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Ahimsa – the ultimate winner

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DECLARATION ON AHIMSA

[Prepared by Dr N.P. Jain and adopted unanimously at the Ahimsa Varsh celebrations, New Jersey, USA on 14th April 2002 under the auspices of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and forwarded with 20,000 signatures to the Secretary General of United Nations. It was a major event in USA to mark the closing of 2600th Janm Kalyanak Celebrations of Bhagavan Mahavir.]

Preamble

The world of today stands on the threshold of a defining moment in history. Humanity is face to face with crisis of spirit. The new millennium has opened with the unnerving specter of terrorism and unbridled violence threatening to throw asunder cumulative gains of far-reaching spiritual, cultural and material progress.

WHEREAS human ingenuity, intellect and creativity has in the past millenniums built up civilizations which have enlightened and enabled human minds & hearts; at the same time the world has been plagued by hatred, mistrust, discrimination, exploitation and intolerance and ravaged by ongoing local, regional and global conflicts and wars;

WHEREAS religions and faiths have been fountain springs of spiritually inspired peaceful life ethics; at the same time inter-faith rivalries and ethnic conflicts have spread violent bitterness and hostility;

WHEREAS tremendous advances in science and technology have created a glamour world of comforts and luxuries; at the same time they have also been misused for producing nuclear bombs and other lethal weapons of mass destruction;

WHEREAS religions have propagated the world as one family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam); at the same time possessive and exploitative instincts of humans have divided the society into haves and have-nots, harmed the larger living world and upset the ecological equilibrium;

WHEREAS in recent times great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King have courageously and effectively used Ahimsa for gaining respectively political independence, ending apartheid and fighting racial discrimination; at the same time the world has drifted towards escalating violence and barbarous terrorism in all spheres of life causing much physical suffering, mental distress and engulfing humanity in a syndrome of fear and insecurity.

The Pledge

In the light of the above and in this year of Ahimsa coinciding with 2600th birth anniversary of Jain prophet Mahavir, we, the Signatories to the Declaration recall the teachings of Mahavir of Non-Violence being the Supreme Religion (Ahimsa Parmo Dharmaha) and solemnly pledge:

To commit ourselves with courage and resolve to the culture of non-violence in our day to day lives and to propagate actively the building up of a global commitment to the culture of non-violence at individual as well as collective levels.

To call upon the Secretary General of the United Nations to take the initiative to include in the Preamble to the UN Charter the concept of “irrevocable commitment to the culture of Non-Violence.”

To endeavour with conviction and faith in Ahimsa’s wider ranging perspective that not only we shall not hurt, injure, torture, exploit or kill other human-beings or even think of doing so, but to create such a climate as will persuade others also not to do so.

To practice and propagate the culture of restraint (aparigraha) through curbing wants, resisting greed, avoiding wasteful consumption, developing and encouraging non-possessive instinct of giving more and taking less.

To arouse a spirit of synthesis and conciliation in place of conflict & confrontation, and equity & fair play in place of exploitation towards all human beings irrespective of differences of caste, colour, creed, sex, ethnicity or geographic location.

To promote vegetarianism in view of its ethical, ecological, spiritual & nutritional aspects in the spirit of “live and let live”.

To take collective initiatives through fellowships of world’s religions and with the support of U.N. to forge synergic alliance between Science, Development, Environment & Spiritualism.

To propagate the message that humanity cannot survive or prosper without sustaining and constantly-enriching mutually supportive coexistence between humans, other living beings and the natural environment.

To urge U.N. and other international organizations and public service NGOs as well as National Governments to step up support for grass-root projects in health, education, disaster relief and such other sectors of basic needs particularly for the distressed, deprived and the handicapped people.

To provide momentum through inter-faith cooperation to education at all levels in schools, colleges and adult-circles in the non-violent culture, techniques and strategies for promoting peace & harmony-oriented life ethics.

We, the Signatories, appeal to peace loving people from all over the world to join us in our mission to ensure that Ahimsa is the ultimate Winner, bringing peace and harmony to the entire universe.

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“We must have the proper perspective, that of the universal life process, so that the happiness or glory of one person or group is not sought at the expense of others. ”

-H. H. The Dalai Lama

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