Yet strangely, any debate on Non-violence no longer has any meaning at all, for what is being debated is not non-violence but the degree of permissible violence whether a country, attacked with atom-bombs should retaliate with atom-bombs, or only with "conventional arms." But "conventional arms" only means a certain level of proficiency in instruments of mass-destruction at a given time. Once it was clubs, then it became bows and arrows, then guns. When the majority of peoples in the world have atom-bombs they will be conventional arms. Admittedly, that will be a more frightful conventionality than the previous one, just as that one was to the one before it. But this only means that we, humanity, are becoming a more frightful species (or with the same frightfulness, but becoming cleverer at it) and frightened at this frightfulness, desiring our own destruction.
But all this is by the way, mere conversational preamble to the matter in hand: the Discourse on Violence and Non-violence by Meher Baba. This is the only clear and thorough exposition of this subject that has been done, and it makes such line distinctions as: Nonviolence Pure and Simple; Non-violence of the Brave; Non-violent Violence; Selfless Violence; Non-violence of the Coward; Selfish Violence. Perfect non-violence is shown to be perfect love; and since perfect love is attainable only by very few at any time, our problem is not one of violence or non-violence, but of motive in violence. Compared with perfect non-violence all one's actions are violent. It is up to us to face and admit the motives of them. By constantly doing this we will at least arrive at honesty in action even though it will still be violence.
And honesty in action will eventually bring upon us the Grace of the Perfect Master which, while destroying Ignorance completely is completely non-violent, and which alone can establish us in real Non-violence.
Introduction to small booklet MEHER BABA ON NON-VIOLENCE
Published by Avatar Meher Baba Poona Centre in 1965
From A JOURNEY ENDS, pp. 17-19
1984 © Avatar Meher Baba Poona Centre