Two-thirds World Issues

Workshop Number 2

led by Arya Bhardwaj

This workshop began with a Sanskrit meditative prayer, and ended with an ayurvedic breathing exercise; together, the prayer and the exercise reminded participants of the close relations between the politics of nonviolence on the one hand, and our spiritual and physical selves on the other.

In between the prayer and the exercise, Arya Bhardwaj led a wide-ranging discussion, animated by a Gandhian perspective on nonviolence. He summarized, for example, Gandhi's statement that a nonviolent revolution would require commitment to truth, voluntary poverty, fearlessness, and a life of self- control. He told us of the work of Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1897-1982), and explained the slogan ‘Jai Jagat’ (‘fear is the key’). He touched not only on nonviolence and voluntary poverty but also on the meaning of property, the arbitrariness of geopolitical boundaries, and on the relation between economic violence and military violence. His remarks evoked many questions and comments - Veronica Fellerath's question, for example, on how to create positive rituals for voluntary poverty, or Larry Rosenwald's about how to think about music made with costly and individually owned instruments, or Cesar Flores' remark: the poor need to liberate themselves from poverty; the rich need to liberate themselves from wealth; where is the boundary, the balance?

A thought-provoking conversation, then, and surely an important conversation to be continued at subsequent conferences.

Larry Rosenwald