Article: Aṇuvrat Movement

Contributed by Shivani Bothra

Vow 4

In this still from a film, Māhatama Gandhi discusses the lowly position of the Dalits or 'Untouchables'. In the 1930s he advocated ending the widespread customary discrimination against Dalits. He adopted the term 'Harijan' – meaning 'children of God'.

Gandhi condemns caste prejudice
Image by unknown © public domain

Fourth vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will not discriminate on the basis of caste, colour and so on
I will not treat anyone as an untouchable
I will believe in human unity

The fourth vow is classed as ahiṃsā, yet also includes part of the category of satya – truth telling

Ācārya Tulsi poses a question noted in the philosophy of the movement: 'An evil may be untouchable; dirt or an ailment may be untouchable, but how can a man [or woman] be untouchable?' (Tulsi and Karnawat 2010: 30). Here he refers to the Dalit or Harijan group in India, also known as the 'untouchable' caste. It is outside the traditional Hindu caste system because historically its members do jobs considered ritually impure, such as cleaning toilets or collecting rubbish. Here, instead of 'Dalit' Ācārya Tulsi used the word 'Harijan', meaning 'children of God', which was popularised by Mahātma Gandhi.

Ācārya Tulsi visited Harijan-dominated areas to deliver sermons and encouraged not only his monks and nuns but also the lay community to join him.

Vow 5

Fifth vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will practise religious tolerance
I will not rouse sectarian hatred

This vow is linked to ahiṃsā and to the second 'fundamental' vow of satyatelling the truth

This vow is very similar to the fourth vow, but here Tulsi is again modernising by highlighting a specific issue in pluralistic Indian society. This is the violence between followers of various faiths and conflicts within intra-religious groups.

Vow 6

Sixth vow of Aṇuvrat Movement


Relation to the five 'fundamental vows'

I will practise integrity and moral virtues in business and general behaviour
I will not harm others for any reason
I will not practise deceit

Like the fourth and fifth vows, this vow combines the categories of ahiṃsā, satya and aparigraha – non-possession

The sixth vow is meant to restrain people from employing unethical, immoral means to maximise profit.

Ācārya Tulsi’s chief concern here was that business should be upright and honest. An individual who takes this vow would not trade stolen merchandise, use false weights and measures, adulterate their products or replace them with inferior items, fail to pay taxes or take bribes.

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