Violence and Non-Violence – Part 3

Fourth situation of killing a mad-dog: Suppose a mad dog has run amuck and is likely to bite school children, and the teachers in this school kill the mad dog in order to protect the children. This destruction of the mad dog does imply violence, but there is no hatred in it.

Fifth situation of resisting violence by a strong man: Suppose a physically strong man is insulted and spat upon by an arrogant man who is nevertheless weak, and suppose that the strong man, who has got the power to crush the arrogant man, not only desists from hurting the arrogant man but calmly explains to him the gospel of love. This action implies non-violence, but it is the non-violence of the strong.

Baba continued by commenting on these situations:

The first three situations mentioned clearly bring out that the question whether a situation implies violence or non-violence cannot be decided except by entering into many subtle and delicate considerations: first, with regard to the diverse details pertaining to the situation, and second, with regard to the nature of the motive which prompts action. And the last two situations bring out that even where it is easily possible to say that a particular situation implies violence or non-violence, the violence or non-violence may be characterized by the presence of certain other factors, which substantially give it a meaning which goes beyond the ordinary meaning attached to these words.

–, p2779

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