Violence and Non-Violence – Part 2


Meher Baba’s message continued by describing five recurrent situations of human suffering and violence.

First situation of helping a drowning man: Suppose a man who does not know how to swim has fallen into a lake and is drowning. And there is nearby another person who is good at swimming and who wants to save him from being drowned. The man who is drowning has a tendency to grasp desperately the person who comes to his help, and the clasping is often so awkward that it may not only make it impossible for the drowning man to be saved, but may even bring about the drowning of the one who has come to help him. One who desires to save a drowning man has, therefore, to render him unconscious by hitting him on the head before he begins to help him. The striking upon the head of the drowning man, under such circumstances, cannot be looked upon either as violence or as non-violence.

Second situation of disease and surgery: Suppose a man is suffering from some contagious disease, which can only be cured through a surgical operation. Now in order to cure this suffering man, as well as to protect others from catching this infection, a surgeon may have to remove the infected part from his body by the use of his knife. This cutting of the body by a knife is also among the things which cannot be looked upon either as violence or non-violence.

Third situation of facing an aggressive nation: Suppose an aggressive nation invades a weaker nation for selfish purposes and some other nation, which is inspired solely by the noble desire of saving the weak nation, resists this aggressive invasion by armed force. Fighting for such resistance in the defense of the weak nation cannot be looked upon as either violence or non-violence, but can be called “non-violent violence.”


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