Nov 24, 2007

Non-violence is way to world peace

The speech delivered by Mrs Indu Jain, Chairman, TheTimes Group, at the ongoing Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual leaders at theUnited Nations

Bhagwan Mahavir was deep in meditation. His closedeyes emanated an extraordinary peace and serenity. A bird flew in and sat close to him. When he opened his eyes, the bird got frightened and flew away. Lord Mahavir thought of the violence inherent in the very opening of the human eye. Non-violence, or a-himsa is not only the absence of violence but it is the lack of fear and the presence of an all-embracing love for humanity.

Non-violence is reaching out to others while transcending the barriers of caste, creed, religion, sex, faction and even species. It is an independentstate of consciousness. Our physical, emotional and intellectual states of being limit and confine us; they choke us, degrade us and make us unhappy. The absence of fetters or chains is non-violence.

Removing ignorance is the first step towards buildinga world movement for non-violence. True knowledge consists of self-understanding and self-control.Non-violence is the highest form of knowledge since it harmonises one's relations with others. Ahimsa, like moksha or nirvana, is freedom from the endless drama of opposites: pleasure-pain, happiness-sorrow, attraction-aversion, love-hate, gain-loss ,success-failure, wealth-poverty, fear-courage, strength-weakness, victory-defeat, praise-denigration, honour-insult, conflict-harmony, gentleness-aggression, virtue-vice, good-evil, freedom-bondage.

In short, non-violence is freedom from the past, from history, from memory. It is freedom from all that which suffocates, chokes, distresses and disturbs.Therefore, whatever can be subdued by opposites is not free; whatever is not free cannot be non-violent; I cannot be sensitive to other people's plight if I remain a prisoner of the human drama being played outby these opposites.

How can I be sensitive to other people and their pain? The Jain philosophy of anekantvad has an answer to this. It argues that there are no absolute theories ortheorems or formulas that are capable of describin greality in absolute terms. Nirvana lies in right faith (samyagadarshana), right knowledge (samyagnana) an dright conduct (samyakcharitra). Simply put, my way is not the final one, my version is not the only version, and my truth is not the ultimate truth. There are many ways, several versions and diverse paths to reach the truth. Each in its own right is legitimate.

How is this perfect state of peace and universal loveto be obtained? Desire and its satisfaction cannot bethe foundation of relationship with my self and theother. In relation to myself, desire will only driveme restless, anxious in seeking satisfaction and inwanting to retain what I have. I will reach a point where I can hardly ever enjoy what I desired and obtained. In relation to the other, I turn the otherinto a means of my satisfaction, into an object, to begrasped and retained, and then manipulated. This is why Jainism places such great emphasis on a-parigraha, roughly translated as non-possession. But this non-possession is not one of objects alone, but non-possession of desires and control of the lower senses.

It is fashionable in the West to think of non-violenceas a powerless tool. This is a misunderstanding. Non-violence is a way of life and a theory of an ideal society. One who believes in non-violence resists and counters violence by being uninfluenced by it. Non-violence absorbs the recurrence of violence. It is an expansive, all-embracing love and concern for a llliving and non-living beings. Remorse and bitterness are not part of the agenda of non-violence.

Who would understand the language of love and concern better than the youth of today? If non-violence has to become a world movement, the young will have to assume the leadership of this movement. They have shown tremendous initiative in taking up the cause of environmental protection, furthering peace and rising above the narrow confines of nationality, ethnicity and parochialism. Today's youth is a global citizen. He or she understands the only language that is universal: love. And love is possible through non-violence alone. I salute the youth of today. I salute non-violence. I believe in universal love and dedicate myself to furthering it.

1 comment:

Salvador said...

Dr Taylor teaches us how to attain deep inner peace - easily, simply, without drugs, anytime we want it. Forgive me for doing everything I can to be sure everyone reads this book and sees this video, but I think all of us benefit and in the larger sense, if everyone reads this, our world will benefit in a very large way.

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