Ahimsa – the ultimate winner
Training for Non-Violence
Y A challenging task since violence is aroused easily and training for violence is accessible at all levels.
Y An all-important task because in the balance between Non-violence and violence; the scales need to tilt in favour of non-violence. Usually it is seen that non-violence is not there to the extent it is essential, while violence is there far more than the necessary level.
Y Both violence and non-violence arise in the minds and get translated into emotions, which in turn result in expressions, thoughts and actions. Effective solution lies in tackling the problem at its source.
Y Violence has escalated in unimaginable proportions at individual community, national and international levels. Solution to violence is not through violent reply, because violence only begets more violence, and the vicious circle goes on.
Y So far wars and conflicts between nations and uncontrolled weapons of mass destruction have been a matter of concern. In recent years terrorism has emerged as an unnerving phenomenon spreading fear and insecurity among the common folks who are innocent and are not a party to any power games or conflicts.
Y Awareness needs to be aroused among the people that the root for violent thought and emotion leading to violent action lies in a variety of factors that create imbalance and disharmony. Briefly they are:
(1) Mental Tension
(2) Differences in perception and thoughts
(3) Emotional imbalance
(4) Imbalance in body chemistry
(5) Imbalance in human relations arising from inequalities and exploitation
(6) Gap between the rich and the poor and ill – balanced social structure.
(7) Arms race and craving for more and more destructive weapons.
(8) Ill-balanced political structures, system and ideology.
(9) Casteism and racial discrimination.
(10) Communalism and religious fanaticism.
(11) Superiority and exploitative complex of human being leading to degradation of environment and endangering of other life species.
Unless we analyze to root causes of violence in their clearest perspectives, we would find it hard to mitigate it.
Let us understand what ‘Ahimsa’ is. It is not merely negation or eradication of physical violence. It is much more. Ahimsa is a positive and constructive concept and not a negative and destructive one (which violence is). Ahimsa is a synonym for love, compassion, tolerance, co-existence, cooperative peaceful interdependence and synthesis. These are not theoretical concepts, but in different situations they are practical concepts, which if widely practiced – will help remove hate, fear, insecurity, exploitation, over-possessiveness and single-track approach to what is truth.
The culture of Ahimsa and its practice has to be designed looking at the prevalent social ethos. It is in may ways a revolutionary departure from the cult of violence that has unfortunately dominated human conduct over centuries. The fact remain that whenever non-violence has reigned supreme, cultures and civilization have blossomed and prospered. Ahimsa does not speak to penalize or dictate terms; it aims at persuasion and conviction.
In one word, the culture of Ahimsa is life ethics. Awareness of nonviolence and development of ethical values go together in one streams and are inseparable.
III. Training for Non-Violence
(a) Starting Point
The basic aim of training for non-violence is development of human beings dedicated to the culture of Ahimsa. The training programmes would very in different sectors like (1) the family life, (2) social life, (3) national life and (4) international life. Whatever be the environment, ultimately the training concentrates on transforming the individual. When more and more individuals are transformed, the society develops a nonviolence-oriented ambiance.
(b) Fourfold Approach
(1) Change of heart and achieving and achieving emotional harmony and control. Developing right instincts.
(2) Attitudinal change respecting multidimensional(3) Change of life style from exploitative to compassionate; from wasteful and excessive consumption to control of wants.
(4) Ethical orientation to livelihood, business and occupations.
(5) Seeking and helping others through training for the right vocations. Opportunities need to be created to enable people to chose more peaceful and yet remunerative vocations and discard violent or exploitative pursuits.
(c) Constituent Elements for Training in Non-Violence
(1) Change of Heart: Controlling anger, ego, fear, greed, hate, hostility, passion and intolerance.
(2) Attitudinal Change: Realizing the futility of one-sided imposition of ideas on others; giving up and shunning fundamentalist approach; shunning resort to violent conflicts and wars; working for farewell to hate, inequality and exploitation; tackling growing terrorism by strengthening courage of non-violence; advocating interdependent and peaceful co-existence and cooperation; not disturbing the ecological balance and harmony with nature and other life forms.
(3) Transition towards Non-violent Life Style: Promote faith in ethical values in order to eliminate corruption, pollution, economic exploitation, wasteful and excessive consumption, violence and cruelty-oriented abuse of resources as well as entertainment mediums, social and economic disparities. This needs to be done with a long-term vision and commitment so that tendency or temptation to commit crimes in negated.
(4) Ethical Orientation to Livelihood: Training would need aspects of truth.
to focus on removing exploitative sources of livelihood; on redressing proportionate imbalance between labour and its remuneration; eliminating adulterations and other deceitful practices in trade and business;
(5) Choosing fair and noble vocations and training the needy in the appropriate non-violence oriented vocations.
IV Techiques of Training for Non-Violence
(1) Introducing science of living (Jeevan Vigyan) courses at the school, college and university levels.
·It must become integral part of educational curriculum. Teachers would also need to be trained with conviction and commitment.
· Results of such courses have been encouraging. However, it is essential to undertake case studies for critical appraisal of achievements, failures and limitations. This would help radical improvement in the practice of this technique. For instance a case study of Jeevan Vigyan experiment in some cities like Indore as well as in the tribal district of Jhabua in M.P. would be timely and useful.
· So far such courses have by and large been confined to Government or municipal schools which cater to the ordinary public. It is essential to select a couple of Public Schools where more affluent families send their children. Since the students are resident students, it would be a helpful factor. Course material would need to be suitable restructured.
· We should design courses in Jeevan Vigyan for colleges and institutes of higher learning. To start with one could explore taking up a pilot project at one of the IIMs and IITs. Success there would help its further spread.
· At University level, Universities could start postgraduate courses and research work on “Holistic Management.”
· We should explore the possibilities of introducing training program for Non-violence at the National Academy of Administration at Mussorie, Administrative Staff College, Hyderabad and IPS Training Institute at Abu and may be also at the Indian Defense Academy. These courses would need to be carefully designed with an amalgam of Preksha Dhyan and meditation techniques along with other training material. Success in such places would have eventually an India-wide impact of longer duration. Special program could also be designed for M.L.A.s, M.P.s and such other people’s representatives.
· All such courses would be in the backdrop of promoting inter-faith harmony. Hence reading material would need to draw from different religions supportive of the culture and practice of non-violence.
· There are good possibilities of trying out ethics promotion programmes in select hospitals for doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and patients. Again special courses would need to be formulated
Training for non-violence would get the right direction if it is closely coordinated with Preksha Dhyan Programmes as well as element of the Anuvrat Movement launched by Acharyashri Tulsi and Acharyashri Mahapragyaji. Anuvrat movement is not a practice in conformity with any religious ritual, but a process of persuading oneself to voluntarily practice self-restraint in consumption and to promote ethical serenity of thoughts, actions and expression. In this age of ever-growing consumerism and wasteful consumption, observance of anuvrat would promote more disciplined individuals and more caring society. Meditation would help strengthening inner harmony and peace of mind. Jeevan
Vigyan training would contribute towards strengthening the ethical foundation of our thoughts and behaviour. Together these elements would make a human being more tolerant and accommodating.
The combination of the three on a spiritual platform with inter-faith cooperation and involvement would provide the momentum of meaningful and effective training programmes for instilling the culture of ahimsa in all sections of the society.
Involvement of the younger generation is imperative, as that would lay the foundation for longer-term results.
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