In The Minds and Hearts of Men

Madan Handa's World University of Peace

By Anthony Bond

"War Begins In the Minds and Hearts of Men"

-- United Nations Charter

The annihilation of the human race is inevitable unless people seek spiritual growth, says one peace activist. Professor Madan Handa, founder of the fledging, non-degree-awarding World University of Peace, says that deliverance will come through saints, not scientists. For Handa, a sociology professor at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, this opinion reveals a departure from his earlier training as a Marxist. His pursuit of peace, which has not been just a secular, political struggle, led through 24 years of spiritual practice to enlightenment. Now he wants to share the experience with others.

Besides his office at O.I.S.E., Handa maintains a more humble educational establishment, a small room in the Toronto Disarmament Network building, furnished with cushions and a carpet where he educates for peace. His program requires practice -- up to ten years -- but it goes on "right in the midst of life, with no severing from life."

The only child of a policeman, Madan Handa grew up around police stations in India, a witness to poverty and police brutality. He was seventeen when India was partitioned. In the turbulence of that historic period, he says, "My mind opened up like an explosion. I began to pursue radical Marxist thought." After working for five years in the Planning Commission in India and training in econometrics in England, Handa came to Canada and joined the civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements.

His concern with social causes was a reflection of his spiritual work, which had begun with a study of yoga in India. Today he says, "Any spirituality which begins and ends with the individual, no matter how desirable from the individual's point of view, is limited. Spirituality must purify social life."

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1987

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1987, page 9. Some rights reserved.

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