Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication: Nonviolence: A Profile

Published: 06.09.2012

Ordinarily nonviolence is taken as negative in meaning. 'Na himsa ahimsa' - the absence of violence is nonviolence. But this is a one-sided definition. In order to understand nonviolence fully it is necessary to know both its positive and negative sides. However important avoidance of destroying life may be, much more important than that is the avoidance of any ill feeling towards a living creature. Untrue thoughts and untrue speech both constitute violence. Behind all lies there is violence. Like untrue thoughts and speech, false behaviour towards anyone is also sheer violence. Every man is inclined towards both truth and falsehood, but any addition of falsehood to one's propensities is bound to make the latter violence-oriented.

Violence has a wide scope and includes malice, jealousy, the desire to obstruct the progress of others, and the efforts to come in the way of their growing reputation. Similarly, it also encompasses such tendencies as striking fear in others, engineering adverse situations against them and creating difficulties in their way. Nonviolence aims at totally abstaining from these tendencies and this constitutes its negative aspect.

Equality, friendship, self-restraint and such other noble feelings make up its positive aspect. Here nonviolence is not interpreted literally in the narrow sense of non-killing. Such limitation robs nonviolence of its comprehensive meaning. As to the concept of equality, it admits of no limits. Friendship can flourish only in a climate of equality. It gives rise to a feeling of fraternity. Only when inspired by this fraternal awareness can a man truly comprehend and practise nonviolence.

A nonviolent man is he who does not in the least discriminate between rich and poor or between friend and foe. He is free from all dialectics and therefore of the love of self and of malice towards others. He shuns killing, doing harm to others, oppressing them and making them dependent on himself. He transforms his thoughts, speech and actions by keeping them immune from all falsehood.

Nonviolence is the greatest ideal of life. It engenders many other ideals. Truth, non-thieving, chaste living and greedlessness are all related to it. In worshipping nonviolence ideally one automatically worships all other virtues.

Nonviolence acts like an invincible armour which is proof against hatred, ill feeling, malice, revenge, fear and lust. One who is gifted with it leads a carefree life. He remains unruffled by the memories of the past and the apprehensions about the future. He cannot be a party to the taking of a wrong decision under the desire to preserve and perpetuate his self.

In fact observance of nonviolence does good both to oneself and to others. It is only in a climate of nonviolence that opposing ideologies can peacefully coexist. The truth is that humanistic values cannot gain any recognition in a society or country where nonviolence is not valued. Nonviolence is the best guarantee of humanity's survival and progress. A truly nonviolent man is ever awake and is incapable of harbouring any ill will.Nonviolence is to violence what light is to darkness, what nectar is to poison and what life is to death. Comprehending and internalizing non-violence is the greatest achievement of life.

Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication
Jain Vishva Bharati Ladnun
Shrichand Bengani


R.P. Bhatnagar


● S.L. Gandhi
● Rajul Bhargava, Department of English, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
● Ashok K. Jha, Department of English, LBS College, Jaipur

First Edition, 1985-2000

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  1. Fear
  2. Himsa
  3. Non-violence
  4. Nonviolence
  5. Violence
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