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Last Updated: 12/02/2008PEACE EDUCATION: MEDICINE AND TONIC FOR NONVIOLENCE
Surya Nath Prasad
A speech on the theme of PEACE EDUCATION: MEDICINE AND TONIC FOR NONVIOLENCE by Prof. Surya Nath Prasad, Ph.D. at the 18th IAEWP WORLD PEACE CONGRESS, Sunway Resort Hotel and Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, 2008
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Speakers, Highly Enlightened Participants, Honorable Host of the Congress the Malaysian Government, our beloved Malaysian Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to me to be with you at the 18th IAEWP World Peace Congress. It is highly good that the 1st International Martial Arts Festival is also scheduled for October 29-31, 2008 at the same place: The Sunway Resort Hotel and Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Petaling Jaya Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. It is a source of great satisfaction that such a distinguished group of participants have come together to discuss the crucial topic of the Congress.
My speech has two parts. First part concerns with our gratitude. Part second is related to my speech on the theme of the congress. Let us start with our gratitude.
On behalf of the IAEWP, I thank Malaysian Government for hosting this grand World Peace Congress of IAEWP, and I express our profound gratitude to Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi to be patron of this great event. Honorable Minister of Tourism YB Dato Seri Azalina Othman Said and Minister of Youth and Sports YB Datuk Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob also deserve our thanks to be Special Advisors for this occasion. I thank sincerely to the Event Chairman of the Congress Dato’ Sahul Hamid Bin M.A Bakar, who took great pain and strain for arranging and managing the Congress and inviting the distinguished persons locally and globally. How can we forget the International Coordinator of the Congress Dr. Steve Rajan? He has been continuously busy and working day and night for the last many months to coordinating all the relevant and important personalities, governments, NGOs, UN Agencies and other organizations. He is real spirit behind the Congress. Hence Dr. Steve Rajan deserves our very, very special thanks. Last but not the least, all those who helped this Congress directly or indirectly, have every right to receive our high appreciation, praise, honor and reward.
The Congress will discuss on the topic: “Peace as a Tool for Global Integration”. But the latent theme is Peace Education, which is means to achieve peace that would lead to global integration. The conclusions of discussion in different sections of the Congress would be guidelines for the Malaysian government in particular, and for other nation-States in general to implement peace education in their respective school and college curriculum, and beyond campus programs of peace education.
I shall speak on the theme - Peace Education: Medicine and Tonic for Non-Violence. Truly, we are all 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, but due to ignorance about themselves, are suffering from physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual ailments.
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 doing 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 of present education and even education of the past of the whole world, which have been mis-education for a very few privileged and non-education for many, seem to be to some extent inhuman, antihuman and non-human.
Today’s peace education also is not in any way peace education in the sense of making learners – teacher and taught both the man, even though a very few have access to it. The current peace education means human rights education, tolerance education, pacifist education, education for non-violence. It means present peace education as value education is through indoctrination and regimentation. Knowledge about these values is dictated to the learners of peace by peace educators (though they are also unaware about true peace education), positive attitude towards these values are inculcated in their minds and they are trained in skills of these values to practice mechanically. Though they use dialogue and discussion to teach these values of peace, considering pedagogy as the methodology of teaching peace, which is totally negative education of peace and for peace.
Hence, the whole world needs today a right type of peace education which would be beneficial to all. Indeed, true education is peace education, and peace is the product of true education. Hence, the ultimate aim of real education is to attain or to bring peace in the individuals, which would reflect in their total surrounding or in the local to global society through these peaceful individuals. So the product part of true education i.e. peace is used with education to give more emphasis to it naming it as peace education.
Thus true peace education would be man-making education, and it should be for all leaving none. It is self education. Upanishads, Confucius, Pope, Socrates and Jesus have also advised about the knowledge of self. Upanishads declared, “Know Thyself”. Confucius in China made the same appeal that all thoughts, 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. When Socrates was asked by his students in Athens which was the first step to achieving wisdom, he said “Know Yourself”. A few centuries later, when Jesus of Nazareth was asked a similar question, he gave the same reply, “Know Yourself”. About self, a great poet Mohammad Iqbal advised saying, “Develop your self utmost so that before to decide your fate even God Almighty may ask you. O man, tell me what do you want?” (Khudi ko kar Buland Itna, Ki Har Tadbir se Pahle Khuda Puchhe, Bata Teri Raja Kya Hai). And we may say that this half truth of self was supplemented by the sayings of Sufi who advised: “The change of place of dot, the word Khuda (God - in Urdu Language), becomes Juda (separated); Merge your self into collectivity, you will become the ‘Khuda’ (God). (Nukte Ke Her Pher Se Khuda Juda Hua, Nikal De Khudi Ko Tuhi Khuda Hua).
However, the self of every individual is made of five sheaths, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit; and by another definition, self is composed of five elements viz. earth, air, water, fire and space. Sheaths and elements in man have corresponding meaning like earth as body, air as vitality, water as mind, fire as intellect and space as spirit. And these elements 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.
Therefore peace education is education of the self, by the self and for the self through manifesting perpetually all the elements in each and every one integrally to be man for non-violence, which is peace restored with equity and justice.
Failure of unfoldment of these five elements or sheaths in man gives rise to several aberrations and deviations in man, and ultimately in the world. If a person fails to manifest his body self, he is bound to be physically weak and there would be no chance for him to survive for a long period, and if the number of such persons is more, the human progeny may be doubted. Due to lack of vital unfoldment, man would suffer with the problems of gas, acidity and cough which would affect his/her other selves also. Mental non-unfoldment makes man unstable. Man becomes dull due to lack of intellectual development. Failure of spiritual manifestation leads man to spiritually un-awakened who easily becomes victim of blind faith. And if an individual fails to manifest all his/her five sheaths, he/she becomes victim of violence of oppression and exploitation which lead him/her to the state of peacelessness.
Partially unfolded sheaths in man lead him/her to physical ailments, vital disorders, mental conceitedness, intellectual arrogance, spiritual rigidity, conservatism, dogmatism and orthodoxy. And finally, partially unfolded sheaths makes man agitated, aggressive, oppressor, exploiter, and above all violent, and he/she is very tyrannical for self 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 integrally, man would neither be oppressor and exploiter nor would be oppressed and exploited. He/she would be non-aggressive, tolerant, peaceful and non-violent, and above all, he/she would be man.
And methodology of this peace education, based on the five sheaths, would be mathetics (science of learning), not pedagogy (science of teaching), because learning is peace, and teaching is violence. Teacher and taught both are learners in the journey to reach peace. More about mathetics for peace, you will hear from another speaker Dr. Suman Shukla.
Thus this peace education is for making and sustaining people sane, preventing them from being victims of insanity and curing them if they become sick. Therefore this peace education is medicine and tonic for non-violence.
There should not be any opposition of the nation-states whether they are democratic or non-democratic regarding implementation of this peace education based on catholic five sheaths in every man and woman. Because peoples belonging to different nations following different faiths, political isms, races, castes, gender, cultures, professions, relations etc. have the same elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit. Hence, without any discrimination, all must have chance to evolve or unfold these elements integrally to be man of non-violence for peace. And this peace education should be the core of and in all educations, and it should continue till the end of life of everybody.
Therefore let all peoples have the opportunity to transcend physical body through vital, mental, intellectual to spiritual body, and after realization, by means of renunciation of lower self for manifestation of higher self to be man. If this peace education is adopted, implemented and practiced every where, all will be happy, free from diseases, attain welfare, and none will be in grief, and there will be complete peace on the earth, beneath the earth and in the outer space. And man will be tolerant to feel happy in the happiness of others, and to expand his happiness, he will make others happy.
Surya Nath Prasad, a Former Visiting Professor, at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea, is Former President and Currently Executive Vice President of International Association of Educators for World Peace. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org