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Acharya Tulsi - A Peacemaker Par Excellence: Introduction

Published: 03.04.2013
Updated: 03.04.2013

Acharya Tulsi: A Peace Maker Par Excellence

The mark of a man's greatness lies not in the loftiness of the position he holds but in the impact his life and work create on society. When we apply this yardstick to measure the greatness of some living personage of our age, we place Acharya Tulsi in the foremost rank of effulgent souls. The lives of all great men show a common characteristic i.e. they dedicate themselves to the noble cause of human welfare and work dispassionately for the accomplishment of their ultimate goal. They suffer silently in the course of their struggle to rid the people of their distress and agony emanating from poverty, ignorance, selfishness, disease and lust for power. History substantiates the truth of the universal belief that great men emerge on {he scene of the world whenever a crisis threatens the existence of mankind. The pages of our history are replete with the glorious deeds of such heroic personages. What is it that distinguishes one great man from the other? It is the method or the way that he adopts to extricate the people from difficulties that makes him appear distinct from the other.

Like Mother Teresa and Bishop Tutu, Acharya Tulsi has dedicated all his life to the noble cause of peace and nonviolence. In order to cleanse the world of moral filth, he launched the Anuvrat Movement in 1949. It enjoins the people to adhere to a code of conduct based on some diminutive vows. A rigorous commitment and firm adherence to Anuvrat by people will usher in an era of nonviolence and peace in the world. He has already inspired millions of people to refrain from violence, hatred, exploitation, concentration of wealth and addiction to harmful drugs. In fact he is a humanist and a great humanitarian. His mission to spread the message of nonviolence, peace and international amity is, besides being sublime in the highest degree, a vital need of the hour. To the dazed humanity threatened with the dire prospect of nuclear annihilation, he is a beacon and a messenger of love.

Acharya Tulsi's life and his style of working are also unique in their way. He is a religious leader and an ascetic. He heads a particular sect. It is difficult for the people outside India to imagine his limitations and the heroic endeavour he has launched to bring peace to a world torn by strife and violence. He walks barefoot and does not accept meals exclusively cooked for him. He doesn't use a fan nor does he wear warm clothes to protect his body from the rigours of cold. Apart from these external signs of constraint, Acharya Tulsi has to struggle against the tenacity of a religious tradition and face tough internal resistance whenever he introduces an innovation. Judging from the magnitude of these odds in which he has to work and from the success he has achieved in unifying the forces of nonviolence, we think that he is a peacemaker with a difference.

Only he who has had the good fortune of spending even a day with this peerless saint can realize how he is trying to bring about a mass psychological transformation with the instrument of anuvrat (diminutive vows). His morning assemblies are veritably reminiscent of the ones held by Mahatma Gandhi. The people from all sections of society flock to listen to him in thousands. To the vast multitudes Acharya Tulsi's message is a clarion call against hatred and violence being unleashed all over the world in the name of religion. His conviction is that if the individual is transformed, the transformation of society, nation and the world will follow naturally. So he meets individuals, groups of individuals and leaders and persuades them to pledge themselves to adhere to a minimum moral code for the sake of a bigger cause i.e. human survival. Peacemaking or conflict resolution goes on at all levels uninterrupted. He visits Harijan colonies, meet Muslim brothers and talks to the individual families and exhorts them to make an offering of all their weaknesses or evils at the altar of Anuvrat-which symbolizes inner purity and spiritual good. It is what Yuvacharya Mahapragya has said of Acharya Tulsi:

'It is a universal truth that penance alone lends lustre and application alone adds preconciousness to the human personality. This will be true at all times but particularly so in an age of democracy. Acharyashree has undergone immense penance and has shown infinite application. In popular language he has all done this for the good of the people. In his own language he has done it as part of his spiritual practice. He does not believe that one can do any good to others without being good oneself. According to him the good of oneself is the source of the good of others. Only he can remodel others who has first remodelled himself. Acharya Tulsi is an amalgam of devotion, reason feeling, equanimity and leadership. He is at once hard and tender, sympathetic and detached, affectionate and disinterested"

In this short biography of Acharya Tulsi Yuvacharya Mahapragya captures the saint with an extraordinary insight into those aspects of his personality which have raised him to the elevated position of a peacemaker par excellence. I am sanguine that Acharya Tulsi's dream to see this world free from all forms of violence and hatred will ultimately turn out to be a reality.

JAIPUR
17.10.1987

S.L. GANDHI
Secretary Anuvrat Vishva Bharati

Sources
Editor, Translator, Publisher: S.L.Gandhi Courtesy: Dr. Prem Nath Jain, B Jain Publishers Ltd. 1. Edition: 1987
3. Edition:
2000 HN4U Online Edition: 2013

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Tulsi
  3. Anuvrat
  4. Anuvrat Movement
  5. Anuvrat Vishva Bharati
  6. Body
  7. Concentration
  8. Equanimity
  9. Gandhi
  10. Jaipur
  11. Mahapragya
  12. Mahatma
  13. Mahatma Gandhi
  14. Nonviolence
  15. S.L. Gandhi
  16. Tulsi
  17. Violence
  18. Yuvacharya
  19. Yuvacharya Mahapragya
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