different but even then based on this example any practical solution can be found, it is my belief. The principles must get a practical ground. Seeing the situation and consequences of war, non- violence only seems to be the belief and assurance. All that are needed is a strong leadership, the absence of which must end now, it is of utmost importance.

A Challenge before Non-Violence

Question - An ardent devotee of non-violence Martin Luther King was assassinated. In a developed country like America such a heinous act was committed, is it not a sign of degradation of human values in spite of so much scientific development? Should we consider it the defeat of non-violence? How should the followers of non-violence face this challenge that has come before non-violence?

Answer - There is no doubt that today man has progressed much in material, economic and intellectual sphere. Even after having reached the summit of progress this kind of brutal act points toward the fact that material, economic and intellectual progress cannot bring the desired result in absence of human values. The consequence of it can only lead to struggle and conflict. In the absence of human unity and mutual harmony any intervening power does not become the reason of progress rather it becomes the cause of destruction. Therefore in my view the yardstick of progress must be a balanced form of intellect and feeling or emotions.

The racial struggle that is going on in America is devoid of human feelings. The white men consider themselves supreme and they consider the black as inferior. Therefore they do not want people with dark skin to dine in the same restaurant where they do, they would not like to be a member of the same club where they belong to, and they would not like to move or sit with them, their children should not play with the children of white people, do not study together, would not stay or talk with one another. This way absence of kind heartedness gives birth to discrimination. This creates pride in a community. Pride creates a feeling of animosity for others. As a solution of hatred fear is created and fear in its self-defence takes the support of violence.

Absence of kind heartedness, the discrimination between higher and the lower, fear and hatred — these are all seeds of violence. As long as the values of human unity, equality and freedom are developed these seeds would be nurtured and would induce insanity in people by their poisonous fruits.

The desire of being famous also becomes the cause behind such incidents. An American historian has reached a conclusion that behind such conspiracies a person’s ambition works. According to him the people of the West are affected by the disease of self-fame, so much so that they try to attain to it at all costs, by hook or by crook. The assassination of the youth German leader consolidates this fact. A person feels that by killing a famous person he would become very famous in the whole world. The insanity which is increasing at a rapid pace, unless it is stopped these problems would not be solved.

King’s assassination is not a defeat of non-violence rather it is a great victory. It clearly proves the cowardice of violence. It is a burning example of non-violence’s ever winning power that a little non-violent person can also challenge the power of the entire nation. By sacrificing his life King has made non-violence even more glorious.

Now the question arises how the followers of non-violence would face this challenge. This question is somewhat complex and intriguing but it is certain that non-violence can never be defeated by violence. It is expected that non-violent people are not demoralized nor should they get excited or bewildered. After the assassination of King, the Negroes of America caused havoc; they got involved in plunder, murder and presented such terrible scenes that cannot be held just from the perspective of non-violence. Violence wants to excite a non- violent person so that he takes support of violence. If a non-violent person gets excited then it becomes clear that victory is of violence. Those who hated the people with black skin killed the body of king but later the men of his community tried to assassinate his soul by presenting the scene of riot and plunder. How better it would have been if the people of Negro community inspired by the death of their beloved leader would employ all their strength in taking their leader’s mission forward. They could have sacrificed their lives to accomplish the non-violent mission that he had taken forward. King’s wife took the reign of the rally in absence of him and established an ideal, in whose arrangement King had to lose his life in the first phase of the movement.

This is the time of the test of non-violence. The main responsibility of the followers of non-violence is to see that non- violence should not get weak or feeble. From this point of view these people must direct their thoughts and efforts together in the way of non-violence. Non-violence can become effective and practical when the power of resistance comes in it. The feeble non-violence can never be relied upon in today’s era. In my view non-violence can only become powerful when it gets the base of accumulated thoughts and efforts.

I consider it a weakness of non-violence that no group is formed by its followers. Some non-violent persons do not rely upon such communes because they see the peril of violence in it. I hold a commune of non-violence powerful for its empowerment. Violence is present where there is compulsion. People moving on the path of penance can be equally pure when they move in a crowd as they-are at a personal level. When they practice in a commune their purity gets even more sharpened and glorified.

To make non-violence successful a structured form of training is ardently required. The training centres must be available in every place and non-violence must be applied at a massive scale then I believe non-violence would have an appeal for each and every individual. People have no faith over violence. Everyone knows that violence can never be a solution of any problem but in the absence of the training of non-violence and a proper guidance of it they are compelled to accept the way of violence. I fervently hope that inspired by such phenomena the followers of non-violence would lay emphasis over its training and application.

Question—Shortly after two months of Dr. King’s assassination Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Do you think the high rate of killing is due to capitalism that America follows or is there any other reason? Is it sufficient for other nations to express their grief and sympathy over such inhuman acts or do you think that to stop such inhuman acts other nations also have certain other responsibilities?

Answer—It cannot be said that he reason behind all these incidents is capitalism. Capitalism has been accepted by many other nations but no such incidents are happening there. I find insanity and mistakes in the origin of all these incidents. There is a psychological factor that along with material developments and opulence the degree of insanity increases. When the insanity gets unrestrained then such incidents occur.

Lord Mahavira said—‘Hindi’—Some people get involved in violence due to poverty while some other get involved in it for having excess that leads them to commit mistakes. Religion provides assurance and relief to both these kind of people. Religion is born so that it can save the poor from feeling inferior and save the people moving toward accumulation and hedonism driven by insanity who commit mistakes. Religion tums these people to develop wide human feelings.

As per my knowledge wherever there had been a rapid development in communist nations the rate of crimes also increased there. This is the reason why communist countries like Russia, Czechoslovakia and so on are realizing that eradicating the creative and emotive aspects of religion have been a great mistake.

The acts of killing are closely associated with revenge but behind the increasing murders in America a feeling of entertainment is working.

The incidents of murder that are happening quite often are a proof that behind them a lust for fame, ego nourishment, curiosity and a feeling of entertainment are greatly responsible. It seems excessive wealth and opulence has given rise to a kind of stupidity in the minds of people there. Due to this stupidity the absence of human feelings and sensitivity is increasing the consequence of which can only be such accidents.

Religion controls insanity and the tendency of committing mistakes, inspires people to be kind and sensitive to human beings. Although in America no restriction is imposed upon religion but the form of religion there is based on ‘miracles’ and ‘freedom from all sins just by taking refuge in Christ. This is the reason why the fundamental values of religion are not getting established there. When the Korean professor of tourism heard the message of non-violence then he said in a tone of awe and grief—‘I wish someone was there to give us such messages then we would not have fallen prey to frequent world wars and got destroyed/From his words it seems that he is not well aware of the real values of religion. Therefore violence is spreading all around at a rapid pace and people are not even getting a chance to testify non-violence.

Religion gives discipline of its own. When there is no discipline on self then discipline is imposed from outside. The law and order is introduced in society so that it does not get chaotic and uncontrollable but this is a basic flaw of democracy that a person gets freedom more than he requires. Every person must get an equal opportunity to develop, it is an ideal situation. This does not mean that everyone must get an opportunity to get chaotic and licentious. It can never be accepted. If the citizens of any nation get the right to keep arms without any objection then it indulges the violent traits to increase. It is quite natural to get influenced by impulses in a hostile situation but such impulses should not tum dangerous or harmful so they must be made armless. It does not seem possible that in the presence of all such equipment the expression of such impulses does not turn fatal. From this point of view man should not be permitted to keep arms.

These are some of the reasons why brutal forces are emerging at a rapid pace. These reasons must be contemplated upon deeply today.

The other nations must not restrict themselves to sympathize verbally over such inhuman incidents as it does not solve any problem. Such accidents can be stopped only when a strong public view is established as their resistance. All the nations must contemplate deeply over this matter how to establish human values in the entire system of the world. Tolerance, humility interdependence and such other human qualities must be inculcated in human beings through methodological training in the field of politics. Such responsibilities toward environment fall over every nation equally.

Question—Some people have held America their ideal. Should they learn a lesson from such incidents?

Answer—lt would be a great mistake for any nation to make America its ideal. The positivity can be imbibed or followed from any nation but the ideal should be what beneficial is for all. In American politics crimes like murder are taking the form of tradition, the able and noble persons are finding it difficult to cope with people out there find that the values have got rotten and a stench is emanating from them. A reformation in their art of living needs to be introduced immediately. Along with that I believe a change in thoughts, has become necessary for those who have regarded American as their ideal. If it does not take place then I think the whole world will have to bear the dire consequences of it.

The progress that America has made in the field of education and science cannot be denied. The humanistic aspect of it is getting degraded which is a concern worth worrying. The other nations must not undermine the humanistic traits such as-kindness, tolerance and interdependence in their endeavour of making material progress. Man does not live merely depending on machines rather he lives on the basis of feelings and love.

Khadi (Homespun made Cloth) and Non-Violence

Question—From every perspective the homespun made clothes are undermined and some selfish people have made it a medium of fulfilling their vested interests. In this situation do you see any benefit of the rule laid by ‘Akhil Bharatiya Anubrat Samiti’ to wear Khadi by all the active members of Anubrat movement?

Answer—An Anubrati cannot accept non-violence and non- accumulation completely. Therefore to sustain life he tries to accept the means where generation of violence and accumulation are comparatively much less. It is difficult to find the absence of violence completely in any kind of endeavour but there must be a harmony in it. In Khadi endeavour I see a little infliction of injury or pain (Alparambha), less violence and less accumulation. In Jaina Agam texts the subtle nuances of non-violence had been defined that described the presence of Maharambha(more infliction of injury and pain) and Mahaparigraha(more and more accumulation) in factories and industries. I find, the greatest benefit in this decision, is the least violence that is caused in producing these clothes.

The reverence that people had for Khadi clothes has surely been undermined today but the values that are present in the origin of Khadi have also been undermined which is something that I do not fully agree with. The causes for which Gandhi had initiated the movement of Charkha(spinning wheel) along with non-violence had some other reasons as well. To discard foreign clothes, the decline of our country’s economy, self- reliance, poverty, unemployment, development of villages and such other national problems were present the solution of which he saw in the spinning wheel and therefore he laid more stress on it. Most of the problems are still waiting before our nation to be solved. Due to undermining Charkha and encouragement of big industries the situation of our nation is getting even more complex day by day.

Vinobaji says that the biggest understanding of Gandhi is Charkha. The essence of the statement is that Gandhiji’s dream of welfare of all and rise of all can only be materialised through this charkha. According to his dream the India that he wished to create was in the base of it. Charkha is a means to eradicate unemployment; Charkha is a means to produce clothes in our own country so that importing foreign clothes is automatically controlled, it is a means to eradicate poverty in the simplest manner so that from economic point of view a country is self-reliant. Charkha is a means to consolidate self-reliance of villages, happiness in villages and development. After Gandhiji the force of it lessened. The consequence is clear that poverty, unemployment and other problems are still present in our nation; even from the economic point of view our country has not become self-reliant. The people of villages are rushing toward cities. The population of cities is increasing, at a rapid pace and villages are becoming vacant.

Gandhiji used to give first priority to human beings. He did not think of centralizing economy and power right. Centralization means development of cities. Construction of a big mill means arrival of thousands of workers to a city leaving their own villages. Creating a mill like that means unemployment of lakhs of people. Even in the richest country like America the problem of unemployment exists today. The only reason for it is centralization of economy. The Indian government had laid more emphasis on big factories and industries shortly after independence. As a result small scale industries disappeared. Today the situation is that where Pakistan earning a good profit out of Charkha endeavour India is incurring a loss.

Undermining Khadi can only be accepted from one point of view and that is some people tried to take undue advantage of it but even today it stands as a symbol of non-violence, simplicity and toil. Thesolution of many problems of our country can also be discerned in it.

Question—Do you see any benefit in the principle of decentralization?

Answer—The meaning of centralization is accumulation of power in a particular place. When everyone’s working strength is accumulated in a particular place then except one everyone’s strength is dissipated. This void again gives rise to a new power in which the ability to struggle with the present system is available.

If we take industrial revolution for instance then shortly after it many new industries were created and expanded but violence, turmoil and rob pathology, are they all gifts of this revolution? Many big factories were established and lakhs of workers began working there. Then the unions were formed and a new power emerged. After that with a little discontentment strikes, encircling the higher officials, Satyagrah, plunder, damaging properties and such other violent traits were born. Then to dominate or snub them the system took refuge in super control. Today the situation is that the entrepreneurs – these two categories have taken such forms that a constant conflict goes on between them. This way centralisation, collective violence and super control - these three gradually became the necessary mutual consequences.

Decentralization hardly provides a chance for violence and conflict to emerge. One’s loss cannot affect the other factor there. Closing of one mill leads to the unemployment of thousands of workers. Unemployment of thousands of workers means discontentment and anger in a big crowd. The consequence can only be of violence.

In a decentralized system the opportunity of development is given to all. Everyone can equally develop is not possible even here but due to the availability of equal opportunity no discontentment, anger or grievance is born in the minds of people. In a system where violence, super control and turmoil do not get a chance to thrive and equality is encouraged, it is a spiritual realization in itself.

Socialism and non-violence

Question—In present situations the voice of socialism is raised with all might. To what extent Anubrat has faith on socialistic system and what it can contribute to such a system?

Answer—After independence the voice of socialism has been raised quite a number of times. In connection to any context this voice sometimes gets raised as well but at times it seems as if this voice is a sheer formality. This tradition of slogans—has it hitherto not been made an excuse and taken advantage of?

Whenever any movement started in this nation the voice of socialism was raised high. Now the Telengana revolution has caught a pace then our government realized the gravity of the situation.

Behind most of the revolutions in our country there is hatred. Somewhere there is an economic hatred and somewhere there is a hatred for the rights and power. When this hatred takes the form of destruction then to solve the problem there is much movement. If the solution of this problem was found in time then why one-fourth of Andhra’s development would get destroyed?

The philosophy of Anubrat fully supports socialism. The principles of it lay full stress on socialistic system. It rests its faith on the fact that there must be no hatred and exploitation in a society. The human differences openly invite violence. Antipathy is the mother of hatred and hatred is the mother of violence. Socialism does not believe in hatred. To eradicate this hatred the non-violent means that Gandhiji had planned to use, Anubrat is fully in agreement with that. It believes that to eradicate this hatred socialism only is the easiest way and for the success and efficacy of this socialism non-violence needs to be planted in the edifice of it.

As far as Anubrat’s participation is concerned, it can offer a method but its aim is not to provide a political system. By experimenting or using the method if any positive result comes the system might be benefitted by it. From the point of view of this experimentation an environment of revolution in thoughts would have to be created at first. Anubrat since its inception has been active to cause this revolution in thoughts. It has tried to create the sincerity in the environment that as long as this moral question is not solved or dealt with the problems cannot be solved. I can tell with conviction that the majority of our nation is with this voice of mine today.

The other stand of this experiment would be that ownership over money would not be allowed. The sole cause of economic discrimination is due to ownership over money. As long as it continues the two divisions would always be there — poor and the rich. It would mean the failure of socialism. In my long journeys on foot I have come across some thousand persons resting their faith on socialism. In such people I found that their faith on socialism was not for any antagonism toward religion but due to economic difference. The values of religion are still present in them. They have a deep reverence for the church and temples even today. Even then they consider themselves socialists and the reason behind it is the nation’s economic difference. If this difference is removed then the violent revolutions will cease on their own accord. It is only possible in the present circumstances if the ownership over money is taken away.

Question—The way Saint Vinoba has experimented in this direction by ‘Bhudan movement’, is Anubrat also trying to experiment with something like this?

Answer—I do not think that the experiment of ‘Bhudan movement’ started by Saint Vinoba had an aim of eradicating difference. Those who had no land, a few of them might have been benefited by this experiment but it is only a relief not a permanent solution of the problem. One who possesses five hundred acres of land, if he gives five acres out of them in ‘Bhudan’(distributi0n of land) then it does not stop discrimination rather the age of the remaining four hundred and ninety five acres of land would increase. A farmer in whose mind there is a constant anger for the continuous poverty gets much less in proportion for having possessed something. Therefore, it has created complexity in the economic system of our nation. Therefore, to call ‘Bhudan’ an experiment in the direction of eradicating difference would be quite difficult for me.

Anubrat has not decided to experiment this way in this direction. From the perspective of revolution in thoughts it has certainly created the environment in the nation. From the perspective of experimentation also it has to decide. Above all it supports all non- violent efforts being made to eradicate differences.

The palace of democracy stands on trust and positive feelings of public. The day this positive feeling break it can be considered that this system would not last for long. Now only two possibilities are left before our nation’s future - any particular party gains trust of public and rule or some other system of rule can replace democracy.

I cannot believe it even today that the people have lost their faith on democracy. The situation is that the reign of democracy is not there in deft hands. Due to the absence of ability there is anger among people. This anger only explodes from time to time. The situation of establishing any new system of ruling cannot be born in Indian psychology now. After monarchy and dictatorship the heart rendering consequences have not been forgotten even today. It is certainly true that the pleasant consequences of democracy have not been experienced. The sense of justice, skilful policy, establishment of strong character and equality of rights that people were supposed to enjoy were deprived of these virtues. A person pulling the chariot of democracy must carry five qualities-

  1. Sense of justice
  2. Expertise over policies
  3. Moral behaviour
  4. A will to serve
  5. A wide perspective

When the leaders lack such qualities then the public also lose faith over them. Today the situation of India is somewhat like this. This lack of trust can never be good for the future of any nation. If the public chooses the right path then also it is an auspicious sign, otherwise the consequence does not seem to be good.

Question— The violent incidents that took place in Mumbai have shaken the faith of the entire nation, don’t you think so? Will it not affect democracy?

Answer— The violent incidents that took place in Mumbai they are truly heartrending but the matter worth worrying is that the nation is getting inclined toward violence day by day. The faith that the nation had over non-violence till today seems to have come to an end.

Whether it is a group of students or workers, if their demands are not met with then violent incidents start taking place immediately. This situation belongs to every group of our nation. If there is a sense of justice and right feeling behind any work then the dread of it can also be tolerated but if there is no justice and rational feeling then how can one tolerate or bear it‘? Having accepted five ‘Ayogas’ if there is violence over its decision then it can never be held right.

Seeing these situations it is reminding me of an incident. Once a group of saints reached a village. The head of the village along with some people went to welcome them. They requested politely - ‘You all take some rest for some time, we shall arrange for your food as soon as possible.

It took some time to arrange for food. The saints got tired having waited for food for a long time. They could not hold their patience. They carried big sticks in their hands and after reaching the market they started hitting the roof of the houses that was full of weeds. The people asked - ‘Mahatma (Great Ones)! What kind of anger is this?’ The saints said - There has been no arrangement of food so far. The villagers politely requested them - ‘Lord! Please stop this breakage. We shall serve your food within a very short span of time. The saints said —As long as the food is not served this breakage would not stop.

This situation is arising everywhere in this nation. Every group has an interest that if their demands are not fulfilled then they would start breaking things get involved in plunder; they would set fire on buses and cars and destroy the properties of nation. The anti- communist people are getting alarmed by the victory of communist party because a communist can also take support of violence to full his aim. If other parties also take support of violence then why blame communists alone? Not merely that I am also realizing that to talk about non-violence today seems to be a sign of regression. The educated section of our society considers the non-violent means stated by Gandhiji an orthodox idea. The consequence of this form of changing faith is that without any hesitation violence, plunder and the incidents of setting fire are taking place in different places.

As far as the influence of democracy is concerned it seems as if the spine of it has broken. In a healthy system of democracy there is no room for any violence, chaos and intolerance. When all these are happening in a broad day light today then I hesitate to call this system democratic. The freedom of thoughts does not mean that we must forget all dignity and limitation of democracy.


Title: Ocean Of Problems
Author: Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agam
  2. Anger
  3. Bahubali
  4. Bharat and Bahubali
  5. Body
  6. Cooperation
  7. Discipline
  8. Environment
  9. Fasting
  10. Fear
  11. Gandhi
  12. Gandhiji
  13. JAINA
  14. Jaina
  15. Mahatma
  16. Mahavira
  17. Mumbai
  18. Non-violence
  19. Pride
  20. Samiti
  21. Science
  22. Soul
  23. Tolerance
  24. Violence
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