Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shri Aurobindo's talk

Taken from:
http://www.voiceofdharma.com/books/ir/IR_part3.htm

July 23, 1923

(A disciple:) The Mahatma believes that non-violence purifies the man who practises it.

I believe Gandhi does not know what actually happens to the man's nature when he takes to Satyagraha or non-violence. He thinks that men get purified by it. But when men suffer, or subject themselves to voluntary suffering, what happens is that their vital being gets strengthened. These movements affect the vital being only and not any other part. Now, when you cannot oppose the force that oppresses, you say that you will suffer. That suffering is vital and it gives strength. When the man who has thus suffered gets power he becomes a worse oppressor....
What one can do is to transform the spirit of violence. But in this practice of Satyagraha it is not transformed. When you insist on such a one-sided principle, what happens is that cant, hypocrisy and dishonesty get in and there is no purification at all. Purification can come by the transformation of the impulse of violence, as I said. In that respect the old system in India was much better: the man who had the fighting spirit became the Kshatriya and then the fighting spirit was raised above the ordinary vital influence. The attempt was to spiritualize it. It succeeded in doing what passive resistance cannot and will not achieve. The Kshatriya was the man who would not allow any oppression, who would fight it out and he was the man who would not oppress anybody. That was the ideal....

There is also the question of Hindu-Muslim unity which the non-violence school is trying to solve on the basis of their theory.

You can live amicably with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is “I will not tolerate you”? How are you going to have unity with these people? Certainly, Hindu-Muslim unity cannot be arrived at on the basis that the Muslims will go on converting Hindus while the Hindus shall not convert any Mahomedan. You can’t build unity on such a basis. Perhaps the only way of making the Mahomedans harmless is to make them lose their fanatic faith in their religion....

The Mahomedan religion was born under such circumstances that the followers never forgot the origin.

That was the result of the passive resistance which they practised. They went on suffering till they got strong enough and, when they got power, they began to persecute others with a vengeance....

Gandhi's position is that he does not care to remove violence from others; he wants to observe non-violence himself.

That is one of the violences of the Satyagrahi that he does not care for the presssure which he brings on others. It is not non-violence—it is not “Ahimsa.” True Ahimsa is a state of mind and does not consist in physical or external action or in avoidance of action. Any pressure in the inner being is a breach of Ahimsa.

For instance, when Gandhi fasted in the Ahmedabad mill-hands' strike to settle the question between mill-owners and workers, there was a kind of violence towards others. The mill-owners did not want to be responsible for his death and so they gave way, without, of course, being convinced of his position. It is a kind of violence on them. But as soon as they found the situation normal they reverted to their old ideas. The same thing happened in South Africa. He got some concessions there by passive resistance and when he came back to India it became worse than before.

5 comments:

Ragz said...

Whats not tolerable in my opinion would be apathy, when it comes to the principles of humanity. I guess the passvity in satyagraha more reflects apathy.

Same goes with the tolerance of Islam, its apathetic towards other beliefs. And again the often discussed principle of interpretation or mis interpretation comes into picture. Islam in my opinion is a religion open to interpreation and that is bringoing about the present state of affairs as it is.

A entity needednt be polarized but I guess being apathetic is more heinous than taking the reportedly wrong side.

Regardless of the discussion, it is a very good article

Gandaragolaka said...

Any religious ext is always open to interpretations on both the extremes. Its easier with ome religions than others.

People use either of them only for their advantage. Its a highly lucrative field.

Who knows what paercentage of funds got by extremist orgs is used actually for jihad...

anandanubhava said...

Very nice article. It says that ahimsa as gandhi practised was really a terrible form of violence.. aggression that wasn't physical though. Thus, while good on the physical level (no fight, etc), on the mental level there is plenty of conflict both in the one practising so called ahimsa & the object of the ahimsa event! I believe ahimsa goes against human/animal instincts, which is to save oneself when threatened. Not lie helplessly hoping the aggressor will be so ashamed that he'll give up. Try doing this in the jungle against beasts, which don't necessarily have a mind beyond the sensual interpretation. This again proves that ahimsa as gandhi popularized it is a means of appealing to the conscience.

Gandaragolaka said...

In a recent Hind article, the author argues that only because it was british (who had a sense of culture, law and shame), that ruled over India, Ahmisa worked. If it were Nazy Germany, there would have been dozens of Jaliahwallah Baghs and they would have crushed the Ahmisa funda without any remorse.

Come to think of it, if that Chauri-Chaura incident of 1921 non-cooperation movement were fanned by the leaders, may be we would have got independence then... also because Britain was not very strong after the world war and the there is that fact that they did promise us independence after the war.

Kumpal Madrasi said...

Very nice blog and good posts Gandaragolaka/Kedar. Hope Mother India get more of your ilk.. ;)