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At the Feet of The Mother

Sanatana Dharma and War (5) The Aryan Fighter and Kurukshetra

But meanwhile as the Divine does his bit to change the earth consciousness, man has a role to play, however small it may be. He can either collaborate in the change towards a New World Order or the change will be thrust upon us by the power of crashing circumstances. Our role is to fight the battle within us as well as outside and around us. Ahimsa is all good but in practice it is unwise and dangerous for the world to throw away the sword of the Kshatriya as long as the tiger prowls and the snake hides in the backyard with poison fangs and the Asura laughs a demonic laughter drawing his strength from deception, cruelty and pain.

‘It is the creed of the Aryan fighter. “Know God,” it says, “know thyself, help man; protect the Right, do without fear or weakness or faltering thy work of battle in the world. Thou art the eternal and imperishable Spirit, thy soul is here on its upward path to immortality; life and death are nothing, sorrow and wounds and suffering are nothing, for these things have to be conquered and overcome. Look not at thy own pleasure and gain and profit, but above and around, above at the shining summits to which thou climbest, around at this world of battle and trial in which good and evil, progress and retrogression are locked in stern conflict. Men call to thee, their strong man, their hero for help; help then, fight. Destroy when by destruction the world must advance, but hate not that which thou destroyest, neither grieve for all those who perish. Know everywhere the one self, know all to be immortal souls and the body to be but dust. Do thy work with a calm, strong and equal spirit; fight and fall nobly or conquer mightily. For this is the work that God and thy nature have given to thee to accomplish.”‘ [Essays on the Gita: 66-67]

Ahimsa or non-violence is no doubt the highest of virtues because it is an indirect acknowledgement of the deep truth of Oneness that dwells in all things. But there is the Ahimsa of the weak and the cowardly afraid of death, there is even a call for Ahimsa so that the perpetrators of terror and engineers of doom may go free to plan another spree of destruction. Besides, this oneness is dynamic when it applies to creation. The force that gives to the tiger its strength is the same that gives to the deer its swiftness. The very body maintains itself by destroying and removing all that has outlived its time so that new and healthier cells may come. Besides Ahimsa is an inner state where there is a complete absence of hate and violence done with a deliberate will to injure and harm. One may engage in a battle while being inwardly in a state of calm and even full of love and goodwill for the world and for all that is true and good and beautiful. Equally one may be seething with anger and cunningly engineering the worst for humanity while keeping one’s hands clean. Peace, yes, no doubt is greater than strife, yet it will delude us if we believe it to come merely by closing our eyes to the truth.


Sri Aurobindo reminds us:

‘What then is the master man, the divine worker, the opened channel of the universal Will to do when he finds the World-Spirit turned towards some immense catastrophe, figured before his eyes as Time the destroyer arisen and increased for the destruction of the nations, and himself put there in the forefront whether as a fighter with physical weapons or a leader and guide or an inspirer of men, as he cannot fail to be by the very force of his nature and the power within him, svabhāvajena svena karmaṇā? To abstain, to sit silent, to protest by non-intervention? But abstention will not help, will not prevent the fulfilment of the destroying Will, but rather by the lacuna it creates increase confusion. Even without thee, cries the Godhead, my will of destruction would still be accomplished, ṛte’pitvām. If Arjuna were to abstain or even if the battle of Kurukshetra were not to be fought, that evasion would only prolong and make worse the inevitable confusion, disorder, ruin that are coming. For these things are no accident, but an inevitable seed that has been sown and a harvest that must be reaped. They who have sown the wind, must reap the whirlwind. Nor indeed will his own nature allow him any real abstention, prakṛtis tvāṁ niyokṣyati. This the Teacher tells Arjuna at the close, “That which in thy egoism thou thinkest saying, I will not fight, vain is this thy resolve: Nature shall yoke thee to thy work. Bound by thy own action which is born of the law of thy being, what from delusion thou desirest not to do, that thou shalt do even perforce.” Then to give another turn, to use some kind of soul force, spiritual method and power, not physical weapons? But that is only another form of the same action; the destruction will still take place, and the turn given too will be not what the individual ego, but what the World-Spirit wills. Even, the force of destruction may feed on this new power, may get a more formidable impetus and Kali arise filling the world with a more terrible sound of her laughters. No real peace can be till the heart of man deserves peace; the law of Vishnu cannot prevail till the debt to Rudra is paid. To turn aside then and preach to a still unevolved mankind the law of love and oneness? Teachers of the law of love and oneness there must be, for by that way must come the ultimate salvation. But not till the Time-Spirit in man is ready, can the inner and ultimate prevail over the outer and immediate reality. Christ and Buddha have come and gone, but it is Rudra who still holds the world in the hollow of his hand. And meanwhile the fierce forward labour of mankind tormented and oppressed by the Powers that are profiteers of egoistic force and their servants cries for the sword of the Hero of the struggle and the word of its prophet.’ [Essays on the Gita: 385-386]  

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