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Operation anasakti (non-attachment) PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

We have discussed about the value system of existence Dharma and why it is so important to protect it, uphold it and sustain it. And even if one has to go to war for it, it is o.k. However, we all feel a little uncomfortable about war and killings. We all like to ask the question whether killing can ever be morally justified?

Krishna is not a warmonger. He is not a Hawk. Krishna supports life; he stands for life and will fight for it if needed. If the great values of life (Dharma), without which life would cease to be life, are in peril, Krishna will advise us to defend with all we have. And then he brings the values of anasakti (non-attachment) to the equation so that no ulterior motives are served in the name of war for values. Who otherwise will determine what is Dharma? But before we analyze this anasakti or non-attachment let us look at some common terminology used in this context, peace, justice and revenge.

Peace:
There have been statements from the Pope and Dalai Lama after the terrible incidents of September 11 and they both have pleaded for a peaceful solution of the problem of terrorism. Gandhi and Bertrand Russell have always supported this path of peace. Buddha, Mahavira and Jesus Christ have always talked of love and peace. And as I see it Krishna is as much for peace and love as Buddha or Mahavira are, but he is also willing to travel beyond, beyond of where being peaceful or neutral may not be righteous. Suppose you are going by and an innocent girl is being beaten and is on the verge of being raped. And you have the means of protecting her. Will you be peaceful?

The pacifist thinks that peace is always righteous and the warmonger is looking for any excuse for a fight. Krishna is fluid. He will default to peace. The war of Mahabharata happened in spite of Krishna. He tries to avert the war with all his heart, and when he fails, he accepts the inevitable. He does not go and start praying in the Himalayas for peace to come on this earth, he involves himself in the war so that the lost value system could be re-established.

We discussed about the weakness of goodness last time. Goodness has the weakness of avoiding conflicts and war and also has the weakness of not being able to see the crookedness of others. We did not know that they (terrorists) will use our system to book tickets, get training to fly in our flying schools, will hijack our planes and will ram into our icons and symbols of prosperity.

We were having a great time here. I came to Maine, USA in 1992. A large number of people did not lock their cars and some not even their houses. We turned up to the airports as if we were going for a bus ride. Generally speaking there was a sense of freedom and content. All that changed after September 11th. And now I can say that the only parameters of knowing that the universal value system Dharma is intact are our way of life. That which helps life grow, flower and dance essentially is Dharma. And that which impedes life’s growth, stifles life’s flowering and smothers life’s joy and festivity is Adharma. And the big question comes as to what do you do about it?

The evil (terrorists) no longer hear or fear the good people. The goodness shrinks and sits on the sideline praying to God and the evil takes over. And then it makes a slave of the goodness. The goodness works for the evil and then he is ordered to kill others. And the same good person is killing another good person on orders given by the bad person. If this sounds like flights of imagination, look at what happened to countries like India, Germany or Russia in the past. Hitler knew it, Cenghis Khan knew it and so did Stalin know it. They all knew this weakness of a good person and fully exploited it in their times.

Jesus said to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you. No body asked him what if he kept on slapping. And there are people who will go on turning the cheek until the person slapping gets tired and pauses for rest. Even Jesus picked up the whip and turned tables when he saw injustice being done by the moneychangers.

Krishna with his flute loves peace and is happy to be dancing and making other people dance. But if war happens in spite of his flute, so be it. He will accept it and move right into it, but will be detached from it all the time. For Krishna, it is not so much a question of moral justification; it is more a matter of protecting the essential values of life, liberty, happiness and freedom.

Krishna’s anasakti (non-attachmnet) is in my view a revolutionary concept and allows room for understanding with clarity. We shall explore it in the next column.

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