The Fundamentals of Peace

Gandhigiri… another word for Satyagraha

Gandhiji and Satyagraha (Satya=Truth) are synonymous!

Both relentlessly search for truth.

One as a person and the other as an ideology.

Non co-operation or Civil disobedience (suffering bravely borne) could be called the arms of Satyagraha, when it is a process to coach with compassion, without the use of violence. Its aim is to mobilize public opinion with the help of truth and justice.

Satyagraha is not an act of cowardice. Its aim is to gain alliance and knowledge rather than humiliate the opponent.

Reconciliation must be the outcome of Satyagraha.

‘To agree to disagree’ … to co-exist peacefully to the best of ones capacity.

The enemy is ‘evil’ not individuals.

Prophets of Peace

The vision is: That the following document is attached to calendars and distributed to schools, parents, teachers…to usher in a planet full of peaceful young citizens.

(There is no copyright infringement or payment required) 

Written and compiled by Ms Amla Ruia and Ms Shakun Narain Kimatrai www.dalsabzi.com   and www.wmpp.org 

(The personalities/prophets/incarnations are introduced, keeping in mind their ‘festival month’)

 “Peace comes from inner harmony and understanding. It is the out come of doing away with extremism, fanaticism and hate.

Peace is a step inwards. Peace should mean more about ‘belonging’ to Humanity rather than belonging to one sect or another. One has to commit to become more peaceful oneself first. The next step is to create a practicing society of living in peace. 

 Hence while we are working towards peace and while we fully believe in non-violence, we must be aware that there is certain amount of truth and sanity in war

While we believe in vegetarianism we must not hate the non-vegetarians. 

 While we fully believe in conserving nature we must maintain a balanced outlook towards technology and development.

 While we believe in the universality and oneness of God we must not belittle those who can conceive divinity in their chosen form of God only.

Thus if most of us are walking on the middle path and allowing a lot of flexibility in our approach, we can hope for a world full of peace harmony and happiness.

 God is ONE and the SAME. He is known by different names and lives in everyone’s heart. God’s home is in the heart of a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Sikh and every other religion of the world.

We are about to introduce you to many personalities who were peaceful and worked for peace. 

Children are going to be the leaders of tomorrow’s world. And they must start thinking right.

The Peace Prayer

Individual Peace leads to International Peace!

1
Lord make me an instrument of your peace,Where there is Hatred, let me sow Love,Where there is Injury, Pardon,Where there is Doubt, Faith,Where there is Despair, Hope,Where there is Darkness, light,And where there is Sadness, Joy.Francis of Asissi 
2
O! Divine master,Grant that I may not so much seekTo be consoled, as to console,To be understood, as to understand,To be loved as to love,For it is in giving that we receive,It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

WHAT IS PEACE

Peace means being one with Life itself, having no fear or bitterness. 

Rabindranath Tagore rightly said:

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…

Into that kingdom of freedom my Father, let my country awake.”

 Peace is a value, a value that can help us transcend the narrow confines of selfishness and make us drink deeply the nectar of compassion and understanding. 

 Thus we will find our lives filling with unsurpassable joy and contentment. Happiness will be our constant companion and the purpose of life will have been realized.

History speaks more of wars than peace. It took the impact of two world wars and the Hiroshima bomb disaster for humankind to begin to perceive Peace as the primary goal. Society feels threatened by pollution, poverty and the possibility of a nuclear holocaust.

 Peace is man’s central quest and yet there is less peace in our communities, in our school, in our homes, in our countries and the world than before.

 A caring people are a sign of peace.  All of us have to put our shoulders to the wheel if we want a better tomorrow.

Peace through love

 When we love we share and not tear.

When we love we win and not lose

When we love, we open and not close.

When we love ,we progress and not retreat.

When we love we cooperate and not break Peace is the value, which takes us to the heights of intellectual and emotional development. Let us learn to value the feelings of peace and harmony and interact within that premise, so that our thoughts, ideas and images consist of nothing but love for all of Humanity.

Ahimsa bears the essence of all religions. This one word defines our relationship with all living beings, human or other. Don’t hurt anyone. But, when your own existence is threatened, I’d rather live than die, then something has to be done.

JANUARY

Vivekananda Jayanti

Swami Vivekananda:- An essential ingredient for lasting peace is to have an understanding and tolerant heart.

EPISODE ONE

Once, while in America, Swami Vivekananda was invited to a function where his talk was preceded by a fashion show. Swami Ji was ushered into the hall where a fashion show modeling half-clad women was in progress.

His disciples were shocked and were taking the organizers to task for bringing Swami Ji to such a show.

Swami Ji, out of his immense magnanimity, gently stopped his disciples from upbraiding the organizers. He merely stated, “The models have restricted their understanding of divinity to the physical aspect of their being. I wish they would extend their vision and see the Divine in all aspects. This would enrich and fulfill their lives 

Swami Vivekananda never judged. When people criticized non-vegetarians, Vivekananda would say, “What is most important is not what goes into your mouth but what comes out”

He also would thunder: “What you have and what you eat is not as important as what you are”!

THINGS TO DO

1.  Who do you judge?

2.  Have you ever realized your mistake?

3. Do you realize that actions may be wrong, but people may have their points of view?

4.  Give examples from your life and those you know. (When you have had a misunderstanding and it has been cleared)

FEBRUARY/MARCH

Ramkrishna Paramhansa Jayanti
              

RAMKRISHNA PARAMHANSA:
Ramkrishna Paramhansa was a devotee at heart. He was a soul so gentle that there was no scope for violence in his words, works or deeds. He spoke the language of love and was the living example of non-violence. His path was unique

He was pure of heart and on who so ever he set his eyes, he beheld only the supreme DIVINITY. Therefore there was no ‘other’ in his life. When the mind is centred on Oneness, how can there be any violence in thoughts?

 Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa carried out several experiments amalgamating the precepts of different religions in his life. History has proved time and again that religion has been the cause of innumerable wars. It is  human failing that while we love and respect our own religion we are disdainful and disrespectful of other religions. Thus differences and separation arises between people belonging to different religions.  

 Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa practiced each religion and through each one of then arrived at the same feeling of Oneness and love. For a few days he lived as a Muslim and also as a Christian. He went into the depths of experience with the various religious sects born in India. The outcome of all of this was that he was full of love towards the followers of all religions. In turn he was highly revered and idealized by all. 

 We may not all be able to live up to the high standard of Paramhansa Ji but we can certainly learn from his experiences. When the same DIVINE LORD is the LORD of all religions then He alone resides in the hearts of all mankind and is the invisible thread connecting the entire creation. All this amounts to nothing else but supreme love for all of humanity. In such a climate of Oneness, there can be no place for violence?

 Let us remember that “ Non-violence is the supreme religion.”

 THINGS TO DO

  1. .Sow some seeds and nurture them to become a plants or get a couple of plants and look after them.
  2. Visit your local prisons and help the prisoners settle in life.
  3. Visit the local zoo and write a poem on the violence committed on animals.

If you are angry about something and you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person that you are angry at, is also in distress.

1. Ram Navami                                 2.Mahavir Jayanti

SHRI RAM CHANDRA

 Ram Rajya or the reign of Ram has become synonymous with a reign of peace and harmony. Rama was able to achieve it because his inner being was filled with love, respect and a sense of equality towards all.

 EPISODE ONE

During his exile of fourteen years, Ram was once visiting the Bheel woman Shabri who was a great devotee of Rama. In that village there was a pond  called Pampa Sarovar, The waters of the Pampa Sarovar had become defiled and infested with vermin. The people prayed to Rama to dip his feet in the Saravar so as to cleanse it, but Rama who wanted to elevate the status of the lowly people and give them their due position in the social order, said ,“Ask Shabri to dip her foot in the Sarovar. The pure vibrations of love which emanate from the heart of Shabri will cleanse and purify the pond”

 EPISODE TWO

Rama was born of queen Kuoshalya while Queeen Kaikeyi was mother of Prince Bharat. Queen Kaikeyi unjustly demanded from King Dashrath that Prince Rama (who was the rightful heir to the throne) be sent to the jungles for fourteen years and that her son Bharat should be installed on the throne.

Rama could have contested this verdict but he chose to abide by the wishes of his step mother and what is even more, he harbored no ill will towards her. In fact he treated her with genuine deference and love ! 

This is the mark of true nobility

 EPISODE THREE

Rama was engaged  a war unto death with Ravana because he had kidnapped Sita . Inspite of that he entertained immense respect for Ravana. There is no better example of the victor’s humility than that Rama asked Laxman to learn politics and good governance from Ravana.
These sterling qualities of Rama generated abiding peace and harmony in the kingdom of Ayodhya.

 THINGS TO DO 

To day also the tribals look upon Rama as the divine deity   who takes care of them. Let us make a trip to some tribal habitat, interact with them, and help them as best we can. (Perhaps we can go to the Vareli Tribal belt near Dahanu. Name of NGO Grammangal panse_r@hotmail.com )

 ( April Cont.)

LORD MAHAVIR 

 The key to the understanding of the psychology of violence could be found in the simple, ancient conclusion reached by Mahavir Swami that ahimsa and peace are born in the mind of man. A violent mind is not the place where peace could reside.

 The basic question, then, is how to bring about inner change.

Ahirnsa is not limited to ‘not hitting’, or ‘not harming’ others.

Ahimsa is the essence of a really civilized life. Ahimsa cannot pervade our inner self unless we get rid of dross, demeaning emotions, such as lust, anger, arrogance, fear and greed.

 If we destroyed nature, it will hit back in the shape of environmental degradation threatening the very existence of man. Thus, Mahavir Swami visualised man as a part of the organic whole of the life systems that inhabit this good, beautiful, ancient earth.

 EPISODE ONE

For fourteen long years he stood unmoving in the forest so that he could experience the soul of a stone and a tree. His inner most being melted and became one with Nature. Then compassion flowed out of him like a font. Who ever came to him could quench his thrust drinking deeply from the flowing compassion of his soul.

 EPISODE TWO

 Once Mahavir was sitting in samadhi while birds and animals shared the same habitat. He opened his eyes and looked up at a bird nestling in the over head branches. The very act of looking up somehow disturbed the winged creature who flew away in that instance.

 Mahavir was filled with remorse that he had caused the bird to fly away. 

 Do we think twice before ordering out servants to drop what ever they are doing and obey our every command? Do we realize that we are committing a violence when we expect them to pull themselves out of what ever they are engaged in and do something else at our whim?  

  1. 1.       Go up to any three trees in your vicinity, caress them and talk to them.
  2.      When ever you go on an outing with school, family or friends make an effort to clear the surroundings of stray plastic which greatly harms the earth.

MAY 

  1. Budha Jayanti
  2. Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti 

LORD BUDDHA

In the Dhammapada, he says: “They do not follow dharma who resort to violence to achieve their purpose.” Its costs far outweighed its benefits; it was a whirlpool that sucked society, polity and economy towards its dark centre.

EPISODE ONE

  • Lord Buddha was a Divine Master whose very presence had a calming effect on the environment. Which ever the direction his lotus feet took, the river water became clearer and the mountain plants and trees became more verdant.
  • During his time, a dacoit called Angulimal terrorized the people by cutting away their fingers after looting/killing them. He would then make a garland out of the severed fingers of his victims and wear it in his neck.
  • Lord Buddha, unafraid, walked up to Angulimaal and straight away said to him  “Cut a branch of the tree and bring it to me ! ”
  • Angulimal was so taken aback by the voice of command of the Great Master that he immediately obeyed.
  • Then Buddha asked Angulimal to join the branch back to the tree.
  • Angulimal said: “That is impossible”
  • Buddha gently explained: What you cannot unite, do not break asunder.

o    Angulimal was transformed by just 2 sentences. From a much dreaded dacoit he become an instrument of peace, love and compassion.

 We all know that a Paaras Mani (philosopher’s stone)   converts anything which it touches into gold, but a saint converts an ordinary man into a saint i.e a Paaras Mani

 It is no wonder that Nature celebrates the birth of a Saint.

 EPISODE TWO

 Once, Prince Siddhartha (young Gautama Buddha) was sitting peacefully in his palace garden. Suddenly a wounded bird with an arrow pierced through its body, dropped in front of him.

 Siddhartha picked up the bird, gently pulled out the arrow and while he was dressing the wound, Devdutta, his brother burst upon the scene and demanded the bird back. Devdutta proclaimed that the bird was his since he had hit the arrow. Siddhartha claimed otherwise.

 To resolve the dispute the two brothers went to the court of Raja Shuddhodhana, their father. 

 The verdict of the king was: “Greater is the giver than the destroyer of life.”

 THINGS TO DO

When we live in a society, we must regard each other as brothers and sisters, and practice the Six Concords-sharing space, sharing the essentials of daily life, using only words that contribute to harmony, sharing our insights and understanding, and respecting each other’s view points. A community that follows these principles always lives happily and at peace.

In political terms, the Buddha’s dharma would translate as an attentiveness to the unease of the other; a sharing in his anguish; a willingness to concede one’s errors and establish a just peace. These are skills that India’s political leaders conspicuously lack.

 ADI SHANKARACHARYA

The basis of peaceful co-existence finds its best expression in the Hindu philosophy of Advait or the concept of One without a second.

In other words it means that all existence emerges out of the same Divine consciosness or spirit. Scientifically speaking, creation is nothing but energy vibrating as different forms. Simply put, the energy or Spirit of God extends itself in all of us. Adi Shankaracharya was a great exponent of this eternal truth for, within it lies the secret of social and environmental harmony.

 Adi Shankaracharya gave this Divine Essence the name of Aatman.

The Hindu society during his time was riddled with the evils of caste system.

 Adi Shankaracharya was walking through a village settlement. His disciples  saw a Chandal (the lowliest of the lowly Shudra caste) standing in the path. They asked him to move away but the Chandal stood his ground. When Shankaracharya came near, the Chandal posed a pertinent question to Shankaracharya , “Are you asking my body to move away or my Aatman?” Shankaracharya fell at his feet and thanked him for illustrating the true meaning of the concept of One without a second. 

In this land of the great Shankaracharya, how can there be communal disharmony or caste differentiation?

THINGS TO DO

1.    Teach reading and writing to some of our less fortunate friends and neighbors.

2.    Celebrate a festival with the children of the working class.

Go to an orphanage and give away some of your belongings to them.

JUNE

Kabir Jayanti

  SAINT KABIR

      It is believed that Kabir was Mohammedan by birth but amalgamated the precepts of the Hindu religion, from his adoptive parents in his persona. Thus by his very example he showed how people of different beliefs could learn to respect each other’s religion and live in abiding peace.

He was a great Sufi saint whose words of saturated wisdom pierced the hearts of all alike and made them introspect and change their ways for the better.

He placed kings and beggars on the same platform and his truthextended beyond the narrow confines of Hinduism and Islam.

Let us examine some of his succint sayings and see what message they hold for us in the present day and age.

1) “Rosary beads in hand and God’s name superficially uttered 

                  Is not really prayer when mind with all else is cluttered.”

 Kabir is asking us asking us not to be superficial. Work is prayer when done with the spirit of dedication and love. Such work will certainly beget ppeace and goodwill.

2)                              “Hurt not the weak and the lowly, for theirs is the earth,

                 Their sighs can burn away the happiness of your hearth.”

Kabir tells us that when we do not rub anyone the wrong way and invite no ill ill feelings towards us , the even tenure of our lives is less likely to be didisturbed and life will be peaceful and happy.

3)               “ Books and learning will give you knowledge well disguised,

                  Just learn to spell LOVE and you will become truly wise.”

Kabir could not over emphasize the role of love in bringing happiness in our lilives and the lives of those around.

                        “Tall as a date palm? What does it teach?

                   No shade for birds and fruits out of reach.”

Kabir tells us not to be haughty and unapproachable if destiny favours us. Tthe mark of greatness lies in being available and helpful to our less fortunate brethren. 

Let us memorize his sayings and digest them so that they may float in oour consciousness at the right time and guide us towards right conduct.

JULY / AUGUST

Prophet Mohammed Birth Anniversary

Prophet Mohammed

The very word Islam denotes surrender of the whole being to God and it is related to salam which means peace. In order to instill the precepts of peace and non-violence in the warring tribes of Arabia, the prophet Mohammed eventually pursued a daring policy of non-violence which is worthy of Gandhi. 

 Today some fundamentalists of our society are distorting Islam and the very meaning of the Prophet’s life by propagating that the holy war was the culmination of Mohammed’s prophetic career. Mohammed believed in negotiation and compromise rather than war. He risked his life and nearly lost the loyalty of his closest companions because he was so determined to effect a reconciliation with Mecca. And this apparent humiliation and capitulation proved, in the words of Koran, to be a great victory, fat’h.  

 The tolerant Muslims of today are clearly of the view, especially after the tragedy of 9/11 that they must find new solutions for this unprecedented situation and  we can learn much from the prophet’s restrain.

 Below are some of the Prophets views on Peace derived from historical and religious texts of the Muslims.

It is narrated by Abu Shari that the question was asked of Mohammed; “O Apostle of God! who is not a believer of God?”   He declared: “ He whose neighbour does not feel secure on his account.”


v     Abu Huraira narrates -that the Apostle of God said: “He who believes in God and the Day of recompense, will never harm his neighbor, will be hospitable to his guests and speak to others in a gentle tone or remain silent.”

v     The believer in God is he who is not a danger to life and property of any other.

 Some episodes from his life on kindness towards animals.

Said the Prophet: “A person was traveling by road. He felt intense thirst. At a certain place by the side of the road, he noticed a well. He got down the well by its rope and after quen­ching his thirst, came out, When at the brink of the well, he found a dog with his tongue thrust out of its mouth and licking wet earth. The man said to him­self: “This dog must be suffering from thirst, even as I suffered from it, He at once got down by the rope into the well and taking his shoe filled it with water and held it in his mouth while coming out and held the shoe to the mouth of the dog. The Prophet said,” There is salvation in removing the pain or suffering of every living object possessing a liver.”

Records Abdur Rahman …. “Some of us were on a journey in the company of the Prophet. On the way, we, who were a little ahead of the Prophet, rested our eyes on a red sparrow. With her, there were two of her offspring. We caught hold of the two small birds. At this moment, the Prophet joined us. He asked: who was it who had caught the offspring of the bird and caused her annoyance? Return them to her. Further up, at a certain place where we had camped for a while, we lit a fire. Close to the fire, there were holes in the earth out of which poured forth huge broods of ants. Some of them had already been burnt by the time the Prophet came to us.The Prophet in anguish exclaimed: “None except the”‘ Creator of fire has the right to touch a living body with fire.” 

 The Episode of the Reconstruction of the Ka’bah

During Mohammad’s time, a sudden flood had shaken the foundation of the Ka’bah and cracked its walls. The Ka’bah had  no ceiling and the treasures it housed were exposed to robberv.

 On everyone of the four clans of Makkah fell the duty of wrecking and rebuilding one of the four walls of the Ka’bah. No one, however volunteered to begin the work.

 Like the rest Muhammad carried stones back and forth, and the wrecking continued until the Ka’bah was leveled. Below the walls green stones were found which the Makkans were unable to shake loose. They decided to use them as foundation on which to build the new walls. From the neighboring mountains, they carried stones of blue granite. As the walls rose from the ground and the time came to place the sacred black stone in its place in the east wall, they differed as to who would have the honor of laying it in place. Competition was so keen that it almost led to a new civil war. 

 “While we are all standing here, let the first one to pass through the gate of al Suffah be our arbitrator in this dispute.” 

 The first one to pass through the gate was Muhammad. Realizing, as he listened to them, that the contenders had worked themselves up into a passion, Mubammad thought for a moment and said, “Bring me a robe.” He took the robe they brought, spread it on the ground, and placed the black stone on it and then said, “Let the elders of each clan hold onto one edge of the robe.” Bloodshed was thus averted and the dispute was solved.

THINGS TO DO 

How well do you know yourneighbor?

1.   Go to the house of an aged neighbor and spend some time with him, showering your affection and concern on him.

2.   Be sensitive towards insects, reptiles, animals and birds. 

3.   Be ever ready to help co-travelers.

AUGUST

 Krishna Janmashthami

LORD KRISHNA 

Krishna existed in the by gone ages 5000 years ago, but his thinking is of the present age. While Buddha, Mahavir and Jesus were pained by the suffering of the world and evolved their precepts accordingly, Krishna, embracing life in its entirety, taught us to look at life as a game.

  Krishna is a lively and laughing apostle of peace and happiness. Thus He is more relevant for today’s youth who would rather move towards abundance and fun than denial and abstinence.

 Though Krishna is made out to be the perpetrator of the Mahabharat War,  few are aware of His untiring efforts towards truce between the Kauravas and Pandavas.

 EPISODE 1

 Dhritarashtra was the eldest prince of the kingdom of Hastinapur, but being blind he was considered unfit to rule the kingdom. Hence his younger brother Pandu was proclaimed king. The eldest sons of both Dhritatrashtra and Pandu legally considered themselves to be the rightful heir to the throne after the demise of Pandu.

 As it happened, Dhritatrashtra’s sons were vile and evil while Pandu’s were noble and righteous and hence the latter were popularly favored. However, Duryodhan (meaning one of evil practices), the eldest son of Dhritatrashtra, was constantly trying to oust the Pandavas by attempting to kill or banish them by unfair means. He defeated them in game of dice through foul play and tried to dishonour and disrobe Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavs, in the court attended by elders as well as ministers. On the pretext of having defeated the Pandavas at dice he also exiled them from the Kingdom.

 Krishna intervened, proposing truce no less than 5 times. In the final attempt he asked for as little as 5 villages for the 5 Pandavas. Duryadhan refused. Then Krishna asked for just 5 houses, one for each of them. Upon this, Duryodhan declared, “I will not yield so much space as is covered by the tip of a needle to the Pandavas without war. Thus war was perpetrated.

 In spite of all this, the greatness of Krishna lies in his fair offer to make himself and his army available to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

 Try to put yourself in Krishna’s place and think, would you be able to support both the parties on an equal footing ?

  In contemporary times during World War 2, Gandhi Ji, the icon of Peace and non-violence helped the British Government against whom he was fighting. A lesser person could have made use of the opportunity to pressurize the British Government, but that would have been contrary to the principles of Peace. 

 We have to observe these lofty ideals set by our apostles if we want lasting peace of earth.

THINGS TO DO

  1. Form a small group of friends to become the voice of conscience in your locality.
  2. Be alert and active towards 
    • protection of your environment 
    • the needs of your neighbors and
    • the political scenario.

SEPTEMBER

Jain Kshama-vani Parva

Sept/Oct Parsee New Year

Zoroaster

Zoroaster, or one may call Him, Zarathustra, was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster paved the Path of Peace, Discipline, Truth and Progress. In India, Zoroastrianism is followed by the Parsis. Zoroaster was a philosopher, astrologer and healer par excellence. He believed in One God, Who He called Ahura Mazda. ‘Ahura’ meand ‘Lord of Life’ and ‘Mazda’ means ‘All knowing’

The Zoroastrian scriptures consist of the Avesta, the Gathas (older hymns), the Middle Persian Pahlavi Books. It is believed that nature rejoiced at Zoroaster’s  birth. Zoroaster was born, in what is now, a suburb of Teheran. Zoroaster could have been a priest. He received a vision from the Lord, who He called Ahura Mazda. The Lord urged Zoroaster to preach the truth. The Gathas are Divine songs, which reflect, Zoroaster’s communication with Ahura Mazda.

The Religious Authorities of the times of Zoroaster believed in many gods. Zoroaster gave the most important position to Ahura Mazda. He considered Him the Highest God, One who could bestow bliss and immortality.

Parsees are followers of Zoroaster and are a Peace-loving community

 Between the 8th and 10th centuries religious persecution  led some of the   Zoroastrians to leave Iran and settle in India, most of them, in the region of Bombay.

In the 19th century the Parsees renewed contact with the remaining Zoroastrians in Iran, the Gabars.

These two groups, and their emigrants to other countries are today, the only surviving practitioners of Zoroastrianism.

Parsees, are distinguished for their wealth and education. I have heard a story, that when the Parsees came to India, they promised to mingle with the inhabitants, like sugar does with milk.

I believe that they have kept their promise. Besides the last quality, mentioned about them, Parsis are known for their wealth, education and humanitarian values.

Things to do:

Speak to the Zoroastrians (Parsees). Gain knowledge of their Scriptures.  Discuss with Zoroastrians and learn, how they have managed to co-exist peacefully in the countries that they have lived in.

Start separating organic and inorganic garbage in your house and neighbor-hood. Make compost from organic waste matter and recycle the in-organic or man-made garbage. (Ask your teacher to tell you how).

OCTOBER

Gandhi Jayanti

Mahatma Gandhi the Father of the Nation

The apostle who gave to the world the first living example of attaining Independence by peaceful, non-violent methods.

 To work for peace, one must have a peaceful heart.

 Gandhiji himself never differentiated between Hindus and Muslims or any other community.

 Episode 1

In 1922 when Gandhiji was in prison an African convict was chosen for his service. One day the African came to Bapu in pain. The African’s hand was stung by a scorpion. Gandhiji sucked the poison and healed the African.

 Needless to say, the African remained loyal to Gandhiji for life.

Episode 2  Trying to overcome evil with evil is not the way to make peace.

 Though Gandhiji wanted to gain Independence for Mother India through peaceful methods, the anger of the people could not be contained.

 The unrest burst out in a lot of communal disharmony and wholesale killing of Hindus and Muslims. 

 One day a man came up to Gandhiji and said: “I am not able to sleep peacefully because the vision of killing so many innocent people haunts me.

 Gandhiji replied “In order to regain peace of mind, you must adopt a child from the community that you have harmed, Then your inner consciousness will be healed.”  

Gandhi Ji’s famous Prayer meetings are the most beautiful example of giving due respect to all religions prevalent in India.

Gandhi Ji’s satyagraha is much abused by us today. Our approach is angry and selfish There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Below are two examples of the Japanese way of striking work.

1)            The railway employees were protesting. They all wore a black band to exhibit their solidarity. When management did not heed, they changed the colour of their band to red. When that also went unheeded, they told the management that they would not operate from 12 mid-night to 6 am., thereby ensuring that they caused the barest minimum disruption for the travelers. In the end the management conceded. 

2)          Yet another time the labourers of another concern worked an hour extra to effectively put forth their demand for increment.

 THINGS TO DO

  1. See to what extent corruption has penetrated our system
  2. Make up your mind that you will be above corruption when you come of age.
  3. Be proud of being an Indian and have a group discussion on what India has contributed to the world since ancient times. 
  4. Visit a village, intermingle with the villagers and make up your mind to spend 15 days of your vacations with them, solving their problems.

 November

Guru Nanak Jayanti 

GURU NANAK

Guru Nanak was above the narrow-minded communalism.  He was above rituals and superstitions. Thus he could be called truly spiritual, embracing peace, love and harmony in its totality 

 EPISODE ONE

One day Guru Nanak was in the company of a mixed lot of people consisting of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. They went to a Shiva temple to rest for a little while. Guru Nanak lay down on the floor to rest his body . The Muslim followers came up to him and said “Master, your feet are pointing to the mosque. Kindly change the position of your body that you do not show your feet to the mosque.” Heeding their request the great master turned around. 

 Now, the Hindu followers came to him and proclaimed in a shocked voice, “Master, how can you point your feet towards Shiva-linga while you are in a Shiva temple.” Guru Nanak stood up in all humility and went up to the Shiva-linga. He then lay down and placed his feet upon the Shiva-linga. This really enraged his Hindu disciples. They took hold of his feet and turned his body around to face the opposite side. Now, the miracle of miracles happened ! Where ever they placed his feet a Shiva-linga appeared.

 For a truly God-realized soul God makes his presence felt in every atom of creation.

 When the realization that God pervades every cell of the cosmos  dawns upon us, can we harm any one or be destructive towards nature in any way?  

 The feeling of oneness begets peace, love and harmony 

EPISODE TWO

 Guru Govind Singh was one of the later enlightened masters from Guru Nanak’s line. Those were troubled times with constant war between the Mughals and the Sikhs. After dusk, the wounded solders were tended by the common people. A disciple of Guru Govind Singh took permission to bring drinking water for the thirsty, wounded soldiers lying on the battle field. The next morning some trusted followers advised Guru Govind Singh to dis-allow this person from distributing water as he was giving water to the soldiers of the enemy’s camp. 

Guru Govind Singh called him and answering his query, this true disciple replied. ”Master you have taught us to look upon everybody with equality. In my mind there is no differentiation between friend and enemy. I cannot leave the wounded soldiers of the other side thirsty.”

When we keep the company of great men, some of their greatness rubs on to us and we unknowingly transcend the narrow walls of I and mine and move towards embracing the whole of humanity.  

When the tenth guru, Gobind Singh, faced terror from the Mughals, he thought long and deep. He then wrote that when all other means have failed, it is righteous to draw the sword. He spelt out specific conditions for dharma yuddh (righteous war). You could only fight the person perpetrating evil; not innocent people.

 THINGS TO DO

  1. Develop sensitivity and caring towards soldiers.
  2. Think how you can show your affection towards them, especially at a time when they are engaged in active combat.
  3. Visit a temple, a mosque, a church and a guru-dwara and try to pick up positive energy from all these places of worship.

DECEMBER

Christmas

JESUS A TRUE MAN OF PEACE

Jesus was a great teacher who lived over 2000 years ago.

Jesus said: Trying to overcome evil with evil is not the way to make peace.  

EPISODE ONE

During His time the religious authorities rejected Him as the Son of God and eventually succeeded in having Him put to death.

After having undergone humiliations beyond human endurance, Jesus gave up His life.

Yet Jesus prayed for the ones who nailed Him to the cross.

Jesus said to God: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The Pharisees understood the commandment: “You shall not murder” as that ‘killing someone’ was a mortal sin. Jesus taught that one must not only abstain from the act of murder but also shun anger and every negative behavior that one engages in.

The simple doctrine angered the priests of those days.

Jesus declined to conform. That was His only ‘crime’.

He was crucified because he continued to claim the TRUTH.

He gave up His life to give to Humanity the above simple message. He gave up His life for us. Could we in return try to follow His teachings?

To forgive our enemies, and to start afresh

EPISODE TWO

The epitome of his loving kindness is exemplified in the act of his washing the feet of Judas that night before he was taken away for crucifixion. He was aware that Judas was the one who had betrayed him to the Pharisees. Yet, knowing the enormity of the suffering that was in store for him, instead of being upset with Judas, he decided to shower his last measure of compassion on the one who had so gravely wronged Him !!

Such was the compassion of Jesus!

Jesus respected his religion’s laws and customs. Yet, he simplified his teachings to: ‘Love, trust and forgive.’

Jesus claimed that all we need to do to achieve the “Kingdom of Heaven” is to Serve, Love and Pray. “Knock and the door will open” He said.

Nonviolence does not mean non-action. Nonviolence means we act love and compassion.

THINGS TO DO

How well do you know your neighbor?

1.   Go to the house of an aged neighbor and spend some time with him, showering your affection and concern on him.

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