A suicide bomber struck a restaurant in the city of Beni in east Congo on Saturday, killing at least five people and himself, Another suicide bomber of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan blew himself up in the country’s restive Balochistan province on Sunday, killing at least four security personnel and injuring 20 people, In Ludhiana, Punjab a former police officer is suspected to be responsible for the blast at a court. There seems to be a common trace of extreme and specific determinant in the behavior of the bombers in these entire incidents .This determinant carries enormous hatred and ferocious abhorrence. Similarly hate speeches in the name of religion, party politics, intolerance, racism, and xenophobia are common on social platforms. And hate speech or hate gesture in the garb of prejudices is not democratic at all. Now the question is whether hatred is the only reason pushing these bull –headed people to kill and hate or is it something else? Researches on human behavior conclude that internal conflict, failure, depression, agitation, anger can also trigger the violent nerve in us. In a research conducted by the University of Utah a statement by geographers that “hate is a national phenomenon in America” was not only flustering but was very scary in terms of a study that focused on the factors fueling hate across space. This ignoble animosity and friction referred to in the study and elsewhere in the society has become all pervasive today and so a matter of immense concern.
The open-ended question is about the cause of hatred and conflict that is contagiously engulfing us. We know how squabbles turn into conflicts in relationships, we have seen war of words falling out in professions, we come across dissensions going non-negotiable, also interest conflicts transmuting into confrontation and nasty rivalries. This gives rise to another thought provoking question whether this conflict is borne out of internal or external factors? When Arjun asks this question to Lord Krishna in The Bhagvada Gita:
अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुष: |
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजित: || Chap 3: Verse 36||
(Why is a person impelled to commit sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if by force, O descendent of Vrishni (Krishna)?)
Swami Mukundananda in his commentary explains it thus: We all have a conscience that makes us feel remorseful while committing a sin. The conscience is grounded in the fact that God is the abode of virtue, and as his fragments, we all have an innate attraction for virtue and goodness. The goodness that is the nature of the soul gives rise to the voice of conscience. Thus, we cannot make the excuse that we did not know stealing, swindling, libel, extortion; murder, oppression, and corruption are sinful activities. We intuitively know these deeds to be sinful, and yet we commit such acts, as if some strong force impels to do them. Arjun further wishes to know what that strong force is. The answer is given by Lord Krishna in
त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मन: |
काम: क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् || Chap 16: Verse 21||
(There are three gates leading to the hell of self-destruction for the soul—lust, anger, and greed. Therefore, all should abandon these three.)
Shree Krishna says that lust transforms into anger and greed. These three are the vices that give rise to sinful acts and thus pave the path of self-destruction. Those desirous of welfare should learn to dread these three and carefully avoid their presence in their own personality.
I remember teaching Hardy’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard to my second year students and had a tough time explaining the two phrases ‘ignoble strife’ and ‘sober wishes’:
Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
How simple and easy a philosophy this is to understand and live a life beyond conflicts, hatred and jealousy. But balancing theory and praxis is a tight spot indeed. It’s not always poverty and ignorance that can keep us away from ambitions and drama; rather it’s about awareness, and knowing the thin line difference between right and wrong, contentment and agitation, noble and ignoble. Similarly jealousy or malice is not necessary to achieve our dreams, because we are all fighting our own battles, our struggles are individual and so is our success. Nothing in this world be it hate, arrogance, malice or dislike can help us accomplish our preferred goals. Instead it’s time we restructure our lives, adapt and adopt love, kindness and compassion as the NEW NORMAL.
Let’s live and let live …