Peacefully Violent


If one wants to deliver a divine sermon on life and living, which is the most probable venue? I am sure the unanimous answer will be a temple, church or mosque. By no stretch of imagination can one think of a lecture being delivered on a battle field. But that is exactly what happened in Mahabharata, when Lord Krishna chose to deliver the profound message of Bhagavat Gita to Arjun right in the middle of huge battle field. None of us alive today could have seen it nor are we fortunate enough to see a replay in our dreams. The Mahabharata war is for real because Bhagavat Gita is available to anyone for reading. If the sermon really took place in the midst of a battlefield or even if the narrator has chosen to depict it that way, there is definitely a bigger message in the choice of the venue itself. Any study about the message in Bhagavat Gita is incomplete without an appreciation of its venue of delivery.

A battle field is different from a place of worship or grave yard. It has an atmosphere charged with action and violence striving for peace for the victors at a later time. Being alive or dead becomes mere chances in such an environment. If you ask a soldier about his mental make up in the battle field, he may be able to give a clearer picture. No one in the battle field will be thinking about his future plans and how much money he will make. He may not even think about his family members and the fond relationships. All that fills his mind will be the righteousness of his objective, strategy to defeat the enemy and if needed kill him. Though many scholars have argued about the symbolic similarities of a battlefield with our day-to-day lives, Gita's battlefield background clearly conveys a message about the need for an active & violent mind for its followers. The apparent failure of Sanatana Dharma to match up to the challenge of machinations by poaching competitors is mainly because of this lack of appreciation of the background message of Gita. Such a collective failure has also resulted in India degenerating into a soft state in a very hostile environment. 

Noble Violence 

Violence is not necessarily bad at all times. There are times in life when one has to be violent to protect what one considers as right. Gita's message is very clear in this regard ' fight the evil enemy to protect your right cause and if the right causes are failing everywhere, the lord himself will manifest in an appropriate form to protect the righteousness. Now the lord is definitely not a bearded six foot figure like us residing in a place called heaven and we are not mute sheep following a shepherd. It is a force and the best simile would be the magnetic force in a magnetic field. We are all like miniscule iron filings in a chamber under a powerful magnetic field. The whole atmosphere is surcharged with violent energy but there is overall discipline & peace because of the inherent direction of the magnetic field. The filings can themselves turn into minor magnets ('advaita' principle) by repeated strokes (blessings) of the major magnet. And any violation of the natural direction by any of the renegade filings gets corrected by the powerful magnetic field, if needed in violent ways.

Mother Nature is known to have a fixed total energy and it is impossible to alter it. This is a simple truth as expounded in our puranas and re-established by modern science. What all of us do is to change a part of it from one form to another leaving the overall limit intact. Change is nothing but a product of violence and noble violence will always lead to noble changes. It is this noble violence that Gita is exhorting us to indulge in. In modern democratic countries, this call for noble violence must reflect in the form of demonstrations, strikes, hartals etc.

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More by :  J. Ajithkumar

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