The name Gandhiji, is instantly associated with 'non-violence'. An immortal principle that has lost its relevance to most of today's youth. 'Gandhi's principles of satyagraha and non-violence have faded away with time.' 'Ideals are only to be aspired for, they cannot be implemented in daily life.' ' If slapped I certainly will not turn the other cheek. You have to be a fierce fighter to survive in today's competitive world.' This is the stance youth takes today. Gandhiji, whose massive contribution to the freedom struggle is not denied, is otherwise history, to be dug up and glorified by hollow eloquence on his birthday, death anniversary and when commemorating the historic dandi march.
In a fiercely aggressive, jealous, intolerant, revengeful, abusive world of inhuman brutalities turning the other cheek appears synonymous with cowardliness. BUT is non-violence the bastion of the timid? Or is it the citadel of the truly brave and sensible? How well do we understand NON-VIOLENCE? For that we must first know what violence is, where it originates. Violence cuts across a whole spectrum from the physical, emotional, mental, psychological, domestic, national and religious to the competitive, aggressive, self-protective, self-abusive, accumulated/impulsive, organized/individual. Violence is rampant because we humans are violent. Despite the quantum leaps of technology, even in this 21st century we are little more than civilized barbarians who unleash atrocities in the name of religion, cast, creed, ethnicity, self-respect, justice, beliefs'the motives and justifications are endless. Those who do not conform to our way of thinking and believing and living are our enemies who must be eliminated. Physically, emotionally or psychologically.
Violence is born of that eternal culprit ' the 'me', the EGO which is ever divisive. It separates the 'me' from the 'not me', us from them, ours from theirs. This pompous, disruptive ego, always wants to expand in its greed and policy of me and mine. When that expansion is thwarted it convulses into an ugly mass of rage, misery, self-deception, bitterness and frustration. This splinters the mind, distorts the thought processes, which in turn fracture the unity of organizations, nations, neighbors and all forms of relationships. It begins in the thought that I am superior, my needs must come before others', my religion, my ideology is the best, and I am the lord of all I survey so everyone else is here to do my bidding. Violence begins in the mind of you and me and that is where it should end. Violence is the forte of the fearful, the spiritually destitute, of the ones who believe that a few occasional clouds can blot out the eternal glory of the sun!
If we deliberate on this demon in our minds and honestly understand it we will find that it is possible for us individually, to convert this tremendous negative force into a powerhouse of peaceful, loving energy. And if each individual powerhouse of this loving energy unites what can counter its immense force of serenity and love? Then we will recognize that jealous love is also violence. So also is unwarranted competition where the goal is not to excel but to crush the competitor. As opposed to that, teamwork brings greater achievements and benefits all. We must remember that violence only breeds more violence. Inflicting wounds on a festering sore will inflame it further.
We must cultivate the maturity to look at turbulent issues raked up by wily politicians, without emotions and ingrained beliefs slurring our perception. We must find out from personal striving that it takes moral courage to be compassionate and understanding when others around us are going berserk with rage and hatred. We must be honest to accept our involvement, even if a passive one, in the mindless violence that is devouring mankind. And we should have the intrepidity of a warrior to 'be the change you wish to see in the world'!! (Another Gandhian axiom)
'Beliefs Aren't Etched in Stone... Unless Your Brain is Made of Rock' ' Patrick. We can change. Our beliefs can change. We can develop a new philosophy and approach to living that will enable us to increase our effectiveness and happiness, to live successfully with others, to make our community and environment healthier, and to enhance our own personal welfare. All we require is the willingness and the perseverance to change our way of thinking. 'We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we had when we created the problems.' Albert Einstein