suhṛin-mitrāryudāsīna-madhyastha-dveṣya-bandhuṣu sādhuṣvapi ca pāpeṣu sama-buddhir viśiṣyate
A person stands supreme who has equal regard for friends, companions, enemies, neutral arbiters, hateful people, relatives, saints and sinners.
Bhagavad Gita VI.9
With great Love, all is possible. –Padma
If you had, at your fingertips, the ability to destroy someone else’s life, would you do it?
Where do you set the bar for justifiable homicide?
How often do you turn the other cheek instead of taking revenge?
Those are not rhetorical questions. They are questions that have been reflected upon in many ways, in many different times. Whether a school shooter in Littleton Colorado with his finger on the trigger, or President Harry S. Truman dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in both cases these were the sad gestures of deluded and lonely individuals with the ability at their fingertips to destroy others for selfish reasons–and they did it. When we ask ourselves ‘Why?” there only seems to be one answer “Because they could.”
We have been reading the Mahabharata everyday for the past year and a half. Just a few pages each day, and it speaks an interesting commentary on the passing of current events. Sometimes it seems like nothing changes…ever. The Bhagavad Gita is inspiring, and Krishna’s teachings on the nature of the yogic way, like the one above, are timeless. But also timeless is the fact that the entire war on Kurukshetra was fought over a dice game and wounded pride. There was never a question of dharma, or of following Krishna’s timeless teachings. Brother killed brother, killed teacher, child killed child…nothing ever changes.
Every day billions of animals are victims of humans that have a taste for their blood and carcasses, and this slaughter seems to be the only means they have to accumulate self-esteem; by exacting an ultimate control over the lives of others. These actions are sanctioned by a culture built on the motto “The Earth belongs to us,” and peopled with lonely confused souls not unlike the Pandavas and Kauravas (who, as Kshatriyas, hunted and ate animals). As we gaze out over the modern killing fields, just as Arjuna did ages ago at Kurukshetra, and we ask Krishna what can we do? His timeless response is to embody equanimity, poise, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. He also says that if we wait until it’s too late, there is nothing He can do except wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
Guns, bombs, and abattoirs are one thing, but each of us has, at our fingertips, the ability to destroy the life of another. Lives are ruined bloodlessly, at a convenient distance, by internet bullies with no connection to the lives of their victims.
Saint Valentine of Terni, long associated with a tradition of love, is commemorated on February 14th. I remember St. Valentine Days of bygone eras. Those were simpler times, when a red heart cut from paper delivered in a tiny envelope meant that someone cared for me. But as I reflect on those primary school days now, I wonder how many of my classmates never received a heart in a little envelope with the simple reassurance “Be My Valentine.”
We have at our fingertips the ability to make peace, to embody love and compassion. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness. A few of the humans that we know have made that conscious choice to not repeat past errors and to change the lives of others for the better.
The nature of God is Love. Our future as evolved souls depends on us acting as instruments for this great love—then all is possible.