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Friday, August 15, 2014

The Spirit of Non-Violence


Once, Gautama Buddha, as the regular routine of a wanderer, decided to go from one village to another after sun set. There was dense forest between the villages. Villagers did not like this idea and requested him not to do so as there was a very aggressive and venomous snake species in the forest which would attack people unprovoked. But, Bhagwan Buddha did not listen to them and started for the village. Frightened villagers followed him. As Bhagwan Buddha was walking through the forest, a snake of the same species charged upon him. Villagers saw the snake and alerted Buddha. Buddha stood there and looked at the attacking snake with all his calm and composure. The snake came to Buddha and encircled his feet, it did not bite him. The villagers were surprised and asked Bhagwan Buddha about the reason for which the aggressive snake not biting him. Bhagwan Buddha gave them the answer, “When I do not think bad about anything in this world or do not hurt anyone, why will anyone hurt me”?
I personally feel that because it was Bhagwan Buddha even the wild animal did not bite him or hurt him. He was in such sync with nature. Ofcourse, it might not be possible in our case that we get so much in sync with nature that wild animals or anyone else, as such, does not hurt us. We can atleast be in sync with our surroundings so that people around us do not hurt us. There is a difference between disagreeing and being against something. We should prefer to disagree instead of being against something.
We have had regional, religious and political systems since ages. All have been changing. There were revolutions, evolutions and these revolutions and evolutions will keep on happening. Regional profiles will keep on changing, religious beliefs will keep on changing and so will political systems. Nothing is permanent!
There are many theories of migration of people, of countries conquering other countries, stories of faith being spread by invaders etc. We also have stories of ethnic races being wiped out by races coming from other regions. But, I do not feel that races or cultures are wiped out. I feel that when two human races and cultures start living together, there comes up a third race and culture which is richer as well as superior than the first two races. The problem comes when the two races are averse to change and engage in conflict which mostly is violent. Why is there such aversion to change? In my opinion, the aversion to change is because the people of either of the races and cultures believe that theirs is the superior one and the other race should adapt its customs. They forget that mingling of the two races will lead to a superior race. This eventually happens as well with time and the people of the later generations are only able to understand and realize this. Still people fight for the same reason again and again.
India has had classy cases of people spreading their faiths, beliefs and spirituality without any violence. Classic is the case of Gautam Buddha who became a wandering monk and people became his disciples as and where he went. Such was his effect that in the next few centuries almost the whole of Asia was turning Buddhist. As Buddhism spread, it became a perceived threat to Sanatan Dharma. Then a young boy from Kerala started his journey across India by conquering all regions and people with his weapon “Shashtrartha”. His weapon “Shashtrartha” was debate on Shashtras, spirituality and philosophy of life. No Scholar could defeat him across India and finally he made four Matth’s in all the four regions in India. If you look at the Sufi Saints, their mysticism was such that people of all faiths go to their door step even today. India has innumerable examples, the latest and the best known to the world being Swami Vivekananda. It is said that it were not the mere words,” My Dear brothers and sisters of America” that mesmerized the listeners, it was the true spirit and love behind the words that did the magic.
So, people, beliefs, cultures, political systems etc will keep coming and will keep mingling and will keep improving. If one feels that his or her system is superior, he or she has all the right to spread it and convince people about. In the same conquest, he or she should also be open to learn from others and accept it. So, as things will keep changing, no one has the right to force upon his or her views on others, nobody has the right to eliminate people who do not accept his or her views or beliefs because change is inevitable and killing someone to avoid change is unnatural, thus inhuman.
Mahatma Gandhi has been the tallest icons of non-violence in the modern world. India should be proud that such a soul was born on its soil. So, it’s our foremost duty to adhere to non-violence. Non-Violence is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It’s the strength processed by a free man who is open to change and can express his views without any fear. Non-Violence is the most important characteristic of a free soul. It’s the spirit of Non-Violence that the whole world requires today. May god enlighten us all!!
Happy Independence Day!!

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