Ahimsa (non-violence) is the need for all of us, at all times. In the present world, as we look around, we find violence, discontentment and problems of all types, some of which linger on for years and can’t be solved for some reasons. These problems have to be solved by some innovative means, rather than the mundane ones. We have to go deep up to the roots. Ahimsa is said to be one way to give such solutions, and lead us to peace. Ahimsa is an important part of Jainism, but it should be taken as a universal concept. In eleven Chapters and appendices, the author discusses its various aspects like concept, action, thought, application, scope etc. The Chapter on “The Philosophy” starts with discussions on the seven basic concepts for purification in the Jain philosophy. Ahimsa is given important place here, since if we eliminate violence we can steer the soul rightly. Violence is both physical and mental, with their being more depth in the mind. We can start towards non-violence, if we realize the pain and feelings of others. This is possible if we can purify ourselves. Some people are more concerned with, not harming small creatures than the human beings. When purity of soul is achieved, it gives out positive signals and it may lead to good will all around.
The Chapter on “The Application” states that Ahimsa has universal appeal and application, leading to harmony in the world. Discussing the origin of terrorism, the author says that this generally starts with some minor discontentment of some group of persons with the present system. With no serious effort made to solve this problem, it grows fast and the situation then suddenly explodes. The bad elements of the society, exploit such a situation, which then becomes chaotic. It is very difficult to keep them under control, but with principles of co-existence and mutual welfare, it can be done. Ego of the various persons should not be suppressed.
If force is used, it makes the position more complicated. Law and order can be maintained, if number of such problematic persons is limited. Therefore we must encourage Ahimsa, discipline and good conduct. Our mind must be cool and balanced, in spite of provocations etc. With Ahimsa, we become sensitive to the problems and needs of other persons. Ahimsa hits the base of evil, and so it is helpful in all fields including prevention purposes, through discipline which is a part of Ahimsa. Jainism includes life, earth, water, air and fire also, in Ahimsa. We should avoid violence towards all of them. Ecology is very complex. Ahimsa attitude as a discipline is also very helpful for reducing corruption, conserving energy, maintaining ecological balance, preventing extinction of some species etc. The author therefore advocates proper teaching of Ahimsa, rather than use of threats or physical force, right from the childhood. The quality and type of circumstances and environment, especially the parents, are of utmost importance in this regard. But education for Ahimsa, the science of peace and harmony, should be done at all levels of the general masses and also the leaders. It is a good book in this field, to motivate people to renounce violence and adopt a saner path for preventing violence, and establishing peace everywhere. In this respect, this book covers practical aspects and is considered useful for everyone in the general public, for increasing application of non-violence, even in the modern way of life.