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Ahimsa – the ultimate winner

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A MISSION WITH A VISION

Acharyashri Mahapragya has embarked upon a five-year Ahimsa Yatra on foot at the commencement of the 21st Century. To the violence-afflicted and fear-ridden humanity, the Ahimsa Yatra is showing the way for harmonious development based on equality. Wherever Mahapragyaji is going in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and conveying his eloquent and enabling message, the spirit of Ahimsa and awareness of the need to promote ethical values is touching the heart-chords of the people.

Ahimsa Yatra, which will cover over 4000 kilometers, is set to inspire the people and provide meaningful and practical roadmap towards abjuring violence and developing ethical values. Ahimsa Yatra will terminate finally in New Delhi, the capital of India after the journey through Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The significance of this novel and unique experiment of Ahimsa Yatra is gaining wide recognition nationally and internationally.

In every village, town, city and on the way the old and the young, men and women, the affluent and the deprived and flocking to hear Mahapragyaji and to seek the stimulation for accepting his advice as a challenge for transforming their lives. Jains, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and followers of other religions are all finding in Mahapragyaji a true Mahatma who is determined to arouse the spirit of Ahimsa in the entire society by rising above the narrow confines of religions. Acharya Mahapragya is visiting temples, churches, gurudwaras, mosques to bring home to the people that quality of tolerance, fellow feeling, equality and accommodation would blossom forth in the society only by strengthening the non-violent approach in thoughts, expressions and behaviour.Culture of non-violence would facilitate all-round development of all strata of the society, progress would get enriched by spiritual energy and foundations of peace would get more firmly rooted.

In contemporary times, non-violence is not existent to the extent required, while unnecessary violence is going on increasing. Mere talk of Ahimsa or miniscule efforts for it would not be able to contain the disastrous effects of violence. The atmosphere is conducive to violence and such situations provoke more violence. In contrast efforts to develop non-violence are inconsequential.

Millions of common folk living in distain villages, cities, towns, townships are beginning to feel that a Mahatma has come in the form of Acharya Mahapragya who is arousing the power and courage of non-violence, asking people to give up exploitation and take to the path of cooperation and to promote compassions and fraternity in place of hate and hostility.

Mahapragyaji is determined to strengthen positive and constructive frame of mind in individuals as well as society as a whole. Change of mindset, change in life style, emotional control, development of ethical values, spreading the imperativeness of non-violence, seeking ethics-oriented livelihood for people, inter-faith harmony and cooperation – all taken together could be instrumental in dissipating the oppressive atmosphere of violence and in promoting faith in non-violence.

Historical Perspective

w From times immemorial, history if India is replete with instances of great individuals who is their times weakened the destructive power of violence by exhorting people to pin their faith in Ahimsa and to practice in day-to-day life. In every age, humanity has faced the challenge of correcting the distorted imbalance between violence and non-violence. History is witness that whenever ahimsa was in its active and dynamic form is the lives of the people, in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, different cultures and civilizations prospered.

w However, whenever ego, greed, attachment and possessiveness became all pervasive, the society got itself dragged towards the path of violence. Humankind had to face world wars, violent religious conflicts and polluted environment. Colonialism and apartheid led to exploitation, tensions, poverty, unemployment, absence of development and growing inequality. Science was abused by producing weapons of mass destruction. The atomic explosions in Hiroshima & Nagasaki became a blot on the humanity. And in recent times, increasingly ferocious terrorism has made the common folks desperate, insecure and full of fear.

w The end of imperialism led to political freedom all over the world but persisting economic backwardness and inadequacy of development is nourishing violent tendencies. The glaring inequity of the economic structure has encouraged crime, addition, injustice, exploitation and pollution. In the developing countries, inadequacy of development, poverty, illiteracy, spread of life-taking diseases has created and atmosphere of tension, fear and uncertainty. Use of weapons is increasing and violence has come up as a deterrent to progress.

Five Point Resolution

1. Non-violent Life-style

The only effective way to stem the tide of violence is the promotion, propagation and spread of the approach of active non-violence. It is through an integrated and combined strategy towards economic upliftment, social reforms and development of ethical values that the spirit of Ahimsa would be promoted and faith with responsibility would be aroused in it at the level of individuals as well as the society as a whole.

2. Training for non-Violence

In modern times while the society sorely needs non-violence, the atmosphere is oriented towards violence. In the name of defense manufacturing of weapons for committing violence and planned training for violent action is going on. This inconsistency can be overcome only through training for non-violence, on a large scale. It is through well-conceived and systematic training that creative instincts would be firmed up and destructive thoughts eliminated from the minds and hearts of the people. The fundamental features of training for non-violence are (1) change of mindset, (2) change of attitude, (3) change of life-style and (4) change of system. Unless the problem is tackled at the roots, violence countered by more violence would go on troubling the humanity.

In the course of Ahimsa Yatra, arrangements for imparting training for non-violence both in rural and urban areas are getting actively initiated. In many villages and cities, Ahimsa Training Centres have been set up. Through the well-conceived Jeevan Vigyan (Science of Living) courses in many schools, ahimsa-inspired ethical orientation is acquiring roots in the minds of the youth. It is essential to introduce the unique project of Jeevan Vigyan is the schools, colleges and universities covering all sections of the society. The experiment of Jeevan Vigyan so far has produced encouraging results. There is vast scope for further work in this direction which presents both a challenge as well as an opportunity. In this project, Preksha Dhyan occupied a distinctive place. Through the techniques of Kayotsarg, Shwas preksha and meditation, the mind and the nervous system can by desirably oriented to become more relaxed, serene and peaceful.

3. Upliftment of the deprived sections

In the process of development, determined efforts are called for the progress of the deprived sections of the society in order to overcome the widely prevalent deprivation syndrome among them. It is only by bridging the gap between the rich and the poor that the increasing trend of crimes and violence could be contained. For this, the economically well-to-do sections of the community need to come forwards with generosity and compassion. The enlightened sections of the society as well as the Government also bear the responsibility to make a success of worthwhile schemes for enhancing self-reliance, dignity and competence of the poor and the backward classes.

4. Rational Livelihood and Livelihood training

An important aspect of Ahimsa is training for rational livelihood. It is an important experiment of ahimsa that not only avenues for employment need to be created for the needy, but such avenues should not be unethical in nature. Rational livelihood for the needy helps an individual to get rid of the exploitative and possessive mentality on the one hand and on the other it safeguards the right avenues of employment. In each region, in keeping with the available resources, it is the responsibility of the affluent, the enlightened and the Government to make available appropriate openings and required resources to ensure proper avenues of livelihood for the backward sections. Such measures would go a long way in arresting growing socio-economic disparities and the tension they create. Structure of education needs also to become increasingly job-oriented.

5. Surat Spiritual Declaration

Surat Spiritual Declaration was issued jointly by 15 spiritual leaders from different religions on 15th October, 2003 in the distinguished presence of H. E. President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam and H. H. Acharya Mahapragyaji at Surat during the latter’s stay there is the course of his Ahimsa Yatra. The five garland projects mentioned therein are designed to promote inter-faith harmony and understanding, tolerance and cooperation. This would, in turn, help augment the harmonious adjustment and balance between spirituality, development, science and environment. This would also reinforce progressive and liberal outlook in the society.

Apart from jointly celebrating festivals of different religions, it is imperative to work out such joint inter-faith cooperation as would enhance community fellow feeling, arrest environmental degradation, provide relief from natural disasters, upgrade public health standards and make available educational facilities on a wider scale. Alongside, it is also important to build strong public opinion for the eradication of retrogressive social practices and customs like the dowry system, killing of female embryo, rape and sexual abuse. Inter-faith understanding and cooperation would lend dynamism to such efforts and be instrumental in character building of the people.

The inspiration of Ahimsa Yatra is an immortal poem by Ganadhipati Tulsi:

Let restraint regulate life’s many a desire,
Let ethical values make our minds nobler.
Let our fraternal feelings increase day by day
Let the feelings of equality, co-existence and accommodation have their sway.

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