Embracing the Wisdom of Non-Violence: Lessons from Historical Struggles and Spiritual Teachings

“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.”

Dhammapada – Chapter 1, Verse 5

“May all beings look at me with a friendly eye. May I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eyes of a friend.”

Rig Veda 10.22.25

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God…..Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”.

Matthew 5:9, 38,39

Non-violence and peace central to Indian religions

The Indian freedom struggle stands as a profound example of a movement fought in the spirit of non-violence. No weapons were used to physically harm, cause pain, or eliminate individuals or groups.  Mahatma Gandhi believed in resolving conflicts and pursuing justice without causing harm to others physically, mentally, or emotionally. Ahimsa was not merely a strategic tool but a way of life and a moral imperative. Indian spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Jainism, incorporates Ahimsa as a core ethical principle. Peace and harmony hold a central position in Hinduism, with a fundamental principle being the practice of non-violence.

Kurukshetra: from war to peace?

 However, it’s worth noting that at Kurukshetra, blood was shed in a violent war. While it provided a solution, it also resulted in the tragic loss of brothers and relatives. This raises a crucial question: should we engage in violent wars again?

Over centuries, the Indian mindset imbibed the core lesson from the Mahabharata’s battle at Kurukshetra. While the epic conveys several lessons, its ultimate teaching emphasizes the imperative of non-violence, fostering dialogue, discussion, and debate. Wars and battles, it asserts, do not lead us anywhere, and the act of killing one’s kith and kin should not be tolerated.

No time for war at all: blessed are the peacemakers!

In the journey of the Israelites to a land they considered their inheritance, from the time of Moses, several wars were fought. The toll in human lives prompts a sobering question: how many perished in these conflicts?

Ecclesiastes 3:7-8 says, “There is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. There is a time to love and a time to hate. There is a time for war and a time for peace.” However, this is often misunderstood. Does it refer to wars that physically kill and eliminate people, communities, and races?

According to Jesus in St. Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and further, he advises not resisting an evil person but turning the other cheek when faced with adversity (Matthew 5:38-39).

Did Christ advocate conversion?

Christ’s teachings are frequently misunderstood. When Jesus urged going to the ends of the world to make everyone his disciple, it became a verse open to misinterpretation. While Jesus was alive, he made no attempt to convert anyone to Judaism or his group of new disciples, choosing instead to engage in dialogues and discussions with many.

The Good News and the message of Christ are intended to transform individuals into embodiments of love, kindness, and empathy. If the received Gospel transforms someone into a religious fanatic, it suggests a lack of understanding of Christ; Jesus’s spirit is not living within such individuals. Jesus desires to spread the fragrance of love through their lives.

The Holy Spirit, residing within, illuminates life, radiates love, and combats spiritual adversaries, as highlighted in St. Paul’s Ephesians 6:12. The Rig Veda echoes this sentiment, calling for viewing all beings with friendliness, fostering harmony and peaceful coexistence. It demands seeking peace through non-violence. Rig Veda 10.22.25 states: “May all beings look at me with a friendly eye. May I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eyes of a friend.”

WARSAW Pact, NATO and the WEST

When the Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there was a collective sigh of relief, with Warsaw Pact nations abandoning their treaty. Yet today, there are again threats of wars and conflicts in different regions.

Recently, a leader from the Middle East quoted the Bible: “There is a time for war and a time for peace.” And he declares that this is the time for war. Is war the only solution?

From Kurukshetra to World War II, many lessons have been learned. In the post-World War II era, numerous conflicts and wars have unfolded. Despite our collective failure to achieve lasting peace, is it not time to earnestly strive towards it? While many nations and their leaders proclaim that this is not an era for war but for working collaboratively for the common good, it is time to pray for peace and harmony through dialogue and discussions. Let’s seek peace not through violent wars and conflicts but through understanding and collaboration.

(P. Koshy)

10 March 2024



P. Koshy P. Koshy Columnist|Entrepreneur|Development Professional. Believes in freedom and human potential. Writes/Comments on #Economy#Business#Politics He can be reached at p.koshyin@gmail.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/pkoshyin

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