Please read the signature line at the end of the article to learn about a book that can make the dream of worldwide peace a reality. It’s not a religion or political ideology. It’s founded in the principles of sociology. It works.
‘Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems’
“As my conception of ahimsa went on maturing, I became more vigilant about my thought and speech. The lines in the Anthem:
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks
particularly jarred upon my sentiments of Ahimsa.”
Mohandas K. (“The Mahatma”) Gandhi; The Story of My Experiments With Truth; 1927
Ahimsa more than anything else is a philosophy of non-violence. Some Hindus and Buddhists and especially Jainists (or Jains) subscribe to ahimsa as a way of life.
It means more than simply not killing others. It’s the guide for ordinary people that is the equivalent of the medical dictum “Do no harm.”
That means doing no harm to anyone or anything. It includes emotional harm as well as physical. In ahimsa, emotional harm is as bad as physical harm, maybe worse.
To Christians it would be the equivalent of turning the other cheek, what Jesus did when insulted and assaulted. This aspect of Christianity, however, finds little support in action within Christian countries.
Ahimsa means not arguing with others, instead using dialog to find compromises. In ahimsa, peace is greater than any other force.
Most people who subscribe to ahimsa are vegetarians or vegans because they don’t want to make animals suffer either through penning them in life or by killing them. Killing living plants is done to survive.
Can ahimsa really be practical in today’s real world or is it a pie in the sky philosophy that few could or should take seriously? Gandhi made it work.
The Mahatma (Great Soul) was the most successful and magnificent icon in history who was non-violent yet achieved great goals. More than for any other reason, the British left India because Gandhi urged people to protest peacefully against their inhumane rulers. It simply cost too much to provide security services for so many people who wanted to protest.
To the British, India was “The Jewel In The Crown,” the colony that brought wealth and power to the UK that nothing else could. India made the British Empire. But it was brought to its knees by the little man who would not harm anyone.
Before departing India for good, the British were faced with possible riots in the Punjab and Calcutta (now Kolkata). The army believed it might be able to contain an uprising in Punjab, but it had no idea how to contain the (mostly Muslim) mobs of Calcutta. It didn’t have the manpower to control an angry mob that large.
The British decided to send their 55,000 available troops all to Punjab. To Gandhi they said “If you can control Calcutta (Bengal), then go to it.”
Gandhi went to Bengal and spoke to the tribal and religious leaders there. There was no riot, no one died, no one was hurt. The British army in Punjab mowed down hundreds of Punjabis at a time as they rioted.
One man prevented a bloodbath that a whole army could not. He was a man of peace. He spoke of peace. He taught peace. 450 million Indians believed him. Most of the time.
At the time of independence, Pakistan threatened to invade Kashmir until India came to its aid (absorbing Kashmir in the process). About ten million people died trying to make their way to the new country of their choice. Hindus moved from Pakistan to India while Muslims moved from India to Pakistan. Ten million were slaughtered by others of the different religion.
The Great Soul couldn’t be everywhere.
India today is largely a country of peace, despite what fears of nuclear attacks we may read about in the western media. Those fears were mostly in the minds of western new editors rather than in the minds of Indian people.
Gandhi taught peace and lived peace. He died at the hands of a militant Hindu who didn’t want peace. But his legacy lives in India today as if he were still alive.
Teaching peace works. Gandhi proved it on a macro scale.
The lesson is there for us to learn.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how to implement a peace plan throughout the world, one that will work and will cost very little.
Learn more at http://billallin.com