Friday, July 4, 2008

Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution

Gandhi On Nonviolence :

Ahimsa [nonviolence; love for all living things] is the highest ideal. It is meant for the brave, never for the cowardly. To benefit by others' killing and delude oneself into the belief that one is being very religious and nonviolent is sheer self-deception.
A so-called votary of nonviolence will not stay in a village which is visited by a leopard everyday. He will run away and, when someone has killed the leopard, will return to take charge of his hearth and home. This is not nonviolence. This is a coward's violence. The man who has killed the leopard has at least given proof of some bravery. The man who takes advantage of the killing is a coward. He can never expect to know true nonviolence.
In life it is impossible to eschew violence completely. The question arises, where is one to draw the line? The line cannot be the same for everyone. Although essentially the principle is the same, yet, everyone applies it in his or her own way. What is one man's food can be an other's poison. Meat-eating is a sin for me. Yet, for another person, who has always lived on meat and never seen anything wrong in it, to give it up simply in order to copy me will be a sin.
If I wish to be an agriculturist and stay in the jungle, I will have to use the minimum unavoidable violence in order to protect my fields. I will have to kill monkeys, birds and insects which eat up my crops. If I do not wish to do so myself, I will have to engage someone to do it for me. There is not much difference between the two. To allow crops to be eaten up by animals in the name of ahimsa while there is a famine in the land is certainly a sin. Evil and good are relative terms. What is good under certain conditions can become an evil or a sin under a different set of conditions.
Man is not to drown himself in the well of Shastras [Hindu Scriptures] but he is to dive in their broad ocean and bring out pearls. At every step he has to use his discrimination as to what is ahimsa and what is himsa. In this there is no room for shame or cowardice. The poet has said that the road leading up to God is for the brave, never for the cowardly.

Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S. and have a sunny day. Gems and Fine Art


s.m. said...

Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S. and have a nice day

s.m. said...

this is very nice blog

Pheebles said...

I really enjoy your posts about Ghandi.

Petra Voegtle said...

Nice painting! Love your warm colours.
Greetings from Munich

Laura Winslow Godsil said...

S.M., pheebles, and petra-thanks so much for your comments.