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Karishna, Gita and Terrorism II PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

We discussed in our last column how this war on terrorism is against people who are destroying the value system of existence, the Dharma. Let us try to recap this value system that we in the east have called Dharma. Dharma has composite meaning and one of them relates to this value system. We all experience this in our life. When there is a sense of freedom, people are not suspicious of each other and happiness abounds then Dharma is in abundance. When people become fearful, they cannot express or live freely, when civil liberties are threatened, when suspicion abounds and leads to the point of hatred, then Dharma is in the process of deterioration.

The terrorists also know this value system. And that is how they want to gain power and draw attention. They are not insane people; they are actually generally very smart people. They do the math of fear and destruction. They are also good organizers and know the sentiments of people who will be attracted to them and how. Look at what happened. The terrorists trained in our country, learned how to fly, took our planes and crashed into our icons of prosperity and strength and made money on the stock market in the process. No one can call them dumb, but every one can call them terrorists. They want to destroy this value system because that is what gives them their strength.

Who is the enemy?

Mahabharata happened many thousand years ago. But the events now are coming close to what happened then. Krishna’s life was threatened ever since he was born. Many attempts were made to kill him even when he was a child. The finale was the Mahabharata war. Duryodhana was the one who always tried to destroy the value system. Ultimately he got what he wanted; he was able to drag Pandavas into a war. He wanted to get rid of the Pandavas who were the icons of this value system, Dharma. Krishna stood on the side of the Dharma; he sided with the Pandavas but he was only present there as a chauffer and had had vowed not to fight.

The amazing part was that many good people of those times sided with Duryodhana for one reason or the other. Some felt obliged because they had worked for Duryodhana’ father for a long time and others felt obliged because they thought this was in the interest of the country. Some of them even knew that they were against Dharma. This has to be understood before we understand who is the enemy today. All those people who stood with the side that was against the value system Dharma had to be eliminated. No matter what, not only Duryodhana who was the icon of c (against Dharma) needed to be killed, every one protecting him and siding with him had to be eliminated as well.

Coming to our current scenario, we all know few icons of terrorism e.g. Osama Bil Laden as person or Al quaida as an organization. We know that they have dragged the USA into this war. We know that there are several other terrorist organizations that network with each other. We do not really know who is taking whose side yet. This is in a flux. It is not very clear to many that they are destroying the very freedom of mankind. And these people may be drawn to the terrorist organizations in the name of holy war. Some may be drawn into it because they feel national pride of being an Afghan or of being a true Pakistani.

And then, it may become difficult to pursue the war against people who are in the process of destroying this very core of existence, the Dharma. Arjuna had this dilemma at the beginning of the Mahabharata war. He could see friends and even respected teachers on the other side and wondered why he should be killing them and for what gain. Those who truly want to defend this value system will require a great courage, determination, understanding and patience. Krishna will always be with them as long as they pursue that path.



Who is a friend?

We are not talking about whom we grew up with or whom we went to school with. This issue of protecting the value system Dharma is a big challenge. It should not be a cheap political game or tactics. George W. Bush, the President of the USA has declared a war against terrorism and is asking the world community to side with him in dealing with this menace. An opportunity has been given even to countries like Pakistan to decide once for all which camp they want to belong to. The Pakistan newspaper Dawn reports that President Musharraf of Pakistan got a phone call from the President of USA and the question was, “Are you a friend or a foe.” This vital question is crucial. The choice has to be made and most importantly have to be followed through. This is not a friendship for two days.

And great vigil is required because of possibilities of political maneuverings that will take place during this war as happens in politics all the time. Krishna was on top of political moves all the time. In spite of the great strength and vigil of Pandavas and of Krishn’a presence on their side, the Pandavas lost Abhimanyu, Ghatotkacha and many dear and invincible warriors. There will be change of sides, there will be unexpected political moves and there will be losses. Friends today may become foes tomorrow and therefore relationships will have to be re-evaluated all the time. One simple rule is that if a country or an individual is making side deals in return, there may be change of heart when he is not happy whether he got what he wanted. If the support is unconditional, it is a different matter. The country or individual may benefit from this friendship but at least that is not the reason he came in to start with.

In our next column we shall address the vital issue of bhavana (emotions, attitude, feelings) with which the war should be fought. Krishna talked to Arjuna about sum-bhava and we shall try to understand those as we go along.

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