‘Ahimsa Paramodharma’. Yes, sure it is. But, what exactly does it imply? A sad misunderstanding of our scriptures has led to a defeatist and cowardly mentality which has for long enslaved the minds and hearts of confused generations of Hindus. Our scriptures list 24 different kinds of himsas ( violence). There is violence of speech , violence of intention, violence at the emotional and intellectual levels, violence against women and children, violence against the weak and the aged, violence against those incapable of defending themselves, and violence of snatching money or property etc. Such violence is categorised as aggression ,and is forbidden to a true Hindu . So non- violence is the greatest dharma, but nowhere is it stated that violence should be meekly tolerated! Ahimsa does not mean non- defence against aggression. That would be a dangerous interpretation of our noble philosophy.
The Geeta teachings are a religious call on every Hindu to discard his mind benumbing defeatist cowardice, paraded as Ahimsa, and fight bravely against aggression and evil -doers. Krishna jolts and awakens Arjuna to the call of duty at the battlefield by insulting him with the humiliating term “impotent”, as Arjuna was refusing to pick up arms, covering his shame with the mantle of Ahimsa! Krishna goads him to fight the righteous war and defend his right to kingdom, dignity and even life! All Hindu gods and goddesses carry weapons. Why?? Ram ,Krishna, Durga, Kali, Ganesh and Shiva, all are armed! Why? They have self- confessed that they have manifested to protect the noble and righteous and destroy the evil-doers. Don’t we destroy all those that come to harm or kill us, even mosquitos, bacteria and viruses?
The Mahabharata states,” It is as sinful not to kill the evil-doer as it is to kill the innocent.”
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi.
Email: prarthnasaran@gmail.com