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Ahimsa in the wake of fighting terrorism

Ahimsa in the wake of fighting terrorism


'Resist not evil', is something that has been said overages, in some form or the other. The saying which is prevalent across religions, civilisations and countries, must be having some significance. This post will discuss Ahimsa in the contemporary world, where the world as a whole and especially our country has been fighting all kinds of extremism and terrorism.

'Ahimsa' - the term meaning non-violence must be understood holistically. To understand Ahimsa, we need to understand the difference between action, inaction and balance. Inaction stems out of laziness, where the being does not want to do an action thereby attributing that it does not have the capacity of action. On the other hand, an active person or one who performs the action is the one who is always fighting, arguing or trying to prove his point and establish himself superior to others. So, what then is Ahimsa? Is it 'non-action'? Definitely NOT. Ahimsa is the balance between action and non-action. What does this balance mean? Let's try to understand it by a simple example. A King, who has powers, is rich and has the throne can renunciate his possessions and become a Sanyasi. However, a beggar who does not have any of these things cannot be termed as a Sanyasi. To renunciate, you first need to possess. Similarly, if you do not act because you do not have either the will or power to act, it cannot be termed as Ahimsa. Anyone who has read Chapter 2 of Bhagwat Gita would know that Lord Krishna termed Arjuna as a 'hypocrite' when he said that he would not fight the war because the rivals were his relatives. This was because Arjuna's words and feelings were coming from inaction or unwillingness. 'This is not talking like a Brahmin', says Lord Krishna.

We have to understand Ahimsa similarly in today's world. If we are not fighting the enemies, the terrorists, the radicals and the saboteurs just because someone said Ahimsa, we are hiding behind inaction. You can be non-violent only if you have the power to be violent. And once you can defeat your enemies, you should have the balance between over-action, destruction, abuse of power and between restraint - which is Ahimsa.

It is also very essential to understand the meaning of duties. A soldier must fight the enemy and eliminate him. On the other hand, the responsibility of an artist may be to promote peace and harmony between two combatant countries. The soldier laying down his arms is not Ahimsa, as he should have the power to eliminate the enemy before an artist can talk of peaceful negotiations. The duty of one may be opposite of the other, but each task has its relevance.