Jain Muni preaches ‘World Without Violence’

Acharya Lokesh Muni addressing a gathering at Indian Consulate

Sunthar Visuvalingam
CHICAGO: Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni delivered a brief but pithy discourse in Hindi on “World Without Violence” at the Indian Consulate here on July 2, emphasizing the crucial role of education in predisposing the mind and emotions from the earliest age towards creating a harmonious social environment.

Though walking the ascetic path of Jaina spirituality, the Muni, who conspicuously wears the traditional screen over his mouth to protect from unwary insects, drew primarily from authoritative Hindu scriptures, such as the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads to make his points. By propagating inner and outer peace, he has been engaged for decades in interfaith initiatives at nation-building in India.

Host Consul General Neeta Bhushan posed the first, most relevant, question as to why the United States that attracts the brightest students from all over the world to its top-notch educational institutions has been home to globally televised scenes of senseless school violence.
Muni, who began by highlighting the destructive role of our inherited “animal brain,” clarified that an authentic all-round education does not aim simply to produce successful professionals equipped to survive in a competitive world but inculcates human values by shaping and cultivating the emotional makeup and moral fiber. Spiritual discourses and lofty principles in themselves cannot ensure peace, without their practical application.
Invoking the Indic framework of the four legitimate life-goals (purushaartha) – sensual gratification, wealth accumulation, socio-religious responsibilities and spiritual freedom – the Muni insisted on the importance of leading a balanced and stress-free inner and outer life. Education in virtues such as compassion must begin at home and, nurtured by immediate family, remain duty-conscious and community-orientated. The Muni has led long marches in India, arm-in-arm with leaders of other faiths, to raise public awareness of and eradicate female infanticide.

Acharya Lokesh Muni, CG Neeta Bhushan and faith leaders

Addressing a local Ahmediyya leader seated on the front row and another from the Sikh community, the Jain preacher urged the world’s religions to intensify their commitment to interfaith dialogue to foster understanding that they were different paths towards transcendence. He announced that a forthcoming Jain world convention in the US is reserving an entire section for such interreligious engagement. He introduced many lay volunteers from Chicago’s Jain community, who were among the audience.
Acharya Lokesh Muni has been on a “Yoga, Peace and Harmony Tour” of the US from June 7 to July 2.

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