November 29NextPrevious   

“Nonviolence above all”–Daily Metta

“Nonviolence has brought us near to swaraj as never before. We dare not exchange it even for swaraj. For swaraj thus got will be no true swaraj.”

-–Gandhi (Mahatma, vol. 6, p. 41)

Swaraj is the Sanskrit term for independence and freedom, as applied at all levels, from the personal to the global. Gandhi had the insight to understand that freedom was not true freedom if it was not obtained through nonviolence. Therefore, if one were to abandon nonviolence in an effort to achieve freedom, you would lose both. It’s like lowering a bucket into a well and when you get close to the water, you let go of the rope! Or, paddling in the ocean to the shore and once you see the shore, letting go of the oars. Oh well… The moral of the story: never sacrifice your values for your ends, for it is through your values you will attain your ends.

There’s the famous story of the Trocme brothers to bring the point home. Andre Trocme was the pastor of a small town, Le Chambon, in Vichy-occupied France, who had persuaded the whole congregation not to collaborate with the Occupation (read the whole story in Philip Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed). Finally, he and his brother Daniel were arrested, along with a dozen or so communists. The prison authorities handed out an oath offering to release anyone who would sign that he was not a communist. The Trocme bros. refused to sign on principle — but all the communists did! As it turns out the authorities knew all along who was what, and they released the brothers because they respected their courage. Things went very badly for the others.

Experiment in Nonviolence

The next time you have the opportunity to lie or cheat to get what you want, choose to be truthful instead.

The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299