Hinduism and Peace Education
RELIGION, 26 Jul 2021
Hinduism, based on Vedanta (Upanishads), is a religion of perpetual verifiable truth. It is a religion of universe and God in man. It is a religion that claims the manifestation of perfection already exists in man. Hinduism is very much peace education. Because Hinduism advocates self-education for perpetual discovery, it enables every individual without any discrimination to manifest / to unfold / to evolve the perfection already in him to be man incarnation of God, who would naturally be a peaceful creature living together peacefully on this planet earth.
Hinduism and Peace Education
Hinduism is the way to realize man or self. It is the remedy also for the present sick and deviant individuals and societies in the world. We see everywhere, there is oppression, exploitation, poverty and injustice throughout the world. This has led to naxalism, terrorism, violence, an/d war. The reason is that we are not man (human). Certainly we are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and people of other different faiths (sects); American, Russians, Chinese, Indians and persons of other nations; doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and other professionals; husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister, and other relations; black and white and other races. But in all of us man (humanity) is missing. Perhaps this would be the reason for a Greek Philosopher who was walking in search of man in broad day light with a lantern in his hand. Everybody was surprised and asked him what he was searching and why he was carrying a lantern in his hand. He said, “I am searching for a man and I could not find him without a lantern.” All of them said, “We are all men.” He replied, “I am sorry, I am looking for a man who is full of love for everybody in the world; who is full of scholarship, who is full of compassion and who is real human being” (quoted in Shukla, 2003, p. 263). All of them knew that they could not satisfy the conditions that he set forth. Because we are not fully human, hence we are exploiting, oppressing and fighting each other. But Hinduism of Vedanta helps every individual to be man (human).
The author of the following lines presented his own assumptions of man, peace, and unity in 1973 at the World Conference on World Unity and Peace at Pondicherry in India. Prasad (1973) said:
It is foolish to talk world unity without attaining world peace, and it will be more foolish to talk world peace without attaining peace at individual level. It means if we set right the man, we can set right the whole world. And it is easy to set the man rather than to set right the world. And there is possibility if man is set right, the world would automatically be set right.(unpublished)
This may be the reason for a Chinese saying in which there is a belief to grow man.
The Chinese saying is:
If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests. – K’UAN-TZU, 551-479 BC (as cited in World Development Report, 1991).
However, there is a great need of such type of religion which provides us knowledge about the constituent elements of man, and an education which would help us in the integral unfoldment of these elements already in each individual.
There is no short cut and short span of time to be man. The process to be man will endure till the end of life. The average life span of is considered 100 years. This was why in view of Chinese saying the time of 100 years is required for every individual to be a man.
Hinduism is a religion that assumes perfection already exists in man. It helps also to manifest the perfection in man which will lead him to be a man for peace – individual as well as global. So Hinduism is inherently peace education. Thus peace education in Hinduism is the perpetual education of the self, by the self, and for the self resulting in sustainable peace within and outside.
Peace Education: Why?
We are crippled in this world. Some are crippled physically, some vitally, some
mentally, some intellectually, some spiritually, and many are crippled in all parts of their whole body. In this sense, haves and have-nots both everywhere, though having enough resources and lack of resources respectively, are suffering from physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual ailments due to ignorance about themselves.
Though being handicapped, we all are exploiting each other’s weaknesses by committing violence on others or on our own selves through ending our lives by commiting suicide or being mentally sick or mad. And we see everywhere, some are mad after money, some after name, some after fame, some after physical beauty, some after fasting, some after killing others, some after killing themselves, and we find a long list of madness. Thus the world has become more or less a lunatic asylum. And it is all because in the world one half lacks faith and the other half has one imposed on it, but both of them have no faith within themselves. In this situation, Hinduism is the way out. Hinduism, based on Vedant (Upanishads), is the religion of perpetual knowledge and realization of the self. And peace education is the dynamic side of Hinduism.
Vivekananda (1971), in the chapter on “Religious Education” of his book Education, writes:
The ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. (p. 42)
Hence, peace education is essential necessity for helping people to preserve their sanity, prevent them from being victims of insanity and cure them if they become sick through the knowledge of their selves and their integral realization, and the Vedantic Hinduism, which is in the base of peace education, is the source of inspiration and strength for them to do so.
What is Hinduism?
Hinduism has its roots in Vedas. Eastern and Western thinkers of Vedas have placed their origins before 1500 BC (Bose, 1954, p.1). Some have considered and placed them very much earlier. They consider that the History of Hinduism begins between 2000 – 1400 B.C. They say that the Vedic Age starts between 2000 B.C. and1000 B.C. (Glimpses of World Religions, 1958, p. 19). Vedas are four in number – the Rig Veda, consisting of 10552 mantras (Stanzas), the Sam Veda, of 1875 mantras (Stanzas), the Yajur Veda of 1975 mantras (Some of the mantras being in prose) and the Atharva Veda of 5987 matras (a few of them in prose). In all, the Vedic Samhitas (Collection of the texts, as distinguished from the literature based on the Vedas-Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, etc.) consisting of 20389 mantras (stanzas). These, however, include repetitions, especially of a number of Rig Vedic verses in the other Vedas (Bose, 1954, p.1).
Thus Vedas are the foundations of Hinduism. They are fountain-heads of Hinduism. These were not recorded in writing but were handed down from generation to generation through the faithful memory of the people (Glimpses of World Religions, 1958, p. 18). Truly Vedas are creations of the ancient Indian sages who expressed their intuitive spiritual experiences in the Upanishads. Upanishads – the ending parts of the Vedas – are truly the basis of Hinduism.
The Upanishads are the concluding portions of the Vedas therefore they are called Vedant, the last phase of the Vedic revelation. It has been observed that there are four phases in Vedas, viz. the Mantras the first phase, the Brahmanas the second, the Aranyakas the third, and the Upanishads the fourth and the last. Thus Upanishads come at the end of the Vedas and hence the teachings they embody are known as the Vedanta. The Upanishads are 108 in number, but the principal Upanishads are ten in number, viz. 1. Isa, 2. Kena, 3. Katha, 4. Prashna, 5. Mundaka, 6. Mandukya, 7. Taittiriya, 8. Aitareya, 9. Chhandogya, and 10. Brihadaranyaka on which the later philosophies of India are based.
The root of ‘Veda’ is ‘Vid’ which means to know. Seers were the discoverers of knowledge which already existed. They extended the knowledge through their discoveries of discovered knowledge. It is traced that the Sanskrit term Upanishad literally means “sitting down beside.” The word is derived from the root “upa”(near), “ni”(down), and “sad” (to sit), and refers to “sitting down near” a spiritual teacher (guru) in order to receive instruction in the teacher-taught tradition (New World Encyclopedia, 2007, p.2). The central idea in the Upanishads is Atmavidya (knowledge of the Self) or Brahmavidya (knowledge of the God).
The Vedanta, which means Upanishads, does not believe in a book, a person and a personal God. There is no sect, no creed, no caste in Vedanta. According to Vedanta, we are all God, incarnations of God. In its view, the man’s very self is God.
The Vedanta is utterly against all privileges, for example, the privilege of being strong, the privilege of having more wealth, the privilege being more intelligent and the privilege of being highly enlightened spiritually. The Vedanta considers the same power, the same energy, and the same seeds in every man. Therefore the Vedanta provides a scope for all to have the knowledge about themselves and proposes that all should have the opportunity to be manifested. Vivekananda considers the idea of privilege as the bane of human life. Vivekananda (1984) said,
Of course, there is first the brutal idea of privilege, that of the strong over the weak. There is the privilege of wealth. If a man has more money than another, he wants a little privilege over those who have less. There is the still subtler and more powerful privilege of intellect; because one man knows more than others, he claims more privilege. And the last of all, and the worst, the most tyrannical, is the privilege of spirituality. If some persons think they know more of spirituality, of God, they claim a superior privilege over everyone else. They say: ‘Come down and worship us, ye common herds; we are the messengers of God, and you have to worship us.’ None can be Vedantists, and at the same time admit of privilege to anyone, either mental, physical, or spiritual; absolutely no privilege for anyone. The same power is in the every man, the one manifesting more the other less, the same potentiality is in everyone. Where is the claim to privilege? All knowledge is in every soul, even in the most ignorant; he has not manifested it, but, perhaps, he has not had the opportunity, the environments were not, perhaps, suitable to him. When he gets the opportunity, he will manifest it. The idea that one man is born superior to another has no meaning in Vedanta…. (pp. 54-55).
The ideas of Vedanta pervade the whole of Indian religion. German philologist, orientalist, author of the writing on Indology and the sacred books of the East, Max Muller, has referred to the characteristic of the Upanishads in his book Six Systems of Indian Philosophy. Muller said:
It is surely astounding that such a system as the Vedanta should have been slowly elaborated by the indefatigable and intrepid thinkers of India thousands of years ago, a system that even now makes us feel giddy, as in mounting the last steps of the swaying spire of a Gothic cathedral. None of our philosophers, not excepting Heraclitus, Plato, Kant, or Hegel, has ventured to erect such a spire, never frightened by storms or lightnings. Stone follows on stone after regular succession after once the first
step has been made, after once it has been clearly seen that in the beginning there can have been but one, as there will be but one in the end, whether we call it Atman or Brahman (as quoted in Ranganathananda,1997, pp. 35-36).
Prominent Sanskrit scholar in America and authority on Athrva Veda Maurice Bloomfield, who has appreciated the Upanishads in his bookThe Religion of the Veda. He writes that “there is no important form of Hindu thought, heterodox Buddhism included, which is not rooted in the Upanishads”(as cited in Ranganathananda, 1997, p. 38).
The words of English writer, humanist, pacifist and vedantist Aldous Huxley about Gita describe the philosophy of Vedanta as “one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of the Perennial philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its enduring value, [is] not only for Indians, but for all mankind” (as cited in Rao, 1958, p. 43). The message of Gita to all including non-Hindu audience is that they should work constantly. They should work, but they should not be attached; they should not be caught. They should reserve unto themselves the power of detaching themselves from everything, however beloved, however much the soul might yearn for it, however great the pangs of misery they feel if they are going to leave it; still they should reserve the power of leaving it whenever they want
(to know more about the message of Gita to the world audience, one may refer to Vivekananda,1995, pp. 1-80). After reading the Upanishads, the German philosopher Schopenhaur, who was a believer of Buddhism and Vedanta, exclaimed:
And oh, how thoroughly is the mind here washed clean of all early engrafted Jewish superstitions …. ! In the whole world there is no study … so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death! (as referred in Rao, 1958, p.46).
French novelist, dramatist, essayist, art historian and recipient of Nobel Prize for literature Romain Rolland declared: “The only religion that can have any hold on the intellectual people is the rationalistic religion of Advait Vedanta” (p.43). The Spanish writer J. Mascaro described the Upanishads as the ‘Himalayas of the soul’(p. 46). Max Muller, who has translated the Upanishads, describes them as “the light of the morning, like the pure air of the mountains, so simple and so true if once understood” (p. 46). American author, historian, philosopher, tax resister and leading transcendentalist Thoreau exhorted his countrymen not to read the New York Times, but to read the eternities, meaning the Upanishads (as mentioned in Rao, 1958).
Thus, Hinduism is not merely a religion but it is a way of life. In view of Hindu tenets, there is essential unity in the understanding of religion and outlook on life. Hinduism is perpetual extension of thought which makes Hinduism a very tolerant, non-violent, peaceful, liberal, flexible and universal. These are the basic features of Hinduism. The author of these lines is inspired to cite here a Chinese idea about the value and importance of the extension, of knowledge for peace. In the Chinese Classic, The Great Learning, it is noted:
The extension of knowledge consists in the investigation of things. When things are investigated, knowledge is extended, when knowledge is extended… the mind is elevated; when mind is elevated, the personal life is deepened; when personal life is deepened, family will be regulated; when family is regulated, the State will be in order; when the State is in order, there will be peace on earth” (as cited in The Great Learning, Wikipedia,1990).
Hinduism is a religion of theories and practices both. True followers of Hinduism reflect, investigate, search and cogitate. According to the Rig Veda, “Truth is one; sages call it by different names” (p 20). It is also found in the Upanishad: “That all the paths lead to the same goal just as cows of variegated colors yield the same white milk” (p. 21), (as cited in Glimpses of World Religions, 1958). Swami Vivekananda has said, “The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realizing – not in believing, but in being and becoming” (p. 35) (as cited in Mishra and Mohanty, 1993). Swami Vivekananda thinks Hinduism as a universal religion to help humanity to realize its own true divine nature. In this regard, the author of these lines would like to quote the clarion call given by him to the whole world at the Parliament of Religions in 1893, held at Chicago in America Vivekananda(2005) said:
If there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will have no location in place or time; which will be infinite like the God it will preach, and whose Sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahminic or Buddhistic, or Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in infinite arms, and find a place for, every human being from the lowest groveling savage, not far removed from the brute, to the highest man towering by the virtues of his head and heart almost above humanity, making society stand in awe of him and doubt his human nature. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize divinity in every man and woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its own true divine nature. (p. 48)
Radhakrishnan (n. d.), who was a renowned philosopher, commentator on Upanishad, Gita and Brahma Sutra, recipient of Bharat Ratna (the highest award of India) , Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and Templeton Prize, and second President of India, observed and said:
Hindu scriptures affirm that we use words to get beyond words, to teach the pure wordless essence. The Hindu tradition refuses to reduce religious experiences to a dead level of uniformity. Truth, for Hinduism, is a reality experienced, a light which breaks through the transcendent in man into the partial world reflected by sense and intellect, the world of objectification in which the light is deemed. (p. 173)
In this sense, Hinduism is totally catholic (universal) free from priesthood. It is for all to experience, to realize man in them and to manifest the perfection i.e. truth or god. It is neither in the books nor in the teachers. Radhakrishnana (n. d.) has briefed us saying:
True religion is not what we get from outside, from books and teachers. It is the aspiration of the human soul, that which unfolds within one self, that which is built by one’s life blood. Those who follow this view are the seers. They belong to a single family though they dwell in spaces far apart. They belong to the open, unorganized community, the invisible Church of Spirit, whose membership is scattered over the whole earth. They realize in this world that which is open to man. Their lives are marked by boundless openness, authentic life, fidelity to truth and love for all creation.” (p.132)
A great Indian saint said that whatever a man does is worship (to the truth or God); wherever he goes is to give round the deity (in the temple to realize the truth in him); and thus remaining ever in the state of meditation, he removes feeling of dualism from his heart. This is the essence of Hinduism or universal religion. I would like to cite the saying of Kahlil Gibran, (a poet, philosopher and artist of Lebanon) about his concept of religion, which is not too far from conceptions in Hinduism. When an old Priest requested Kahlil Gibran to speak to them of religion, Gibran (1976) said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?
Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection,
but a wonder and surprise ever springing in the
soul, even while the hands hew the stone or
tend the loom?
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or
his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying,
“This for God and this for myself; This for my
soul and this other for my body”?
All your hours are wings that beat through space
from self to self.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment
were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his
And he who defines his conduct by ethics
imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he who worshipping is a window, to
open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house
of his soul whose windows are from dawn to
Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet
and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or
For in reverie you cannot rise above your
achievement nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their
hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
And if you would know God, be not therefore
a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him
playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking
in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning
and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then
rising and waving His hands in trees. (pp. 91-92).
Therefore, the world (peoples), without any prejudice, and with open heart and mind for the benefit of themselves and all, should follow universal tenets of Hinduism (based on Vedant-Upanishads) after thorough examination through perpetual learning with awakening to be man incarnation of God, and also to get rid of strife, competition, poverty, inequality, terrorism, violence and war. In the nutshell, the very knowledge about, and the conscientization towards the self or the total man is Hinduism (of Vedanta), and the process through which the self is realized or manifested is peace education of Vedantic Hinduism.
Concept of Peace in Hinduism
There is cosmic view of peace in Hinduism. One may find the concept of peace in Vedas – the scriptures of Hinduism. At the end of the prayer for goodwill, the word peace is recited three times – wishing peace on the earth, beneath the earth and in outer space. Hindi word ‘Shanti’ of English word ‘peace’ is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Sham’ means ‘to close’, ‘to remove’, ‘to eliminate bad effects’, ‘to be pleased’. Its meaning is also ‘happiness and welfare’, and ‘health and wealth’. This word is found in Atharveda. The word ‘Sham’ is used 160 times in Rigveda – Rigveda, 1/114/1 (as cited in Kane, 1973, p. 343.). However, the word ‘Shanti’ (peace) is cited 17 times in Atharvaveda (Atharvaveda, 19/9). (Kane, 1973). In Vedic scriptures, the word ‘Shanti’ (peace) is used for different purposes, viz. (1) in the situation of eradication of bad effects, (2) as the means to remove bad influences, and (3) For peaceful work. In Matsayapuran – 229/12-13 (as cited in Kane, 1973, p. 551), one of the scriptures of Hinduism, 18 descriptions of peace (Shanti) are found and in Agnipuran (263-7-8) – another scripture of Hinduism – these 18 types of peace (Shanti) are mentioned (Kane, 1973, p. 552). Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane was a notable Indologist, eminent historian, author of encyclopedic Dharmasastra Ka Itihas (History of Religion) in five Volumes, and a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award and Bharat Ratna.
Here author of these lines cites a few prayers for peace found written in Vedas – the scriptures of Hinduism (as cited in Bose, 1954). Author of The Call of the Vedas and Hymns from the Vedas, a Sanskrit scholar, student of the Vedas, and scholar of mystic poetry
Dr. Bose translates the following-
On concord with the universe:
Peace of sky, peace of mid-region, peace of earth, peace
of waters, peace of plants.
Peace of trees, peace of All Gods, peace of Braman, peace
of the universe, peace of peace,
May that peace come to me!
- Yajurveda, 36-17, and also Atharvaveda
On long-life :
May we, for a hundred autumns, see that lustrous
Eye (of the sky, i.e. the sun), God-ordained, arise:
may we live for a hundred autumns.
– Rigveda, VII, 66.16
On health :
May Vata (Air) blow His balm on us,
Vata (Air) who brings well-being and health to our hearts
.May He lengthen our life. – Rigveda, X, 186-1, and also
On happy-life :
O God! bestow on us the best treasures:
the efficient mind, and spiritual lustre.
The increase of wealth, the health of bodies,
the sweetness of speech and fairness of days.
– Rigveda, II, 21. 6
On wealth :
Earth, Ether, Sky!
May we be rich in off-spring,
rich in heroes, rich in nourishing food!
– Yajurveda, VIII, 53
On pursuit of goodness :
Gods! may we, with our ears, listen to which is good,
and O Holy Ones! with our eyes see what is good;
And may we, with firm limbs and bodies,
Offering praise songs to you, enjoy the divinely Ordained term of life.
– Rigveda, I, 89-8, and also Samveda and Yajurveda
On goodwill :
That which, divine, goes far away from the waking person,
and that goes likewise from the sleeping,
The one light of lights, far moving, –
may that mind mine will what is good.
– Yajurveda, 34-1
On the well-being of all the people :
Satisfy my mind, satisfy my speech, satisfy my vital power,
satisfy my eye, satisfy my ear, satisfy my spirit, satisfy my
progeny, satisfy my herds, satisfy my people, let not my
people thirst. – Yajurveda, 6.31
On happiness of all:
May all be happy,
May all be free from diseases.
May all attain welfare,
May none be in grief.
– Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.14, (as cited in Warwick Hindu Society Prayer, 2009, p. 2)
Being impressed with and convinced of this Upanishadic idea of goodwill for happiness of all, a great Indian poet Jayashankar Prasad, in his very popular poetic book: Kamayani, a Hindi epic poem written in 1936, advised all mankind to do:
O man, see laughing others, laugh and be happy.
To expand your happiness make other happy.
(Prasad, 2007, p. 52)
Verily the secret thing in prayer is idea (word). In the prayer, there are good words, good ideas. Prayer is three-in-one. Good and positive thoughts contained in prayer can preserve the better health, happiness, and peace in individuals. The good ideas in prayer can prevent the individuals to be victims of any type of sickness, worry and grief. And also good words in prayer have power to cure all types of ailments in individuals.
One can find the power of words in Vedantic prayers. Every wish of Vedic sages for the good things of the earth took the form of an ardent prayer. And the prayer often took the form of song which tried to reach ‘the Supreme Lover of Song’ (Rigveda, I, 10, 12). For Vedic sages, the word was a revelation in their souls of the inner truth of reality, which they creatively received:
The first and foremost speech, O Brihaspati;
That sages sent, giving names (to what was nameless),
Speech that was their best, was stainless –
it revealed with love the Divine Mystery within them.
And where they created the Word, shifting it with the Spirit,
as t hey shift the flour with the sieve.
Their-in have friends discovered their friendship
Of which the beauties lie hidden in the Word.
– Rigveda, X, 71.1.2 (as cited in Bose, 1954)
It is said that idea becomes fact, if it is thought and expressed positively. Words have overwhelming power. Word is alive. Word is energy. Word has power to create, to change and to be changed. Everything is determined by the word. Through repeating it many times, one may become the very word. Perpetual repetition leads to self-hypnosis, and repetition with determination and strong faith leads to hypnotic power to bring change in others. The power of word has been experimented and practiced in post Vedic and modern times also. Many research experiments on the power of words were successfully done in Russia where painless major operations and delivery of women were executed with the use of power of words without giving any anaesthetic injections. Lalji Ram Shukla, Director, Kashi Manovigyanshala (Banaras Institute of Psychology), Varanasi, India, has given us report about the practice of the power of words through hypnosuggestion in Russia. Shukla (1973) has written:
Russia has appreciated the value of suggestion therapy (in which power of words is used). It is being
practiced in the Ukranian Psychological Institute on a very large scale. There by the very simple method of hypnosuggestion not only various forms of mental diseases are cured but even pure physical diseases such as weeping eczema, stomach ulcers,, heart troubles, acute headache, constipation and vomiting fits are also cured through the application of hypnosuggestion. (p. 31)
Medical Hypnosis Center (2007) has also reported:
Russian medicine has extensive experience with obstetric hypnosis. Platanov, in the 1920s, became
well known for his hypno-obstetric successes. Impressed by this approach, Stalin later set up a
nationwide program headed by Velvoski, who originally combined hypnosis with Pavlov techniques
but eventually used the later almost exclusively. Ferdinand Lamaze, having visited Russia, brought
back to France childbirth without pain through the psychological method,” which in turn showed
more reflexologic than hypnotic inspiration.
Brown and Menninger have also cited the importance of hypnosis which was widely used as an aid to psychotherapy throughout the early part of the nineteenth century. J. F. Brown, Ph. D., was a Professor of Psychology, The University of Kansas, and was Chief Psychologist, The Menninger Clinic; and Karl A. Menninger, M. D., was Chief-of-Staff, The Menninger Clinic, on Part IV (Psychiatry). Brown and Menninger (1940) have cited:
An Anglo-Indian, Physician, Esdaile (1808-1859), made considerable use of it (hypnosis) as an anesthetic to aid in surgery in the middle part of the nineteenth century. It was rather widely used, also, as an anesthetic in connection with childbirth. (p. 39)
And Mun (1963) has informed that “Esdaile performed a series of mesmeric operations … He had several thousand painless minor operations and about 300 major operations including cataracts, amputations, hydroceles and scrotal tumours” (p.2).
Lord Buddha also made experiments on the power of words silently on the violent and cruel Angulimala (in Pali: “garland of fingers”) who became Arhat (a Saint). According to Shukla (1958), “The notorious robber Angulimala became an Arhat by the kind enchanting presence of Lord Buddha in an instant…” (p. 156). “Lord Buddha devoted himself to the service of humanity for full forty five years in order to attain a perfect desire less state of existence. The practice of matri-bhawana or thinking of and actually doing service to the sufferers is the best way of attaining inner integration. This is the most effective way of rmaking auto-suggestion successful” (Shukla, 1958, p.124). Angulimala made a vow to kill one thousand people. He had already killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people, and he wore a necklace made out of their fingers. He needed only one more man. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2007) provides us a story of Angulimala as cited below:
“The Buddha set off to intercept Angulimala… Angulimala first saw his mother… Angulimala, after some deliberation, decided to make her his 1000th victim. But then when Buddha also arrived, he chose to kill him instead. He drew hiss sword, and started running towards the Buddha. But although Angulimala was running as fast as he could, he couldn’t catch up with the Buddha who was walking calmly. This bewildered Angulimala so much that he called to Buddha to stop. Buddha said that he himself had already stopped, and it was Angulimala who should stop. Angulimala asked for further explanation, after which the Buddha said that he had stopped harming living beings, and that Angulimala was still harming and hurting living beings. After hearing this, Angulimala changed his ways, vowed to cease his life as a brigand and joined the Buddhist order.
And also Saint Paul was changed from being a prosecutor of Christians to a devotee of that faith by the over-powering presence of the Holy Ghost (Shukla, 1958, p. 156).
Even today, in every religion, we find giving blessings at the time of birth and marriage anniversaries, and at every occasion of happiness. People express their good wishes at every occasion of happiness. Also at the time of sorrow, we pray for grant of courage and strength to bear the loss. Even in our daily life, we give good wishes to each other saying, ‘good morning’, ‘good day’, ‘good afternoon’, ‘good night’. Perhaps, these would be the reasons for the great philosopher and one of the peace initiators Immanuel Kant to believe in goodwill and to say: “Goodwill is the only good that is good without qualification”. (Kant, 2002, p. 1)
The ideas contained in the quotes are for health, happiness, wealth, goodwill, long life, well-being and peace for all. Fulfillment of these needs is peace, and denial of needs is violence. The ways through which these needs are is peace education, which is dynamic side of universal religion i.e. Vedantic Hinduism. Thus all quotes are linked with peace and peace education.
Peace Education in Hinduism
Hinduism is a religion of God in man for peace and bliss. It is the study of man (self) in relation to universe and God. It is the manifestation of universe and God already in man. It is perpetual process of unfoldment of all the elements integrally which constitute the man. It helps every individual to know himself or herself to be man (human).
The present education of the whole world which is preparation for higher education and more or less professional in nature for getting higher and better jobs, including existing concept of peace education, which stands for knowledge, attitude and skill, however is for a few privileged keeping maximum ignorant, and it is merely for knowledge about words and concepts lacking from knowledge about the self of the knower and its realization.
Concept of Peace Education
The concept of peace education can be traced in Chhandogya Upanishad (one of scriptures of Hinduism). The period of its composition dating to the Vedic Brahamana, probably mid-first millennium B.C.E. (Chhandogya Upanishad, 2009, p. 1). However, one may find the true concept of peace education in the revelation and honest confession of a highly learned Saint Narada about the ignorance of his own self before his teacher Sage Sanatkumar. Narada approached him for knowledge about self, and said:
Venerable Sir, I know the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvaveda as the fourth
(Veda), the epics (purans) and ancient lore (itihasa) as the fifth, the Veda of Vedas (i.e. grammar), the propitiation of the fathers, the science of numbers, the science of portents, the science of time
(chronology), logic, ethics and politics, the science of gods, the science of sacred knowledge, the
science of elemental spirit, the science of weapons, astronomy, the science of serpents and the fine arts. All this I know venerable sir. But, venerable sir, with all this I know words only. I do not know the
-Chhandogya Upanishad, Tr. Radhakrishnan (as cited in Damodaran, 1970, p. 9)
Narda knew everything except himself. Certainly, all are not fortunate to know even everything. However, like Narada some know everything but themselves. And many neither know everything nor themselves. Thus today everywhere some of us know much, some more, some most about everything, however, all of us do not know ourselves. Greatest misery is in the world is ignorance about ourselves. Knowledge of the self is the highest aim in Hinduism (particularly, Hinduism based on Vedanta-Upanishads). Hence Hinduism itself is peace education. Peace education, according to Hinduism, is self-education. Peace education of Vedantic Hinduism is education of the self, by the self and for the self. It is for all, in all and life-long.
One may find the concept of self in the Upanishads – the scriptures of Hinduism, and also the similar views in the sayings and advices of Confucius, Pope, Socrates and Jesus. Upanishads declared: “Know thy self” (atmanam Viddhi). Confucius in China made the same appeal. All thought, and all theories of human activity, are to be based upon a proper understanding of man. Pope said that the noblest study of mankind is man himself. (Radhakrishnan and Raju, 1966, p. 31). When Socrates was asked by his students in Athens which was the first step toward achieving wisdom, he said : Gnoti te auton – ‘Know yourself’. A few centuries later, when Jesus of Nazareth was asked a similar question, He gave the same reply: Nosce te ipsum – know yourself (Diplomacy Journal, May 2008, p. 44).
Philostratus in his Life of Apollonius (III, 18) records that Apollonius once came across two learned men from India and asked them, “Do you know yourselves?” The two Hindus replied, “If we know everything, it is because first we know ourselves. We would never have succeeded in acquiring wisdom had we not first acquired the self-knowledge”(p. 95). Apollonius, astonished at their reply, inquired further: “What do you think you are?” “We are gods,” they replied. And he said, “Why?” “For we are good men,” was their answer. “By good deeds we obtain union with God”. In Philostratus work (as cited in Radhakrishnan, n. d., p. 95). Eckhart has also said, “No one can know God who has not first known himself… . Since we find God in oneness, that oneness must be in him who is to find God”(p. 138). Again he says, “To get at the core of, God at his greatest, one must first get into the core of himself at his least, for no one can know God who has not first known himself. Go to the depths of the soul… to the root, to the heights, for all that God can do is focused there”. – In Eckhart’s sayings (as quoted in Radhakrishnan, n. d., p. 138).
In view of Hinduism, God (Brahman), the universal self, was identified with man himself. As a verse in the Mahabharata a scripture of Hinduism put it : Guhyambrahma tadidam vo bravimi, na manushat sreshtataram hi kinchit – “I tell you this, the secret of the Brahman: There is nothing nobler than man” (Damodaran, 1970, p. 140).
Swami Vivekananda has pointed the high glory of man as: “No books, no scriptures, no science can ever imagine the glory of the self that appears as man, the most glorious God that ever was, the only God that ever existed, exists or ever will exist” (Vivekananda, 1958, Vol. 2, p. 250). According Yajurveda, man is able to declare : “I am the absolute Brahman (God)” – Aham Brahmasmi – Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.10, of Yajurveda (as quoted in Krishnamurthy, 2002, p. 10). The concept of man and God of Hinduism are reflected in the views of thinkers born in other religious sects also. Mansur Al-Hallaj, born in Islam, a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer, pious teacher of Sufism, indicted and killed on the charges of heresy, said: ‘Ana’l Haqq’ – ‘I am God’ (Mansur, 2008, P. 1). Ralph Waldo
Emerson, born in Christianity, an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher, lecturer and the author of Nature also told: “Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool” (Emerson, 2001, p.2).
In the beginning, the absolute God was one. Once he desired to be many (In Sanskrit, Eko Aham, Bahu Shyami). As soon as he desired to be many, He became in many forms. It means God descends in many including in man. This is why it is said that man is abode of God. Regarding this, there is Verse in Taittiriopanishad (1965):
God thought: ‘I would be many; I will procreate.’ And in the heat of his meditation created everything; creating everything He entered into everything; entering into everything He took shape yet remained shapeless; took limits yet remained limitless; made his home, yet remained homeless; created knowledge and ignorance; reality and unreality; became everything; therefore everything is reality. Here is my authority. (pp. 112-113)
In the beginning there was no creation; then creation came. He created Himself, out of Himself. Hence
he is called Self-Creator. Everything is self-created. He is that essence. Drinking that essence, man
rejoices. If man did not lose himself in that joy, he could not breathe; he could not live. Self is the sole
giver of joy…. Taittiriya Upanishad, (Ten Upanishads, 1937, pp. 71-72).
However, many have tendency to be one again. Every human being has all the five elements, viz. earth, air, water, fire and space. These elements are scattered in the universe. This is why man is said to be a miniature universe. And through realization or manifestation or evolution of these elements, man can transcend to be one i.e. God. God descends in many and among many every man can transcend to be one. The transcendence is God. A great Hindu Saint Swami Vivekananda (1984) said: “All beings, great or small, are equally manifestation of God; the difference is only in the manifestation” (p.55). Prior to this, he said also, “The same power is in every man, the one manifested more, the other less; the same potentiality is in every one” (p. 55). Tagore (1932) who was a poet, visual artist, playwright, novelist, educationist, social reformer and recipient of 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature said, “The absolute is the Supreme man, God humanized”. He declared, “My religion is the religion of man in which the infinite is defined in humanity” (p. 91). ‘The Religion of Man’, as enunciated by Tagore, is an appeal for faith in man’s sublimity, for nothing is greater than the Divine in man. In his own words: “When I was 18, a sudden spring breeze of religious experience for the first time came to my life and passed away leaving in my memory a direct message of spiritual reality… That which was memorable in this experience was its human message, the sudden expansion of my consciousness in the super-personal world of man… Suddenly I became conscious of a stirring of soul within me. My world of experience in a moment seemed to become lighted, and facts that were detached and dim found a great unity of meaning … I felt that I had found my religion at last, the religion of Man, in which the infinite became defined in humanity…” This idea found expression in his poems addressed to what he called Jivan Devata, the Lord of Life [as cited in World Union of Jesuit Alumni(ae), 2009].
Meaning of Peace Education
The answer of “What is the self?” provides us the link for a true, very clear, and concrete meaning of peace education. Like the concept of peace education which has its roots in Chhandogya Upanishad, one may get the clues of its meaning in Taittiriya Upanishad
(another scripture of Hinduism), a composition of its period is the same as Chhandogya Upanishad, i.e. before mid-first millennium B.C.E. and in Ramacharitmanas of Saint Tulsidas-1532-1623, where we find the meaning of the self or the man, which helps us to define peace education in true sense
According to Hinduism, man is made of five sheaths, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit (Taittiriyopanishad, 1965, p. 89-90). Saint Tulasidasa, in his Ramcharimansa, defining man has said that the five elements, viz. earth, air, water, fire, and space constitute the man. (Tulasidasa, 1962/1968, p. 516). The following details provide the corresponding meaning of five elements and sheaths in man as described in Taittiriyopanishad and Rramacharitmanasa of Tulasidasa.
Concept of Man Described in Tatiriyopanishad and by Tulasidasa and their corresponding Meaning
|Sheaths in Man according to Taittiriyopanishad||Elements in Man in view of Tulasidasa|
|Annamayah Kosh (Physical Sheath) – Body||Kshiti (Earth)|
|Pranamayah Kosh (Vital Sheath) – Vitality||Sameer (Air)|
|Manomayah Kosh (Mental Sheath) – Mind||Jal (Water)|
|Vijnanamayah Kosh (Intellectual Sheath) – Intellect||Pavak (Fire)|
|sAnandamayah Kosh (Spiritual sheath) – Spirit||Gagan (Space)|
The five elements in man as described by Tulasidasa are in scattered form in the universe, but these elements are in consolidated form in man. This is why man is called a miniature universe. And in view of Taittiriyopanishad (a scripture of Hinduism), each sheath in man is God, for example: food is God, vitality is God, mind is God, intellect is God, spirit is God. And these sheaths are to be realized or manifested in totality. The man should perpetually transcends the selfs (sheaths) consisting of body (food-anna), vitality (prana), mind (manas), intellect (vijnana), and spirit (ananda) to become integral man – a global man, a man incarnation of God, who would be completely peaceful, all bliss and non-dual, and the spirit – atman. (The Mandukya Upanishad, 1995, pp. 47-48). And man is able to liberate himself from external dependence, and to achieve peace and integration within and radiate the same around them. Prof. Johan Galtung – a pioneer of Peace Research – has rightly developed the concept of Transcend, because every individual has inherent capacity to be integral man or human to be peaceful with himself and others, and for this awareness he founded Transcend: A Peace and Development Network, and now a Transcend University of which he is Rector (Galtung, 2002, Foreword).
Thus every individual has five selves, viz. physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual, or every man is made of these five elements (body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit), and the process of their integral manifestation is peace education.
Integral manifestation of five sheaths in man leads him to happiness and peace, and failure of unfoldment of these five elements or seeds in man gives rise to several aberrations and deviations in man, and ultimately in the world. The following Table 2 shows the weakness, sickness, health and peace as per non-unfoldment, partial unfoldment, and full unfoldment of sheaths in man.
Showing Sheaths in Man and the outcomes of their Non-Unfoldment, Partial Unfoldment and Full-Unfoldment.
|Sheaths in Man||If fully Not-Unfolded||If Partially Unfolded||If Fully Unfolded|
|Physical (Body)||Bodily too weak to survive||Much prone to Physical Ailments||Physically healthy and strong|
|Vital (Vitality)||Vitally unsound||Chances to be victim of vital disorders||Vitally sound|
|Mental-Mind||Mentally unstable||Mentally conceited||Mentally stable|
|Intellectual (Intellect)||Intellectually dull||Intellectually arrogant||Intellectually sharp|
|Spiritual (Spirit)||Spiritually non-awakened and becomes victim of blind faith||Chances to become rigid, conservative, orthodox and dogmatic||Spiritually awakened and to become catholic and global|
|Integrated all five Sheaths||Oppressed and exploited/ peace less / violence committed on the man||Oppressors and exploiters / violent / agitated and aggressive||Neither Oppressors and exploiters nor to be oppressed and exploited / non-violent/ peaceful, tolerant and non-aggressive towards all.|
If a person fails to manifest his bodily self, he is bound to be physically weak and there would be no chance for him to survive, and if the number of such persons is more, the human progeny may be doubted for the people lack of bodily manifestation would be physically weak. Lack of vital unfoldment, man would suffer with the problems of gas, acidity and cough which affect his other selves also. Mental non-unfoldment makes man unstable. Man becomes dull due to lack of intellectual unfoldment. Failure of the spiritual manifestation leads man spiritually non-awakened who becomes victim of blind faith. If a man fails to manifest all his five sheaths integrally, he becomes victim of violence of oppression and exploitation which lead him to the state of peacelessness.
Partially unfolded sheaths in man lead him to physical ailments, vital disorders, mental conceitedness, intellectual arrogance, spiritual rigidity, conservatism, dogmatism and orthodoxy. And finally, partially unfolded sheaths makes man agitated, aggressive, oppressors and exploiters and above all violent, and they are very tyrannical for selves and others. But in the condition of fully unfolded sheaths, man becomes physically healthy and strong, vitally sound, mentally stable, intellectually sharp and spiritually awakened to be altruist catholic and global. And if all the five sheaths are manifested, man is neither oppressor and exploiter nor oppressed and exploited. He is non-aggressive, tolerant, non-violent, altruist and peaceful, and he becomes God incarnate in man. Ranganathananda(1989) said:
Vedanta scripture of (Hinduism) warns man, and Vivekananda emphasizes the same today, that if man grows only physically and mentally, but does not side by side grow also spiritually, he will actually use his strength to exploit others, to express himself in violence and war, to harm and destroy others, to harm and destroy even himself. But when he grows spiritually also, and manifests his ever present divine dimension, he becomes capable to express himself in love and compassion, becomes capable to radiate humanistic impulses towards not only other human beings but also animals. That is the type of spiritual energy manifestation that the world witnessed in a Buddha, in a Jesus, in a Sri Ramkrishna and a Vivekananda. They conquered hatred through love and gave peace to peaceless and joy to the grief-stricken; and they gave these to people out of their abundance”. (p. 17)
Impact of Hinduism on other Religions and Persons of other Sects
Hinduism has influence on other religions of the world and also on the persons of other sects. It is said that every major religion of the world has received impetus from those external principles discovered first in the East. Those ancient truths have become now a part of total human or world culture. It is a culture that asks man to strengthen his within and bear with environmental forces which are beyond his power to control (Ranganathananda, 1990, P. 40). Swami Ranganathananda, Vice President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission in one of his lecture said, “that Vedantic energy could not be confined to India only, but has flowed out first to the West, and later to the East as well, to recreate the life of modern man”(Ranganathananda, 1997, p.39).
Rao, P. Nagraja (1958), a D.Litt. Degree holder in Philosophy, author of Bhagvad Gita and the Changing World, Schools of Vedanta, and Introduction to Vedanta, and who also taught philosophy in four Indian universities, has found that Vedanta in one form or another has become a contemporary spiritual force working for the good of humanity. Rao states that it has attracted the great intellectuals of our age to its fold. Its influence on the world’s thought, particularly that of the West, is deep and widespread. Rao (1958) told:
Vedanta has influenced the personalities of Schopenhauer, Hartmann, Nietzche and Keyserling in Europe. Its influence on the Irish renaissance is seen through the personalities of W.B. Yeats and G. W. Russell. Its great influence on American thought is most vigorous and is best illustrated in the works of Emerson, Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood and Somerset Maugham. (p. 43)
Swami Vivekananda has also observed that many learned men of the western world have accepted the idea of spiritual outlook described in Hinduism.Vivekananda (1984) stated:
Due to the influence of the teaching of Hinduism, the doctrine of pre-existence of soul in man is found among Alexandrian Jews, Pharisees, Egyptian mystics, Pythagorians, Gnostics, Sufis and others. In modern times also many learned men like H. Fichte, Schopenhauer, Hume, Lessing and others have accepted the doctrine of spiritual outlook of man as described in Hinduism. (p.176)
Vivekananda (1984) has also found and said:
Pythagoras visited India and studied the Sankhya philosophy of Kapila about nature (prakriti) as the prime state of balance of its constituent forces – the casual or un-manifested condition of all the effects that are to evolve from it. And that was the beginning of the philosophy of the Greek. After that, it created the Alexandrian school, and later the Gnostic. It was divided into two parts: one went to Europe and Alexandria, and the other was remain in India, and out of this, Sage Vyas developed his own system. (p.110)
The great thinkers of the world, who were influenced by Hinduism, manifested their selves through discoveries in their writings. And their discoveries of knowledge are due to their perpetual learning of their selves. In this sense, they practiced peace education (of Vedantic Hinduism of self education), unknowingly as a term, through the use of knowledge about their selves, which helped them in the realization of their selves leading them to be peaceful and non-violent for themselves and others.
Thinkers and Practitioners of Similar Theories and Praxis of Hinduism
We know the thinkers in different parts of the world who contributed theories and praxis of religion similar to Hinduism. Some great spiritual teachers of the world protested against the rigid, superstitious and orthodox belief and protected everlasting perpetual reality of religion. Radhakrishnan (n. d.) also observed:
The great religious teachers of the world preach something different from the traditions they inherit. The seers of the Upanishads, Gautama the Buddha, Zoroaster, Socrates, Jesus, Mohammad, Nanak and Kabir had to undergo in their lives an inevitable break-away from the traditional views. Even as the seers of the Upanishads and the Buddha protested against Vedic ceremonialism, even as Jesus denounce Rabbinical orthodoxy, we have to protect the enduring substance of religion from the forms and institutions which suffer from the weakness of man and the corruptions of times.We must get away from a religion which has lost the power of creative expression in conformity with the needs and demands of our age. (p. 13)
Radhakrishnan (n. d.) quoted Kalidasa, a great ancient poet of India, who has said in his Mālavikāgnimitra, “Everything is not good simply because it is old; no literature should be treated as unworthy simply because it is new. Great men accept the one or the other after due examination. (Only) the fool has his understanding misled by the beliefs of others”
Really, when we go through the lives and practices of the above cited great men, we find one quality in all of them that was strong faith in themselves through which they realized their true selves by uncovering the truth which made them great, though they had to suffer a lot, and some of them had to lose their lives at the hands of their contemporary ignorant people in authority. However, after their leaving this world, their lives and preaching were honoured and recognized, and they were regarded as either messenger of God or God, and worshiped. Vivekananda (1971) also said:
Throughout the history of mankind if any motive power has been more potent than another in the lives of great men and women, it is that faith in themselves. Born with the consciousness that they were to be great, they became great. (p. 42)
No doubt, what was possible for Gautam (Buddha), Krishna, Jesus (Christ), Mohammed, Socrates, John Huss, Bruno and other spiritual saints, scientists and sages can be possible for all men and women irrespective of any discrimination. They attained their perfection and we shall attain ours. And now, no more like Christ will be crucified, no more like Socrates will be poisoned to death, no more like John Huss will be burned at stake, no more like Bruno will be burnt, no more like Galileo will be forced to recant, no more like Thomas Garret will be convicted and fined, and no more alike creative persons will be punished at the hands of their own ignorant fellow beings for their manifestation of perfection already inherent in them, because there is no place for persecution or intolerance in Hinduism of Vedanta. It recognizes divinity in every man and woman, in ignorant and wise both, and it provides scope to all to realize their true and divine nature.
Truly like the great men, all without any distinction, can manifest their inherent perfection through the knowledge of their selves, and this is the core of peace education based on universal religion of Vedanta, which Hinduism claims. In this sense, the creative saints and scientists of all over the world, who succeeded to unfolding the truth through the knowledge of their selves, even though they did not know the Vedantic Hinduism, may be considered as Vedantic Hindus in the frame of reference of the tenets of Hinduism.
Hinduism in view of World Thinkers
Hinduism is the oldest of all religions in the world. Many great world thinkers were highly impressed with its universal, tolerant, and elastic tenets. Below cited views on Hinduism of a few world renowned thinkers are worth mentioning here.
Annie Besant (2009), leader of Indian freedom movement, member of Indian
National Congress and president of Theosophical Society, said:
After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so
perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophic, and none so spiritual as the great religion
known by the name of Hinduism. The more you know it, the more you will love it; the more
you try to understand it, the more deeply you will value it. (p. 8).
Toynbee, Arnold J. , a universal British historian, and author of A Study of History in 12 Volumes, maintained:
As I have gone on, Religion has come to take a more and more prominent place, till in the end it stands in the center of the picture…. I have come back to a belief that Religion holds the key to the mystery of existence; but I have not come back to the belief that this key is in the hands of my ancestral Religion exclusively…. The Indian religions are not exclusive minded. They are ready to allow that there may be alternative approaches to the mystery. I feel sure that in this they are right and that this catholic – minded Indian religious spirit is the way of salvation of all religions in an age in which we have to learn to live as a single family if we are not to destroy ourselves” (p. 50) (as cited in Radhakrishnan, 1968) .
Renou, Louis was a French Indologist, Author of Religions of Ancient India, History of Ancient India, History of Vedic India, and Hinduism. He has written about Hinduism. Renou said:
The troubles of the present age, which are rightly or wrongly attributed to the Western materialism, have helped to increase the prestige of Hinduism. Some people see it as the authentic survival of a tradition, or rather, of the one Tradition, and make it the basis of their philosophia perennis. Others try to incorporate it in a universal religious syncretism… Hinduism provides an incomparable field of study for the historian of religion… it manifests all the conceptions of religion, and its speculation is continually revealing them in a new light. It combines powers of constant renewal with a firm conservancy of fundamental tradition… Above all, in the interpenetration of religion and dharma in general and the reciprocal stimulus of abstract thought and religious experiment, there is an underlying principle that, given favourable conditions, may well lead to a new integration of the human personality” (as cited in Radhakrishnan, n. d. pp. 186-187).
Monier-Williams, who was founder of University’s Indian Institute, author of Indian Wisdom, Modern India and Indians, and Buddhism, has also written about Hinduism. Monier-Williams claims:
The strength of Hinduism lies in its adaptability to the infinite diversity of human character and human
tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosopher, its practical and
concrete side congenial to the man of the world, its aesthetic and ceremonial side attuned to the man
of poetic feeling and imagination and its quiescent contemplative aspect that has its appeal for the man of peace and lover of seclusion (as quoted in Krishnamurthy, 2002, pp. 161).
Thinkers of the world have appreciated Hinduism not for it contains good ideas, but it has the thoughts to be tested to discover the pre-exited knowledge within each and everyone, though in many times, it may be in contrast to the existing or the past-discovered knowledge
(in the field of science, religion, philosophy, and other disciplines). And for this contradiction, Hinduism of Vedanta does not punish for the discovery of new truth, but appreciates and encourages for this by giving proper recognition through acceptance, because Hinduism considers discovery of new truth as the realization of higher truth from the journey through the lower truth. And this process of uncovering the pre-existed knowledge is the dynamic side of Hinduism based on Vedanta i.e. Peace Education. Though the thinkers, whose views on Hinduism are expressed, did not use the word ‘peace education’ for Hinduism, they put all the description of peace education in appreciating and describing Hinduism as non-exclusive, universal/global/catholic religion suitable to all diverse human beings for integration in their human personality to be global man of peace and non-violence.
No Fear of Peace Education for Nation States
The present peace education is not in practice in educational institutions of the undemocratic nation-states due to fear of inculcation, regimentation and indoctrination of peace as democratic value for destabilizing their systems, and where there are democracies their numbers are also not satisfactory because of ignorance or lack of will to implement this type of present peace education. One may find justification of the above cited statements by the complaints of Galtung (1974, p. 53), observation of Wulf (1974, p. 53), citation in World Encyclopedia of Peace (1986, pp. 3-35), findings of the study of Bjerstedt (1992, pp. 3-24), statement in this regard given by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2001, p. 7), and report of the Robin’s Directory (2002).
But there should be no any fear for the nation-states whether they are democratic or non-democratic regarding implementation of peace education based on five sheaths or element in man as described in Taittitiriya Upanishad and Sri Ramacaritamanasa – the scriptures of Hinduism. Because peoples belonging to different nations having different faiths, political isms, races, cultures, professions, gender etc. have the same elements viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit. Hence without any discrimination, all must have opportunity to be evolved or unfolded these elements integrally to be man for justice, peace and non-violence.
Need of Awakening among Peoples towards Peace Education
Certainly the Seers of Vedanta were highly awakened people who continuously kept themselves to experiment the truth through realization of their selves resulting to maintain and sustain peace within and outside. Therefore they were recognized as great persons in the field of knowledge and practice. And Sir Monier Williams, certified them saying, “Hindus were Spinozates 2000 years before the existence of Spinoza, Darwinians many centuries before Darwin and Evolutionists before the doctrine of Evolution had been accepted by the scientists of our times” (as quoted in Indpride, 2003). But the teachings of Vedantic Hinduism are forgotten even in India-the land of their creation because they have been mixed up with superstitions. Therefore there is a great need of the teachings of Vedantic Hinduism to be experimented in every part of the world. Because Peace Education of Vedantic Hinduism is everywhere, the only matter is to make the peoples conscious of it, i.e. perpetual knowledge of self and its integral manifestation throughout life for peace and non-violence towards themselves and others.
There is neither any compulsion nor binding to become Hindu for any one to follow the principles and practices of peace education as advocated in Vedantic Hinduism. Everyone one, maintaining his or her own identity of religion (creed), culture, race, ism, language, gender, etc., can follow the concept and practices of peace education based on Vedantic Hinduism.
Hence let all peoples be aware about peace education, and have the opportunity to transcend from physical body to vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual body, and after realization, by means of renunciation of lower self for the manifestation of higher self to become man or God in man. And if the peace education of Hinduism of Vedanta is adopted, implemented and practiced everywhere, all will be happy, free from diseases, attain welfare, and no one will be in grief; and there will be complete peace on the earth, beneath the earth and in the outer space as enunciated in Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad – a scripture of Hinduism (as cited in Warwick Hindu Society, 2009). And man will be tolerant to feel happy in the happiness of others, and to make others happy for expansion of his own happiness (Prasad, 2007 ), which would lead to happiness and peace for all.
- In fact, Hinduism is the Religion of the realization of self for peace, means peace for all.
Dr. Kane has written two full Chapters (Chapter 20, Vedic Meaning and Methods of
Peace, pp. 343-352; and Chapter 21, Some Special Peace, pp. 353-372 in Vol. 4 of his
book Dharamsastra Ka Itihas – History of Religion), and described how the word peace is
used several times in different prayers to maintain peace in different situations the people
are supposed to face.
- Dr. Avinash Chandra Bose was a Ph.D. in English. He worked as Principal under two
prestigious Indian Universities. He was a keen scholar of Sanskrit and taken a life-long
interest in the Vedas. He carried out researches in Mysticism in Poetry at the Trinity
- Prof. V. Krishnamurthy, Ph.D. in Mathamatics, ex-Director of K.K. Birla Academy, New
Delhi and former Dy. Director at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pillani, India,
is author of Essentials of Hinduism, Hinduism for the Next Generation, The Ten
Commandments of Hinduism, Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought, Vision and
Practice, and Science and Spirituality: A Vedanta Perception.
- Vitality,which is one of the five elements which constitute the man in view of
Taittiriyopanishd (1965, p.146), is to be manifested. Vitality (prana) is vital energy. It is
vital force, which is Brahman (God). The material body is produced by the vital force
which is higher category. In absence of Prana, says Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (2004)
Anna (food) decays (V. 12. 1, pp.420-426). Chhandogya Upanishad (2007) also states
that without Life this will die (VI. 11. 3, p. 462). Vitality is only superfine ether (akasa).
It is electricity, it is magnetism. It is thrown out by the brain as thought. Everything is
prana (vitality). It is vitality (prana) that is moving every part of the body, becoming the
different forces. Normal breathing and breathing in exercises are the rhythmic action of the
vitality (prana). According to Chhandogya Upanishad (2007), “Prana (Vitality) is indeed
the eldest and the best (of the organs)” (p. 329), because the vital force develops the
embryo from the very beginning, and other organs begin to function only after the vital
force does so (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 2004, 6. 1, p. 441). One may refer to this
Upanishad (pp.445-453) to know more about the superiority of the vital force.
Annan, Kofi (2001). In University for Peace. Education for Peace in the 21st Century, Report on the Advisory Meeting on the Academic Program of the University for Peace. Retrieved February 20, 2002, from University for Peace, Website: http://www.upeace.org
Bjerstedt, A. (1992). Peace Education Around the World at the Beginning of the 1990s.
Peace Education Mini Prints. Malmo (Sweden): School of Education.
Besant, Annie (2009). Quotes. In Wikiedia, the free encyclopedia.
Modified May 04, 2009, from http://www.enwikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Besant
Bose, A.C. (1954). The Calls of Vedas. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad . (2004). Madras: Sri Ramkrishna Math.
Brown, J. F. & Menninger, K. A. (1940). The Psychodynamics of Abnormal Behaviour. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
Chhandogya Upanishad . (2007). Swami Swahananda, Trans. Madras: Sri Ramkrishna Math.
Chhandogya Upanashad . (2009). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Damodaran, K. (1970). Man and Society in Indian Philosophy. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.
Diplomacy Journal (2008, May). Importance of Self-Knowledge.
Emerson, R.W. (2001). Emerson Quotes.
Modified February 13, 2008, from http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Emerson/quotes.htm
Galtung, J. (1974). On Peace Education. In C. Wulf (Ed.), Handbook on Peace Education. Frankfurt/Main: International Peace Research Association.
Galtung, J. (2002). Foreword. In S. N. Prasad and Suman Shukla (Eds.), Science, Religion and Peace. Nagpur : IAEWP.
Gibran, Kahlil (1976). The Prohet. Bombay : Allied Publishers Ltd.
Glimpses of World Religions. (1958). Bombay: Jaico Publishing House.
The Great Learning .(1990). Charles Muller, Trans. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Modified April 05, 2009,
Indpride, (2003). Hinduism. Indpride. Com. Modified May13,2009,
Kane, P. V. (1973). Dharamshastra Ka Itihas (History of Religion). Lucknow : Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan.
Kant, I. (2002). Kant: The Moral Order. In Philosophy Pages.
Modified October 20, 2006,
Krishnamurthy, V. (2002). Science and Spirituality : A Vedanta Perception. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
The Mandukya Upanisad. (1995). Swami Nikhilananda, Trans. Calcutta : Advaita Ashrama
Mansur Al-Hallaj (2008). Anal Haq. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Modified November 15, 2008,
Medical Hypnosis Center (2007). Platanov, Pavlov and Russian Applications.
Modified August 28, 2007, from http://www.stayingalive.com/History.htm
Mishra G. & Mohanty, A. R. (1993). Voices of Modern India : Views of Great Indian Thinkers. Calcutta : Orient Longman Ltd.
Mun, Chong Tong (1964). Medical Use of Hypnosis. Singapore Medical Journal, 5(1), 19-24. Retrieved from http://www.smj.sma.org/0501/0501smj4.pdf
New World Encyclopedia .(2007). Upanishad. Modified January 13, 2009,
Prasad, Jaishankar (2007). Kamayani, Nagpur : Vishwa Bharati Prakashan.
Prasad, S. N. (1973, December). Education as the Way to Achieve World Peace and Unity. World Conference conducted at the 4th Triennial Meeting of the World Council, Pondicherry, India.
Radhakrishnan, S. (n. d.) Recovery of Faith. New Delhi: Hind Pocket Books.
Radhakrishnan, S. (1968). Religion and Culture. New Delhi : Hind Pocket Books.
Radhakrishnan, S. & Raju P.T. (1966). The Concept of Man. London : George Allen and Unwin Ltd.
Ranganathananda, S. (1989). Swami Vivekanand : His Humanism. Calcutta : Advaita Ashrama.
Ranganathananda, S. (1990). Swami Vivekananda and Human Excellence. Calcutta : Advait Ashrama.
Ranganathananda, S. (1997). The Charm of and Power of the Upanishads. Calcutta: Adaita Ashram.
Rao, P. N. (1958). Introduction to Vedanta. Bombay : Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Robin’s Directory. (2002). Listing of Colleges with Peace Education Programs. Retrieved February, 2002, from http://www.cfs.colorado.edu/peace/academic.html
Shukla, L. R. (1958). Mental Integration. Varanasi: Kashi Manovigyanshala.
Shukla, L. R. (1973). Psychological Factors in Nature Cure. Souvenir, 29-32, First All Karnatak Naturopathic Conference, Hubli, India
Shukla, Suman (2003). Education for Human-Centrism through Neo-Renaissance. In Young Seek Choue (ed.), Building Common Society through Renaissance. Seoul: Kyung Hee University.
Tagore, R. (1930). The Religion of Man. New York: The Macmillan Company. Retrieved from http://www.monkfishpublishing.com/pages/religion-Chapter%2011.htm
Taittiriyopanishad. (1965). Swami Sarvadanand, Trans. Madras: Sri Ramkrishna Math.
The Ten Upanishads. (1937). S. P. Swami and W. B. Yeats, Trans. London : Faber & Faber Ltd.
Tulasidasa (1968). Sri Ramacaritamanasa. (Gobind Bhawan Karyalaya, Eng. Trans.). Gorakpur, Gita Press. (Original Work in Hindi Published, 1962).
Vivekananda, S. (1958). The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Calcutta: Advait Ashrama.
Vivekananda, S. (1971). Education. Coimbatore: Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya.
Vivekananda, S. (1984). Proletariat! Win Equal Rights. Calcutta: Advait Ashrama.
Vivekananda, S. (1995). Thoughts on the Gita. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram.
Vivekananda, S. (2005). Chicago Addresses. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama.
Warwick Hindu Society (2009). Prayer – Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina.
Modified March 03, 2009,
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2007). Angulimala. Modified June 17, 2009,
World Development Report-1991. (1991). New York : Oxford University Press.
World Encyclopedia of Peace (1986). Linus Pauling (Ed). New York: Pergamon Press.
World Union of Jesuit Alumni(ae). (2009). Spiritual Insight in Tagore’s Works.
Modified May 20, 2009, from http://www.jesuitalumni.org/blog/docs/GB_Tagore.pdf
Wulf, Christoph (Ed.) (974). Handbook on Peace Education. Franfurt/Main: International
Peace Research Association.
Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, former president & currently executive vice president of International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), associate professor of education emeritus, former visiting professor, the graduate institute of peace studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea, founder & editor-in-chief, Peace Education: An International Journal. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Education for Peace, Hinduism, Peace Education, Religion
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Jul 2021.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Hinduism and Peace Education, is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.