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Path to ‘Follow Dharma to end War’

Ukraine has been in war for more than a year now. Civil wars have been raging in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and Syria, resulting in significant casualties and displacement. Most wars either propagate hegemony or spread religious fundamentalism. Most conflicts are in the name of wealth, politics, sex, gender or culture. They divide people and humanity. Consequently, we have created multiple unequal worlds around us. Peace is a natural casualty. Charlie Chaplin had said, ‘I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man’ Unfortunately that is the genesis of most wars though prognosis may involve God later. Violence, deceit and prejudice are always caused by the need to protect an ideology. The need to protect leads to conflicts. The larger concern is, if we ever will see peace on the planet.


Peace prevails when citizens on the planet understand each other’s problems and have skills to resolve conflicts and struggle non-violently. People must live by international standards of human rights and equity, must appreciate cultural diversity, and respect the planet in as much as respecting each other.


An idea is something we have; an ideology is something that has us. We must understand the difference for peace to prevail.Swami Vivekananda spoke about intolerance, religion and the need to end all forms of fanaticism. These are profound values enshrined in ‘Vishwa Bhandutva’. Should we not forget our differences in language, religion, politics, race, colour, wealth, and maybe anything that differentiates us? Don’t we owe each other mutual respect and deserve similar human rights?


In such times of strife, Hindu Dharma and Hindu way of life can help resolve conflicts. It creates congenial conditions for human survival, sustenance of nature and cordial human relationships. It seeks respect for rule of law and forces of nature. It takes a holistic view of life. It combines spirituality with daily routines. It is not conflict resolution but conflict prevention that is important. In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna, asks Arjuna to partake in war with a conduct devoid of ‘passion and hatred’. He also seeks a sense of ‘restraint’ when due, for it is only the one who restrains the self, and who governs the self, attains peace. Today, such virtues in times of conflict are hard to find.


Treating everyone as one’s own, is ‘Vishwa Bhandutva’. Itis to accept the whole world as one’s own family. ‘ayamnijaparovetilaghu-chetasaam, udaaracharitaanaamtuvasudhaivakutumbakam’. – ‘This is mine. That is his. is the thinking of a small mind. The large hearted will always believe the whole world is one family’ To help others, love others, save others, without thinking about benefits for the self is the essence. We must do to others, what we expect others to do for us. Everyone must follow their ‘Dharma’. That is the Hindu way of life, which alone will prevent conflicts.


International peace can be achieved, if we understand the root causes of global violence and address them with equanimity and passion. People are becoming restless, impatient and intolerant due to ego, miscommunication, work pressures and lack of empathy. Upanishads help us to look at similarities and opposites with equanimity, create mutual appreciation and respect for differences. Global peace is achieved only when inner peace is achieved which is a state of psychological and spiritual calm, despite the potential presence of stressors. The biggest stress is caused by irrational desires.


Hence building mental strength is important. Mental Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and significant sources of stress. What better way can there be, than Yoga, Pranayama, Concentration and Meditation and the endless wisdom of Shankaracharya the ‘Jnana Yogi’, to help release healthy brain chemicals like endorphins and dopamine which help balance the mood and combat depression? Thus, inner peace achieved, global peace will be achieved.


“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” That’s what Lao Tzu said. That said, can we live together in peace, by killing each other’s children? Why not seek cessation of all hostilities, not because one is too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence?


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