BENGALURU: Every day we see or read of appalling things happening in the world as the result of violence in man. You may say, ‘I can’t do anything about it’, or, ‘How can I influence the world?’ I think you can tremendously influence the world if in yourself you are not violent, if you lead actually every day a peaceful life.
When I say, ‘I am violent,’ and wish to free myself from violence, is the entity who is violent different from the quality which he calls violence? That is, is the experiencer who feels he is violent different from the experience itself? Surely the experiencer is the same as the experience; he is not different or apart from the experience. I think this is very important to understand because if one really understood it, then in freeing the mind from violence, there would be no self-centered activity at all.
We have separated the thinker from the thought, have we not? We say, ‘I am violent, and I must make an effort to get rid of violence.’ In order to get rid of violence, we discipline ourselves, we practice nonviolence, we think about it every day and try to do something about it-which means we take it for granted that the ‘I’, the maker of effort, is different from the experience, from the quality. But is this so? Are the two states different, or are they really a unit, one and the same?
We think that ideals are necessary. But do ideals help to bring about this radical change in us? Or do they merely enable us to postpone, to push change into the future, and thereby avoid the immediate, radical change? Surely, so long as we have ideals, we never really change but hold on to our ideals as a means of postponement, of avoiding the immediate change which is so essential. I know it is taken for granted by the majority of us that ideals are indispensible, for without them we think there would be no impetus to change, and we would rot, stagnate.
But I am questioning whether ideals of any kind ever do transform our thinking. Why do we have ideals? If I am violent, need I have the ideal of nonviolence? I do not know if you have thought about this at all. If I am violent-as most of us are in different degrees-is it necessary for me to have the ideal of nonviolence? Will the pursuit of nonviolence free the mind from violence? Or is the very pursuit of nonviolence actually an impediment to the understanding of violence? After all, I can understand violence only when, with my whole mind, I give complete attention to the problem. And the moment I am wholly concerned with violence and the understanding of violence, what significance has the ideal of nonviolence? It seems to me that the pursuit of the ideal is an evasion, a postponement. If I am to understand violence, I must give my whole mind to it and not allow myself to be distracted by the ideal of nonviolence.