The Science of Peace
Author: Suman Khanna Aggarwal
Publisher: Jnanada Prakashan
By Shalini Shekhar
Life Positive Books
Every shred of Gandhi’s life is out in the public domain. “Can there really be a fresh perspective to view the Gandhian thought?” I wondered, as I picked up this book by Suman Khanna Aggarwal, retired associate professor of philosophy from Delhi University, peace activist, and founder of Gandhian NGO, Shanti Sahyog. Is there really a way in which the unheedingly destructive human race can be brought to heed this frugal ascetic?
Presenting Gandhi’s teachings as a practical science, Dr Aggarwal shows that Gandhi’s philosophies are the only way forward in the long term. She begins by analysing conflict, violence, and war. Conflict is natural and needn’t necessarily be a negative thing. It is the human propensity to resolve conflict through violence that leads to war, which has colossal costs in terms of lives as well as resources. Thus, choosing nonviolence is only logical. In Gandhi’s own words, “The Law of Nonviolence, which is the Law of Love, is the Law of our species.”
Gandhi was convinced that principled nonviolence could triumph over any oppressive force. To translate this into action, he evolved the strategy of satyagraha or non-violent direct action. It translates as ‘firm adherence to the Truth.’ It consists of opposing oppressive laws through peaceful cooperation.
Dr Aggarwal then offers an analysis of Gandhi’s famous Dandi Salt Satyagraha, which is of abiding significance to the peace activist in particular. She says, “Gandhi’s Salt March is an example of non-violent direct action strategy par excellence. The Satyagraha created a nation out of 500 million Indians in 26 days.”
She also discusses Gandhi’s Shanti Sena, a non-violent volunteer peacekeeping programme, dedicated to minimising communal violence within Indian society.
The last chapter is one of hope, of the Gandhian approach of non-violent conflict resolution as being the only sustainable one. She goes on to trace the history of the evolution of CBD or Civilian-based Defence and her own role in it, culminating in the establishment of Shanti Sahyog. She ends with an appeal to readers to align themselves with Nonviolent Defence in this 150th birth anniversary year of Gandhi.
The appeal of this book is in the compelling urgency of not just remembering Gandhi but of following him in thought and action.
The cure within
Heal (documentary film)
Director: Kelly Noonan
Time: 1:46 Min
“It’s not just that dis-ease starts in the mind, it’s that everything starts in the mind.” says the voiceover in the documentary film Heal.
There have now been countless revelations that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions affect our lives in more than just one way. We are not only physical entities but energies and particles in the physical realm, vibrating at different frequencies. And it is time we start thinking whether modern medicine is doing more harm than good in the long term.
The documentary film Heal takes us on a scientific and spiritual journey and aims to change one’s perceptions about the human body by revealing that it can heal itself from any dis-ease. With the simple example of experiencing the self-healing power of our bodies when we get a minor cut, the documentary hopes to remind people of the innate intelligence of our bodies. Featuring eminent personalities like Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Joe Dispenza, Bruce Lipton, Peter Crone, Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith, Gregg Braden, and others, the film explores the mind-body connection. Heal discusses that the constant state of stress is a result of the fight or flight mode that we function in, draining the resources and energies of our bodies, and thus it also becomes one of the most plausible causes for our immune system to be compromised.
Very fittingly, the film explores the notion of a human body being composed of both physical and spiritual components. And Western medicine, while processing health and disease, does not account for the whole body and the spiritual aspect, often treating the body as a machine. Mostly, it is so that only the affected part of the body is treated for the symptoms and not for the root problem. Heal attempts to dissect the ways in which spiritual healing matters to physical healing, and it does a good job detailing alternative approaches to healing.
The film brilliantly aims to convey that we have more power over our bodies than we’ve been led to believe. Tapping into the minds of scientists and spiritual teachers, the movie follows the path of three people on their journey of healing. Modern medicine can indeed do miracles with physical trauma, but the holistic approach aims to create a shift in biology by altering self-belief and thoughts. The documentary opens doors for discussions among people to come up with a better approach to complete health.
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