In relation to the Gita, war is another subject which needs inspection under the heading “sarva-ahimsa.” War, violence, and the like reflect a fact of relative existence, are a part of the process of creation called destruction, and cannot therefore be done away with. Those who seek to do away with war completely, this side of the tenuous boundary marking the parameters of the relative and the Absolute, are usually deluded, falling victim to fear, weakness, and continual attachment to name and form. Conversely, those who foster war and violence for purposes of personal gain, lordship, hatred, sadism, love of domination, etc., transgress the natural laws of both God and nature and themselves become subject to these negativities in future births. This would account for the deplorable condition of so many embodied beings in this darksome time. To quote the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, “The laws of karma are inexorable.”
With regard to those who propose the idea of “a righteous war,” such a term is implausible and contradictory to the peaceful nature of Brahman. In the realm of dualities, only there do antagonistic factions rise up against each other. Knowing this, an embodied being temporarily inhabiting the realms of name and form must be practical and far-seeing. “War is never an option” should be the mind-set of all beings, so that every possibility for extended and lasting peace in the created worlds will be allowed for. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tried every form of diplomacy and persuasion to avoid strife between the Pandava and Kaurava clans, all the time knowing that a Yugic cycle of existence was coming to an end and that many would die — and knowing as well the birthless, deathless nature of Consciousness. This multiple insight defines the term “practical and far-seeing.” Comprehending it makes one fearless and impervious to the appearances of change and the vicissitudes of temporal life, and focused firmly upon the truth of Eternal Existence.
Given that one cannot harm the essence of another, that life and death are transitory, even ultimately illusory, and that war is inevitable wherever Consciousness assumes bodies via the mode of creation, where do we go from there? How we proceed thereafter is, actually, the very lifestyle of nonviolence called Shanti — true Peace. “Live in such a way as to never be a source of pain or suffering to anyone,” advises the Holy Mother. This takes extreme sensitivity, something that the human race has lost to a great extent in these often onerous times.
In Vedic tradition, lack of sensitivity in embodied beings has been noted by the ancient rishis and classified along with two other related negative tendencies to form what is both humorously and painfully termed “The Three Stupifactions.” They are Ahaituka (jadedness), Vyutthana-chitta (worldliness) and Ajanatah (insensitivity). Sadly, much is said by way of condemnation regarding violence in human nature, as well as complaints from suffering beings about their lack of peace of mind, but little effort is put into defining the true sources of violence, and much less into changing the mind’s makeup so as to conform with any remedial solutions. Insensitivity, worldliness, and jadedness, along with their concomitants, really lie at the root of man’s tendency towards violence and away from quiescence of mind.