We may have to fight against others, but we don’t have to be against others
When we strive to lead a principle-centered life, those who feel that their interests are threatened by our principles will oppose us. If they attack us repeatedly, we may have to fight against them. But we don’t have to treat them as our enemies intrinsically.
Such distance between disposition and action becomes easier to maintain when we have spiritual knowledge. Gita wisdom explains that we are all souls, parts of the all-pure supreme. In our essence, we are all pure, though presently we all are covered by different degrees of impurities. Some people, because of being excessively covered by impurities, may be so inimical and destructive as to need to be curbed forcibly. Such antisocial elements need to be curbed by those who are trying to live purely, especially if they are the martial guardians of society.
That was the responsibility of the Pandavas when they had to fight against the Kauravas, who had remorselessly committed many atrocities, with ever-increasing arrogance and malevolence. Consequently, the Kauravas had to be neutralized by force as a reaction to their grievous misdeeds. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita urges Arjuna to become an instrument in the fight to fulfill the higher arrangement of punishing the Kauravas (11.33). Yet the Gita also cautions Arjuna to not be inimical to anyone if he wants to evolve in his consciousness and attain the divine (11.55). Thus the Gita stresses the need to retain this distance between action and disposition.
By doing the necessary in action according to our social responsibility, but not swerving in our disposition from being spiritually purposeful, we can both contribute to establishing order externally and cultivate spiritual consciousness internally.
Think it over:
- How can spiritual knowledge help us see antisocial elements holistically?
- How can we maintain a distance between aggressive actions and spiritual intentions?
- How can we harmonize our social and spiritual roles?
11.55 My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being – he certainly comes to Me.
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