Conversations with God - 6
Devotee - Swami, last week we stopped at a very crucial stage, shall we continue from there?
Swami - You remind me where we stopped.
D - Swami, you were talking about himsa and ahimsa. You said negative feelings are himsa, fighting to establish greater good is not. Then I requested you to explain it further.
S -Remember one simple thing: any destruction for the purpose of better construction is not violence, but mindless destruction is evil. Therefore Krishna supported the Mahabharata war.
D – Thank you Swami, I wanted to ask you about just this, but did not have the courage to question your action in Krishnavatar. Is the Mahabharata war himsa, or ahimsa?
S – Neither, and both.
D - Swami! You have started your usual game again! Please don’t speak in riddles. I am not equal to it.
S – There is no riddle in it, my boy. You know, no question, or problem has a single face; so no answer is a single phrase. For Krishna it was not himsa, but probably for others it was. It depends on what they wanted to do in the war.
D – What they wanted to do, means? Everyone wants to fight and kill in a war, don’t they?
S – Krishna didn’t ask Arjuna to kill them, he asked him to kill the killers, the killers of Dharma, the force that upholds society. That is the duty of a kshatriya, the protector of society. When you are engaged in your dharma, you need not have hate or malice or revenge in your mind. Nor driven by affection should you refrain from your duty. When you just do your duty for larger good, without a personal motive, no himsa attaches to you.
D – Swami, this is a completely different definition of violence.
S – The English word ‘violence’ is not a correct translation of himsa. Violence is action based, himsa is largely thought based, feeling based. Thinking ill of others also is himsa. When himsa enters your mind your judgement is negatively affected.
D – How Swami?
S – Suppose you are jealous of a friend because he always tops the class. Once before exam, he fell sick. He wanted you to read some lessons for him. You said that would affect your preparation, and did not help him, though it was your dharma as a friend to help him even though it wouldn’t have really affected your preparations. This is himsa.
D – O, Swami, no one can escape your omnivision! It really happened to me in the school. A room mate who always stood first in the physics fell down in the room, and had severe back pain. He was advised complete bed rest. He could not attend classes for 4/5 days. Our unit test was scheduled in a week’s time, and he asked me to tell him how the teacher explained a certain concept in physics. I was jealous of him, and in some pretext or other I did not. That time he came third in the class, and strangely, I felt happy. Of course I felt bad later and apologized.
S –Now you see, how himsa in your mind affected your judgement. The Kauravas were affected by jealousy, and caused the great war. The war was only a physical manifestation of the himsa in their minds. Even the sincere efforts of Krishna had no effect on them. So he allowed the war to take place. The war was only a surgical operation to remove the hate-cancer from the body of the society. Krishna tried his best to remove it from the minds of the Kauravas, but the disease had gone too deep, and he knew the consequence, a massive surgery, could not be avoided.
D – Swami, I cannot be grateful enough to you for all these priceless teachings. I want to learn everything possible from you to be your soldier.
S – My boy, you must know three things to be a soldier in my army.
D – What are they Swami?
S – Your commander-in-chief, your cause, and your enemy.
D – I know two of them, Swami.
S – What are they?
D – You are my C-in-C, and your enemy is my enemy.
S – But I have no enemies.
D – Then why do you need an army?
S – So that you can be a soldier!
D – O, no jokes Swami, I am serious. I really don’t understand your ways. In one breath you are making two contradictory statements: You say that you are recruiting an army, and then assert you have no enemy!
S – Tell me who was Duryodhana’s biggest enemy?
D – Well, isn’t it obvious? The pandavas.
S – No, it was his greed. With greed came its friends: jealousy, hate and anger. Take away greed from Duryodhana, and he is a fine man. He was a noble soul; devoted to his brothers, his parents; he a great warrior, though a little impulsive, so was Bheema too. His greed for power turned all his good qualities against him, and turned him into a hated character. Krishna tried to turn him around, help him see that his greed was his greatest enemy. Not the Pandavas. But he would not see.
D – Swami, in the story of Mahabharata Karna appears to be a noble man. Why did he then join Duryodhana?
S - He was noblest of them all. But he lived in hate of Arjuna. Take away this hate from him, he is any day better than even Yudhistir. Krishna promised him if he gave up hate and joined his brothers he would make Karna the greatest king on earth. But he preferred to live in hate. Both Duryodhana and Karna fought with and fell to the enemies who lived within them. Krishna had no enemies because he had love for all. So too I have no enemies, for I have no desire for myself.
D – Then what is this cause, Swami?
S – You must know what you are fighting for. If you are not strongly embedded in the justness of what you are fighting for, you cannot give your best. That was the confusion of Arjuna. Therefore Krishna had to clarify his vision before the first arrow was shot. He told Arjuna that it was not his personal battle where he was up in arms against his guru and family, it was a battle for dharma. And his enemy was adharma. Only after his vision was clear he became a soldier of God.
D – O, what a fool I have been! I was arguing with you as if I knew better! Please forgive me Swami.
S – No my son, you need not feel sorry. Asking questions in order to comprehend truth is always welcome. Therefore I always say there are six watchdogs at the gate of knowledge mansion: who, what, why, when, how and where. You must satisfy these watchdogs to enter the mansion of knowledge.
D – Swami, you are so great, yet you never refuse to answer our most foolish questions. There is no Guru as good as you.
S – I am not only your Guru, I am also your father, mother, friend, all in one. Don’t you sing in the arati song ‘mari antayu neeve’, you are my everything? When you feel defeated by the guru, I become your friend. When you take me for granted, I am your Father. And when you feel intimidated by a father, I become your Mother. I have to play many roles just to awaken you to your reality.
D – What is our reality Swami?
S – You and I are one; that is your reality. But you have to experience it.
D – How to experience it Swami?
S – It is not as if I will say ‘Experience’, and you will suddenly experience the oneness! We will talk about it next time. First digest all that I told you today.
D – Yes swami. Thank you for your patience with such a dull student like me.
S – Always welcome.
- To continue
- To continue