VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE
This applies to those who, though not one with all through actual Realization, consider no one as their enemy. They try to win over even the aggressor through love and give up their lives if attacked, not through fear but through love.
As pointed out, nonviolence of the brave is practicable for those individuals who have an intense longing to attain the supreme state. This longing is not to be found in the masses.
If, therefore, it is intended to lead the masses to pure nonviolence, it is necessary first to prepare them for the nonviolence of the brave. To achieve this aim in a practical way it is necessary to make them follow, in the beginning, the principle of nonviolent violence that is, violence done solely to defend the weak without any selfish motive whatever.
In times of actual war when the masses are taken by surprise, they are not in the mood even to listen to advice about having intense longing to attain the supreme goal of life. The only practical way to lead them finally toward the goal is to begin by inculcating in them the principle of nonviolent violence and then gradually introducing the nonviolence of the brave.
A premature attempt to introduce nonviolence of the brave among the unprepared masses in actual wartime would not only fail but incur a serious danger of bringing in the fatal nonviolence of the coward, that is, the masses would not resist the aggression simply because of fear and for no other reason.
The masses may also be educated and lead to the nonviolence of the brave by making them follow the principles of selfless violence instead of those of nonviolent violence. Selfless violence is violence done in self-defense when attacked treacherously. No other selfish motive should be allowed to justify the violence.
Thus, for example, when one's mother's honor is on the point of being violated by a lustful man and one defends her by resorting to violence, one is said to have followed the principle of selfless violence. Similarly, when the honor of a nation is at stake and it is being attacked by enemies, the nation's selfless effort in defending itself is selfless violence. A tinge of selfishness being present (as the mother is one's own mother), the love expressed here is limited human love.
Nonviolence of the coward is, as pointed out, fatal. So also is selfish violence, that is, violence for selfish motives by individuals or nations to gain power or for other selfish ends.
DISCOURSES, 7th ed, pp. 73-74
1987 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust