Non-violence is an inborn trait (samskar) of mine by
virtue of being brought up in a Jain family in an atmosphere of non-violence.
At the age of eleven, I was initiated as a Jain monk. Non-violence is the
first Great Vow to be observed by a Jain monk and I started practicing it in
my day-to-day life. In the course of my studies I got an opportunity to
understand it minutely. I realised that it is efficacious in solving present
day problems too. Where violence fails, non-violence proves to be a potent
force. Every battle or tense situation of strife invariably ends in peace and
World War II had just ended, and its after-effect was still
there in the form of ruins. An International Congress of Faiths was held in
London on June 22,1945, in which my message entitled "Message of Peace to a
World full of Unrest" was read out. That was my first step towards mass
contact for the sake of non-violence. A burning desire for world peace
occupied my heart. I kept meditating on the ways and means as to how
unnecessary violence, armaments and warfare could be eliminated. At the Peace
Congress held at Shanti Niketan my message entitled "The Path of World
Peace" containing the following points was read out:
(1) Truth and Non-violence must form the sound foundation
(2) Non-violence should be practised instead of merely
(3) Every individual should be oriented to the importance
of observing restraint and spirituality in life. As a social creature, man
cannot overlook materialism in his household affairs, but it should be kept in
check reasonably, through spirituality.
(4) Never force your principles on others.
(5) Narrow feelings of community, sect or caste should not
While intensive thinking and discussion on non-violence
continued, the foundation was laid for the Anuvrat Movement in 1949 which I
regard as an important step towards training for non-violence. 'Vow' means
determinate resolution. If we have no firm resolution about
non-violence, there is no possibility of its successful implementation.
At the First International Conference on Peace and
Non-violent Action at Ladnun in December, 1989, I floated an idea that
'there was no powerful forum to propagate non-violence and that there was no
co-ordination among the people working for it. Even the countries with
conflicting ideologies had formed the UNO to resolve their problems. There
they meet together, discuss and find a way out for the issues under
discussion. It is a pity that those who have faith in non-violence
never get together and find out solutions collectively.'
Conferences will be historic, if they are likely to provide
a forum to the champions of non-violence where they may discuss various
problems, find solutions for the eradication of violence, and lend strength to
the ideals of non-violence in the world. It will, of course, prove to be a
powerful step in the direction of world peace.
We find that people devoted to non-violence are not
properly trained. Therefore, a programme should be chalked out to involve
seasoned workers in this movement and disseminate the message of non-violence
to all and sundry.
The Anuvrat Movement is a movement of non-violence. Faith
in non-violence is its foundation. Man is a social being though he has his
individual existence too. Non-violence explains in spiritual terms how one
should deal with one's self as well as with other human beings. The Anuvrat
Movement has taken both these aspects into consideration and upheld
that neither should there be violence against one's self nor against society.
Under fear or anger people commit violence against themselves. The training in
non-violence forms an important aspect of adjusting oneself under such
Unfortunately, killings of innocent people and aimless
violence are on the increase. The reason is that man is blind to violence at a
personal level. He himself is responsible for violence in profession,
entertainments, and cosmetics. Without transforming the individual, such
violence cannot be checked.
The Anuvrat Movement is an effort to check violence
from becoming a habit. Before committing violence, one must think that
violence is not desirable and one is committing it out of compulsion. It is a
very grave situation as violence is increasingly becoming a habit with many
people. Terrorism is flourishing in our sentiment due to violence. Serious
thinking to this problem is the need of the hour.
Building a non-violent society
For many decades, efforts have been afoot for building a
non-violent society. Many organisations and institutions with their inherent
faith in non-violence have helped in promoting this idea. But their efforts
have not met with any success mainly because people propounding this concept
have not come out of their narrow boundaries. Unless they decide to go to the
masses and inspire them to practise non-violence in their lives, we cannot
build a non-violent society.
To give shape to their theory, Anuvrat exponents
made some efforts for forming Anuvrat villages in Rajasthan with the
following minimum programme:
(1) Ninety per cent of the people in the village should be
(2) There should be no court-cases and the people must
resolve their differences through mutual goodwill.
(3) There should be no room for untouchability or ignorance
(illiteracy) and superstitions.
(4) None should be idle, unemployed or landless.
(5) It should be a clean village.
(6) People should be oriented towards scientific
(7) There should be complete prohibition of alcohol and all
other intoxicating drugs.
In Gujarat, work is still going on for building 'Anuvrat-grams'.
But it is a limited experiment. We need to train people on a larger scale in
order to build a non-violent society. It is impossible to bring out a major
change by slipshod work.
Training in non-violence should be an integral part of
education. We need to make a triangular effort involving parents, teachers and
students to make this campaign successful. In this regard we have started the
"Jivana Vijnana' (Science of Living) course to Supplement the present
traditional system of education. The programme envisages mental and emotional
training with intensive experimentation.
For transformation of the human personality, we have
evolved the Preksha meditation technique which changes the heart and feelings
of the individual and bring about a social, political and economic
transformation in society. The Science of Living contains in its fold the
entire range of training and experimentation in Anuvrat and Preksha-dhyana.
To our mind Anuvrat, Preksha-dhyana and Jivana-Vijnana is
the threefold path for transforming the human personality. The person trained
through this trinity will surely develop a balanced personality and succeed in
all walks of life.
As early as ten years ago we had formulated a three-point
scheme for the effective propagation of non-violence. Now we see that merely
discussing it will be of no avail. If research, training and experimentation
are done simultaneously, non-violence may be embedded in peoples thoughts and
We find that violence is being encouraged everywhere.
Researches and investigations in warfare are being conducted day in and day
out. It is, therefore, our duty to carry on research and training in
non-violence and protect it from being uprooted.
We should resolve collectively to force Government to train
people in non-violence as well as in war. Even armies should be trained in
non-violence along with their training in warfare. The UNO too must take up
this task in the interest of world peace. In this case, if wars or violence
take place, they may be inevitable from some consideration, but they shall not
be the product of madness or anger. The discriminating co-ordination between
violence and non-violence shall save the world from unnecessary or extreme
forms of violence.
It is surprising that universities throughout the world
have so many faculties of teaching, but nowhere do we find any faculty of
Non-violence. We must decide to convey the message of non-violence to every
nook and corner of the world and evolve an effective strategy for that. Only
then would our idea be fruitful.