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Non-Violence: A Natural, Dynamic And Live Value

Non-Violence: A Natural, Dynamic And Live Value

Dr. Ravindra Kumar*

Non-violence, that is Ahimsa, is not a rough thing, nor is it an inactive thought or a value established by man. Non-violence is a natural, dynamic, active or live value. Because of its permanent existence in human nature, its being dynamic and active non-violence is an essential condition for existence, development and the ultimate goal, and for this very reason it is the first and absolutely necessary base of civilization.

Best manifestation of non-violence took place in Lord Mahavira. For Mahavira non-violence is the soul-force. Besides being nucleus in Jain philosophy, the form of non-violence that shaped in his individual practices and daily routine, nevertheless, it did not exist in the life of any of his contemporaries. It this regard Mahavira is unparallel even today; and after him anybody equaled him or has been able to follow him completely, is beyond my knowledge and belief.

Further for Gautama Buddha, and in modern times, for Mahatma Gandhi, non-violence is, ultimately, a natural value. As for many incarnations, prophets, philosophers and thinkers, since ancient to modern times, for Buddha and Gandhi also it is the principal human value. Although Gautama Buddha did not directly accept the naturalness of non-violence, but the manner in which he has repeated love for life as innate desire by all [Sabbes Jeeviyam Piyam), and disliking for violence and punishment [Sabbe Tashanta Dandassa], the conclusion is drawn that non-violence is a natural value. Buddha laid stress on maximum purity in daily practices and he called for practical non-violence as much as possible. For this reason, non-violence became the subject of more and more practices in his philosophy.

Mahatma Gandhi’s arguments that ‘man has made consistence progress in direction of non-violence’ and in a natural way ‘mankind moved towards non-violence for progresses’ spontaneously confirm the naturalness of this value from his side also. For Gandhi too, non-violence is the subject of maximum practices and ultimately its yardstick is the intention behind the action. According to Mahatma Gandhi, importance lies in making non-violence conducive to circumstances of time and space; it is the base on which success of non-violence depends. No doubt, this conception towards non-violence is acceptable to all-general or particular.

Non-violence of Mahavira is the soul-force whereas non-violence of Buddha and Gandhi is a natural value. By speaking so, readers may presume that there is a difference in views of Mahavira, Buddha or Gandhi regarding non-violence. In other words, there is a difference between above-mentioned concepts relating to non-violence in which it soul-force according to Mahavira, while it is a natural value according to Buddha and Gandhi. But in reality it is not so. Definitely soul reflects the nature, or we can say that nature is influenced by soul. Therefore, the one that is the soul-force is, more or less, natural also.

So far as the question of non-violence being dynamic and live or an active value is concerned, in that Mahavira, Buddha, Gandhi and many other also, are unanimous. Let us now have some discussion regarding non-violence being a dynamic and active value.

As historical evidences confirm, in its primitive age man adopted the technique of living and stabilizing together. By doing so, man showed co-operation towards fellow man, which, like affection, is another supplementary value of non-violence. And interestingly, even in primitive age, after mutual co-operation humans did not make a final stop. Man did not stop satisfied at the feeling of his own safety and that of his contemporaries. On the contrary he had a keen desire to move forward. In other words, man was crazy enough to further develop the sense of mutual co-operation. And this was the reason that he continuously co-operated with others and established new records, one after the other. Because of this natural instinct man is still on the path of progress and he has to go further and further. Despite the presence of many hurdles, worldly competitions and envy, the instinct of co-operation with others could not elope from human nature and it will never elope. Because of this instinct man will remain active as far as possible, he shall continue to proceed towards prosperity.

Not on the strength of any theory, but on the basis of day-to-day practices and self-experiences, any one can reach the conclusion that non-violence and non-violent activities, and mainly co-operation, increases further with more efforts; it becomes conducive to us. Therefore, it can be emphatically said that non-violence is dynamic besides being an active value. Needless to say that non-violence is in our nature and it has the capacity to consistently develop. Any one who has least doubt in the activeness of non-violence or its dynamism, he can remove doubt by experiences of worldly practices of his own and others. There can be no question mark on non-violence being an active, dynamic and natural value.

Natural, active and dynamic value non-violence is entirely linked to heroism, or in other words, heroism is a necessary condition for it, and also an acid test of non-violence. There is no correlation between non-violence and cowardice. Vardhamana became Veera [the brave] on the strength of non-violence and he became Mahavira by adopting it his life.

Non-violence has the power which cannot be conquered by anyone. In the time of Buddha, Angulimal, who wore garland of fingers extracted from the bodies of people killed by him, once faced Buddha. Gautama Buddha was passing on his way when Angulimal came in front of him and he challenged Buddha to change his route, but Buddha did not care for his challenge. He was an apostle of compassion [the karuna] and compassion is the best supplementary value of non-violence. In this way, even being full of compassion, Buddha was definitely a brave also. Why should he be afraid of Angulimal? Buddha went on walking and at one time both were in front of each other. Buddha stood before him with strait eyes, but Angulimal could not see eye-to-eye; he got defeated and became Buddha’s follower. This was the strength of non-violence.

Many more such examples can be cited, but here I will discuss only one example more, which is related to Mahatma Gandhi and then give full stop to my talk It was the month of March in the year 1930. Mahatma Gandhi was proceeding towards Dandi from his Sabarmati ashram of Ahmedabad. A man of a place near Bharoach, who was opposed to the principle of Gandhi, threatened him to kill in a lonely place. Anyhow, Gandhi got the news. He was a worshipper of non-violence and, therefore, fearless and brave also. He knew that anyone having ill-will cannot withstand before the power of non-violence. Two-three days passed. In the meantime Gandhi got ascertained the name and address of that ill-willing person and one day, in early hours, he confronted him. Gandhi told the man, “Brother! I am Gandhi; you want my life. Take it soon, none will know.” The man could not see eye to eye with the votary of non-violence and became his follower. This is the reality of natural, dynamic and active or live value non-violence and of non-violent hero.


*Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a renowned Gandhian scholar, Indologist, India expert and writer. He is the Former Vice-Chancellor of the CCS University of Meerut, India

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