Non-Violence - A
Acharya Amritchandra is second only to
Kundkundacharya in the galaxy of spiritual saints. It is a matter of
regret that we do not know much about this great Acharya of about the 12th
century, except whatever is known from his writings.
Always unconcerned with fame and other
worldly aspirations, Acharya Amritchandra, after writing great treatises,
"Words were formed with letters,
sentences with words, and sentences gave rise to this holy scripture. I
have done nothing." The same feeling has been expressed in Tattvarthasar.
Pandit Ashadharji has called him Thakur,
which shows that he must have been connected with some high Kshatriya
He has complete mastery over Sanskrit
language. Both in his prose and poetry, language flows according to
feelings, and is simple, easily comprehensible and sweet. He was always
engrossed in spiritual thinking. Consequently, all his creations are full
of spiritualism of a high order.
All his works are in Sanskrit. He wrote
prose and poetry both. Among his prose writings are his commentaries on
the great works of Kundkund :
Samaysar Tika-known as Atmakhyati'.
Pravachansar Tika-known as 'Tatparya
Panchastikay Tika-known as Samay
Tattvarthasar-Poetic translation of
prose sutras of Umaswami.
work on the life of a householder. The nature of violence and
non-violence has been very clearly depicted in this work.
The resent essay is based on his
NON-VIOLENCE - A
"Non-Violence is the greatest religion"
is a common saying of the age. It is an established truth that
non-violence is the greatest religion. But the question is what
non-violence is ?
Whenever there is a talk of violence and
non-violence, we always think of killing or torturing or saving living
beings, thus, relating violence and non-violence to others only. Most
people believe that Ahimsa (non-violence) is not only killing or harming
others. Very few people understand that these are also related to the
self. Even these regard violence of the self as suicide by poisoning etc.
Nobody tries to understand the innermost meaning of these two. Very few
people know that rise of attachment and aversion in the inner self is also
violence. It is on account of this that Acharya Amritchandra has given
importance to the inner sight, while giving definitions of violence and
"Rise of attachment, aversion and
delusion is violence and their elimination is non-violence.'
As such he emphatically declares that
telling lies, theft, indulging in sensual joys and accumulation of wealth
and belongings, since they arise out of attachments, aversions and
delusions, are all violence.
Telling lies and theft etc. are all
violence, because they destroy the pure feelings of the soul. Their
division is meant only to give knowledge about them to the students.
Those, who conduct themselves according
to the tenets of religion, do not commit violence merely on account of
causing pain to others, since they are not actuated by feelings of
attachments and aversions, and those who are careless about the tenets are
guilty of violence, irrespective of the fact whether living creatures die
or not, because they indulge in different passions and thus kill their
souls. They are great sinners, since they are self-killers.
Critics can say a when is not related to
the killing or not-killing others, why should we try to keep away from
deeds of violence ? We should only keep our feelings pure. The Acharya
It is true that other beings and objects
are not causes of violence. Still then for the purity of our feelings we
should not indulge in accumulation of wealth and other sins that are
occasioned by violence.
It is not true that external violence,
that is, to torture or cause pain to others is not violence. It is
violence, since it is due to recklessness of our being. We do not pay
attention to the mental violence that is committed in the inner self and
regard physical harm alone as violence. Here our attention has been drawn
to the psychic violence that is caused by passions like attachments. Those
who do not renounce even external violence cannot understand psychic
It is, therefore, very necessary for
mental purity that we should renounce uneatables, eating during night
time, the use of wine, meat, honey, and five kinds of fruit, which contain
moving living creatures in them, because their consumption means the
slaughter of countless moving living creatures and rise of cruelty in our
feelings. Persons of non-violent conduct having soft passions do not
indulge in such irresponsible activities.
Violence is of two kinds : (1) Material
violence (2) Psychic violence.
We easily understand that material
violence is killing or torturing living beings, and psychic violence is
the desire or mental preparation to commit such violence; but we do not
understand that intention to save the life of others is also not real
non-violence, because that is also attachment.
In fact, the emergence of attachment of
whatever kind in the mind, is Violence, because it leads to bondage. When
Acharya Amritchandra included feelings of attachment in violence, it is
not possible that he did not have an idea of their connotation i.e.
auspicious and inauspicious attachments both.
Acharya Amritchandra has given a true
and the best definition of non-violence. All attachments etc. of whatever
nature are violence. If they have somewhere been described as
non-violence, that is conventional exposition of facts.
Critics can say that such, non-violence,
can only be followed by the monks and as such it concerns them alone;
feelings of kindness in saving the lives of others is real non-violence of
the householder. Acharya Amritchandra has taken up this matter and
established that non-violence is not of two kinds. There can be two stages
of imbibing non-violence in life, but violence shall always remain
violence. If the householder cannot abjure violence altogether, he may
abjure part thereof, but that which he cannot abjure cannot be regarded as
non-violence. If we cannot abjure violence completely we should abstain
from partial violence. If we cannot do even that, we should, at least,
abstain from regarding and calling violence as something religious.
Auspicious activities, because they are attachments, are included in
violence and it is not correct to treat them as religion.
Rise of attachments, aversions, and
delusions in ourselves is violence and to treat them as religion is the
greatest violence, and absence of these is non-violence and not to regard
these attachments and aversions etc. as religion is the real understanding
A possible question is - vicious
attachments are violence, but why regard virtuous attachments as violence
? The fact is that when attachment is violence, how can virtuous
attachments be treated as non-violence ? It is also a kind of attachment.
Of course, virtuous attachments are mild violence and vicious attachments
are strong violence. If we cannot abjure violence altogether, we should
mitigate it. The lesser are our attachments, the better it is for us, but
their presence cannot be treated as religion. Religion is complete absence
of attachment, aversions and delusions and that is non-violence, which has
been hailed as the greatest religion.
Dr. H.C. Bharill