Peace is the true nature of this universe and it is equally true to each one of us if we care to go deep into each one of our inner-self through su-darshan. Those who face problem in it better learn su-darshan-kriya taught world over by the Art of Living Maestro Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guru Dev.
The very structure of this universe and its inherent economic is for peace. The peace started eluding mankind with the advent of industrialization and the man getting displaced by machines.
The people of Europe and North America desire peace maintaining their multiplicity of wants and high standard of living. This is now equally true with city dwellers of developing nations including India. Modern fan failed to understand the truth that high standard of living and peace are incompatible. If Mahatma Gandhi’s works and teachings are read correctly, his most important message to the humanity was to organize one’s own day-to-day life for peace. This went into deaf ears even in India.
Let the message to humanity during this festive season of Christmas and New Year be to take up the cross of simple life and follow the life of a Satyagrahi i.e. truth seeker. After all Truth is God and God is Love. Mahatma Gandhi’s promoted Khadi and Village Industries helped one to organize one’s own life for peace.
During Mahatma Gandhi’s time, Maganwadi, Wardha, presently in the Maharashtra State of India was the capital for Khadi and Village Industries. Hundreds of thousands of workers from all over India got trained at Maganwadi for Khadi and Village Industries.
At Maganwadi at the entrance to the Industries Court there is a beautiful life-size representation of Jesus being taken down from the cross. This sculpture was made by Clara Quien Hopman and presented to the All India Village Industries Association of which Mahatma Gandhi’s doctor of village industries J. C. Kumarappa was the Secretary for a very long time. This symbolic sculpture was mounted at the gateway of the Industries Court with the following inscription in English, Urdu, Hindi and Marathi:
“Grama Sevaks who obtain their training in the various departments housed in this Udyog Bhavan are expected to be imbued with the spirit of a true Satyagrahi. They should go out to serve the villagers dedicating all they have to such service. In the pursuit of their ideal they should be prepared to lay down even their lives if need be.
“To symbolize this spirit of vicarious suffering and sacrifice that should be goal of all satyagrahis, this sculpture is erected depicting Jesus being taken down from the Cross on which he was crucified by the leaders of his day, because with his life of purity and unrelenting championship of truth, he proved an unbearable critic of the evil customs and traditions prevalent at that time. He laid down his life to fulfill his ideals.”
After Indian independence, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and J.C.Kumarappa’s leaving Maganwadi, its importance got reduced. In independent India when Khadi and Village Industries Commission was constituted, the Government of India chose to have its headquarters at Mumbai instead of at Maganwadi. It should have been quite appropriately be at Maganwadi. Unfortunately that did not happen.
Big powers of the world who literally deprive humanity the peace, always claimed to make schemes for peace. But peace always eluded mankind as no attempts were made to reduce one’s own wants and organizing one’s own day-to-day life for peace.
In July 1945 while writing on “World Security” in Gram Udyog Patrika, the journal for Village Industries, J.C.Kumarappa wrote the following:
“In Christendom the Church, not content with reserving for itself the moral power consequent on its spiritual leadership but with the help and allegiance of other temporal states and with the sanction of physical force and violence, tried for centuries to play the role of arbiter and restore the rule of reason amongst nations, but the savage and barbaric hordes of Europe reduced its efforts to futility s these recurring world wars have witnessed. The heart of man was not touched.
“The attempt made by Islam was through ethical means. They aimed at making humanity a brotherhood where all distinction of caste, colour and economic inequalities would be abolished. This method was much more successful, but as it confined itself only to the followers of the Prophet it did not naturally attain world-wide dimensions in practice. It has yet great unexplored possibilities.
“In India, the Hindus of old launched on an elaborate plan to sterilize greed and avarice by setting up cultural standards of values, which will reduce the evils of economic competition and lay emphasis on the value of the development of personality. By the Varnashrama Dharma the ones who exercised merely rights were put down as the lowest group. The profit seeking Vaisya had no high social status while the protector of the people, the Kshatriya, had a status all his own, independent of his wealth of material possessions. The dispossessed Brahmin, whose position of influence was based on the service of his fellowmen, occupied the pinnacle of respect. This system has also fallen short of its possibilities because of the course of time these distinguishing ideals were lost sight of and status was attached to birth rather than to the form of service rendered to society.”
It is to be remembered that J.C.Kumarappa belonged neither to Islam nor Sanadhana Dharma i.e. so called Hinduism. He belonged to a devout Christian family and he rose to greater spiritual heights under the influence of his Maestro Mahatma Gandhi. Truly J.C.Kumarappa’s was “His Master’s Voice”.
What a misfortune that Islam today is considered a religion that harbours terrorists and terrorism instead of making humanity a brotherhood. Western industrial lobby influenced oil explorations and marketing pushed the believers of Islam towards more materialism. This helped breed terrorists and terrorism. This must change and the truth should prevail.
American led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq killed hundreds and thousands of young American soldiers as well as innocent Afghan and Iraqi citizens. Deadly weapons freely gone into the hands of misguided youths and fanatics of both the countries as well as in the neighbourhood in countries like Pakistan. United Stated of America is solely responsible for this. Thanks to American President George Bush the United States of America is today a shattered economy with increasing unemployment. It is to be seen whether the new President can change this state of affairs.
This reminds this peace lover J.C.Kumarappa’s speech at World Congress for Peace at Vienna on January 24, 1953. That time he boldly said the following:
“America attempts to cordon off the awakening of the masses along the political line starting from Korea, China, Burma, India, Iraq and Jordania, etc. going onto West Germany. To this end the U.S.A. is moving heaven and earth to get a foot hold on all these countries by fair means or foul – by wars, by finance, by pretended social service and goodwill etc. Let us be awake to the dangers around us and be forewarned.”
No one grasped the above prophetic words of warning. America occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and succeeded in installing its own puppet Governments and continues to rule these countries by proxy. It is quite natural terrorism and terrorists increased the world over.
Peace as Dharma
In order to benefit the present day readers, especially the younger generation I consider it appropriate to quote hereunder the text of J.C.Kumarappa’s speech before the World Congress for Peace at Vienna in January 1953.
“As we are meeting here to explore all ways and means of attaining world peace, I wish to place before you for your consideration the methods worked out in India by Mahatma Gandhi and his analysis of the reasons for friction among nations and the way to smoothen international relations.
The philosophy of non-violence and truth of Gandhiji has its deep roots in the way of life developed over thousands of years by the Hindus to lead us to peace. Hence to understand the Gandhian way of peace it is necessary to remind ourselves of this ancient background.
They held Truth is God and Dharma is ht purpose of existence of man. Nay, each creature – sentient and insentient – has its own Dharma. The Dharma of man is to express himself in peace. Dharma is neither religion nor duty as is often indifferently translated. These latter are but expressions of Dharma but not all of it. Just as to produce flowers is the nature of the rose plant and to exude fragrance is of the very nature of the rose, so should the produce of peace be the very existence of man. We may say flowering is the Dharma of the rose and peace is the Dharma of man. Anything that produces conflict is Adharma.
Modern philosophy of life has turned man into an economic animal. It has made production of good the Dharma of man. This is a degradation of the mission in life of man. We may say, if we choose, that the Dharma of the machine is to produce goods. But man is something nobler. Life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess. Man does not live by bread alone and much less by unwanted things made into necessities by artificial pressure of salesmanship and advertising. Thus has man fallen from his Dharma and has brought conflict into the world of humanity by introducing false values and priorities. If we wish to restore peace we have to reorientate our own lives. This may involve foregoing many materials things which we have come to regard as essentials. In the restoration of Dharma lies the hope of World Peace.
The Dharma of the strong is the protection of the weak. The all powerful America fighting small nations like Korea, is Adharma. It belongs to the animal kingdom. The Dharma of the tiger may be to kill but not that of man. We have to diagnose this virus of poison that has entered human life and has produced this phenomenon of nation warning against nation and man’s personality being buried under a mountain of consumer goods. This finally leads man to seek a way out by blowing up this mountain by a ceaseless activity of producing instruments of destruction. To a cool thinker production of the atom bomb would seem the height of midsummer madness and what shall we say of hydrogen bombs and germ warfare! Man has thus fallen from his Dharma and wandered into the jungle of violence. Hence it is necessary to restore the values that make for human development and fuller expression of personality. To do this was Gandhi’s search for truth and the non-violent way of life.
The malady the world is suffering from today is mainly due to economic factors. We have forgotten the end of man in life and are running after things that do not matter. In the few minutes at our disposal I shall attempt an analysis of the situation from a practical point of view and see how we can remedy it and implement the suggestions.
If the way of Dharma leads to peace then any act that is Dharma will lead to violence. These global conflicts are not isolated incidents. They are the culminations of innumerable small acts performed by simple people innocently. Though the responsibility for wars may immediately by placed on some leaders, yet the real causes can be traced to our daily acts. For instance, city people buy milk without asking whether the calf has been fed or the children of the milkman have had their quota. When the milk we buy is not surplus but has been squeezed out of the mouths of calves and children with prior claims, our acts are Adharmic and we create violence, which, when accumulated, breaks out into world catastrophes. Hence we may see the real remedy lies in the consumer being closely associated with the produced and the distributor. This means decentralization of production and a move towards self-sufficiency. This has been Gandhiji’s suggestion for banishing the causes of war.
On the production side today the goods are turned out on a mass scale with standardized methods, from raw materials secured from the ends of the earth from under-developed people. All this is Adharmic. Similarly distribution has no natural urge but is stimulated by all manner of artificial multiplicity of wants. This again is Adharmic and leads to violence.
The pattern of consumption has no relation to real needs of the consumer, nor is it neither related one to another nor based on any priorities. The consumer pattern is calculated to sub serve the needs of the produced and distributor. Hence periodic explosions are called for to set the system on proper lines. These gain lead to wars.
As long as the capitalistic and imperialistic interests persist and production follows centralized and standardized methods, wars will form an integral part of human life and no amount of petitions and protests will bring about lasting peace.
Because of these underlying causes the atmosphere is surcharged with a fear of acquisitive interests being upset by a spreading sense of social justice. The American bloc represents private property and individual profits, while Russia, China and associated countries stand for social justice. The handful of American vested interests desire to stop the ever-growing consciousness of the masses for a square deal. Here is the world situation in a nutshell. America attempts to cordon off the awakening of the masses along the political line starting from Korea, China, Burma, India, Iraq and Jordania etc. going on to West Germany. To this end the U.S.A. is moving heaven and earth to get a foothold on all these countries by fair means or foul – by wars, by finance, by pretended social service and goodwill etc. Let us be awake to the dangers around us and be forewarned.
What then is the remedy? The causes themselves suggest the way out. We have already seen that Gandhiji had suggested self-sufficiency and decentralization of production.
Russia is working out the first by the Government taking over their foreign trade and by producing most of her needs within their borders. This is a healthy move. But they are still adhering to centralized methods of production which is also basically a cause of conflict as we diagnose the situation.
The American way is heading directly towards international conflicts all along the line and their ultimate interest is financial. To call a halt we should resort to methods which are also Dharmic if we aim at permanence. Here also Gandhiji had indicated the way of non-violent non-co-operation with the offender which may finally result in the launching of a Satyagraha movement.
In the economic field this will result in a boycott of all trade transactions with the offender and thus isolating him from the rest of human society. If we apply this sanction all nations should stop dealing in American goods. For instance, India is flood with American goods of all kinds—automobiles, electrical goods, fountain pens, drugs and cosmetic and all kinds of consumer goods. Therefore if an embargo is placed on these it will bring the Government of the U.S.A. to its senses quickly.
In this Congress over 70 nations are represented. If all these countries decide on one common course of action it cannot be long before the U.S.A. authorities can be called to order. On the other hand, a mere threat of armed might will only challenge them to a greater and more rapid production of armaments. This may even be an attraction to the manufacturers and merchants of death as an opportunity for acquiring greater wealth.
This course of action brings promotion of World Peace within the reach of every single one of us. We need not feel helpless before the great ones of the earth. Everyone can contribute his mite. This is a great privilege and a responsibility: It calls for self-control and sacrifice in the cause of peace. Are we prepared to shoulder our share of work?
All this is based on the assumption that we shall have enough basic character to organize each nation into behaving in co-operation with the rest of the world on a high level of more and spiritual standards. The education of the children must be recast to enable us to raise a nation of stalwarts who will depend on character rather than armaments to maintain peace. Only such peaceful relations, founded on co-operation, understanding and goodwill, will lead us to lasting peace.
In such a world there can be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, oppression of the under-developed by the highly organized, or over-powering of the small by the mighty. Such human relations alone can lead to peace of earth and goodwill towards men.”
How relevant the above words are even today! It is time to act. Better late than never. Let this not be deferred to or neglected to. Negligence of such things can do irreparable damage to humanity as has already happened.
In India as early as on 16th November, 1947 All India Congress Committee passed the following resolutions:
“The All India Congress Committee was noted with regret that there is a growing desire on the part of some organizations to build up private armies. Any such development is dangerous for the safety of the State and for the growth of corporate life in the nation. The State alone should have its defense forces or police or some guards or recognized armed volunteer force. The activities of the Muslim National Guards, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and the Akali Volunteers and such other organizations, in so far as they represent an endeavor to bring into being private armies, must be regarded as a menace to the hard-won freedom of the country. The A.I.C.C. therefore appeals to all these organizations to discontinue such activities and the Central and Provincial Governments to take necessary steps in this behalf.”
“Political independence having been achieved, the Congress must address itself to the next great task, namely and reestablishment of real democracy in the country and a society based on social justice and equality. Such a society must provide every man and woman with equality of opportunity and freedom to work for the unfettered development of his or her personality. This can only be realized when democracy extended from the political to the social and the economic spheres.”
The above resolutions remained merely in paper and these were not sincerely acted upon. Subsequent events including the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Indira Gandhi and increasing number of terrorist attacks and terrorisms are history.
Similarly, in the United States of America as early as on 20th January 1993 the then
President Bill Clinton said the following:
“To renew America we must revitalize our democracy. This beautiful capital like every capital since the dawn of civilization is often a place of intrigue and calculation. Powerful people maneuver for position and worry endlessly about who is in and who is out, who is up and who is down, forgetting those people whose toil and sweat send us here and pay our way………………………………………………….
Let us give this capital back to the people whom it belongs.”
President Bill Clinton too failed to sincerely act on the above even after holding two terms of the American Presidency. The rest is history.
Such negligences and mistakes have done irreparable damages to Indians and Americans in particular and humanity at large. Let us learn from our past mistakes and take care not to repeat the same, but work and help to leave behind for the younger generation a world worth living and they can be proud of inheriting a peaceful world.
Let Peace be our Dharma. In peace alone all round human development is possible and feasible. Any dispute on this?