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Gitacharyan's advice on War
Date: Thu Jul 30 1998 - 08:43:18 PDT

The following is an extract from Shriman Mani Varadarajan's recent
"I do not see how it follows that because Krishna urged
Arjuna to wage war in a particular situation, under a particular
set of rules, with people ready to do battle, it then behooves
one to rationalize harming an animal.  In fact, ahimsA is 
extolled as a great virtue at least 2 or 3 times in the Gita."

In this context, members may be interested in perusing Mahatma Gandhi's
views on the subject. I quote from the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
(CWMG Vol.41; Pp 94-100) :

"From the bitter experience of desire for fruit the author of the Gita
discovered the path of renunciation of fruit, and put it before the
world in a most convincing manner.  The common belief is that religion
is always opposed to material good.......In my opinion the author of the
Gita has no delusion.  He has drawn no line of demarcation between
salvation and worldly pursuits.  On the contrary, he has shown that
religion must rule even our worldly pursuits.  I have felt that Gita
teaches us that what cannot be followed out in day-to-day practices
cannot be called religion.  Thus, according to the Gita , all acts that
cannot be performed without attachment are taboo.  This golden rule
saves mankind from many a pitfall.  According to this interpretation,
murder, lying, dissoluteness and the like must be regarded as sinful and
therefore taboo.  Man's life then becomes simple, and from that
simpleness springs peace.
	Thinking along these lines, I have felt that in trying to enforce in
one's life the central teachings of the Gita, one is bound to follow
truth and ahimsa.  When there is no desire for fruit, there is no
temptation for untruth and himsa.  Take any instance of untruth or
violence, and it will be found that at its back was the desire to attain
the cherished end. ......... 
	When the Gita was written, although people believed in ahimsa, wars
were not  only not taboo, but nobody observed the contradiction between
them and ahimsa...........Let it be granted that according to the letter
of the Gita it is possible to say that warfare is consistent with
renunciation of fruit.  But after forty years' unremitting endeavour
fully to enforce the teaching of Gita in my own life, I have, in all
humility, felt  that perfect renunciation is impossible without 
perfect  observance of ahimsa in every shape and form." 

MK Krishnaswamy