Reflecting on a Night of Ahimsa:
UNLV Screening Unites Hearts for Peace and Change

Ahimsa Sanskrit word for Nonviolence. 

The ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to actions towards all living beings.

Ahimsa Peace Institute enjoyed the privilege of organizing a special debut screening of the award winning “Ahimsa-Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless” a film by Ramesh Sharma, hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Department of Film. The event brought together a diverse group of individuals who share a common commitment to weaving peace, nonviolence, and positive change in the world. We will take you through the highlights of the evening.  We extend our heartfelt gratitude to UNLV’s Film Department for their gracious hosting of the screening and making this event possible.

This event marked a convergence of themes, including One October Las Vegas, NV, UN International Day of Nonviolence, and MK Gandhi’s Birthday Anniversary, all against the backdrop of Arun Gandhi’s fifth month of passing, with his significant connection as the fifth grandson, and there are only five grandchildren left, as highlighted by Rajmohan Gandhi in his moving opening address.

The Meet and Greet – 

The evening’s Meet and Greet Debut was hosted by the American Clergy Leadership Conference. Our guests were met with warmth and hospitality as they mingled and connected with like-minded individuals who share a passion for weaving peace, unity, and positive change.

As the Meet and Greet unfolded, Bishop Rouse’s uplifting presence and insightful remarks set the tone. Rev Rouse eloquently highlighted Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.’s emphasis on agape, for the change to take place within society in becoming “the Beloved community.”  His message of love and the Beloved community left an impact and inspired meaningful conversations among attendees.

We are grateful to Dr. Rouse for gracing our Meet and Greet guests with his presence. His words of encouragement and hope remind us that positive change is possible when we come together with open hearts and a shared vision for a more peaceful and just world.

 The “Bhajan”

The Bhajan “Vaishnav jan to” Gandhi’s favorite Bhajan was gracefully performed by Sweta Verma.

“Vaishnav jan to” was composed by the 15th-century Indian poet and saint Narsinh Mehta, who hailed from Gujarat. This bhajan describes the qualities of a true Vaishnav (devotee of Lord Vishnu) and, by extension, a spiritual person.

The lyrics of “Vaishnav jan to” convey the following qualities of a spiritual person:

Compassion: A true Vaishnav is someone who feels the pain and suffering of others and is filled with compassion for all living beings.

Selflessness: They do not harbor any selfish desires or attachments and are free from ego.

Humility: They are humble and do not boast about their good deeds or virtues.

Tolerance: They are patient and tolerant, not easily angered or disturbed by the actions of others.

Forgiveness: They forgive those who wrong them and do not seek revenge.

Non-attachment: They are detached from worldly possessions and desires.

Devotion: They are devoted to God and engage in acts of worship and prayer.

Gandhi was deeply influenced by the teachings of various religious traditions, including Hinduism, and he saw “Vaishnav jan to” as a guide for how individuals should conduct themselves in their daily lives. He believed in the importance of these qualities and strived to embody them in his own life as he advocated for nonviolence, social justice, and equality during India’s struggle for independence.

Opening Remarks –

One of the highlights of the evening was Rajmohan Gandhi’s opening remarks. His message honored “the innocent, unsuspecting music loving human beings casually and quickly killed 6 years ago.” He also emphasized the importance of individual actions in the pursuit of peace and encouraged us all to make a positive impact in our communities. He states, “after Arun’s demise, only five grandchildren survive but Gandhi remains as he inspires children, women, men, families all across the world, not only his descendants to struggle for their dignity and the dignity of fellow humans. Gandhi would remain because he showed  that Ahimsa is the weapon of the brave, a more effective weapon than the gun or the sword.”

Ahimsa: Gandhi – The Power of the Powerless (Official Trailer)

The Screening –

The screening of the award winning documentary “Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless” took place on October 1st at UNLV, and the turnout was a mix of students, clergy, community leaders, out of town guests, partners, and future leaders.  The film beautifully encompasses the life and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, his impact on the world and his relevancy in modern day society, leaving an moving impression on the audience. Reverend James Lawson defines Ahimsa in the film beautifully as “Love In Action” reminding us of the enduring relevance of Gandhi’s teachings in today’s world and the importance of nonviolence as a tool for social change. The documentary, won numerous awards including the United Nations Celebration of Peace Award.

Insightful Panel Discussion –

Following the screening, we had the privilege of hosting a panel discussion featuring esteemed guests such as Sam Pitroda, Dr. Sulekh C. Jain, Bishop Rouse, Ramesh Sharma, Kynan Dias, Minister Duncan, moderated by Lynnea Bylund. Their insights and perspectives on filmmaking as liberation, the importance of local and global dialogue, peacebuilding and prevention, the differences between Gandhian, Kingian, Jainism practices of ahimsa, local issues faced in Las Vegas, and legislation like HR 4118 and HR 1111 designed to curb and break the cycles of violence and establish a US Department of Peace added depth to the event.  The engaging dialogue encouraged everyone present to think critically about their roles in creating a more peaceful and sustainable world.  After panel introductions and brief comments, we engaged in an immersive dialogue with our audience. The audience was inspired to spread the message, as it takes all of us together to place our attention on peaceful solutions in order to build a peaceful world.

Next Steps –

The Ahimsa-Gandhi UNLV screening was a night to remember, highlighting the power of unity, dialogue, and a shared commitment to making the world a better place. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all who attended and contributed to the success of our debut screening in the State of Nevada. Together, we can continue Gandhi’s legacy and strive for a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.

We invite you to get involved in our mission. You can host your own screening of “Ahimsa-Gandhi” in your community, school, or organization. By spreading the message of nonviolence and peace, we can collectively create a more harmonious world.

 Stay tuned for more updates and events from the Ahimsa Peace Institute.

Schedule a Screening Now for the Upcoming Season For Nonviolence 2024

January 30, 2024 – April 4, 2024

Season for Nonviolence Founding Overview 1998

For Screenings contact Lynnea Bylund –

Help spread the message of ahimsa to our youth, in schools, colleges,

within communities, families and leadership around the world. 

The United Nations in Vienna Screened Oct 2, 2023, as Las Vegas UNLV Hosts the Debut Screening in NV. 

Reflections | Gandhi | Interfaith | Global | Community | Generational | Impact | Prior Unity

 Ahimsa Definition

Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit verb root san, which means to kill. The form hims means “desirous to kill”; the prefix a- is a negation. So a-himsa means literally “lacking any desire to kill”. Literally translated, ahimsa means to be without harm; to be utterly harmless, not only to oneself and others, but to all living beings.

If a large number of human beings around the world adopted ahimsa, no harm, and compassion, as a virtue needed to form character that is reflected in attitude, we could curb conflict and violence and, perhaps, end war and terrorism. For it is one’s own disposition that can either give rise to conflict and violence or not.


Mahatma Gandhi, “I believe in the absolute oneness of God and, therefore, also of humanity.  What though we have many bodies? We have but one soul.  The rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they have the same source. I cannot, therefore, detach myself from the wickedest soul (nor may I be denied identity with the most virtuous.)” Young India September 24, 1924, 313 GWMG Vol 25, 199.

 “Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.” — Mahatma Gandhi

 “God is Truth. The way to Truth lies through Ahimsa (non-violence).”— Mahatma Gandhi

“There are many  causes I am willing to die for but not a single cause I am will willing to kill for.” – Gandhi


Gandhi’s practice of Nonviolence is based on 11-vows, and Dr. King’s on what is coined as Kingian Nonviolence based on his Six-6 Principles.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 6-Principles of Nonviolence 

      Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

      Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

      Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.

      Nonviolence holds that voluntary suffering can educate and transform.

       Nonviolence chooses Love instead of hate.

       Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

       “It is Nonviolence or it is Nonexistence.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. James Lawson

“Ahimsa Is Love In Action.”

 His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

“Gandhi carried freedom struggle but according to 1000 years old India’s tradition, Non-Violence. Ahimsa.”


“Nelson Mandela personified that spirit of non-violent action even though he was one of the people who called for the use of violence earlier in the struggle. But in his persona, he manifests the treatment of the adversary as human, not doing anything to destroy the well-being or the life of the opponent. He manifested that.” Mary Elizabeth King

John Lewis

“Gandhi and Dr. King taught us and they are still teaching us through their words, their writing, their action that the way of peace the way of love is a much better way. Then we have to come to the point where we lay down the burden of violence, lay down the way of hate, and move toward what some of us today call the building of the Beloved Community. We spoke a great deal about redeeming the soul of America. They have to find a way to redeem the soul of the world and create a world community at peace with itself.“


“When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete” – Václav Havel


The Berlin Wall was opened by Communist Party reformers because of the strength of the movements. And in between as these movements spread from Poland to Hungary and into Czechoslovakia and across the Eastern Bloc, you could see that there had been a decision made, popular decision. Not to fight with violence. Mary Elizabeth King


In Jainism, the understanding and implementation of ahimsa is more radical, scrupulous, and comprehensive than in any other religion.

Mahatma Gandhi was of the view: No religion in the World has explained the principle of Ahimsa so deeply and systematically as is discussed with its applicability in every human life in Jainism. As and when the benevolent principle of Ahimsa or non-violence will be ascribed for practice by the people of the world to achieve their end of life in this world and beyond. Jainism is sure to have the uppermost status and Lord Mahavira is sure to be respected as the greatest authority on Ahimsa.


Ahimsa is the central observance of the Buddhist tradition and belongs to the practices of sila (Skt: ethics), which is one of the three trainings of the Noble Eightfold Path, along with wisdom and meditation. Ahimsa is part of the Five Precepts, the first of which has been to abstain from killing. This precept of ahimsa is applicable to both the Buddhist layperson and the monk community.


Ahimsa, the principle of non-violence, has its roots in ancient Vedic texts within Hinduism. Initially mentioned indirectly in these texts, it gradually evolved and gained prominence as an ethical concept over time, ultimately becoming a central virtue in Hindu philosophy during the late Vedic era, around 1000-600 BCE. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad, one of the oldest Upanishads, provides early evidence of the use of Ahimsa in the sense familiar in Hinduism, emphasizing non-violence towards all creatures and as a means to escape the cycle of rebirths. This concept of Ahimsa is considered an important spiritual doctrine shared by Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, advocating the avoidance of harm to any living being through actions, words, and thoughts.

Mother of Peace

“Nonviolence cannot be achieved by force, money, legislation or power, it can only be accomplished through the logic of love.”  Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the Only Begotten Daughter of God.

Adi DA

“A new kind of human consciousness is required—based on the working-presumption of prior unity, and on an understanding of the indivisibly single world in which everyone is living. This involves not only the notion that there is such a single world, but it requires grasping the necessity for cooperation, and the necessity to function on the basis of an understanding that the Earth is a single system, and humankind (likewise) is a single whole.” – The World-Friend Adi Da, from Not-Two Is Peace.

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