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Indu Jains Speech

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  • Jainism Today
    Times of India 31.8.2000 Non-violence is way to world peace The speech delivered by Mrs Indu Jain, Chairman, The Times Group, at the ongoing Millennium World
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31 9:16 AM
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      Times of India 31.8.2000

      Non-violence is way to world peace
      The speech delivered by Mrs Indu Jain, Chairman, The
      Times Group, at the ongoing Millennium World Peace
      Summit of Religious and Spiritual leaders at the
      United Nations


      Bhagwan Mahavir was deep in meditation. His closed
      eyes emanated an extraordinary peace and serenity. A
      bird flew in and sat close to him. When he opened his
      eyes, the bird got frightened and flew away. Lord
      Mahavir thought of the violence inherent in the very
      opening of the human eye. Non-violence, or a-himsa is
      not only the absence of violence but it is the lack of
      fear and the presence of an all-embracing love for
      humanity.

      Non-violence is reaching out to others while
      transcending the barriers of caste, creed, religion,
      sex, faction and even species. It is an independent
      state of consciousness. Our physical, emotional and
      intellectual states of being limit and confine us;
      they choke us, degrade us and make us unhappy. The
      absence of fetters or chains is non-violence.

      Removing ignorance is the first step towards building
      a world movement for non-violence. True knowledge
      consists of self-understanding and self-control.
      Non-violence is the highest form of knowledge since it
      harmonises one's relations with others. Ahimsa, like
      moksha or nirvana, is freedom from the endless drama
      of opposites: pleasure-pain, happiness-sorrow,
      attraction-aversion, love-hate, gain-loss,
      success-failure, wealth-poverty, fear-courage,
      strength-weakness, victory-defeat, praise-denigration,
      honour-insult, conflict-harmony,
      gentleness-aggression, virtue-vice, good-evil,
      freedom-bondage.

      In short, non-violence is freedom from the past, from
      history, from memory. It is freedom from all that
      which suffocates, chokes, distresses and disturbs.
      Therefore, whatever can be subdued by opposites is not
      free; whatever is not free cannot be non-violent; I
      cannot be sensitive to other people's plight if I
      remain a prisoner of the human drama being played out
      by these opposites.

      How can I be sensitive to other people and their pain?
      The Jain philosophy of anekantvad has an answer to
      this. It argues that there are no absolute theories or
      theorems or formulas that are capable of describing
      reality in absolute terms. Nirvana lies in right faith
      (samyagadarshana), right knowledge (samyagnana) and
      right conduct (samyakcharitra). Simply put, my way is
      not the final one, my version is not the only version,
      and my truth is not the ultimate truth. There are many
      ways, several versions and diverse paths to reach the
      truth. Each in its own right is legitimate.

      How is this perfect state of peace and universal love
      to be obtained? Desire and its satisfaction cannot be
      the foundation of relationship with my self and the
      other. In relation to myself, desire will only drive
      me restless, anxious in seeking satisfaction and in
      wanting to retain what I have. I will reach a point
      where I can hardly ever enjoy what I desired and
      obtained. In relation to the other, I turn the other
      into a means of my satisfaction, into an object, to be
      grasped and retained, and then manipulated. This is
      why Jainism places such great emphasis on a-parigraha,
      roughly translated as non-possession. But this
      non-possession is not one of objects alone, but
      non-possession of desires and control of the lower
      senses.

      It is fashionable in the West to think of non-violence
      as a powerless tool. This is a misunderstanding.
      Non-violence is a way of life and a theory of an ideal
      society. One who believes in non-violence resists and
      counters violence by being uninfluenced by it.
      Non-violence absorbs the recurrence of violence. It is
      an expansive, all-embracing love and concern for all
      living and non-living beings. Remorse and bitterness
      are not part of the agenda of non-violence.

      Who would understand the language of love and concern
      better than the youth of today? If non-violence has to
      become a world movement, the young will have to assume
      the leadership of this movement. They have shown
      tremendous initiative in taking up the cause of
      environmental protection, furthering peace and rising
      above the narrow confines of nationality, ethnicity
      and parochialism. Today's youth is a global citizen.
      He or she understands the only language that is
      universal: love. And love is possible through
      non-violence alone. I salute the youth of today. I
      salute non-violence. I believe in universal love and
      dedicate myself to furthering it.



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