Acharya Tulsi : Peace and austerity

By Parveen Chopra

June 1996

Acharya Tulsi, the man, his mission and his motives


Some years ago, when work in the Indian parliament came to a screeching standstill following a boycott by opposition parties protesting against the official ‘whitewash’ of the Joint parliamentary Committee report on a stocks scam, Acharya Tulsi, the most high profile Jain guru of them all, was asked to mediate. He succeeded in breaking the impasse, which could have brought the government down, using a singularly unlikely strategy: talking to the parties concerned about anekantavada, the Jain doctrine of non-absolutism, which holds that all human judgments and perceptions of truth are only partially valid, and that one must accommodate points of view other than one’s own.

When asked to elucidate the doctrine, Tulsi responded like a Zen master. He picked up a table clock, the only valuable in his spartan room, and asked rhetorically: ‘Is it good?’ Obviously, the correct answer is that it is superior to many clocks and inferior to many others. The point he was trying to make is that it is also made of plastic and glass; further, basically, it is an arrangement of electrons and protons and soon. Therefore, a story does not have just two sides, it has many, and all of them may be relatively true or false or both in degrees.

Tulsi was keenly aware of the relevance of Jainism’s non-absolutism (nonviolence at a psychological level) and radical pacifism in today’s busily pluralistic world. He also believed that although the danger of another world war may have receded, human greed and economic imperialism continue to unleash their fair share of violence on the world. Consequently, he was thinking global.

Under his guidance, a campaign had been launched to impart practical training in ahimsa (nonviolence). His missionaries carried his message abroad, while he himself continued to meet many dignitaries and religious heads such as the Dalai Lama, confabulating to promote peace and harmony in the world.

‘Both peace and war originate in the minds of men,’ he said in his address to the world conference on peace and nonviolent action held at Ladnun, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, in December 1995. ‘We have paid little or no attention to the question of transforming the human psyche.’

It is this issue, which cut his life’s work out for him. The answers came in the form of the well-known
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Comments [ 3 ]

B L Bothra

Acharya Tulsi was great scholar and magnetic personality. He was the only living person included by Dr Radha Krishanan in his book " Living with purpose". He touched so many souls

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tapan nahar

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tapan nahar

रत्नगर्भा भारत वसुंधरा पर अनेक रत्न पैदा हुए जिन्होंने अपनी आभा से केवल भारत को ही नहीं बल्कि सम्पूर्ण विश्व को आलोकित किया । आचार्य तुलसी ऐसे ही अद्भुत प्रतिभाशाली पुरुष थे जिन्होंने एक सम्प्रदाय के आचार्य होते हुए भी कभी उसकी सीमाओ में अपने आप को आबध्द नहीं किया बल्कि सम्पूर्ण मानवता के विकास का पथ प्रशस्त किया ।
आचार्य तुलसी एक बहुमुखी प्रतिभा के धनी थे जिन्होंने व्यक्ति की अंतर बाह्य शक्तियों को उजागर कर उनके विकास का पथ प्रशस्त किया तथा एक स्वस्थ समाज जीवन के योग्य घटक बनने की योग्यता क्षमता निर्माण की प्रक्रिया दी ।
प्रस्तुत ग्रन्थ में आचार्य तुलसी का जीवन व्रत ,उनका चिंतन ,उनके द्वारा प्रारंभ किये गए विभिन्न आयामों का विश्लेषणात्मक आलेख है । जीवन के उतार च्ढ्हाव,संघर्षो में विजय प्राप्त करने के जीवन का वर्णन है ।

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