Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 12, 2016 Reading time: 6 minutes
Ahiṃsā (non-violence) introduction: Firstly, to understand non-violence, one must understand violence and its relationship to anger, fear, frustration, sexuality, ambition and power.
We know the obvious types of violence, such as war, abuse, mistreatment etc. In fact, violence covers a vast spectrum – from subtle abuse to genocide, where entire populations are exterminated.
However, there are many actions which we perform every day which have an element of violence, such as,
So, can we really avoid violence or hiṃsā. Conversely, is non-violence possible at all?
Where does violence come from? It comes from perceived threat to the sense of identity or asmitā.
There are 3 types of guṇas: tāmasic (confused or anxious), rājasic (passionate) & sātvic (balanced or harmonic).
Tāmasic violence comes out of lack of knowledge and is driven primarily by inertia, fear and confusion.
Example: All forms of segregation and separation, whether of colour, caste, religion or creed arise out of ignorance because there can be no difference between entities.
Rājasic violence primarily out of passion and is driven by emotions such as anger, lust, greed, ambition etc.
Example: All forms of sexual assaults are driven by rajas.
Sātvic violence is very difficult to achieve and is characterized by high communication, harmony and patience.
Example: Let us look at some scenarios of a parent scolding a truant child. When the parent scolds the child because he or she is afraid of what society will say, then it is tāmasic. However, when the parent is trying to push his or her own agenda on the child, that it is rājasic . Finally, when the parent scolds the child for deviation of a value that has been explained often, then the reason is sātvic. Consequently, this is characterized by the parent trying to separate the person from the problem.
Escalation mechanism in dharma is called upāya (method). The recommended various escalation path is sāma (discussion or negotiation), followed by dāna (inducement or trade-off), bedha (influence / splitting / discord / rupture) and finally daṇḍa (stick / violence) when everything has failed.
The only problem of using daṇḍa (stick / violence) is that, it is difficult to retract and damages the relationship.
Situation 1: (Wikipedia extract) COMPANY QUARTER MASTER HAVILDAR ABDUL HAMID won India’s highest battle honour during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. The abridged citation reads;
Enemy forces launched an attack with Patton tanks on a vital area ahead of village Cheema in the KhemKaram Sector. Intense artillery shelling preceded the attack. They penetrated forward positions. Realising the grave situation, Havildar Abdul Hamid, a commander of a RCL gun detachment, moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep. Taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank and then, sent another tank up in flames. By this time, the enemy tanks spotted him and brought his jeep under fire. Havildar Hamid kept on firing and while doing so, he was mortally wounded by an enemy high-explosive shell.
Havildar Hamid’s action inspired his comrades to fight and to beat back the assault.
Situation 2: (Wikipedia extract) In 1303 AD, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi besieged Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, India, because he desired Rani Padmini, the queen of Chittorgarh and a famed beauty. Frustrated in the siege, he ultimately agreed to have a glimpse of Rani Padmini in a mirror. But the Sultan, besotted by the queen, reneged and invaded Chittorgarh again. Realising the impossibility of the situation, the Rajputs, under Rana Rawal Ratan Singh decided to commit Jauhar and Saka. The women committed ritual suicide (jauhar) within the fort while the men sallied forth to certain death (saka).
The Rajputs committed jauhar again on 8 March 1535 when Bahadur Shah attacked Chittorgarh and on 22 February 1568 when Akbar attacked the fortress.
External Tags: Consciousness