The Power of Non-Violence

non-violence“The situation in our country is pathetic and shameful. The criminals, exploiters, pimps and inhumans in the disguise of politicians are killing the country. Corruption, nepotism and injustice are rampant. We have to kill all of those @#$% to free India…” Safal Ahmed, my college mate and a Naxalite (then) told me long ago. He was angry with me for not joining hand with his movement to clean India.

I told him a story. Once, an old Brahmin went to the river to take bathe. There he saw a scorpion struggling in the water. He rescued the scorpion from drowning and lifted it in his palm and started walking toward the bank. No sooner had the scorpion recovered than it stung the old Brahmin on the palm.

In pain, the old Brahmin instinctively flung his hand and the scorpion fell back into the river. As soon as the Brahmin regained his composure from the sting, he again lifted the scorpion out of the water. Again, before he could set the scorpion safely on land, the creature stung him. This went on for several minutes as the Brahmin continued to try to save the life of the drowning scorpion and the scorpion continued to sting his savior’s hand.

A man passing by told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him. “Old man, are you nuts or what? It will only sting you again. Leave him to his fate. Let it die. Your empathy is of no value to such a creature”

The old Brahmin just smiled and somehow saved the scorpion. The man asked:” Old man, the scorpion has continued stinging you each and every time you try to carry it to safety. Why didn’t you give up and just let it drown?”

“My good man, the scorpion was only following his dharma, his nature. It is the dharma of a scorpion to sting. My dharma is non-violence and save its’ life. Scorpion is following his dharma and I am following mine.” (Dharma doesn’t have an equivalent word in English, though roughly can be translated as duty)

Safal said: “The idea of non-violence may have worked with the British as they were more educated and cultured. But it won’t work with our crooked and demonic Desi politicians.”

“Yes – most of the politicians are dacoits. They are similar to the scorpion. It pains us,” I asked him: “Do you know – a pig likes human-excrement. Can you convince the pigs that it is a dirty thing? For pigs, human feces are the tastiest food. Compare this with politician and corruption….”

“It is a genetic characteristic for the pig. It is difficult to go against the genetical behavior.”

“These politicians also have corrupt DNA. Most of those politicians don’t know from where he/she has got his genes. There may have been cross-breeds in between”

“Aha, that one I liked most,” Safal said: “Some of them behave like products of artificial insemination with animal combinations. DNA of some politicians may be traced back to man-eaters or invaders who raped and killed innocents…”

“So, it is not the mistake of a politician. Corruption to a politician is like feces to a pig. A politician is following his culture, his dharma. And I am following mine…” I said.

“What prevents you from fighting them?”

“Safal, the foreign invaders killed thousands of my ancestors – Sarawats – in Kashmir and Gandhara desa (part of today’s Afghan-Pakistan included) area. There is no Sarawats in these regions now. But there was not even a single incident of a Sarawat killing an invader. There was no violent act from Sarawats.

The brutal and fanatic barbarians in guise of missionaries from Portuguese mercilessly persecuted and killed my forefathers who refused to get converted, in Konkan-Goa. Can you show me a single example of a G.S.B killing a Portuguese?”

“Your ancestors should have fought back. See, all your Hindu gods carry weapon…”

“They carry weapon to protect non-violence. Not to induce violence…” I said “We have a tradition of non-violence. A non-evolved human being cannot understand the strength and power of non-violence. It may take few more hundred years for them to understand the power of non-violence and truth.
Unfortunately some people had to sacrifice their lives. But people also die in accidents, calamity and contagious diseases. Ultimately, when the nature takes it revenge, nobody would be spared. In puranas we call it an Avatar.”

“Your Bhagavad Gita talks about killing adharmic (non-righteous). It encourages violence and call for fight”

“Gita doesn’t say anything about violence. But Ahimsa (non-violence) is referred to directly in four places.”

“No – Krishna instructed Arjuna to fight…”

“Safal, the backdrop of the Gita is the battlefield and its main protagonist is a warrior. This may lead many to believe that Gita supports the act of war. In fact, the Gita neither sanctions war nor condemns it. It talks about the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious. It talks about yoga. Yes, it tells Arjuna to do your dharma. Arjuna happened to be a warrior, so fighting his dharma. It is not same for everyone and so it is not fighting for everyone.”

“Is it not your dharma to protect non-violence?”

“My dharma is to remind my fellow human beings gently about what our forefather’s taught us. My ancestors taught how to live a happy life in tune with the Mother Nature. The invaders and market-media have forced us to believe that we should stay addicted to non-essential things in life. They made you believe that enjoyment, pleasure, comfort and facilities are most important things in life, and we seriously mistook those things for happiness. This is the root cause of violence and adharma. The superficial life promoted by them is the base of all political ideologies. The root cause of corruption and dacoity is this ignorance. Killing of few crooked politicians won’t help as it is just like cutting the grass off the ground. As long as root is there, the grass will grow again…So we have to root-out this ignorance….”

“This is not practical…” he said.

“It is practical if everybody works at an individual level. Every individual should transform. Anything – activism or ideology or whatever – that is institutionalized will eventually become corrupt. All organized movements in the history later became cause of misery for the major chunk of population. If I can transform one person and create awareness in him/her – that’s the best social service that I can do. An angry violent movement cannot solve any problems. We be happy and try our best to make at least few people around us happy! All you need to do is spend some time in your life.” I told him.

Safal looked confused. But he didn’t make any comment. I do not know his whereabouts now.

Udaylal Pai
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