N U V R A T
A constructive Endeavour Towards A Nonviolent Multicultural
Anuvrat Movement has been engaged in the noble task of uplifting human
life and revitalizing the rapidly crumbling moral and spiritual values
among the people of the world irrespective of casts, creed and colour
for the last three and a half decades.
Launched on March 1, 1949 by Acharya Shree Tulsi the head of a Jain sect
and a leading visionary of India the Movement has since grown steadily
in size and stature. Though it does not lay claim to any spectacular success
or acheivement, there is no gains saving the fact that its universal appeal
for gains saving the fact that its universal appeal for self-awakening
has created a great impact on the outlook and behaviour of many people.
It was hailed and patronised by eminent people like the late Dr. Rajendra
Prasad. C Rajgopalachari, Pt. Jawarhalal Nehru, Dr S. Radhakrishnan and
Jai Prakash Narayan. It has been striving to infuse with new life people
degenerating fast into what T.S. Elliot aptly calls "automatications or
living shadows inhibiting the great wasteland".
While many western celebrities like Bertrand Russell and Martin Luther
King were organising huge peace rallies exhorting the people to raise
their voice against the senseless genocide caused by the nuclear holocaust
in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by a strange coincidence, as it were, a relatively
unknown religious preceptor of the East heading a Jain sect, seated far
away in a relatively unknown religious preceptor of the East heading a
Jain sect, seated far away in a remote town of Thar desert of Rajasthan,
was engaged in an identical mission, though in a small way, lof rousing
the masses against violence and moral torpor. He heard the inner call
that commanded him to throw off the yoke of sectrism dogmatism and launched
a crusade against caste, untouchability, subjection of women and religious
intolerance. His response to the call resulted in the birth of Anuvrat
movement. It was in this very way that Simon and Andrew responded when
Jesus walking the sea of Galilee called to them. The only difference was
that the call Acharya Tulsi heard came from within, not unlike the one
as in the case of Saint Joan had heard for centuries before in France.
But unlike as in her case the inner voice directed the Acharya to launch
a movement for liberating the individual from a bigoted sectarian outlook,
fanaticism and an unethical apprch, thereby automatically ensuring the
emancipation of mankind.
The root of the malady lies in the individual. The Acharya realised that
society cannot be purged without an inner transformation of man. Instinctively
motivated by the maxim:
In small proportion we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may be perfect be.
Acharya Tulsi began his mission by carefully drawing up a code of conduct
for all individuals in society. The code consisted of atomic or small
vows (anuvrats). He launched what came to be known as the Anuvrat Monement
urging the individuals to pledge themselves willingly to observe the anuvrats.
The movement embodied a vision and that of Tagore’s heaven of freedom
as pictured by him in his immortal work Geetanjali.
The most important thing about the Anuvrat Movement is that it strives
after the middle path steering clear of the two extremes of absolute ascetism
(mahavrats) and unbridled materialism resulting in moral torpor and acedia.
The Anuvrat Movement aims at ushering in an era of self-awakening the
anthesis of the Automic age.
The Acharya carried his message on far and wide covering thousands of
miles on foot, enjoying on the people the discipline of Anuvrats.
The voice of the Movement has by now permeated the masses focussing their
attention on the impotance of self-restraint. The phenomenal rise in incidents
is growing multicultural societies mushrooming all over the world giving
rise to frenzied massacres like the ones the world watched helplessly
in Sri Lanka, Lebanon and South Africa makes it imperative for everyone
to carry the movement across the seas to ensure amity and reconciliation
between different groups and cultures.
Acharya Shree realized in the wake of his experiment of enjoining the
disciple of anuvrats on the individuals that a radical attitudinal change
in man was not possible merely through the advocacy of the anuvrat code
of conduct. It must be accompanied by another effective tool that can
gradually induce him to introspect. Mahapragya Yuvacharyaji came up with
a bright idea of a unique technique of meditation called Prekshya Dhyan
as a means to bring about a mass psychological transformation. Acharya
Shree added Preksha Meditation to his programme of reconstruction of moral
and spiritual values. Fortified with this potent means of an attitudinal
change in man, the Anuvrat Movement has added a new and important dimension.
A follower of the Anuvrat code has to follow Preksha Meditation everyday,
which inclines him naturally to imbibe the Anuvrat principle. It ultimately
becomes an integral part of his character.
The ideational phase of the Movement is over. It is time we gave it a
programmatic and practical shape. Let us transform the Movement into a
fitting instrument of constructive activities a veritable laboratory for
testing our belief in the anuvrat philosophy. Acharya Shree has launched
a new scheme of Jivan Vigyan for educating youngster in the doctrine of
anuvrats so that they may grow up as disciplined, broad-minded and responsible
citizens free from the narrow prejudices of caste, colour, creed and sect.
He pins his hope of transforming mankind into on family on this young
generation. As head of a religious sect he has set the pace for other
religious leaders. If they take their cue from him, the world that lis
steeped in communal and etnic violence today is certain to awake into
a ‘heaven of freedom’.
In conclusion, we might remember Neil Armstrong’s spontaenous utterance
on first stepping on the soil of the moon,’One small step for a man but
one giant leep for mankind’. Who knows Acharya Shree’s step (anuvrats
or atomic vows) may eventually turn out to be a giant leap for mankind?