Arun Gandhi ISKRA Full Interview


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About The Author: Arun Gandhi is one of nine surviving grandchildren of Mahatma Gandhi. He currently lives in Rochester, New York, and is founder president of the Gandhi World-wide Education Institute, Wauconda, Illinois. See: and

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Arun Gandhi ISKRA Full Interview

  1. 1. 2066ISKRA ИСКРА16Ed note: The following is a transcript of an interview byISKRA staff with Arun Gandhi that took place on March19, 2013. Arun is the grandson of Mohandas (Mahatma)Gandhi and heads the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolencelocated in Rochester, NY. He has previously madeappearances in Brilliant as well as Grand Forks and will bespeaking at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on May 17, 2013.We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to interviewArun and ask him several questions provided by ourISKRA staff as well as members of the broader Doukhoborcommunity. It was truly a pleasure to converse with thissoft spoken advocate of peace and nonviolence. We wereimpressed with the simplicity and wisdom contained in thephilosophical views that he shared with us. We encourageour readers to reflect on his comments.ISKRA: A lot of people would like to know from you what itwas like growing up as a child, with a grandfather that wasalways in the press and followed by millions of people?ARUN: I grew up in South Africa which was very far awayfrom where my grandfather lived and worked in India, somy exposure to him was not so much as it would havebeen if I was living in India. But I did read a lot abouthim in local newspapers and also heard my parents andothers speak about him, so I was a little daunted by thefact, and you know it’s not easy being a relative of sucha great person. And I think that when I was a teenagerit became a little more oppressive and I told my motherone day, I said“I don’t’know how I’m going to go throughlife with this legacy, it’s already becoming a burden” andshe told me “that is all up to you. If you consider it to bea burden it’s just going to get heavier and heavier as youget older, but if you consider this legacy to be a lightthat illuminates the path ahead for you, it will be easierfor you to deal with it.”So since then I’ve been looking atthis legacy as a light that is shining the way for me andmaking it easy.ISKRA: What was your relationship like with yourgrandfather when you were spending time with himlater?ARUN: Yes, I went to live with him at the age of 12 andmy relationship with him was wonderful. It was likegrandfather–grandson and he was a very approachableperson, he was very loving and kind. We had wonderfultimes and he would tell me stories and help me with mylessons and all that whenever he had time. So for me hewas like just a grandfather.ISKRA: I imagine a lot of those childhood or teenageexperiences you shared with him had a great influenceon the formulation of your beliefs later on in life.ARUN: Yes, they did. In fact those lessons that I learnedduring those two years that I was with him helped shapethe foundation of his philosophy and his work.ISKRA: Going back to your mother’s comment that it wasyour choice whether it was going to be a burden or not.My understanding is that you were between 12 and 14when you spent time with your grandfather. Did it takeyou a while to understand the meaning of that and tofind a way to accept it as a legacy of light rather than aburden?ARUN: Yes, it took me a period of several years. I wouldn’tsay that it happened over night, it took a lot of time. In factI would say it was only when I reached my early twentiesthat I began to see the wisdom of what my mother hadsaid. At that age of 12 or 14 I didn’t understand thephilosophy and I didn’t understand the connectionsbetween the lessons he taught me and the philosophy.I thought those lessons were just, you know, a one timething for that specific purpose. But later when I grew upand started reflecting on all that I realized how importantthose lessons were in understanding his philosophy.ISKRA: Do you find that you are still discovering someconnections?ARUN: Yes, everyday I’m discovering new connectionsand new aspects of his philosophy and it’s continuousprocess.ISKRA: Interesting, a nice gift.ARUN: Yes, and I think like he said himself that he himselfwas discovering new aspects to the philosophy allthrough his life and that is how it remains fresh… If it’s aphilosophy that is living and keeps changing and takingnew forms, then it is a living philosophy that will continueto live forever.ISKRA: Great, that’s excellent. I like that. Arun why didyou decide to become a speaker yourself and continuesharing your grandfather’s message with the world?ARUN: Actually I didn’t decide to do that at all. I came tothe United States to write a book comparing prejudices inSouth Africa, India and the United States. And it was onlywhen I came here and people found out that Gandhi’sgrandson was here in town, and they started inviting meto go and speak at churches and community centres.I was so nervous, I was literally shivering when I wasinvited to speak. But then gradually I realized that thisis my calling and that this is my mission in life and thatI ought to learn to do it as best I can. And that is how Ibecame a public speaker. If my mother and father were tosee me today, they wouldn’t believe it. I was so shy that Icouldn’t even speak in front of a group of my friends andnow I am exposed to big audiences.ISKRA: What helped you overcome the fear of publicInterview with Arun Gandhi
  2. 2. 2066 May 1 Мая 2013 17speaking, was it just doing it so many times?ARUN: Well it took a little mental effort of my own. When Irealized that this is something that people are interestedinandit’smymissiontosharethislegacyasbestIcan.Andso I made up my mind and began to work on it, and I wasable to get over the fear. I won’t say that I’m totally overthe fear. Every time I go in to speak I am a little nervous,until I get on the stage and make that connection withthe audience, then it comes, you know, free flow. Butthat is, I think, a good thing if you become too cockyand become over confident then you don’t really make agood impression.ISKRA: I think that is very true. I have the same problemmyself in terms of being very nervous. My brother JJ hashadalotofexperienceandit’samazinghowhe’simprovedin terms of public speaking. Myself, I try to think to myselfthat it’s not me but it’s more about the people and themessage and that helps me a little bit.ARUN: Yes, that’s exactly what helps me too.ISKRA: So can I ask, when you try to make a connection, isthere something specific you try to do? How is it that youtry to make a connection with the audience?ARUN:Well, it is, I don’t know I can’t explain it. It just comesfrom within, it’s kind of a heart to heart connection. Youcan see it in the eyes of the audience that they are willingto listen. Or sometimes you get the wrong vibes there.Sometimes people are sitting in the front, who you knoware not willing to listen, they are against the philosophyand so it is something that comes with, I think, experiencewith a heart connection.ISKRA: Right, that makes sense. So it’s more of a feeling,you can kind of sense it right away.ARUN: Yes, right.ISKRA: It’s interesting. I actually read somewhere aboutmaking that space available, trying to make that spaceavailable whether you’re talking to someone one on oneor with a group, to allow that rather than getting toomuch into your head.ARUN: Yes, exactly.ISKRA: So the next question we have is - could you explainthe theory of nonviolence using examples from personalexperience?ARUN: Well, first of all, if you want to understandnonviolence we need to understand the extent and scopeof violence. And I understand this from my grandfatherwhen he made me go out and look for a little three inchbutt of a pencil that I threw away when I was coming backfrom school. He sent me in the evening with a flashlightto look for this pencil and I couldn’t understand why hewas so fussy about a little butt of a pencil. When I found itand brought it to him he said“Now I want you to sit hereand learn two very important lessons. The first lesson isthat even in the making of a simple thing like a pencilwe use a lot of the world’s natural resources and whenwe throw them away we are throwing away the world’snatural resources, and that is violence against nature. Andthe second lesson is that because we over-consume theresources of the world we are depriving people elsewhereof those resources, and they have to live in poverty, andthat is violence against humanity. That was the first time Irealized that all of these little things that we do every day,consciously and unconsciously, when we throw awaythings and waste things and destroy things because wehave so much of it – that is all violence. Yes, until then Iused to think that violence was only when you fight orwhen there is a war, that that’s the only violence. But hemade me understand that there are two kinds of violence.There is physical violence, where we use physical forceagainst people like wars and killing and beatings andmurders and rapes and all of these things. And then thereis the passive violence, where we don’t use any physicalforce and yet we hurt people by the way we behave withthem or the way we destroy things and over-consumethings, and the hundreds of things that we do every day,consciously and unconsciously – that becomes passiveviolence. You know then he made me draw this tree ofviolence to do this introspective to find out how I wascommitting violence all the time. It was a revelation tome because within a few months I was able to fill up thewhole wall in my room with acts of passive violence. Andthen he explained the connection between the two. Hesaid we commit passive violence all the time, every day,that generates anger in the victim.Then the victim resortsto physical violence to get justice. So it is passive violencethat fuels the fire of physical violence. So logically if wewant to put out the fire of physical violence we have to cutoff the fuel supply, and since the fuel supply comes fromeach of us, we have to become the change we wish to seein the world. So until we find out how we are committingviolence in society all the time, we will never be able tochange. And if we don’t change then we continue to feedthe fire of violence and then we wonder why we are notable to achieve peace. We can’t achieve peace until wechange ourselves and our attitudes. You know over thecenturies, because of our lifestyle we have built a wholeculture of violence, a culture of violence that has takenover every aspect of our lives. Our language has becomeviolent, our entertainment is violent, our sports areviolent, our relationships are violent, everything abouthuman beings is violent, and when we have that type ofa culture of violence, then you know bringing peace or“And then there is the passive violence,where we don’t use any physical force yetwe hurt people by the way we behave withthem or the way we destroy things andover-consume things...”
  3. 3. 2066ISKRA ИСКРА18having harmony is impossible. We have to change thatwhole culture of violence to a culture of nonviolence. Andthat is why I say that nonviolence is a very far reachingphilosophy, which transforms the person, and everyperson, and through transforming the individual we cantransform society and the world.ISKRA: That is a very good understanding, Arun. Whatwould you say to people, and this may be why wedeveloped such a culture of violence, because it seemslike some people think that aggression and violence islike a natural expression of human nature. What wouldyou say to people who value that?ARUN: No, it’s not a natural expression of human naturebecause you know if we are basically violent people bybirth then we shouldn’t have military academies andmartial arts institutes to teach us how to fight and kill.Thereason we need these academies to teach us is this is alearned experience for us, it is not natural with us. What isnatural with us is anger, and anger is a wonderful emotionthat’s a motivating emotion. It shows us that something iswrongandweneedtocorrectit,butwhatiswrongwithusis that we abuse the anger instead of using it intelligently.And that abusing of the anger, causes violence becausewe get angry we lose our mind, we lose control of themind, we say things, we do things that we regret later on,and that is because we just lash out, we don’t think aboutit, we just lash out in anger, and yet anger is somethingvery powerful and useful. My grandfather used to tell methat anger was like electricity. It is just as useful and justas powerful, but only if we use it intelligently, but it canbe just as deadly and destructive if we abuse it. So just aswe channel electrical energy and bring it into our homeand use it for the good of humanity, we must learn tochannel anger in the same way so that we could use thatenergy for the good of humanity rather than abuse it andcause death and destruction. So anger is contributing tomore than 80% of the violence that we human beingsface. If we analyzed the violence we would find that theroot of it is anger. Somebody got angry and lashed outin violence. Wars are declared by anger and you know it’stotally unnecessary. So one of the things that I emphasizeall the time is that we need to teach children right fromthe elementary schools all the way to the university howto understand anger and how to channel that energy intopositive action.ISKRA: Thank you Arun. It’s often been said that truth isthe first casualty of war.ARUN: Yeah, truth is the first casualty in violence, anyviolence. We don’t even think about truth, we just getangry at what happened or what didn’t happen and thenwe lash out. And so truth is the first casualty in all kindsof violence.ISKRA: Is that because people don’t understand ormisinterpret or misunderstand it?ARUN: No, it’s largely because we have allowed our egosto build up and our egos dominate us and when the egodominates our thinking then the truth is sidelined. Thenthe ego decides, and if somebody has not acted the waywe want them to act we just get so angry about it, anddon’t even stop to find out anything about it. And so it’sthat ego that we have which has become inflated and itneeds to be controlled and suppressed. It’s the ego that isleading us into all kinds of violence.ISKRA: That’s a very good answer because the follow upto that question was what do you think the first casualtyor loss is of any act of violence on a personal level, andyou explained that it is the lack of truth and the ego.ARUN: Inflated ego.ISKRA: I find this interesting. Earlier when you were talkingabout passive violence and how we commit so many actsof passive violence in a day, I was thinking that we areprobably not even aware of how many times we do it.ARUN: No, we are not because in fact I would say it beginswith the way we bring up our children.ISKRA: Interesting.ARUN:YouknowthiscultureofviolencethatItalkedaboutearlier? To make it successful we have to control peoplethrough fear and so you know government controls usthrough fear. Everybody controls everybody through fear.It’s always punishment and the fear of punishment thatcontrols us. And we do the same thing with our childrenwhen we threaten them with punishment if they don’tbehave properly. We are controlling them through fearand the tragedy is that human beings have a tendencyof getting out of fear. You know you can’t live in fear forvery long, so every time we have to keep escalating thelevel of punishment to keep that fear alive. And so we aresoon going to reach a stage when we won’t have enoughpunishmenttokeepthatfearandthentherewillbechaos.And so I feel that our parenting methods set a wrongexample because the first seeds of violence are plantedin the minds of children. When we punish them we aretelling them that when somebody misbehaves, theymust be punished and that goes into their adult thinking.And so we have this whole justice system that is based onpunishment.That somebody has to pay and that we haveto make them pay, and so we punish them and that iswrong. So in a culture of nonviolence it’s not punishmentthat is important, but penance. My parents believedin nonviolence, so we were brought up in a nonviolenthome. And when we misbehaved, my two sisters and I, wewere not punished. My parents did penance. They wouldnot eat for one meal, or for one whole day depending onhow serious the offense was. But they would cook and sitat the dining table, they would feed us children, but theywould tell us that they were not eating because they were... continued on page 28
  4. 4. 2066ISKRA ИСКРА28not good parents, that they didn’t teach us the right wayto behave and so they were doing penance. But becausethe relationship between them and us was based onmutual love and respect, we felt awful when our parentshad to do that. And so we made sure that we didn’t dothat to them.ISKRA: Wow! ARUN: And that is what I call nonviolent parenting. Butif we punish our children and threaten them and doall those things we do to children then they will learnviolence, they are not going to learn nonviolence.ISKRA: So how can we break the cycle becauseunfortunately many of us are not ready?ARUN: You have to become the change. You start in yourcommunity and everybody will soon pick up on it. That’show change happens. Change doesn’t come from the topdown, it has to grow from the grassroots upwards.ISKRA: And so, Arun, what do you feel the role is of theGandhi Institute of Nonviolence?ARUN: Well we have been teaching and taking themessage of nonviolence to people all over, wherever wecan, and so basically it is a teaching thing.ISKRA: So is it mostly that you go about speaking or arethere courses that you offer, for example nonviolence orparenting?ARUN:Therearenocourses.Thereareseminars,workshopsand conferences – you know unofficial teaching.ISKRA: The people that are involved with the Institute, dothey come from all over the world or is there any placein particular that you have more people being involvedfrom?ARUN: No, because the Institute is here in Rochester,the people involved are mostly from Rochester. Butsometimes people come from other parts of the countryand other parts of the world too depending on how bigthe conference or the seminar is and whether we canafford to bring people in or not. But most of the time I takethe message to different parts of the world. It’s throughmy lectures and I address conferences and seminars, it’sthrough that that people know more about it.ISKRA: OK, just a couple of questions, kind of more in aglobal position. There was one asked by a local peaceinitiative group in town and they are interested in what inyour view has led to the significant increase in global andlocal wealth disparity?ARUN: Because we are focused on materialism andmaterialismtendstomakeusselfishandself-centred.Andwe even tell our children that they have to be successfulin life and get to the top by any means possible. Don’tworry about others, think only of your self. Now that isplanting the seed of selfishness in them, and successtoday has come to be measured in terms of possessions,what kind of car you have, what kind of a home you have,and how you dress and so on. That becomes the measureof success, and so in that kind of materialistic lifestyle,you know people become greedy and they grab thingsfor themselves and become more and more affluentwhile a lot of people have to suffer and are left behindmarginalized, and left to die in poverty.ISKRA: I understand. Another question asked was do youfeel that the United Nations and its assorted departmentstruly address the current global issues?ARUN: No, I don’t think so, I think the United Nations hasbecome a victim of the Cold War; in the past when therewasacoldwarbetweentheSovietUnionandtheUS,bothsides played havoc with the United Nations, and so nowthey can’t get out of that mindset and so there is a lot ofpower politics going on there and I think the worst thingis having the security council, where a few nations haveveto power to cancel resolutions and programs which themajority of countries may want. So there is need for therejuvenation and transformation of the United Nations.Only then will it become more effective.ISKRA: That’s an interesting point of view, it makes a lot ofsense. I also have trouble in that, just from seeing a movieabout arms running and arms dealing and at the end ofthe movie it was sated that the largest arms dealers in theworld are the countries that make up the security councilof the United Nations.ARUN: Right, we’ve created this arms industry in theUnited States and President Eisenhower, he cautioned usagainst this in 1953 when he said this military industrialcomplex, one day is going to destroy the United States,and we are coming very close to that. We continue tomanufacture weapons of mass destruction and we haveto have a market for it, we have to sell it somewhere, andso sell it in all parts of the world and create revolutionsand war in other parts of the world and now it’s comingback hitting at us with terrorism and things like that soyou know this is something we need to be aware of.ISKRA: There are a couple more questions specific tothe Doukhobor Community expressed by parents andyounger people within the Doukhobor Community. Thefirst is how can we support the spiritual development andgrowth of our children, given the influence of today’s fastpaced and materially demanding society?ARUN: Well the best way to teach children is by livingit. Children learn more from how you live and how youinteract with each other and with them, than from booksand lessons. So you know it’s a question of living whatyou want others to learn.ISKRA: I totally agree. The parents have to basicallyshow an example of that. Their children are basically aArun Gandhi Interview continued from page 18...
  5. 5. 2066 May 1 Мая 2013 29reflection of how they live and it’s hard to come to termswith getting the children to change when you’re settinga different example yourself.ARUN: Exactly.ISKRA: It seems to me a lot of the parents, a lot of peoplein the community are carrying a lot of pain and that’skeeping them from opening up, opening themselves upto change.ARUN: What is the source of the pain? Why are theygetting the pain?ISKRA: From past experiences, I think. Hurts from theirchildhood.ARUN: Well that is what I keep saying to people. We don’tlearn anything from history. We just carry the pain andagony from history and we destroy ourselves by doingthat. So carrying the pain and being hurt by it is not goingto change anything. We have to change and we have torecognize the fact that if what happened to us in historyshould not happen again and that can be avoided only ifwe create the atmosphere for it, not by carrying the pain.Andsoyouknowpeoplewhohavesuffereddiscriminationand oppression and things like that, carrying that paindoesn’t help anybody, it just destroys the individual. Butby dedicating their life to ensure this doesn’t happen everagain to anybody else would be a more constructive wayto deal with the situation.ISKRA: I guess forgiveness plays an important role indealing with that pain.ARUN: Yes, of course. Forgiveness is part of the wholephilosophy of nonviolence and you know it doesn’t meanlike that popular saying “forgive and forget”, you can’tforget it. You do remember it, but you’ve got to forgivebecause you’ve got to remember that you’re master ofyourownlife.Youcannotbemasterofsomebodyelse’slifeand so if we decide that we are not going to be provokedby somebody else into doing something foolish, then wewill be wise. But if we allow somebody else to provokeus or to instigate us into doing something that is foolish,then we are to blame for it, not that person. Why do wegive the control of our life to somebody else?ISKRA: That is very true. This next question comes fromthe younger members of our community, who will beholding their Youth Festival this May. The theme for thisyear’s festival is;“The Spark Within”– What awakens you?Can you share with us what your spark is? What inspiresyou?ARUN:Truth is the spark and the constant search for truth.You know truth is ever changing. You see somethingtoday and say that is the truth and we are going to hangon to that forever. It keeps changing, but we have to behonestandsincereinoursearchfortheultimatetruthandit’s only by learning from experience and going on fromday to day, making that honest search and living it from,through your own forgiveness and your own actions andrelationships with each other and so on. It is through thatexperience we can learn about truth, when we live truththen that spark within us becomes stronger.ISKRA: So it’s a constant living, a constant process.ARUN: Yes, it’s a constant living.ISKRA: At different times in one’s life it seems that theunderstanding of truth or the realization of the truth, theexperience of it is more dramatic at certain times thanothers, and it makes one feel just about as if“Oh, I learnedit now and I can forget about it”, and then you stumblethe next day and you realize that it is an ongoing process.Have there been certain experiences in your life, kindof like euphoric moments when truth was really madeevident to you through an experience?ARUN: It’s because of my experience over the years that Ihave come to understand that what I see as truth today, isgoing to change tomorrow. So I don’t get overjoyed thatI have found truth today. I just accept the truth as I see ittoday and have that open mind to let it change and revealadifferentaspecttoitthenextday.Soit’saveryimportantthing that we have an open and absorbing mind. This issomething that I tell students all the time. Your learningdoesn’t begin and end in school.Your learning is a lifelongexperience. It’s only that after you leave school you don’thave a teacher to teach you things, you have to learn fromlife’s experiences yourself, and the only way you can learnfrom life’s experiences is by having an open mind, that iswilling to absorb from every little thing that happens.Youknow that every person we meet, or every experience wehave during the day is a lesson and if we learn from thatthen we improve ourselves, but if we don’t learn fromthat then all those lessons are going to waste and westagnate, in our minds and then the mind becomes like aroom that is closed with no fresh air coming in and after awhile it becomes unlivable.ISKRA: I’m kind of curious, if truth is always growing andchanging how can we recognize it for sure?ARUN: It’s something we have to work on all the time.Youknow it’s not something you can find in a textbook, orthings like that. Its having an open mind, learning fromexperiences, learning from what happens during the daythat reveals itself to you. There is no formula. What I’msaying is there is no formula or textbook that can teachyou about truth and how to recognize it.ISKRA: Practice. Our understanding of the world isconstantly changing and evolving and so many faithsbelieve that they have kind of a proprietary knowledgeof the truth.ARUN: Yes, that’s a tragedy. A lot of the western religionsfor instance believe that they possess the truth and manyof the eastern religions believe that we can only pursue
  6. 6. 2066ISKRA ИСКРА30the truth.That is where the mistake lies.You know that foreverything, for instance the Christians will go to the Bibleand say the Bible says this so it’s got to be true. But theBible was written 2000 years ago and times have changedsince then, and what was written 2000 years ago can’t betrue today. It has to change and keep changing. So it’s thatwhole question of the difference between possessing thetruth and pursuing the truth.ISKRA: Yes, that’s quite a difference. People are interestedto know what keeps you going Arun? What advice canyou give to us to keep us motivated?ARUN: Well, I see myself as a peace farmer and like afarmer goes out in the fields and plants his seeds andhopes and prays that he gets a good crop, I go out andplant seeds of peace and hope and pray that I get a goodcrop. I don’t have high expectations, I just go out and domy job. Plant the seeds and then it’s up to the people whoreceive the seeds whether they want to let those seeds rotand perish or whether they will nurture those seeds andcreate a world of peace. Yeah, I can’t transform you, I cantransform myself, I can only influence people. Whetheryou accept that influence or not, it’s up to you, I can’tforce it on you. So I just go and try to influence people andhope that they get the message. I think disappointmentcomes when you have very high expectations, and if youcome there with the expectation that I will transformthe entire Doukhobor Community then I would be verydisappointed.ISKRA: Our expectations aren’t that high. But we reallyenjoy having you share your message with us. I think it’sinspirational to a lot of people and we take it to heart.We have a lot of commonalty. I believe in our legacy andit’s nice to be amidst people that we have similar beliefsand similar goals and aspirations with. And that leads toanother question. How can we inspire people to join ourcause for peace?ARUN: That is very difficult to answer. I think we just haveto go on working and people will see this is somethingworthwhile and join you and come and support you,otherwise as I said you can influence people but youcan’t force them to do something. So all we have to do isinfluence them through our own actions.ISKRA: Do you think there is a place in today’s society, orwhat do you think is the place in today’s society, as faras influencing other people, as far as civil disobediencegoes? Do you think it is as an effective tool as it was duringthe time of your grandfather?ARUN: Yes, it is always an effective tool, and it is the mostsensible and civilized way of resolving conflicts and I thinkin many ways we do use the tool in little issues, whenwe resolve little issues between individuals and smallgroups of people. It’s only when we have a big nationalcrisis that we get very violent and so you know I think thephilosophy itself is relevant and very important for today,but it’s the people that have to accept it and live it andpractice it.ISKRA: I think in our own personal experience as far asDoukhobors, civil disobedience has been effective in ourhistory, when the emphasis has been on civility ratherthan disobedience.ARUN: Well, that’s what my grandfather didn’t’ like. If it’scivil disobedience there is nothing disobedient aboutseekingjustice,andsimilarlyhedidn’tlikethetermpassiveresistance because he said there is nothing passive aboutresistance, it’s very active resistance.ISKRA: In general do you have any suggestions for theglobal peace movement, so that it might become moreeffective?ARUN: Unless we have peace in our hearts, we can’t createpeace in the world. We have to individually have peace inour hearts and work for that.ISKRA: Again it gets back to simple expressions of whatyour grandfather stated in terms of being the change youwish to see around you.ARUN: Yes, right. Peace is not the absence of war. Anycountry that is not at war cannot say that they are livingin peace because they are committing a lot of passiveviolence all the time.ISKRA: So, is peace just the absence of violence, evenpassive violence or is it something on a higher scale?ARUN: No, peace is when harmony prevails in society.Any society that can claim that there is absolute harmonyin their relationship with each other, then they are trulyliving in peace. If there is no harmony there can never bepeace.ISKRA: How would you best describe peace of mind,Arun?ARUN: Being in harmony with nature and with everybodyelse.ISKRA: Well, we really appreciate you taking the time toanswer some of our questions. There is a lot of food forthought here. I’m sure our readers will appreciate it verymuch. We look forward to seeing you in May.ARUN: I am very glad I was able to share with you. Yes, Ilook forward to meeting you. Namaste.ISKRA: Namaste.“I see myself as a peace farmer, and like afarmer goes out in the fields and plants hisseeds and hopes and prays that he gets agood crop, I go out and plant seeds of peaceand hope and pray that I get a good crop.”