Mumbai terror attacks, Somali Pirates - The Need For A New Policy of Protection

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(This is a commentary by Srila Prabhupada on Himsa (Non Peaceful) and Ahimsa (Peaceful) approaches during conflicts with references from Vamadeva Shastris (David Frawley) article "Himsa and Ahimsa: The Need For A New Policy of Protection”, very relevant during the current times of war and conflict especially when an International Naval force is unable to take stringent action against pirates , pseudo secular leaders unable to protect its people and some Neo/Pseudo Advaitins who preach nihilism )

In my article, "War! Holy or Not-Is God on Our Side", I attempted to address the nature of applying violence even in a spiritual or "Vedic" civilization according to time, place and circumstances.

In doing so, I related the famed battle of Kuruksetra that took place 5,000 years ago in which 640 million soldiers were slain in a battle that lasted 18 days. In this battle, mantras were employed by both sides as a way of achieving victory. The unique aspect of this war is that God, or Krsna was personally present on the battlefield and in fact, arranged the war that is the primary subject matter of the famous Indian epic, "Mahabharata." This was arranged not as a way of condoning war but rather, showing that even amongst great men in order to uphold religious principles they must sometimes be called to arms to defeat the atheistic, evil or demonic elements that sometimes manifest in human society.

With a view to this end, Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley) in a very incisive 1999 article for The Institute of Vedic Studies entitled, "Himsa and Ahimsa: The Need For A New Policy of Protection" writes:"In spite of modern Gandhian stereotypes the classical Hindu way to deal with Rakshasas and Asuras (people of egoistic or violent temperament) was never simply ahimsa (nonviolence). It could in fact be quite aggressive. Ahimsa in the sense of absolute non-violence is a sattvic or deva dharma for people of devic or refined temperament. With gentle people you have no need or right to be unkind. However, when dealing with hostile and violent opponents a completely different response is required. Asuras require the danda (punishment). Let us not forget the many epic and Puranic stories in which Gods, Goddesses or Avatars fought and defeated the Asuras. Whether it is the Goddess and Mahishasura, Rama and Ravana, or Skandaand Taraka, there is not a single instance in which the Asuras were simply forgiven and allowed to go their own way without punishment. Let us also not forget how the Mahabharata extols the use of the danda for social harmony and justice. There is only one way to really deal with Asuric people, which is to make them feel pain. As Asuric types have a materialistic consciousness, this pain must be of a material type, pain to their bodies, to their homes and to their possessions. It must be a pain where they live. Asuric types are immune to platitudes or to any kind of moralistic guilt."

He continues "True ahimsa means reducing the harm in the world. This may require violent action against the perpetrators of harm. One must not only defeat the enemy but also take away their weapons and insure that they cannot attack again. One must cut off the roots of violence where the enemy lives.

Modern Hindus must once again proudly honor himsa or a policy of harming the enemy, and the danda or a policy of strict punishment for those who use force to attack them.

This is not to promote unnecessary violence but to prevent violence from spreading or being abetted. The same policy should extend to all spheres of current cultural encounters"
And finally:"They must attack their enemies on the level where their enemies really feel and with the weapons of the age. Some metaphysical moralistic high ground, such as many Hindus like to take, will not do but is only escapism, though Hindus should continue to practice rituals, prayers, mantras and meditations for peace but not to the exclusion of more direct forms of action in the material world.

The Gandhian pity not only for the victims of violence but also for the perpetrators of violence must come to an end.
Such pity is one of the most debilitating and confusing of all emotions, and is the very sentiment that Krishna strove to uproot out of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Pity or compassion for the perpetrators of violence only sanctions that violence and causes further pain to the victims. It denies the responsibility that goes with the law of Karma."While the above statements are the views and opinions of Vamadeva,from a Vedic perspective it certainly gives one food for thought especially in this time of war.
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